I lost all hope when The Phantom Menace's ending was a direct lift from A New Hope. I knew it was a bad movie long before that point, but that was the moment that sealed the deal for me. Fucker was paying homage to his own damn movies.
That's fanboy hyperbole, and I think that was huge factor in his decision to just wash his hands of the franchise. I can still watch the OT just fine, and blissfully ignore the prequels. Phantom Menace's only real crime is being boring, lots of space politics and no real central villain. Attack is utter dogshit, and somewhere around the third act Revenge turns into a decent Star Wars movie. They suffer from the same problem every other Prequel does, you already know how the story ends, so the journey becomes meaningless. I've read countless Star Wars books, played lots of the games etc, and I've come to the conclusion that the only interesting thing about Star Wars was Luke's story. If I want space politics I'll watch Star Trek, which actually has an intelligent discussion about it.