The Resolute: Why Are We Still Apologizing for the Prequels?

preq
Welcome to first installment of Far Far Away Radio’s new opinion column, The Resolute. The purpose of this column is to serve as an answer to many of the “real world” Star Wars questions that we have all wondered at one time or another. The name of this column serves a dual purpose. Eagle-eyed fans will recognize it as an homage to Anakin Skywalker’s flagship during The Clone Wars. Of course, the title also serves as an accurate description for the tone of each column. Once you read the article, please feel free to leave a comment and offer your own thoughts!

The first question I’m tackling in this column is something that almost all of us have been guilty of doing. We can’t praise The Phantom Menace without acknowledging the seemingly widespread distaste for Jar Jar Binks or mentioning the slower pacing that accompanies the Coruscant Senate scenes. We can’t praise Attack of the Clones without acknowledging the wooden acting during the love scenes between Anakin and Padme. We can’t praise Revenge of the Sith without… well actually, that’s the one prequel film that fans are almost unanimous in praising - despite the fact that it’s least like any of the other Star Wars films due to its depiction of evil triumphing over good.

Even now, 10 years after the last Star Wars prequel film was released, there’s still that feeling of guilt that is sometimes felt when expressing love for the prequels. That feeling of insecurity bubbles up every time The Clone Wars series is used as an example for strengthening the overall prequel storyline or we feel like we need to defend our love for the prequels.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to apologize for enjoying the prequel films.

In many ways, the prequels were probably always destined to be surrounded by a certain amount of disappointment. The original Star Wars trilogy was, and still is, the largest cultural phenomenon of all time. When Star Wars was first released in 1977, there was nothing quite like it. Adults fell in love, and children were blown away. When those children grew up, they exposed their own children to Star Wars at a young age. The cycle repeated for decades, to the point where any fan can tell you their age (and weather, what they were wearing, etc.) on the day they first saw Star Wars.

Honestly, there’s plenty in the Original Trilogy that doesn’t work. But it isn’t scrutinized because it’s what we were all raised on. Most of us weren’t raised on the Prequel Trilogy - and insanely high expectations typically lead to disappointment.

And still, I remember leaving the movie theater after watching The Phantom Menace and being convinced that I had seen the best movie ever. I felt the same way after watching Attack of the Clones, and again after Revenge of the Sith. I remember laughing at Jar Jar’s antics, and sympathizing with a tortured Anakin stammering his way through his love confession. Yet popular opinion was to hate these movies. Even now, it’s still engrained in the mindset that the Prequel Trilogy is somehow inferior - look no further for proof than the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. The Clone Wars television show, beloved by many fans, was canceled and replaced with Rebels, a show firmly entrenched in the time period (and feel) of the Original Trilogy. The focus on the Sequel Trilogy leaves the Prequel Trilogy unfairly in the rearview mirror.

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself giving a stirring defense of my fondness for Attack of the Clones. Typically viewed as the worst of the prequels, it’s actually incredibly fun. It has a fun chase sequence, an exciting fight between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett, an absolutely riveting asteroid ship battle, and the last hour of the movie is one exciting battle after another. There is so much fun in the movie, yet the Anakin/Padme love scenes (which make up a small fraction of the total runtime) is what is typically mentioned whenever the film is mentioned. Why dwell on the negative, when there is so much positivity to focus on?

We should be able to love what we love, without fear of persecution or ridicule. We shouldn’t have to explain why we love any of these movies. Yes, they are flawed. Every movie is flawed in some way, and anyone can point those flaws out. The reason that films like Star Wars resonate with us and become our favorites is because we embrace them in spite of their flaws.

 

The views found in The Resolute are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Far Far Away Radio. Whether you agree with me or not, I’m happy to engage in pleasant and respectful conversation regarding my columns.

If you have any questions that you would like to see answered in future columns, please send an e-mail to contact@farfarawayradio.com or reach out to us on Twitter (@farfarawayradio).