Guest Post: A Rebuttal To The Nerdist

The post below was submitted by Martin Hay in response to a piece on The Nerdist’s “rematch” of the prequels, specifically to AOTC. This is Hay’s opinion. (If you’re interested in The Nerdist piece, you can find it there but I won’t link to it.)

I’ll just add that I can’t stand these fakety-fake “geek” and “nerd” sites who gatekeep and tell people what they are supposed to think. The Nerdist’s motto is “Enjoy your burrito,” but if you’re a prequel fan they’ll poop in it.

What a terrible review. This guy’s “criticisms” are way off the mark. To begin with he whines about the special effects, complaining that they look “dated.” But he must realize the same can be said of almost any effects-heavy movie; even (shock horror!) the films in the original Star Wars trilogy. Does anyone really want to argue that the speeder bike chase or the rancor sequence in Return of the Jedi still look state of the art? Because they obviously do not. Yet it doesn’t matter because the point is that it all looked good at the time. And the same is true of the CGI and other special effects in Attack of the Clones. The three times I watched it on the big screen the effects looked amazing. And, to be honest, for the most part they still look great to me when I watch the movie at home on DVD.

Next he complains that “we’re told in A New Hope by Ben…that Anakin and he were good friends, but in none of the movies do we ever get to see them act as friends.” Either Mr. Anderson wasn’t paying attention to the warmer moments between Anakin and Obi Wan that take place in Revenge of the Sith or he’s downplaying them so that he can find something to moan about. Either way, those moments showing the friendship the two characters had built (e.g. when Obi Wan places his hand on Anakin’s shoulder and says “You are strong and wise, Anakin, and I am very proud of you. I have trained you since you were a small boy. I have taught you everything I know. And you have become a far greater Jedi than I could ever hope to be.”) are indeed there for all to see despite Anderson’s erroneous claims.

And then we get to one of the silliest, most pathetic excuses for a criticism I’ve yet encountered when Mr. Anderson says that it makes “no sense” for Padmé to use her status as a senator as a reason that she cannot get involved with Anakin. According to Anderson, “There’s no reason for her not to want to have a relationship; he’s the one who should be in conflict about his romantic feelings and the temptation of breaking his vows.” What planet is this guy on? Does he not think that an older senator becoming involved with a younger Jedi, who she knows full well is forbidden from such relationships, has the potential to be something of a political scandal? Of course it does! It doesn’t take a genius to see how something like that could be exploited by her political enemies.

Of course, Mr. Anderson (like all prequel bashing band wagoners) just has to take an obligatory swipe at the romantic dialogue. ~yawn~ I wish these guys would come up with some original arguments. But then I guess Mr. Anderson did at least try. Unfortunately for him, as I demonstrated above, his attempts just don’t bear scrutiny. Regardless, those who moan about the dialogue are only pointing out that George Lucas knew exactly what he was doing. You see, the director wasn’t shooting for realism as he himself explained: “…I wanted to tell the love story in a style that was extremely old-fashioned…In many ways, this was much more like a movie from the 1930s than any of the others had been, with a slightly over-the-top poetic style – and they just don’t do that in movies anymore.”

Finally we come to Mr. Anderson’s ill-informed gripe about the stunning and exhilarating lightsaber duel between Yoda and Count Dooku. Anderson maintains that such displays are not in keeping with Yoda’s character (as he perceived it) in The Empire Strikes Back. What he seems blissfully unaware of is that Lucas’s original first draft of Empire did, in fact, feature Yoda showing his lightsaber skills in a fencing match with the ghost of Obi Wan. So his battle with Dooku was actually very much in keeping with how he was originally conceived. And I have to admit that I found it more than a little ridiculous for Mr. Anderson to pretend that he somehow understood “the whole entire point of Yoda” better than Yoda’s creator. But then that arrogant, nonsensical attitude that somehow the “fans” know more about Star Wars than George Lucas is sadly present throughout much of the false criticism levelled at the prequels.

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20 Responses to “Guest Post: A Rebuttal To The Nerdist”

  1. Βlade57hrc / Ira ProV Says:

    ”Anderson maintains that such displays are not in keeping with Yoda’s character (as he perceived it) in The Empire Strikes Back.”

    I agree with that actually.
    But that’s character progression for Yoda.

    BTW, isn’t ”no character progression” another common gripe from bashers against the PT? And yet here we have an example of the PT giving that to a character who had nore!

    Oh the irony…

  2. andywylde77 Says:

    Ah, these critiques of the PT are beyond lame at this point. They just all parrot the same talking points as every other critic seems to make. The effects look dated hurr hurr! Really? Then every other movie ever made would be guilty of this. Especially movies that were made many years ago. These whiners really need to step up their game. They really aren’t making any points that haven’t been said by other ignorant fools before.

    And I never understood what all the Yoda using a lightsaber complaints came from? Was there a scene in the OT I missed where Yoda said that lightsabers are for losers? I don’t think I did? I do know that Yoda never had any reason to use one in the OT, but that doesn’t mean he never used one. For 800 years I have trained Jedi he says in TESB. So in those 800 years what do people think he trained them in? Sitting on a log? What gets me is these people who criticize the PT don’t seem to understand the OT that they put on a pedestal. So instead of criticizing everything about SW, why don’t you sit down and try to understand what SW is actually about first?

