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The Contender
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The Star Wars prequels are bad

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2018 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 2,263 times Debate No: 113920
Debate Rounds (4)
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Hello, it's time for a (hopefully) more lighthearted and nerdy topic. I recently watched the Star Wars prequels, meaning The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). I'll admit that I kind of liked the last one, but it is still a deeply flawed movie, and I hated the other two. So my argument is that on the whole, this prequel trilogy was bad, and the negatives outweigh the positives.

But I understand that these movies have their fans. Some of which like them even better than the originals. I'd like to debate somebody who enjoys the prequels, and help enlighten me as to why anyone enjoys these films. My opponent doesn't need to argue that they're perfect, simply that the positives outweigh the negatives. This debate is going to be based more on subjective opinion than facts. So rather than using sources, all we can do is try to convince each other with the power of rhetoric.

As usual, I've closed off this debate for now to ward off trolls. If you'd like to debate me, please say so in the comments. Look forward to some responses, and may the midichlorians be with you!


Meesa honored to be taking on dissa heavy burden. Meesa accept this with muy, muy humility and uh...

Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting, Jar Jar, and good luck. As I said, I’m going to be arguing that the negatives of the Star Wars prequels outweigh the positives, for reasons that I’ll break down into 4 categories:

1. Effects
2. Characters
3. Acting
4. Writing

Let’s get this started!

1. Effects

It’s common knowledge that George Lucas had almost total control over the creation of Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III, which he didn’t have over the originals. While the Star Wars movies of the 70s and 80s pulled audiences into its world with wide open sets, creative costumes, and clever camera work, Lucas decided to rely on the technology of computer-generated imagery (CGI), which was still in its infancy. There’s nothing wrong with CGI, when used sparingly. Take the Lord of the Rings movies, which mostly rely on practical effects, and goes for computer generation only when absolutely necessary. They look amazing even now.

But the Star Wars prequels? Oh, no. Oooooh nooooooo. Pretty much everything in those movies is computer-generated except the people, and that’s no exaggeration. Maybe it would work if it looked real, but it doesn’t. The effects look like something out of a video game, especially The Phantom Menace. CG naturally looks fake when overused, even today, and for those who say “Well, it looked good for the time”, look at Jurassic Park. It came out six years earlier, looks ten times better, and whenever someone had to interact with a dinosaur up close, guess what they did? Built an actual animatronic dinosaur that actors could react to. Because when Liam Neeson grabs Jar Jar’s tongue, it looks less convincing than Roger Rabbit.

2. Characters

George Lucas seems to have forgotten the heart of the original Star Wars trilogy: the characters. A great cast of colorful, unforgettable personalities like Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Yoda, the droids, Darth Vader. And it’s worth mentioning the Star Wars sequels, far better movies than the prequels. Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose, and Kylo Ren are all lovable and unforgettable. But here, in the first two prequels at least, Lucas decides to focus more on galactic trade negotiations than on developing believable characters.

The cast of The Phantom Menace is one of the worst I've ever seen. Qui-Gon Jinn is a bland Jedi master with no personality. Padme doesn’t either. Lots of people like to hate on Jar Jar, but at least he actually shows emotion. I hate the human characters more so than the Gungans. Especially Jake Lloyd as young Anakin, who’s a little ball of annoyance. Ewan McGregor, who I know has talent in other roles, is given no personality and nothing to do. He improves in Attack of the Clones, but not by much. But Count Dooku is pointless and not explored enough. The Jedi mostly sit around and do nothing, and even when they have a big battle in Episode II, Yoda is dry and humorless and very computer-generated, absolutely ruining his character from the original Star Wars movies.

Anakin is the true main character of the prequel trilogy, and arguably of the whole Star Wars saga. But I think many of the choices made for him are obnoxious and unrealistic. He starts off as a veritable boy genius, building robots and podracers as a prepubescent. He’s said to be “the chosen one”, and is so obvious a Jesus allegory that he was literally born of a virgin. In the second movie, he has an awful romance with Padme, which I’ll get to later when I talk about acting. In the third, he is way too quick to pledge his life to Darth Sidious and the Sith. They were actually making good progress with a slow transition to the Dark Side, but it’s ruined when Anakin immediately flips like a coin - after seeing Palpatine assassinate one of the Jedi leaders with lightning, no less. A good story unfolds naturally and organically, but here, you can detect the heavy hand of a crappy screenwriter. Named George Lucas.

