Seriously, WHY Do People Consider The Star Wars Prequels to be Horrendous?

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Kinda a perfect storm of recent stuff led to me making this topic. Last night I was going through some of MovieBob's old "Escape to the Movies" reviews and I stumbled across his "Phantom Menance Wasn't So Bad" video in which he asserts that Episode 1 wasn't "I wanna murder George Lucas" bad, but rather simply a "meh" worthy movie. Edit: Linking in Bob's review just for the record, and to prevent further responses like the first one to this topic.

Come on this morning and I see this topic:
Posted by an Escapist who, amazingly enough, claims to have never seen the original trilogy and is asking if it's any good.

And finally it was this response:


Swyftstar: the prequels are horribly uneven in terms of quality from scene to scene.

Nonsense. The prequels are perfectly even. They're utter rubbish from start to finish.

...that made me decide to make this topic. So, borrowing from MovieBob's theory on Phantom Menace, I'm asking the question just why DID everyone hate the prequel trilogy?

Was it completely doomed from the start due to nostalgia for the first trilogy? Did those movies capture our hearts and imaginations as children and thus ensure that absolutely nothing could live up to that magic since NOTHING is after as good as it was for a child once that child becomes an adult (except the first Land Before Time movie...that is still a fantastic coming of age movie and no one will ever convince me otherwise :P). Yes, there were a lot of facepalm-worthy things in the changing The Force from a mysterious energy that flows through every living creature - thus the name The Force - to simply magical powers that come from symbiotic microbes in your bood. And yes, we all know that every time JarJar opened his mouth you'd immediately want to shut it again with a baseball bat. And yes, we know that pretty much any actor that played Anikan butchered the role beyond belief.

But going along the lines of what Bob discussed in his video, what makes the prequel trilogy so frickin' bad as to deserve the endless supply of hate and death threats thrown at George Lucas? Just like Bob, I'm not trying to convince anyone that the prequels were stellar movies that were worhty of praise rather than ire, simply trying to get people to see them as mediocre rather than down-right sinful sci-fi movies.

I mean really, other than the complaints that I mentioned as examples about the Force being retconned, JarJar's very existence, and Anikan having terrible actors, I really can't think of anything that made those movies absolute pieces of shit. Truth be told, I was actually surprised when I heard - after the original release of the three prequels - that the vast majority of fans wanted to go burn George's house down after wathing them. I hated JarJar as much as the next person, but I still thought Phantom Menace was fun. But for me personally, I'm a big lightsaber fan, and there was plenty of lightsaber action to be had, including a 2 v 1 duel involving a frickin' double-blladed lightsaber. That fight alone - to me at least - makes up for pretty much everything that happened on Tatooine in that movie. :P

As for the second one, I really didn't understand the hate behind this one. Yes, the love story seemed awkward and forced and there wasn't much true chemistry there. But it had to be there since we all know it was the cause of Anikan's eventual fall. But beyond that, why were the riots in the streets (figuratively speaking) after that? "Jango was just an attempt to pander to the Boba fans!" Was he? Or was he a badass Mandalorian that was needed so that they had someone to clone for the Clone Wars - which is mentioned in the original trilogy - army? The clones had to come from somewhere and it's established in SW lore that Mandalorians are amongst the best soldiers in the galaxy, so why not have Boba's predicessor? And personally, I liked the climactic battle in the 2nd one. Watching all those lightsabers go up as the order of Jedi Knights officially goes to war. And how can you top a Sith with a double-bladed lightsaber in the first movie? How about a jedi dual-weilding lightsabers in the 2nd?

Which brings me to the 3rd. The ire for this I really don't understand. Yes, Anikan's acting is still prettyy shoddy, but other than that, what was wrong with this one again? I really can't think of any complaints myself. Well, I did find it a bit goofy when Obi calls out that he's got the highground, implying that it gives him +2 to all saving rolls.

So there you have it. Again, I'm not trying to say that the prequels were all fantastic movies worthy of our praise, but like with Bob's review of Phantom Menace, I'm just trying to see if I can't convince some people that the prequels aren't as bad as they were made out to be., really didn't mean to make this OP this big. :3

Captcha: "Crunchy Nut: please type "It's Super Delicious". It most specifically is not, and I find it offensive that I'm forced to say it is just to make a damn post. *grumblegrumble about Captcha ads and those annoying banner ads that cover up half the fucking page*

inb4 red letter media review.

