The Force is Strong with this Saga
Happy May 4th to all my Star Wars fans! Today marks the day in which we celebrate the Star Wars universe and all its glory. With The Clone Wars officially wrapped up and The Rise of Skywalker on Disney Plus making the entire saga in one place for the first time ever!!! I thought it would only be fitting to give my full review of the The Skywalker Saga. Now this review will only be the episodic movies, no shows or a Star Wars story will be talked about in this review. We’ll start from beginning to end and what was good, bad and great about each trilogy and at the end give an overall score. So, begin this review, we will.
The Prequel Trilogy
Making its debut in 1999, Star Wars The Phantom Menace was given to the fans after over a decade of waiting. A few years later Attack of the Clones was released then Revenge of the Sith. This series was so hyped up as it would tell the story of Anakin Skywalker and how he eventually turned to the dark side of the force. We were given what life was like before the empire and how the Jedi order operated at its peak. We also saw some bombass lightsaber duels from Darth Maul, Yoda, and Obi-Wan vs Anakin and witnessed the beginning and the end of the Clone Wars which was mentioned in the New Hope movie.
The lore in the original trilogy only gave us hints of what the Jedi were like in the past. The prequel trilogy expanded on that so much and how they were these powerful peacekeepers that were well known throughout the galaxy. Meeting Qui-Gon, Mace Windu, a Yoda that showcased his powers, Jango Fett, and a Palpatine before he was the Emperor. There was so much that was shown and explained about the force that fans wanted answers to from the original that we got it and then some.
The action was easily one of the biggest highlights in the trilogy, from epic space battles to finally seeing Yoda get to have a lightsaber duel, every action sequence was memorable. In Phantom Menace the duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul set the stage for lightsaber duels to come. It was fast, it was brutal, it was so well designed since these guys were in their peaks and well trained and boy did it showcase it. When Obi-Wan finally gets to go one on one with Darth Maul after killing Qui-Gon is still in the top fight scenes in Star Wars history. Attack of the Clones, for what it was worth ended on a better note giving us a full on Jedi vs Droid battle then moments later throwing the Clone troopers in. Revenge of the Sith easily gave us the best lightsaber duel yet to come with Obi-Wan vs Anakin. This legendary duel wasn’t just the best but it was an emotional rollercoaster of two brothers fighting to the death on a lava planet that was essentially hell and having Obi-Wan leaving a beaten Anakin alone and completely burnt. I still get chills when Anakin jumps into the air and begins attacking Obi-Wan a decade later.
John Williams continued to score this franchise and it only helped fuel this trilogy more and more. Certain scores added so much emotion to scenes when the dialogue just couldn’t cut it but the score would carry us into those feel zones. Some of the scores like Duel of the Fates and Anakin’s Betrayal are used in various social media videos for intense/funny moments. It only proves that there is no Star Wars without John Williams covering the score.
Finally, the actors of this Prequel Trilogy were great additions to the Star Wars Saga. Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Temuera Morrison, and Liam Neeson were amazing throughout the trilogy and gave us characters that will last forever in this saga. Credit to Mr. McGregor who had to fill in shoes that were already filled in the Original Trilogy with Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He stole the show when he was on screen, his performance as a young Obi-Wan was the best and his final scenes as this legendary character were completely memorable.
Let’s just get the biggest problem with the whole Prequel Trilogy out the way, and that’s the dialogue. Sweet mother, most of this made me cringe and laugh at what I just heard. I love George Lucas and as a storyteller he is fantastic but man these 3 films were horribly written. This especially shows during the romantic scenes between Padme and Anakin, never was there not a cringe moment, even in their final scene together. This is where maybe having a second writer would have helped out in this arena.
Jar Jar Binks, probably the most hated character we’ve ever gotten in the entire Skywalker Saga. This character was so poorly written and felt so out of place in The Phantom Menace but let’s not forget he did have somewhat of a purpose in bringing the Emperor into power. His clumsiness was more irritating than funny and was written for kids but even then he was forgettable by most of them at the time. He only took away from the film, not adding to it. I’m not blaming Ahmed Best, who plays Jar Jar but this character should have never been a thought in this saga.