3. Acting

As the characters are atrocious, so is the acting. Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, even Samuel L. Jackson - all completely monotone. No one is the least bit invested in what they are saying. And Hayden Christensen? Good heavens, no. These are all talented people, but the prequels have managed to suck the life out of them, and I have a theory as to why. Because everything - the creatures, the environments, some of the characters - is computer generated, the actors have nothing to base their performance on. Nothing to react to. As usual, the blame can be pinned on Lucas not knowing what he was doing.

One exception to this rule is the romance between Anakin and Padme. It’s horrific. They have no chemistry, everything they say and do feels unnatural, and the dialogue feels like it was written by a middle schooler who just saw a Shakespeare play. And this wouldn’t be a big issue, except that so much time and attention is dedicated to it, and the entire plot of Anakin turning into Darth Vader literally revolves around his love for this woman, and we as an audience simply can’t believe it. "I don’t like sand", indeed.

I’ll give the prequels this, though. There are a couple moments of good acting in Revenge of the Sith. Especially any time Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine is on the screen. He’s amazing. But too little, too late.

4. Writing

Even if you stripped away the bad effects and the bad acting, the story of Episodes I and II don’t work on paper. Because when you really think about it, in the grand scheme of things, what does The Phantom Menace add to the story of Star Wars? Almost nothing. Same for Attack of the Clones. In terms of showing the Clone Wars, or the fall of the Jedi, or the rise of the Empire, or Anakin’s transition to the Dark Side - these things being the reason the prequels were even made - we get almost nothing. Only in Episode III do the pieces finally fall into place, and still, it’s done clumsily.

The dialogue simply explains too much. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Show, don’t tell”. The original Star Wars movies demonstrate this at many points, but again, Lucas seems to have forgotten. His characters love to explain what’s going on, including dry political jargon, to the point where the audience loses interest. And in the emotional moments, they say how they’re feeling rather than allowing the feelings to speak for themselves. Perhaps I can explain in greater detail and give some examples in a later round, because I'm running short on characters.

And besides, what’s with all the weird stereotypes in these movies? All the Neimoidians seem to be parodies of Japanese people. Watto is clearly some 17th-century caricature of a Jew. All the Gungans speak in some strange Afro-Caribbean dialect. What gives, George Lucas? And even if my opponent doesn’t care about racial issues, there is a logical argument against this. When you see that these are ethnic stereotypes rather than aliens, it completely ruins the immersion. In the original Star Wars, almost all the nonhuman creatures speak a different language, because of course they would. You can relate certain characters to real-world parallels, but it’s more subtle and clever. Rather than the prequels, which are about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face.

I won’t deny that there are good aspects of the prequels. There are good things to be found in even the worst of movies. But here, they are completely overshadowed by their faults. And it becomes all the more apparent how terrible they are when compared to the original trilogy, or The Force Awakens, or The Last Jedi. Which are fantastic movies, despite what the haters say. I know plenty of people grew up the prequels, and I welcome their arguments. I don't mean to antagonize anyone. Now I hand the reins over to my opponent.



(JimShady sees Phenenas disrespecting Prequels and draws red lightsaber)

"It's treason then... AAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHKAS:LCK{_D(A!!!!!!!!!!"

So, I've read your arguments, I must say they look pretty decent. But before I address them, first I want to present my arguments, and then I'll offer rebuttals to yours in the next round (although I might touch on them a little in this round)... Also, I'm going to be largely comparing the Original Trilogy with the Prequels, I may mention the Sequel Triology from time to time, but since it isn't yet complete, I'm just ignoring it for this debate.

1. Better Locations
2. Tons of Action... They Put the "Wars" in "Star Wars"
3. Great Characters
4. Nice Story

1) Better Locations

I want to first start off by saying that the Original Trilogy (OT) is fantastic, and i can definitely understand why many people like it better than the Prequel Trilogy (PT). However, the OT isn't perfect, and one way I think the PT outshines it is in the world selections...

