Top 11 GOOD Things in the Star Wars Prequels

Top 11 GOOD Things in the Star Wars Prequels.jpg

April 15th, 2014
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(The shortened opening)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. It's practically a cliche to make fun of the Star Wars prequels.

(Footage from the prequels are shown as NC speaks)

NC (vo): We all know they're not very good, and we all know they suck the big one when compared to the original trilogy. It feels like there's nothing left to talk about. Well, in my opinion, there is one other thing to talk about: the good stuff.

(NC suddenly has three guns, a chainsaw and the Master Sword pointed at him. NC points his finger at the weapons)

NC: Hear me out.

(Back to the prequels)

NC (vo): Just because a movie or movie series is bad doesn't mean there can't be SOME good things about it. And when a series has this much money and--dare I say it--even effort thrown into it, it's good to acknowledge when that money and effort actually pays off. Are there more good moments than bad? Hell, no! But it's only fair when a movie series, even one as bad as this, does a few things right. They're not to be ignored and deserve being paid attention to.

NC: And we're gonna look at the Top 11 of them here today! Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the Top 11 Actual Good Moments from the Star Wars Prequels!

(We are shown a poster of The Phantom Menace, with the images of Jar Jar Binks, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Queen Amidala covered in red-colored Xs, while the image of young Anakin is covered with dozens of Xs. A red caption then appears at the top of the poster saying "The poster's drawn nice", before the title for Top 11 Good Things in the Star Wars Prequels is shown. For each interlude, the posters of the three films are shown with the number moving towards the screen)

#11[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 11: That kick-ass sword fight. The fighting in these movies definitely got a lot better when the prequels got started. Even the most intense moments in the original trilogy mostly kept it just two people tapping swords. But the storyline and characters still kept us interested. Well, since there was shit storyline and characters in the first film, they at least made up for it with a pretty cool swordfight. Instead of two people, it's three, and instead of just tapping swords, they're flipping, kicking, jumping, and even introduce that Donatello Saber. (A picture of Donatello is shown near Darth Maul) Yeah, I know. I'm sure it's called something else, but I call it the Donatello Saber.

(Footage of Obi-Wan dueling Darth Maul is shown)

NC (vo): All of this is much better in contrast to the first film.

(Footage of an older Obi-Wan dueling with Darth Vader from Episode IV is shown)

NC (vo; as Vader): Hey, Obi-Wan. (As Vader speaks, footage from the Mustafar duel in Episode III is shown) Remember when we fought in that volcano through a pool of lava and death, surfing on tiny little machines and doing flips and kicks everywhere? (as Obi-Wan) Yeah, sure do.


NC (vo; as Vader): We got so old. (as Obi-Wan) Preach.

(They resume dueling. Footage of Darth Maul is shown as NC speaks)

NC (vo): This was back when Ray Park was in everything, Sleepy Hollow, X-Men, Ballistic. He usually choreographed his own stunts and this movie was no exception. He does some awesome work as Darth Maul, and let's face it, he kicks some legitimate ass. Not to mention that kick-ass score that'll accompany it, too. In fact, let's give that an 11.5 on this list the more I think about it.

(#11.5 - John Williams Score is labeled as we are shown Qui-Gon dueling with Darth Maul as John Williams' "Duel of the Fates" plays)

NC (vo): If you couldn't get into the story, at least you can get into the action.

(Another scene of Obi-Wan dueling with Darth Maul is shown)

#10[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 10: Less Jar Jar as the films went on. Yeah, I know this kinda shouldn't count, seeing how making up for a mistake still technically means it's a mistake, but think about how much (George) Lucas doesn't like to go back on an alteration he's already made.

(Footage from the original trilogy is shown)

NC (vo): It took forever to get the original Star Wars non-special edition DVDs out, and for a while, he didn't even want to. He just wanted people to remember the newer effects and the newer scenes. He didn't want to change Greedo shooting first, he didn't want to change the dance scene in Jabba's palace. Once he's convinced something is better, he tries his danmnest to stay in that mindset.

(Footage of Jar Jar is shown)

NC (vo): So, it's welcoming that after one movie, he decided to cut down Jar Jar, arguably a characterized version of syphilis, to a much smaller role. Hell, in the third film, he doesn't even get a line. This isn't making an alteration years after a movie has come out, this is making an alteration while you're making the movie. And considering Lucas's background for change, I think that's really saying something. For someone who is banking so much on his humor to win over America, you gotta give credit when a guy finally realizes a mistake and tries to fix it, even if it is just one that he fixed. But like I said, it's a pretty big one.

