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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movie Talk - The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

Qui-Jonn: If you say “yipee” one more time, I’ll lock you in a room with Jar Jar for two hours!

Well, here I am again with this trilogy. A couple of years ago, I did a little post about what I liked about The Phantom Menace. I was going to do more with the other movies, but school got in the way and I just lost interest in it. Well, it’s now 2014, and I’m a little better at planning things. I don’t have much else to say, so let’s talk about the Star Wars prequels.

I don’t remember when I saw first saw The Phantom Menace.  I was already a fan of Star Wars at the time and I even got an action figure from their toyline. I think the only one I got was Obi-Wan Kenobi. I do know that I rented it at Movie Gallery when it came out. When Attack of the Clones came out, I ended up seeing that in theaters with my dad. I think my dad bowed out at the scene where Anakin and Padme were on Naboo. When thinking about it now, I can’t blame him.

I didn’t get to see Revenge of the Sith in theatres but I did get it and Attack of the Clones on DVD. The Phantom Menace was relegated to a recorded VHS copy from 2005, I believe. Yes, I still used those in the 2000’s. I even have a couple of other stuff recorded on there like Superman: The Movie and an episode of Smallville (“Rosetta”). Anyway, I planned on seeing all of these movies over a weekend but that didn’t exactly happen. I only watched TPM and I couldn’t find the DVDs to AOTC and ROTS. Some might say I’m better off without them, but I don’t like to lose stuff like that. Luckily, I’ve seen them enough to know what I want to say.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
TPM was released in 1999. The movie revolves around two Jedi as they head to Naboo to negotiate a treaty between the Naboo and Trade Federation. When The Trade Federation reveal their true colors, the Jedi have to help the Naboo deal with the threat of the Trade Federation. Along the way, they run across the Queen of the Naboo, some slave boy from the planet of Tatooine, and an annoying thing called Jar Jar Binks. The Jedi also have to deal with the reemergence of the Sith, sworn enemies of the Jedi.

This movie is below average but not horrible. I have seen worst crap than this. Now, is it the worst Star Wars movie? That’s a matter of debate for another time. There are a lot of things that hinder this movie. The dialogue is pretty bad. Unfortunately, that is something I can say about all of the prequels. Because of the dialogue, the acting from almost everyone is pretty poor. I know people rail on Jake Lloyd for sounding bad, but he ain’t the only one who sounds bad in this movie. The only ones who are at least decent are Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid.
I don't know what's worse, Padme's style or Jar Jar in general. I'll just say both to be safe.

The characters are also pretty one-note and uninteresting. The CGI is okay in places, but there is just so much of it. I really didn’t connect to it. Then, there’s that thing called Jar Jar Binks. All I can say is this: Why? I get that Lucas wanted to have a funny character in the movie. Unfortunately, Jar Jar was not that at all. He was pretty annoying and his antics weren’t funny either. Luckily, his screentime got considerably lessened as the prequels went on.

Other than those major things, everything else is okay. I still stand by the list I made couple of years ago. The overall plot is also okay. Since this was before the wars and the Empire, it’s cool to see what things were like before the dark times. I also thought Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Padme were pretty cool. I also liked Watto. He was actually funny at times. The music was pretty good. I mean, it’s John Williams for crying out loud! The action is nice and that lightsaber battle is still the best thing about the movie. Overall, it’s a below average movie.

Favorite Quotes:
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”
“There’s always a bigger fish.”
“No, they won't-a. What? You think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian. Mind tricks don't work on me. Only money.”
“Why do I get the feeling that we've picked up another pathetic life form? “ 

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
AOTC was released in 2002. It’s supposed to take place 10 years after the previous movie. The galaxy is getting prepared for war. Padme has now become a senator and is being targeted by the Separatists. Obi-Wan and Anakin are assigned to protect her from any assassins. While Obi-Wan gets swept into a plot that involves things like clones and war, Anakin and Padme start to get really close. When the three end up getting captured on the planet Geonosis, it’s revealed that the Separatists are creating an army. The Republic in turn sends in the clones. All of this leads the Clone Wars.
Oh man! Mace's gonna kick some butt! All he needed is some random Bible verses and it would have been awesome.

