The Best Order To Watch The Star Wars Movies
Want to see something that will blow your mind? Watch the Star Wars movies in the following order:
A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Attack Of The Clones, Revenge Of The Sith, Return Of The Jedi.
That's called the Machete Order. It was created by Rod Hilton, a software programmer from Colorado. By removing The Phantom Menace entirely and moving the remaining prequels between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, a few things happen:
1) It cuts a great big chunk of fat from the series.
2) The "No. I am your father!" spoiler remains intact.
3) Anakin's entire backstory is treated like a flashback, which gives his ultimate fate in Return Of The Jedi a more immediate impact.
4) It raises the stakes for Luke's story, showing the audience what could happen to him if he chooses poorly.
The Machete Order is a fantastic way to catch up before The Force Awakens. I recommend it. I'm also very jealous of it. I should have been able to come up with it myself as a quick fix for the series' woes. It seems so obvious now. So, in an embarrassing and very insecure effort to top someone else's great idea that I felt like I should have had first, I tried coming up with my own Star Wars viewing orders to see if they could be better than the Machete Order.
Are mine any better? Let's find out ...
Meeting In The Middle
Look, the road to creative brilliance is a bumpy one. You're going to misstep a few times. Watching the movies from the ends and meeting in the center was my first mistake -- probably the first of many. I have to accept this failure, move on, and hope that I'll strike gold on the next attempt.
Beginning with Phantom Menace and following it with Return Of The Jedi is like reading the first chapter of a book, then jumping to the final page. I didn't need to watch the movies in the middle. The little blond kid grows up to become a rotting melon in a tricked-out HAZMAT suit. End of story.
"I had the mask fitted with a harmonica so I can jam whenever I want."
At some point while watching the movies in this order, I had a thought: Was there a sexist element to the Empire pre-The Force Awakens? The Empire is, from top to bottom, nothing but men in every single position, as far as we're told in the movies.* There isn't a woman among them. Meanwhile, two of the Rebellion's most important figures are women: Leia and Mon Mothma.
Mon Mothma is the one who gave off that sexy nun vibe.
The Empire read your college thesis about military enrollment acting as the ultimate expression of feminism, and it wiped its ass with it. "Fuck them hoes. Their periods give them space madness," thought the Emperor, while looking at his powdery shriveled cock that hadn't been ridden in decades.
To be honest, I couldn't make it through this viewing order. It's so scattered and stupid. It's a waste of time. Do not attempt it. Let's just forget about it and move on. I apologize for wasting your time with this entry, and I promise to not get distracted with side thoughts again.
*The Expanded Universe changes the "no women" thing, but let's focus on the slice of Star Wars an overwhelming majority of people will always be more familiar with.
Reverse Chronological Order
Don't do this. I thought starting with Return Of The Jedi and then working backwards until I've ended with The Phantom Menace would Memento the series -- Tarantino it, at the least. Nope. Instead, the viewing of a movie ruins the impact of the one after it, which is actually the one before it, chronologically. That's the more intellectual way of saying it. A simpler way to put it is to just call it stupid. This is a four-entry column, and I've already failed twice. Goddamn it.
Watching the series in this order puts a spotlight on a continuity error that couldn't be helped. It was a byproduct of the decades that passed between making the two trilogies. The originals were made in the 1970s and '80s, and all the guys either had bad facial hair, fluffy sideburns, shaggy haircuts, or some combo of the three.
Check. Check. And Check. General Madine's head is wet egg that fell in Labrador fur.
In the prequels, everyone has modern hairstyles, like Anakin's closely cropped 'do. There's hardly a trace of the 1970s in anyone's hair. Where were your balls, George Lucas? Why didn't you make everyone in the prequels look like they were contestants on The Dating Game? Hardly any of the aesthetics change throughout the six movies; the hairstyles are the only thing in this galaxy of billions that seem to have changed in 20 years.
After the Empire took over, every free man in the galaxy admitted defeat and grew a porn mustache and lived in them like they were little self-imposed prisons on their faces.
Biggs is already an excellent porn name.
I bet there isn't a single porn-stache in The Force Awakens. When the Death Star blew up everyone whipped out their lightsaber Gillette razors and dug their faces from beneath the hair follicles of oppression. The galaxy has been blissfully free of mustaches since. In the sequel trilogy, the Empire is back as a kind of space-insurgency. So if real-world facial hair styles worm their way into the sequel trilogy, prepare for a lot of ironic mustaches used to mock traditional symbols of manhood, because no one remembers what it's like to have it bad and to truly need a creepy mustache to cope.
And I just realized that I got distracted again. Let's move on before I start writing mustache fanfic. Note to self: Add "beardsaber" to your personal fanfic notes.
