The things I do for you guys… I rewatched all 3 of these movies completely to ensure that they were fresh for this review and for the podcast this week (spoiler alert- this is the topic for that). So… you’re welcome. Anyway, let’s get this over with. My reviews for some movies that, well, aren’t very good. Also, there may be spoilers. Just a heads up for those lucky enough to have not seen these movies.
Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Many people consider this the worst of the trilogy and of the entire saga. I’ll be honest- I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a good movie. But there are flashes of a great… ok maybe not great but at least good, movie in here. And then Jar Jar Binks comes back on the screen. Seriously, what is this? He is the most annoying character in Star Wars history (besides maybe George Lucas) and perhaps in the history of all of cinema. I get that they were trying to attract a younger audience, but this was unnecessary. Plenty of kids love the original trilogy and those movies certainly don’t have anything like Jar Jar. Besides that, when you get down to the details of it, the story of this movie is all about blockades and treaties. I mean guys, that’s kind of boring right? Was there no better story out there? Let’s talk about what the story is meant to be about though, and that is Anakin Skywalker. Oh boy. Again, was there no better way to introduce him? He is basically some annoying kid our two Jedi (played excellently by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor I will admit) find on complete accident and who helps them by winning a murderous alien NASCAR (or Formula 1 for my foreign readers) race. But it’s ok because he is the “chosen one” due to his abnormally high “midi-chlorian” count, which are basically little germs inside of your body that control the force. Then, they take him away from his home so that he can accidentally destroy the ship that controls the invading army of his future wife’s planet. Wait, what? Just a terrible way to start the story of who ends up becoming (spoiler alert I guess?) one of the greatest villains in movie history. But there is one redeeming quality about this movie- that lightsaber duel against Darth Maul at the end. First of all, Darth Maul was a great villain who was completely underused and killed off way too soon. But this fight scene is great. It doesn’t have that overly choreographed feel that some others in this trilogy do. The double-bladed lightsaber is awesome. And the score is just flat out amazing. It’s a great scene in an otherwise bad movie. I’ll give The Phantom Menace a 2.25/5.
Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
This would be the movie I consider to be the worst of this trilogy. Where do I even begin? I’ll start with the obvious- the love story between Anakin and Padme. It is completely forced, it makes no sense, Anakin is borderline creepy at times, and Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman might have the worst on screen chemistry ever. Besides that, again this movie is overly kid friendly in ways that don’t make any sense. Plus, for a movie like that, the plot is full of really dark things like assassination and treason that are much more adult. Just take some of the cheesy things out and make this the dark movie it obviously is. Speaking of cheesy, the dialogue in this movie is really, really bad. I have no idea who wrote this but I think I could have done a better job. I have no idea how the actors even got these lines out of their mouths. There are also some really boring action sequences, and that’s coming from someone who loves action movies. But things like the chase towards the beginning goes on about 10 minutes too long, the final battle is just a boring CGI mess, and even the lightsaber duel isn’t much fun. It’s the first time we see Yoda fight and he just looks like a green basketball bouncing up and down. The only part of this movie I like is the scene where Anakin offs the sand-people who killed his mother. It’s the first time he turns down the path of the dark side and I think, for the most part, it’s well done. That’s not enough to save the score for this movie though, as I give Attack of the Clones a 1.5/5.
Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
While not saying much, this is by far the best of the prequel trilogy. Yes the love story still sucks, the dialogue is bad, the acting is stiff, and the ending is terrible. But there are also things to actually like about this one. It has some great action scenes, particularly the opening. Plus, that is the first time you really get to see Palpatine start to manipulate Anakin. All of those scenes involving that are interesting. The “Order 66” scene is cool, but it could have been a little stronger. The story is at least somewhat decent, a step up from the previous two. The weakest element is still the aforementioned love story. I think they could have done Anakin’s turn in a different way and made this love story a much smaller element, rather than the main one. The final confrontation between Obi-Wan and Anakin is great to watch, but would have been even better if the dialogue wasn’t so bad, the lightsaber duel didn’t look so overly choreographed, and it didn’t go on for so long. Despite there being a lot of things wrong with the movie, it does serve as a fitting conclusion and finally give us more of Anakin’s turn to the dark side that we had been wanting. This movie could have been great but doesn’t achieve that and also nearly ruins Darth Vader with that ending. I’ve been wrestling with what score to give this one. Do I get it to the “good” threshold? I think because it is so much better than the others, and I do actually revisit it on occasion, I will. I’ll give Revenge of the Sith right at a 3/5.
Well, I’m glad that’s over. I hope you enjoyed reading and comment below with your thoughts on the Prequels. If you want a more in depth discussion, check out our podcast when that comes out sometime this weekend. Next week, look for reviews of much better movies, as I take a look at the Original Trilogy.