OK, so we all know the prequels… weren’t as good as the original trilogy (even though I really like the clones!). But what if we’re viewing them all wrong? What if they’re not a story showing a hero’s tragic fall from grace, but story shown from the viewpoint of that hero, with his own bias and misunderstandings seamlessly transposed onto the events and people transpiring around him? That’s exactly what a very clever (or very deluded) commenter – abbotabbotsmith -over at Topless Robot suggests…
It’s written in the guise of a phone conversation between two Kevin Smith characters, and is one of the cleverest things I’ve seen on the internet.
[Dante is in his new office, staring at an Excel spreadsheet, methodically entering data. On the phone, while roaming around his gargantuan concrete loft, is Randall.]
D: Yeah, they were bad movies because they took everything good in the real trilogy and replaced it all with badness.
R: What you don’t get is that the prequels were a masterpiece of fucked-up character psychology. What didn’t you like?
[R is speaking into a wireless Bluetooth headset while tinkering with something we can’t see on a workbench. Sparks fly up from something being welded.]
D: Um, the cardboard characters, fight scenes that were hyperactive but also mind-blowingly dull, midichlorians…
R: And that is what made it awesome. Because it’s all from Darth Vader’s perspective.
D: That’s, like, the worst part! I need to freebase cleaning supplies while watching Empire if I’m gonna ignore how Vader’s magnificence was totally undermined. All I can see is the mopey guy from Jumper…
[A power drill screeches in the background. R hoists a glowing green rock between a pair of tongs and holds it up to his eye, rotating it slowly.]
R: You saw Jumper?
D: I had this one week where I was delirious from fever and didn’t want to waste any movies that I might actually need to remember.
R: Anyway, all that shittiness in the prequels is the entire point of the prequels. George Lucas said: I could show one hero’s tragic descent into corruption, make one more movie about _____ blah blah blah. But then he said: or—or I could make them feel one man’s tragic descent.
R: You know how all the romantic interactions between Anakin and Amidala feel like they’re written by a 5-year-old? It’e because Anakin never grew up. Sure, Queen Senator Get-Ahead is willing to bang him anyway, famous Jedi hero. But in his mind it’s an epic romance. Except he doesn’t really know what that means. The guy doesn’t understand love.
[The power drill turns off, the explosions stop, all goes silent on R’s end.]
R: Same with the Jedi. You think they were actually that dumb? No way, man. Yoda turns into a judgemental asshole because Anakin doesn’t know how to recognize a nurturing father-figure. The combat is painfully boring, all the lightsabers look the same, because a guy like Anakin isn’t like Luke…there’s no sense of the epic because he doesn’t know what he’s fighting for. It’s just chaos. The kid was abducted when he was 7 and recruited into a war that he didn’t understand. He killed everyone in the Trade Federation! He wasn’t even eleven years old!
[D stops typing.]
D: …That is pretty messed up.
R: Why does Jar Jar exist? Could anyone really be that unctuous?No! Anakin is an inner-city Tatooine kid! Jar Jar comes from a world with lush forests and enormous palaces, and he’s a soft idiot. That’s what everyone different looks like to him! The whole thing is about how one twisted upbringing can corrupt an entire universe. And/or viewing experience.
[R hoists his tongs victoriously. He has created a still-sizzling bronze bust of Batman slugging Superman in the face, complete with miniature Kryptonite ring.]
D: Those movies still blow.
R: Lucas is a genius.
What do we think people?