Escape to the Movies: The Phantom Menace 13 Years Later

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Here's in part, something I wrote on a previous post about "Lucas retiring from movies"

"[...] all 6 movies are in the Top 100 movies with the highest revenue. If the more it went the worse they were, why did they keep making money? The answer is easy... most people didn't care so much about the Star Wars legacy when going to see them. Here we have the loud geek (me included) voices speaking angry. But most people just go see a movie and that's it. Not everybody cares about expressing themselves over the internet. They either love or hate the movie they just saw, talk bits of it with friends around a supper and that's it. They don't make a big deal out of it as if it ruined their life. That there are no reasons to feel like our childhood memories were soiled. I'm not saying "get a life"... I'm saying "life goes on". There are more important things in life than movies to let it ruin your life and generate so much hate. [...]"

Now I would like to add that, I saw episode once twice in the theater. Kinda like it. Good music, locations, costume, choreography and the story isn't all that bad. I feel like the good outweighs the bad. The only thing preventing me from watching more often is that the acting is terrible... Portman, McGregor and Neeson are terrible. It's hard to see them so clueless when you know what they are capable of.

I'll echo a couple thoughts here in that Phantom Menace is an average to below average movie with the best fight scene of all the movies. I think that last fight scene is a great example of how a creator can deliver excellent visuals, but also incredible characterization and story without leaning on dialogue or exposition and relying entirely(or almost entirely I should say) on action and body language.

Does anyone else feel like Bob's 'review' was a condescending conversation between himself and his former self?

I don't know that people DO get particularly angry at the Phantom Menace for no reason. I think what annoys people most is that it developed an audience who disdain critical analysis. It is a bad movie; it doesn't seem to exist for any other reason than making money (having no tale of interest to tell). What fans seem to 'hate' is that so many others are uncritically praising (and giving vast amounts of money to) a sloppy film, that fans KNOW is sloppy because they KNOW Star Wars.

The fact that MovieBob has a consistent strategy of ranting at people enjoying dumb films makes him seem hypocritical in condemning others who (perhaps over-enthusiastically) try and open a dialogue with the people 'enjoying' the prequels.

The prequels are terrible films, and they squandered the mythology of a fantastic film series, for no other purpose than to make money and exploit a dedicated fanbase. From the bad press garnered from the Phantom Menace onwards, perhaps Hollywood has refrained from further exploiting other film series for a quick buck. Obviously, it's hard to prove or disprove a negative event, but you shouldn't conclude that the revolt against Phantom Menace was fruitless for the very same reason: who knows what other films would've been released, maybe worse ones than Crystall Skull or Transformers.

However, I do think Plinkett's review has conclusively said almost everything that needed to be said, while self-mockingly playing on the hyperbole of the hate towards the prequels. The great thing about Plinkett as a device is that it stops the critical analysis feeling like a critic patronizing you by being 'knowier-than-thou'...Something not achieved in this video.

Edit: Although, in the context of Bob's ongoing technique of stirring up controversy for hits and comment posts, I understand completely the purpose of this video.

That Toy Story 3 pic

HNNNNNNG low blow Bob

Thomas Guy:
Also, Return of the Jedi isn't as good as everyone remembers.

Agreed. The whole sequence on Endor is atrocious. Also, the plot doesn't make much sense - I would love RLM to do a Plinkett deconstruction of Jedi.

OT: The Dark Knight Rises - Phantom Menace comparison is not a very good one. A TDKR - Return of the Jedi comparison is more apt. Everyone knows that TDKR won't be as good as TDK, the question is how will it fare next to Batman Begins? Whenever the second movie in a series is better or as good as the original the third part is almost always a big disappointment (Return of the Jedi, Alien 3, Superman III, Spider-Man 3). Hopefully TDKR won't follow that path.

I have my likes and dislikes with the Phantom Menace as much as anyone else, so I think the real question here is: Is the 3D conversion worth a movie trip, or should I just stick with the Blu-Rays if I absolutely must watch it again?

Probably not at all, because if your going to see 3-D in the IN YO' FACE way I can almost guarantee that it probably won't happen. I might be wrong, but I think sticking with the Blu-Ray would be good.

