In Defense Of: The “Star Wars” prequels
Disney announced on Tuesday that it had acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion but more importantly that Episode VII was coming in 2015. Naturally, people on the Internet ran around like someone had announced that their entire family had been run over by a pod racer. What if this turned out just like the prequels did? But I’m here to argue that, hey, maybe the prequels weren’t so bad after all. The screenplays were all disastrous (although the third one approached passable as the scene in the intergalactic opera had something akin to good dialogue), and the acting was atrocious. Has anyone checked on Hayden Christensen lately? But I have to admit, there were aspects I enjoyed about the prequels—and I’ve certainly seen “Revenge of the Sith” more than any of the originals. So here goes the impossible. I’m going to try and defend Episodes I, II and III.
This is sort of unfair, but the prequels were downright nicer to look at. For the most part, I can ignore the difference in aesthetic and chalk it up to older cameras. Not when it comes to lightsaber fights, though. Is anything cooler than Darth Maul taking on Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi ? Yoda flipping around while battling with Count Dooku? Anakin and Obi-Wan facing off in a pit of lava?! “The Phantom Menace” may have been awful to witness, but it gave us the music to “Duel of the Fates.” That’s redemption enough for Jar Jar Binks for me.
Natalie Portman > Carrie Fisher
Don’t get me wrong, I love Carrie Fisher. Her cameo on “30 Rock” was absolutely hilarious, and her “Wishful Drinking” HBO special was wonderful. She’s a talented comedic voice. But, really, who wants to look at Carrie Fisher in a metal bikini when you can look at Natalie Portman in a tight white top instead? And even if we leave looks out of it, Natalie Portman has won an Oscar for Best Actress while Fisher hasn’t even sniffed a nomination. Character-wise, Padme trumps Leia as well. In the prequels, there was no incest. Sure, it’s a little weird that Padme met Anakin when he was nine, but five years is not that big of a deal compared to making out with your brother.
Samuel Leroy Jackson is a living legend. His legend has grown in recent years thanks to his quotable performances in “Snakes on a Plane” and his tweets during the 2012 Olympics, but he’s still most known for “Pulp Fiction.” None of the cast members in the original series were as big a star as him. And his character, Mace Windu, was essentially Samuel L. Jackson with a lightsaber. And the lightsaber was purple. He is the best character in the trilogy, easily, but also probably of the entire series and its extended universe. Put simply, you cannot do better than Samuel L. Jackson wielding a purple lightsaber. Not even a spry young Yoda doing backflips and somersaults while taking out entire clone platoons beats the sheer coolness of Mace Windu.