(A scene showing Jar Jar getting his face caught on the electric engine of a Podracer is shown)

#9[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 9: Yoda kicking ass. On the one hand, I really didn't wanna see this as I always saw Yoda as that guy who had so much power, he can move a starship with his finger. I don't know, I just got the feeling a guy like that could blink and you could probably blow up or something. But I gotta be honest. Seeing somebody that small move like this is both hilarious and kind of awesome. You just don't see it coming. And it's nice how in the last film, we do see him moving big objects around as well as just swinging around the sword. So he's kinda using all his abilities to his effect, which, of course, asked the question: Why does he need that cane if he's so fit? Why couldn't he just use his powers to give his enemies a heart attack? I know, tons and tons of things that don't add up, but still, if it means watching "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Muppet", I don't give a shit. I love watching it, and it's some great action. I mean, come on. It's gotta be a lot better than this love banter.

(A scene from Episode III, showing Anakin and Padmé talking on a balcony in Coruscant, is shown)

Anakin: You're so... beautiful.

Padmé: It's only because I'm so in love.

(NC shudders in annoyance)

#8[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 8: This scene.

(A scene from Episode II is shown. At a bar, a man named Elan Sel'Sabagno approaches Obi-Wan, who is drinking at a table)

Elan Sel'Sabagno: You wanna buy some death sticks?

Obi-Wan Kenobi: (Uses a Jedi mind trick on Elan) You don't want to sell me death sticks.

Elan Sel'Sabagno: I don't wanna sell you death sticks.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: (Uses another mind trick on Elan) You want to go home and rethink your life.

Elan Sel'Sabagno: I want to go home and rethink my life. (Walks away)

NC (vo; chuckles): There's nothing else to say. I just think it's funny. For a series so devoid of good humor, this actually makes a lot of people laugh in the audience.

(The scene is shown again)

Obi-Wan Kenobi: (Uses a Jedi mind trick on Elan) You don't want to sell me death sticks.

Elan Sel'Sabagno: I don't wanna sell you death sticks.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: (Uses another mind trick on Elan) You want to go home and rethink your life.

Elan Sel'Sabagno: I want to go home and rethink my life. (Walks away)

NC (vo; laughs wheezily): That's it, I got nothing else. Next scene.

#7[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 7: Anakin and Padmé's reaction to being pregnant.* This might be a strange scene to focus on, but I actually think it's done quite effectively. Jedi are forbidden to fall in love, get married and have kids, so when Anakin returns to his secret wife, this is the last news he wants to hear.

(*Note: The name of number 7 is shown onscreen as being called "Preggers")

(Anakin and Padmé are shown talking in a hidden place at the Senate building)

Anakin: Are you all right? You're trembling.

Padmé: Something wonderful has happened. Ani, I'm pregnant.

NC (vo): With very few lines, they manage to run the gambit of shock, fear, happiness, and then back to fear again.

(Anakin is stunned to speak properly)

Anakin: That's...that's...that's wonderful.

Padmé: What are we gonna do?

NC (vo): That's a lot to display in only a couple seconds. It's the perfect reaction to such gigantic news.

Anakin: (smiling) We're not gonna worry about anything right now, all right? This is a happy moment. The happiest moment of my life.

NC (vo): Maybe it's because so many other scenes are devoid of natural human reaction, but I think this shows two thinking people who know this is both a huge joy and a big problem. It's short, it's quick, it's the perfect response to such a major discovery.

Padmé: What are we gonna do?

NC: I don't know. Disney's having the same problem right now.

(A fan-made Disney Star Wars poster is shown)

#6[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 6: Casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin.

(NC suddenly has the three guns, the chainsaw and the sword pointed at him again. NC points his finger at the weapons)

NC: Hear me out.

(Footage of Hayden Christensen as Anakin is shown)

NC (vo): I'm not gonna act like this is a good performance. It's not. It's bland, it's emotionless, every line is completely monotone. But, to this guy's credit, nobody gives a good performance in this movie. Everybody sounds the same. Are we really gonna blame Samuel L. Jackson for his bland delivery? You think the guy who does this...

(A clip from Snakes on a Plane is shown)

Neville Flynn: I have HAD it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!

(Back to Star Wars)

NC (vo): totally at home talking like this?

Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson): The oppression of the Sith will never return. You have lost.

NC (vo): No. This is obviously a sign of bad direction.

(Footage from The Happening and The Dark Knight is shown)

NC (vo): The same kind that can turn a good actor like Mark Wahlberg into an unfocused twit in The Happening, the same kind that told Christian Bale his Batman voice sounded fine. "Don't change a thing."

(Back to Star Wars)

NC (vo): Actors have to put a lot of trust in their directors, and an unfocused director can easily mislead a good actor. Even the acting in the first Star Wars film people forget wasn't always the best.

(A clip from Episode IV is shown, showing Princess Leia being confronted by Grand Moff Tarkin)

Princess Leia: I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.

NC: No, no. MORE kind of British!

