Bad news: The one cool thing about the “Star Wars” prequels wasn’t very cool

posted at 7:47 pm on March 23, 2012 by Allahpundit

Serious question: Is this a bona fide critique of Lucas or a sly parody of the lengths to which “Star Wars” nerds will go to find fault with him? My memory of that film, which I’ll never, ever see again, is that the fight scene at the end was reasonably exciting and frenetic. I wasn’t paying attention to whether Ewan McGregor was actually a few inches outside of Darth Maul’s reach; I didn’t think I was supposed to. The point, I thought, was to gape at these whirling dervishes jumping around and swinging at each other, hopefully at a brisk enough pace that there’s no time to get caught up in the niceties of where everyone’s lightsaber is at any given moment. But maybe my memory’s been colored by the fact that this really was the only fun part of the whole flick. When you’ve spent hours wandering through a desert and you finally stumble upon an oasis, you don’t pause to worry about how tasty the water is. Shoot, this didn’t even make it into the epic Harry Plinkett takedowns of the prequels. (Or did it? Can’t recall.)

Maybe this is actually an indictment of Lucas for being cheap? You’d think a guy with his own license to print money might go out and hire a director from Hong Kong to make the fight scenes genuinely stupendous. Could be he blew the whole budget on computer F/X instead. Good call, George.

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I am not a Star Wars “fan”. I’ve watched all the movies (I think), but I’ve always been more of a Trekker. Regardless, I pretty much left much of my geeky nerdery behind, though it still appears and I’m more into fantasy than s.f.

All that to say that as in books, so too with movies, I find that many movies wind up having the same things happen that books will – not surprising since movies have scripts which are written by writers. The “thing”? Wrapping up loose ends and dangling problems.

One could say that Lucas wanted to showcase some fighting skills or one could say that the movie was nearing the end and Maul needed to be dead. Quick, open confrontation. Problem solved. It looks utterly contrived when you see it though and can sour the reader/viewer.

Conversely, what does this say of the geeks and nerds who spend way, way too much time getting wrapped up into these little worlds to the point that they could pretty much have PhD’s in the particular genres and fictional world(s).

There is something to be said about taking the story and how it’s presented with a grain of salt, sitting back and enjoying it for what it is intended to be – as long as it’s relatively well done. If the whole package is lame, that’s one thing, but something else entirely if you’re going to pick the nits of where a character is standing.

I used to be into comic books. As with fantasy and s.f., there is such a thing as suspension of disbelief. You have to fall back on it to enjoy the story, otherwise it’s utter drek. Nerds and geeks base their lives on the suspension of disbelief as they make a religion out of their books, movies and games. And then they do something funny and get so wrapped up in the story that they forget it’s fiction to begin with. They forget the suspension of disbelief. And so they pick nits, trying to make the unreal as real as possible.

Says mountains about the geeks and nerds. Not so much about those who make the stories.

Think about what else you could have read, watched, done and learned in all the time you spent devoting memory to effectively becoming a “Doctor of Star Wars”.

Logus on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I thought that fight sequence with Maul was dull even then. 5 minutes of your average Jackie Chan flick puts all the staid combat with Maul to shame, let alone classic wuxia films. This without all the logic faults and random weirdness, like Maul just standing there when Obi Wan jumps out of the pit, or those dumb videogame-like opening/closing red laser doors (what the hell were the point of those, other than a half-assed way for Lucas to separate the combatants?).

That being said, I STILL say Phantom Menance was definitely the best of the three, though that doesn’t say much. It was the closest in spirit to the original trilogy; the other two were turgid, boring nerd crap.

smiley on March 24, 2012 at 3:53 AM

Guess what, guys: in Star Wars (A New Hope) you can see the foil-like props Obi-Wan and Vader were flailing at each other with in their lightsaber duel!!!

Ah shite, Star Wars is ruined for me now. RUINED! DIE LUCAS DIE!

Seriously, stop whining about the prequels already. They were enjoyable movies and completely undeserving of the levels of b*tching fanboys have unloaded in the internet in the past 12 years.

Chill out.

fiatboomer on March 24, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Yes, & it’s just a coincidence that in the future, all planets speak 21st century English.

itsnotaboutme on March 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

The really advanced individuals or planets speak English with a slight British accent.

Gladtobehere on March 24, 2012 at 4:26 AM

For all the crap the prequels get, I’ve always thought the best lightsaber duel out of all six movies, is the one between Anakin and Obi-wan in Revenge of the Sith.

I’ve never understood the hate. They’re just movies.

DStreete on March 24, 2012 at 5:02 AM

Memorable quotes From ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Jedi’: The Making of a Saga:

Special effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an end to themselves. A Special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.-George Lucas

As attractive as the Star Wars world is, sooner or later you have to leave home and go onto some other place. -George Lucas

Hey, this George Lucas is actually pretty smart. I wonder where they found the dodo who replaced him.

