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An Old TPM Basher Revisits the PTs

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Darth Derringer, May 20, 2022.

  1. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    As a HUGE OT fan, my excitement level was at an all-time high after the Official TPM movie trailer back in 1999. But -- alas -- after waiting in line at the theatre, I was stunned by what I saw (and not in a good way) and became one of the internet's original TPM Bashers. I ended up watching TPM twice and the final two films of the PT once apiece. But that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    I mention this because in preparation for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ premiering a week from now, I've decided to rewatch the three PT films. Last night, I watched TPM again for the first time since I last saw it in the theatres --- yikes! -- 24 years ago.

    And my reaction??? Okay, there's a lot I still find wrong with the film but I will confess that my concerns have mellowed over the years and there are a few bright spots that I didn't give proper credit to George for all those years ago.

    • The Darth Maul duel with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. That was an incredibly well-choreographed light-saber duel -- and the music: John Williams' Duel of the Fates -- is right up there with the original Star Wars theme and The Imperial March as one of the most dramatic music scores in the history of film.
    • The Podrace. Yeah, it was quite the visual feast and a whole lot of fun when you just relax and enjoy it instead of continuing to fume about some of the other things you've watched leading up to it.
    • Jar Jar Binks. Let me begin by saying I'm still no fan. But that said, I didn't find him as annoying as I did back in the day. I still think they could have cut way down on the number of JJB's prat falls.
    • The films visuals -- particularly of Naboo -- remain stunning.
    • The N-1 Star Fighters. Okay, I'll admit it -- I panned their design at the time. But something about Din and Peli Motto's souped up version of the original has changed my opinion. :)
    • The Climatic Battles. The space battle still felt a little off but the battle on Naboo between the Gungans and the droids was pretty doggone entertaining.
    • The Politics. For a number of strange unknown reasons, the notion that the Imperial Senate was a do-nothing group that required a committee to investigate if the Trade Federation actually broke the law by invading the planet of Naboo or whether it was simply 'fake news' resonated with me A LOT MORE now than it did back in 1999.
    Anyhoo, the years haven't changed my overall opinion to the point where I can give the film a 'thumb's up,' nevertheless, this one time TPM Basher enjoyed it more this time around free of the baggage of my weighty OT expectations.
     
    #1 Darth Derringer, May 20, 2022
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
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  2. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Sith in the North
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    [​IMG]

    ;)

    Expectations can be a brutal thing when they aren't met. Sometimes a little time (or in this case, a lot!!) and a different mindset is all you need.

    Curious if you ever gave The Clone Wars or Rebels a chance?
     
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  3. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    I would hazzard a guess that no film in history had higher expectations to meet going into its premeir that TPM.
    Yep, I watched both series for the first time last year. I'm not a big animated series fan but I got intrigued to watch them both after being introduced to Ahsoka and Bo-Katan in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. I give both series a Thumb's Up.
     
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  4. Bluemilk

    Bluemilk I AM the Senate

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    I was never a hater but never lover of it either. But part of it was my expectations as well. I still don't love it but have learned over the years to have a mutual respect for them as they are and things that I disliked have grown on me.

    In saying that, I'm not a big fan of AOTC, so I like it the least. So if I had to put them as best to least it would be...

    ROTS
    TPM
    AOTC
     
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  5. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    I watched AOTC last night. It was the first time I'd seen it since my one and only viewing at the theatre back in the day. I was surprised by how much I liked the first half of the film, especially the Kamino scenes. I had recalled not being too keen on Hayden Christenson's acting when it first came out but while there was some clunky dialogue (though not nearly as much as in TPM), I found myself enjoying the Padme-Anakin romance. I also recall not being overly fond of all the political machinations the first time around. But I liked all that stuff a lot more this time.

    But just as I was thinking that I might actually be headed towards a 'thumb's up' for my revisiting of the film, I got to the grand finale. The supposed climax of the film was arguably The Weakest of any SW film. For one thing, the battle royale featured way too many Jedi. For some reason, 'more is not the merrier' when it comes to light-saber weilding Jedi. For me, it makes light-saber weilding feel rather ordinary rather than something unique and special. Second, I like Christopher Lee but having him duel Yoda didn't really 'light a fire' with me as The Big Climax and even that fight finished with Count Drooku escaping so the film kind of ended on a 'meh' note for me.
     
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  6. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    Last night I watched ROTS for the first time since it was in the theatres. While, like the other PT films, it was very uneven, the film's climax was fantastic. Anyone who wants to get psyched up in anticipation of this Friday's premeir of Obi-wan Kenobi just has to watch the last 20 minutes of this film. The best drama in the PTs by far.

    One of the most insightful commentaries that George Lucas ever made was when Padme was in the Senate chamber and the Chancellor was receiving applause from the Senators. She noted it by saying, "This is how liberty dies -- to thundering applause."
     
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  7. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    Love the posts!