This movie is also in the “okay” section for me. It’s not horrible but it isn’t really good either. The dialogue is still pretty bad which makes the acting pretty bland and wooden. This is especially evident in Hayden Christensen’s Anakin. He just comes off bad in this movie. I don’t think the guy himself is a bad actor because the rest of the characters are also pretty bland. I also can’t really get behind the love story between Anakin and Padme. That’s probably because the character of Anakin comes off like a d-bag for most of the movie. Compare their relationship to Han and Leia’s relationship and you’ll see which one comes off better.

The CGI is still all over the place but it is also better as well. The characters are still one-note, but the only ones that come off decently are Obi-Wan, Count Dooku, Padme, and Palpatine. The action sequences are good but a little over the top at times. My favorites were the chase scene on Coruscant, the Coliseum scene, and the skirmish between the clones and droids. The main lightsaber battle at the end is fine, but it’s not that great either. The overall plot is pretty decent. Obi-Wan’s side of the story is pretty good. Overall, it’s another okay film and it’s down there along with the first prequel.

Favorite Quotes:
“Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me?“
"It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force... but by our skills with a lightsaber."
“When I got to them we got into aggressive negotiations.”
“I hate the sand.”

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
ROTS was released in 2005. This takes place three years after the events of AOTC. The Clone Wars (I’ll get to that next week) is in its last days. After Anakin and Obi-Wan save Chancellor Palpatine from the Separatists, Anakin finds out that he and Padme are going to have a baby. Meanwhile, Palpatine sets his plans in motion in turning Anakin over to the Dark Side and destroying the Jedi. After Anakin becomes Darth Vader, many Jedi die and the Republic becomes the Empire. While Yoda faces Palpatine on Coruscant, Obi-Wan faces Anakin on Mustafar. In then end, everything gets lined up for the original trilogy. Padme dies and her twins get split up, Yoda and Obi-Wan go into exile, and the Empire starts to grow.
You know, Anakin's fine when he isn't saying anything.

This movie is the best of the trilogy, but it’s not perfect by a long shot. It still suffers from some bad dialogue and wooden acting. While Christensen is still pretty wooden at times, he is a little better this time around. I’ll give him that. There were also some things that didn’t make much sense to me. I wonder how one Sith Lord was able to beat 4 Jedi Masters. I also wonder why Padme “lost the will to live” at the end. There definitely could have been a better way to have her die instead of “losing the will to live.” It was just weird.

Other than those things, this movie’s good. The story is pretty decent and dark. It’s probably darker than The Empire Strikes Back which was already pretty dark. Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine is definitely a high point to the movie. He was just so evil in all of the good ways. I also liked Obi-Wan, Yoda, and shockingly Anakin/Vader. The action sequences were pretty dynamic and eye-catching. They may go over-the-top at times, but they’re good. The effects and CGI are at their best here. The music is also really good. It’s my favorite score out of the prequels. Overall, the movie is good and I wish I could find the dang DVD.

Favorite Quotes:
“I can feel your anger. It give you focus... makes you stronger.”
“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
 “POWER! UNLIMITED... POWER!”
“I have waited a long time for this moment, my little green friend. At last, the Jedi are no more.”
“You were the chosen one!”
“Once more, the Sith will rule the galaxy. And, we shall have peace.

………………………………………………………

Overall, the Star Wars prequels are a mixed bag. While there are good things with them, they have some major issues as well. Unfortunately, it’s usually the bad qualities that get brought up a lot. Hopefully, I’ve let you know that the movies aren't complete crap. Well, that’s all I have for this week. Next week, I’ll be looking at two shows that were all about that event known as the Clone Wars.

NEXT TIME: WAR, CLONES, DROIDS, AND ANAKIN BECOMES LIKABLE????

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