On Screen, Ep. 11: The Prequels Are People Too

Rachael Eyler


Dylan Wright , Staff Writer

One of the most derided and publicly shunned continuations of a beloved series is the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy: “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”

These films are often credited with destroying the “Star Wars” franchise, and are even considered non-existent by the most devoted of fans. While the films are pale in comparison to the original trilogy of “Star Wars” films released in the 1970s and 1980s, there are some positive aspects to the prequel films that add a solid foundation to the “Star Wars” universe.

The acting, though somewhat shaky with some of the actors, often saves the dialogue from mediocrity. Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi, is the standout performance in the trilogy, with the depth and wisdom that Alec Guinness, the original performer of the role, brought to the character in the original trilogy.

The trilogy is also graced with the gravitas of actors like the late Christopher Lee, who plays the nefarious Count Dooku in the last two films, and Liam Neeson, who brings the character of Qui-Gon Jinn to life in the first movie.

The action in the prequel trilogy is often breathtaking, with the standout duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker at the end of “Revenge of the Sith” being an amazing feat of choreography. The space battles often play out as World War II dogfights, with the computer-generated effects allowed to have free reign over the screen.

Though the lack of practical sets hampered the series, the variety of locations on display throughout this trilogy is breathtaking and diverse. The audience is transported from desert planets to beautiful fields and pastures, and each location has its own distinct feel to it.

Perhaps the single greatest thing the prequel trilogy accomplished was that it introduced a new generation to a galaxy far, far away and managed to keep “Star Wars” relevant in the public sphere. No matter how they turned out in the eyes of the original fans, new fans flocked to theaters to become immersed in a universe they had only heard about from their parents.

They saw these new films in the theaters just like their family saw the original films, and to discredit that would also mean discrediting the first trilogy’s impact and hold on the world.

With “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” harkening the new round of “Star Wars” films, the universe that George Lucas debuted on the big screen in 1977 is alive and well. Fans old and new are uniting together to celebrate this franchise, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

No matter which trilogy is better, “Star Wars” has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so as long as the Force is with us all.

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