So, what does the OT have? A desert world, a mechanical world (Death Star), a snow world, a swamp world, a Cloud world, and a forest world. That's actually a pretty good array of worlds, but you'd think that an entire galaxy would have more to offer than just these. In fact, all of these but Cloud City could be found on Earth (Death Star would be like a factory.) I'm not bashing these, I think Endor, Tatooine, and Hoth are great, but Star Wars could be better than that, couldn't it?

Luckily the PT gives us more. We get Gungan City, an underwater world. We get Coruscant, a planet-sized city (yes Earth has cities, but not at that scale). We get Kamino, a world of endless rain. We get Geinosis, a world of termite-like mounds. We get Utapau, a world of gigantic holes in the ground. We get Felucia, a world of gigantic plants. And we get Mustafar, a hell-like planet of lava. Worlds like these are what we expect to see in a gigantic universe, not just basic Earth-like worlds, and luckily the PT was able to bring them to frutition.

2.) Tons of Action...

The series is called Star WARS, not Star Peace, and luckily, the PT delivered on this. Now, I'm not saying the OT didn't have action; it had plenty, and I'm very grateful for that. But the PT definitely stepped it up. In the OT, the Galactic Civil War between the Rebellion and the Empire doesn't seem as big as it should. For example, the Rebellion's destruction of the Death Star in Episode IV was a very shjtty invasion. They only sent in like 25 X-Wings and a few Y-Wings, you'd think they would have a larger invasion force for something as big as the Death Star. The Episode V Battle for Hoth was pretty epic, but seriously, you mean to tell me the entire Rebel army can hide in that one base? You also mean to tell me the Empire only sends 5 AT-Ats to kill them? They are a galactic Empire, they should have millions. Episode VI was a lot better, the Battle of Endor was on a much larger scale, but still it seemed a little smaller than it should.

In comparison, the Clone Wars of the PT make the Galactic Civil War seem like a skirmish. Episode I is mainly just Gungans and the Naboo vs the Trade Federation, but even then the space battles were still big and the land battle was pretty epic. Episode II gave us the gigantic Battle of Geinosis, I don't know how big it was, but both sides had many tanks and stareships and troops that far outweighed OT numbers. And Episode III featured the collosal space Battle of Coursant, the huge Invasion of Utapah, and the Battle of Kashyk. It also showed scenes of various other world in which Clones and Battle Droids were fighting. The Clone Wars were truly a galactic-wide conflict, the sheer scale was awesome.

Also worth mentioning is how great the lightsaber battles are. I'm not going to get into all of them, I'm sure many readers and my opponent have seen them, so y'all should no how great they are (except maybe Episode II's and a couple from Episode III). They are much faster and much more skilled than the OT's. Now I'm not saying that the Ot's and the Last Jedi's are bad... V, VI and VII have really really good ones- I'm just saying that the Prequels lightsaber fights (and I think we can all agree that lightsaber fights are an important part of Star Wars movies) are just as great as the other movies.

3) Great Characters

Some of you might be reading this and be like "what? Impossible," but yes, the PT has some good characters. It also has mediocre ones and bad ones. To start with, Obi-Wan is probably the strongest character of the PT. He is very much like his self in Episode IV, a good father figure, heroic, and offers witty comments just like he did in IV. Sheev Palpatine is also a very well-written character, he seem like a friendly old guy, and yet he has a very evil alter-ego. He does a great job making both roles convincing. Anakin is also a pretty well-written character. We can see Darth Vader from his innocent childhood and into his progression as a powerful Jedi, but also a troubled Jedi, and finally into an evil Sith. General Grievous is utterly bad@ss and awesome looking with a unique demeanor of cowardly yet still ferocious. The rest of the characters are either meh or fvcking suck, but we do get some pretty good ones.

I will say that the PT isn't as strong in characters as the OT, but that doesn't mean it's absolute trash. The OT sets a very high standard, and it's understandable if movies don't reach it. (And by the way, Kylo Ren and Finn are pretty sweet, but Rey, Poe, and Rose are all detestable abominations.

4) Nice Story

Notice I didn't say "Perfect Story," I said "Nice Story." I'll admit, the Prequels definitely could've been written better. But just because they aren't perfect, doesn't mean they are bad. Episode I succeeded in giving us an intro to the main characters: Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padme, and Sheev. It introduced the turmoil that was about to overtake the galaxy and thrusted these chartacters into the story.

