GEEK-BOY OPINION ALERT - PLEASE DON'T READ IF YOU CAN'T STAND DORKS WHO TAKE STAR WARS TOO SERIOUSLY.
Everybody has an opinion on them [Star Wars - "Phantom Menace" and "Clone Wars"] and most are bad. It really became almost "cool" to bash Episodes I and II.
The fact is, our imaginations built up those movies so much, there is now way the films could have matched it. Even if you didn't like the first two prequels, you have to recognize their importance.
In EP's I and II, we see Senator Palpatine's "friendship" with Anakin grow, Anakin's problems with the "Jedi Way" and Ani's love for Padame. Without that, Episode III couldn't have worked. It still would have been cool but you wouldn't believe that Anakin would have turned to the Dark Side so quickly.
Now that most S.W. fans have seen the new and final flick "Revenge Of The Sith", it is "cool" to praise the Star Wars francaise again. The movie IS pretty damn good. Even mild fans agree. But "Sith" is good due, in large part, to the groundworked layed out in Episode I and II.
GEEK-BOY ALERT NOW OVER.