Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Lucasfilm via Disney+

I Don’t Care What Anyone Says – The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Is Trash

Don't let nostalgia fool you -- the prequel trilogy is still just as bad as when it first came out. If I’m going to watch a movie about trade disputes, it should at least include interesting characters and witty dialogue!
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It’s a take I never thought I’d hear: “The prequels aren’t that bad.”

Look, I love Star Wars. I can remember going to my friend’s for a sleepover ahead of The Phantom Menace’s theatrical debut so we could binge the original trilogy in preparation. The world was excited to again see a galaxy far, far away.

opening crawl from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Lucasfilm via YouTube

And then, all that hype turned sour. We weren’t talking about Darth Maul, podracing, or the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Maul (pretty much the only good things about that movie).

We were instead talking about how annoying Jar Jar Binks was and that creepy relationship between 8-year-old kid Anakin and then-18-year-old Natalie Portman. Side note: Anakin and Padme are supposed to be only 5 years apart. Still creepy.

When Did We Decide the Prequels Don’t Suck Anymore?

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Lucasfilm via YouTube

Now I feel like a crazy person. All of a sudden, Star Wars fans everywhere are saying, “The prequels aren’t that bad.” Am I the only one who remembers when these movies premiered? Even if you’re taking it all in with a heavy dose of nostalgia, we’re still watching the same trash-pile trilogy.

There are more things wrong than right with these films:

  • The writing is bad
  • Most of the plot is pointless or doesn’t make sense
  • The trilogy has zero character development or acts totally against character
  • The movies are stuffed with action set-pieces that contribute little to the plot
  • The films were dull with a complete absence of tension or excitement

The battle between the Gungans and the droids is visually exciting, but it feels like the scene exists in the movie to show off George Lucas’ ILM technology. In Attack of the Clones, we’re treated to a long sequence in a droid factory that does little to move the plot. It’s just… there.

battle of naboo from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Lucasfilm via YouTube

On top of that, the movies completely leave out important contextual information. As in, they relied on the audience to pull information from outside of the movie. All that contextual information was relegated to novels and big art books. Having to go outside the movie to answer basic questions about the plot is not the mark of a well-made movie.

I don’t even need to mention the presence of Jar Jar Binks, right?

It Didn’t Have to Be This Way

Are you ready for the truth? Had the prequel trilogy come out first without the existence of the original trilogy, Star Wars would have been dubbed a failure. The prequel trilogy was just George Lucas showing off his expensive visual effects and cashing in on a readymade support base.

But what about finally getting to see how Vader grew from a kind young boy to a galactic tyrant? The rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker makes him one of the most interesting in terms of character arc. It’s also wildly important to the entire Star Wars universe. But even Ani’s storyline can’t save the prequel trilogy — especially when he was portrayed as a whiny, spoiled kid.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Lucasfilm via Disney+

In fact, it almost feels like the prequel trilogy ruined Darth Vader. Before the prequels were made, Anakin Skywalker was a mystery. Thanks to these terrible movies, I now can’t help but think of him ranting about how much he hates sand.

You Can Like the Prequels — And Still Admit They’re Bad

Even with all that said, it’s okay to enjoy the prequel trilogy if that’s your thing.

Do the movies fail on multiple levels? Absolutely. But I’ve watched them more than once anyway. It is Star Wars after all, and at the end of the day, I love Star Wars. (Except Jar Jar Binks. I do not love Jar Jar Binks.)

But can we stop pretending that the prequel trilogy isn’t “that bad?”