Star Wars Prequels: A Good Foundation for the New Trilogy

I’ve never had a spot on the anti-Star Wars prequels bandwagon.  When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I was 14 and a huge Star Wars fan.  I was too young at the time to go to a midnight showing, so I had to wait all day to see the film that evening, and I could not sit still.  By the time the 20th Century Fox fanfare started playing, I was in tears, and stayed that way through most of the film.  I remember everyone in the theater enjoying it immensely, laughing and cheering throughout, and I saw it again two days later.  Needless to say, I’m a Star Wars fanboy, and while my 28 viewings of the Star Wars saga films in the theater are not anything close to a record, it’s safe to say that I was in no way disappointed by the prequels.

With the announcement that Disney and Lucasfilm will be making (at minimum) Episodes VII-IX, many people have found themselves revisiting that last Star Wars films that were released, giving the internet new justification for one of its favorite pastimes: prequel bashing.  Many of these have been presented as “Lessons J.J. Abrams Can Learn from the Prequels” containing a list of grievances against the film.  IGN recently featured an article of this type, and I want to address some of its complaints.  I’m going to do my best to set aside my fanboyism because I truly feel that Episodes I-III are great films, and have been unfairly maligned in the last 14 years.

I’ll concede some of the article’s points with very only very small objections.  It’s very true that some of the acting is stiff and some of the dialogue is seriously awful.  Anakin’s “I don’t like sand” speech in Attack of the Clones is the epitome of the trilogy’s failings in this area.  Hayden Christensen is the worst offender, who seems to have no range of expression and very little in the way of acting ability.  Natalie Portman, who in fact is a fantastic actress, doesn’t often come across much better.  I will freely admit that casting and writing are areas where VII-IX can improve on I-III.

However, I will say that the style of the writing and acting are very much intentional on the part of George Lucas, even if the execution is lacking.  The prequels, and Attack of the Clones in particular, are styled after a particular period of Hollywood classics, which is easy to see from the visuals, the production design and the costumes.  It recalls historic epics such as The Fall of the Roman Empire from 1964, which featured gorgeous design, thoughtful political discussions and generally passionless performances.  When you see Lucas’s inspirations it’s easier to understand his stylistic choices, even if you may not agree with them (see also: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).  It doesn’t excuse poorly written dialogue or bad acting, but it might help soften opinions a bit.

I’m not going to debate Jar Jar, because that’s been done to death.  I understand that he rubs people the wrong way, and people’s reaction to him is much a matter of personal taste.  I do think that the claims of racism have gone extremely overboard, however.  I’ve never seen anything to lead me to believe that there’s a racist bone in Lucas’s body, and I think that the people who call the character itself racist are stretching racism to the breaking point.  Jar Jar is actually another character inspired by early Hollywood (Lucas is a student of film history, filling his films with homages to everything from Ben-Hur to early Looney Toons), the oddball native.  While there are certainly racist examples of that character type in Hollywood history, I don’t feel that Lucas’s alien can really be considered to be racist.

That aside, many people just can’t stand Jar Jar and think he’s the most annoying character ever created.  That’s personal opinion and I can’t argue with that, but I sat next to people who laughed loudly at his hijinks in the theater who later became his most vocal critics, which I find hard to understand.  All humor dulls as it’s repeated, and perhaps Jar Jar was just run into the ground for some people upon repeat viewings.  He doesn’t bother me, even though I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, and my mother still says, “How rude,” in the same way as Jar Jar.

The argument that the prequels have no humor (point #2 on IGN’s list) is both an incorrect and a misguided one, however.  There are some wickedly funny moments, including much of the first part of Attack of the Clones, including Anakin and Obi-Wan’s banter as they chase the assassin and Obi-Wan’s encounter with the “death sticks” salesperson.  The search for humor in the prequels hints at my larger response that I’ll get into in a minute, but it boils down to the fact that the prequels are not intended to be a comparable story type to the original trilogy, so the humor is intended to be considerably less (and why some of it feels forced).

