Rewatching Star Wars – The machete order
With the recent release of Star Wars Episode VII, we decided that this would be the perfect time to rewatch the original films, except we decided to do it a little differently.
For a while I had known about the ‘machete order’ and it sounded like a really good idea, so we made the decision to give it a go, and it was nothing short of amazing…..
- The first film in the machete order is Episode IV – A New Hope. I’m not really sure that there is anywhere else you could start, of course you could argue that since Episodes I to III were produced you could watch everything in episode order, but then you would have to initiate new viewers to the saga through the worst films of the bunch. Also, you would ruin one of the best twists in cinema history, and no one wants to be responsible for that…. By starting out with A New Hope, viewers old and new and re-introduced to the saga in the exact way it was intended, and no one can argue that it was a bloody good film to start out with.
- The second film to watch is Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The feel of the film is very different to Episode IV, it’s much more action based, even starting out with a big battle scene on Hoth, and with a pick up of pace, it throws us into the next section of the story at full pelt. We have lots of character development, with Luke now being trained by Yoda, the storyline dances well between Luke’s coming of age and some good old fashioned fight scenes. The end of Episode V is the big reveal, with Darth Vader announcing to Luke that he is his father, a huge shock to both our main character and the audience, and it’s a phenomenal cliff hanger that leaves us begging for more.
- In a dramatic twist of events, we follow the huge revelation in Episode V with the third installment, Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Yes, by grabbing the audience when they’re at their most captivated, we can risk slipping the lesser Episodes in without losing anyone. Rather than give the audience what they want, we leave them guessing as to how the original saga will play out, and instead, take them back to the very beginning, to find out how it all happened. But then shouldn’t we start with Episode I? No, we should not. All Episodes I to III are pretty poor in comparison to the originals, with far too much emphasis being placed on showing off how far CGI and special effects have come, rather than producing and exciting story with great characters. They’re all too long, and they all contain far too much irrelevant action, just for the sake of it. Episode I is one of the worst (Jar Jar Binks anyone?) and offers nothing in terms of essential storyline. Because of this, it can be easily dropped from viewing completely. Instead, we go back to Episode II, where each character is still reintroduced in a way that viewers who had not seen Episode I would not be confused. Of the newer three films, Episode II is one of the better ones, and it gives us a good insight into Anakin Skywalker, and has us wondering what pushed him over the edge into becoming Darth Vader.
- Next up is Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Despite being about an hour longer than it needs to be, the final film of the newer trilogy serves a purpose and bridges our story gap. The problem is, we kind of know what needs to happen, Anakin needs to father two children, and turn to the dark side. So what they should have done, is concentrate more on his character development, and got to the point faster, rather than shoving elaborate CGI fight scenes in, again, just because they can. What’s special about this episode is showing the relationship between Anakin and the Emperor, and gives us a better understanding of the Jedi religion, The Force, and the Dark Side.
- Now we’ve left our audience hanging, and risked losing them with Episodes I & II, we finally return to the main saga, and conclude with Episode VII – Return of the Jedi. Watching Episode VII, after Episode III allows you to see the relationship between Darth Vader and the Emperor in a whole new light. You have a much greater understanding of how they came to be together, and I think it also allows you to have more empathy for Vader, as you begin to see similarities in him and Luke. The parallels between them also add a great dimension to the film, Anakin failed to defeat Palpatine, would Luke fail too ? We see Luke’s powers grow, as he uses the Force Grip on one of Jabba’s guards, something we know Vader is also capable of, as he choked Padme at the end of Episode III, could our hero be at risk of going to the Dark Side?
Of course, now that the third story arc is in motion, we’ll have to find room to fit in Episodes VII to IX, and while right now I’m not sure of the best way to slot these in, I can certainly recommend the machete order for those who want to watch the saga again before seeing Episode VII. And for those of you who haven’t yet seen Episode VII, I won’t give you any spoilers, but I will say that Episode VII is a refreshing change of pace which resembles what made the original saga so amazing, and almost makes up for the utter rubbish that is Episodes I to III.
Discovering the machete order makes me wish that I could have experienced the saga for the first time in this way, and I hope that you all enjoy it too.
As a side note, if possible, I will always watch the pre 1997 versions of Episodes IV to VI. I’m not adversed to cleaning things up, but some of the special effects added are ridiculous (Jabba squeeling when Han walks over his tail), the additional scenes are uncalled for, (what was with the additional scenes and stupid new song in Jabba’s Palace) and of course, who can forget, that HAN SHOT FIRST.Thanks for reading!
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