Consider, for a moment, the Star Wars prequels. Not very good, are they? Sure, fans have started to reassess Episodes I, II, and III in recent years. Some are even going as far as to say they're misunderstood classics, but these people are wrong. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
There are some great moments in all three films, I'm obviously not denying that. Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi? Hello there. John Williams' sublime Dual Of Fates and the final battle in The Phantom Menace? Yes please. Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu? Sign me up. Yaddle? Say no more.
But the few great moments and countless vintage memes the prequels spawned do not make up for what amounted to an incredible missed opportunity overall. What could have been a fascinating deep dive into the hubris of the Jedi and the slow corruption of Anakin Skywalker was a dull series of trade negotiations and vaguely racist CGI aliens with a quick bit of kiddy murder thrown in at the end just to show you what a bastard little Ani had become.
As a young lad, I remember being massively bored by 80% of the prequels without ever really knowing why. As an adult I'm bored by about 85% to 90% of the prequels. It's just now I understand why: They suck.
All of which brings me to LEGO Star Wars - the original LEGO Star Wars. It's hard to remember a time where LEGO games weren't this massive genre in their own right, but back in 2005, LEGO Star Wars was the beginning of it all. Developer Traveler's Tales decided to kick things off, not with the infinitely more popular original trilogy, but with the prequels.
This was odd for two reasons. The first, as previously mentioned, is that the prequels are shite and the original trilogy is excellent. The second, which I only learned while writing this article, is that LEGO Star Wars released in March 2005, a full two months before Revenge Of The Sith hit cinemas. I can't remember when I finally played LEGO Star Wars, but I know for a fact I saw the end of the prequel trilogy on the big screen first. In all honesty, I kind of wish I hadn't now.
Imagine your first experience of seeing Mace Windu wrecked by Emperor Palpatine was through the medium of little plastic figures fighting in a video game? Brilliant. It's that weird and wonderfully anarchic humour LEGO Star Wars constantly threw up that endeared me to it in spite of my feelings on the prequels, and I'm so glad I gave it a chance.
LEGO Star Wars was, and still is, a fantastic puzzle game, a sublime multiplayer experience, and a completionist's dream. Inventive levels, a crap-ton of characters, and a myriad of secret areas and Easter eggs to unlock made it the kind of game you wanted to 100%. The combat was an absolute blast too, and I never did get tired of deflecting blaster bolts with lightsabers. The little LEGO twists on the characters and world waiting around every corner were constantly, delightfully surprising - so much so that the fact the game happened to be based on some of the worst films stopped mattering almost immediately.
This is the true magic of LEGO Star Wars: it made the prequels good. It took everything that worked from the films - John Williams' score, the space battles, the podcracing, the over-the-top lightsaber duels - and made them work as a video game. It did all of this while stripping away the awful dialogue about hating sand and killing the women and children in favour of an inspired series of genuinely funny, completely wordless cutscenes that re-told the story in a vibrant new way, turning up the inherent silliness of the prequels to 1000 in the process.
I will never get on with the prequels, no matter how many times I watch them or how much I try to see what others see in them. But LEGO Star Wars did the impossible: it gave me a way to love the prequels and explore a fascinating and important chapter in the Skywalker saga without having to hear Jar Jar Binks say a single damn word.
Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.
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