The statement (#4) that all the acting is wooden is also not true.  Yes, Anakin certainly is and Padme can be at times, but largely the truth of that statement ends there.  Ewan McGregor gives Obi-Wan more life and character than he was ever allowed in the original trilogy, taking the foundation expertly laid by the late Sir Alec Guinness and expanding and growing Obi-Wan into a rich character.  IGN particularly complains about the casting of Samuel L. Jackson as a Jedi instead of some kind of badass smuggler, which is an absurd statement to make because Lucas didn’t have a role for a badass smuggler.  I’ll never agree to the contention that a writer should conform his stories to the wishes of the masses (see the bigger argument below), and Jackson’s performance as Mace Windu is fun and badass while still fitting in the role of the character.  Mace Windu holding his unique purple lightsaber to Jango Fett’s throat and saying “This party’s over!” is something that only Samuel L. Jackson could pull off.

There’s not much to say about IGN’s third point complaining about the use of CGI instead of practical effects.  CGI is the way visual effects are done these days, and that’s not likely to change.  In fact, many effects were practical, particularly in The Phantom Menace, including C-3PO without his outer shell and the Yoda puppet.  In fact, the Yoda puppet got so many complaints from fans that they switched to CGI for the sequels, and painted over the puppet with CGI for the Blu-ray release of Episode I.

That takes care of IGN points #2, 3, 4, and 8.  Point #5 is just stupid.  (Lucas keeps the use of the force consistent through the series, if he’d brought out tons of new force powers the fans would have complained that he was changing things too much.  Dealing with fans is generally a lose-lose scenario.)  I would love to write off the animosity and criticism as merely excessive hype and false expectations, and while both of those were contributing factors it’s an oversimplification of the issue.

The Phantom Menace did arrive with an unprecedented amount of hype, but also something more unique.  Never before had there been an additional film in a series with that long of a break (16 years since Return of the Jedi and 22 years since Star Wars) between.  The Star Wars trilogy was and is arguably the most popular film series of all time, basically created the modern film trilogy, and revolutionized Hollywood and fandom.  These factors all contributed to the trilogy having a unique place in people’s opinions.

People felt a deep ownership of Star Wars.  Between the books, toys, comics, cartoons and endless rewatching of the films, the fans feel a sense of entitlement where Star Wars is concerned.  Many people would argue that that is only fair; they’re the ones who are responsible for the franchise’s success and therefore the filmmakers and George Lucas should be answerable to them.  This attitude is one of my biggest pet peeves with regards to fandoms.  I remember when the prequels were announced and people began speculating on what they might contain, and on many counts they were correct: Anakin’s turn to the dark side, huge Jedi battles, Palpatine’s rise to power, explanations on where the force comes from, etc.

The problem comes from a misunderstanding of the films they loved so much.  If Lucas had given us more of the same, he would have been ripped apart for failing to innovate.  Instead he gave us something very different and was trashed for it.  IGN’s first point in their article complains about his inclusion of “boring” things like the taxation of trade routes.  This plot point is actually brilliance on George Lucas’s part, intentionally undermining expectations.  Most of what people had assumed about the backstory to Star Wars came from Obi-Wan’s description of the time.  It included a pupil who turned to evil, a “clone war” and Vader hunting down and murdering the Jedi.  The prequels are, of course, all about a pupil who turned to evil, but Lucas intentionally never shows the Clone War or Vader’s time as Palpatine’s henchman.

Instead, Lucas gives us a story of political maneuvering, of manipulated relationships, and of tangential action.  He didn’t give us this under the impression it was what we wanted, but instead he presented it as the story he wanted to tell.  Since we already knew the outcome, he chose to show us what we didn’t know and couldn’t predict.  The idea that big things have small beginnings is nothing new, but to begin a seven billion dollar franchise’s story with the taxation of trade routes is a bold and fascinating choice.  Dictators don’t come to power in democracies by standing in the square with a megaphone and shouting, “I’m now the Emperor!”  Ian McDiarmid said, “My conclusion as the result of all that is not just that George is a good filmmaker and a great storyteller, but he is a pretty astute analyst of the politics of power.”

