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Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series

Steven P.
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Brent
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Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Monday, May 23, 2022 (2:55 p.m.) 
• Now Playing: Flyboys - Rabin  

When studios can't interest audiences with more sequels to a franchise, they often turn to prequels. For this post, I'm focusing on those that had more than 1 prequel, as their own series.

My list of favorite prequel film series:

1. Rise/Dawn/War for the Planet of the Apes
The only prequel series that to me exceeds the original series (which I guess also had prequels). Great stories, memorable characters and performances, and exceptional effects.

2. Star Wars Prequel trilogy
I'm an unabashed fan of the prequels. Yes, I'm well aware of their flaws, but I'm willing to overlook them for what I do like about them, like the world building and overall story. The prequels did more to expand the Star Wars universe more then anything after the original trilogy, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, otherwise the new Obi-Wan show wouldn't be getting as much fan excitement as it is now.

3. Star Trek Prequel trilogy
The 2009 film was fantastic and the perfect way to breath new life into a franchise that was struggling. The sequels weren't quite as good but I still really liked them. Would have liked to have more films in this series.

4. X-Men prequels
I'd say that First Class and Days of Future Past are top 5 X-men films (along with X-men 1 & 2 and Logan). I'd even put them on par (or better) than your average MCU film. I find Apocalypse really under-rated, but hard to defend the disappointing Dark Pheonix.

5. The Hobbit Trilogy
This series has so much to like about it, but also so much unnecessary fluff that I can't rate it higher. At least Shore's scores were fantastic.

6. Star Wars (Rogue One & Solo)
Wasn't sure about including these, since they aren't really connected to each other, but both are preqeuls to the original trilogy, so why not? I like Rogue One better, even though it has the most forgettable bunch of characters in any Star Wars film (outisde a few). Even Solo isn't bad, but just didn't add much to the franchise.

7. Prometheums / Alien: Covenant
Prometheus is easily the best film in the Alien franchise outside of the original and Aliens. It's a shame a lot of it's best ideas are dropped in Covenant, which I don't hate but find rather unremarkable outside of Fassbender's dual performances.

8. Fantastic Beasts
I want to like this series more than I do. I don't hate it, but it feels in conflict with itself. If it about Newt, or Dumbledore, or both? It can't seem to decide, and Yates' unappealing directorial style doesn't help.

How would you rank the various film prequel series? Any I'm forgetting?


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Brent
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Steven P.
Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Monday, May 23, 2022 (5:27 p.m.) 

> When studios can't interest audiences with more sequels to a franchise,
> they often turn to prequels. For this post, I'm focusing on those that had
> more than 1 prequel, as their own series.

> My list of favorite prequel film series:

> 1. Rise/Dawn/War for the Planet of the Apes
> The only prequel series that to me exceeds the original series (which I
> guess also had prequels). Great stories, memorable characters and
> performances, and exceptional effects.

> 2. Star Wars Prequel trilogy
> I'm an unabashed fan of the prequels. Yes, I'm well aware of their flaws,
> but I'm willing to overlook them for what I do like about them, like the
> world building and overall story. The prequels did more to expand the Star
> Wars universe more then anything after the original trilogy, and I think a
> lot of people feel the same way, otherwise the new Obi-Wan show wouldn't
> be getting as much fan excitement as it is now.

> 3. Star Trek Prequel trilogy
> The 2009 film was fantastic and the perfect way to breath new life into a
> franchise that was struggling. The sequels weren't quite as good but I
> still really liked them. Would have liked to have more films in this
> series.

> 4. X-Men prequels
> I'd say that First Class and Days of Future Past are top 5 X-men films
> (along with X-men 1 & 2 and Logan). I'd even put them on par (or
> better) than your average MCU film. I find Apocalypse really under-rated,
> but hard to defend the disappointing Dark Pheonix.

> 5. The Hobbit Trilogy
> This series has so much to like about it, but also so much unnecessary
> fluff that I can't rate it higher. At least Shore's scores were fantastic.

> 6. Star Wars (Rogue One & Solo)
> Wasn't sure about including these, since they aren't really connected to
> each other, but both are preqeuls to the original trilogy, so why not? I
> like Rogue One better, even though it has the most forgettable bunch of
> characters in any Star Wars film (outisde a few). Even Solo isn't bad, but
> just didn't add much to the franchise.

> 7. Prometheums / Alien: Covenant
> Prometheus is easily the best film in the Alien franchise outside of the
> original and Aliens. It's a shame a lot of it's best ideas are dropped in
> Covenant, which I don't hate but find rather unremarkable outside of
> Fassbender's dual performances.