Gladtobehere on March 24, 2012 at 5:58 AM

Best scene ever was from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana comes up to a guy in the street brandishing a sword. After a few fancy moves by the swordsman Indy just pulls out his gun and shoots him….

dddave on March 24, 2012 at 6:54 AM

in 1977 when i went to see the 1st movie “star wars part three” i was in heaven.
i will never forget the awe i felt that day.

for this and this alone i thank lucas.

losarkos on March 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Same kinda thing happened in The Godfather. Watch the scene where Sonny is beating the crap out of his brother-in-law in the street (after his brother-in-law beat the crap out of Talia Shire). James Caan never comes close to touching his face with one of the punches.

That hurt me worse than this little gaffe in Lucas’ dopey prequel.

Pope Linus on March 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Think about what else you could have read, watched, done and learned in all the time you spent devoting memory to effectively becoming a “Doctor of Star Wars”.

Logus on March 24, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Think about what else you could have written that was meaningful in the time you spent devoting computer memory to railing against nerds and geeks. :p

GWB on March 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM

in 1977 when i went to see the 1st movie “star wars part three” i was in heaven.
i will never forget the awe i felt that day.

for this and this alone i thank lucas.

losarkos on March 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

It was episode IV. I had same experience that summer and completely agree.

dddave on March 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

It’s time to reboot the Star Wars back story. There is nothing that memorable about SW 1-3 and a lot to hate. Of course, Lucas won’t allow it, as long as he is alive. But, it would be nice.

NuclearPhysicist on March 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM

As Allah noted about the fantastic Harry Plinkett ( reviews of these horribly composed movies–I am talking about the 1-3, umm..later movies, not the brilliant 4-6 earlier ones–there is much to criticize on what Lucas has done:

“The Force”: As Obi Wan Kenobi tells the young Luke Skywalker, the Force is all around us, a power in the universe–“Let it flow through you..”. We are lead to believe that the force is actually like “Chi” or “Ki”, the energy that the Chinese believe binds the universe, and is in all things. But we later find out that “the force” is caused by “Midichlorians” which are never fully defined–are they viruses? Either way, this is a stupid addition to the idea of “the Force”.

Lucas’ love of Computer animation: In the earlier movies, much was done via costumery and sets, with minimal effects by today’s standards. Even so, these movies come off as more realistic than their more modern counterparts. Lucas also uses this technology for short cuts, and has many of his scense being composed of walking around static sets more easily controlled for computer animation–BORING!

The Love between Anakin and Padme’: Sure, I guess this is important, but two more unconvincing actors pretending to be in love may never be scene on the big screen again. And isn’t it strange that Padme never really seems to change that much although her love interest grows up immediately to appear to be her age? This is almost pedophilic. I also don’t see how any woman could find this dude attractive after seeing him as an annoying child.

Short Anakin becomes huge Darth Vader: Ok, so this short actor gets his arms and legs burned off, and suddenly (one can presume via prosthetics) becomes the hulking 6’5″ Darth Vader? Seriously? And lets not even talk about the ridiculous cry of pain from “Darth Vader” when the Emperor tells him that Padme is dead–“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!” LOL.

Light Anakin becomes Evil Anakin: Via a few whispers in his ear from the Emperor about possibly being able to use the “Dark side” of the Force to reanimate the dead, Anakin, who at first wants to arrest him, joins him and kills the younglings. I mean, seriously, Anakin must surely know that the Emperor is all things evil and deceptive, yet he takes the Emperor’s word that he can make all possible via his tutelage. At what point did the character seem this naive? If he did, I missed it.

The strange differences in the power of the Force: Ok, so the force allows one to pick up huge machinery and toss them like pieces of wet tissue paper–why then wouldn’t it allow one to actually fly? I would guess that the 150 lb Anakin would be able to toss himself pretty far, no?

darkmetal on March 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

There is one part of the original three movies that does bother me, however, and the “midichlorian” explanation of the Force does little to change this:

In “The New Hope”, Obi Wan Kenobi lowers his lightsaber when fighting his old student, now Darth Vader, and says “If you strike me down, I will come back more powerful than you can imagine”. He is then struck down and his body disappears.

Did Obi Wan become “one” with the force? If he did, one could assume that he became part of Luke’s strength. If not, where the heck did his body go? He certainly did not become more powerful by dying and becoming a ghost we don’t see or hear until the very last movie, right? And if he died, wouldn’t this just mean his midichorians were gone?

Sure, this is a nerdy discussion of fine points, but I think a valid one.

darkmetal on March 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Star Wars was a ground breaking movie but it’s Space Opera. Expecting scientific consistency is silly, it’s not like this is a Niven boook.

Venril on March 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Anyone who claims they have never seen any star wars is either lying or just a fricking loser.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM

A Hollywood movie showcases a sword fight that was choreographed for visual spectacle rather than conveying the realistic danger of closeness?

Say it ain’t so.

The Schaef on March 25, 2012 at 1:20 AM

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