Full disclosure: I didn’t set out to write this piece. In fact, I planned to write something close to the opposite of this piece. With Obi-Wan Kenobi streaming on Disney+, and Ewan McGregor returning to the title role for the first time in 15 years, fan sentiment about the Star Wars prequels is at an all-time high.
In hyping Obi-Wan, McGregor himself claimed he’s discovered a “wave of positivity” from a generation of Star Wars fans who grew up with the prequels and love them. And he wouldn’t lie about something like that. He’s a Jedi! So I decided to write an essay that would explore the reasons for that “wave of positivity” and examine why contemporary audiences so despised these films.
Then I actually sat down and rewatched the movies.
I’m sure McGregor has experienced a wave of positivity about his Star Wars movies. Look hard enough and you can find waves of positivity about all kinds of awful crap on the internet. The worst movie I saw in 2021 was Space Jam: A New Legacy, and 2,000 people have given that cinematic abomination a perfect five-star review on Letterboxd. Just because there’s a wave of positivity on the internet doesn’t make something good.
And sadly, the Star Wars prequels are still decidedly not good. Looking at them again, I see the same problems I did 20 years ago — or maybe even more problems, since the impressive special effects have been surpassed by so many movies (including a couple of far superior Star Wars sequels) in the interim. Plus, the more you scrutinize their stories, the worse they appear.
For proof, check out these 15 moments from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. And, to be frank, I could have made this list twice as long.
The Worst Moments in the ‘Star Wars’ Prequels
Some people have come to love the Star Wars prequels. These moments show why we’re still not fans.
Sign up for Disney+ here.
10 Actors Who Turned Down Star Wars Roles