> 8. Fantastic Beasts
> I want to like this series more than I do. I don't hate it, but it feels
> in conflict with itself. If it about Newt, or Dumbledore, or both? It
> can't seem to decide, and Yates' unappealing directorial style doesn't
> help.

> How would you rank the various film prequel series? Any I'm forgetting?

I actually think Yates is an incredible visual director. The last two HP films are probably my favorite in the franchise (though it’s hard to beat the magic of the first). However, I do feel like he needs to take a step back. The only things he’s done since he started with HP/FB is Legend of Tarzan and one episode of a TV series. This dude needs some more original work.

I do agree on Rise/Dawn/War. Those are fantastic films (I love Matt Reeves).


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Steven P.
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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Monday, May 23, 2022 (7:32 p.m.) 

> I actually think Yates is an incredible visual director. The last two HP
> films are probably my favorite in the franchise (though it’s hard to beat
> the magic of the first). However, I do feel like he needs to take a step
> back. The only things he’s done since he started with HP/FB is Legend of
> Tarzan and one episode of a TV series. This dude needs some more original
> work.

He's not bad, but he's also not good enough to the point where I think "yes, this is the type of director who should direct 7 films in a franchise." I think bringing in some new blood would have helped the Fantastic Beasts movies a great deal.

> I do agree on Rise/Dawn/War. Those are fantastic films (I love Matt
> Reeves).

Right on!


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Steven P.
Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series [EDITED]   Monday, May 23, 2022 (7:24 p.m.) 

> When studios can't interest audiences with more sequels to a franchise,
> they often turn to prequels. For this post, I'm focusing on those that had
> more than 1 prequel, as their own series.

> My list of favorite prequel film series:

> 1. Rise/Dawn/War for the Planet of the Apes
> The only prequel series that to me exceeds the original series (which I
> guess also had prequels). Great stories, memorable characters and
> performances, and exceptional effects.

Oh my, yes. All excellent flicks, which is shockingly rare. And not only that, excellent in surprising and different ways. Love that series (though I also just plain love anything Planet of the Apes).

> 2. Star Wars Prequel trilogy
> I'm an unabashed fan of the prequels. Yes, I'm well aware of their flaws,
> but I'm willing to overlook them for what I do like about them, like the
> world building and overall story. The prequels did more to expand the Star
> Wars universe more then anything after the original trilogy, and I think a
> lot of people feel the same way, otherwise the new Obi-Wan show wouldn't
> be getting as much fan excitement as it is now.

Oh my, no. Aggressively awful films with some of the worst acting, directing, and writing I’ve ever seen, plus they look about as real as a Roger Rabbit fart (I’m sorry but god I hate how waxy sterile shitty smooth the endless green screen work is on those movies).

Here’s a fun idea - next time you watch them, make em a drinking game where every time someone sits down, likely on a couch, with another person, and they talk - take a drink. Shot reverse shot whole way through, static camera, boring angle, in front of a green screen background. You’ll need a stomach pump about halfway through just ONE of those damn flicks.

Sorry &#128514; those movies irk me. As for the nostalgia bait, “no listen everyone they were actually good” resurgence lately? Easy - people who grew up with them as kids are now the ones most likely to write online reviews, make podcasts, start YouTube channels, and lose their shit over a Disney+ show. It’s been 20 years so the timing is perfect.

But as someone who was 10 when Phantom Menace came out and saw it seven times in theatres - those movies absolutely do not deserve any reappraisals.

> 3. Star Trek Prequel trilogy
> The 2009 film was fantastic and the perfect way to breath new life into a
> franchise that was struggling. The sequels weren't quite as good but I
> still really liked them. Would have liked to have more films in this
> series.

Now this I can get behind. Flawed movies but hey, unlike the SW prequels, at least the camera moved from time to time and real locations were occasionally used. Second is unjustly hated and the first is probably my fave Trek flick.

> 4. X-Men prequels
> I'd say that First Class and Days of Future Past are top 5 X-men films
> (along with X-men 1 & 2 and Logan). I'd even put them on par (or
> better) than your average MCU film. I find Apocalypse really under-rated,
> but hard to defend the disappointing Dark Pheonix.

I dug First Class and Future Past an awful lot when they came out, haven’t revisited for a long time. Apocalypse was garbage but kinda enjoyable silly garbage? Dark Phoenix, well…yeah, it was just a waste of time. Not terrible but pointless.

> 5. The Hobbit Trilogy
> This series has so much to like about it, but also so much unnecessary
> fluff that I can't rate it higher. At least Shore's scores were fantastic.

