May the Fourth be with you and a Happy Star Wars day to all!
We here at UNILAD are massive Star Wars fans and we’ve decided to celebrate the nerdiest time of the year in the traditional way – by kicking the absolute shit out of The Prequels.
Now, of course, you may be thinking, ‘why?’ Well, dear reader, would you believe that in recent years there’s been a rather unusual twist in the usual Star Wars narrative. People have actually begun to claim that the prequels are good.
From inane theories about George Lucas having a grand vision he wasn’t allowed to implement, to just straight up contrarianism from certain publications, it seems that the wheels have officially turned for The Prequels.
Well, not here at UNILAD, and we can unabashedly say to those defending these pieces of utter dog shit: ‘What the fuck have you been smoking?’ Seriously, these movies are the worst!
Let’s begin with what I think is the biggest flaw in The Prequels – and it’s not that Anakin’s a mopey bitch, Jar Jar’s very existence, or even that the stories are about as interesting as the shipping forecast. It’s that ultimately they’re completely unnecessary.
When I watched Star Wars as a young kid I didn’t wonder how The Empire came to be, or where The Force came from, I was simply caught up in the grand mythology of the story and the legendary story of good versus evil.
By explaining everything – and I mean everything – The Prequels managed to somehow make the originals feel less epic and, at times, nonsensical.
For example, the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith establishes that there’s seventeen years between that film and original movie A New Hope. That means, in the context of the whole saga, The Empire is less than two decades old. And yet we have characters referring to The Force as an ‘ancient religion.’ Ancient? I’ve got shoes older than The Empire!
Seriously, did that particular officer have a stroke and forget about the last 1,000 years that the Jedi and Sith were running amok? He should remember what the fucking Force is.
Of course, within the narrative there’s no reason for him to have forgotten, it’s just sloppy writing and is just one of many examples of the insidious cancer that the prequels infected the main saga with.
Meanwhile, outside of the narrative of the original movie, the answer is far clearer – George Lucas just made it up as he went along.
Which is fine, plenty of authors and writers do that, but surely you can see how by quantifying what the world was like before the rise of the Emperor, Lucas has inadvertently damaged the franchise as a whole?
And this is linked to Lucas not having a clear vision in his head as to what he wanted to do with The Prequels. Each of these films feels like George Lucas finished a single draft of each script and then couldn’t be arsed to go back and polish them up.
This leaves us with a fair few plot holes that, without going into too much detail, we’ll list below:
If Obi-Wan wanted to hide Luke, why didn’t he change his surname? What the fuck was General Grievous? Why did Obi-Wan age so badly in less than two decades? Why did it take so long to build the first Death Star? How did no one realise that Palpatine isn’t a Sith? Why did no one question the creation of a Clone Army? If Dooku became a Separatist because he realised the Sith had taken control of The Republic, why did he join forces with that same Sith? You can die of a broken heart? If everyone knew about Jedi and The Force, why did everyone forget about them?
And, for anyone who claims that any of these questions were explained in an accompanying novel or video game, then kindly go fuck yourself. If you can’t be bothered to explain it in the film then don’t expect me to go and do more work to seal up the holes in your shitty plot.
Compounding the awful plot is the fact that the movies are boring. Episode I: The Phantom Menace is ultimately about trade embargoes, fucking trade embargoes! Radio 4 has more exciting programming and they let David Cameron on the air.
While, on paper, the politics behind the rise of The Empire may be interesting, in reality there’s nothing exciting or nail-biting about legislation passing. Or, at least, not when it’s in the hands of George Lucas.
And that’s another issue that George Lucas didn’t entirely understand about what he had on his hands with Star Wars.
For instance, for generations Darth Vader was the defining screen bad guy. His very image invoked both menace and fear. He was evil incarnate and the sound of his raspy breath could send shivers down the spine of even the bravest of viewers.
Then the prequels happened, and we discovered that the terrifying Lord of the Sith was nothing but a whiny mummy’s boy who hated sand. Honestly, the prequels ruined his character and, with it, shattered the collective grip that Vader had over us all.
He went from a powerful and frightening icon, to a man. In fact, not a man, it was much worse than that – he was an irritating, self obsessed teenager who was so incredibly gullible that he accidentally breaks the galaxy.
It’s not that Anakin is flawed – that would be a good thing – it’s that he’s flawed in all the wrong ways. He should be proud, bordering on arrogant – not petulant. At his core, Anakin is a good man who’s tried his hardest to live up to a strict Jedi code but ultimately fell short. And I don’t think George Lucas ever really got that.
Look at what he thought was appropriate – Jar Jar Binks, who for the record isn’t a Sith Lord, he’s a fucking racist stereotype and an embarrassment who needs to be forgotten about,
For the longest time The Prequels meant that over 50 per cent of Star Wars was bad, and it’s only thanks to The Force Awakens that we can thankfully say the majority of it is good again.
Lets just hope the rest of The Sequel Trilogy can stay on the Light Side of The Force.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.