Episode II also furthered the menace that was introduced in the Phantom Menace and also succeeded in its main goal of showing that yes, Anakin is a valiant and good Jedi, but he's also going down a dark path and will soon become a master.

Episode III ties the entire saga together in showcasing the fall of Anakin and the rise of Darth Vader, the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. It's a great Final Act and tragic ending that already existing Episode IV can tie nicely into. (Compare this to Episode VII- wtf? It basically made the Galactic Civil War entirely useless by bringing in an Empire remake, the First Order. It makes the the struggle of all the previous 6 movies uselss, and the roughly 30 years in between them and what happened with the First Order and the Jedi is explained terribly.)

Now, once again, George Lucas could've done better, but I feel that he still did well. Prequel films offer more of a challenge and more areas to fail in, and so that gives them a little leeway.


My opponent has stated that my job is to "simply [show] that the positives outweigh the negatives" of the Prequels. I feel like I've done that here. Am I saying that the Prequels are better than the Original Trilogy? No. Am I saying that the Prequels are perfect? No. Am I saying that they are still worth watching and are worthy predecessors of the Original Trilogy? Yes. Anyone who enjoys the first 3 films should enjoy the next 3. Same with the Sequel Trilogy... VII and VIII aren't considered by fans to be nearly as good as the originals (in fact, many hate them), but I still enjoyed them a lot. In all the Prequels are more of a success that a failure.
Debate Round No. 2


(Phenenas draws a blue lightsaber)

“It’s over, JimShady! I have the high ground!”

Thanks for your response, you’ve made a strong argument. But now I must give my rebuttal, point by point.

1. “Better Locations”

The OT isn’t perfect, of course. And conversely, the prequels, as much as I hate them, have their good points. Probably the best part about them is the worlds and creatures, which, even though they look fake, are often beautiful. But are they really that much more creative than the originals? The PT shows about as many worlds as the OT. And yet, a lot of it feels derivative. We get a desert world in the originals, and another desert world called Geonosis in the prequels. And instead of having a whole bestiary of diverse life-forms, it’s just...bugs. In the originals, we get Endor, a forest-covered world inhabited by furry bear-like creatures. And in the prequels, we visit Kashyyk. Guess what? It’s a forest-covered world inhabited by furry bear-like creatures. Inspired.

There are some creative ideas in the prequels, though. The key word being ideas. They aren’t explored like in the older trilogy. You mention the world of Felucia, and we get to see that planet for...10 seconds, maybe? I love the ocean planet of Kamino, but we don’t really get to soak in its atmosphere because we immediately move back to the plot which involves boring discussions about clones. Think about the bar scene on Tatooine in A New Hope. That made the world feel real. And that’s why the original trilogy was such a miracle. Rather than trying to dazzle us with now-dated CGI, they focused on what was up close and personal, as a normal inhabitant of the world might see it. What do we know about the daily life of a native of Mustafar or Naboo? Absolutely nothing. But the original trilogy was patient enough to show us the moisture farms alongside the star destroyers. And for that, I say that they have better locations.

2. “Tons of Action”

I won’t deny that the prequels have many action scenes. Some of it was even real. Yet I still prefer the originals here for reasons that can be summed up in two words: emotional investment. You call the climax of A New Hope “a very shjtty invasion” and criticize the logic of that and the Hoth battle in Empire Strikes Back. I'd counter that for every plot hole in the originals, the prequels have ten. But making sure the plot makes perfect realistic sense isn’t what I care about in a movie, so I won't go over them. All fictional stories have plot holes if you dig deep enough, and if it’s a good story, I can forgive them.

Besides, those scenes you mentioned from the originals? All suspenseful, thrilling, and well-paced. The big battle on Geonosis from Episode II not only had about as much CG as a Pixar movie, but had no pacing at all. There’s no sense of danger in the prequels, because most of the enemies are battle droids, which are absolutely useless. As George Lucas himself admitted, the Jedi “cut through them like butter”. The old-school stormtroopers, on the other hand, were clearly threatening even if they were bad at aiming. Sure, the prequels had bigger battles, you’re right about that. But let me ask you this - how does that make them better movies? Even if the limitations of the time prevented us from seeing the full scale of the Galactic Civil War, we’re much more emotionally invested. The Rebels are the underdogs, a small band of brothers and sisters fighting for freedom. The Empire is practically the Third Reich on an interplanetary scale. So naturally, we root for the Rebels. But in the Clone Wars, it’s mindless clones versus mindless robots. I get what Lucas was trying to do, making it more gray-and-grey instead of black-and-white. But if both sides are inhuman pawns, who the hell cares which one is the winner?

