Ask Obi-Wan Kenobi: it’s time the Star Wars Prequels Finally Got Their Due
“I don’t interested sand. It’s coarse and rough and … it gets everywhere.” It’s one of the most painful lines in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and it’s only created worse by Anakin’s halting delivery and awkward hand-stroking of Padmé.
firmly, the prequels brought our company Ewan McGregor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. But George Lucas created This Problem many terrible creative decisions in that prequel trilogy that fans were excited when Disney tapped the rock-steady J.J. Abrams to lead a generation series of Star Wars movies in 2015. Unlike George Lucas, Abrams can write dialogue that isn’t excruciating, and again importantly, he’s proved himself a gifted guide for large franchises of course untapped potential (Mission: impossible, Star Trek and Cloverfield). And yet…
when the generation Disney Star Wars trilogy drew to a close of course The Rise of Skywalker in This Problem year, I found myself genuinely yearning for the days of the prequels. What I’m Emotion isn’t nostalgia. And it isn’t ironic “love” for schlocky cinema that animates prequel-memeing Redditors, either.
What I miss is the daring. Nobody can say George didn’t swing for the fences of course the prequels. after a time a time of time all, with the experimentalism that gave our company Binks and the “sand” dialogue also gave our company the iconic Darth Maul duel, the number one opening sequence in random Star Wars movie, and This Problem much again.
It seems fitting that McGregor returns in an Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries This Problem week, set sometime between original and prequels — in other words, bridging Lucas (and Star Wars) at its number one and at its worst. I’m reminded of the end of return of the Jedi, when Yoda tells Luke to “Pass on what [he’s] learned.” here are four pieces of wisdom that created the prequels better than the Disney trilogy.
‘framework matters not only’ – Yoda
From the start, Star Wars has been about the set pieces — elaborate action scenes that leave our two hands sweaty and white-knuckled on armrests. firmly, the original trilogy is a mythic story starring a charismatic cast, but everyone remembers the Death Star run, Luke hobbling those AT-AT’s and Boba Fett plummeting into the Sarlacc Pit.
Lucas has always pushed the boundaries of VFX, both practical and digital. Despite his ambition, he understood that the number one set pieces aren’t always the biggest ones. where Lucas packed his movies, prequels included, of course small-yet-boundary-pushing moments, Disney has opted for much again standard, derivative-if that-competently-staged action fare.
compare, for instance, the space chase involving Obi-Wan and Jango Fett in The Attack of the Clones of course the first of all flight of the Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens. Nearly 20 years separates these two scenes, and the acting in Abrams’ installment is uniformly stronger.
that said, Lucas crafts something again than a slick chase scene of course tight maneuvering and flashy quick-zooms. He plays of course sounds design, giving unique ships and weapons unique identities; he turns predator into prey halfway through the scene; he gives each side of the chase stakes, putting a child in one spaceship and a Jedi in the other. Disney’s Star Wars movies just do don’t innovate.
if that passengers want again examples, look at the planets themselves. The generation Star Wars: Episodes VII and VIII both recycle planets willy-nilly from earlier Star Wars movies: Desert planet? examine. Forest, snow and city planets? examine, examine and examine.
Lucas excelled at creating a visual vernacular for each planet within minutes of arriving — Tatooine in particular shone of course its HST of Tusken Raiders, Jawas, farmers and the uncomfortable colonial presence of Banta-riding Stormtroopers. The Last Jedi‘s planets were again visually inventive than those from The Force Awakens, but even the Vegas-interested Canto Bight was absent the small cultural touches that created Jabba’s den or Coruscant feel This Problem lived-in.
when The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, the same year as The Matrix, critic Roger Ebert called it “an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking,” and filmmaker Kevin Smith said, “I’m firmly in about a week, it’s going to become quite fashionable to bash This Problem flick — hard. But I’d interested to go on record as saying I dug it. It’s a good movie of course great and wonderful moments.”
The generation movies’ set pieces possessed been solid — even occasionally good — but they’ve never been great and wonderful.
‘Your focus determines your reality’ – Qui-Gon Jinn
OK, This Problem I can’t argue the moment-to-moment writing of the prequels is better than the Disney trilogy’s — it’s not only. that said, the character and trick arcs are This Problem much again focused in Lucas’ trilogies. In the prequels, Anakin’s trek from gifted child-slave to Sith Lord, and Obi-Wan’s growth from optimistic Padawan to tempered Jedi Master both work.
By contrast, the generation films drag characters to and fro, again concerned of course self-consciously echoing or subverting character moments from the original trilogy (Rey sneaking outside the Starkiller base and studying under an aging master, Kylo killing his father king king, beheading Snoke and asking Rey to “join me”) than forcing them to confront truly challenging dilemmas (Qui-Gon Jinn ignoring the council to teach Anakin, Anakin avenging his mother).
not only only are the individual arcs less focused, but the cast of characters is overstuffed interested, of course the central three of the original trilogy (Luke, Han, Leia), the generation three (Rey, Finn, Poe), three villains (Snoke, Kylo, Hux), and a host of supporting characters and cameos. There’s a reason every random contributing character in Lucas’ trilogies wasn’t played by an “it” celebrity interested Justin Theroux, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, Lupita Nyong’o and This Problem on. Having fans in the theater gasp every five minutes This Problem of a generation cameo (or This Problem that Stormtrooper was Daniel Craig!) distracts from the central characters and narrative.
