We at BAD HAVEN entertain a variety of opinions, and while we have spent a considerable amount of time slating Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, we’re also prepared to look at the other side of the coin. Author Owen Quinn examines the controversial topic of the Star Wars prequels and reminds us of something that we may have forgotten:
So Star Wars is about to hit the cinemas again only this time on 3D. And once again, I’m listening to the same old crap about how rubbish they.How Jar Jar Binks is the worst thing ever and how George Lucas has lost his magic because nothing compares to the originals. And while I agree that the originals are the best, I can’t just sit back and listen to the bandwagon jumpers all over again. If you don’t like them why go on about them? And you know what- suck it up and let it go.
No one can ever deny the fantastic event we were all drawn into back in the 70s. I remember my first taster of Star Wars was a news report on ITN News which showed the Millennium Falcon fleeing the Death Star pursued by TIE fighters, while the newsreader told of this movie that had taken America by storm. And I was hooked.
One of my best memories was my late father waking me late at night when he returned from a trip to London and handed me a Han Solo figure. I was blown away- how magical was that; a Star Wars figure all the way from London where they made Star Wars. It was a truly special figure. (I was a kid what did I know?) And soon I was on constant visits to Leisure-world Toy Emporium where at the top of the stairs were walls full of Star Wars merchandise which left me speechless.
I pestered my father to take me to the Co-op Shopping Centre to meet Darth Vader but when I got there he was just the Green Cross Code Man, but that didn’t matter. So no one can say I wasn’t a huge fan; I still am and like the rest of the world was delighted to hear George would be making three more movies detailing the story of how Anakin fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader.
And then it came what did we get: A stinker saved on by the lightsabre duel. I liked Attack of the Clones and my biggest gripe with Revenge was how Padme chose her husband over her kids. What a heartless bitch. Ok so they weren’t as good as the originals and here we go again with people recycling the same old tired arguments. The same people that bought the new figures, queued up regardless and sought out every detail they could on the new films. Now these same jaded fans claim to love the Clone Wars animated series which let me remind you wouldn’t exist of it hadn’t been for the prequels.
So what is it that makes the original Star Wars generation bitch so much about the prequels? It’s simple. Age.
I dedicated one of my books to my son saying something along the lines of; seeing the world though his eyes with a new sense of wonder. And it was him that made me stop and think.
I put on Episode 4: A New Hope for him to watch, but he had no interest. Where was Anakin? He asked. Where’s Jar Jar? So I put on the Phantom Menace for him and sat back and watched. From the very first moment he was hooked, enthralled at the jungle stampede, loving the underwater monsters and afraid of the battle droids who he believed would genuinely hurt his heroes. Please note the last words there- HIS HEROES. He laughed at Jar Jar, mimicking his phrases and was in stitches as he got his tongue caught in some machinery.
And so it hit me. This was his Star Wars, the magic of the originals that inspired me had passed to the prequels for my son. It didn’t matter that the story was rocky and something called midiclorians were introduced. My son was absolutely hooked just as I had been with the originals. In that instant all my criticisms were quashed. As a writer I know how hard it is to put a story together and make it flow, so fair play to George Lucas or anybody else for that matter for getting their imagination on screen.
And as I looked around my nephews and attended Emerald Garrison events I saw kids dressed as clone troopers, Darth Maul and Anakins. To them Darth Vader was a secondary character and Maul was the main big bad of Star Wars. While I stared in adoration at the Vader costume, my son just wanted to fight Darth Maul in the Jedi Academy. For us the pod race is too long, for kids it is not long enough. We are wondering when is this going to end; they are hoping it never does. We see Anakin flying a spaceship and just as we imagined ourselves as Han piloting the Falcon, they see themselves. We see silly battle droids croaking “Roger, Roger”, the kids see a real threat to our heroes. When we see the underwater monsters eat each other one after another in a tedious display, the kids see the dinosaurs that didn’t make it to Jurassic Park. And every time they pass a lake or the ocean, they wonder if the Gungan city is down there and a broom handle becomes the deadliest weapon in the galaxy (some things never change).
The gap is bridged whenever R2D2 and Yoda appear, bringing us all together and there was not a sound in the cinema whenever that iconic Vader mask descended over Anakin’s head in Revenge of the Sith. Not bad for such a hated movie. The last time I saw such an audience reaction was when the T-Rex burst from the fence during Jurassic Park.
So say what you will, Lucas achieved what he did for our generation with the new one. And our problem is somewhere along the line we began to see the prequels through adult eyes. And I am not defending the quality of those films for one minute, but when you’re standing in that queue with your 3D glasses thinking “I swore I wasn’t going to see this again”, stop and look at the nearest child excitedly waiting to see Jar Jar and Darth Maul again or maybe for the first time. And cast your mind back to the 70s when you were that child. Then go see the prequels through brand new eyes.
We all might say we never grow up, but sometimes, just sometimes we need that magic Han Solo figure from London.Tags: star wars, star wars episode one: the phantom menace