As Lucas, himself, describes it: “This idea of a democracy being given up and in many cases being given up in a time of crisis, you see it throughout history whether it’s Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Adolf Hitler, you see these democracies under a lot of pressure, in a crisis situation, who end up giving up a lot of the freedoms they have and a lot of the checks and balances to somebody with a strong authority to help get them through the crisis. It’s not the first time a politician has created a war to try to stay in office.”

I personally love the fact that instead of a new version of the monomyth adventure, Lucas chose instead to give us a tale of political power and corruption, and the complexity of the scheming involved in Palpatine’s rise to power.  Padme’s line, “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause,” is one of the defining moments of the prequel trilogy.  I read a quote (which I unfortunately can’t find) from Lucas saying that he had originally envisioned a more action-oriented rise to power for Palpatine, but as he aged and matured he realized that his first vision was unrealistic and changed the story to the one he filmed.

George Lucas gave the fans what they wanted (epic lightsaber duels, giant creatures, space battles) but they still felt like he hadn’t, because they story wasn’t what they expected or wanted to see.  My response to that is: too damn bad.  He is not obligated to tell the story that people want to hear, but instead to be true to the story he wants to tell.  (See my article, Argo and Filmmaking Responsibility.)  And, despite the outrage, people seem to have enjoyed it, based on the box office take, the toy sales, and the continued success of the Clone Wars animated series.

Lucas’s decision to tell that story also answers IGN’s complaint #7, which is ludicrous.  IGN complains that the villains in Episodes I-III weren’t “badass” enough.  The obvious response is that being badass doesn’t automatically make for a good villain, followed by the observation that both Darth Maul and General Grievous both fit the traditional definition of badass.  IGN complains about the villains being “elderly English gentlemen” instead of 7-foot warriors.  This strikes me as incredibly juvenile.  Palpatine is the villain, both in this trilogy and the original, and the fact that he is both a political mastermind and a force-wielding powerhouse makes him all the more terrifying.  Many of my favorite moments in the original trilogy were his scenes in Return of the Jedi, where his menacing presence was the true definition of evil.  That Ian McDiarmid portrayed Palpatine in both trilogies makes it even more perfect.

The other side of the story coin belongs, of course, to Anakin, and is admittedly damaged somewhat by less-than-perfect execution, despite the best of intentions.  The story itself is fascinating and every bit as interesting as promised, even if the characterizations leave something to be desired.  This relates to argument 6 in IGN’s list, about the lack of heroes to root for and get invested in.  However, they confuse the idea of a hero with the protagonist of the story.  Anakin is the protagonist of the story (along with Obi-Wan), but he’s not always the hero.

Lucas sets the trilogy up to do something that is both daring and difficult.  He has to make us root for the villains for two and a half movies.  Anakin, Palpatine and the Clone Army start out as the heroes, fighting against rebellious corporations and federations trying to strongarm the political system.  The entire Clone Wars TV series is based on this premise, with the Jedi and the Clones as the heroes.  However, the whole time we know how this will end, and that the idealistic young boy/grown man we’re rooting for will one day do unspeakable evil (and eventually be redeemed).  The fact that the supposedly flawless Jedi prove to be easily manipulated and deceived was horribly frustrating to some, but is fascinating and complex to me.  The “problem” with the prequels is that in the end there are no heroes, and those that are closest to it don’t have happy endings.  Padme dies heartbroken, Qui-Gon is murdered, Obi-Wan is forced to brutally disfigure his closest friend, Yoda is defeated and in the end the bad guys win.  How often can you say that about a blockbuster film trilogy?  Sauron doesn’t get the ring back at the end of The Lord of the Rings.

The prequels, as a result, are not escapist films, but are instead a political/social examination of power and its uses and misuses.  It’s telling that the films’ best scene might be one containing nothing but dialogue, when Palpatine talks to Anakin about power, planting the seeds of his plot into the young man.  Many hardcore fans of the original trilogy find the prequels “boring,” with too much dialogue and plot and not enough action and fun.  What’s interesting is that many of the people I’ve talked to who did not grow up watching the movies, and saw all 6 films as an adult, actually prefer the prequels, finding them to be the more interesting story.

