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And yet nobody condemns the original trilogy as bland.
Except they do. I do. There are many people who don't like Star Wars because of its simplistic good vs evil story. I like Star Wars, but I don't for one second think it's the epitome of story telling. Basically, what you're telling me is that you want Star Wars to always be the exact same story over and over again with basically just name changes here and there.
How do you know the senate was corrupt? When did any Jedi do anything "outside the system"? Seriously, work it through: how is the Republic corrupt, apart from the bare fact that Palpatine wins in the end? How is the corruption substantiated? It's pretty obvious that Lucas wanted the Republic to be corrupt, sclerotic, superannuated, bureaucratic, whatever, because that's the trope. But, he never really showed how it was, or why.
Funnily enough, you answered your own criticisms in your next paragraph. The word of the Queen and two Jedi weren't enough. All because the Trade Federation senator denied all the allegations. THAT is your substantiated corruption and bureaucracy. How much more do you need? As my parents love to say: do you need me to draw intestines on a stick figure?
And despite this, Senator Jar Jar, with no real opposition is able to propose the creation of an army and the senate straight up and does it with no debate whatsoever. They seem to be really efficient when they want to be.
Again, THAT'S THE POINT. Ordering a non-partisan investigation as to what's really going on? Obstructed. But the creation of an army that merely benefits the military-industrial-finance complex? Immediate effect. That's the corruption you're looking for. How much more hand holding do you need before you learn to put two and two together? I wonder if people who criticize the prequel even understands how bureaucratic corruption works? Do they even see that is how the many modern governments, including the US and the EU works? Sensible things are obstructed all the time, but bad ideas that make a few people rich could not be greenlit fast enough.
Are you kidding? The Empire kills everybody on a little ship they easily overpower; Vader snaps the neck of a rebel subaltern just because he doesn't know what he wants to hear; the Death Star blows up Alderaan and nearly destroys the moon of Yavin. Tarkin flatly states that the fear of his battle station will oppress the entire galaxy, and orders the death of Leia's family, friends and planet right in front of her.
No I'm not kidding. By that point, you're ALREADY on the side of the Rebels because you've been told the Empire was evil. Think about how you would interpret the scene without seeing the opening crawl. Sure, you may still side with the Rebels, but that's because it starts off being a David vs Goliath battle between ships and you're socially conditioned to root for the underdog.
But nothing about any of those actions you've mentioned are evil (after disregarding the exposition of the crawl) UNLESS you're willing to imagine something outside of what is shown in the movies. Something you no doubt reflexively did and have no apparent trouble accepting when watching Star Wars, but hold a double standard for when it comes to the prequel.
Hell, in the current political climate, it's not so far-fetched to think that if the opening crawl switched the evilness of two sides around, a sizeable proportion of the American population would side with the Empire thinking they were the good guys. The Rebels? TERRORISTS. Alderaan? AL QAEDA. They even both begin with "al". Or TALIBAN. Because they sort of rhyme. Yavin? IRAQ. Bail Organa? BARACK OBAMA. Many Americans would love to see that hippie-on-the-outside-terrorist-on-the-inside dead. He probably even faked his Alderaan birth certificate to hide the fact that he was born on Korriban. See how many things you just plainly assume and accept by being told?
When does, say, the trade federation do anything of the type? They blockade a planet, but nobody on the planet actually seems to suffer. They demand a treaty signed, but we never actually find out what the treaty is for, or what it entails. And they're in cahoots with Sidious, but we have no idea what they actually have to gain from the dispute. I guess it stands to reason they have to gain something, but there are no stakes, there is no drama.
Do we actually need to see the suffering? References to the suffering were actually made throughout the movie. If being told which side to root for in the opening crawl is good enough for you, then so should being told they were suffering without being explicitly shown is also good enough. In fact, all your objections about the why's and how's of the Trade Federation are answered in the opening crawl for the Phantom Menace.
Lastly, no doubt you've seen the Family Guy spoofs of the original Star Wars trilogy. Seth MacFarlane loves Star Wars, but even he (and the other writers) quickly tore down every piece of bad plot and writing. To pretend that the originals were watertight is ridiculous and shows the predetermined bias against the prequels. The prequels were not the best movies, but they definitely kept in line with the originals. The only thing elevating the originals is people keep looking at them with Han-shot-first coloured glasses.