I kinda loved the first one when it came out, even though I hated the reliance on CGI and felt it was overstuffed. Haven’t rewatched since seeing Smaug and Armies and being kinda embarrassed and bored by both. Just…not well done, in my opinion. Whole enterprise was a bad idea - Del Toro’s two film idea is the one I wish we got.

> 6. Star Wars (Rogue One & Solo)
> Wasn't sure about including these, since they aren't really connected to
> each other, but both are preqeuls to the original trilogy, so why not? I
> like Rogue One better, even though it has the most forgettable bunch of
> characters in any Star Wars film (outisde a few). Even Solo isn't bad, but
> just didn't add much to the franchise.

So my hot take is that both of these movies are the best Star Wars flicks since Return of the Jedi. Got a shit ton of issues with both but at least they told cohesive, coherent stories that wasn’t hilariously awkward or rehashing the same old stuff over and over.

> 7. Prometheums / Alien: Covenant
> Prometheus is easily the best film in the Alien franchise outside of the
> original and Aliens. It's a shame a lot of it's best ideas are dropped in
> Covenant, which I don't hate but find rather unremarkable outside of
> Fassbender's dual performances.

I always thought Prometheus got a bit of a bad rap. Not great and filled with groaners but at least it tried, and had lots of nifty stuff to it. Covenant was a dumpster fire/middle finger to everyone who complained about Prometheus. Felt like I was watching 2 hours of Ridley Scott throw a temper tantrum at the damn annoying kids bitching about plot holes.

> 8. Fantastic Beasts
> I want to like this series more than I do. I don't hate it, but it feels
> in conflict with itself. If it about Newt, or Dumbledore, or both? It
> can't seem to decide, and Yates' unappealing directorial style doesn't
> help.

Ugh. First was ok I guess (liked it more than half the Harry Potter flicks) but the second one suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. Not gonna bother with the third unless I have to review it for the newspaper job.

> How would you rank the various film prequel series? Any I'm forgetting?

Not sure if you’re forgetting any others to be honest. I’m apparently much more sour about prequel series than you haha


(Message edited on Monday, May 23, 2022, at 7:27 p.m.)


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Steven P.
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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Monday, May 23, 2022 (7:40 p.m.) 

> Oh my, yes. All excellent flicks, which is shockingly rare. And not only
> that, excellent in surprising and different ways. Love that series (though
> I also just plain love anything Planet of the Apes).

> Oh my, no. Aggressively awful films with some of the worst acting,
> directing, and writing I’ve ever seen, plus they look about as real as a
> Roger Rabbit fart (I’m sorry but god I hate how waxy sterile shitty smooth
> the endless green screen work is on those movies).

> Here’s a fun idea - next time you watch them, make em a drinking game
> where every time someone sits down, likely on a couch, with another
> person, and they talk - take a drink. Shot reverse shot whole way through,
> static camera, boring angle, in front of a green screen background. You’ll
> need a stomach pump about halfway through just ONE of those damn flicks.

> Sorry 😂 those movies irk me. As for the nostalgia bait, “no
> listen everyone they were actually good” resurgence lately? Easy - people
> who grew up with them as kids are now the ones most likely to write online
> reviews, make podcasts, start YouTube channels, and lose their shit over a
> Disney+ show. It’s been 20 years so the timing is perfect.

> But as someone who was 10 when Phantom Menace came out and saw it seven
> times in theatres - those movies absolutely do not deserve any
> reappraisals.

Yes, I know people are very divided on the prequels. Agree to disagree.

> Now this I can get behind. Flawed movies but hey, unlike the SW prequels,
> at least the camera moved from time to time and real locations were
> occasionally used. Second is unjustly hated and the first is probably my
> fave Trek flick.

> I dug First Class and Future Past an awful lot when they came out, haven’t
> revisited for a long time. Apocalypse was garbage but kinda enjoyable
> silly garbage? Dark Phoenix, well…yeah, it was just a waste of time. Not
> terrible but pointless.

I still don't know why people disliked Apocalypse so much. Maybe it was the under-developed villain, but isn't that also like most the MCU films?

> I kinda loved the first one when it came out, even though I hated the
> reliance on CGI and felt it was overstuffed. Haven’t rewatched since
> seeing Smaug and Armies and being kinda embarrassed and bored by both.
> Just…not well done, in my opinion. Whole enterprise was a bad idea - Del
> Toro’s two film idea is the one I wish we got.

Yeah, I still like the Hobbit trilogy overall, but it's tough because when watching them it's really easy to see how they could have been better.

> So my hot take is that both of these movies are the best Star Wars flicks
> since Return of the Jedi. Got a shit ton of issues with both but at least
> they told cohesive, coherent stories that wasn’t hilariously awkward or
> rehashing the same old stuff over and over.