    I've always been a fan of the PT, partially because I can see and appreciate the story they were trying to tell (and more or less succeeded at, even if the movies themselves actually hurt that process), partially because I grew up with this trilogy. They were the first Star Wars movies I saw in the theaters. It was the games based on these movies that I played with friends, it was books based on these movies (mostly the TPM) that I read during elementary school. It was the old Clone Wars show that I saw on tv that I watched at home. This is my trilogy. It's not perfect and not all of it has aged well, but I love it. and it's only been made better with additions such as TCW, Rebels, and The Mandalorian. That's why I can't wait to see younger kids grow up and claim it as their own despite my own misgivings. Ther joy and insight may change my own perspective about parts of it at that time.

    As for the PT movies themselves, the last time I rewatched them I was in college with a roommate who hadn't seen them. My other roommate and I had a lot of fun showing them too him. And his favorite character was apparently Jar Jar. No joke. (Fun story - I was rewatching part of ROTS on the couch in the living room on my laptop, and my roommate who hadn't seen it yet walked in, so I shut my laptop in a hurry. He thought I was watching...other things...but I quickly explained the situation to him and proved that I wasn't. It a small moment, but one I do amusingly cherish.)

    TPM - I've more or less always liked this movie, but with age, my appreciation and love for it has grown so much. The aesthetic, fights, movie, and even the story all have such different feels from the OT that they feel like a different universe altogether. And yet, it's still all Star Wars. Seeing this as the starting line is such a good way to build mystery on how the pieces connect (and to tick off fans lol!). The CGI's shininess, particularly in AOTC, also does a great job of giving this era a great facade of self-delusion and purity - everything is clean and new and pure, but evil lurks right around the corner, and that thin veneer of goodness will be stripped away and corrupted by the end of things.

    AOTC - I LOVED this movie as a kid. I loved the romance, the love song, the mystery of the clones, the coolness of Jango Fett, the colosseum fights, DUAL WIELDING LIGHTSABERS!, and even Yoda's battle with Dooku. I loved the games about this movie and the levels in Battlefront 2. When I rewatched it in college, I found myself not liking it nearly as much, but the third act is still some of the best Star Wars stuff out there for me, and it really has the movie end on a high note - war has begun, the enemy is out there, and Anakin is going behind everything he's been taught by marrying Padme. It's supremely bittersweet. And this may be controversial, but I still love Jax and Jax's Diner. I think that was just a great addition to Star Wars, helping really capture that 1950s and '60s diner aesthetic. Not to mention that we have confirmed sports in Star Wars! (The Zare Leonis books introduced a footbal expy, but this was the first case I can remember.)

    ROTS - This and ROTJ are my favorite Star Wars movies of all time, bar none. I love the music, the fights, the operatic tone, and the tragedy of it all. It's a story that, as a kid, made me want to jump right into the movie during Order 66 and help Padawans escape. As an adult, it still stirs those same feelings in me. I won't be revisiting this story before Kenobi this weekend, but I'm going to read the novelization over this upcoming week, something I've been wanting to do for years and am finally dedicating time to do so. (I then may rewatch the final four episodes of TCW in order to get into the mood and see if I can make it all fit.) Who knows, maybe I'll have time to squeeze a Kenobi reread in as well. Oh, and TROS still has one of the best opening scenes to a Star Wars movie ever. Two lone starships, flying in unison before dropping into an gorgeous battlefield above a planet - it just bulds so much hype! (OT > ROTS > TLJ > Solo = TPM > TROS = R1 > AOTC)

    Overall, the PT has brought me massive amounts of joy over the years, and @Darth Derringer I'm really happy that you've revisited it after all of this time and found some joy in it!
     
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  8. madcatwoman17

    madcatwoman17 Rebelscum

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    Yes, that is one heck of a powerful comment, and has a lot of relevance in real life.

    Personally, the hate the PT got not only revealed the toxic side of fandom - not just SW but in general - but in many cases was unjustified. It's primarily flaw was the scripting, especially in AOTC. But there was a strong central storyline, I liked the way Lucas showed the flaws in the Jedi Order, and at the end of the day, the prequels did not destroy the Skywalker saga, the way TROS did. The PT made me want to see the OT again. TROS has had the exact opposite effect for me - I haven't see any of the SW films again since I saw it.:(:mad:
     
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  9. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    I recall thinking the political stuff was kind of silly back in the day. But you know what? If the PTs came out now, critics would be pointing out how Lucas made a not-so-subtle commentary on our modern politics.
    Everything about the fine arts is subjective. Simply because many SW fans disliked the PTs doesn't mean they were being 'toxic' any more than your dislike of TROS automatically makes you one.

    The reactions we see to Star Wars content (be it overly gushy, disappointed, or downright angry) simply tells us how incredibly passionate this fanbase is and how personally connected they are to SW. As I mentioned in my OP, I've been an avowed PT hater since TPM came out. (Truth be told, I'm also a TLJ and TROS hater as well.) But I've always been a huge SW fan and had my love for SW rekindled by TFA and then by The Mandalorian.