I'l just post this here before anyone else to save trouble.

inb4 red letter media review.

I'l just post this here before anyone else to save trouble.

And just like with Bob's review, I'll simply say "This video aside..." :P

Please try again my friend.

RJ 17:

inb4 red letter media review.

I'l just post this here before anyone else to save trouble.

And just like with Bob's review, I'll simply say "This video aside..." :P

Please try again my friend.

What you may consider minor problems are big for other people, it's simply differing opinions. The red letter media review also points out in detail the problems with the plot.

One of which is fucking Anakin piloting as a kid which annoys me.

Firstly, the hamfisted cramming in of elements from the original films for no good reason, while at the same time ignoring the continuity.

Secondly, the characters. The original Star Wars was popular, IMHO, in large part due to great characters. Sure they were all archetypes/stereotypes, but done well. The prequels didn't have anyone as likeable as Han Solo, anyone so menacing as Vader, anyone so creepy as the Emperor or as wise, yet scary as Yoda. Sure, they might have (nominally) brought some of the same characters back (often shoehorning them in) the originals Yoda has some great moments, suddenly becoming terrifying and telling Luke he will be afraid, or explaining how the Force connects everything. In the prequels he...well, he's rendered in CGI.

Thirdly, the acting. You had great, powerful bits in the originals, such as Luke's confrontation with the Emperor, and Vader choosing to change sides. As an aside, the Lightsabgre fights weren't OtT choreographed waffle, they were about the rage and anger taking hold of Luke and allowing him to batter Vader into submission. In the prequels...did anyone care at all about what they were doing?

Fourth, there's no restraint, no cleverness. Just because you've got lots of fancy CGI to throw at the screen all the time doesn't automatically mean it is the best idea.

Fifth, the comic relief characters in the original were bad at times. They were painfully hard to watch in the prequel.

I hate when people use that video as their argument (nothing personal Flamezdudes :). I'm not about to watch a one hour video to get your opinion...just tell us why you don't like it: That's what I do! For me, there are a couple of reasons for why the prequels fail and I shall list them for your viewing pleasure:

The acting is not great. Whether that is the fault of directing, the "green screen" effect, the writing, the actors themselves, whatever, the acting is not very good. It's certainly not the worst thing in the world but it's certainly an issue.

The rise of Anakin to Vader is boring and makes no sense. For the first two movies, we get to see a whiny kid turn into a whiny teenager. Fascinating...Anakin was just like every kid who has ever grown up ever. Then he has a dream about his lady-friend dying and his mom gets killed, turning Anakin from good guy to Hitler...shit, that didn't take much, now did it?

Evidently the galaxy is the smallest place in the world because I swear the new trilogy introduced maybe two characters who actually mattered (Mace Windu and Qui-Gon) and everyone else was either a character in the good trilogy or insignificant.

Lastly, it's a prequel. That might not matter to others but I can't stand prequels. There is only one prequel that I know of that has ever succeeded and that's because it was BARELY a prequel at all (*Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom). We know what happened; you can't make it suspenseful when we already know what happened. We know Yoda, C3PO, Chewbacca, Palpatine, R2D2, Obi-Wan, and so on can't die. We know that Padme will die and Anakin will get his ass handed to him and roasted like a marshmallow that fell in the campfire.

Now, with all that said, it's not the end of the world that fanboys make it out to be. Take the Star Wars name off of it and you have a decent direct-to-SyFy cable movie. Just like anything that has ever existed, you have the right to enjoy it and I think it's incredibly silly for people to look down upon you for that.

*EDIT: Whoopsy. Thanks for the heads-up worldruler8, I had the wrong Indiana Jones movie listed...

people walked into them with the star wars trilogy in their heads. epic battles, space rogues, adventures and the first movie was released and they got a movie about a trade dispute with potentially the most annoying character ever created in film history

I always kinda disliked the Prequel trilogy, and I never really used to be able to articulate why.

And the Red Letter Media review/rant videos about the three movies explain pretty wonderfully why I despise those movies.

