I’ve been listening to some of Patton Oswalt’s stand up the past few days and while I have been laughing myself silly I have also learned a thing or two. When I say learned what I really mean is that a truth I already knew has been revealed to me. This, I think, is the true worth of stand-up comedy. A person gets on stage and tells you things you didn’t know you already knew and they make you laugh while doing it.
What I learned from Mr. Oswalt today has to do with the Star Wars prequels. Before I listened to this routine I was sure I did not like any of the prequels and I was fairly sure I knew the reasons why. I missed a few. In his act Mr. Oswalt reveals some of the most convincing reasons I have encountered as to why these movies are absolute garbage. Forget Jar-Jar and terrible acting and a lead that conveys no emotion. Forget also really bad looking digital video that was hyped (there it is again!) as “The Thing That Would Soon Devour Film”. Even, and I know this is a big one, forget the fact that Lucas decided to direct these movies himself — despite the glaring evidence of the first trilogy why this would be a bad idea.
Now that we have forgotten these minor points (and believe me, I have more) let us get to what Mr. Oswalt targets as the problem: Lucas spends a good deal of time in the first two movies telling us about the really tough and evil characters we love, but about when they were sweet, innocent children. This point had not occurred to me before listening to this bit but it is, without a doubt, exactly what is wrong with these movies.
Let’s look at one of the all time villains when he was a sweet and cuddly boy that life kept tromping on. Poor little Vader, don’t cry now. The truth of the matter is very simple: I could not care less how Darth Vader came to be what he is. Not one bit. The same goes for any of the other characters in these films.
Here is a clip I found on Youtube of this bit (NSFW):
If you would like to watch a very long video (seven parts total!) that goes through every aspect of what is wrong with The Phantom Menace then take a gander below (these clips are NSFW):