PT My reviews of EP I, II, & III

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Slowpokeking, Feb 25, 2013.

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  1. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Overall EP I got the most bash by the fans since people had very high expectation of it, I do like it since it's the first SW movie I've watched but I can see the problem.

    The beginning of EP I is not simply good and evil conflict, Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo is just a step of Plagueis and Sidious' great conspiracy. So unlike EP IV the subtitles, Vader and the Executioner flagship are enough to let people understand the conflict well. Without looking at the EU works, it's indeed a bit hard to understand the situation. The movie also didn't explain well enough about why the Trade Federation would obey the mysterious Sidious. Before people could understand what's going on, the Jedi started to fight the droids. Darth Maul got nearly no characterization in EP I, he was just used to let we see a lightsaber duel. Sure Boba also got little characterization in OT but their role in the movie are a bit different. The 14 years old Naboo Queen has been bashed a lot by the fans as well. In addition, Jar Jar proved Lucas were not good at create comic relief characters.

    I think there are 2 major problems of EP I, one is the movie didn't get the age of the audience right. EP I generally is the closest to a “kids movie” of the Six, a 9-years-old child as a protagonist, 14-year-old queen, Jar Jar, the Gungans played an important role in the war. and the battle was ended by the kid Anakin. I don't know did Lucas did this on purpose, but these really made EP I like a movie for kids. I went to watch it when I was a kid and I like it, when I went to watch the 3D last year I clearly feel it's a bit childish. Most of the SW fans were at least over 20 years old or even 40-50 years old in 1999, they might be kids during OT but certainly not any more in 1999. This is a important reason why people bash EP I so much.

    Another problem, also one of the biggest problems of the entire PT is Lucas wanted to tell a more complexed theme in PT, the theme is actually better than PT. But he was not able to present the theme and the story well in 3 movies of 2 hours each, and since there were too much to tell, the story and characters were not focused enough. Despite various EU did explain the story, most of the fans will not go to read these things. Of course, a good movie indeed should not rely on other sources to make the audience understand. Naboo crisis and Maul's lack of characterization were both caused by it.

    Of course, EP I has quite a few highlights. Liam Neeson showed us a great, passionate and even a bit rebellious Jedi Master. When I watched EP I I thought "that's what a Jedi Master should look and act like". He also behaved like a father figure to Anakin. Anakin and Obi-Wan were not very close to each other, Obi Wan even supported the council's decision, we could see why the two parted ways later. It revealed the stubbornness of the Old Jedi well. Palpatine also showed up as a handsome, elegant but also ambitious and insidious politician rather than the "symbol of evil" Emperor we saw in OT.

    Overall, EP I clearly showed prequel trilogy had great theme and more complexed conflict, but Lucas wasn't able to present so much stuff in the movies well, many things were "skimming over the surface", lack of focus on the story and some of the characters, and the mess up with the audience's age. Although there are many highlights but I understand why the OT fans hate it so much. Of course, after reading the EU of this era, we could understand the whole blockade and crisis of Naboo well, while we still have to endure some childish plots and elements, like the Ewoks in Endor of EP VI.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Feb 25, 2013
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  2. heels1785 JCC/PT Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 6
    Good review- a lot of points I do agree with, I just want to point out a few areas where this made me think.

    First, you mention Jar Jar as a problem, and most would agree with you- however, I don't think this reflects poorly on Lucas as a whole when it comes to creating comic relief characters- R2-D2 and C-3PO are two of the most iconic "comic relief" characters in film history. I think Jar-Jar was simply a misjudgment on the part of Lucas in not understanding the new audience for the prequels, as opposed to the OT, who had been captivated by the technology of the time.

    Second, I think you make good points on the lack of "fleshing out" for certain characters and situations, namely Maul and the Trade Federation's role in the conflict (and their relationship with Sidious). Some of this is picked up in the EU, which is great for fans who have the interest to seek it out, but I think that what many would call the slow, political start to the movie would have been unbearable for many audiences if everything was explained. It's a little bit tougher to justify the lack of backstory for Maul, aside from the fact that this was the first film and they wanted a "mysterious" villain who served his purpose in revealing the Sith.

