For love or hate of 'The Phantom Menace'
A fan dressed as Queen Amidala attends the 1999 premier of "The Phantom Menace."
February 9th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

For love or hate of 'The Phantom Menace'

The first major signs of trouble in the relationship between George Lucas and legions of ardent adult “Star Wars” geeks can be traced directly to May 19, 1999.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” opened at midnight, and theaters practically sank under the weight of audience expectations. The movie certainly made a huge impact in the "Star Wars" community, but not in the way the filmmaker or fans could have predicted.

“The Phantom Menace,” which returns to the big screen in 3-D on Friday, occupies a unique and controversial place in the "Star Wars" universe for a generation of adults who grew up on the trilogy of the ’70s and ’80s. For one, it ushered in the era of the harshly criticized "Star Wars" prequels, which some of the geek faithful saw, fairly or not, as a betrayal.

It was also the beginning of a standoff between Lucas and vocal fans who were displeased not only by the new movies, but also the filmmaker’s decisions to tinker with key scenes in the original "Star Wars" films. There’s a reason for all those “Han Shot First” T-shirts on the Internet.

The emotional reaction to “The Phantom Menace” and what it represents speaks volumes about the fierce sense of ownership that hardcore nerds have about the things they love.

Author Henry Jenkins, provost’s professor of communication, journalism and cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, said that particular film stands to this day as a sort of love/hate dividing line and “an open wound” for the original "Star Wars" faithful.

“'The Phantom Menace’ is something the adult 'Star Wars' fans continually reference. It’s something they care about deeply,” he said. “It’s a trauma in the community that they’re finding it very difficult to work around.”

That may sound like hyperbole to some, but for geeks, hobbies are passions. And they take those passions personally.

“I think what makes a nerd a nerd in this context is a social life that revolves around collecting and ranking and discussing cultural artifacts, whether it’s Civil War nerds or "Star Wars" nerds. There is a whole social community constructed around the collective experience of a certain book or movie,” said “American Nerd” author Benjamin Nugent.

“For nerds, books and movies aren’t just pleasurable consumer experiences. They are parts of their identity and social glue.”

Fans at the wheel
In the 16 years that passed between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace,” countless devotees had put their own stamp on "Star Wars" in the form of fan stories and novels, music and adaptations of role-playing games. Jenkins pointed out the 200 amateur "Star Wars" films on the Internet before the curtain opened on “The Phantom Menace.”

Lucas may have technically owned the franchise, but the people had taken the wheel in their own way.

“During that time, fans didn’t stay idle," Jenkins said. "They actually dug in … and extended the universe in really rich directions. So when Lucas comes back, he’s not just competing with himself, he’s competing with this really rich fan culture. It was just an explosion of creativity that Lucas didn’t really control.”

Canon and continuity loom large in geekdom, and elements of the prequels — plus the subsequent alterations of the classic films — upended some fans’ longstanding vision of the "Star Wars" universe. In fan communities that place a premium on mastery, those kinds of perceived deviations can set off shock waves. Look no further than the initial outcry over the DC Comics relaunch last year.

“That sort of fanboy model is one where knowledge equals power and knowledge equals status," Jenkins said. "When you start to destroy knowledge, you disrupt the entire hierarchical process."

Nugent thinks it was inevitable that fans wouldn’t like the new films. By then, “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” had become so iconic that returning to that well “came to feel like trying to make a series of sequels to ‘Crime and Punishment.’ ”

And while the computer-generated special effects were dazzling, Nugent said that “The Phantom Menace” was a sort of tipping point where audiences began to realize the limits of digitalization. Lucas’ use of models in the original movies gave them a charm that CGI couldn’t match, he said. Think of the scene where Han Solo whacks the console of the Millennium Falcon, which “looks like the dashboard of a Chevy,” as Nugent put it.