Eh, I can see that with Rogue One, but Solo basically ends with a set up to sequels that we will never see, whereas all the others at least completed their stories.

> I always thought Prometheus got a bit of a bad rap. Not great and filled
> with groaners but at least it tried, and had lots of nifty stuff to it.
> Covenant was a dumpster fire/middle finger to everyone who complained
> about Prometheus. Felt like I was watching 2 hours of Ridley Scott throw a
> temper tantrum at the damn annoying kids bitching about plot holes.

> Ugh. First was ok I guess (liked it more than half the Harry Potter
> flicks) but the second one suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. Not gonna bother with
> the third unless I have to review it for the newspaper job.

I'd say the third is better than the second, but not as good as the first.


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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (6:34 a.m.) 

> Yes, I know people are very divided on the prequels. Agree to disagree.

Ummm no, my opinion is correct and I won’t give up until you agree with me because THATS HOW THE INTERNET WORKS AAAAGH

Nah, fair 😝 I wish I could go back and rediscover my 10 year old love of Phantom as well, but….I really think it was just cause of pod racing, duel of the fates, the merch at the time (had every game and action figure possible) and my newly powerful crush on Natalie Portman that made me dig it so. Cause by the time Attack came out I was like “ehhh” and then Sith made me actively go “what the hell is this crap”.

I dunno. Is what it is.

> I still don't know why people disliked Apocalypse so much. Maybe it was
> the under-developed villain, but isn't that also like most the MCU films?

Yeah, and I think that’s part of it, the timing was off. It really did feel like a superhero movie from the 90’s or early 00’s, just really simplistic and kind of silly. Which part of me liked, but the other part realized how lazy it was and what a waste cause damn did I love Appcalypse as a kid.

> Yeah, I still like the Hobbit trilogy overall, but it's tough because when
> watching them it's really easy to see how they could have been better.

Yup.

> Eh, I can see that with Rogue One, but Solo basically ends with a set up
> to sequels that we will never see, whereas all the others at least
> completed their stories.

Solid point, although if we’re comparing Solo with the Rey trilogy, what’s worse - not being able to conclude your story, or concluding it terribly from film to film because no one properly planned it out and the last movie had to retcon everything in a desperate attempt to appeal to the fans?

Honest question, because I’m not sure which one is worse. I just know that the experience of Solo, despite a myriad of problems and the worst cinematography in eons, was a lot more fun and coherent than stuff like Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker (and the prequels). Not by a ton or anything, but still haha

> I'd say the third is better than the second, but not as good as the first.

Yeah that’s what I’ve been hearing, an improvement but still a very different story than they started with with Beasts. Too bad - the universe is cool and there’s lots of potential there, but man, I couldn’t care less to see “where did Dumbledore come from” 🤦‍♂️


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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (2:38 p.m.) 
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> Solid point, although if we’re comparing Solo with the Rey trilogy, what’s
> worse - not being able to conclude your story, or concluding it terribly
> from film to film because no one properly planned it out and the last
> movie had to retcon everything in a desperate attempt to appeal to the
> fans?

> Honest question, because I’m not sure which one is worse. I just know that
> the experience of Solo, despite a myriad of problems and the worst
> cinematography in eons, was a lot more fun and coherent than stuff like
> Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker (and the prequels). Not by a ton or
> anything, but still haha

Honestly, to me a bad ending is better than a non-ending, and I don't even consider Rise of Skywalker bad, just predictable and a mess of a film. Maybe I've been burned by too many series that never got an ending before getting cancelled.



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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (8:18 a.m.) 
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> 2. Star Wars Prequel trilogy
> I'm an unabashed fan of the prequels. Yes, I'm well aware of their flaws,
> but I'm willing to overlook them for what I do like about them, like the
> world building and overall story. The prequels did more to expand the Star
> Wars universe more then anything after the original trilogy, and I think a
> lot of people feel the same way, otherwise the new Obi-Wan show wouldn't
> be getting as much fan excitement as it is now.

The prequels do have their moments, "...not many of them, but they do have them". The original trilogy was the one I grew up with, and so the prequels were a big disappointment to me when they first came out. But over the years I've found more and more to like about them. Production design and world building are at the top of the list. There was a lot of effort really building on the setting and trying to make it have a bit more depth. I also think the very core of the story, Anakin's rise and fall has lots of merit. I really appreciate the irony of his fall from grace happening because of love. If presented better than it was, these movies could have surpassed the original trilogy.

