And no, before you ask, I didn’t watch it while completely blitzed out of my mind on beer and cough syrup. (Like that’s anything new, anyway.) No, I watched it using what’s now known as the Machete Order. For those of you too lazy to click on a hyperlink (really, if you can’t click on that, you should go and check yourself before you wreck yourself), the Machete Order is a re-imagined order in which to watch the Star Wars movies.
Yes, Luke, you can do something other than what Papa Lucas intends.
I can hear you now. “A reimagined ORDER in which to watch the Star Wars movies? Bill, you’re on crack. The Star Wars movies are perfect, and everything George Lucas shits is liquid plutonium.” Well, it may be liquid, but it’s certainly not plutonium. Listen, Lucas has done a lot of great things, but he’s only human - and as such, he suffers from “do-over syndrome”, like we all do… the urge to go back in time and re-do some of the things we’ve previously done, but to do them in a different way, or to do them better. Lucas, unlike all of us, has a neat time machine in the form of a metric buttload of cash that allows him to re-invent and re-release all his earlier work. And like lemmings, we gobble that shit up. The 2nd Star Wars trilogy is a great example of that. Most folks agree that they aren’t as solid cinematically as the Original Trilogy, and they’re right.
Dammit, Lucas, stop trying to make the scoundrel nice.
But this little jaunt into the nerdier back alleys of my brain isn’t about whether or not Han Shot First (everyone knows he did!) – rather, this is about watching the Star Wars movies with some methodology that doesn’t require you to throw your bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 through your flat screen TV when you see Jake Lloyd on the screen or watch Jar Jr step in the poopie. After using the Machete Order, I’m firmly convinced that this is the way the movies should be seen. (Bonus points if you actually get Harmy’s Despecialized Edits for the Original Trilogy.) To make a long story short (too late!) the Machete Order requires you to view the films in this sequence:
- Episode IV: A New Hope
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Note the most important thing in the above order: Episode I: The Phantom Menace isn’t even something you watch! Why not watch the weakest movie in the series? As Machete puts it: Nothing important happens in this movie. All of it can be safely thrown away. And he’s right - every character introduced in this movie is either irrelevant or has further development to flesh out their character in Episode II. Yeah, we miss out on the first truly epic lightsaber battle scene and the amazing Ray Park as Darth Maul, but oh well - it’s worth it to get a tighter story arc, and much less Jar Jar.
There’s another benefit to watching the movies in this order as well, as Machete points out: the plot twists are preserved. We see Vader admit that he’s Luke’s father at the end of EMPIRE, and then we get treated to a four-hour long flashback that SHOWS us exactly what happened to the Jedi, how Anakin became Vader, and ultimately the truth behind Vader’s confession that he WAS Luke’s father. (Coincidentally, “Darth Vader” roughly means “Dark Father” in Dutch, so I think folks in the Netherlands probably believed Vader’s confession right out of the gate. Way to blow that cliffhanger, George.) As an added bonus, confirmation about Luke and Leia being sisters comes in Episode III, rather than at the 2nd half of Episode VI.
Then, once Episode III is over, the flashback ends, and we come back to Episode VI to see Luke’s story arc end, and we get to see Anakin’s redemption. Everything ends with a giant Ewok sex yub yub orgy, and they all fly off into outer space and eat scrambled eggs. The end.
Or is it? That still leaves Episode I. Watch it AFTER you view all the others in the Machete Order, and treat it as a standalone segment that simply shows Anakin’s youth. It’s better that way.
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