I feel like the only person on the internet not talking about the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (that’d be RotS for the truly nerdy). So, avoiding spoilers, here’s my two cents:
The main problem with the Star Wars movies resides in the fact that fans have damn near deified episodes IV, V, and VI. Many fans have held the prequels up to standards that they have built up in their minds, and they have forgotten that ep. IV, V, and VI have problems of their own ( The dialogue kinda sucks in New Hope too people…admit it). That being said, and I know I’m gonna get flamed for this, I think that emotionally Sith is the most effective of all the movies. A New Hope is probably the most fun, and I would rate Empire as being the most effective all-around film (and that’s probably because Lucas didn’t direct it).
Emotionally, Sith chews you up and spits you out. Anakin Skywalker does things in this film that I would never have thought Lucas capable of bringing to the screen. Yes, there are some cheesy lines, but most of those are between Anakin and Padme, and thankfully those are few and far between. Some fans have been complaining about Ewan McGregor’s performance, but I have no problem believing that the Obi-Wan that we see in the prequels will someday become the Obi-Wan that dies on the Death Star. And the Emperor? Wow…just wow. Padme still irritated me, but the moment that Anakin stopped whining and started brooding malevolently marked the point that Hayden Christensen won me over. The inevitable fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was…well…it was more than has ever been hinted at in the first films.
Unfortunately, that poses a problem for me. I watched episodes I, and II, immediately before I watched episode III, and then I watched episodes IV, V, and VI as soon as we got home. The one thing I noticed was that the horror and betrayal that occurs in episode III is not reflected in the scene between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader on the Death Star. After what happened all Vader can say to Obi-Wan is ” When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master”? After what happens in the end of Sith that’s all that Vader can say to Obi-Wan? I don’t buy it at all, and unfortunately that’s not the only part of the first films that don’t hold up anymore.
Here’s where I’m really going to go out on a limb. Many fans have been really, really, mad at the changes that Lucas made to the first films when he re-released them on DVD. For example, at the end of Jedi, when the party takes place in the Ewok village, Luke looks out and sees the Force Spirits of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. In the original film Anakin was played by David Prowse, which was the actor that was inside the Vader suit. In the DVD re-release, Lucas has CGI’ed Hayden Christensen over David Prowse. Many fans have been upset about this, but I happen to think that if Lucas was going to do any revision of the first films he shouldn’t have half-assed it. If he was going to go back in and change things he should have taken a little more time and tightened up each episode, so that all the films would fit together much more cohesively.
I can’t even imagine the stress of trying to make six movies coincide and not contradict each other. Couple that with the fact that Lucas has been at this for nearly thirty years. I can’t remember what the hell I did last week, much less try coordinate an artistic project over thirty years. I just wish that Lucas would admit that he’s trying to piece together a story and quit insisting that he had the story in his head from the very beginning.
For those interested in the genesis of Star Wars, Starkillerz is a site that has many different drafts of the Star Wars scripts on-line. The first few drafts (which were written as early as 1973) are amazingly different from the shooting script, but it’s easy to see the things that Lucas really liked because they appear in all drafts.