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There is no doubt that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the most anticipated movie of the year for die hard and casual fans alike. Since the acquisition of the Star Wars brand and everything associated with it, Star Wars was in a way brought back to life with Disney making promises of creating a Star Wars film every year in the indefinite future.
To most, this was the chance to take Star Wars back to what many would say "the way its supposed to be" since the prequels were mostly panned by most fans with Revenge of the Sith being the sole exception (although many of the problems with the previous films exist in that one as well).
However, The Force Awakens was not without its fair share of criticisms, perhaps the most notable being its lack of originality. However, I believe that there are other elements to the prequels that for the most part are either unfairly criticized or not often talked about. I created a list of attributes that exist in the prequels that were done better than The Force Awakens.
Now before I begin, this of course is entirely my opinion. Movies, like any art, are subjective and the passion that fans bring to the table is a part of what makes them fun to talk about.
1. The scores in the prequels were much more memorable.
This is not to say that the score in The Force Awakens was bad. I can't think of anything that John Williams composes that can be considered bad. In fact, I thought "Rey's Theme" was beautiful and it was easy to get lost in. However, overall the score was underwhelming. This was not the case in the prequels.
The Phantom Menace is arguably the second worst Star Wars movie behind The Clone Wars and there are plenty of things wrong with the film. But if there was anything done right with the movie, "Dual of Fates" immediately comes to mind. Many knew that when that played during the scenes where Darth Maul dueled Obi- Wan and Qui-Gon that it would be an instant classic. The score for that prequel was absolutely brilliant from that duel, to the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan in "Revenge," one could easily buy the soundtrack for the entire prequel trilogy and know that it captured everything that anyone could have hoped for in that department.
Speaking of duels, this brings me to my next point.
2. The lightsaber duels were obviously more entertaining.
One criticism that popped up regularly was how the lightsaber duels in the prequels were far too choreographed. I would disagree with this because I actually found them to be much more entertaining than The Force Awakens and even the original trilogy.
During that time the Jedi were in their prime, thus it makes sense that the fighting was far more complex than what we see in the originals and The Force Awakens. When watching it, it does appear almost like a dance and you know that the actors put a lot of hard work in to perfect it. Contrary to that, watching Rey and Kylo Ren go at it was the equivalent of two children swinging glow sticks at each other.
Logically it is understandable why this was the case since neither of them were trained how to properly wield a lightsaber. None the less, it still doesn't add much to the entertainment value. When you watch a lightsaber duel, you are supposed to be mesmerized by their skill and prowess with it. It's a part of what makes it fun and even intimidating. So The Force Awakens just didn't measure up. It's not even close.
3. The story had issues, but at least it was original.
Not only did it have issues, but it created continuity errors for the original trilogy. For instance, there is no mention of Qui-Gon Jinn in the original trilogy and Obi-Wan stated that Yoda trained him. Speaking of Obi-Wan, R2-D2 fought in the Clone Wars by his side, and then Obi-Wan has no recollection of him later. I'm sure these are things that everyone knows by now. But at least what we got was a story about the Fall of the Jedi and the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire, to which Revenge of the Sith eloquently brought home. A story of betrayal, love, and the rise (or better yet fall) of perhaps the most complex character in the Star Wars universe who is none other than Anakin Skywalker a.k.a Darth Vader. And I will even defend the whole trade negotiations aspect of it. Because even though it wasn't very interesting (it could have been done better) it was a crucial part of the story regarding Palpatine's rise to power.
What we got in The Force Awakens was, well, not that. As much as I hate to admit, what we got instead was a blatant rehash of the original trilogy. A "retro film" is what George Lucas called it, and he was right. Of course, we are introduced to new characters with varying back stories that are yet to unfold. Regardless, it doesn't make it any less disappointing.
What we are seeing is history essentially repeating itself. The First Order is simply another version of the Empire. The Resistance is another version of the Rebellion. Kylo Ren and Snoke are basically Vader and Palpatine. It doesn't stop there but you get the picture. This is something that Disney and Lucasfilm have denied, but the proof is in the pudding as they say.
4. The acting and character chemistry wasn't much better.
I won't go as far as to say that the acting in prequels are good. It's not. However, The Force Awakens wasn't much better. There were moments where it certainly felt awkward. The most immediate that comes to mind was the interaction between Finn and Poe. During their first interaction on the ship, it just did not mesh. It was arguably just as cringe worthy as the love story between Anakin and Padme, at least in my opinion.
In other words, it felt just as wooden and forced in some aspects of it. I felt the pace in The Force Awakens was actually a little bit too fast, so much so that it hurt the character development to an extent. Every five minutes it seemed like they were being attacked or chased by something. I didn't feel this was the case in the prequels (again I'm not saying the acting was good).
5. 'Revenge of the Sith' was a better overall Star Wars movie.
The prequels had two bad films in The Phantom Menace (except Darth Maul) and The Clone Wars, but many fans and critics alike agree that Revenge of the Sith is a Star Wars classic. If you were to compare the Rotten Tomato scores on the two films, you would think that The Force Awakens was immensely better than Revenge of the Sith (92% to 79%). This, yet again, isn't so. Revenge has been said to be the third best Star Wars film behind Empire and A New Hope and the best since Empire. I am not denying that The Force Awakens is a good movie, but its bloated score is a testament to how you can't always rely on it to judge whether or not a film is good.
Because of the obvious plot points taken from the original trilogy and its anticlimactic final act, Revenge still beats it by a long shot. The play for play mimic of A New Hope that is present in Force just can't be ignored and has even caused some to worry that The Last Jedi will be another version of Empire.
Order 66, the fall of the Jedi, the fall of Anakin, the duels between Anakin and Obi-Wan as well as Palpatine and Yoda, among other elements, brought a great finish to an otherwise bad trilogy. The final scenes without a doubt give goosebumps as it sets itself up for the original trilogy.
In conclusion, these are all just an opinion and its too early to judge what will happen next. If there's any consolation, The Last Jedi seems poised to take over Revenge as the best since Empire, if not possibly even better. As a huge fan of the franchise, I hope that it is.
The trilogy is far from over and we shall see what happens next in the Star Wars saga.