    Finally, the arguments between whether or not the movie is too serious (political plots, midichlorians, etc.) or too childish (Anakin, Jar-Jar) are both valid, but I think the film has become more watchable with the Blu-Ray copy, especially with the addition of the CGI Yoda. I think the important thing to keep in mind is that it had been 16 years since ROTJ, and Lucas was still feeling out his audience- as the fanbase from the 70s and 80s had become adults, he wanted a movie sophisticated enough to entertain and challenge them, while also entertaining the second generation, their kids, with comedy and action sequences, like the podrace. Due to the dark, spiraling story that was coming towards the end of AOTC and especially in ROTS, this was a unique opportunity to appeal to kids, and it was a tall order.
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  3. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    EP II is my least favorite one of the six.

    EP II didn’t have to do much to explain the beginning compare to EP I and III since there were little happened in the 10 years between EP I and EP II. EP II also didn’t have those childish plot like EP I. However, there are new problems.

    The problem is that Anakin and his love story.

    I once heard someone said Lucas wanted to show Anakin as a rebellious young man, which is very different than many people had expected and very different than Vader. I agreed with that, however a while ago when I heard many people said TCW Anakin was portrayed better than PT Anakin. I now realized Lucas’ characterization of Anakin is not that different than people had expected, the problem is to show his conflict and downfall. EP II was set in his most immature and rebellious time. Anakin was just a 19-years-old padawan, who has not experienced the war, just had a few missions with his master. In fact, most people have a “rebellious, whiny teenager” period around this age , even Palpatine is no different. TCW and PT Anakin is not different or inconsistent, but rather reflects different stages of the character, compared to the EP II, TCW Anakin had been knighted and experienced war, of course he became more mature. In fact, not just TCW, in CW and many other Clone Wars era EU, Anakin was more mature than EP II.

    I think the weakest part of EP V’s plot is the romance of Leia and Han was a bit rushed. Lucas is not good at writing romance. But Leia and Han’s romance is not a huge part of the OT and Ford’s great performance made it stronger. However, in EP II Lucas intended to make the love story of Anakin and Padme the most important plot of EP II and one of the most important reasons Anakin fall to the Dark Side. So this caused the problem of EP II, we saw some badly written love story became the main theme of the movie. Lucas’ writing of the love story script is even worse, the “angel” scene in EP I also showed it. Even in EP IV, Obi Wan and Vader’s dialogue is a bit weird.

    Hayden was blamed a lot a lot since people saw him play Anakin in EP II. However I don’t think it’s mostly his fault. Hayden performances in EP II is not great, especially the love scenes, he did fine in the scenes of Shmi’s death. If we look at Natalie Portman’s performance we could see she was no different in those romance scenes. Many people also said there was no chemistry between the two. I guess that has to do with Lucas as well. If we look at their other works, they were both talented actors but not great like Harrison Ford. So their performance rely on the director since the script and the plot is not amazing, but Lucas wasn‘t able to do so. EP II showed Lucas might be good at write the overall theme and plot, but love story is not what he‘s good at, his writing of script is also not impressive.

    The major villain of EP II, Count Dooku clearly had more screen time, dialogue and characterization than Darth Maul, the lightsaber duel in the end showed his strength. However, compare to Maul, Dooku is a much more complexed and important character of the whole story. He was against the old JedI way also had a tight connection with Anakin. They even deleted the scene of Jocasta Nu telling Obi Wan about Dooku. The audience could only know he was an arrogant, powerful and elegant old gentleman through Sir Christopher Lee’s great performance in his limited screen time. There wasn’t enough screen time to show more of his character, which he should get more. Especially how did he change from one of the greatest Jedi Masters of that era to a cold and manipulative Sith Lord. This is not only the most important change in his character, it also has quite a bit to do with the overall theme, to show the old JedI‘s flaw and link with Anakin. We still have to mostly rely on EU to understand his character. If Lucas had thought of him in EP I he should let Dooku be there as the JedI Master. So we could understand his downfall better. This showed one of the biggest problems of the PT again. It got too much to tell and could not focus on certain plot and characters.

