Ever since it’s inception way back in 1977, George Lucas’ legendary Star Wars saga has garnered an almost messianic fan following, and it was these fans and critics that chose to dismiss the more recent prequels as rubbish insults to their illustrious older brethren. I however, although being a fan of the saga, feel the need to defend the new movies and champion the achievements of Lucas and Lucas-film for revisiting.
For a start, the story is definitely one that needs to be told if you have any love of the characters and universe created by Lucas. The idea of a back story to Darth Vader and how Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi was back when he was a Jedi Knight, is surely a tantalising prospect. Thankfully, Lucas chose to wait until his ideas could be matched by the CGI technology to fully realise them, and it is these grand effects that make the new trilogy stand out from the old. If watched back to back, the older films just don’t look right anymore. Even if the acting and some of the big moments eclipse the new films for dramatic impact, overall I think the new films are a great addition to the Star Wars saga, and should not be dismissed for the following reasons:
Superbly cast as the young Obi Wan Kenobi, and grows from student to mentor over the course of three films, and is the emotional weight the trilogy needs to work.
Sadly not used enough – one of the coolest villains in the Star Wars Saga. He even wields a double ended light saber – how cool is that?
Surely one of the finest screen villains of all time? Given much more depth than in the older films, and is superbly acted by Ian McDermid.
This little fella is no longer just the all knowing wise elder, he now can also kick ass like the rest, if not better – see Episode 2 & Episode 3.
Episode One: The Phantom Menace’s amazing pod-race is an adrenaline fuelled roller coaster ride and a must see for any fan of chase sequences. Stunning. Darth Maul VS Qui Go-Jin & Obi Wan in the Phantom Menace. The hover car chase through the neon metropolis in Episode Two: Attack Of The Clones. Anakin Skywalker VS Obi Wan climactic light saber duel in Episode Three: Revenge Of The Sith. All of these are some of the best action you will ever see. Surpassing anything in the older films.
Yet I will not say the new trilogy does not have it’s faults. Here’s my run down of what I think the trilogy does wrong:
Considering the whole trilogy depends on this character, Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin is a cheesy American-kid cliche that gets annoying very quickly. Hayden Christensen in Episode Two fairs little better, proving awkward at saying the simplest of lines and looking nervous and amateurish. Thankfully he improves greatly for the final film, going all moody and bad ass, which works perfectly.
Jar Jar Binks
Quite easily the most irritating character ever created. So what if it’s a fully realised CGI character? He’s shit! Thankfully Lucas had the sense to side line him for the sequels.
Too many light sabers!
The one thing missing from the new trilogy that the older films did so well, was the mythology surrounding the Jedi Knights. Now the Jedi’s are everywhere, and it somehow weakens their awe-inspiring coolness. At one point in Episode Two there are so many of them, I lost count!!!
Anakin & Padme
Without a doubt, the biggest problem with Episode Two, which on first viewing made me hate it – their love story is one big massive cheese fest, and totally unbelievable and sugar-coated with not an ounce of chemistry.
So, so-called Star Wars fans … lay off the new trilogy! It’s no where near as bad as you might think, has some absolutely stunning moments, has good casting, looks the nuts throughout, and still retains that iconic music, now sounding better than ever. Yes it has it’s faults, as the original trilogy did (Return Of The Jedi has some serious problems), but overall, it still feels like Star Wars – and at the end of the day … that’s what counts, right?