The Star Wars prequels have been lambasted for years. While there are some loyal fans who love the story of Anakin Skywalker, there are others who want to pretend the films never took place. While the aforementioned prequels are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there are so many subtleties hidden throughout the series that are masterful. Whether intentional or not, George Lucas is a genius when it comes to visual storytelling, and this is why the Star Wars prequels are better than you think. Forget the clunky dialogue, forget the “NOOOOOOO” at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and simply focus on the visual aspects of the films. There is also dialogue in the film that resonates and mirrors each other, which is clearly intentional. Although these will only be touched on, it only adds credence to the fact that the Star Wars prequels are better than you think.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s death was tragic. He was, without a doubt, the hero of The Phantom Menace. What’s interesting though is the visual parallel between Qui-Gon’s death and Anakin/Darth Vader’s. Both use a bird’s eye view, and intentional or not, it is a really cool parallel that causes Episode I to rhyme with VI, like a stanza in a poem.
There is also a parallel between Qui-Gonn’s funeral pyre and Anakin’s, as well as a shot at Padme’s funeral. Again, this emphasizes how the three mirror each other, padawan and master, lover and husband.
Count Dooku: I have become more powerful than any Jedi.
Palpatine: I see you becoming the greatest of all the Jedi, Anakin. Even more powerful than Master Yoda.
The Jedi in the prequels are portrayed as heroes, the protectors of justice in the galaxy who live by a strict code . . . when it’s convenient for them. While Anakin’s reasons for turning to the dark side are not entirely justified, one can understand where he’s coming from. He even wants to arrest Palpatine rather than kill him, something the other Jedi are against, breaking the Jedi code. In the scene where he finds out that Palpatine is actually a Sith Lord, Palpatine says this to him:
“I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.“
This is almost exactly what Sidious says to Luke in Return of the Jedi.
“You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it! Give into your anger! With each passing moment, you make yourself more my servant.“
There is even a visual parallel between the two scenes, a close up of Palpatine’s face which is almost the same exact shot.
While it is the Jedi code not to kill, Palpatine encourages Anakin to kill Count Dooku, which he is hesitant to do. Later, he is put in a similar situation with Mace Windu, but the situation is reversed. This time, he tells Windu not to kill Palpatine, but Mace retorts he’s “too dangerous to be left alive.” This directly mirrors what Palpatine said in the beginning of the film. There are also several shots of Yoda, Windu, and Vader all with the same stance, lightsabers in hand, which has to be telling us something about the Sith and the Jedi. Maybe they’re not so different after all?
Palatine: Good, Anakin Good. Kill him. Kill him now.
Anakin: I shouldn’t.
Palatine: Do it.
Palatine: You did well Anakin. He was too dangerous to be kept alive.
Anakin: Yes, but he was an unarmed prisoner. I shouldn’t have done that, it’s not the Jedi way.
These words are later echoed in a confrontation between Mace Windu, Darth Sidious, and Anakin Skywalker.
Mace Windu: I’m going to end this once and for all.
Anakin: You can’t. He must stand trial.
Mace: He has control of the senate and the courts. He’s too dangerous to be left alive.
Anakin: It’s not the jedi way. He must live.
Again, the Star Wars prequels are better you think. These parallels may not matter to some, but the attention to detail is amazing. These next three shots are among my favorites because they are so blatant in comparing the Jedi to the Sith. The Jedi are not necessarily the good guys, not to say that they are on par with the Sith.
This is a fascinating comparison. It is also worthy to note that in every lightsaber battle, it is always the Jedi who draw their sabers first, not the Sith. Could this be indicative of something?
Not but not least, another reason why the Star Wars prequels are better than you think is the parallel between Luke and Obi-Wan. Luke and Obi-Wan both lost a master. They are, rightfully so, devastated by the loss. Both scream out “No!” during this pivotal moment. The shot is exactly the same. Again, the two rhyme like a stanza in a poem, and Episode I mirrors Episode VI: A New Hope.
Another parallel shot is when when Anakin is transforming into Darth Vader and Padme is dying. This is a perfect contrast between Padme’s impending death and Anakin’s “metaphorical death” “becoming” Darth Vader. It shows just how much the Star Wars prequels are better than you think. These scenes really do make you view Star Wars in a brand new light.
It’s a fact: The Star Wars prequels are better than you think. There are so many other visual parallels I could choose from, but that would take up so much time; the saga is littered with them. The Jedi want Luke to kill Anakin rather than save him, which is clearly against the code. Instead, Luke throws away his saber, casting his power beside, much like traditional heroes do. It is through this act that his father realizes his wrongdoings and puts an end to things once and for all. Anakin is the perfect example of a tragic hero and his journey is pivotal to the series. Like him or not, his arc makes the saga so great and is engrained in film history, and Lucas portrays this visually and has created a masterpiece which will last for generations to come, despite the clunky dialogue and Jar Jar Binks.