    The passing of time gave me an opportunity to see the PTs again without the heavy burden of my high expectations. It doesn't mean I now magically think they're all great films -- all three have serious shortcomings IMHO -- but I better appreciate all the good stuff that got sprinkled throughout them too. Maybe I'll feel the same way about TLJ and TROS too someday down the road (uh...but don't hold your breath.) :) ;)
     
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  10. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I was once a hardcore PT basher from the TFN days (around 2004-05), and I actually re-evaluated 1,2,3 a few years ago by watching them in a different context. I always watched the PT through Anakin's story, and it just never worked for me. Episode 1 Anakin was too young, Episode 2 Anakin/Padme romance was cheesy and Episode 3 Anakin turn to the darkside was too quick.

    THEN....I had a revelation one day.

    What if I watched the PT as Palpatine's story? What if I watched the PT as more a macro/world building story that setups 4,5,6? All of the sudden, a light went off and I started to enjoy the PT. The Anakin story is a secondary story now as the real story (for me) is the rise of Palpatine and how he literally plays everyone in the galaxy to become the eventual ruler. Episode 1 is how he positions for power. Episode 2 is how he begins to accumulate power. Episode 3 is when he makes his move and solidifies his power.

    So I essentially watch the 1-6 story like this: Episode 1,2,3 are about Palpatine and how the Jedi Council lost its way, the Republic lost its way, and the Empire came to power. Episode 4,5 and the first half of 6 are all about Han, Luke, Leia and the Rebels as it's more an intimate story of how they try to save the galaxy. The last hour of Episode 6 is all about The Emperor, Vader and Luke as everything comes full circle from Episode 1. I don't think this works for everyone, but I have to say I was not a fan of the 1-6 story years ago. Now I actually enjoy it. :)
     
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  11. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    That’s an excellent way of approaching the PTs!

    I hadn’t thought about it the way you did but found that what pulled me into the story was the politics of the dying Republic. Back in the day, I had little interest in the trilogy’s political element but now the whole Palpatine storyline hits so close to home (I’m an American) that it’s downright creepy.
     
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  12. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    Exactly. The PT is like a history lesson that sets up 4,5,6 and really makes the story so much bigger than it was in 1983. Have you watched the ROTS deleted scenes with Padme and the Birth of the Resistance? There are 3 deleted scenes with Padme, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and a few other people from the Senate who essentially form the Rebellion we see in Episode 4. They are doing this all behind the scenes and they know if any of it gets out, they will be branded as traitors. I understand why Lucas cut that whole subplot because the political stuff doesn't appeal to the masses, but I always thought he should have included them in a Directors Cut on the DVD or BluRay because it really adds to Padme's character and eventually Leia's too.
     
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  13. DeeRush

    DeeRush Clone Trooper

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    I guess I just don't regard the PT as a mere tool to set up the Original Trilogy. For me, the PT's narrative is just as exciting as or a bit more interesting than the 1977-83 movies.
     
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  14. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    Given its awesome storyline, they had the potential to be amazing. There were some bright spots but IMHO the PTs were uneven at best. Ironically, the first two episodes of Obi-wan Kenobi are showing just how compelling the Obi-wan - Darth Vader dynamic can be with excellent screenwriting and acting.
     
  15. DeeRush

    DeeRush Clone Trooper

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    I don't agree with you. For me, the PT more than lived up to its potential. Although I love both trilogies, I had a lot less trouble embracing the PT than I did the OT. I realize most Star Wars tend to view the OT movies as perfect or near perfect, I don't. Nor do I view the PT that way. Like I said, I love both trilogies, but they also had their flaws.
     
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  16. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I totally get that, and let me say that I do see it as one full story arc. I just look at the PT story more from a macro end, and the OT story more from a micro end (simply because I love Han, Luke, and Leia). But the 1-6 Palpatine arc really works for me as you could say the Saga is about him, and the Skywalkers are just pawns for his quest for power. Now the Skywalker story gives the movies heart and that's really the genius of Lucas writing. How many blockbuster franchises have 2 main storylines going on for multiple movies? You watch 1-6 one way, I watch 1-6 another way, and yet we both enjoy it for different reasons. That's good writing.
     
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  17. Messi

    Messi G.O.A.T.

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    Back in 1999 I remember to leave the theatre a little dizzy, TPM was so different than the OT...

    Its the only PT movie that I rewatch sometimes. For me TPM has the best aliens and ships designs for example.

    The main problem, to me, of TPM and the PT was the character of Anakin. He is too annoying and made me feel lost interesting in him.

    PS. The naboo Starfighter is the best design created for the PT, alongside the Nubian J327.
     
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  18. Darth Derringer

    Darth Derringer Rebel General

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    I can only imagine your excitement when Mando 'hot rodded' one of those babies up to be his new ship in TBoBF. :)
     
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