It’s 20 years ago this year that we saw the first of the prequels and as time has gone on I’ve come to appreciate what George Lucas was trying to achieve even the execution wasn’t all to my liking.
When I saw them originally I was in University, an original trilogy fan and had high expectations. The special editions had launched a year earlier in the cinema and fever pitch for a new set of Star Wars movies was at peak level.
On the first viewing I left somewhat confused. I didn’t think I liked it. This was a new experience for me. Loving the franchise and it being such a big part of my growing up I suddenly had some disappointment with my favourite movie series of all time. Even though I loved Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan I didn’t particular like all of Anakin’s back story (I was also confused why he created threepio) and it felt somewhat silly in places. But as the years have gone on I’ve seen it in a new light. This particularly changed when watching them with my daughter who for the first time sat down and watched Episode I completely engrossed. Then it hit me to relax and enjoy it for what it was – a film for a younger age group that takes you away to a different galaxy. I love Return of the Jedi and as a 7 year old watching it in the cinema completely engrossed I’m sure there were older generation rolling their eyes at Ewoks (I love them BTW).
Doing a rewatch of the series this year with my family before EP 9 I’m reminded how much I enjoy the last 45 mins of Episode I. Dual of the fates is one of my favourite music pieces and the fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul remains one of the best lightsaber battles in the series. It’s also the first time in years that a Jedi and Sith had encountered each other.
I have to admit that Episode II is my most disliked Star Wars movie and I struggle to get through it but I appreciate the story Lucas is telling, just the execution doesn’t land with me.
I had high hopes for Episode III back in the day and it somewhat delivers. I like Palpatine and he really does shine throughout the prequels but this appearance is one of my favourites. I’m not a huge fan of the ‘noooooooooo’ moment at the end and still confused as to the end of Padmé but I can let them go. Shoehorning in Chewie also feels a bit off but seeing one of my favourite characters in the franchise again is ok with me.
So, now I’m older and (supposedly wiser) I can sit down and just enjoy them.