Warning: italian to english translation was done with the help of Google Translate, therefore it might not be entirely accurate
Thisi is a message addressed to all those who plan to watch the upcoming movie Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, but still never watched the original series and, to make up for this, intend to watch the recap movies: "The Awakening Path", "The Rebellion Path" and "The Imperial Path" as a "shortcut" to avoid having to watch no less than 50 episodes:
OR AT LEAST, if 50 episodes really seem to much to you, ONLY watch the 1st movie, and the first half of the 2nd one, i.e.: (the movie equivalents to the 1st series), and then directly jump to the 2nd original series. Disregarding this advice means completely ruining your experience.
The reason: these movies do a great job at adapting the 1st season and (to a lesser extent) the second half of the 2nd one, but an utter disaster in adapting the first hald of the latter, to the point it seems they were specifically made in order to perpetuate the false myth of "R1 masterpiece, R2 trainwreck"; we can now already hear the hater horde replying "Disaster adaptation my ass! R2 just already was a disaster in the first place, and these movies just confirm it!". Well not only this is wrong, on the contrary the main reason why the "new" R2 is so inferior to the "new" R1 is strictly related to the reason why the older was so superior instead, therefore understanding the one means understanding the other.
One of the most important parameters to judge the quality of any anime is the density of contents, that is: the ratio between the amount of contents in it (plot, writing, events, characters, themes...), and the lenght of its footage (normally represented by its number of episodes): said ratio must be as close as possible to a determined equilibrium value, under it we'll have a content void, and beyond it we'll have an excess; in other words: the number of episodes must be adequate to the amount of proposed contents; if an anime has too many episodes with too little to say (as unfortunately happens in the majority of anime, such as: .hack//SIGN, Eureka Seven, Simoun) the ratio will be too low, and the anime will feel empty, stretched-out and boring; on the contrary, if an anime has too much to say, but not enough episodes (evident case: Occultic;Nine), the ratio will be too high and the anime will feel hurried, cramped and superficial. (*) Now, regardless of which Code Geass season could someone prefer, it is blatantly obvious for everyone how the one with the highest amount of content is the 2nd one, and how the 1st one is a typical case of a low ratio; in fact, the 1st season of Code Geass is little more than a lenghty introduction (at least until the last episodes), where the true substance of the anime lies mainly in the R2, both in terms of plot and in terms of themes, as we already saw in "Code Geass: debunking the most widespread myths", and as we'll see again soon.
This explains why, in adapting the R1, these movies' job is not only great, but possibly even better than the original: because the less time available forces them to cut dead times and fillers (like the one about the stolen mask, the one about Kallen's mom and all Mao's saga) leaving only the really important stuff; at the same time this also explains why R2's adaptation is so dreadful: the situation here is inverted; there are no dead times of fillers, on the contrary if R2 has a problem is exactly opposite: for a proper development of all the events happening in it, it deserved even more episodes than the actually existing ones; what these movies tried to do is to compress in only 3/2 movies a mass of events and characters that the original 50 episodes barely contained, raising the aforementioned ratio from a value barely superior than the ideal one to an exaggerately high one. With a very easily predictable result: a complete disaster! Anyone who watches the movies without prior experience of the series, starting from the middle the 2nd movie will trampled by a sudden wave of barely hinted situations, events and characters, he won't be able to follow, nor to relate to, to the point he'll literally start asking himself whether he accidentally played the movie at 4x speed.
And despite the aforementioned disaster being limited to the sole second half of the 2nd movie, (while the 3rd manages to adapt fairly well the rest of R2), that's more than enough to ruin the trilogy as a whole because the plot of Code Geass' is the kind of plot where almost everything that happens has disrupting consequences for its own future development (the heavy stress on the consequences of one's own actions is without doubt one of the series' most prominent themes, as "Euphinator" teaches!), therefore even the slightes change can be enough to compromise the whole.
WARNING! SPOILERS START HERE!
For a striking proof of this, let's just think about one of R2's most well-known scenes: Rollo's death (now renamed as "Nebiros", for some reason); even though the scene itself is nearly identical to the original, in the movie it completely loses its reason of existence since said character was demoted from a secondary to a mere appearance, with such a reduced screen-time to make any emotional involvement with him impossible, and any viewer without prior experience of the series will inevitably ask himself why should he grieve for the death of a character he has barely seen, and whose name he doesn't even remember.
But the clearest evidence, without a shadow of doubt, is about Shirley's death; or, to be more specific: its absence. Well, yes: these movies do NOT actually sum up the original timeline, but rather an alternative one, whose only relevant change is the fact that now Shirley doesn't die. This choice is absolutely deplorable for 2 reasons: first, because it removes one of the inherently best scenes in all of Code Geass; second, because Shirley's death is not a side detail, but it bears huge consequences plot-wise; just to say one: that's what brings an enraged Lelough to order the Geass Cult slaughter; removing the main catalyst of that decision means changing Lelouch from a flawed human character (albeit undeniably criminal) to a trite moustache-twirling villain in the style of Yagami Light, able to exterminate thousands of people for mere personal gain without the slightest shred of remorse.
WARNING! SPOILERS END HERE!
What might have pushed the producers to go down this road is a mystery; were this done to please all those convinced that "a continuation of the original series will ruin the ending" (read "Code Geass: Debunking the most widespread myths" for a final refutation of such nonsense), it would be ironic: an hypotetical "R3" series wouldn't have any reason to ruin anything (as long it would prove itself of being worthy of such name); instead, with the aforementioned premises, this new project is already doomed to start on the wrong path: because it won't be based on the story that everyone knows and loves, but on a vastly inferior and faulty version of it, and shall struggle VERY VERY HARD in order to be convincing enough to atone for this original sin. Therefore my ending advice for both those who saw the original series and those who didn't is: keep your expectations very low.
(*) It goes without saying that just trying to calculate such ratio for the whole anime is not enough: it is also important to do it for its various parts! It could easily happen (and indeed happens a lot) cases of anime with a balanced overall ratio, because of the fact that its contents are heavily unbalanced towards its beginning and/or its ending (typical examples: RahXephon, Ergo Proxy), switching from an extreme to the opposite one over the course of the series!