Attack Of The Clones Six Times
I'm getting desperate here. Luckily, I love Attack Of The Clones. It's easily the best-worst of the series. Phantom Menace is bad, but it's bad bad. Attack Of The Clones fails entertainingly. It's the one true "so bad it's good" entry in the franchise. The series as a whole is a space opera. AOTC is a soap opera in space. And it's a boring episode of The X-Files, since Obi-Wan's storyline about discovering the clone army is basically a sci-fi detective story. It also tries to be a straight-up action movie more than any other entry in the series. It tries to do a lot, and none of it works. It's loaded with all the worst performances of the series, all the worst plot points, and all the worst everything else. For example:
So, of course, why not watch the movie six times? Surely this order will reveal deep secrets unto me. At the very least, maybe it can flash me a single titty of a secret. Something. Anything.
It does not. It's a bad thing multiplied by six. Imagine one diarrhea. Now imagine five more. The hairs on my neck just rose with fright. This order sure ruined a week of a life I could have lived.
One thing that came to mind as I had Attack Of The Clones on in the background once a day for a week was the scene where Obi-Wan investigates data stolen from the Jedi archives. He goes to Yoda for answers. Yoda turns the investigation over to a bunch of kids, the Padawans he's training, aka the government's army of child soldiers. (Oh. Excuse me. Child Jedi.) One of the kids tells Obi-Wan exactly how it could have been done, and even hints at what kind of person could have pulled it off (hint: a Jedi). After watching this scene for the fourth time, I realized that whole thing was Yoda taking a really elaborate path just to call Obi-Wan an idiot.
"This dipshit kid knows it, he does. Hmmgg. He-he! Off now, you'll fuck."
Yoda didn't turn into a crazy asshole in his old age after years of isolation on Dagobah. He was always a crazy asshole; he was just so slick about it no one ever noticed. He was a true master.
As for the viability of this as a viewing order? No.
Making It Up As I Go (Or, The "Whiny Little Ani Gets What's Coming To Him" Order)
This was my last shot at achieving greatness, and what did I do with it? In the hope of stumbling upon brilliance, I just started making it up as I went along. I didn't really "think" about the viewing order ahead of time as much as I felt my way through the series as I watched it, allowing my instinct to guide me to a viewing order like the Force guides Luke. It was movie-watching improv, and I took inspiration from great improvisational jazz legends like Scaggs Malone and Nilly Halffoot -- two men I just made up. It's not like you know the difference.
I began with A New Hope. I watched up to Darth Vader's first appearance, which happens only a few minutes in. This is a powerful moment, especially in retrospect. I'm watching it knowing the terrible things he's about to do. So, I immediately jumped to Phantom Menace to remind myself that the kid who says this ...
... is the big scary man in the black suit of armor. Suddenly, Darth Vader seems like he ain't shit. There might as well be a bunch of puppies standing on each other's shoulders beneath that suit. A stack of sandbags in a cape holding a mop-handle "sword" is more menacing.
After the 47-minute podracing sequence, I watched all of the rest of A New Hope and savored the moment big scary Vader gets taken out by Han Solo, a cool rogue-type, the kind that if you knew him in real life you'd think he was a loser and would unfollow his Facebook feed, but you wouldn't unfriend him because he'd probably start crying even though he acts all tough. Then I watched Return Of The Jedi; I think I had lost all respect for Anakin and wanted to see him get beat up by an old man.
Satisfied that the child had been murdered by an old man by way of electric hands, I didn't watch anything else after that.
This viewing taught me a couple of things:
1) This order, which I will call "Whiny Little Ani Gets What's Coming To Him," does the opposite of the Machete Order. Where the Machete Order makes you sympathize with Anakin, therefore making his turn into Darth Vader and eventual redemption that much more meaningful, my viewing order keeps Vader's villainy intact until his redemption at the very end. In fact, it enhances his villainy. This way he was always a character worth hating, even as a child.
2) The prequels did a lot of harm to Luke's legacy. Before the prequels came out, we could have assumed that by the end of Return Of The Jedi, Luke Skywalker had officially become a Jedi. The prequels gave us a much clearer definition of what a Jedi is, and they made us realize that Luke isn't a good one yet. For example, Jedi are doing cartwheel backflips in the middle of lightsaber duels in the prequels. The most athletic thing Luke does in any of the movies is leap away from a carbonite flash-freezing during the fight with Vader in Empire Strikes Back. That's not impressive. Vince Carter can do the same thing.
Other than that, this order really didn't do much for the series. It makes them all worse, actually. Except for the part about Anakin's comeuppance. For that alone I deserve an Oscar for editing.
Still, I can't escape the truth: This experiment was a failure. I am no good at this. It was all just petty jealousy run rampant. There's only so many ways a person can watch six movies. That guy from Colorado found the best one. Just do his. Not one of mine. Except maybe Attack Of The Clones six times in a row. It might be a good sleep aid or a way to justify your everyday hatred of humanity.
I'm sorry for ending this without a sense of victory or accomplishment. You know what? In grand Star Wars fashion, how about a round of participation medals? Everybody gets one:
Everybody except Chewie.
If The Force Awakens has half the luck the original trilogy had it will be the greatest movie of our lifetime. See why the iconic Death Star trench was a result of poor model making in 5 Dumb Accidents That Made 'Star Wars' A Classic and learn how Star Wars changed movies forever in 5 Things 'Star Wars' Fans Don't Understand About 'Star Wars'.
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