Also, Bob, why in the HELL didn't you mention any of the actual 3D bit and review that?

I hope even more people watch the Plinkett reviews now thanks to you :)

Funniest reviews ever. Still haven't gotten my pizza rollds though.

I have actually seen quite a few amazing fanedits for TPM. I think it is probably the most fixable of the prequel movies still. Have a look at some of those (the Lone Gungan Edition may be a bit rough around the edges, but it tells a brilliant story) and you'll be amazed.

No amount of fanediting was able to fix the pathetic dialogue and horrifying plot in Ep2 and 3 though.

I never hated the Phantom Menace that much. I do think that it's the worst film in the series though, and I'm not counting the Clone Wars movie, that was simply the first 3 episodes of the show. That should never have gotten a theatrical release.

And in mentioning the positives of The Phantom Menace, I'm surprised Darth Maul wasn't among them. He's usually thought of (even by the haters) as the best thing in the movie.

Well, regardless I was going to see it, and I do plan to see the others when they launch too.

I can honestly say that the Phantom Menace did not do anything to my childhood. I was 16 when I first watched a New Hope from end to end in one sitting. It was not the groundbreaking spectacular that my friends claimed it was. I watched Return of the Jedi at the local Drive theater, but I lost interest when Jabba got blowed up and played with the dirt underneath the screen with about 30 other kids who lost interest in it. We lost interest in the dirt when we saw the Ewoks on screen.

Phantom Menace was not going to work because Star Wars fans were expecting a movie that could not be made. The simple reason was that the best version of any movie exists in your head, a place that only the viewer can get to on a regular basis.

maybe it's because I wasn't born in the 70s, but I'm one of those people who don't actually care about the differences between the original trilogy and the special edition.

The blue ray release on the other hand... fuck... Han or Greedo shooting first in a 1/2 second sequence not a deal breaker for me. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" During the climactic epic sequence in Luke vs. The Emperor ? Piss off man...

Ok, OT:

Phantom menace. I actually didn't have any real problems with it. I'm with Bob in that 2 and 3 were significantly worse. It's textbook, and is a bit more baseless than the original trilogy, so it was probably a bit harder to get the story together.

episode 2 though? Too much love sequences! Yoda using a lightsaber? awesome. Obi-Wan being useful? awesome. Introduction of stormtoopers? awesome (unless you don't know that after the formation of the empire they opened up academies for recruits, then it's inconsistent story) Just... we don't care about Anikin and Padme. We wanna see blasters, ships and lightsabers!

I have two gripes about the original clone wars. First is the animation. Not because of how it turned out, it looks great. After seeing some special features on the production, the director said he wanted it to have a more anime feel to it. Actually study anime if that's the effect you wanted to go for. Second gripe, "New and improved Anikin!" After getting knighted, there's several sequences that flow like they've come out of the marketing department. "Oh no! Two jedi are trapped by the seperatist forces! Who can save them?! Look! It's new and improved Jedi Knight Anikin!!"

episode 3? the biggest deal breaker for me was the CGI. The ending (with the exception of the "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" and "I have the high ground!!" Wtf is that?) was actually ok though.

oops... that turned into a bit of a rant...

wow, I mean when I saw he was doing The Phantom Menace I just thought it'd be repeating the same old hate, I certainly didn't expect him to say anything new. Major respect just for having a different opinion.

Although, saying it' better than The Mummy 3 or Van Helsing? Really? I never thought I'd be defending those films but they don't deserve that.

Although just speaking for myself I haven't come across anything Star Wars related that was particularly good.

I was 11 when the Phantom Menace came out. Honestly, I loved it at the time, just like I loved the original trilogy. The entire series was essentially made for preteen boys. Though, even upon seeing them for the first time, episodes 2 and 3 were instantly counted among the worst movies I've ever seen, and not in a good way.

But, a few years after that I realized something: None of these movies, the original trilogy included, are particularly good. The Star Wars universe as a whole is pretty great. It has produced some truly awesome video games. But, the movies themselves all feel hyper cheesy and awkward to me now...

