When The Monk and Monkette2B walked out of Star Wars II: Attack of The Clones, we thought that it was a pretty decent movie: the love story was forced, awkward and (considering how Padme and Anakin met) a tad pedophilic (that's paedophilic to our Anglosphere friends), and the foundry trap scene was pure video game fodder; but seeing Yoda hop around dueling with his light saber and the massed ranks of Jedi in the arena fight were both cool. Certainly, the movie surpassed the dismal and nonsensical Phantom Menace.
Then we stepped back and considered what we'd seen. Did the back story make any sense? Did the political machinations mean anything? Was Obi-Wan some fool anarchist who just hates politicians -- after all his pronouncements throughout the film continually denounced the Senators? Did the love story matter nearly as much as the plans of Darth Sidious/Palpatine (answer, no; and don't gripe -- if you haven't figured it out by now, you're hopeless), if not, why so much time devoted to the former, not the latter? Ladies, how could you ever respect a man who let you call him "Annie"? Why was Jango Fett, the prototype for all the clones so dang short; after all the second thing Leia said to Luke in Star Wars was "aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" Ultimately, did this movie advance the STORY that George Lucas wanted to tell to any degree akin to how Empire moved along the original trilogy? The answer to the last question, a clear no.
Let's be clear right now, I will see Episode III and I will probably go to the midnight show on opening night -- it's an event movie and that's how I treat them, I did that for movies in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and for Harry Potter #3 (Monkette2b LOVES her some Harry Potter); plus, there won't be a sh-tload of people with little kids at the latest of late shows. And let's also be clear, I do not expect this movie to be great or even particularly good. I'm hoping for acceptable with enough ubergeek-whoa-that-is-so-farking-cool moments and an actual, interesting plot to deaden the pain of Episodes 1 and 2.
What I fear, however, is that George Lucas has failed so badly in creating this backstory that the prequels will not merely lessen the grandeur and classic status of the originals, but will erase those attributes completely. I'll find out next week.