Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I, II, III)


       Oh, the awful, terrible, Star Wars prequels that are heresy to the Star Wars universe and anyone who claims to like them is a betrayer to the original series....at least that's what most people think. I on the other hand have always enjoyed the prequel trilogy and probably because I grew up watching them. At 9, 12 and 14 years old, I'm not really caring about special effects or the continuing storyline. I loved them as fun films and I thought the stories in general were very well written. And then there was Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi....he may have contributed some small amount to the prequel love that I have. Whatever your opinion on the prequels may be, they are part of the Star Wars movieverse and they told the story that needed to be told. The rise of Darth Vader and the beginning of the Empire's power over the Galaxy.


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Episode I: The Phantom Menace

      When the planet of Naboo becomes surrounded by Trade Federation blockades, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to negotiate peace with the Federation. However the Federation is not interested in peace and plan to assassinate the Jedi. The two of them escape and run into a clumsy, absent minded Gungan named Jar-Jar Binks who takes them to his world of Gungan city. The leader, Boss Nass, enlists Jar-Jar to help navigate the Jedi through the dangerous Gungan Core and lead them to Naboo. 

     Meanwhile, the young leader of Naboo, Queen Amidala is at odds to know what to do for her planet. Young but determined, Amidala is willing to risk arrest to protect her people by refusing to sign a peace agreement between Noboo and the Federation. Soon, Amidala is rescued by the Jedi and they escape into the Galaxy. When Amidala's ship is badly damaged, they mjust land on the outskirts of the planet of Tatooine. Qui-Gon takes Jar-Jar, extraordinary little astromach droid R2-D2 and the queen's handmaiden, Padme with him to barter for parts for the ship repairs. 
    

     On Tatooine, Qui-Gon and his traveling crew come across nine year old slave boy, Anakin Skywalker who offers to help them obtain the parts for the ship by entering the dangerous pod-racing even. Kind, generous and insanely brave, Anakin is gifted with extreme insight and knowledge. Something that his single mother, Shmi Skywalker has always known and even feared. Qui-Gon becomes curious about Anakin and requires about his father. Shmi gives a shocking answer claiming there was no father in Anakin's conception and he seemed to be conceived from something greater than she can comprehend. Qui-Gon believes that Anakin may have been created by the Force itself and may be the prophesied savior who will bring balance to the Force.

     This revelation can prove to be dangerous to the secret maniacal leader of the Federation known only as the Emperor. He has been tracking the Jedi and sends his apprentice Sith, Darth Maul to capture them. After Anakin wins the pod-race and the parts for the ship, he unexpectedly wins his freedom, but must face a painful separation from his mother. After an attack from Darth Maul, the ship sets out to the planet of Coruscant where Amidala must plead the case for her planet to the Senate and where Qui-Gon asks for permission from the Jedi Council to train Anakin.

     When the Senate fails to aid Amidala and Qui-Gon defies the Council claiming that he will take Anakin as his apprentice, they all plan to save Naboo even if its just them against the Federation. Yet, thanks to Jar-Jar, an unexpected alliance is made between Queen Amidala and Boss Nass who will send his army of Gungan soldiers to fight for the Queen and Naboo. Soon an epic battle of good and evil is brought to the front and the fate of Naboo and the people fighting to protect it is all put on the line. 

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Episode II: Attack of The Clones

      From the time he first met her in the junk shop of Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker has been madly in love with the beautiful and courageous political leader, Padme Amidala. As a Jedi though, Anakin is forbidden to hold any attachments of love or family. Yet, ten years of training with his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi cannot sway Anakin's ever growing feelings for Amidala. When Padme becomes targeted and narrowly misses an assassination attempt, Obi-Wan and Anakin are assigned to protect her. Now a senator of Naboo, Padme is still the the strong-willed, free thinker she was as Queen and refuses to falter in her beliefs nor will she let her personal feelings distract her from her duties.

     When a second assassination attempt is made on Padme's life, Obi-Wan is sent on a search and capture mission to find Padme's killer. Meanwhile, Anakin becomes Padme's personal protection aid and they are sent to a quiet river house where they begin to fall back into their old friendship. Yet, friendship quickly turns into something stronger and while Anakin cannot reign in his feelings, Padme refuses to comply believing that forbidden love between a Jedi and a political figure will destroy them both.


       For years Anakin has been having horrific nightmares about his mother and believes that he can no longer wait to free her. Anakin and Padme travel to Tatooine in search Anakin's mother, only to discover that she has been kidnapped by Tuskan nomads. When Anakin finds her, she has been beaten and dies in his arms. Angry with grief and hate, he kills every Tuskan in the camp which begins his pathway to the Dark Side and is only felt by Master Yoda. 

