Cass Sunstein, the former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs wrote a book called “The World According To Star Wars.” I have to admit I only knew of Sunstein as one of President Obama’s policy wonks and I was really surprised he decided to delve into pop culture, especially since in this interview with The AV Club (groan) he admits he wasn’t into it all of that much when he started out writing it.
The even more surprising part of it is how Sunstein mostly sticks up for the prequels:
VC: That folds into your larger defense of the prequels, a cause that you’re passionate about in the book. You argue the commonplace view, of “original trilogy = good, prequels = bad,” is oversimplified. It’s almost part of what you’re talking about—this idea that we want to streamline narratives to retrofit the conclusions we come to.
CS: Yeah. I think it’s not politically correct to like the prequels. If you say you like the prequels in polite company, you kind of mark yourself as not quite right. There are a couple reasons I want to say some nice things about the prequels. One is that they are visually spectacular. The start of Attack Of The Clones is really tremendous. Many of the scenes in Attack Of The Clones are tremendous. I think that’s the most underrated of the seven. Revenge Of The Sith, that’s a good movie. Scenes in which Anakin turns to the dark side are both really good in themselves, and they eerily mirror what happened to Luke. That’s very cleverly done. I think there’s a lot to be said in favor of them.
And okay, they don’t have the kind of joyful giddiness of the original three. That’s fair. I think I want to say it a little bit with respect to George Lucas: Give the guy a break. You know? He took real risks in the prequels. He thought really hard. They’re very ambitious movies. If you watch the first one, The Phantom Menace, a little bit with the feel of being a kid, I can’t say it’s a great movie, but it has greatness in it. Again, Lucas did some amazing things visually.