How to Watch Star Wars (Herein of Film Ratings)

I am not a fan of any of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but here’s a well-argued suggestion that someone watching the all the Star Wars films for the first time should watch them in Machete Order.

My own view, FWIW, is that the prequels are not redeemable. I find the Jar-Jar thing in Part I as unpleasant as the next guy, but where I seem to part company with the majority is Episode II. I though Episode II was downright repulsive: it invited the viewer to enjoy the spectacle of large numbers of people being mowed down in waves; that some were clones who may have lacked free will did not improve matters for me. There is nothing entertaining about wholesale slaughter, and I cannot sympathize with any film that presents it as a thing to cheer for.

I don’t watch modern war movies or ‘action’ films, although I do like spy thrillers. In general, I tend to avoid violent films, although I’m not religious about it. I remember enjoying Mad Max despite the violence (I saw it long before I learned about the personal characteristics of the star, which otherwise probably would have put me off it). More generally, I find the US movie rating system doesn’t work for me. If I were in designing a ratings system, I’d rate primarily on violence, and on psychological impact. That scene with Bilbo and the Ring in the first episode of Lord of the Rings could, I think, traumatize anyone. On the other hand, I don’t think in my ideal system the ratings would be much affected by “language”, and while I understand rating on sex, I think the ratings people are much too sensitive to nudity. The British film ratings system, while very far from perfect, seems better to me on these issues, at least insofar as they rate films for teens and tweens.

From my perspective, killing and maiming in film is much more upsetting, and child-unfriendly (not to mention adult-unfriendly!), than naked bodies. I suppose it’s just one more way in which I’m out of step with popular culture.

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