Can we at least still hate George Lucas for changing the Star wars movies we loved and by doing so attempting to keep the versions we prefer away from us?

So bob, what you're saying is despite being in 3d now, it's still feels flat... hmmm, that's pretty fair.

I absolutely agree with more or less everything Bob has said here, particularly that this movie not living up to the legacy of the original trilogy is simply not something worth maintaining a grudge about.

Having said that, I can't get on board with the idea that The Phantom Menace never had any chance to live up to that legacy. Yes the backlash to the movie was over the top if judged on its own merits, and yes it may have been difficult to make something that right out of the gate was going to be compared to something that people loved. But it also received advantages from that comparison. It had a built in audience that was going to deliver a huge payday no matter what, so there was more room for taking risks than most directors have. There was a story and universe and characters that people already cared about, which is a huge head start. Given all that, I think it was absolutely fair to expect more at the time. Just maybe not worthwhile to still be angry about it over a decade later.

Lastly, I would ask if Bob thinks that the upcoming Hobbit movie has no chance to live up to the standard of the LOTR movies and if he plans to judge it simply on its own merits as a fantasy movie without comparison to what's come before. Personally, I think it can live up to that standard, and I'm optimistic that Jackson isn't going to squander the same advantages that Lucas had.

It was supposed to be the Chosen One!

Or something...

I started playing KotOR again last night, so I couldn't really care less about PM3D.

Personally most of the hate at these movies is in all the retconing he had to do to the original three to make these as you said not terrible movies fit and Mr. Lucas' misunderstanding of what the word remastered means. I think a lot of fanboy rage would die out if he just released a true, original edit, remastered edition of the original three. The original three aren't this holy grail of movie making there held up to be, but there good and part of many peoples childhood. Putting in all those computer generated effects next to 1970's puppetry take you out of the movie.

Also not going to see any movie that wasn't filmed in 3d, in 3d

Maybe Star Wars fans should do what Trekkies have been doing for a long time: enjoy the good ones (Khan, First Contact, TNG, TOS), ignore the average ones (Insurrection, Search for Spock, Enterprise), and enjoy the really bad ones for there terrible qualities (Final Frontier, Voyager, some of the TOS episodes). All series long franchises have there ups and downs, but acting like the bad parts of it have destroyed all that is dear to you is just silly. Just go 'that was pretty awful' and move on.

That finale slayed me. Touche, Mr Chipman.

Personally I'm more inclined to just ignore it all as much as I can rather than getting bent out of shape. T'is the sensible thing to do.

Can someone please explain to me why Van Helsing is a truly bad movie? What makes it worse than Independence Day, for example? And does it really belong in the same category as Catwoman?

I grew up in the best time to be a star wars fan, and not it wasn't the 70s or the 80s.

Born 1993
Watched originall trilogy multiple times 1997-1999 ROTJ is still my favourite film of all time
Watched Phantom Menace at the Odeon in Leisceter Square 1999 Loved it
Watched Attack of the Clones at the Odeon in Leisceter Square 2002 Loved it
Watched Revenge of the Sith at the Odeon in Leisceter Square 2005 Loved it

Best time to be a star wars fan, still like all 6 movies, despite their flaws.

Yeah, Meance is not a BAD film, it sort of varies on how you approach it. On a bad day the characters are somewhat annoying, dialogue poor and CGI over-used and annoying.

On a good day it's a precursor to Liam Neeson's career change to ass kicker, has solid fight choreography and very pretty stuff to look at, and also features the best character of the series in my opinion, Darth Maul, who only has two lines of Lucas written Dialogue and the rest comes down to Ray Parks expressions, make up and fighting skills.

I don't think its completely unrelated that I'd never seen the original Star Wars films when I saw Menace, and I liked the film for what it was, an amusing children's adventures story.

I think the reason most "butthurt" fans were "butthurt" was because Lucas casually went into a franchise, which was tremendously precious to a lot of people, simply so he could exploit it. And he was the one who gave it to them in the first place.

So, pretty much a double betrayal.

As for the movie itself...

