Like any nerd, I’ve ripped on the prequels a lot, because there’s a lot to make fun of there! But there is one unassailable argument; when you’ve got billions of dollars to produce your vanity project and own one of the most advanced film effects companies in the world, you can make your vanity project very, very pretty.
The above video is all about tracking the various ways the prequels either copied or mirrored the original trilogy, and while I don’t think every shot is intentional, there’s definitely enough intentional design there that it makes for interesting viewing. Unsurprisingly, the best executions are from the one movie in the trilogy worth a few hours, Episode III, but Episode I does have a few interesting nods. Notice that none of them involve Jar-Jar Binks.
It’ll be fun to see how J.J. Abrams continues the visual tradition. He has stepped away from Lucas’ house style a bit from what we’ve seen in the trailers, but it’s still recognizably Star Wars. Just as long as Abrams doesn’t take five minutes to show us a spaceship landing because the animators spent a year making sure the struts settled just right, we should be good.