(Back to the prequels)

NC (vo): So with that said, I still think the choice of Hayden Christensen was a decent one. (A poster of Shattered Glass is shown) He's acted well in other movies, and he can demand a strong presence. I know this because any scene where he isn't told to say any bad dialogue in a monotone voice, he looks damn intimidating. Anytime there's no talking and he just has to act with his facial expressions, it really works. In my opinion, one of the more powerful scenes in the prequels is where there is no dialogue. It's when Padmé and Anakin are separated, and both are contemplating what's going to happen to themselves and each other.

(The scene NC described is shown. Padmé and Anakin are shown in separate places in Coruscant, without any dialogue, thinking about what are they going to do; Anakin is mainly thinking about either staying loyal to the Jedi and letting them stop the Sith, or stop the Jedi to find out if the Dark Side can save Padmé's life)

NC (vo): That is so much more powerful than any line written in this movie. So, no. I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on this guy. I think he does have a fair amount of talent, just not enough to survive crummy direction. But honestly, very few actors do. When he's allowed to shoot a stare without any bad writing to get in the way, tell me you don't see the origins of one of the galaxy's most threatening baddies.

(The scene showing Darth Vader's mask being put on his face for the first time and Vader's first breath is shown)

#5[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 5: The Intro to Revenge of the Sith. Yeah, it's kind of corny and a little overblown, but people forget just how corny and overblown the original Star Wars trilogy was, too. I mean, look at this. You got the space battle, you got the swordfights, you got the lasers firing, you got the big diabolical villain. After two incredibly underwhelming movies before it, this was the first time I felt like I was actually watching a new Star Wars film. It had the energy, it had the imagination, it even had some of the comedy of the original. Some would argue this makes the film even more angering as it comes so much closer to the original trilogy, only to have the lameness of the other films show its face again.

(The balcony scene from Episode III shown earlier is shown again)

Anakin: No, it's because I'm so in love with you.

Padmé: So love has blinded you?

(NC shudders in annoyance)

NC (vo): But I'd much rather have something closer to the original than nothing hitting the mark at all. So for me, I think this intro was a damn fun ride.

(A scene showing Obi-Wan, Anakin, Palpatine and R2-D2 having crash-landed Grievous' ship on Coruscant is shown)

Obi-Wan: Another happy landing.

#4[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 4: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. As much as I talk about how bland most of these actors are, the one who seems to be perfectly cast and even manage to make a lot of the dialogue less painful is Ewan McGregor. Not only does he surprisingly command a lot of authority, but he also has an energy that carries over from a young youth to an aging warrior. When I look at this guy, I don't see someone badly playing a role, I see young Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness): Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.

Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor): I have re-calibrated the code, warning all surviving Jedi to stay away.

NC (vo): He captures the calm and collected nature of Alec Guinness, but still has the outlook of a young man who's learning.

Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor): The Chancellor will not be able to control the thousands of star systems without keeping the Senate intact.

Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness): An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

NC (vo): Sure, he's still got a lot of lame lines to say, but if someone was to ask me what I thought this guy in his youth would be like, this would be right on the money.

Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor): I will do what I must.

NC (vo): Whether teacher, student, young or old, the spirit of Obi-Wan is definitely strong in this one.

Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor): So uncivilized.

#3[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 3: The Emperor.

(A scene showing Palpatine being confronted by Mace Windu is shown)

Palpatine: No. No, no!

NC (vo; sounding annoyed): Okay, okay. (Speaks normally) Taking out some of his goofier moments near the end, the Emperor was the only thing in all of the movies that everybody looked forward to. He had the dark, menacing robe that would become famous in the other movies, but he also played a great diplomat, a great charmer, a great deceiver, and a great manipulator.

Palpatine: (speaking with Anakin) My mentor taught me everything about the Force, even the nature of the Dark Side.

NC (vo): It didn't seem like he was just sort of strained to looking evil and doing evil things like a lot of the other Star Wars villains or, heck, his role in the original trilogy. He could be cheerful, he could be funny, but it was all for his diabolical need to control.

Palpatine: You have great wisdom, Anakin. Know the power of the Dark Side, power to save Padmé.

NC (vo): Ian McDiarmid returns in this role, and you can tell he's having a friggin' ball with it. He runs the gambit from being incredibly subtle and sneaky to being full-blown over-the-top psychotic.

(Anakin is shown holding his lightsaber in front of Palpatine, having discovered his true identity as a Sith Lord)

Palpatine: Are you going to kill me?

Anakin: I would certainly like to.

Palpatine: I know you would.

NC (vo): Even in scenes where he's going a little too silly, he's still so much fun to watch.

(Palpatine is shown smiling, after Anakin has cut Mace Windu's hand to stop him from killing Palpatine)

Palpatine: POWER!! (Blasts lighting at Mace Windu, killing him)

NC (vo): He's like the Tim Curry of the Star Wars universe. You can see that whatever part he's doing, he's just going in full force. And yes, seeing an old man do this kind of swordfighting is pretty damn ridiculous. But remember. He had a few goofy scenes in Return of the Jedi, too.