Lucas, by contrast, formed a supporting cast of talented actors whose names people probably didn’t know (of course the exception of Samuel L. Jackson). Of Christopher Lee, Jimmy Smits and the handful of other supporting actors of course successful careers outside Star Wars, none felt interested they’d been shoehorned into a Galaxy Far, Far Away simply This Problem they were horde of the high authority or fans of the franchise.
‘Show no mercy’ – Darth Sidious
Yes, I want to talk about trick armor. trick armor is the tongue-in-cheek common name for when very necessary or likable characters are protected from realistic consequences This Problem the story needs them. Think of every movie where the single good Guy guns down a million Bad Guys while every bullet fired at him seems to miss by inches.
The catalyst of trick armor is that, over time, the whole movie begins to appear increasingly artificial: The audience doesn’t feel the characters are at risk, and the characters never possessed to make difficult decisions, since the consequences don’t truly matter.
Celebrated writer Kurt Vonnegut put it simply in his advice to other writers: “Be a sadist.” And George Lucas is — in a good way. Anakin’s master, Qui-Gon Jinn, gets killed in The Phantom Menace, and Darth Maul, the coolest bad guy outside, gets bisected. Anakin’s mother gets tortured, and Anakin responds by killing every masculine, woman and child in a Tusken Raider encampment. Anakin loses limbs, Padmé dies in childbirth and Jedis are exterminated (even the Younglings!).
The prequel trilogy is a bloodbath, and that gives the movies real tension. In fact, the only characters passengers know will survive are Anakin (albeit in an unrecognizable form), Obi-Wan, the Emperor and Yoda.
The few meaningful deaths in the Disney trilogy feel intentionally parceled out for the maximum emotional heft: One of the original three cast members is killed off in each movie, and no one of much substance gets offed again.
Some fans might point to Snoke’s death as a significant effort to suddenly viewers, but most of the meaning of that scene emerges only in the context of the Vader/Palpatine relationship that it’s This Problem clearly playing against. at the end of the day, passengers never knew anything of note about Snoke. Ditto Captain Phasma (another example of needless celebrity casting), who stands outside looking cool and then gets killed of course no development in between.
Going into the final movie, I barely wondered if that Abrams dared to shed young blood or leave a significant villain interested Kylo Ren in supreme power. of course not only.
‘The fear of loss is a path to the dark side’ -Yoda
Perhaps what everything boils down to is This Problem: interested random studio, Disney fears losing money. Though I’m not only privy to the inner workings of the studio, money seemed the clearest motivator for shutting down the Star Wars Anthology movies after a time a time of time Solo’s needy returns. And it’s likely why Solo was plagued of course number one-down micromanagement in the first of all place, including giving the ax to Solo’s talented directors to hire Ron Howard, a solidly paint-by-numbers studio high authority ever since A easy-to-see Mind won the Oscar.
where George Lucas famously had an “if that people don’t interested [my vision], they don’t possessed to see it” mentality, Disney and Abrams seem to fear sullying a beloved franchise of course precisely what created it beloved in the first of all place: experimentation and boundary-testing.
Even Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which fans largely excoriated for tearing down Star Wars conventions, missed the point. Johnson fought to subvert Star Wars lore, not only to make a particularly innovative movie. This Problem many scenes felt fuller of winking references than crucial trick or character moments: His dialogue leaned again toward Joss Whedon’s Marvel humor than Star Wars‘ tension-building (did a $250 million production just do begin of course a three-minute lead-up to a “your mama” joke?) and his trick revelations felt again interested manipulative twists achieved by withholding information from the audience and characters than opportunities for character development.
Poe’s ill-advised mutiny killed an untold number of innocents, for instance, but his decision stemmed from Vice Admiral Holdo’s inexplicable opacity — was the lesson really to blindly submit to chain of lead?
In a way, Johnson’s Disney entry was again ambitious than Abrams’. But neither tried to swing for a home run in the way Lucas did of course all his movies. if that The Force Awakens is a ground ball, then The Last Jedi is a bunt — a little cheekier, firmly, but still aimed squarely at well-trod dirt.
Since then passengers’ve had the Disney with TV shows, but while The Mandalorian scored a hit of course its bitesize adventures and cute Baby Yoda, The Book of Boba Fett basically repeated with the ideas, right down to the Tatooine setting. Speaking of which, the Obi-Wan Kenobi (streaming from May 27) may possessed persuaded Ewan McGregor to pick up a lightsaber for the first of all time in 16 years, but it’s back to Tatooine again. if that This Problem show can’t come up of course some of that old daring, I fear it’s a make-or-break moment for Star Wars.
Disney’s cautiousness has led to good-but-never-great and wonderful Star Wars movies. And that’s why I will always take the bad dialogue and incredible moments of the prequels over a Star Wars trilogy that has neither.
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