In the documentary, George gives some interesting insight on his film making philosophy. One of those insights: “you don’t have to spend much film time to create an environment.” George continues to say that sci-fi movies are notorious to do this to show off the amount of work and it slows the pace of the movie. Star Wars pulled this off. Perhaps it was simply there wasn’t a budget to do it. Yet, it worked as he said. I don’t need a 3-4 minute fly-over of Manhattan to get a sense the characters are in a big city. But when it came to the prequels, I found George was showing off more and more of the environments: Coruscant, Naboo, etc. The magic of CGI and digital paintings made them great eye candy but the feel of the movies changed.
George also stated, “my effort was to use less exposition and tell the story cinematically.” Again, the prequels are riddled with dialog to tell us where the action is going. The dialog is there to enrich the story – not tell us what we’re looking at: “They went up the ventilation shaft.” “There’s a problem with the main reactor!” Both were just seen only seconds ago. Either George thought we weren’t so bright or he was catering the story to a different audience (more on that later).
The Force was also one of the big issues with the Prequels. George needed to somehow convey that Anakin is more powerful in potential than other Force users / Jedi. But how do you do that? Simple. You make it a scientific explanation. In the previous Trilogy, The Force was a mystical entity, a source for a faith and religion. Yet, in the new Trilogy, it’s all about how many microbial parasites you have in your blood. More exposition. Dialog could have easily fixed this – would have benefited the story not try to explain it. I think this tarnished the mystery and power of The Force.
In the original expanded canon, it was told that Anakin Skywalker married a young queen. This was the mother of both Luke and Leia. We never got a name nor a true definition of her royal line. We really didn’t need it. The mystery was sorta interesting. Yet, now we have the opportunity in the Prequels to explore her character. Yet, is she really a Queen. No. George’s personal political opinion interfered with the fantasy. She needed to be elected to the position because an elected official seems more moral, right? Again, this failed the overall story in a galaxy, far, far away. And by the time she was married to Anakin and gave birth she was no longer a Queen but a simple Senator.
That last example could also lead into another one: changing the previous known canon. In Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia if she “remembers her mother, her real mother?” This clearly points to the idea that Leia as well as Luke and Han know she was the adopted daughter of Bail Organa. Could it just be an error in the writing and Luke is projecting his own knowledge toward Leia? Possibly. But why didn’t Leia freak out and say “what do you mean, real mother!?” By the time we got Revenge of the Sith, Padme Amidala died in child birth. So how could Leia possibly remember her. (I know fans have tried to explain this as Force memory) But why did it happen in the Prequels? George could have easily supported what he’d already told the audience.
These are just some examples. Next time, I’ll propose alternatives….
to be continued….