The Machete

My brother and I finished episode VI just minutes before dinner, which is less planning on our part than the fact that the prequels remain horrifically bad movies, regardless of the order they are watched in.

We actually ended up fast forwarding through almost all of II - like, literally, we watched less than 1/2 hour of it, most of which was spent counting how many lines we actually had to hear JarJar say (8 - 10, depending on how you choose to count). Then we went straight to III, watched through where you find out that Padme is pregnant and fast forwarding until right before Vader becomes Vader.

Our conclusions about the Machete order:

  • It is definitely the best order to watch the films in, but it leaves you with the unpleasant fact of going from V - the very best - to II - arguably the second worst. The graphics hold up, but the story doesn't. May be possible to just skip to III, or at least the just-before-Vader bits of III and have the story hold up better as a flashback.

  • V really is the best movie. In VI, Lucas starts getting delusions of grandeur, but V has everything you need in a story and more. VI just has needless musical numbers and Ewoks.

  • Ewoks dying is always sad.

  • Padme has amazing outfits and nobody could have played her better than Natalie Portman, but her character just dies a tragic character assassination in III, becoming nothing more than a vehicle for Vader's existence and nothing more. But that is a Lucas problem.

  • The main problem with the prequels is that too much weight was placed upon the actor playing Anikan. He plays dark well, but we miss a lot of the light that he was supposed to have before hand, and it is very hard to feel the EPIC, SACRIFICE EVERYTHING LOVE that he was supposed to have held for Padme. There's a suggestion of it, but nothing more.

  • The lightsaber duel in III is the best.

  • But the lighting in V's is amazing, and a very close second.

  • Watching II and III right before VI makes a lot of early VI dark, and makes the thought Luke go dark side more be liable. Especially considering some word choices/ phrasings / cinematography that helps to relate Luke to his father in a very, very mirror-like way.

  • Ewoks are cute, but its best to fast forward through them.

  • 3PO is my spirit animal in all things.

  • Han is amazing. He is a scoundrel, yes, but a lovable one, and at the end of VI when he thinks Leia's in love with Luke, he offers to back off, no strings attached. He doesn't beg for her to chose him, or try to fight Luke, or anything. He just accepts it and is prepared to move on, because he wants her to be happy. As my brother calls it, "that's broship, right there".

  • Watching 5 movies in a row is a lot, even when you mostly fast forward through two of them.

  • Star Wars is amazing, but I think they miss the point: that no one is purely good or evil. As the books eventually later conclude, neutrality is the best course. Not all good or all evil, but a mix is best. There is no one so virtuous that power will not eventually corrupt them, but very few people are wholly evil. For instance, if Anikian had been allowed to love, so much of the movies would never have happened. But because he feared loss and was isolated because of the nature of his love, he chose to walk the dark path, believing he has no other choice. As VI seems to make clear, friendship is what saves the galaxy. Lando believes in Han, so he convinces Akbar not to immediately retreat. Luke believes in his friends, so he does not immediately give in to the Emperor's taunts. Friendship saved Han, who otherwise would have been in Jabba's palace forever. And so on and so on. It is isolation that kills us. We are only as strong as we are united, in all things. And love should never isolate people, but it did in this case and look what happened.

Conclusion: Machette viewing order is far superior to I - VI or IV - VI/I - III, but it is not without problems. However, those problems are largely of a writing issues and the fact that the original trilogy is vastly superior to the prequels. The originals - particularly V and VI - hold up far better to time than the prequels will. The graphics may be better in the prequels, but the story doesn't have the same narrative strength as VI, and is too full of flash and pop and circuses to truly become classics. They are not without worth, but they will always be lesser.