(A clip from Return of the Jedi is shown)

Palpatine: (acting scared) Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational...

NC (vo): And besides, there's still more than enough moments of him looking creepy. We pretty much saw him in every enjoyable light a good villain should be seen in: quiet and calculating, loud and roaring, joyful and content, angry and bitter. Every time he was onscreen, he stole the show. Even at his silliest, the Emperor in the prequels is by far the best character.

Palpatine: The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.

#2[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): Number 2: The different worlds. One of the disadvantages the original Star Wars had is that while it had a decent budget, it was never so big that you could show off in great detail how gigantic the worlds could be. Now they made up for this by keeping the locations close, intimate, and having a lot of personality. With the prequels, though, you can show vast landscapes, entire cities, incredible backdrops. We can go from a solid still of Cloud City to circling buildings while flying through other ships. Now do I think there's too much CG and not enough hand-build sets? Of course I do, just like everybody does. And, yeah, I think one or two environments are painfully lazy. Can you say salting cracker-man? (An arrow points to one of the Podracing competitors with a big head) But for the most part, we're allowed to really see a planet from multiple different angles and several different locations, rather than just finding a desert and saying, "Oh, uh, the whole planet looks like this!" Keep in mind, too, in 1999, CG was mostly used for monsters and devices. This is one of the earlier films that created giant fantasy worlds that went outside your everyday environments. I even liked some of the great locations are obviously paying homage to other great locations. A lot of people claim the Podrace setup was too similar to Ben-Hur.

(Footage shows an opening crawl from Flash Gordon as well as an opening crawl to a Star Wars movie)

NC (vo): Oh, yeah, I forgot. Because nothing in the original Star Wars was paying homage to anything else!

(Back to the prequels)

NC (vo): Yes, it'd be better if the people in the world gave it more of a personality like in the original, but you still got to give credit to the fact that a lot of these places looked pretty damn awesome.

#1[edit | edit source]

NC (vo): And the number 1 Good Moment from the Star Wars Prequels is: The opera house scene from Revenge of the Sith. Not only is this scene beautifully shot, not only is it dripping with atmosphere, not only is it well-acted, not only is it well-written, but this is the first time in the prequels something is given to the Star Wars mythos to make it more of a mythos. What, you may ask? Why, its own mythos. Yeah, think about it. A lot of the great mythologies often have their own mythologies within their world.

(Images of famous books are shown)

NC (vo): Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Dune. Hell, even Harry Potter understood this.

(Footage from the original trilogy is shown)

NC (vo): But the original Star Wars, while many would agree is still a strong mythos, mostly stuck to its own story. We get a hint about Obi-Wan's past, but it's more of quick exposition.

(Back to the prequels)

NC (vo): This is more mythical, one that has its roots and legend and may or may not have happened.

Palpatine: Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create... life.

NC (vo): They're, of course, hinting that the Emperor had a big part in this story, but if he did, he's lying about the identities, which means the story is already changing from person to person, but still keeping the same spirit, as well as the same focus.

Palpatine: He became so powerful, the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which, eventually, of course, he did.

NC (vo): Even though technically we're learning about the Dark Side and the art of bringing the dead back to life, which would come into play, it isn't being told as exposition like most Star Wars movies. The Emperor doesn't sit Anakin down and say, "Hey, let me tell you something I can do!" He's explaining it through a fable, a story passed on from person to person.

Palpatine: Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.

NC (vo): This takes the whole world and its mythos it creates to a completely different realm that the previous Star Wars movies never touched upon. It gave us a parable that had its start in truth but overtime morphed into something else. It's the first time not only did these prequels add something new, but it evolves Star Wars to a different level, even if it is just one scene, even if it's not very long. It added a story within a story, and that's one of the biggest steps to making a world you want to feel more real be all the more believable. It's the first time the Star Wars prequels actually evolved the story to a better place where the original Star Wars films started out.

Anakin: Is it possible to learn this power?

Palpatine: Not from a Jedi.

NC: So, like I said. We all know the problems and we all make fun of them mercilessly.

(Footage from all the prequels play as NC gives his closing summary)

NC (vo): But when something strong stands out, it's still worthy to draw attention to it, and acknowledge what was closer to the right direction. At the very least, I hope one of the most hated prequel series of all time can still be recognized for one or two decent clever moments. Maybe one or two of them may actually bring you a little bit of joy, or maybe piss you off more. I don't know. Either way, it's still worth the effort to see if you can find a little bit of goodness in a whole lot of... (Shows Jar Jar) Jar Jar.

NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.

(He gets up and leaves his chair. The credits roll)

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