Where Were You When You Realized the Star Wars Prequels Sucked

The George Lucas Directs LOTR post today had a few people talking about their first impressions when they saw the there’snotevenanadjectivetodescribehowbaditwas Star Wars prequels.

McGee says:

I still remember my excitement and anticipation for Episode I. I was in….9th grade? I can’t even remember. I was in high school, I know that. My friends and I went to the first local showing at midnight (we were probably the only geeks there NOT dressed up as characters), and it began dawning on me about a third of the way through….this movie was terrible. The writing was bad. The story was bad. The dialogue was laughable. The acting was wooden. The special effects were great….in number, but not necessarily quality.

I was furious by the end, absolutely furious. Of course my one friend thought it was awesome, but he was (and likely still is) an imbecile with no taste in film. I, on the other hand, have very particular tastes, and I could see immediately that George Lucas had lost whatever magic he’d once had.

TDavis says:

I recall going to the midnight premiere of Episode One with several of my pals and leaving the theater, not furious, but greatly confused and sad. The thing that really put me over the top into anger is when someone asked Lucas about a particularly odd scene (The rising and falling energy walls during the final duel.)
Interviewer: “What the heck were those things going up and down during the fight scene?”
Lucas: “Oh, we’ll explain them when we do the extended version.”
Excuse me?
I just laid out good money to see Episode One.
Can I use my ticket stub to see Episode 1.2?
I’ve detested Lucas ever since.

I remember going to see Episode One the day before it was released. My friend was a projectionist and we watched it after the theater had closed so there was no crowd to gauge. I remember the music to the 20th Century Fox sign beginning which to me always brings back memories to the original movie. (Seriously, there’s no bigger disappointment when a movie from Fox uses that music for a movie that isn’t Star Wars). The opening crawl with it’s bit about trade embargos seemed a bit too much like intergalactic cspan for me but we’re in the beginning of a new trilogy. It’s forgiveable. Then, Jar Jar made his first appearance….

I went home that night in a state of denial. I think deep down I knew what I had just seen was crap but it didn’t make sense. I mean, Lucas had twenty years to hone the material. Didn’t he say that he had written the entire backstory back while developing episode iv? Twenty years of thinking about the prequels and the best he could do for the climax of Act 2 was the Tatoonian equivalent of Nascar??? No, no, it couldn’t be. I must have had some bad butter in the popcorn or something. It must be my fault. I must not have understood the complex trade relations between the people of Naboo and the, the, whatever the other people were. You know, the ones that they gave the asian accents to.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I tossed and turned and mulled over the steamping pile of bantha shit I just watched and it suddenly came to me. That movie sucked!

And you?

16 Comments

  1. The funny thing is, I went to see it again in theaters about 4 more times, desperately trying to convince myself that it could NOT be that bad, it HAD to be better.

  2. What the hell was up with Yoda in episode I? He looked horrible! Looked like a celebrity with bad plastic surgery! I was upset because he is my favorite character! Atleast he looked better in Episodes II and III. And got to kick some ass too.

    Also, was I the only one REALLY disappointed with the final battle with Obi Wan and Anikin? I def don’t think it lived up to

  3. Hi there,
    I love your site. I have to weigh in on this topic.
    I was a lifelong SW fanatic at the time of Ep. 1’s release. I was also doing my best to avoid any insider news or teaser footage because I wanted my Ep. 1 experience to be pure. I was working at a Northern California animation studio at the time, and one day I walked in to a lot of buzzing and whispering about a “secret client” and “a top secret job”. I was called in to a meeting where I was introduced to some people from one of THE Lucas companies and asked if I wanted to be part of a top secret animated tie-in to Ep.1. At the moment, it felt like a dream come true. I was asked to sign some non-disclosure forms because I was about to gain access to some top secret production footage. This was about a month or two before the films release. I was conflicted, but not about to pass on the chance to actually work on anything even remotely related to my fantasies. I signed whatever I had to sign and agreed to do whatever was asked of me. My colleagues and I were then taken to a private conference room where, under the supervision of a Lucas Co. employee, we were shown a compilation reel of footage from Ep. 1 featuring most of the major scenes that involved the “loveable new character Jar Jar”.
    Thats when the bubble burst. I had hoped that maybe the scenes I saw would play a little better in context, but by the time the movie came out, I knew just where to set my expectations. I didn’t enjoy Ep. 1 when it came out. Nor did I enjoy working on a Jar Jar themed tie-in for 2 more months after the movie openned. It was unbelievably hard to motivate my colleagues towards the end of that project.
    The only redemption came a few months later when I was in Barcelona coming down after a 24hour party. Unable to sleep, legs sore from dancing all night, and still a bit loopy- I stumbled into a movie theater with a friend to chill out and see whatever was playing. Of course the only thing playing at the time was the Spanish language dub of Ep. 1. And to my great delight, Jar Jar played much better with a Spanish voice. I finally got to look through my own cynicism and disapointment and enjoy Ep. 1 with the bleary headed optimism of my inner fan.

