Let's say you grew up watching the Star Wars trilogy, then had children sometime after 1999, when George Lucas started releasing the prequels.
When your kids are old enough, what order should they watch the films in? The order they were released — Star Wars (A New Hope) (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), then The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005)? Or the order the events happened in the Star Wars universe: Phantom Menace (I), Attack of the Clones (II), Revenge of the Sith (III), New Hope (IV), Empire Strikes Back (V), and Return of the Jedi (VI)?
Rod Hilton, a computer programmer in Colorado, has given this a lot of thought, and he probably has the best solution. His (correct) instinct is to start with New Hope (IV), because if you start with Phantom Menace (I) you lose the essential shock of learning Luke's parentage in Empire Strikes Back. But he also wants to end on a high note — so, none of the prequels. Here's Hilton's "Machete Order," named after his blog, Absolutely No Machete Juggling:
Next time you want to introduce someone to Star Wars for the first time, watch the films with them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI.
Notice something? Yeah, Episode I is gone. Episodes II and III aren't exactly Shakespeare, but standing next to the complete and utter trainwreck that is Episode I, they sure look like it. At least, III does anyway. Episode I is a failure on every possible level. The acting, writing, directing, and special effects are all atrocious, and the movie is just plain boring. Luckily, George Lucas has done everyone a favor by making the content of Episode I completely irrelevant to the rest of the series. [No Machete Juggling]
Read Hilton's admittedly "amazingly long blog post" for his longer rationale and alternative viewing orders. Luckily, when the final three movies of the series come out (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX), they will be last under both chronologies. Assuming, of course, that they're worth watching at all. Peter Weber