The Second Time Around: Re-Watching Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III

The second trilogy of Star Wars continues to be loathed, loved, or tolerated. I was in the loathing group, however, after years of debate, a new trilogy beginning, and new side story movies, it was time to give these films another change with an open mind. Before I begin we will get this out of the way; every single Star Wars movie since the original trilogy is stuffed with reference to the original trilogy. Those sorts of things do not bother me as they do some haters. Onward…

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Episode I – The Phantom Menace

phantom-menaceThis was literally the first time I have watched this movie from start to finish in the 21st century. I had seen it in theaters twice in 1999. Honestly, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it this time around. I got over the silliness of the Gungans by realizing the Gungans are no different than the Ewoks. I’m guessing that is what Lucas was going for. My distaste for the movie was the contradiction of the new character Qui-Gon Jinn and the original trilogy. Liam Neeson is brilliant, that’s all I can say about that. This film is surprisingly charming compared to my initial thoughts of it years ago. In fact, I wouldn’t be upset if Snoke is revealed to be Chancellor Valorum in the new trilogy after watching this. We get a sweet lightsaber battle, and Darth Maul looks cool and has a sweet double lightsaber. I’ll take it.

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

attack-of-the-clonesI find everything in this movie more believable than any form of spark between Anakin and Padme. The special effects are impressive for its era and we were given more Jedi, more lightsaber fights, and little boy version of fan favorite, Boba Fett. The story is good, the love story is poorly written, and Hayden Christensen won a well-deserved Golden Raspberry for worst actor. I was trying to think of what the problem was. The dialogue is awful and has no charisma. Did Lucas make Christensen portray Anakin as if he were stale bread? It really kills the movie for me, and I cringed my way through. Luckily there is the Dooku fight, and in case you thought it was difficult to speak like Yoda for an extended period of time, I’ve got news for you, so does Yoda. Watch it again, Yoda does Yoda speak, and at certain parts does normal speak. This error does not happen again in the final installment. Attack of the Clones sits at the bottom of the barrel for me in terms of Star Wars, and I am including Ewoks: The Battle for Endor in that statement. The action is fun, the story line is good, and the tale of love between a young Anakin and Padme´ is as flat as month old soda. The rise of Palpatine and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan were able to get me through this.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

revenge-of-the-sithNo, Hayden Christensen is not any better in this than he was in the previous film. Once again, a well deserved Golden Raspberry for him for worst actor. As Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor deliver with passion the return from Christensen could be compared to a high school drama club play. The completion of Palpatine/Darth Sidious’s plan to become Emperor is incredibly satisfying. The killing of the Jedi is sad, and Jimmy Smits is one of my new favorite side characters in the Star Wars universe as Bail Organa. It is the best film of the prequel trilogy; it has great action, Chewbacca, and Hayden Christensen’s voice being turned in to James Earl Jones. I always complained about that final “no” at the end of this movie, and we can thank Rogue One for saving the day for not making that Vader’s final line on the silver screen. One thing that caught my eye, was that final shot of Vader walking to the Emperor, and the two of them stare out at the Death Star. That’s actually really fucking sweet, and this raps up in a way that makes me want to watch the original trilogy immediately. Again we get kick ass lightsaber battles, and the completion of a really good story line that wasn’t properly executed due to the over controlling overlord George Lucas. It’s his baby, not mine, but I love it like it’s my own.

leg-chopAll in all, watching these three closer together I was able to appreciate the Palpatine/Sidious story more, and that’s because I didn’t really think much of it the first time around because I knew it was coming. Every move he makes maneuvers that create the Empire. Will I be watching them again any time soon? Probably not, I only watch the original trilogy once a year. I need to get my hands on that Topher Grace edit of the three movies in to one. If condensed in to one movie I’d imagine it would be fantastic.

Z

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