The Senate is necessary. They were inept due to bureaucracy and corruption, and thus explained why some Jedi and others felt they had to do things outside the system. That was the point. The Senate is just a fact as to how the Republic was organized at that time and part of the world building. Do you think world building is pointless? Do you complain about world building in other films or series?
Or would you prefer Star Wars be a bland story about absolutely good guys versus absolutely evil guys. Absolutely evil guys who happened to be emperor just because. All this stuff logically falls out of the prequels alone if people actually bothered to think about it. And I say this as only a minor fan of Star Wars.
Star Wars IS actually just another bad sci fi movie. Imagine that exact same movie coming out today instead of 1977. It would have been critically panned. Wooden acting. Bad dialog. Predictable plot that is also a mess. About the only thing that stands up is the visual effects, ironically enough. Also the music.
Think about this: the famous opening crawl. Right from the beginning, we are told that the Empire is evil and therefore the Rebels must be the good guys. We don't see that developed. We are just TOLD that and we must believe it. If that counts as acceptably self-contained to you, I don't think we can talk sensibly. Or how about the fact that Luke is Vader's son and to top it off, Leia his daughter. You get no explanation, other than the fact that they were. And people just accept this about the original series and have a double standard for the prequels?
Bottom line is, everything people have with the prequels I can easily see apply to the original. The only thing saving the originals is nostalgia and people's hatred of the re-edited versions. There are many things in the original Star Wars that simply make no sense and is unnecessary until you take into account the later movies.
Star Wars, unlike Evangelion, isn't an inner monologue kind of movie. There were none in the original series and it would be out of place in terms of style. They were all said aloud. So actually, we do understand why Anakin does what he does. It may have been badly written, but not any more than the original series and motivations.
You have problems with Anakin's story, but you seem to have absolutely no trouble accepting that Luke grew up with his uncle and aunt, who were practically his parents, and comes back to find them murdered and smoldering. And with barely any emotion, he just goes off with Obi Wan and it's never mentioned again. That's apparently okay with people but not Anakin's (similarly badly written and acted) story?
Same with the prequels. They weren't explained because it wasn't important to the plot what they were. It only mattered that they were there. Given all the extra stuff that doesn't happen in the movies, you would think dedicated "fans" would put two and two together and think "hey, it may be answered outside of the movies, just like every other thing". And guess what? The whole thing about how the Republic functioned before being reorganized into an empire is further elaborated on outside the movies.
I think people were just determined to hate the movies because they didn't like that George went back and changed the original films. "Han shot first" and all that.
Did you ever think that it was the POINT that the Jedi's roles were confusing? That not even the Jedi knew what they were supposed to be as the Republic started failing? Did the fact that the Jedi did not see the Sith coming not clue anyone in to the fact that the whole point was to show that the Jedi's ideologies got themselves into a confusing mess which the Sith took advantage of?
Those questions go to the core of the movies. And when has every story in existence served to placate everyone by ending neatly? Has anyone considered that it was the point that things are left open ended so they can be addressed later, while leaving things open for discussion and interpretation in the mean time?
I really question people who call themselves fans of Star Wars (me, not really being one myself), and fans of "intelligent culture" when they insist everything must be answered for them. I expect this attitude for boring action summer flicks. Not from a story that some people consider it worthy to create a religion around.
But then, I grew up on a steady diet of anime like Evangelion or Lain where nothing really makes much sense because they don't tell you everything and expect you to give your own interpretations.
A language like C++ has ugly syntax, so people feel comfortable putting some code down to solve a problem, and they think they can come back to fix its inelegance later. The good thing about C++ though is that it has templates and type deduction and so it is more achievable in C++ to actually come back to it and replace massive chunks of code with loops and conditionals with a few lines of algorithm calls. But it still allows you to write ugly looking code with the best intentions instead of making you do things the ordained way because some high priest deemed it so.
totally violates the UNIX philosophy
He actually argues against that in his very first point. I keep seeing this argument, but never counter arguments to Lennart's counter arguments.
Listening to one of the CppCon talks, some Google engineers talked about how they refactored their entire C++ codebase to modern C++11. Have you noticed any significant downtime in Google services lately?