It's not simply bad, it's fucking boring. And that includes every single aspect of it; The story, the characters, the acting (seriously, everyone acted like a fucking Vulcan), the action/fight scenes, the designs, the visuals, and yes even the score which was run of the mill Williams god-choir crap.

No sorry, it's still as bad as I thought it was.

This is going to be one of the few occasions where I dislike a movie more then Bob. For me Phantom meance is very much a 3 out of ten affair, it has enjoyable moments but it is largely boring. He's spot on with the fandom stuff, though I would say a lot of this applies to Bob on other things, like how often he brought up Expendables. Whatever.

Wait, wait. We just got Star Wars on Blu-Ray (finally), now there is another version on the way. Put's money for Star Wars Blu-Ray back in pocket.

Same reason I have not brought Avatar yet, because I know there is a 3D extended edition coming at some point.


Also, Bob, why in the HELL didn't you mention any of the actual 3D bit and review that?

My thought exactly. Didn't Bob get to see a movie to review this week? Oooh, Bob is the peace maker... and is telling us what pretty much everyone else has figured out already.

I'd rather find out what changes have been made and how the 3-D looks now. Nice non-review.

Bob, I rarely agree with you about anything, but you've got it right on the money here.

Anyways, I was hoping you'd let us know how the 3D conversion was. The over use of CGI in the film seems like it could actually be converted pretty well, unlike Titanic.

You nailed it on the head bob, no film could have possibly met the inflated expectations of the multi-tudes of fans when TPM was released and those that do still lobby acidic, derisory hate towards it just need to lighten up already and stop being so miserable and hate-filled. I still enjoy the prequel trilogy more than most other films, not because I think their even necessarily all that good films overall, but because despite their many flaws, they still feel like star wars to me and they have brought so much more to the table in the sense of the wider expanded universe allowing for rich and creative connections to the greater mythological lore. In other words, I still greatly appreciate the over-arching story of all six films even if the prequels lacked in their execution.

If there's one undeniably good thing that the Star Wars prequels brought us it's the fact that light saber fights are now nolonger something you'd see from 50 year old people LARPing in the park.
They're fast, exciting, and exactly how they should be.

I really really like The Phantom Menace. Suck on that Internet!
I think it was because I had never seen the original trilogy before I saw this in the cinema when I was 8. Thus I was blown away by the Star Wars universe without the pre-conceived notions on what it should or shouldn't have been.

Also, when I was 8. Qui-Gon's death scene got to me way more than it would have at my age now. Which probably made the movie shine for me because that scene embedded itself in my mind forever.

I never want Liam Neeson to die!

Thank you Bob! After 13 years I finally feel vindicated on the prequels. Considering the original 3 were never as epic as everyone remembers and the way to high expectations, I have always loved every Star Wars movies. Except for bout 3/4 of episode 2.

Anyway science fiction has always been about exploring what hights technology can bring us to. In that sense SW always delivers but then goes a step further by bringing up questions about spirituality in a universe of FTL travel and laser sword. George Lucas I salute you. I only hope one day I can have my own I.P. that makes as much money hand over fist(Salutes). It's the American way!

Soviet Heavy:
I do think that It is better than Attack of the Clones, I'll give you that.

But if we're talking about the worst Star Wars film, that easily goes to this turd.

By god was this movie bad.

You said it yourself Bob.

Still not the worst Star Wars movie, that honor goes to the holiday special


I'll admit the animations are poorly voiced, drawn, and animated, yet their choreography still conveys an impact on par or exceeding the movies.

There done by the same people who did samurai Jack( and in the same art style). I personalty like the art style as it lends itself well to the chorography.

The CGI Starwars cartoon looks ugly as hell though

Well....this was certainly a preachy "review" wasn't it? Thank goodness you're here Bob to tell people that they're wrong in disliking something as much as they dislike it. What fools we all are eh?

OT: Meh, out of the three prequel films, The Phantom Meance was the one I enjoyed the most. Clone Wars was kinda shite and Revenge of the Sith wasn't much better but I really liked the fight at the end between Obi-Wan and Anakin.

Also, what the hell was wrong with Van Helsing and Independence Day?

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