This is a meme that is circling social media on Star Wars Day (May the 4th) that I have been trying to substantiate.
The Star Wars prequels have been ripped to shreds by critics, fans, other movie professionals, and pretty much every other person in the galaxy that has seen them. That is nothing new.
A ton of the blame has been directed towards the script. With dialogue consisting of lines like “I love the water” and “I hate sand”, even some of the best film actors of our age, including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman & Samuel L. Jackson, couldn’t do much with what they were given. (Note I left Hayden Christensen off that list)
If this quote is accurate, I understand what Lucas was trying to achieve with corny serial dialogue and 2 dimensional acting. I just don’t think it was successful in the least.
I always placed the blame for the terrible dialogue squarely on the lack of screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the scripts for The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi off Lucas’s story plots. He also handled the screenwriting for Lucas on another of his successes, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Lucasfilm wisely brought Kasdan back for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and his writing skills were immediately apparent in the strong characterizations and witty dialogue. With his writing of the interactions between Han Solo and Chewbacca, we were finally able to get back to the characters and witty banter grew up with and loved.
There were elements of the prequels that I thought were well thought out, such as the parallels between the fall of the Jedi and the fall of the Knights Templar.
However the execution of some of the finer story elements were laughable, such as the script, every line of Natalie Portman’s dialogue right up until her “dying of a broken heart”, the word “younglings”, R2-D2 knowing Luke is Darth Vader’s son and never telling him, the name “Count Dooku” (did I miss a sweepstakes where a 3-year-old won the right to name the villain?) and the entire last 30 minutes of Revenge of the Sith.
Seriously, why in the hell would Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi split up to take on Anakin and Palpatine separately? Especially after earlier in the same film, Kenobi made a point of reminding Anakin that they should attack Count Dooku together because of his control over the dark side.
In fairness, some good things did come out of the prequels, such as The Clone Wars Series, the track Duel of Fates and we all learned the important lesson of warfare to never attack when your opponent has the high ground! (which is only slightly less well known than never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line!)