OK, there are a lot of reasons:
- Except a few standouts (Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, etc.) the acting was horrible.
- There were far too many boring scenes of people talking … made all the worse due to the first point above.
- The CGI aliens were far inferior, in most cases, to the practical effects used in the original trilogy.
- And many others …
But let’s be honest about the original trilogy: it was not without its own flaws. Why can we forgive them, while meticulously cataloging the flaws in the prequel films?
In my opinion, the main reason that many fans dislike the prequels is their age.
Let me rephrase … the main reason that many older fans dislike the prequels is their age.
I was about 6 months old when Star Wars was released in May 1977. I saw Empire and Jedi in the theater, being about 4 and about 7, respectively. The movies brought a sense of wonder and fantasy and imagination that really only exists in a child.
In 1999 when Episode 1 was released, I was an adult. I tried to convince myself to like the movie, and I will still sometimes pretend that I do, but I honestly don’t. Watching that movie, and Episodes 2 and 3, doesn’t bring and has never brought the same feelings. Some of that might stem from the logical reasons that opened this article. Some of that might stem from other reasons.
Is it possible that we hate the prequels in part because they came out when we were grown up?
Maybe we should ask the Star Wars fans who have grown up in the past two decades. My 9-year-old daughter has seen all six films (of course!—what kind of father do you think I am?) and she loves them all. She doesn’t see the same flaws that we see when she watches the prequels. She just sees the fun, the fantasy, the wonder that they possess.
Let’s look at another example: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I have heard people complain that the plot was a bit too ridiculous, [SPOILER] with the aliens at the end. Is the alien really more ridiculous than the spirits coming out of the Ark at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Or the witch doctor hypnotizing Indy and pulling people’s hearts out of their bodies in Temple of Doom?
The reason that we love the three older Indiana Jones films is, in large part, because Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is just about as cool as they come. And he is the same guy, a little older, in Crystal Skull. Is Crystal Skull (which I actually do love) really a bad movie, or does it suffer from coming out 20 years too late, when the fans of the original were too old and jaded to just experience the film for what it is?
What do you think? Please let me know in the comments if you think this theory might hold a little water or if I am completely out of my mind.