Today in Movie History: May 19

Is there a single phrase in cinema more magical than “Star Wars prequels?” Okay, okay, stop screaming. We get it: disappointing. We’re not going to excuse the considerable shortcomings of George Lucas’s less-than-immortal return to that galaxy far, far away — and I think we can all agree that the franchise is in better hands these days.

But though they’re definitely the runts of the Star Wars litter, the prequels still contain their share of pleasures — I’ve yet to hear anyone say boo about Darth Maul, for instance — and while they often struggle in and of themselves, they have still made notable contributions to the Star Wars canon. (Let’s face it, do you really want to live in a world where Samuel L. Jackson isn’t a Jedi with a purple lightsaber?) The two cornerstones of the prequel both opened today — The Phantom Menace in 1999 and Revenge of the Sith in 2005 — and while we won’t forget the things they screwed up, we’ll also take a moment to celebrate the things they got right.

Okay, you can start screaming again.

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