  4. After seeing the trailers I was trying to decide whether those were really the best bits they could find, or if the trailers were just put together by morons trying to appeal to other morons, so I decided to skip the rush and wait on reviews from people I knew. I’ve still never seen any of the prequels.

  5. I realized it shortly after I saw Ep. 1 for the first time. The excitement was incredible, though. The line at the theater was the longest I’d ever seen it, and some professors and friends I knew were even in costume. But watching the movie, the truth was creeping up on me. I left the theater confused and trying to sort out what I’d seen.

    I’d decided that rather than a classic mythical tale, I had just seen an exercise in childish slapstick, fart jokes, and shiny things. Looking back, I can say that the Spongebob movie was far more mature and interesting. Whomever is in charge of that little sponge really knows how entertain children without causing pain to other age groups.

    I was impressed with a certain fan edit. Someone had cut every scene with JarJar that could be cut, and even got rid of that annoying “Oops” when Anakin destroyed the droid controller ship. Not only was the edited movie much shorter, but it had a better flow and was much more enjoyable. But there’s only so much an edit can do–the general story could have still used a bit of work.

  6. I read the book beforehand – I couldn’t wait. So, I had some idea what was up.
    I skipped work to go see it.
    I thought the whole trade federation plot was actually a pretty good and parallels a lot of what’s going on today – you know, with faux Japanese aliens hijacking out government. But, I jest.
    If I remember correctly, you could keep the very first part in to set up the story, maybe have a flash of that spoiled, shit kid, then fast forward to the Darth Maul parts and then show the emperor and that would have been a good movie.
    My biggest problem, besides the Disney characters, was that they killed off Darth Maul. That was probably the best villian in the entire series.
    Probably because he was spouting Lucas’ drivel dialogue.
    All in all, it took me a good six months to admit that it sucked.

  7. all my co-workers bailed at work on campus so i made extra money that weekend. they praised Lucas non-stop and i ALMOST believed them. sure, i missed out on their frenzy (and they now admit it’s total crap), but i had to pay for school. oh Lucas? i jacked EP1 off Bittorrent and it can’t hold “The Phantom Edit’s jock strap. i’d pay regular admission for that film 🙂

  8. It was hard to admit it, and for a while I didn’t. Sure, we all said from the beginning that the first movie wasn’t as good as the previous three, but to come out and say it really sucked was something not many people were prepared to do.

    It feels good to say it now. I’m finally liberated: It sucked. The second one sucked. The third one sucked (mainly due to bad acting).

    And another thing: Dude, Where’s My Car is a good movie. There, I’m free.

  9. I was in the cinema watching it when I realised that it sucked. I knew for sure that it sucked when Quigon, Obiwan and the frog were in a mini submarine being chased by fish. It was a scene that was probably meant to be adventurous and playful, but it was just boring.

    Jar Jar Binks wasn’t even close to being the worst thing about ep 1. Jar Jar was not nearly as bad as the plot, the script, the directing, the screenplay, the dialogue, the one third of the movie devoted to flogging the next LucasArts videogame, the midichlorians, Jake Lloyd, the directing, the incest (anakin made C3PO from spare parts?), the lack of any old samurai movies to base the screenplay on, the directing, etc. the change from free will to fatalism (compare Han’s change of mind about attacking the death star to Anakin inadvertantly destroying the droid mothership), but above all, it was dull to watch.

    Now, I love a slow movie, but it’s got to have some character. Credit to Ewan for doing a fine impersonation of a young Alec Guinness.

  10. I remember the whole movie-going experience of The Phantom Menace being a bust. I still largely use this experience as one of my personal example why the going-to-the-movie-experience is a fading lure to myself (especially with the advance of home theater).

    I believe the inital screenings or opening night was a Wednesday. I waited until the third screening of the next day at around 1pm (they had so many screens showing Phantom Menace, a new screening was available at every half-hour), hoping the stadium theater wouldn’t be too crowded (i’m not a big fan of sitting right next to/on top of people I don’t know if I don’t have to). I’m usually a solitary movie-goer, and I like to immerse myself in the films I see, and don’t see much need for the artifice of have a companion that I can’t talk to for the duration anyways (however when at home I can talk up a storm when watching a movie with another person).