In the end, I’m not trying to say you (or anyone) has to like The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith, because everyone has a right to like and dislike whatever they want.  But I feel like the prequel trilogy has been unfairly maligned, with the real reason behind the attacks not being a genuine lack of quality but instead because the films weren’t what the attackers wanted.  With that in mind, and with the prospect of new, upcoming films, I think now is the perfect time for people to revisit the prequels, particularly if it’s been some time since they were last watched.  There’s a lot to admire in the prequels, despite some of their more obvious flaws, even if they’re not exactly your cup of tea.

I agree with IGN that J.J. Abrams, Disney and Lucasfilm could learn many lessons from the prequels, but using them as examples to follow, instead of an illustration of what not to do:

1) Be True to What’s Come Before
Many people would claim that this was exactly the problem with the prequels, that they weren’t true to what came before.  I don’t mean that the new films should try to duplicate what we already have, but they should remain true to the spirit of Star Wars, and to the history that exists.  Lucas took great pains to ensure that the prequels did not contradict what we’d been told in the original trilogy, so that someone could watch all six films in story order without encountering continuity problems.  He kept an internal consistency to the universe and the characters.  The rumored casting of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford go a long way in this regard, just as Lucas used McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels and Frank Oz in the prequels.  John Williams should return to score the films, if at all possible (even though I think Michael Giacchino is brilliant).

2) Be Bold
Don’t be afraid to do something different.  There will be people who will hate the movies no matter what the filmmakers do, just as there will be those who love them no matter what.  I don’t think we have anything to fear from Abrams on this account, seeing as how he rewrote history for Star Trek (a decision I’m personally not a fan of, because it’s not what I wanted).  I don’t have a list of things I need from a Star Wars film; it doesn’t have to have 2 lightsaber duels, 1 blaster shootout and a finale featuring a giant space battle.  Some people might, but those things are secondary to what Star Wars truly is.  Give us great characters, interesting stories and keep it fresh.  History will eventually view these films as a 9 part whole, and making them feel different, as Lucas did with the prequels, will help the richness of the saga in the long run.

3) Follow George Lucas’s Vision
With Lucas selling Lucasfilm to Disney, there has been a lot of worry that his master plan for the saga will be ignored.  Everyone claims that Lucas provided an “extensive story treatment” for the sequels, and it’s assumed that Lucas will be involved with the films in some capacity.  There have been conflicting stories through the years about whether Lucas really knows what happens next, and he has even given different answers in interviews.  Regardless, the Star Wars story is his story, and his tale is the one that should be told.  I don’t have any problem with someone else telling his story (see The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) but they still have to stay true to it.

George Lucas said that, “If the first trilogy is social and political and talks about how society evolves, Star Wars is more about personal growth and self realization, and the third deals with moral and philosophical problems.”  I hope the new films can follow up on that promise with as much success as the prequels.

46 thoughts on “Star Wars Prequels: A Good Foundation for the New Trilogy

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  10. This is an excellent article and your points are really well argued. You are clearly writing with passion, perhaps an equal passion shown by those who criticise these films, and isn’t it great that people are so enthusiast in their reactions to a movie. For that if nothing else George Lucas needs to be celebrated. Interestingly the things you feel able to excuse are the very things that I can’t get past. The acting of the two main leads is poor, especially Portman who you rightly point out is normally so good, and the script is trite. Of course this is equally true of the original films but they have a nostalgic value these newer films can’t hope to benefit for at least another ten to fifteen years.

    There are two things that the episodes IV – VI had though that are sorely lacking from Phantom Menace, Clones and Sith. The first of these is Han Solo. The Correllian Smuggler who isn’t afraid to shoot first is a great character masterfully played and there simply isn’t anyone in the prequels to match him. The Young Kenobi is clearly designed to fill this role but it just feels forced.

    Secondly Star Wars changed everything. When it came out it was new and exciting and mind blowing. It properly revolutionised a proportion of cinema and it was admittedly impossible for Lucas to do this again, so many of these sorts of films having now been influenced by his vision. I do think that there was a complacency in the new films though.

    They are aimed at children but that shouldn’t excuse anything, just look at the wonderful story telling in films like Toy Story 3 and Coraline. I agree with your points about the plot doing the unexpected with a largely known story but it is overly complicated. Apparently Revenge of the Sith gives us 80% of Lucas’ original prequel story and everything else does feel like padding.

