Sunday, September 05, 2010

If You Could Go Back in Time and Convince George Lucas to Change 1 Thing about the Prequels, What Would It Be?

I was watching a special on the Comedy Network earlier today that had a routine by Patton Oswalt with a great bit about the Star Wars prequels. In it, he talks about what if he could go back in time to the mid-90's and confront George Lucas about the prequels before he made them.

Coincidentally, last night while flipping through the channels, I came across Spike running Revenge of the Sith (ever since Kevin Smith's Zack & Miri Make a Porno I can't help but chuckle when I see that title) and had already been thinking about how it could have been better with some changes.

People have been bitching about the prequels ever since they came out (even those of us who found them reasonably entertaining had to acknowledge there were serious issues), but still, it's worth re-asking from time to time:

If you could go back in time and get George Lucas to make one change to any of the prequels, what would it be?

And before you answer, I'm making one ground rule: Jar-jar is automatically disqualified - it's too easy to say Lucas should never have included him!

For me, there are a couple of possibilities... The midichlorians in The Phantom Menace got things off to a bad start for me. In fact, I think that whole nonsense bothered me more than Jar-jar did because a character can be ignored, but you don't go messing with the Force! Lucas was really messing with canon there.

There were some moments in Attack of the Clones that were pretty cheesetastic, but nothing too offensive.

And then there was ROTS, with Vader's inexcusably weak "Nooooo!" Check out the opening of Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Georgy, that's a fucking "NOOOOOOOO!" for you.

But the worst, the very worst, the one element of the prequels that bugs me to this day, was Padme Amidala dying of heartbreak. Not only does it break with canon, contradicting what Leia says in Return of the Jedi about her memory of her real mother (and no, I don't think that even if she's strong with the Force she'd remember something from when she was a minute old and her infant eyes were still unable to focus), it's just plain stupid. Nothing medically wrong with her, and instead of making her new children her priority and getting on with life, she mopes to death like an angst-ridden teenager. Okay, admittedly, her character is, more or less, an angst-ridden teenager... she would have been right at home skipping through the hallways in The Breakfast Club or any other John Hughes flick. But still, it's a pretty dumb way to go, especially when the babies she was hoping for and gushing over during pregnancy have finally arrived. Lucas could have thought of a hundred different options to resolve Padme & the twins' storylines at the close of the movie that would have fit better with the original series, made more sense, and had greater emotional impact. Instead, we're simply left with "my boyfriend turned mean and I can't go on without him". With this being the last major scene of the movie, of the prequels, it left a bitter taste in my mouth that tainted the entire prequel series for me. Basic presentation: the opener and closer make the biggest impressions, and Lucas blew it on the big finish.

Give me a time machine, and that's the one story element in the prequels I'd ask... no, beg... no, demand him to change.

What would you ask him to change?
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