I've been listening to the Star Wars Minute podcast, where three or four fellow Star Wars nerds dissect and criticize the Star Wars movies one minute at a time. I've listened to them talk about Episodes 4, 5, and 6 for months now, and they've opened my eyes to what's great about the movies, and the bad parts that I hadn't appreciated before:
George Lucas made three movies set in the middle of a epic history of a distant galaxy. These three movies sketch out some broad strokes and some specific details of what came before: the fall of a republic, the defeat of an order of knights, the family trees of the principal characters. He does a terrific job of setting the current events in a larger historical landscape without going into too much detail.
Lucas was famously controlling over his intellectual property: after that trilogy of movies was completed, he allowed no more movies to be produced despite terrific demand. We all reasonably expected to never see another story set in this world again.
Fifteen years later, Lucas decided to make three more movies, telling the story of the previous generation.
Lucas famously outlined these stories decades before. Legend has it Lucas had imagined all these characters' stories in complete detail. We all expected that the brief mentions of the history of this galaxy were glimpses of the story Lucas had outlined in the 1970s.
This myth was so calcified in the pop culture zeitgeist, it's difficult to integrate how poorly these "prequels" reconcile with what we already knew about the history of these characters.
The prequels fit so poorly with what we expected, you'd almost assume Lucas had nothing to do with their creation, instead of everything.
There's plenty of more important reasons to dislike the prequels, especially for us Generation Xers who loved Episodes 4, 5, and 6 first, but its especially odd that Lucas' prequels tell such a different history from what we had expected. It's bizarre that so many of the statements of fact made in Episodes 4, 5, and 6 are proven in the prequels to be only technically true, or only true by the largest leaps of logic.
Also On Memorial Day, Through The Years
I have been to the movies on Memorial Day Monday 13 times in 24 years, but it's not a great track record.
- 2014: Godzilla
- 2008: Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- 2007: Pirates Of The Carribean: At World's End (the third one)
- 2006: X-Men: The Last Stand
- 2005: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
- 2002: Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
- 2001: Pearl Harbor
- 1998: Godzilla (yes I saw two different Godzillas on Memorial Day 16 years apart)
- 1997: The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- 1996: Mission: Impossible
- 1995: Braveheart! I actually saw a Best Picture winner on Memorial Day!
- 1992: Alien3
- 1991: Hudson Hawk; perhaps ironically, the three Memorial Day movies with original screenplays were an Oscar winner, Pearl Harbor, and Hudson Hawk.