WIRED falsely says that ‘audiences and critics received the Prequels poorly’

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From ‘The WIRED Guide to Star Wars‘:

“[George] Lucas involved other filmmakers in [The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi] and then returned to one-man-band status for the prequel trilogy, Episodes I through III, which came out starting in 1999. They were technical triumphs, but audiences and critics received them poorly.”


The facts:

The three movies were all graded with an A- at CinemaScore, which polls moviegoers on opening nights:

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Rian Johnson confirms The Last Jedi echoes the Prequels, which he ‘watched a lot’ during writing and preproduction

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In a recent Q&A, The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson talked about the echoes from the Prequels in his movie (transcription by sleemo).

“So I was watching Revenge of the Sith recently and I noticed there are a few echoes from that film to The Last Jedi, like when Anakin’s talking to Padme in Revenge of the Sith just before they face off Obi-Wan, there’s some similarities there with the “join me” and the lashing out of Kylo to Rey and Anakin to Padme. Did you watch the prequels while you were writing?

Yeah, I watched the prequels a lot actually, and that goes for the writing and while we were in prep. I think partially because the original trilogy was the ones that I know by heart, shot for shot. The prequels – I knew them really well but I saw them less so I kind of wanted to steep myself in that visual language a lot more before I got into it.

The notion of finding echoes, not just in the original trilogy but also in the prequel trilogy felt like just a really rich well to draw from. So I kept the original trilogy and also the prequels just on my iPad that I had with me all the time and at night I would just put it on in a random spot and watch pieces of it.

My question is about the last scene between Rey and Ben. He’s kneeling on the ground, he has his father’s dice in his hands that his uncle gave to his mother and his mother left for him, and he’s looking up at the person who’s the most important person in the world to him and before that door shuts, if he could have a do-over to go back to that moment, what do you think he would say or do differently and why?

That is such a great question. Will you be mad if I said that it’s such a great question, I don’t want to answer it? Only because I think that’s such a beautiful notion of “what does he regret in that moment”, it’s the same way I think about in Revenge of the Sith, that mask is coming down, that beautiful shot of Anakin’s eyes right before it goes over and you see that glimpse of… Is it fear? Is it regret? What is it? What is going through his mind at that moment? That’s that kind of moment for Ben and I don’t want to put that moment in your guys’s head. I feel like that’s a moment that everyone should read into themselves. But just posing that question is really beautiful.”


You can hear this at 55′:

The A.V. Club contributor says Padmé was her “perfect heroine” and wants her to get “her due” in Episode IX

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From The A.V. Club:

“[…] Though I’m sure screenwriters J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio will craft a fitting tribute to the princess-turned-general [Leia Organa] and find a way to continue the story in her absence, Episode IX will still have a palpable void—in particular, where Leia’s maternal influence over Kylo Ren presumably would’ve been. And one option for filling it could be to call back a character who’s thus far been notably absent from the continued Star Wars mythos: Queen, Senator, Skywalker-twin mother, Kylo Ren grandmother, and all-around underappreciated Star Wars heroine, Padmé Amidala.

I’ll readily admit that, her horrendous Revenge Of The Sith arc aside, I perhaps have a greater fondness for Amidala than most fans.

[…] I see much of Padmé’s stiltedness as a conscious acting choice on Portman’s part. After all, she’s a young woman who’s spent her entire life within the stuffy, mannered world of galactic politics; Attack Of The Clones delightfully reveals that Padmé had her first kiss with a boy in her “Legislative Youth Program” when she was 12. At its best, Portman’s performance juxtaposes Padmé’s public-facing formality with her more casual private persona. And in her defense, as Harrison Ford once famously said, “George, you can type this shit, but you sure can’t say it!”

[…] [Padmé is] first and foremost a political leader, one who’s primarily concerned with the importance of preserving democracy. This has led many Star Wars fans to write her off as “wooden” or “boring,” but her political skills are exactly what make Padmé such a compelling character to me.

Even as a kid, I adored watching Padmé grapple with big political concerns, all while struggling with the fact that, as a young woman, people were less inclined to take her seriously. Early in The Phantom Menace, the Emperor tells his Neimoidian allies, “Queen Amidala is young and naive. You will find controlling her will not be difficult.” But that turns out not to be true. As a teenage queen, Padmé is curious, observant, empathetic, selfless, and brave. She’s willing to both put herself in harm’s way and humble herself before a political rival in order to save her homeworld. It’s no wonder the people of Naboo tried to amend their constitution to get her to stick around as queen once her two terms were up.