    I walked into the theater right in the middle of the half-hour set of previews (before so readily seen on the internet, I was actually a fan of watching the previews… enjoyment was eventually replaced with ire when TV commercials started showing up… hello? isn’t that why I’m at the movies, so I don’t have to watch commercials that “belong” on television?). I timed it perfect. This way I can choose my seat, the best available, and I don’t have to be pissed at the inevitable person who sits directly in front of me (can’t put my feet up), behind me (I have to hear all their lame comments) or beside me (Would you like to accidentally drink some of my $4 drink? How about taking one of my arm rests?).
    And to my double surprise there were only FOUR other people in the theater (two sets of two). One couple near the from the the left, and the other two all the way in the back. Awesome, I could take my number 1 desired seat of center row (eye level at middle screen) in the very middle of the aisle.

    I was a happy dude. I was about to rekindle a youthly passion for a serial film, I was sitting in my favorite seat placement, and my worries about other movie patrons was absolutely zero. This joy lasted for about a half hour before it was crushed.

    Ten minutes into the movie I was doing pretty good still (hey, I kinda liked watching Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon kick some Trade Federation battle-droid ass and was really diggin the updated “ninja-ization” of the Jedi skillz. And later the three-way saber duel between Darth maul and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan may have been the best duel -action wise at least- in all the Star Wars flicks). Until… a straggler Dad and his two tykes walked into the theater ten minutes after the movie had started.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I don’t have any, but I do have nieces and I think the world of them. I rarely blame a small child for acting out in public. Sometimes they simply don’t know better, or maybe it’s the only way they can express themselves. I’m fine with that. However, I do hold parents’ responsible for being accountable for their childrens’ actions. For instance, if I was in public somewhere, and a child I do not know came up to me and kicked me in the shin unprovoked, I would most likely grin and bear it. Then I would of course also immediately look for the childs’ parent to come and claim their child and prevent it from happening again. A “Sorry” from the adult would be gravy, but really not necessary. Yet, if I found a disinterested parent not collecting their child for these actions my ire would bubble (all towards the adult of course). I think this is a very reasonable attitude to have towards children in public.

    Well wouldn’t you guess it, but Straggler Dad and Two Tykes choose the seats directly behind me! No joke. 5 total patrons in the entire stadium theater, with probably 200 empty seats, and they sit in the seats right behind me.

    It takes them a good 10 minutes to settle in (who sits where, who has who’s snacks and drinks – opening/eating said snacks and drinks). Then the kids start asking questions about what is going on. Normally this bothers me if it’s adults, but they’re very small kids so the questions are strange and cute (always reminds me of old Dana Carvey stand-up: “Daddy – Does God have feet?” Cuteness that slays), I can deal with it.

    So you’ve probably noticed I talked very little about the movie itself. Well, as all this periphary theater nonsense is going I start hearing some really lame dialogue and exposition (Midochlorians?! What the Hell is that? So Darth Vader is a bad-assed Jedi because of some kinda space virus?). I was becoming skeptical of what what happening in front of me.

    Even the kids behind me started loosing interest. They couldn’t seemed to muster any cute questions involving the Trade Federation’s illegal embargo on Naboo (coherced by a mysterious Darth Sidious) and Queen Amidala’s attempt to have Senator Palpatine lobby the Galactic Senate for military aide. Yes, this is the gift of a plot we were given after waiting for 20 years.

    As a Star Wars fan from birth I was starting to feel insulted. Although I obviously don’t remember it, my Mom took me to see A New Hope in the theater with my older brother when I was a newborn infant – I was aparently a baby who rarely cried in public. Later, when Empire Strikes back came out I remember my mom taking me to see the film at the cinema in the mall 5 times in a 7 day span when my dad took my older brother and sister on a trip to his parents’ house. For Return of the Jedi she pulled me out of the middle of a school day as a surprise treat. I had what I felt like a deep connection between these films and my childhood. And that little ham-headed Jake LLoyd was getting on my nerves.

    As a movie-goer and Star wars fan I lost it during the pod racing sequence. No, the idea of a meaningless plot-device race didn’t really ruin Stars Wars for me. It was that awful two-headed race announcer that ruin the Star Wars franchise for me (I’m not entirely sure, seeing that I’ve only seen the movie one other time after this – with my mother on my birthday, more of a treat for her than me – but I don’t believe the much-maligned Jar-Jar had even shown up in the movie yet).