They are just terrible.

The three big things for me were...

One - In the original trilogy being a Force sensitive was a bit like being a Wizard in HP. It was something considered special, almost mythical. In the original movies the very existance of the force is widely questioned by most people, and given its only been a single generation since the destruction of the Order this is something that would only be plausible if the order was already cloistered and mysterious prior to it vanishing.
The prequel movies ruined this by making force sensitives and jedi so prolific and well known that it makes the near mythic status that the force and its adherents has in the wider galaxy seem stupid and silly. It makes it feel boring, mundane, and every day instead of special and rare.

Two - The prequel movies have no clear main character in any of them. The Phantom Menace the MC was supposed to be Anakin but hes too ancilliary and young to be the MC. And none of the other three candidates were strong enough or central enough to have been Main Characters. Also what the fork was the point of Qui Gon Jinn? Why couldn't have his character been merged with Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan already been a Jedi Master?
Also Qui Gonn being Obi's master breaks prior established lore as Obi says in the original trilogy that Yoda was his master. No mention of this pointless Qui Gonn Jinn.
The next two movies are the same. The MC is supposed to be Anakin again but he isn't strong enough or likable enough a character to be the Main Character. And the two anciliarry characters that could be the MC are both too anciliarry to actually take that role.
No clear Main Character in any of them, and it makes it difficult to connect to whats going on.

Three - Not only to the prequels break and arbitrarily change the SW lore for no apparent reason (midichlorians anyone?) but the writers kept writing scenes where the characters would act completely out of character.
Example: Elevator Scene second movie. Obi spends the whole ride lecturing Ani "your too reckless. stupid. you never thing. blah blah blah." (the movie should have SHOWN us Ani being reckless/irresponsible instead of lecturing us about it) and then in the very next Scene in Padme's room Obi Wan launches himself through a window 1000s of stories up onto a little droid drone that may or may not support his weight, and I believe he plows through the plate glass that could probably seriously injure him when it shatters. It is a completely recklessly stupid movie that makes Obi Wan look like a hypocritical idiot after spending the preceeding scene lecturing Ani for doing the exact same sort of thing (also it was the perfect opportunity for the movie to show us that Ani was a reckless idiot who wouldnt listen to his wise master by having him jump through the window onto the droid).
And it happens many times through the 3 movies, where characters personalities change from scene to scene.

There are more reasons, but those are the bigger ones that I can recall off the top of my head.

The only thing I'm gonna say here is that Midiclorians have a fundamental misconception associated with them. They do not generate the Force - they are merely attracted to force-sensitive individuals, proportionally. So The Force never stopped being a mystical, unexplained force - it's just that it now has a system of measurement.


But nah jokes aside they're decent enough films. The originals were perfect as they were, sure, but I don't see how the prequels invaded on them in any way. It's not like the Terminator films where they actually destroyed the ending of the second film by making the third.

In a nutshell, it forgot what made the original movies so charming.

We have three movies filled with bland uninteresting characters who have zero chemistry with one another, to a point where we have to be told what their relationship is. Anakin and Padme are supposedly desperately in love, and the way the movies show this is by having them be in romantic settings together. That's all we get. Anakin acts like a weird creep around Padme the whole of the second movie, and by the end she's magically in love with him just cuz.
Then we have Anakin and Obi Wan who are apparently close friends, yet all they do is complain and be irritated by one another.

RJ 17:
...just like with Bob's review, I'll simply say "This video aside..."

I hate when people use that video as their argument (nothing personal Flamezdudes :). I'm not about to watch a one hour video to get your opinion...just tell us why you don't like it...

Here's the problem. Normally I would agree with this, because substituting someone else's opinion in for your own is pretty lazy argumentation. But I think we can both agree that life is short, and those videos are something like three hours in total, not one hour, and the reason they're over 3 hours long is that is how long it takes to properly detail just how bad the prequels were and why.

You want a summary? They're awful. They're terrible in ways you probably haven't even considered yet. I have a pretty low bar for movies these days. I didn't even mind Bay's first Transformers film, for goodness sake. I like superhero movies. I like cheesy comedies. I like all that shit. I cannot get through these films without groaning like I have a stomach parasite. It isn't because I'm a die hard fan of the originals...I'm not. It's not because George Lucas ruined my childhood, because those movies are still there and I can enjoy them whenever I want by skipping through the extended scenes.