    The new villains are fine, that’s not the problem, it is the way in which Darth Vader’s villainy is diminished. Meeting him as a little kid called Annie doesn’t help but it is actually seeing him as a selfish and petulant young man that destroys the myth. The cry of ‘noooooooo!’ At the end also humanised him too much.

    I actually think the fan reaction to the prequels will have been cathartic and people will be more accepting of episode VII. Anyway, these are the thoughts that come off the top of my head. I have certainly not argued this as well as you but basically no matter how you feel about these films, it will be such an empassioned response that you’ll never be convinced otherwise.

    Finally, I’m sorry but Jar Jar is an embarrassingly poorly developed character. He isn’t as funny as Lucas thinks he is as indicated by the point in which he steps in the poo.

    Oh actually, one more thing: C3-P0 was really shoe horned in and why does Kenobi seem the remember ever owning R2-D2?

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    • Thanks. I feel like the article is more than a little dorky and overly enthusiastic, but I guess that’s the way I am. It was sort of thrown together rather quickly, because the announcement about VII-IX resurrected the prequel critics all over again, and after reading 10 anti-prequels articles in a day I just sort of snapped. I think it’s definitely a sign of Star Wars’ importance and lasting impact that the prequels produce such strong reactions, positive and negative.

      You’re right about the prequels lacking a Han Solo character, though I think that’s partly by design. Obviously, the prequels could have benefited from a character as well acted and crafted as Solo, but I think Lucas intentionally didn’t include that sort of character because the prequels were never supposed to be as “fun” as the original trilogy. A character like that would have distracted from the story Lucas was trying to tell (while also probably making the scenes with bad dialogue and acting look even worse).

      You’re also definitely right about the prequels not having the same impact and instituting the level of change that Star Wars did. Phantom Menace had the unfortunate luck of coming out the same year as The Matrix, which overshadowed the truly impressive effects work in TPM with some mind-blowing cinematography. The Matrix was the “cool” sci-fi movie, while TPM became the “boring, sci-fi movie for kids”. I think had the Matrix come out a year later, TPM would have been better received.

      I’ve never felt like the Star Wars movies were aimed at children, any more than Toy Story 3 or Coraline. Certainly they’re aimed at “all audiences,” which includes children, and Jar Jar was definitely designed to appeal to kids, but I wouldn’t call any of those films “kids’ movies”.

      As for being “overly complicated,” I agree and disagree. The original trilogy was such a simple story, and Lucas’s point was to show that simple endings often have complex beginnings. Think the Silmarillion compared to the Hobbit and LOTR. What I find really interesting is that many of the people I know who didn’t grow up on Star Wars like I did vastly prefer the prequels. They think the “farm boy” story is boring compared to the complex prequels. I guess part of that speaks to the popularity of shows like Game of Thrones, which thrive on complexity.

      I totally see Vader differently than you, because with the addition of the prequels we realize that the entire 6-film saga is actually Anakin’s story. He may seem less villainous, but he’s supposed to. On the other hand, Palpatine is much more villainous, because we see his ability not just to dominate and destroy, but to manipulate and charm. Villains rarely announce themselves with bombastic entrances, instead they slowly work themselves into positions of power until no one can oppose them. If the story of the saga is about Anakin, that makes Palpatine the true villain, and the prequels make him a far more interesting character. (Also, Ian McDiarmid gives a truly fantastic performance in the prequels, especially compared to some of the other acting.)

      I do think you’re right, that the fan reaction to the prequels will have made people more receptive for VII. Having Lucas step back from the production was a smart move, because he was (understandably) the focus of the animosity towards the prequels, and stepping down is a bit of reassurance for fans who were disappointed. I have mixed feelings about JJ Abrams, but I’m generally hopeful.

