Inverse posted an interview with the director of “The Prequels Strike Back” and it occurred to me a kind of new narrative is taking shape concerning the films. It’s not the dominant geek/media industrial complex’s narrative yet but I’ve noticed it becoming more common. That narrative is the prequels were ambitious, had good or at least interesting ideas, and creative but (and there’s always a “but”) they weren’t executed all of that well.
I think this narrative is arising due primarily to two factors:
1. The effect of Mike Klimo’s Ring Theory. Since it was posted in late 2014, numerous people have come to recognize the many cogs and wheels that make the saga work together.
2. TFA’s effect on perceptions of the prequels. Those who spent years disliking the prequels but still found fault with TFA needed a new take on their arguments. The old arguments that the prequels were entirely created on computer have been debunked to all but the willfully ignorant; in fact Slashfilm revealed in an interview the other day that there was no model work at all in TFA and it had far more CG shots than TPM.
Now after all of this time I suppose you might find it encouraging there is starting to be concession that the prequels have some value. However I don’t think it’s good enough. They are still holding on to the idea that the movies are “bad” or at least greatly inferior to the OT. It’s still repeated over and over in the media that the prequels are terrible and universally-hated. We still have a long way to go to reach the point where the prequels and we as fans get the respect long due.
It is certainly a positive development to see stuff like the Ring Theory out there and others delving into the meaning of the prequels, what they did to deepen the mythology, and what they can teach us. They’ve been helpful to those open enough to read or listen to those analyses. The problem is that analysis of the story is one thing, but the quality of how that story is expressed is another and it’s that aspect of the prequels that gets attacked the most. What’s really needed to help the prequels is to put forth the idea that they are exceptionally well-crafted, well-executed films.
One person who has done this is Camille Paglia in her book “Glittering Images.” But there needs to be more people out there with the courage to say these are deserving works of art and can express why. I have been doing that series “Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy” for this very reason: I write about why I think the acting, the score, the cinematography, etc. work in a particular scene. There’s also the prequel frames Tumblr. Such takes on the films need to be full-throated and without apology but also without a defensive tone.
Of course not everyone is going to be convinced but we can start to turn the bandwagon around.