But... yeah, there is a lot of wrong in that presentation. To me they just don't come together in a cohesive whole. With Lucas getting in the way of his own storytelling more often than not. Some of the creative decisions just baffle me, and each time I revisit it, I feel disappointed because (much like The Hobbit trilogy) I can see the great series buried in there. But it just never has a chance to really come out.

My theory is that a bunch of the reappraisal of the prequels comes from the fact that almost all the heavy lifting for the stories came from the animated series. Those do such a great job of developing the actual characters, and giving us a reason to care about them. But looking at the movies by themselves... yeah they are not good movies.

The bottom line is, prequels are difficult to pull off. It is nearly impossible to create something that will satisfy everyone. Usually what we get is a massive mess.


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Re: Now Playing: Wednesday, May 18   Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (9:58 a.m.) 

> The bottom line is, prequels are difficult to pull off. It is nearly
> impossible to create something that will satisfy everyone. Usually what we
> get is a massive mess.

This. I think that often the questions that prequels are supposed to answer (how did Anakin turn into Darth Vader, etc) are better left to the imagination.


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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Tuesday, May 24, 2022 (2:45 p.m.) 
• Now Playing: Brother Bear - Mancina/Collins  

> The prequels do have their moments, '...not many of them, but they do have
> them'. The original trilogy was the one I grew up with, and so the
> prequels were a big disappointment to me when they first came out. But
> over the years I've found more and more to like about them. Production
> design and world building are at the top of the list. There was a lot of
> effort really building on the setting and trying to make it have a bit
> more depth. I also think the very core of the story, Anakin's rise and
> fall has lots of merit. I really appreciate the irony of his fall from
> grace happening because of love. If presented better than it was, these
> movies could have surpassed the original trilogy.

> But... yeah, there is a lot of wrong in that presentation. To me they just
> don't come together in a cohesive whole. With Lucas getting in the way of
> his own storytelling more often than not. Some of the creative decisions
> just baffle me, and each time I revisit it, I feel disappointed because
> (much like The Hobbit trilogy) I can see the great series buried in there.
> But it just never has a chance to really come out.

> My theory is that a bunch of the reappraisal of the prequels comes from
> the fact that almost all the heavy lifting for the stories came from the
> animated series. Those do such a great job of developing the actual
> characters, and giving us a reason to care about them. But looking at the
> movies by themselves... yeah they are not good movies.

I've only seen a handful of episodes of the animated shows, and didn't care for them. I like the prequels just fine having not seen the animated shows. I think the reappraisal comes more from how Disney really botched the sequel trilogy. If they announced an animated show about those characters, would anyone really care?

> The bottom line is, prequels are difficult to pull off. It is nearly
> impossible to create something that will satisfy everyone. Usually what we
> get is a massive mess.



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Re: Monday Movie Post: Favorite Prequel Series   Wednesday, May 25, 2022 (7:15 a.m.) 
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> I've only seen a handful of episodes of the animated shows, and didn't
> care for them. I like the prequels just fine having not seen the animated
> shows. I think the reappraisal comes more from how Disney really botched
> the sequel trilogy. If they announced an animated show about those
> characters, would anyone really care?

The animated series has some extremely wonderful highs and some pretty sad lows. There are recommended viewing lists out there to get you to the good stuff. In all honesty they actually gave Padme much more of a character in the series, and that helps build the relationship with Anakin in a stronger way. It ends up giving "Revenge of the Sith" much more of an impact. I also feel they build the relationship between the Jedi and the clones in a really interesting way, so that when Order 66 goes down, that sense of betrayal is much stronger.

As I said, it feels like some of the heavy lifting for the emotional power behind the core story comes out in the series and feels like an outline or skeleton in the films. I know several folks who have come around to the prequels because the series gave them the emotional beats they were missing. And folks who grew up with the series really don't separate it at all from the films. For them it is all one continuous massive story. To them the watching the films out of context just seems odd.

I think you do make a good point. The dumpster fire that was the sequel series has put the prequels in a better light. I do know a lot of old curmudgeons who sneered and jeered at the prequels, who now say "Well, it could have been a lot worse. Look at "Rise of Skywalker" or "The Last Jedi". And that allowed them to drop some of that baggage they've been carrying since they watched the Red Letter Media dissection and all the internet hate that rained down. They seem them in a better light as flawed but serviceable.

I struggle, because I can't call them "good". They are too flawed for that. But I appreciate what Lucas was trying to do. I admire some of his choices. But other ones like Jar Jar, killing off Darth Maul and even starting with Anakin as a child just feel like he was not challenged by other folks around him to say, "Hold on a sec George, is this really going to help the film or the trilogy?" He had a lot of Yes Men around him during those films, and I think it ended up making the prequels stumble to the finish line.


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