Does Lucas and his goiter deserve death threats? Of course not, they're just awful films. It's his IP, he can run it into the ground if he wants to. It shows an enormous disrespect for his fan base, but the man is old...if he wants to have fun ruining his life's work let him do it. I will say this though. I've heard MovieBob's argument, and I've heard RedLetterMedia's argument. Not only does the latter fall more in line with my own feelings on the subject, it is 100 times longer, more detailed, more cogent, and more well argued.

Because they are horrendous?

'I had a dream about my wife dying and a Sith Lord told me he could save her, so I choose to ignore years of Jedi training to trust a Sith Lord even though said Jedi training would have involved me learning that Sith Lords are not to be trusted.

Also, I'll just go an kill all the young padawans for reasons.'

The writing is fucking awful.


Lastly, it's a prequel. That might not matter to others but I can't stand prequels. There is only one prequel that I know of that has ever succeeded and that's because it was BARELY a prequel at all (Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc). We know what happened; you can't make it suspenseful when we already know what happened. We know Yoda, C3PO, Chewbacca, Palpatine, R2D2, Obi-Wan, and so on can't die. We know that Padme will die and Anakin will get his ass handed to him and roasted like a marshmallow that fell in the campfire.

I think you meant Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom, because it wouldn't make sense to make the first film in a series be a prequel.

Well, alright, I suppose I'll say something else.

I think they wasted a wonderful background universe & plot premise by writing/directing it poorly, basically. They had lots of potential, but it went unused. I don't consider them to be horrendous, I consider them to be disappointing.

I'm going to paraphrase a video I'd link if I could remember it.

Think of a character in a movie. Now, describe his personality; that is, describe him without mentioning his appearance or his actions. The more you can say within these strictures, the better defined and more interesting the character is.

Apply that test to any of the characters in the prequels. Can you come up with five descriptors per character? I doubt I could, because they are bad characters. They are almost entirely devoid of substance, so I cannot care about them: They bore me. The only moments I have any interest in them are when Padme's shirt gets ripped in the arena (she has a nice tummy) and when Obi-Wan grows a sense of humor for like two lines in Revenge of the Sith (which goodwill he promptly wrecks in the fight with Grievous).

They are boring. That is the worst thing a movie can be.

None of it charters mattered in the slightest, not one. Why did Anakin has as far as I can tell no reason to become Vader and appears to have no connection to Vader in the slightest.

Then we have nonsense like Jar Jar and a copy paste of Boba Fett that is so utterly lack luster I forget his name. We have Darth Maul that starts of as a total badass that could last the entire prequel trilogy but no he get taken behind the woodshed to be slaughtered in utterly undramatic fashion, CPO and R2 both know the climax of the entire saga and the rest just come of as bland and average.

The rest of the Charters feel like bit parts Lucas thought "Hummm how can i kill them off so I can explain why 4-6 never mention them" it is just utterly disappointing but still mostly because the mediocrity is Star War an not just a new mediocre franchise.

Not even considering the original trilogy or getting into the plot, the movie at the time of initial release was mediocre that aged into a shitshow. Piss poor editing, horrendously directed actors, nonsensical story structure. Just watching it over again recently I felt as though the movie had an overall plastic aesthetic. Watching the prequels as standalone films I get that feel that they are riding off of something that the movie expects the audience to automatically know (the plot of the original films).

The movies just took the original trilogy and used it as a crutch, which is fine in moderate amounts but if the prequels cannot go five minutes without making a reference and looking back at the audience with a "Eyyy! you remember that!? That was a cool bit in the original trilogy, huh? Good times! Oh yeah, CHEWBACCA IS A FUCKING GENERAL NOW, OKAY?!!! vibe that disconnects any investment in occurring narrative that often discombobulates and infuriates me.