As for the prequels’ lightsaber fights, we have the same problem. A lack of emotional investment. Every time Luke fights Darth Vader in the originals, you see the rage in his face, how he just loses control and whales away on him. Compare that to the fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. It’s better choreographed...too well choreographed. His master just died, he should be losing control in the same way, but they’re clearly just doing a graceful, well-rehearsed performance. The same goes for the final fight with Anakin in Episode III. It’s like a dance, not a heartbreaking duel between two former friends. Maybe our priorities are different, but I put emotional investment above flashy visuals, and I think most people would agree with me.

3. “Great Characters”

Thank you for admitting that most of the characters suck, but you are kind of undermining yourself there. You only compliment four of them out of a pretty large cast. And still, I have to disagree. While Ewan McGregor is a good actor and I really believe that he’s a young Obi-Wan, he’s not really well-written. Especially in Phantom. I disagree about Anakin for reasons which I’ve mostly already mentioned. His progression to the Dark Side doesn’t feel natural. General Grievous didn’t leave much of an impression on me. The only one I’ll give full credit to you on is Palpatine, and then, only in Episode III. He’s a great character. But he doesn’t make up for the rest of them.

4. “Nice Story”

I stand by Episodes I and II being almost entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things. Episode I introduces the main characters, but keeps them as side characters while for some reason keeping the focus mostly on Qui-Gon. What’s the point not only on focusing on a character who’s going to die, but whose death doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things and is scarcely mentioned again? Why show this minor conflict with the Trade Federation and an army of cartoon rabbits?

Episode II introduces but barely shows the Clone Wars, which I still say is a bland conflict with no emotional weight. We had a pretty good scene where Anakin gets revenge for his mom by killing Tusken Raiders, “and not just the men, but the women and the children too”. But it’s glazed over so quickly, shifting focus instead back to the awful romance with Padme. Why couldn't we have gotten literally anybody but George Lucas to write this romantic dialogue? Why couldn’t we have started Anakin off as a teen rather than an annoying kid in Episode I, seeing the start of his descent from the get-go? Why couldn’t the Jedi have been more involved? Why weren’t the villains, like Dooku and Grievous and Maul, explored in greater depth? The prequels aren’t the worst movies ever made, but when you compare them to what they could have been and what people were expecting, it’s a real tragedy.

I agree that Episode VII’s story makes no sense, but again, I don’t mind that so long as it’s a good movie, which it is. But this time around, I actually cared about what was going on. The prequels are not good, and not worthy predecessors. And even if the originals were out of the picture and expectations weren’t so high, the prequels are a failure of a trilogy.

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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by JimShady 3 years ago
Aw dude I thought u had timed out dangit... you wanna restart it? I feel bad not letting this debate get completed it was going pretty good.
Posted by Dinis 3 years ago
prequels still beat the newer Star Wars movies for me, the new ones just feel like a regular Disney movie, bad guy loses, good guy wins heroically
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
*plops down and pulls out some popcorn*
Posted by NDECD1441 3 years ago
Just a quick step in, the statement that the prequel is bad shouldn't be an argument. Its your burden of proof.
Posted by JimShady 3 years ago
Yoda will take a battalion of clones to reinforce the Wookies.
Posted by Phenenas 3 years ago
@JimShady It's settled then!
Posted by JimShady 3 years ago
I'd be interested to debate this. I grew up with the Prequels like a lot of millennials did, so they are really close to my heart. And yes, I know that certain parts of them are shjt, there is no question about that. However, I'd still like to fend for them simply because I feel a sense of duty to defend this beloved trilogy, and I will defend it to the death.
Posted by dukeofpanda 3 years ago
they are bad, but they are better than the new ones.
Posted by DeletedUser 3 years ago
I didn't really like I and II to be honest, but III was definitely great.
Posted by Dinis 3 years ago
I can"t debate on how Anakins character and the Republic are more grounded and realistic characters than Luke and the rebels

As well as stating how the story has more meaning than what the original trilogy provided.

This is what I have to offer, I this what you are looking for?
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