  3. andywylde77 Says:

    And all the “Obi Wan said this in episode 4” arguments are lame too. Like the whole PT was supposed to be one big Anakin Skywalker’s “best of” demo reel. If these people paid attention instead of hating on stuff they would have figured out that Obi Wan was trying to recruit Luke to be a Jedi.

    Luke at that moment had 2 conflicting stories about his father. The one his uncle told him about him being a navigator on a spice freighter. And the one that Ben now tells him 19 years later about his dad being a great warrior and star pilot etc. Who is Luke to believe? But when Ben said that Anakin was the best star pilot in the galaxy, almost in the same breath he says to Luke about how he has become a pretty good pilot himself. So when one watches these movies paying attention, one could learn quite a good amount of information.

    So Ben was mixing truth with some recruitment measures on Luke. Hey Luke, your father was a great Jedi and you can be one too! Come with me to Alderaan! You see it’s all there.

    But no matter what, all of old Ben’s lines about Anakin in episode 4 were all realized in the PT and then some. Some folks may not have liked the way it was portrayed, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Some people had a different scenario in there head for years. That is all well and good. But Lucas also had his own ideas too and that my friends is what really counts. .

    • lisse Says:

      THIS. Also, the Anakin of the PT is a deconstruction of what we hear of him from the OT. That’s the effing point.

      In comparison, I read A Song of Ice and Fire, which Game of Thrones is based on, and the character Jaime Lannister is this golden knight with a rep as a kingslayer. We see him do terrible things from other people’s POV in the first book. And, only when he gets his own POV does the deconsctruction of the myth of Jaime Lannister begin.

      That’s what happens with the real Vaderkin of the PT and Ben’s memories of Anakin in OT. It’s a fantastic narrative tool. Deconstructing myths in a a narrative makes it stronger. I can’t stop shaking my head at people who can’t see that.

  4. kenkraly2004 Says:

    Not all the people at the Nerdist are bad Jessica Chobot is amazing and she does not come down on the PT but yeah this review not a good take on the PT

  5. Noah Evans Says:

    “The Nerdist’s motto is “Enjoy your burrito,” but if you’re a prequel fan they’ll poop in it” all I could think of was the line from The Cat in the Hat (2003) when Nevans the dog pees in Alec Baldwin’s character’s taco, “WOAA… OOOH, You pissed in my taco”: and that is how I feel when I see anything harsh against these beautiful movies (and especially when people I admire reveal their bias against the films… I just feel hurt inside).

    I have to admit, my brain was injured reading this… the “logic” of Mr. Anderson is so faulty that even Morpheus wouldn’t dare give him any pill to begin with. For the Padme part, I (or we all possibly) have pondered about some snoopy news (or media) reporter or a political wacky discovering her marriage to Anakin and attempting to expose it.. and Yoda, Yoda in Star Wars 2 is a MUCH younger Yoda, and he’s a JEDI.. Jedi are trained to use lightsabers to fight when they have to while still being keepers of peace. I am sure I need not to reiterate about the fan’s entitled attitude of owning what they didn’t create…

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      I know in Star Wars the Web hasn’t been invented yet, but they must have their own alien version of Perez Hilton to dig up the dirt on big celebrities like Padme! Housewives and stalkers everywhere want to know all about who she gets her freak on with!

  6. Joe Bean Says:

    Some that whole opening sequence in Attack of the Clones when Anakin saves Obi-Wan and they work together to chase down the assassin shows none of their relationship dynamics right?

    And can people cut the crap with the “Sand” line? Padme is remember her childhood. So what do you think Anakin might be thinking about when she mentions sand in that context?

    I wish people would watch the movies and think about intent rather than complaining because something “didn’t feel right” to them.

  7. Heidi Says:

    Seems to me, the Prequels have suffered under the wrong audiences. It’s more like a timeless tale (literally, the only thing that dates the movies is Luke’s haircut and some special effects, but the latter never really takes me out of the movies, only impresses me for it’s time period.) but it’s always been the nerds and geeks who “review it” like it was meant for them by birthright, hah! It was not! It’s for anybody who enjoys exactly what Lucas was getting at: classic, old, ancient even, storytelling. It’s not about being, hip and modern with jokes about pop culture and lots of bang, zoom and whizz, etc. They expected to be catered to but in my very honest opinion it was completed wasted on them. Especially when they claim to own and understand Star Wars but always treated the prequels like a child kicked to the curb, essentially orphaning it.

    I’ve never heard that quote from George before but it’s exactly how I’ve always understood his movies, so his method worked. And it’s a treat to hear it all the years later that I got it right. George is a master at his craft, and a very humble introverted man.

    On a side note, I was browsing amazon for SW books and I looked at preview for this Mad magazine SW special edition. In the foreword they tried to preempt those nitpicky, “god, just go away, please” fans. Will the tyranny of the fanboy never end? You have to have an Amazon account to view that page of the preview though. I only mention it because I relish the illustration of how the view these people, real or not it embodies their attitudes alright.