Well this is fairly pointless as I think everyone has covered most of the major points and quite a few of the minor ones.
However one of the things I think that hurt the PT that nobody seems to have mentioned is the main villain. In the OT we have Vader big, scary and powerful and he only seems to grow right up until the inevitable clash in JedI. For the PT we get Maul, who dies at the end of the first movie, Dooku (in one of the silliest fights in history) who dies at the start of the next movie, Grevious who doesn't make it through one movie, then Palpatine and Anikan. Surely like FitScot said about Obi Wan, these could have been condensed into one.
Also in regards to posting videos as our answers I think in times like this its allowed. We're not always very eloquent and sometimes we forgets parts of our argument and having a video like that allows us to make sure our message gets across often better than we could have managed typing away at a message board in a flurry.

That scene is one of my biggest reasons. The writing is just horrible, the mystical nature of the force was shattered forever, the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan was never the bond of trust and friendship (that we were able to see) and it became more about the Clone War than the characters. The originals may have had their own problems but at least we cared when Han Solo was frozen and taken away from Leia.

I'm a big enough fan of the series as a whole to still watch the damn things but I'm not under any illusions about what I think of them as movies. Bloated CGI, green-screened cash ins that we're going to keep seeing with the re-releases in 3D.

Hmm when I was younger and watched them a few times I was thinking about what I must be missing because the plot wouldn't be that nonsensical would it? Years later, nope! It really is just that bad.

I can laugh at how goshdarn awful they are, probably because I wasn't super into the original Star Wars films. I liked them sure but they weren't the baist filmz evar or anything.

Anyway, the Plinkett reviews are highly entertaining and they wouldn't exist without the terribad prequels. Good job George Lucas! You got some good things out of those films afterall

I liked them for the most part, but they were very cheesy in some parts (Romance especially) and a few things regarding the force didn't make sense to me. :)

What I disliked the most about the prequels was the lack of emotions in everything - dialogues, character interactions, sword fights. It was all so superficial and shallow. And the fact that there never was even one clear protagonist throughout the movies didn't make getting invested with the characters any easier, either.

That being said, I do think that the constant bashing is rather exaggerated. The prequels are at the very least mediocre and perfectly enjoyable as popcorn movies (that is not to say that the original trilogy offered some kind of profound experience in comparison, though, they're just better popcorn movies).

I'm going to totally link to other people's opinions in video format rather than offering anything personal or insightful, because that's the way the internet works.

Oh, that's been done.

For me, it's not nostalgia. Honestly, I watched a lot of crap growing up, and I'm not afraid to call it crap. There are few things from my childhood I truly cherish, and they usually stand the test of time (for me).


people walked into them with the star wars trilogy in their heads. epic battles, space rogues, adventures and the first movie was released and they got a movie about a trade dispute with potentially the most annoying character ever created in film history

Nikki has a good point here. People expected Star Wars. It was called "Star Wars." These might have been fine in their own right, I don't know (nor do I really care to think about it), but they certainly were bad in terms of the Star Wars brand.

Finally, I love Darths and Droids because the only way the first movie makes sense is if it was a Roleplaying campaign where the players (possessed with the attention span of a goldfish) continued to derail the GM's plans...CONSTANTLY.

I love the prequels.

I was so unbearably bored with the original trilogy. The only good thing about it was Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford's acting.

As someone who hasn't seen the originals I can tell you that the prequels are just bad.

Jar Jar Binks was funny, but apart from that the acting is bad and everything, as in the atmosphere and characters, just feels "fake". Jackson and McGregor tried and the lightsaber fights were cool, but that's about it.

I'll actually defend the first prequel.

There was obviously a lot of space within the canon for creativity at such an early point, and it shows in the quality and tone. Everything is relatively bright and upbeat, as it should be so early on in the saga. Set design is gorgeous; from cliffside castles to rolling green hills to underwater cities, it captures the imagination in a way sci-fi movies should. And whilst CGI is overused, it is overused to great effect. Most importantly, The Phantom Menace may in fact have both the best score and best single scene in the entire franchise: namely the musically choreographed simultaneous battle scene at the climax. The enemy gimmick in Darth Maul's facial tattoos and double-ended lightsaber makes sense that it does not show up in the original three. It is a clumsy weapon, suitable only for an anarchist of sorts. Eye candy that makes sense. I'd even rank this as my second favourite film out of the entire series (after The Empire Strikes Back of course) if it weren't for one serious problem.

The problem was Jar-Jar.

