Everything that we complained about with regards to the prequels actually also apply to the original films. Everyone complains about Jar Jar Binks, but remember, we’ve always had to suffer C3PO, and the Ewoks were every bit the irritant that the Gungans were. As for the dialogue, Harrison Ford said it himself 35 years ago – ‘you can write this shit, George, but you can’t say it’. Clearly, this has always been a problem. Now, I am not denying that the original trilogy is better than episodes I-III, but I do feel that the difference in quality has been greatly exaggerated.
The original movies were a series of great moments strung tightly together to create a memorable trilogy. Rewatching the prequels, I’ve seen that there are still some great moments on offer, and though they are sparser than in Lucas’ first three Star Wars movies, they are there, and I’m gonna run them down to prove it.
The Phantom Menace
The Pod Race
Yeah, there is a cheesy running commentary to block out, and the odds are stacked a little too far against Anakin to make it an acceptable miracle win, but the race itself is beautiful. THe sounds of the pods, the genuine feeling of speed you get whilst watching them. The race is thrilling, and the sequence has become, like it or not, an iconic vision within the Star Wars canon.
Duel of Fates
It may have been questionably telegraphed in the trailer, but the moment is classic. The Jedi and Amidala have returned to reclaim Naboo. A plan is in place, and they begin an assault on the palace. They march through the hanger, then the blast doors open, and everyone stops in their tracks. Darth Maul steps through, ignites his lightsabre. Then ignites the other end. A fantastic moment in any film, it is then followed up with the best lightsabre battle of the entire Star Wars trilogy, backed up by a truly memorable original score. Breathtaking.
Attack of the Clones
Obi Wan Vs Jango Fett
It helped, i think, that the movie had been so slow up to this point, but the (brief) mano a mano altercation between the Jedi and the father of Boba Fett is great. Set on a rainy launch platform, it is the first real fight between a Jedi and non-Jedi, and shows why Boba Fett grew up to be so deadly. Both combatants pull out all their tricks, and though the result is a no-contest, both men look great in the process.
Anakin Slaughters Tusken Raiders
Up to this point, Anakin had been at first an annoying little kid, and then a whiny big one. When he enters the camp of the Sand People to rescue his mother, only to find he is too late, we feel the first emotional connection to a character that had previously left us cold. Then he leaves the tent, and the first taste of the future Darth Vader’s dark side is revealed as he slaughters with impunity. A chilling moment.
Yoda Throws Down
Awesome. There was a very real danger that this scene could have looked ridiculous, a green muppet bouncing around the screen taking on an aging horror actor four times his size. Thankfully, it works. It is built up nicely, you don’t know what exactly is going to happen, and by the end of it, you have a new-found respect for the little Jedi Master. Yoda might not defeat Count Dooku, but he gives a great account of himself. This sequence alone makes the film worth watching.
Revenge of the Sith
Jerry Bruckheimer-inspired Opening
The clone army, led by Obi Wan and Anakin is in hot pursuit of Count Dooku’s droid army. The only exciting spaceship sequence of the entire prequel, as Obi Wan and Anakin weave around battleships, picking off enemies as they go. They crash onto Dooku’s ship, and we get to see witness Anakin’s improved skills with a lightsabre, ending with a decidedly dark side inspired kill. The pace of the action, alongside the humour it is punctuated with, introduces the best of the prequel movies perfectly.
Obi-Wan Shows His Swagger
Up to the point when Obi Wan takes on General Grievous in the Jedi killer’s own backyard, we have only seen him as very reserved and cautious, and almost a stick in the mud. No sign of a warrior that would be able to match the increasingly powerful Anakin by the end of the movie. When he steps right up to Grievous, surrounded by robots, however, his confidence and courage is magnetic. In almost cocky fashion, he challenges the wonderfully mysterious Grievous. A fantastic action sequence ensues, and the real Obi Wan is finally put onscreen, as Ewan MacGregor is allowed to actually have some fun.
Order 66 Is Engaged
The Emperor makes the order, and though we knew it was coming, we still almost cannot believe it when we see it. Dozens of Jedi are gunned down in cold blood in a wonderfully edited montage, with a surprisingly visceral, emotional impact.
Anakin Becomes Darth Vader
An intense Anakin leads Clone Troopers into the Jedi Temple. The distinctive Vader march is there, and for the first time we can really see the transformation from whiny teen to the silver screen’s most iconic villain. Then he enters a room filled with younglings. He couldn’t. Could he? The doors swipes closed, and though we are not witness to it, we are left in no doubt. Anakin has been lost to the dark side.
The Gap Is Bridged
The final minutes of Revenge of the Sith are spine tingling. Baby Leia is taken aboard the Corellian Corvette that she will later be captured upon in A New Hope. R2D2 and C3PO are led down that very corridor they will cross to reach the escape pod during that very same sequence. Baby Luke is handed to young Owen and Beru Lars by a hooded Obi Wan, and Luke’s new guardians stare up at the twin suns of Tatooine. Darth Vader walks to the viewport on the bridge of a Star Destroyer, stands beside the Emperor. The look out into space, and upon a structure, in the early stages of construction, but unmistakable in shape. The scene has been set for Episode IV.
There are some terrible moments as well, and it is quite telling that most of these moments involve lightsabre battles. There are many memorable space battles from the original trilogy, and it is a shame that these are severely lacking from episodes I-III. These great moments combined, however, make the prequel trilogy worth another chance. Lets face it, three sub-par Star Wars movies are better than none.
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at