I loved Episodes IV, V and even VI as a child, but Episode I was more than enough of a let-down to sever my attachment to the series. I agree with the majority of movie goers that Lucas should stick to effects and hand over the writing reigns to someone else. The dialogue of the prequels is simply bland. It didn't connect with me at all. Scripts like Episodes I, II and III make it difficult for an actor to pull off any semblance of a performance. Scenes that were interesting (outside of special effects) were few. And scenes that elicited an emotional response from me were even fewer.
Maybe Lucas is a terrible director. I'm not really qualified to say, but maybe somebody with a different vision could have got a lot more out of this cast, despite the limiting scripts. It seemed evident to me that Lucas' main goal was to tell his story. Making good movies seemed to be way down on the list, after paying homage to original films, setting up battle scenes and making actors look silly by interacting with nonexistent CG characters.
Now I've read various things from people who say that Episode III is different, that it is redemption for Lucas. I saw it last night and cannot agree. Episode III is quite similar to I and II in most respects. It is dark, sure, but the dialogue is just as bad. There are less annoying characters, sure, but none of the scenes have any emotional impact with non-junkies. The film simply does not stand on its own. For me, the best part of the movie was the STAR WARS scrolling in the beginning with John William's awesome opening. That had the most emotional connection, but even that was quickly leeched from me by the rest of the movie.
There are two things that really push this movie into B status: the transition of Anakin into Darth Vader and Darth Vader's outburst of sorrow at the end. The transition was basically non-existent. Anakin was confused and tortured by his own feelings, ok...I'll buy that. But, if anything, he seemed to be becoming a better person in Episode III, not a worse one. And yet in an instant he's transformed from Jedi into Sith. In one scene he's about to slay the leader of the bad guys and in his next scene he's pledges himself to the same dude. He even accepts killing a room full of children for his next scene!!! In the space of about 15 movie minutes this incorruptible bastion of good has transformed into a child-slaying serial killer. And Lucas' justification doesn't make any sense. Anakin loved Padme so much that he had to turn to the dark side in order to save her...puhleeez! Even if Anakin was stupid enough to believe Sith lies, how could somebody who loved ANYthing (let alone a good woman) mercilessly slay a room full of children??? That sort of an act is reserved for utter psychopaths. And Vader's "Nooooooooooooooo!" at the end was so feeble that it was laughable. I don't know exactly why it was so silly, but I know not having James Earl Jones (what in the world was Lucas thinking here?) had something to do with it.
I love Christopher Lee though, and his inclusion (as well as Liam Neeson's) was one of the few bright spots of Episodes I-III. Unfortunately, their roles were far too limited to positively impact the movies very much (as Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness did before).
No, I am not a Star Wars junkie. I was. But Lucas made sure I didn’t stay one.