      I’m definitely not inclined to change my views, given my strong emotional response to the film, nor would I expect you to. I think the biggest factor for most people is just personal taste, something that can’t be logicked away. There are certainly films I hate that many people love (Batman Begins), and movies that I love that many people hate (The Lone Ranger). If Jar Jar annoys you, then he annoys you. He either makes you laugh or he doesn’t. (My mom, for one, still says “how rude” exactly the same way he does, so I’m not the only one who found him funny.) I have things that bother me about the prequels, but on the whole I love them, and they feel every much a part of Star Wars to me as the original trilogy. I never intended or imagined that this article would change anyone’s mind, I was just so tired of reading prequel bashing articles and never seeing a defense, especially when I do believe that some of the common criticisms are either unfair or misinformed.

      But in the end, as with most articles, I was just writing into the void. I write never imagining that anyone will ever read what I write (which is why there are probably a lot of typos and errors in my writing), so having you read this and respond is most certainly a bonus! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and give such a thoughtful response, and it’s nice to have a calm discourse without the crap that usually comes along with this kind of debate. Thanks for making the internet feel less lonely, and for being awesome in general!

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      • My feelings about the prequels changed over time. When the release date of Ep 1 was announced I booked the day off work and bought tickets for back to back shows. They then said that it was actually previewing on the Thursday the day before so I went then too. As a result I’d seen it three times within 24 hours. I did enjoy it (all three times) but there was something about it I couldn’t put my finger on. Jar Jar seemed weird and I couldn’t get my head round Darth Vader having built C3-PO in his bedroom but the design was amazing and it had (still has) the best lightsaber battle I’d ever seen. The pod race was great, Darth Maul was cool and the Duel of the Fates music was epic. I was a primary (elementary) school teacher at the time and when Ep 2 came out I showed the 77 Star Wars at my film club. At one point I had 100 kids making Stormtrooper masks and a photo of all of them wearing them ended up in the local press (they thought it a nice angle to approach the big cinema release with – ‘local teacher gets kids into Star Wars’ – as if they needed my help). I saw Ep 2 on opening night and loved it. This was better, none of the kiddie stuff of the first one (personally I do think that one is a children’s film). We had a big Star Wars battle but on land, Yoda got his lightsaber out and the scene where Kenobi escaped from Slave 1 was great. Then a strange thing happened. I saw it again one week later and I hated it. How had I not noticed the terrible acting, the laboured plot and the cheesy romance? Suddenly Ep 1 wasn’t looking so good either. I was missing Han Solo and The Millennium Falcon. Ian McDiarmid was brilliant and a lot of the action was cool but all in all it wasn’t that great. Obviously I saw Revenge of the Sith on opening night too and enjoyed it but it held little surprise. It was great to see the events surrounding Vader’s fall played out on screen having heard about them for years but I wasn’t reacting the same way I had and did to the originals for all the reasons described above.

        I wrote a piece last week about what makes a great blockbuster movie (in prep for Godzilla) and it picks up on a lot of the reasons why these films sometimes fail.

        Unfortunately Eps 1-3 are not great blockbusters (neither is Godzilla).

        Loving the debate as ever, thanks. I’m glad we found one another’s blogs.

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        • I guess you could say I had the opposite reaction. I saw TPM 8 times in the theater, AOTC 9 times and ROTS 10 times. For me, they kept getting better, the parts that I didn’t like (acting, writing) faded away and the parts that I loved became my focus.
          I’ll have to check out your piece about what makes a good blockbuster. I haven’t seen Godzilla yet, but knowing that you don’t think it’s a great one probably confirms what I expected. I still might see it, but I’m not going to rush out to.

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      • Also I know exactly what you mean about writing on line being like shouting into the darkness. I met a Peter Bradshaw a little while ago, who as cinema critic for the Guardian Newspaper is one of the UK’s leading voices of film journalism. He said something that really struck a chord with me. I always knew I did this more for me than anyone else, although we all want people to read our stuff, but Bradshaw hit the nail on the head when he said that if you love film then writing about it is a way of deepening your relationship with it. It helps you appreciate it even more. That more than anything is why I do this and I’m guessing it is the same with you.

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        • Yeah, I think Bradshaw is exactly right. Writing about the films I love has forced me to take a step back and examine why I really love them, and has made them deeper and more interesting experiences as a result. (This was especially true with Pirates of the Caribbean.) I definitely only write for myself, but it can be kind of frustrating when you work really hard on something you think others would like and it’s ignored.

