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Happy Birthday, The Phantom Menace!


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The Phantom Menace premiered twenty years ago today! I was in eighth grade at the time. So many fond memories.

While I believe this film to be the weakest of the three prequel films, at the same time, I believe it is the one that feels the most like Star Wars. It is a contradiction, to be sure, but a strange one. Of course, I am thankful for all the new EU content that this film ushered in, opening up eras of Star Wars lore previously unexplored. We would have Knights of the Old Republic, for instance, if it weren't for the prequels. But that's just me.

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It was poop, but the time between the trailer and release was one of the most interesting times of my life, and my Star Wars love was definitely reborn.

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While I believe this film to be the weakest of the three prequel films, at the same time, I believe it is the one that feels the most like Star Wars.

I partially agree. . .I think AoTC is the weakest of the prequels but agree TPM is the one that feels the most like Star Wars. I've wondered if it's because it's the only prequel to be shot on film but I can't put my finger on what else it is about it that makes me feel that way.

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It was poop, but the time between the trailer and release was one of the most interesting times of my life, and my Star Wars love was definitely reborn.

Was in a hurry before...

 

In the time between the first trailer coming out and the premiere of the movie, I:

 

- left my home town to go to grad school in LA

- left behind my first serious girlfriend

- finished grad school

- made my first short film

- wrote my first 3 scripts

- wrote my first (and only) novel

- met my wife to be whop would mother my only child

- bought my first new car

- joined nightly

- made my first ebay purchase (was star wars related)

- joined and quit the only band I was ever in

- convinced Harry Knowles I was a Lucasfilm intern and almost got him to publish 3 pages of my nonsense as the TPM script

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I was a senior in high school. My parents wouldn't let me go to the midnight showing, so I went after school the next day with a friend. Hitting the first available showing meant running to his car as soon as the bell rang. We had the entire place to ourselves since it was the middle of the day and not an easy showing to make.

 

I loved it at the time, and then got weary of it, but I still enjoy it. I believe it was most Star Warsy because it had hope. It was about a boy being rescued and getting a new, exciting life. The rest were about the same boy turning into a monster, so there was no room for hope.

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I remember spending that Tuesday night into Wednesday waiting in line for tickets. Might have been geeky, but it was fun.

 

I also remember the 12:30 matinee being $3.50. Part of the reason I ended up seeing it 14 times on it's initial run.

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I forget how many times I saw it, but I don't think I got to double digits. I saw ANH:SE and refused to see any of the others, so it was exciting.

 

Pretty sure I saw AotC twice. The first time was the midnight showing, which I lied to my girlfriend about seeing because she couldn't go. Saw it with her. Saw RotS three times, I think. TFA twice, R1 once, TLJ once.

 

We had a second run theater in my hometown during TPM, so tickets were normally a dollar and fifty centsvon Tuesdays. Saw TPM a lot that way.

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I was a junior in high school. My sweet dad called weeks in advance and got 2 tickets for me after school that day. I got to pick a friend, took a dumb boy I had the hots for but was also a raging Star Wars nerd (probably why I wanted to make out with him). Wore my official Episode I shirt. Some of my friends got to go to midnight showings, and they were zombies in Pre-Calculus.

 

Geek boy and I loved every terrible second of it, and nerded out afterwards. I've never loved the film, but I always saw it as necessary exposition to set the scene for the PT. I get WHY Lucas made Anakin so young and innocent. I just... I dunno, wish the kid was a better actor? Not his fault, most child actors aren't very good (see Daniel Radcliffe). But he felt like a kid, especially now that I have my own.

 

TPM is the first Star Wars movie I showed my kid. Then I think we jumped to ANH. Still haven't shown her ESB, Vader cutting off Luke's hand is going to traumatize her.

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I've always marveled at how young I am (thirty-five) compared to most other Nightly patrons, whereas in most other Star Wars communities I'm usually one of the older ones. I remember Mara once looked down her nose at me for getting into the EU "late" (in 1997) when she was getting into it when she was in college in the early '90s, and I was like, "Dude, I was freaking six years old!"

I also was not allowed to go to any midnight showings, or to attend frequently. This was true for both Episodes I and II, during which I was in the eighth and eleventh grades, respectively. I only saw both films in the theater twice due to lack of freedom. When Episode III rolled around, however, I went all out: I was already rolling in Clone Wars EU materials, reading them frantically before the big day, at which I attended the midnight showing and met some cool fellow nerds. I went back, I believe, five times

I have not experienced anything like that ever since.

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You're all old.

Here is a brief article on the subject. It's not anything we haven't all thought about before, but it does reinforce a belief I've long held: that George Lucas had brilliant ideas but didn't have the faintest clue how to execute them. I think that if he had allowed more input from his peers, and possibly allowed others to direct the films, the prequels may very well have outshined the original films.

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