A case for watching the prequels

I’ve heard so much about them, but only recently I actually sat through Star Wars, Episodes I–III. I knew they were supposed to be awful, even though ultimately I did not expect them to be so boring, suspense-less, and overall flawed.

Why did I watch them, then?

  1. One can learn from bad as well as from good. Sit down through The room (but please, with friends), and you immediately and viscerally realize how difficult it is to make a movie, how many things can go horribly wrong, and how many parts of movie-making you’ve been taking for granted. Star Wars prequels rival The room in awfulness, I think, it’s just that this awfulness operates on a different level, with higher budget and more gloss.
  2. Given the stature of Star Wars, there’s tons of smart and hilarious people deconstructing the prequels, and you can have crazy amounts of fun seeing what they came up with.

Here, then, is a list of the good stuff that happened to me after I watched the prequels.


Auralnauts

I had fun watching Auralnauts’s professionally dubbed and edited parodies of the prequels. C3Po steals the show, each part has its own brilliantly edited video with custom music, and there were so many little moments that cracked me up. Click or tap to watch:

Side note: Auralnauts’s other videos are funny as well. That includes M. Night Shyamalan’s fake deleted commentary for After Earth and the famous Star Wars Minus Williams.


Mr. Plinkett’s video reviews

More videos! These are weird, creepy, and some of the ancillary humour seems unnecessary, but they’re also strangely hypnotizing, funny, and utterly insightful. I’m talking about Mr. Plinkett’s video reviews, which went viral, and rightfully so:

The reception they received was quite interesting, including a paper in Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies (worth reading), and this quote from Roger Ebert’s: “I was pretty much sure I didn’t have it with me to endure another review of [Revenge of the Sith]. Mr. Plinkett demonstrates to me that I was mistaken.” If one of these thing’s not enough to lure you in, I don’t know what would be.

Side note: The fictional Mr. Plinkett reviewed other movies in the similarly entertaining format, including Star Trek: TNG movies. His review of Indiana Jones 4 is probably my personal favourite.


Metacritic (written reviews)

Speaking of which… I remember this sneaking up on me. Many years ago, I started reading reviews of movies after watching them, and after some time noticed I particularly enjoyed reviews from one writer — Roger Ebert. Soon, I’d look forward to reading Ebert’s reviews as much as the movies themselves, sometimes on my iPhone literally moments after leaving the cinema. Then, I started reading his reviews of movies I never watched or plan to watch. Then still, I became interested in Ebert as a person.

Today, Roger Ebert is gone, and I still miss him — but the tradition of reading (and occasionally even writing) movie reviews lives on, including a regular pilgrimages to Metacritic. It’s worth checking out some of the reviews of Star Wars prequels there:


The Incomparable

The nerds from the brilliant The Incomparable podcast talked about the prequels, too. Longer than the movies themselves, but funny, observant, entertaining, and never boring… definitely worth listening to:


What went wrong with Episode I

I enjoyed this short What went wrong with Episode I video that builds the case against the first movie simply by editing down and picking scenes from the official behind-the-scenes documentary. No extra commentary, no explanation.

This must have hurt.


The people vs. George Lucas

And then there was The people vs. George Lucas — a much more professional and thoughtful documentary than the poster (and the title) would lead you to believe.

There’s a lot of interesting discussion there about entitlement, control, and ownership of art. Also, before watching, I had no idea of imprint Star Wars made on people of certain age, and how creative Star Wars fans could be:


Honest Trailers + Everything Wrong With…

I’ll end with little nuggets from Honest Trailers— a YouTube channel reimagining move trailers to be more… honest:

(Unfortunately, another similar channel, Everything wrong with…, never covered Star Wars. Both are hilarious, worth checking out, and you can learn quite a bit from them.)


That’s the end of my list. I’m sure there’s more. What did I miss? What did you enjoy after watching the prequels?