“It gave everything a kind of solidity in those early "Star Wars" movies that you haven’t seen in anything since ‘Terminator 2.’ It’s wonderful,” said Nugent. “It’s the physicality of those special effects that make "Star Wars," in part, what it is. The digitalization is a big part of why the sequels offend so much.”

That reflects the feelings of "Star Wars" fan and staff member Kirsten Cairns, who said the prequels were indulgent and more about special effects than a good story. Cairns had been so excited about “The Phantom Menace” that she even wore a pin saying “Episode I” for about a year before the movie came out.

“The fans wanted, I think, to see the origin of the quest we'd all loved. Instead, those origins were twisted, corrupted and indulged in some kind of attempt to make this world have as elaborate a history as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, which only succeeded in messing with what we loved,” Cairns said. “I kind of gave up on the 'Star Wars' universe after the prequels. I was so disappointed.”

In Defense of Episodes I-III
Not everyone views “The Phantom Menace” and its successors with disdain. In 2007, Mary Jo Fox created The Star Wars Prequels Appreciation Society in response to the constant negativity that surrounds those movies. Fox said the anti-prequel sentiment has become a meme that dominates nearly every discussion of Episodes I-III, and that it hampers many adult "Star Wars" lovers’ ability to take a fresh look at the films.

Fox suspects that no movie would have been a match for the titanic nostalgia “The Phantom Menace” was up against. However, she noted that there are old-school fans who love all of the "Star Wars" films. They're just less vocal.

“Some (fans) haven’t liked anything since ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and believe Lucas is some rich, out-of-touch guy who lost his way. So they looked for things in ‘The Phantom Menace' that proved them ‘right,’ ” said Fox, who co-published a "Star Wars" fanzine in the ’90s.

“Others were so protective of their 'Star Wars' they worried that the new 'Star Wars' was supplanting the old. When I was running my fanzine, I really did get some letters from readers saying stuff along the lines of, ‘I don’t care how good Episode I is, I won’t love it as much.' ”

There’s also a generational dynamic at play. Whatever issues adult fans may have with the prequels, there’s no denying that the newer movies appeal to children. Some of the marketing for the 3-D release of “The Phantom Menace” has been aimed at kids who weren't even born in 1999, but became fans of the prequels on DVD and the Cartoon Network's “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series.

"Star Wars" fan Rebecca Perry, who camped out to see the first midnight showing of “The Phantom Menace” when it opened, prefers the old-school, pre-CGI "Star Wars." However, she understands why the prequels speak to a new generation of fans.

“I think young kids like the appeal of a hero closer to their age,” said Perry, referring to the child version of Anakin Skywalker played by Jake Lloyd. “And maybe that these are their films, and not their parents’. ”

Ultimately, the legacy of Episode I may be how it changed the way "Star Wars" faithful relate to the mythology they cherish and the man who created it.

Jenkins referred to it as the fan/anti-fan dynamic. Anti-fans, he said, are passionately antagonistic toward particular works — and that antipathy is prolonged. “They have a very complicated, emotional relationship to works that hit them hard in ways they probably can’t fully describe.”

In the case of "Star Wars," a person can be on both teams.

“They began as deeply immersed fans and, at some point, they became anti-fans,” Jenkins said. “That’s a combination you don’t see very often. There are very few occasions where someone can simultaneously be a hardcore fan of something and an anti-fan. This one’s been especially intense, I think.”

soundoff (345 Responses)
  1. JB

    Most of us were kids when the first 3 came out. The prequels were made for kids too. Honestly, as crazy as I was about the movies as a kid, when I watched them as an adult, they're pretty lame. They're great nostalgia, but not films that stand the test of time for me. I laugh at them now.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  2. Jim

    I'm OK with Phantom Menace for the most part. The Pod Race was cool, but a bit long. The Jedi battles were good. Jar Jar and his kin didn't bother me nearly as much as they bothered others. As a computer scientist, what REALLY drove me crazy was when the droid control ship was destroyed and all the droids just went dead - that is just STUPID - what kind of idiot would design their army so that it falls over if you lose comms for a few minutes.