  8. Martin Hay Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I really quite enjoy exposing the fallacies in the arguments of prequel bashers. Think I might have to do more of it.

  9. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    What was Yoda doing through most of ESB? Teaching Luke how to kick the shit outta somebody! It was obvious Yoda had capped more asses than Rambo! He was one bad, green, muppet mo fo!

    The F/X only look “dated” if you were like, ten or younger when AOTC originally came out, as I’m sure this reviewer was. The early 2000s must seem like the Irving Thalberg/MGM era to this kid. And they only had 5.1 surround sound in the time of AOTC! The humanity!

    And all these geeks hate romantic plot lines, because they’ve never gotten any girls, so they can’t relate! They can relate to the bug people (Geonosian) lifestyle, but not girls! Romantic films always get blasted on these sites because it’s mostly stinky males with no social skills who write for them.

  10. Jacobesico Says:

    I think that these “nerds” have trouble letting go of the Original Trilogy and embrace new ideas in the Star Wars Universe.

    Isn’t one of the motifs of the Prequels about letting go of things? 😉

  11. Jim Raynor Says:

    Good rebuttal. We’ve seen all of these critiques before but it’s good to see them refuted yet again.

    Do these Prequel bashers understand that when describing his history with Anakin in ANH, Obi-Wan was LYING? He was giving Luke a vastly whitewashed version of things, because he wanted to win Luke over to the idea of joining him, so he was portraying the boy’s father in a positive light and romanticizing the Jedi.

    This is not subtext, it’s flat out shown later on in TESB and ROTJ that he wasn’t being truthful!

    Yet again and again, Prequel critics fixate on Obi-Wan’s description of Anakin as a “good friend” and bash the Prequels for not showing them to be chummy enough.

    “A good friend” who betrayed you and killed all of your Jedi brothers. Sure.

    Even ANH makes the idea of them being “friends” in the typical fashion seem doubtful. Vader called Obi-Wan an “old man,” showing that there was a significant age gap between them.

    As the Prequels would later show, their relationship was nuanced and it defied easy classification. They were friends, but they were also student/teacher as well as something between brothers or father/son. They DID joke and act friendly with each other, but they did so much else as well.

    It’s not that hard to see. I don’t know how these critics, article writers, and allegedly obsessed and deep-thinking geeks still can’t get it after almost a decade and a half!

    • andywylde77 Says:

      I always laugh when I see people whine about the Obi Wan and Anakin friendship not being portrayed the way they think is acceptable to their standards. I mean if I took a thousand of these people that complain about it and asked each of them to describe what a good friend means to them, I would get a thousand different answers from them.

      But I know that most of these people are whining just to whine about it. They often use this particular complaint as the “gotcha” moment that this is the reasons why the “PT failed” Well jokes on them because it never failed. It may have failed to live up to someone’s ridiculous standards, but that is that persons problem and doesn’t constitute a failure at all.

  12. Jim Raynor Says:

    On Yoda’s fighting skills:

    We literally saw the guy for a few minutes in the OT, spread out over a few days at most. In TESB, he was deliberately hiding his skills and powers to screw with Luke. In ROTJ, he literally crawled into bed and died of old age.

    Between not getting that Obi-wan was lying to Luke in ANH, and not getting that Yoda was lying to Luke in TESB, I really have to wonder about some of these SW fans. How do they navigate social interactions in real life, without the benefit of seeing the same scene dozens or hundreds of times?

    • andywylde77 Says:

      Yeah that is the same point I have with a lot of these so called SW “fans” and their inability to grasp all the concepts of these films. Especially the OT. These internet “reviews” especially are really nothing but long winded garbage that amounts to nothing when all is said and done. But people look up to these people as “intelligent” and “insightful” commentary on the SW PT. Intelligent and insightful? I think not! I know you know all about this way too well.

      I am really looking forward to see what these arm chair internet critics think about the new SW films? They will have to give their opinions really quick so their followers could know whether they like the films or not. Because we know that these clowns will follow along with whatever garbage these “critics” throw at them.

  13. Steven F Says:

    The correspondents on the Nerdist are not even true fans of any of these genres. Star Wars, comics etc. They are fans because it’s popular now. I’m sure if you went back in time to 1989 (the dark years of star wars fandom) they would all be into whatever was popular at the time and have no interest in Star Wars. Now all of them think they are experts. It’s absurd and insulting to me because I remember going to conventions in the 80s and 90s when true fans were there and none of these phonies existed. Now you can’t even get into San Diego Comic con because of all the cosplayers and rainy day fans. Once Star Wars is no longer the cool thing to be into, we the true fans will still be here and the guys from the Nerdist will move on to whatever is newly popular.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s right. Nerdist would’ve been spending all of its time talking about Batman and ST:TNG in 1989. Back then Star Wars was considered over and done.

      The reason why these outlets exist today and why it seems every “comic” con is exploding with people is because geekdom has become western civilization’s tastemaker. At this point I’m kind of surprised I haven’t seen the Kardashians make a cheap excuse to be at SDCC.

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