It isn't novel to say that the Internet is not always right. Any school teacher telling you to avoid Wikipedia for answers on homework, tests and projects will tell you that right away. When it comes to "Star Wars," however, the Internet (or at least the people using it) has an undeniable influence on how everyone views George Lucas's all-encompassing cultural phenomenon. Its current verdict? The original trilogy is a cinematic masterpiece; the prequel trilogy is absolute garbage. As a kid that grew up with "Episode I," "Episode II" and "Episode III," it is pretty devastating to be told left and right that I was wrong to have had any appreciation for them at all.
Bradley Weatherholt, the brains behind this thought-provoking fan documentary, seeks to lift that devastation off the shoulders of those, like me, who could not handle the thought of realizing that a big part of your childhood was a lie. Unlike die-hard fans on the Internet who, for truly curious reasons, dedicate their lives to explaining why the original trilogy is leaps and bounds above the prequel trilogy, Weatherholt simply offers his perspective, recruiting like-minded individuals, including critics, scholars, and fans, to help broaden his view of the maligned prequels for us rather than argue it for the sake of validation. He is clearly not in the mood to pick a fight with those who have firmly planted their feet in the ground in regards to how the prequels suck. With this documentary, Weatherholt meditates on a multitude of opinions on "Star Wars," asking us not just why it matters at all, but why it matters to each of us individually.
Both sides of the argument are heard, though Weatherholt of course dedicates much of his time to interviewees elaborating on the merits of the prequels and George Lucas's motivations and inspirations behind certain aspects of them, such as the campy dialogue, questionable acting, and obvious use of CGI. But none of this is meant to convert the prequel-haters, which is the main reason why, even though it is structurally and stylistically amateurish, "The Prequels Strike Back" is essential for any "Star Wars" fan. It allows you to explore a point of view without having to wind yourself up and engage with it critically, though it most certainly encourages you to think. Is it enjoyable? That depends on who you are. I certainly did, although I must say that it amounts to more than personal satisfaction.