Why the Star Wars Prequels are much better than everyone thinks

It’s become something of a truism to say that the Star Wars Prequels are pretty awful films. They’ve become concepts that slipped into popular culture and never really left. Even the people who don’t like Star Wars, and have never seen the films, know that these productions are the bad ones.

And yet, this critical consensus is in fact rather unfair.

Sure, the Star Wars Prequels are imperfect – no one’s ever going to really argue that they aren’t – but there’s still a lot to like about them. And when it comes down to it, they’re actually a lot better than people give them credit for.

A Star Wars article for Metro. I have something of a complicated relationship with the prequels, I guess. Obviously, they are not necessarily brilliant movies – in many ways, they range from dull and turgid to just straightforwardly bad. At the same time, though, they’re the Star Wars movies of my youth, and the ones I have a (slightly) more personal connection to, I suppose.

I’d argue, though, that there is a lot about them that’s very good – they’re genuinely creative in a way that sets them apart from the majority of the other Star Wars films, and I think the story they struggle to tell is a more interesting and engaging one than the story the original trilogy tells successfully. And the sequel trilogy, arguably, though I don’t think the sequel trilogy has an obvious overarching story yet.

Anyway, so, yeah. Here’s a bit of an attempt at defending the prequel trilogy, with a few thoughts as to why they’re a bit better than the reputation they have (which is more often than not a repeated meme rather than genuine critical engagement).

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Ten Years of the Tenth Doctor: The Infinite Quest (Part 8)

the infinite quest doctor who review part 8 frog fish man hath mantis barney harwood totally doctor who alan barnes gary russell hd

So, what’s next?

This is actually the one I remember best, as it happens. Not because of any particularly memorable aspect of the episode in and of itself – no, it was because in this one Barney Harwood (who was one of the presenters of Totally Doctor Who) made a cameo appearance, so they did a whole feature on him going down to the recording studio and so on as part of that week’s episode. He was also an extra in Love & Monsters – you can see him hanging around behind Mrs Croot in the street scene – and they did a thing on that at the time too. I was quite fond of Barney Harwood back then, he was a good presenter. He has a silly haircut now, but I assume he’s still similarly good at his job.

Still not actually a lot to say about The Infinite Quest.

I’m impressed by the fact that these stories are maintaining something of a… I suppose a political angle? That’s perhaps an inaccurate way of describing it, but it’s nice to see that thread about oil shortages and what have you being maintained across this little instalment. It gives the impression that they’re reaching for something wider, something grander, than just a treasure hunt. There’s a feeling that actually this story has a bit of meat on its bones; it’s not quite as insubstantial as one might think. Admittedly, there’s no real way to tell if that’s true or not, because of how spaced out it is – but perhaps the omnibus edition will prove to be a powerful anti-capitalist polemic? (Hahaha.)

I also quite enjoyed the resolution to the problem, with the Doctor surrendering on the behalf of the Mantis Queen. It was a little rushed, and I don’t know that they could pull it off exactly like that in a real episode, but it was actually a very clever idea – it’s a great way to quickly wrap up the plotline and move it forward. Quite possibly that’s an idea I’ll steal one day and try to pass it off as one of my own. (Sorry, Alan Barnes.)

There’s also a nice little callback with the Doctor’s “oh no, no, don’t do that” moment to Martha. Would be interested to know if that’s in reference to Tooth and Claw or to The Shakespeare Code. Presumably the former, but possibly also the latter. It’s difficult to find much in the way of production details about The Infinite Quest, which is actually a little bit of a shame – I’m sure there’s some quite interesting stuff to learn about the commissioning process, how it was viewed internally, so on and so forth. It was pointed out once that Dreamland is never mentioned in The Writer’s Tale, suggesting something about how important it was considered by Russell T Davies – I can’t help but wonder if it would have been broadly similar with The Infinite Quest.

Ultimately, it’s another instalment of The Infinite Quest. That isn’t missing an adjective, much as you may assume it is. This is just another one. Yep. Yeah. That’s the case.


Ten Years of the Tenth Doctor Reviews

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