    Compare to Saruman in Lord of the Rings, who was also played by Lee. Since the antagonist Sauron lost his physical form and appeared a giant burning eye, Saruman got more scenes than in the novel since the movie need an active villain. In the first two films, Saruman certainly had more presence than any other villains, including Sauron. Although I like Dooku’s character better, but if we just look at the movies, Saruman was portrayed more successful both as a character and a villain.

    Of course, Palpatine is still great and he started to make close relationship with Anakin to seduce him. EP II overall is better than EP I, the PT haters mostly use the plots and elements of EP I, when they talk about EP II they mostly list the love scene and Hayden‘s performance.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Feb 26, 2013
  4. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    EP III is mostly viewed as the best one of PT, there were so much conflicts, deaths and touching moments. I will say it’s better than EP IV and VI.

    The flaw is simple, it’s way too rushed to cover so many events. It started 3 years after EP II, near the end of the Clone Wars, so PT pretty much only showed us the beginning and the end of the Clone Wars, we weren‘t able to see many conflicts during the war without looking at EU.

    The duel with Count Dooku is not bad, but could have been done much better. The novel did a much better job on this, it was very detailed, well explained, had several twists and showed Dooku’s characters nicely. However the death scene of Dooku was done much better in the movie, he didn’t beg for life like in the novel, just used his expression to show the pain of being betrayed. I heard it was Sir Christopher Lee‘s request, we have to thank him for that, with his great performance. Overall, like I said in EP II‘s review, Dooku deserves more screen time to let people really understand his character.

    GG is another villain in EP III, he was a very powerful and deadly cyborg general in CW, a formidable opponent in other EU such as Labyrinth of Evil. In the movie he was shown much weaker and act like a coward, that’s not a big issue. His character is simpler than Maul and Dooku, but a little explanation of how did he become a cyborg and how did he become the general of CIS would be very good since he was shown as a very important figure of the CIS. PT had several villains, but only Palpatine really got the screen time he deserved in the movies.

    Palpatine was perfect before he was “deformed”. His most outstanding scene is The Tragedy of Dart Plagueis the Wise. The acting and script are both fantastic. He used his charming tone to tell a mysterious tragic story of a legendary Sith Lord, who in truth was his master to lure Anakin to the Dark Side. Too bad the scene that he recorded his conversation with the Jedi Masters before the fight were deleted. after Palpatine was “deformed” the acting seems went over the top for a bit. Maybe because Lucas wanted to link him to the Emperor in OT. Overall, Palpatine is the best character PT portrayed. Even many PT haters admitted it. Ian showed us a cold, manipulative politician and Sith Lord with a charming, gentle and mild alter ego as disguise. This charming disguise actually made his Banite Sith true nature more insidious and terrifying. His Palpatine is also one of the coolest movie villains in recent years.

    Hayden's performance improved significantly compared to EP II. In EP II he was a young padawan, in EP III he already became a husband and a hero of the war, but he was facing a very difficult situation. He showed Anakin’s panic, anger, doubt, and his struggle when he was in the center of the storm. The nightmare of Padmé's death haunted him, he tried to seek answer from Yoda and got nothing but those stupid “let things go” words again. At the same time he was forced to make a difficult choice between the Jedi Council and Palpatine. The Jedi wanted him to watch, and possible could ask him to go against Palpatine despite Palpatine had been a mentor and friend to him. Palpatine was keep telling him the problem of the Jedi, giving him hint to drop the Jedi way, even started to seduce him to the Dark Side. He befriended with both sides and didn‘t want to go against either of them. I disagree with TCW Anakin> PT Anakin, in TCW Anakin never met such difficult situation . So it’s really hard for him to remain calm. Eventually he chose to go tell the Jedi Council when he realized Palpatine is Sidious, but he later worried about the situation and eventually ran the office. Driven by fear to lose his loved ones forever, he helped Palpatine killed Mace Windu. Hayden performed very well, showed us the character’s struggle and fear, and finally made the big mistake due to these emotion. After his downfall, while I like the novel’s portrayal of a cruel Sith apprentice(In the novel he was making jokes with those CIS leader during the massacre, and told Padme a good plan to overthrow Palpatine), the movie showed us a young man who went to the wrong path by fear and frustration, and he later regret, even cried for his wrongful actions. When he was facing Padme he wasn’t so confident, but was trying to let both her and himself accept the words he said. Hayden was excellent overall, if we have to talk about flaw, some lines’ delivery could be done better, his voice is not amazing, compare to Vader.