Though Attack Of The Clones is the weakest of the prequels, it’s probably the best showcase for Padmé as a character. As a Galactic Senator, she’s clear-eyed as she balances her idealism about how democracy should work with her pragmatism about how it actually does. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but she’s also thoughtful about where and how she does so. And while very little about her relationship and repartee with Anakin actually works, the film features several delightful moments in which Padmé puts Anakin in his place whenever he jumps in with an opinion she didn’t ask for. That Attack Of The Clones also solidifies Padmé as the best-dressed person in the entire Star Wars universe is just icing on the cake.

Even amid her disappointing Revenge Of The Sith denouement—inexplicably losing the will to live after giving birth is perhaps the most insulting death she could’ve been given—Padmé at least gets to deliver some particularly savvy political observations as Chancellor Palpatine transforms the Republic into his Galactic Empire. “So this is how liberty dies,” she notes dryly, “with thunderous applause.” As a nerdy, opinionated young girl, Padmé was the perfect heroine on which to project my dreams, much as so many people did with Luke in the original trilogy.

It’s a little disappointing, then, to see Padmé completely forgotten in these new Star Wars films. Obviously I don’t expect her to suddenly turn up as a central character, given that she died long before the start of this new trilogy. But Episode IX has the perfect opportunity to bring her spirit back into the fold. As the one most personally betrayed by Anakin’s turn to the dark side, Padmé could easily fill the role Leia presumably would’ve played in challenging Kylo Ren’s obsession with Vader. Perhaps in encountering her old journals (holographic if Portman wants to return; written if she doesn’t), Kylo could develop an emotional connection to his grandmother, the same way he already has one with his long-dead grandfather.

Given how much the new films have tried to distance themselves from the prequels, there’s probably no realistic chance of Padmé finally getting her due in Episode IX—even if the inclusion of Jimmy Smits’ Bail Organa turned out to be one of the most unexpectedly moving parts of Rogue One. But hell, I’d even accept a Jimmy Smits hologram, talking about how much he respected Amidala as a political ally and how much his adoptive daughter reminds him of her. Because in a universe strangely devoid of mother figures, it would be nice to see the franchise remember it still has some inspiring ones in its past, just waiting to pass down their wisdom.”


“ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Caroline Siede is a pop culture critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. Her interests include superhero movies, feminist theory, and Jane Austen novels.”

Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score for The Last Jedi has tumbled to 49%, 16 points below Revenge of the Sith

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From Forbes:

“On the widely-tracked Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, both the critics’ “Tomatometer” score and the audience score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been ticking downward in the weeks since the film first released.

There’s nothing unusual about that; many studio tent-pole movies receive high scores during the initial flush of fan enthusiasm, and then more sober-minded assessments from the wider audience roll in and cause the scores to drop.

But there are two things that are highly unusual about The Last Jedi’s scores.

The first is that the audience score, now at 49 percent, is truly bad. That’s by far the lowest audience score ever given to a live action Star Wars movie, 14 percent lower than the 57 score of the next most disliked Star Wars film, the 2002 Hayden Christiansen-starring prequel Attack of the Clones. A great many people—hardcore fans, casual fans, and non-fans alike—consider The Last Jedi to be a terribly disappointing movie.

The second unusual thing is the huge gap between the 90 percent Tomatometer rating and that 49 percent audience score. That’s the widest gap for any Star Wars picture by a big margin.

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With regard to that very low audience score, quite a few conspiracy theorists ignored the overwhelming evidence that many moviegoers disliked the film, and circulated accusations of organized vote campaigns designed to drive down the film’s scores, despite the absence of any credible evidence to support this notion.

In late December I spoke with a Rotten Tomatoes representative named Dana Benson who assured me that the company works assiduously to prevent such manipulation and goes to great lengths to verify their ratings’ accuracy and authenticity. “We have several teams of security, network, and social database experts who constantly monitor reviews and ratings to ensure that they are genuine,” Benson told me. “They haven’t seen anything unusual with The Last Jedi, except that there has been an uptick in the number of written user reviews submitted.” […]”

The Telegraph reposted its positive reviews of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones

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The Telegraph reposted its original positive reviews of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and its original negative review of Revenge of the Sith.


“Yet The Phantom Menace is probably one of the most deliriously inventive films to have appeared in years: it displays all of George Lucas’s uncommon magic, a wide-eyed genius for adventure narrative that is beyond any ordinary capacity for wonder, and in many respects the latest episode proves itself to be a more finished movie than any of the others. It is daring and beautiful, terrifying and pompous – and that’s just the title sequence.” Click here to read the whole review of The Phantom Menace.


“But, for most of us, Attack of the Clones is indeed a pleasant surprise. It’s fine. It’s just about what we want it to be, it’s certainly an improvement on the last chapter, and it leaves us, if not exactly quivering with anticipation for Episode III, then at least prepared to believe that Anakin Skywalker’s conversion to the Dark Side just might make that the really good one. ” Click here to read the whole review of Attack of the Clones.


Click here to read the review of Revenge of the Sith.