The Machete Order and watching the entire saga: Does The Phantom Menace matter?

Last week, three different sources pointed me to Rod Hilton’s blog post from last fall on the Machete order for watching the films of the Star Wars saga (especially for newcomers). While his overall proposed order (start with IV – A New Hope and V – The Empire Strikes Back, then go with the prequels, then show VI – Return of the Jedi isn’t new — Last year, we covered Drew McWeendy’s Film Nerd 2.0 showings to his two sons), Machete goes a step further by cutting out The Phantom Menace. Not because Hilton feels it is a bad movie, but because he points out that it is mostly irrelevant to the saga. Either a point gets brought up again in the other prequels or it isn’t needed at all in the larger scheme of things (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, Valorum, podracing). He points out how he thinks it makes the saga stronger, by preserving some of the big reveals, and relating whiny Anakin to whiny Luke as showing Luke on the same path to the dark side in Return of the Jedi as Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. He also points out some of the weaknesses of his ordering of the films, most notably about the Prophecy of the Chosen One, and Anakin’s return to rescue Shmi and pick up Threepio in Attack of the Clones. The Machete Order got me thinking, and also prompted a discussion among some Club Jaders, who looked at the notion of order and TPM‘s relevance from several angles.

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It’s all pretty sad and Freudian: Another Star Wars newbie takes on the original trilogy

incest-smoochesThe Guardian’s Tim Jonze takes on the Star Wars by someone who’s never seen it challenge, but alas, the video is better. Still, it’s a slow news day and all, so…

Their heroic captain is called Luke Skywalker and he is joined by their man-shaped pet Chewbacca, a 2ft robot, and Princess Leah; since she’s the only girl, Luke would quite like to get it on with her. I hope it’s not his sister.

He does watch it afterward, though, and realizes how wrong he was.

Watching the Saga?

What is the best viewing order for a Star Wars marathon? I’m a traditionalist – I’d go with chronological order. I believe in reading books that way (You really don’t want my EU reading suggestions) and the differences there would be far less jarring than going from ROTS to ANH. And it doesn’t rob the OT of some of its best moments, the way pre-knowledge of the prequels would. But ‘Greedo’ also offers a third and fourth method that could be interesting.

I know we have plenty of folks lately pondering this very question – what’s your solution?