    Also many people blame PT’s Anakin for not being what they had expected, I think it’s misunderstanding. Their expectation was based on what Obi Wan said in EP IV.

    So that’s when Obi Wan lied to Luke about Vader killing his father which hurt his credibility, do not forget what he said about Vader next.

    In fact, not only this, EP V and VI there mentioned Anakin a few times.

    Yoda mentioned it, too.


    Obi Wan told Luke in EP VI.

    There Vader himself

    These clearly showed Anakin was not some “perfect Jedi”, he was interested in power and had much anger. Not to say Anakin did not die, and to understand him we should look at Vader first. Dark Side usually does not brainwash and totally reshape a person, but expand the darkness in their heart to maximum. OT told us Anakin embraced the Dark Side willingly, there was darkness inside him before his turn. So I am very opposed to view Anakin and Vader as two separate people like Obi Wan and maybe other old Jedi, otherwise we would not be able to understand his fall. Of course, I think many people believe that because to them, Obi Wan is a great mentor and sage in OT, he would not make such mistake, even his lie was “truth from a specific view”.

    Padmé was not that strong and independent compare to the first two movies, but she did get more character development since she was in the struggle to choose between her husband and all the good things, unlike Leia was totally kept out from the conflict of Luke and Vader‘s father and son conflict. It’s a pity that they deleted the scene of her meeting with those senators who later became important figures of the rebels. I have always felt that her death was the weakest part of EP III. She was a very strong and independent woman, the medical droid said she had no physical injury, she also had a glimmer of hope of Anakin and just gave birth to two children, who need her to take care of, and she just died due to “heartbreaking”, that really weakened her character a lot, even let Palpatine killer he with the Force would be better.

    The Jedi Council also played a negative role in Anakin‘s downfall. The prequel might have many problems, but it showed the stubbornness, the problem of the old Jedi Order very well. The Order 66 scene is sad to see, but it‘s also the inevitable outcome of the old Jedi. In EP II and III, Yoda‘s words to Anakin were mostly inflexible crap and totally let Anakin lost the hope on follow the Jedi way to save his wife. They knew Anakin and Palpatine had good relationship but still push him to help them go against Palpatine. These all showed they just want all Jedi to put down and repressed feelings, they ignore personal feelings and just focus on the so-called Greater Good, eventually it lead to Anakin and their downfall. If we look at OT again after PT, we will understand better about why would Obi Wan and Yoda lied to Luke and still pushed him to kill Vader, and feel more uneasy and touching of Luke‘s choice at last. If Lucas could make the scene of Qui Gon Jinn’s conversation with Yoda about the old Jedi’s fall and Yoda‘s apology, it would be really great. I also think Qui Gon Jinn should definitely appear in the end of EP VI. Not because he rediscovered the technique of Force Ghost, but his way let the Jedi reborn in ruins. Luke never met Qui Gon, but got Qui Gon’s idea and saved himself, his father, the Jedi and the galaxy. It’s quite interesting to think about it. Thirty six years ago, when nobody(including Padme and Obi Wan) beside Shmi took Anakin as a big deal, when the Jedi Order refused to accept him. It was Qui Gon Jinn, a father figure to Anakin helped him get free and let the boy’s dream come true, made him a Jedi. Thirty six years later, when almost nobody in the galaxy, including the remaining Jedi thought there was good in Vader and thought he must fall, his son believed there was still good in him, finally reawakened the good in Anakin Skywalker and made him destroyed the evil, brought peace to the galaxy and balanced the Force, completed the circle and fulfilled his destiny.