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          • I agree, I do absolutely write for me first and other people second but sometimes you think something will connect with other people too and it doesn’t. I wrote a piece on The Bechdel Test that got barely any views at all, despite my wife insisting it was something I should post on, then I wrote an article on a new way of measuring the representation of women in cinema and it got 150 views (which is way, way, way, way more than I normally get, way more). I try not to obsess over the stats, and I am better than I was in the early days but it is hard not to want people to care about what you care about. I do love it though when a friend who I had no idea reads my blog starts talking to me about stuff I’ve written. You forget when it’s out there that anyone can pick it up. I wrote something on the film and show of Once and the manager of the theatre showing the stage production here in London found it and read it. That was cool. Anyway, I love your blog and really enjoy chatting to you in the comments. Looking forward to your opinion on X-Men, I’m seeing it tomorrow.

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            • I try not to obsess over the stats, and I fail miserably, but I do try not to concern myself with how many views a particular article gets. I’m always surprised when I go to my all-time ranking of posts which ones have been viewed the most, because it’s never what I would have expected. That’s cool that the theater manager read your article about Once! And it’s always nice when a friend wants to talk about something you’ve written. Most of my friends couldn’t care less.
              I’ll be very curious to hear what you think of X-Men, because I seem to be in the minority with my opinion.

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          • I wrote a light little piece bringing people up to speed on what has happened in the X-Men films so far and a lot of people have read that. People even found it on search engines. I guess it is just predicting what people want but I can’t do that and don’t always want to.

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            • Oh, cool, I bet that was something people were really searching for leading up to the movie. I always love it when someone finds my blog by searching for something I specifically wrote about. Of course, with “pirate” in my blog name, I get a lot of people searching for pirated versions of movies. Oh well.

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              • Someone found my blog by searching ‘Natasha Romanoff has sex with Maria Hill’ once. How pervy is that? Here’s hoping my blog taught them to properly respect women and movies but I’m guessing I was a brief stop off on the way to something intended for an entirely different audience.

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                • Yeah, I’ve gotten a bunch of stuff like that. Especially if you write an article with rape in the title, you’ll get some pretty sick stuff. After I reviewed the new Tomb Raider videogame, I got a bunch of creepy/pervy stuff that people were searching for. I like to think I made them rethink their attitudes, but like you said, I was probably just a quick stop. Oh well.

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      • Okay, I’ve just watched Revenge of the Sith again and it’s no good, I just can’t connect with it. The bits that lead directly into the original trilogy give me goosebumps, the birth of Luke and Leia and Darth Vader fully suited up on the bridge of the Star Destroyer, but the rest of it just leaves me a little cold. I tried, I really did.

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        • There’s nothing wrong with that. You can’t help your reaction to it. No amount of rambling on my side of things can make you like it. Everyone has different tastes and is looking for something different from their movies. For me, the prequels really speak to me and hit the right spot, but for you they don’t. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

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    • The general complaint seems to be that some of the acting and dialogue is stiff and unnatural (often directed at Hayden Christensen in particular). The sand line strikes people as awkward and embarrassing. None of it really bothers me, but for the purposes of my article I felt it was best to concede some of that in order not to distract from the points I was trying to make.

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  16. I think a political drama could have been good but I feel like that is executed horribly in all of the films. Most of the time it seems confusing because we get so little of it that it is broad platitudes not real boiler room type discussions and philosophical debates. Most of Phantom Menace is spent on Tatooine or in the battle at Naboo. Very little time is given to Coruscant and the political intrigue.
    Plus, mediocre writing and acting is kind of a deal breaker for a political drama. I mean are you going to watch Mr Smith Goes to Washington if Jimmy Stewart is a bad actor in it? That’s basically what we have to do with Hayden (I’m watching Clones as we speak and he is so bad). And the writing and dialogue is at least crucial for me especially in a political drama and especially with a romance in Clones.
    I think the movie you are advocating for could have been good but I don’t see it in Clones and Menace.
    But clearly film is subjective and so that’s cool that you like the prequels.

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