For some reason, the Star Wars prequels don’t get a lot of love. While trooping, I sometimes hear others expressing their dislike for episodes 1, 2, and 3. There are also quite a few articles online slamming these films. You may have opinions on what could have been done better…and that’s fine, but give these movies a chance! There’s still much to glean from them. I give Mr. Lucas a lot of credit for the prequels. We all know that this man has an amazing imagination. Just look at the universe that he created in episodes 4, 5, and 6 (the originals). To come back many years later, after technology has finally caught up with the effects he’s envisioned, and present these new stories is a gift to all of us Star Wars fans. He provided some much needed history on our most beloved characters, all while introducing new plots, planets, vehicles, and characters.
I’m not going to lie, I love the original trilogy…I’ve loved it since I was a kid. Heck I was Darth Vader for Halloween in 1977. I’m from the era of the original trilogy and I’m here to say that I also love the prequels! If you are in the “I don’t like the prequels” camp, I ask you to give them a chance. Here is a countdown of 10 things that I liked most about the Star Wars prequels:
10) New planets
One of the most memorable things about the original films (ep. 4, 5, 6) was that George Lucas introduced us to new planets in every film. Episode IV showed us Tatooine and Yavin 4. Episode V showed us Hoth, Bespin, and Dagobah. Episode VI showed us a little more of Tatooine and introduced us to Endor. I think most of you Star Wars fans will agree, the planets and the sets are almost as important as the characters themselves. Lucas showed us desert, jungle, snow, and cloud environments. He reaches into that awesome imagination of his and delivers more spectacular planets:
9) Clone Armor
One of the huge draws to Star Wars is its costumes. Especially the bad guys, they have some amazing armor. Ralph McQuarrie, the visionary who conceptualized many of our beloved Star Wars characters and sets, came up with the original Stormtrooper design. In the prequels, we are treated to more Stormtrooper-like armor. There are many different types of Clone armor seen throughout episodes 2 and 3. I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with toy merchandising. Clone armor resembles Stormtrooper armor, but has a personality of its own with multiple designs and colors.
8) R2’s Super Powers
In many ways, R2 shares similarities with Yoda. They are both short, brave, tenacious, and they come up big when it counts most. R2 can frequently be found co-piloting fighters, accessing enemy computer systems, and unlocking blast doors. In the prequels, R2 puts his super powers on display. First, he shows off his magnetic wheels & repair skills when he saves Padme’s Nubian royal starship by repairing the hyperdrive. While visiting the Geonosis droid factory, he zips around with his rocket boosters. One of his best scenes was when he defeated two super battle droids without firing a single shot.
7) Bunta Eve Classic Pod Race
I’m pretty sure Apple got the idea for an iPad here. You can see Shmi Skywalker watching her son nervously on her tablet. Or maybe she was playing Pokemon-Go. Anyway, we’re back on Tatooine, where it all began. Tatooine is my favorite planet in the Star Wars universe. I’m a sucker for the Sandtroopers, Mos Eisley Cantina, the Tusken Raiders, Jawas, and Jabba’s Palace to name a few. Here are a few things that I liked about this scene:
6) Zam Wessel Chase
There is so much going on in this particular scene. This is what I love about the chase:
5) Jango & Boba Fett
If you add up all of Boba Fett’s time on screen in episodes 5 and 6, you’ll probably hit about 18-20 minutes. Even though he didn’t get much screen time in the original trilogy, he is one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars universe. Why is that? First of all, his armor is downright cool. He’s masked, his armor is scuffed, burned, and dented. He’s definitely seen some stuff go down. Second, he has a bunch of James Bond-like gadgets at his disposal. Wrist rockets, a jet pack, a shooting wrist cable that Spiderman would envy, and if the wrist rockets don’t work, he’ll just launch that giant missile from his backpack. He also gets to hang out with Vader.
In the prequels, we learn of Boba’s childhood, where he came from, where he probably picked up his armor and combat skills. In addition, we find out where he gets Slave 1 and why he probably isn’t a big fan of the Jedi. It was great to see Boba’s Dad: Jango in the film. That metallic Mandalorian armor was beautiful. Jango gave us a nice display of his weaponry when he fought Obi-wan on Kamino. Slave 1’s capabilities are also on display. Just like Jango and Boba’s armor, Slave 1 has some hidden surprises.
In the prequels, we are introduced to more badass royalty: Padme Amidala. I LOVE her character. Throughout the 3 films, she shows strength, determination, and compassion. All of the traits required to be a great leader. She doesn’t sit back on her throne and throw out orders, she’s in the middle battles and participating in important political discussions, all for the greater good of her people. If there was one thing that Mr. Lucas was allowed to borrow from the original trilogy, it was female royalty. The Princess Leia formula worked well, I’m glad they used in in the prequels. Now, not to sound like a pig, but Ms. Padme had some spectacular outfits…I’m not just talking about the tight white prisoner outfit on Geonosis. I loved the geisha-like makeup, the ornate hair styles, and the outfits. Wow…it must have been hot in there. You are awesome Queen Amidala.
3) Yoda’s lightsaber battle
Ahh, yes, Yoda. The 900 year old, 2 foot tall, green Jedi master that everybody loves. He doesn’t look like much of a threat, hobbling around with his cane. In episode 2, we finally get to see why Yoda is the top dog when it comes to Jedi Masters. Man, that little green guy has some moves. I love his battle cry when he launches himself towards Count Dooku. It was great to see what kind of a warrior Yoda was in his 870 year old prime.
2) Darth Maul battles Obi-wan and Qui-gon
This is a spectacular scene. Darth Maul is one of the best villains in the Star Wars universe. Simply put, he is a badass. Not only does he look menacing, he has that martial arts thing going on, AND he shows us a new weapon: the saberstaff. The lightsaber choreography in this scene is incredible. I’m not knocking the original duel from episode IV when Darth defeats Obi-wan. It’s a classic movie scene. When you compare that duel to this duel, you can see that things have come a long way. To top it off, John Williams again comes up huge here and writes an epic masterpiece: The Duel of the Fates. Again, he surprises us by adding the vocals of a choir to complement his orchestra. It is beautiful and haunting at the same time.
1) How Anakin became Darth Vader
That’s what the prequels are all about…how Anakin became Darth Vader. It is a 6+ hour buildup across 3 movies of how a little boy morphed into one of cinema’s most famous villains. In episode 4, Obi-wan explains to Luke that Anakin was “the best star pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior…and a good friend.” Throughout the prequels, this is presented to us in great detail. It all comes to a head at the end of episode 3 when Anakin and Obi-wan face off against one another on Mustafar. We know who wins the battle, and the last few minutes of the film provide us Star Wars fans with the answers that we were all waiting for. That last scene where Darth Vader’s helmet is pressurized and he takes his first breath is chilling.