The romance, though necessary, was down right poor overall. George should never have allowed these scenes to be made without someone else reviewing them. I know this is his creation but they were just horrible. Attack of the Clones was especially hard to watch because the first half of the movie was trying to be a love story but thank god the last hour had some great action sequences.
The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy was a great story from A to Z and gave us fans some truly memorable moments. Witnessing the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the birth of Darth Vadar is still the biggest highlight. Though with weak dialogue that hurts this trilogy greatly, no fan can deny that this felt like it belonged in the series.
7.5 out of 10
The Original Trilogy
May 25th, 1977 was a day to remember in film history as the world was introduced to the Star Wars universe and broke many worldwide records. We meet our heroes, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia as they fight against Darth Vadar and the evil Empire. You can’t say enough good things about the Original Trilogy. It stands the test of time and laid a foundation for sci fi adventures. It still is the best trilogy of the 3 and here’s why!
The Original Trilogy story will forever be its highlight from beginning to end. I could write a novel on how fantastic this trilogy is but I will keep it short. This is the easiest example of good vs evil and really showing how important to have trust can be. It’s also a redemption story of Anakin Skywalker fulfilling his destiny as “The Chosen One” to bring balance to the force. Learning about the ways of the force with Luke Skywalker and his journey to become a powerful Jedi while discovering who his family is is a great self discovery story arc that spanned through all 3 films. The confrontation in all 3 films was also extraordinary starting with Obi-Wan vs Darth Vadar to Luke vs Darth Vadar and the final confrontation when Luke is able to bring back his father to the light side of the force and defeat Emperor Palpatine.
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill had the best chemistry together and you could see it throughout. You couldn’t have asked for a better trio of heroes to fight against the dark side of the force. The acting was a blast to watch as Han and Leia would bicker back and forth or when Luke finds out his father is Darth Vadar. Then when you add the new set of characters like Lando and Jedi Master Yoda into the mix in The Empire Strikes Back you get an even greater set of characters and actors into the fold. Everything about these beloved characters still holds many years later.
Once again John Williams’s score helps continue to carry the trilogy with its classic intro that is used in all 9 episodes. I won’t go into as much detail but the Original Trilogy laid the foundation for him to being the only composer in the entire Skywalker Saga.
The space battles in New Hope and Return of the Jedi were for their time some of the best sci-fi space battles we’ve ever seen on screen and carried over to other forms of media as a template of space battles. Even the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back is such a great set piece that got a reference in Marvel’s Captain America Civil War movie. Now the lightsaber duels might not have been as flashy as the Prequel Trilogy but Empire and Return gave us duels with a lot of power and emotion that gave fans chills each time.
I honestly don’t have much to put into this section of things that was bad. A few things obviously don’t hold up as well anymore like the cgi that was used or certain set pieces throughout the Original Trilogy. The Ewoks though cool to have were also a poor way to help end the Empire and their forces but these are such small takeaways.
The Original Trilogy is easily the best of the 3 and gave us one of the most epic journeys ever to grace the big screen and still one of the best trilogies in all of film. 40 years later and these 3 films still hold up and are storytelling at its finest.
10 out of 10
The Sequel Trilogy
10 years after the finale of the Prequel Trilogy we were finally given the Sequel Trilogy in 2015. Over 30 years later and things are worse off than how we left it with the First Order rising and planning to bring back the fallen Empire. We get new heroes introduced to us, Rey, a junker who is obsessed with finding her family. Finn, a woke stormtrooper who tries to find himself meaningful things to do and Poe, the best star pilot in the galaxy. It’s up to these 3 to help the Resistance and take down the First Order but unfortunately this trilogy is a bit of a mess compared to the others.