    That two-headed Announcer was THE most ridiculous charicature of a southern NASCAR personality announcer. For some general backround; I was born and raised in the Mid-West and I’ve lived in the South for the second half of my life. While not a hater or true fan of NASCAR (I can watch a race but I never go out my way to view them), I found these “guys” with their ridiculous voices announcing this pod race absurdley grating and it just ripped me right out of the suspension-of-disblief that all good fantasy movie are supposed to aim for.

    “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…” they had NASCAR too. I just kept repeating it to myself over and over again. And was it just me but was anyone else reminded of the nameless re-occuring announcer charcater that shows up on King of the HIll episodes. The guy who obviously voices said announcer and Dale Gribble’s character as well. I mean, it’s obviously a joke funny enough to the King of the Hill writers and producers to use several times, maybe George Lucas didn’t get get the memo (both are distributed by FOX right?).

    When the race was finally over (That-a-way to use the Force Mushroomhead!) I was distraught. By the time Jar-Jar and his Fat Albert’s Mushmouth rip-off routine had come and gone I was dispondant. “Mee-sa”?! Are those Gungans really using the pronoun “Mee-sa”? What kind of Amos and Andy crap was that?

    To top it all of with a cherry on top, the children seated behind me quickly became bored with the movie as well and started focusing on kicking my chair. To which the father did nothing to discourage. I could hear every peep they made, and nary a word or chiding came from his lips. “They’re just kids” I repeatedly kept thinking to myself, “They don’t know any better”, as I ground my teeth into stumps. Actually the Dad did me the honor of stretching out his stank feet on the arm rest between my chair and the empty chair to my left. They probably stunk so much because it was summertime and he was sporting some Birkenstock sandels. Seriously. Right. Next to. My Head. The kicker (pun alert!) to that senerio was when readjusting his feet he actually kicked me in the head. I turned around and looked at him incredulously, waiting for my apology. none came, he was intently watching the screen.

    At this point I lost it for real. I stood up, turned around, took a step to my right to block the guy’s view as I (finally) made eye contact with him and said “Seriously!?” (long pause met with silence) “No Apology?!” (another long pause met with bewildered stare) “You realized you just KICKED me in my head, Right?!” (long pause met with confused yet mostly blank stare) “Unbelievable. What fucking planet are you on?” (long pause met with wide eyed stare) “And another thing… Look around. In a theater so empty, would you ever, EVER, sit so close to someone else?!” (silence, met with same wide eyed stare). After which I walked away and moved down ten rows to a new seat.

    Pretty ridiculous I know, and I’m not usually prone to screaming in public (never is more like it). And I almost regret cursing in from of the Two Tykes. But after the first couple of blank stares and no responses from Joe Clueless I figured I had to dial it up a notch to get a response (which obviously never came). And I already felt like I was holding my tongue in regards to the kids kicking my seat (which, for their sake I wasn’t going to bring up). Some thing had to give, and my sailor’s mouth is a natural extension of my lexicon anyways. For those who ask why I didn’t just move sooner? First, why should I move? Was I not there first? Before the movie started? Secondly, this all happened about thirty minutes into the movie (and remember they cam in late AND took time to “settle” into the movie). It all happened pretty quick-like.

    Anyways… When I think of Phantom Menace I think of that jerk and the annoyingly awful two-headed NASCAR Announcer.

  11. I knew it was gonna suck before I ever saw it.
    dont ask me how. I guess I have this sense.

    It wasn’t what people said about it – more like what wasn’t being said.

    Anyway, two weeks into the hype. I folded. A co-worker actually told me it was REALLY good (nowadays I see him on some forums where he keeps saying how much it sucked – HA!)

    I guess there’s that part where they tell the annoying kid about chlorine in the pool or something that I started thinking about doing my taxes. That’s when I knew.

    That and the fact that no one dies in any of the action scenes. No danger. None of that “AAAARGH I’m HIT” stuff. Nothing.

    I really wish he’d have gotten Nsync in there like he originally wanted to.

    too bad really….

  12. … I recall seeing the previews (can’t recall what film I was actually in for that day), with the Trade Alliance tanks rolling with a deep hum over the hills of Naboo… It sent chills down my spine.

    … I should’ve just left it at that. I mean, midechloreans??!! (sp?)

    … No way in hell Lucas wrote all the eps back in the 70’s. That’s complete BS.

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