     Meanwhile, Obi-Wan's search for Padme's assassin leads him to Count Dooku, a former Jedi Knight who betrayed the Jedi Order years before and was cast out. Dooku has been creating clones for his personal army and upon finding out Obi-Wan as a Jedi, he arrests him and sentences him to death. Anakin and Padme set off to rescue Obi-Wan which leads their inevitable capture and death sentence alongside the Jedi Master. However, the trio are not alone and the Jedi Order, led by Mace Windu lead an attack on Count Dooku that begins the Clone Wars.

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Episode III: Revenge of The Sith

     Five years after the start of the Clone Wars and five years after Anakin and Padme's secret marriage, Padme is pregnant. Anakin is happy with this news even though his wife is frightened of their marriage being founded out. Yet, Anakin's happiness about the baby is short lived when he has nightmares of Padme dying in childbirth. He seeks the help of his old friend and political mentor, Senator Palpetine who tells him of a dark nature so powerful it could create life and even stop death, but cannot be learned by a Jedi. 

    The Clone Wars has put a strain on the political atmosphere and relations between the Senate and and the Jedi Order is becoming tense. The council takes advantage of Anakin's friendship with Palpetine and ask him to spy in the senator. Annoyed by this deception, Anakin begins to reject the Jedi Order and grows closer to Palpetine. He soon becomes elusive, distant and hardened as his fears for Padme's life grows. Padme herself begins to fear for her husband as she watches the once kind and bold man become colder and darker.


     Eventually Anakin can take no more of the strife between the corrupt politics of the Senate and the self-righteousness of the Jedi Order. His fear for Padme's life has taken over and he becomes a pawn for Palpetine who reveals himself to be the Emperor. Anakin pledges his loyalty to the Emperor and in the hope of saving his wife, Anakin must issue out Order 66, the destruction of all Jedi, men, women and even younglings.  

     All over the Galaxy, Jedi are unmercifully slaughtered by the Clone armies. Only two survive, Yoda and Obi-Wan who make it back to the Jedi Temple. There they find the Temple filled with dead bodies of Jedi and children. Discovering that it was Anakin under the Emperor's manipulation, Obi-Wan and Padme set off to find him. Yet, Anakin Skywalker is becoming as cruel and inhumane as his new master. Obi-Wan refuses to let his friend be destroyed, but realizes that he is too far gone to be saved and leaved Anakin to die in the burning lava. He is rescued by the Emperor, but he is the never the same due to the extreme burn damage to his body. Anakin Skywalker is no more and is replaced by the deadly leader, Darth Vader.

    Padme's grief for Anakin causes her to go into early labor where she gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia. She dies afterwards and her body is brought back to her home planet of Naboo. Yoda and Obi-Wan know that if the Emperor knew about the twins he would stop at nothing to find and kill them. Leia is adopted by Bale Organa, the strong and noble leader of Alderaan and Luke is taken back to Tatooine to be raised by Anakin's step-brother, Owen Lars. Yoda goes into hiding, while Obi-Wan Kenobi remains on the outskirts of Tatooine's society, waiting and hoping for the day when Anakin's children will redeem their fallen father. 

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     In The Phantom Menace, Yoda warns Anakin about the dangers of being afraid. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Anakin's most beautiful attribute is also his most fatal flaw. His ability to love deeply. Yet, if you love someone you will always live in fear of losing them. Anakin was created by darkness, but raised in the light of his mother's love. His own love was made manifest by Padme and then by their unborn child/children.

      However, Love no matter how strong can be weakened and even be destroyed by the evil of fear. If the prequels taught anything about life, it taught how fear (even in its smallest form) can be be our most detrimental enemy. Living alone in fear and not seeking help is a signing of our own death warrants. What might have happened if Anakin had gone to Obi-Wan and seek his help? Would things have been different?

     The prequels were not meant to tell a happy story. They were written as a timeline of a boy's journey from goodness into darkness. No, they don't have the silliness or humor of the Originals, because there is nothing humorous about someone's self-destruction. Yet, the story of Anakin Skywalker's transformation had to be told in a way that was real and heartbreaking.

     To take Darth Vader and make him a human who could feel and understand and love could be an insurmountable task. Yet, you only need to watch his death scene at the end of Return of The Jedi to see that the humane part of Anakin Skywalker had always been there. The prequels were made to be built on that final scene of redemption and human love. A husband's love to save his wife became a father's love that could overcome darkness and hate. An extreme love that defied fear and held on to hope. That was the love of Anakin Skywalker.

2 comments:

  1. honestly I adore the prequels. I dont even care what people have to say about them. I love them. especially episode 3. that ones kills me. every. single. time.
    I really liked what you had to say on these :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another prequel fan! There's more of us than I thought : ) Episode I is still my favorite, but I loved Obi-Wan in Episode II! And Episode III...just too many emotions...

      Thanks! I think this turned out to be more of a defense post for the prequels and Anakin than an actual movie review, but there was a lot wanted to say about both.

      Delete

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