    I found the 2 later movies FAR more annoying. Anakin as a precocious kid was fine. Anakin as a stupid, whiny, undisciplined teenager made me ill, especially since he'd supposedly had (and excelled at) years of Jedi training and discipline - it didn't show, he acted like a teenager off the streets of LA.

    The numbering scheme also drives me crazy. I understand they're in sequence, but I can't take it when someone refers to "Phantom Menace" as "the first movie."

    February 10, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Or ....

      What kind of idiots would make an un manned uav that doesn't have a self destruct if it loses communications ....
      I know, completely unfathomable

      February 12, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  3. patNY

    I'm surprised Lucas kept the Lea and Luke brother-sister lip locking scene in Empire after he decided in Jedi, ya know what, let's make em twins! Oh, and how about that flub where Lea tells Luke in Jedi, her real mother died when she was very young...umm....ok, yeah Lea you were very young, like 30 seconds old! I'm not convinced Lucas had this grand story line for all 6 movies when he made the original 3

    February 10, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  4. Newt Gingrich (er, I mean, Gunray)

    the biggest problem i have with the phantom menace is that it really was made for kids and I'm 43. when i was a kid and saw A New Hope in the theatre the first several times, I was totally transported to a new and wonderful fantasy world and I couldn't get enough of it. I think that is how it is for kids who watched the phantom menace in theatres. it was a new sense of wonder and excitement but for us adults who grew up with the original creation in their lives, it was a disappointment. And jar jar binks still sucks.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  5. TommyTT

    What the article doesn't take into account is that Episode 1 just isn't very good. The script is functional but all on the surface, without subtext or tension. The story unfolds without surprise. The emotional builds are sentimental rather than earned. The young actor playing Anakin might be talented, but as written and directed he's a lox. It is these factors, rather than the apparent tangibility of CGI effects, that make or break a movie. After all, the same factors are present in Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but with a good script, acting and direction they support the film rather than detract from it.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  6. Scott Alten

    I'm going so I can heckle!
    Plinket Rules!!!!!

    February 10, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  7. Ash

    Red Letter Media's movie-length reviews of the Prequel (the Plinkett stuff) does a fairly decent job explaining why the Prequels aren't nearly as good as the Original Trilogy.

    That said, I'll probably see the OT in 3D, but will pass on the Prequels. Will be interesting to see how well the Prequel does in 3D though.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  8. Paul

    Fans of the originals didn't like the prequels, but younger kids did. Maybe those movies are for the younger generation, not the guy in his 30's that dresses his dog as Boba Fett every Halloween.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Mike

      Well said. We all get older. Nostalgia is a bi*ch

      February 10, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Shan

      More like a guy in his 40s or 50s...

      February 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  9. Peikoviany

    The original was perfect. Empire allowed it to grow into a series. Ewoks was already a sight decline, but fun because we already knew these characters and it had a strong wrap-up with Darth Vader trying to redeem himself. The larger storyline attempt to make Darth Vader the central figure of a six-episode tragedy was a nobel idea but it was botched. Now perhaps, as George Lucas stated long ago, if it was a nine-episode series, we could pick up on Yoda's comment that apart from Luke "there is another one..." I'd like to think Han and Leia's daughter could have the force on her side.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • mythologist

      Check out the books. The 5 books by Timothy Zahn are excellent. And this is the real tragedy with Lucas. We keep redoing the originals when there is a lot of good story out there yet to be told.

      February 10, 2012 at 3:21 am |
      • Muggles Rule

        Agreed. Although some of the series of expanded universe novels did waffle a bit – The New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, Fate of The Jedi – for the most part the writers are doing a superb job growing the character's situations, having and raising Jedi children and coming up with plausible adversaries and problems to solve. They really are making good use of the complex Star Wars galaxy and background. And the Clone Wars series is a quality variation on the overall theme.