No more, no less. Jar-Jar was a huge enough problem to make the entire film taste like shit as you walked out of the cinema. And by himself, he's not even that bad.

It's the context.

It's that he does not fit the narrative at all.

It's that he's a borderline offensive racial characiature.

It's that he has been designed from the ground up to be an expy of Chewbacca.

It's that you are given deliberate onscreen cues that instruct you, as a viwer, to like him. And yet he is stupid, meaningless, and an insult to Chewbacca. It is degrading that Lucas thinks so little of his audience's intelligence.

* * *

As for the second and third films. I'd argue they suffer from the worst of movie sins: both are utterly forgettable. Yes, there are terrible acting moments: I recall bad romance across iffy bluescreens, yet I cannot recall a single quote. Think about that for a minute. It wasn't even terrible enough to remember. What I do recall? Four lightsabers on some sort of robot/skeleton/ghoul/magical golem thingy. Gimmicky rubbish. Battles with flashing lights that could've been yoinked straight out of Erectric Soldier Porygon, obscuring any attempt to figure out what the heck was going on on screen. Terrible choreography. Not a single motion in a single battle from those two movies can be recalled. Yet I can recall most every shot from the iconic Darth Maul battle from The Phantom Menace.

I have seen each prequel movie precisely once.

To make this abundantly clear: I have watched Episodes 1, 2 and 3 once each. Each. I remember most of Episode 1, and almost nothing of Episodes 2 and 3. Note that I don't refer to Episodes 2 and 3 by title. This is because I honestly do not remember their subtitles. Seriously. I'll look them up in a moment for sure, but I feel this is a noteworthy hole in my memories.

So yeah, in summary:
Episode 1: Bad rap because of Jar-Jar.
Episode 2: Forgettable. Something about a skeleton cyborg thingy.
Episode 3: Mostly forgettable. I remember the ending that harkened back to Episode 4. And the terrible lava scene. That is it.

I flicked on Ep 3 the other day for a second.

There was a part in a sword (sabre, whatever) fight in which two characters were literally whipping the things around without connecting, I imagine just to look 'cool' and to make the vwip vwoom noise, for what seemed like quite a long period.

Think that might say a few things.

I hated the fact that Spock dies.

Over-use of CGI, horrible wooden acting from one of the leading men, terrible love story. Those are all what bothered me and while I won't say other people's opinions are "wrong", I saw these movies and while I liked Phantom Menace as a kid as an adult not as much. The only things I really like about the movies are the action scenes, and that's about it, when Anakin opened his mouth in Episode II it was almost always cringeworthy, and any dialogue between Padme and Anakin made me deep sigh and hang my head. As a 13 year old. Needless to say my opinion hasnt changed much

inb4 red letter media review.

I'l just post this here before anyone else to save trouble.

Get someone to quote that mouth-breather word for word and I might take those videos seriously.

Well Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film I saw, so for me that started everything and as a 10 year old kid it was fucking awesome.
I think 2 and 3 are so-so. The first one was good and the three original ones were good.
aaaaaaand that's about it.
It's a matter of taste.

Personally, I mostly liked the prequels, (except for the second one) worts and all, and I while I can certainly understand why most people don't, here's another way to remember them: The movies as a D&D campaign in web comic form.
It's entirely possible you'll end up liking Jar-Jar, or at least his player.

Prequels and Ewoks*

Really, Wookies would have made so much more sense over Ewoks.

And I don't like the first prequel because of Jarjar Binx

I don't like the second prequel because it was just Anakin Skywalker being a complete asshole to everyone

Then I don't like the third prequel because the robot guy (whose name I forgot) made no sense and it was again, just Anakin being more and more of an asshole.

Not sure how many names were misspelled but you'll all just have to deal with it.

Ι cried when Qui Gon died. I memorized the choreography of the Phantom Menace final duel and the final duel from Revenge Of The Sith to the point where my muscles auto-ed the motions. I liked episode 1 and 3, not the entirety of the movies but I grew up with them.

I was only 15 when I went to see Revenge Of The Sith which I saw after the sequels. About 2 days earlier, I realized that the movie is doomed to have a bad ending. I had never been under that feeling.

Depends on the POV. I like the prequels less than the originals, of course but the prequels introduced me to the originals. So...

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