Let’s get all the bad out the way before we talk about the good points to this trilogy. The Sequel Trilogy never could really land with its story that it was trying to tell. The Force Awakens was a huge fan service film that heavily resembled New Hope which wasn’t a bad thing and gave us characters that could be built upon but it seems like everything that was laid out ended up being completely thrown out in The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi is considered to be the worst Star Wars movie in the Saga by fans, though critics raved about the film, the fans attacked it hard. It changed our hero Luke Skywalker into someone who was too scared to help his friends and his sister Leia which is uncharacteristic, turned Rey into a complete nobody and she just so happened to be so strong with the force, and killed off the mysterious Snoke in a blink of an eye. Then they tried to pick up the pieces in The Rise of Skywalker which crammed a lot in a short period of time. There were so many plot holes that you could not overlook them and they try to explain these plot holes in the comics and novels (THAT DOESN’T COUNT) The story was not clearly planned out with the two directors and clearly not on the same page.
The new characters were also not the greatest and never really got to shine. Finn in particular felt like the biggest waste of character in the entire Sequel Trilogy. It seemed he was just in the way, always just screaming at things, and down right served no purpose other than, oh look this stormtrooper who broke from the control of the First Order and then they tried to make him “force sensitive” but this wasn’t confirmed in the movies only hinted at. Rey, our main character who was so strong with the force and had a strong connection with Anakin’s lost lightsaber (another point in the plot that was never explained) at first was a nobody then we find out her parents “chose” to be nobodies to protect her from Palpatine for which she is a Palpatine and this is her reason for being so strong with the force….Then we have Poe, Poe might be the most interesting out of the 3 main characters as he is this smart mouth resistance fighter who is very skilled and learns to become the leader of the Resistance in the final film. The actors they chose to play these characters did the best they could but their direction did not help them.
I want to give Kylo Ren his own section because this wannabe Darth Vadar is just painful to watch and to serve as the main villain in this trilogy. He spends more time throwing temper tantrums than actually making a fearful villain and we are made to believe that he could be more powerful than Luke and Darth Vadar??? No, not a chance. Though he eventually joins Rey and helps defeat Palpatine, me actually caring for this guy was long gone.
The unnecessary comedy in the Sequel Trilogy, thanks to Disney I’m sure, is overdone and out stays its welcome. Other than a handful of moments when it felt on point to have it there are so many one liners that pulled the viewer out of the storytelling. Mostly it felt forced and this isn’t what Star Wars is about and is not a sci-fi comedy.
The biggest thing that this trilogy does is killing off all the original characters. I know the late Carrie Fisher is a difficult thing to handle in this story but killing Han and Luke in the ways they did was a big slap in the face to the fans and then they try forcing the new characters on us all. The Han death felt so forced and not deserved and Luke disappearing at the end of The Last Jedi still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It makes zero sense and shame on Disney for letting this happen.
This is without a doubt the best looking trilogy both in its cgi and cinematography. I love the set design and how fresh it looks. The worlds we visited looked stunning and felt like they weren’t staged. The amazing cgi helped make the space battles even better because they had more to work with and weren’t limited by the technology of their time.
Of course we have to continue to talk about John Williams’s score as this was the best sounding in the saga. He will be missed in any future Star Wars films as he has retired from the franchise. What he has done for this franchise is unparalleled. He has been there since the beginning of the saga and saw it to the end. No one will ever be able to accomplish what he has done with this saga.
The nostalgia throughout this trilogy was great to fans from both the Prequels and the Original. They made sure all fans got some hints to help get yourself excited. I have to admit that watching these films in theater and seeing “garbage ship” turn out to be the Millennium Falcon and seeing the original cast after so many years even with their passing characters was a treat and made these moments worth watching all 3 films.
The Sequel Trilogy has so many faults but at the end of the day it’s still a fun Star Wars trilogy that is loved by many. Whether or not we ever see any of these new characters remains to be seen. It was a messy completion to the Skywalker Saga but it’s the ending we have nonetheless.
7 out of 10
The Skywalker Saga Final Judgement
If you were introduced through the Prequel, Original, or Sequel Trilogy there’s absolutely no denying that you ended up loving this fantastic journey. Though it has its ups and downs it never loses it footing as being pure entertainment. I wish it would have ended differently but here we are on May 4th with the full completion of The Skywalker Saga and this saga will forever be written in history as one of the greatest. It’s a saga that you can always come back to and pass down from generation to generation. We may never truly see something like this ever again but until let the force be with us in watching this great story.
8.5 out of 10
- May 4, 2020
Adam Gorman, @FirstChoiceAdam