Chopping up Star Wars
Never look back
The Star Wars prequels were worse than I remembered. You know, Episodes, I, II, and III? From the early 2000s? My God, they’re terrible. They’re so bad that we’re not even going to watch Episode I.
After watching The Force Awakens (in theaters now!) we decided to watch Star Wars in the “Machete Order” — which is supposedly the best way to introduce or reintroduce someone to the Star Wars universe. How it works is you watch them in order of IV, V, II, III, VI. Leave out The Phantom Menace because it doesn’t really matter. Seriously.
We watched Episode IV and I was feeling pretty good. A New Hope was never my favorite as a kid — even as a youngling I thought that the light saber fight between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi was weak. Watching it this time, though, I was able to really appreciate Princess Leia as being a take charge kind of lady — something you didn’t see a lot 30 years ago, as well as some solid homages to old Westerns and Samurai flicks.
“I love you” — “I know”
Episode V is my all time favorite — The Empire Strikes Back is the sad middle story, the one where the characters seemed to really meld, and Han Solo was at the top of his game. Sure, all the actors were coked out of their minds, but it’s still a great film. I mean that scene where Han is frozen in carbonite? The big daddy reveal? Classic.
Wait, what clones?
We reluctantly started Episode II, Attack of the Clones, and all I could think was oh my God did I actually like these as a kid? They’re way too shiny, shimmery and CGI-y. Anakin is a whiny bitch the whole movie, and why does Padme suddenly go from a strong, self-assured ex-Queen now Galactic Senator to a lovestruck damsel in distress? Cue every falling in love cliche ever — picnic in fields, frolicking with animals, watching the sunset. Vomit. I think there were also some clones in there, but it seemed like a B plot at best.
Everyone hates Anakin
Episode III, Revenge of the Sith was even worse than I remembered. Though to be fair, I did spend a large portion of the movie browsing Tumblr on my phone. So if Anakin was so special and was supposed to bring balance to the Force or whatever, why was everyone constantly a dick to him? I mean yes, he is a whiny pain in the ass, but you’d think that maybe the Jedi would have taken the time to, like, chat with him about stuff. Maybe check in on his chosen one feelings or something. The fight where Obi Wan kicks Anakin’s ass was still pretty good though. Not great. I blame Hayden Christensen and George Lucas’s script that no one stopped him from filming. I think Ewan McGregor did the best he could.
Balance + Ewoks
Now, we have one more film, Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, and we’re going to watch it tomorrow. I’m ready to wrap this up, watch Jabba get squanched, see Lando redeem himself, and see Luke and friends bring some balance back to the Force. Also, Ewoks!
So is the Machete Order worth it? Yes and no. Yes, if you absolutely must watch the terrible prequels. The original Star Wars are a definite must. No, because really, the prequels could be easily explained to anyone who hasn’t seen them. I suppose every “real” fan should have to watch them at least once though.
For what it’s worth, I’m happy to forget that the first three films which are fraught with trade embargoes, unnecessary computer animated characters, bad haircuts, and worse scripts — even exist. After seeing The Force Awakens, I’m happy to start with A New Hope, and never look back.