    A lot of people said that the prequel didn’t present Anakin and Obi Wan's friendship well. I think that the relationship between Anakin and Obi was done very accurate in PT. Obi Wan and Anakin stayed together for ten years and fought alongside each other. However, deep down they had completely different fundamental principle, safe to say both went too extreme. Obi Wan could do anything to achieve the end of the “greater good”, he had emotions but he could always put them behind, he’s a perfect old Jedi, but sadly the old Jedi are far from perfect. Anakin, could do anything to protect his loved ones, even if it was very wrong and immoral. So the two parted ways is inevitable. In the end of EP III, their conversation pretty much proved it well. Both the actors’ performance and the lines were amazing. Especially when Anakin said “If you are not with me, you are my enemy”, Obi Wan replied with “Only Sith deal in absolutes, ”, not realizing it was an absolute as well. If he said this to Dooku, Dooku surely would mock him with it. Anakin went too extreme and fall to the Dark Side. Obi Wan also went too extreme and kept his old Jedi discipline too much. After this battle, there is no friendship between the two anymore, we can see in OT, Vader killed Obi Wan without any hesitation, Obi Wan ignored Padme‘s last words and wanted Luke to kill Vader. PT handled their relationship well and fit OT, we should not just look at those lines of Obi Wan, but Vader. As the perfect old Jedi, Obi Wan judge people by absolutes, he failed to see the struggle and darkness in Anakin, just like he failed to see the good in Vader. That’s why he view Anakin and Vader as different individuals. However the fact proved he's wrong, Anakin's inner darkness lead him to his downfall, and because he once was a good man, he still had good in him, his good was awakened in the end. PT explained to us in details, he went to the Dark Side mainly because he was too afraid to lose his loved ones. There never was any character just called Vader, only Anakin Skywalker, who once turned to a Sith and was given that title, but redeemed himself in the end.

    Most of EP III is great, the end is the most touching one in all Six. Padmé's funeral, Vader and the Emperor discuss the Death Star’s construction with Tarkin. Alderaan’s queen looked at Leia lovingly, Owen and Beru gave the same look to Luke when Obi Wan was walking away under the Twin Suns. Overall, EP III is at least as good as EP IV and EP VI, it could have been even better(maybe better than EP V) if it had three hours to tell the story, improve some lines and add those important scenes.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Feb 28, 2013
  5. The Supreme Chancellor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
  6. The Supreme Chancellor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    I think you make an AMAZING point about how Obi-Wan, though a great Jedi, was somehow blind to the darkness within his own apprentice as well as the spark of hope within Vader. But you must remember by ANH Vader had been a Sith Lord and Jedi killer for more than a few years. Anything that Padme had said to him in her dying moments was most likely forgotten by then. Also in the tone of emotional ending I don't think anything can top ROTJ, but Padme's death and the Vader rising in the suit are both extremely emotional scenes.
  7. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
  8. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Can you edit the title and change the II to III?
  9. heels1785 JCC/PT Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 6
    I agree with the above posters, fantastic work here. I hope to write up something more later in the weekend, but I just wanted to say that I'm happy you brought up the change in the Dooku death scene- as we have seen with Maul recently in TCW, and of course Sidious' faux begging with Mace, the Sith are not afraid to use deception to garner sympathy when they are beaten- it goes along with the whole mindset of any means necessary, relying on passion and emotion. Even though we have to take into account the Stover version of Dooku's death, I like the touch in the film, and exactly what you said- he simply seems shocked at the betrayal, and perhaps this even sets him apart at the end. Certainly, he is full Sith, but he is also a prideful man with deep-rooted expectations of loyalty, which he believed was violated by the Jedi for political reasons on Mandalore, leading to his divorce with them.
  10. bibfortuitous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 7, 2000
    star 3
    [Deleted. -Sx3]
    Last edited by SithStarSlayer, Mar 2, 2013
  11. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    R2-D2 and C-3PO are based on 2 characters in Hidden Fortress. So I think Lucas is not good at creating original comic relief characters.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 1, 2013
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