        February 10, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Jim

      You're right that the Ewoks were a mark of decline. It didn't bother me TOO much that they were cute teddy bears and I could even accept them having some success (in their own environment) against the storm troopers, but at the end of the battle there should have been mountains of dead Ewoks as testament to their costly victory against better armed and armored opponents.

      February 10, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  10. lb

    They've remade Batman, Spiderman, and Hulk. Can't they remake the 1st two prequels (I like the 3rd).

    February 10, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  11. Johnny

    A New Hope should have been left alone. The sequels and prequels that followed were just a patchwork of scenes that had no flow, tried and failed miserably to cram a few lifetimes into a few hours, and clearly exposed Lucas as a "two-shot" producer that was devoid of imagination and technique. I didn't watch them until a year ago, and couldn't finish them, quite frankly. Pig vomit if you ask me...

    February 10, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  12. Burt

    Actually, Lucas began to lose the true Star Wars fans way back with Empire Strikes Back with the hokey 'Vader is your father' crap. It seems tame now but at the time is was quite jarring and unwelcome. The Ewoks only confirmed that Lucas has lost his touch and 'A New Hope' should be considered the only true Star Wars movie.

    February 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • TommyTT

      A New Hope is "the only?" Maybe so, maybe not. "The best?" Yes. This coming of age story had the emotional resonance of the best Heinlein teen novels. After that, the darkness and the action quotient ramped up, exciting the fanboys, but the emotional solidity and character growth was never again as strong.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  13. Sully

    Watch the hilarious star wars reviews by Mr. Plinkett:

    February 10, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  14. jar.jar

    Lucas, go back to your roots. Stop the CGI madness. And by the way Indy 4 sucked too! stupid gopher CGI. Turn off your computer!

    February 10, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  15. Bryan Gay

    I grew up with the original trilogy. The first movie I ever saw in theaters was Return of the Jedi. I feel that George Lucas's story telling style has never changed it is the medium in which he tells it that has changed. In that light I respect both trilogies equally and look at the saga as a whole. I love it all but of course have critiques about each episode. I will never quit enjoying this universe and cannot wait to watch it begin in 3D this weekend. Peace to both sides I respect fans opinions and understand them but I am not a fan of negativity for I see the magic in all of Lucas's collaborative creation. It is a movie series after all and it delivers the entertainment it is supposed to in spades.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  16. nadine

    The technology displayed in the prequels was far greater than the first movies of star wars. This didn't make any sense. The prequels' weaponry and technological depiction of the star wars universe should have been used in sequels of the original film.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • mnbd

      Thanks. I knew there was something else as equally jarring as the CGI – just couldn't see it thru the CGi..

      February 10, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  17. Muggles Rule

    Phantom Menace could have been fixed relatively easy: Either cut or rewrite most Jar-Jar Binks scenes, the Pod-Race was WAY too long, Jake Lloyd was too young and miscast – poor kid was too inexperienced and wooden for Anakin – Hayden Christensen had the same problem; too wooden. And Midi-Chlorians?! What kind of ret-conned, technobabble doubledutch was THAT?! So The Force aint mysterious at all – its just a sort of virus some are born with. Sheesh. And the Trade Federation villian guys had racist, faux-Asian 'Charlie Chan' accents. Come on George!!

    February 10, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Clyde M

      i like that "fix relatively easily" basically means "make an entirely different movie."

      February 10, 2012 at 2:25 am |
      • CTEd

        The problem is that the new series changed the old series. So much was wrong and undone, it was a betrayal to fans.

        1)midcholorians... dumb. Changed the nature of the force as it was understood. Leave it mysterious.
        2) Completely reversed Obi-wans mistake. He said HE took it upon himself to train vader – in PM they absolve him, now he only did it becuase he swore to QuiGan that he would, so it now isn't his faulr.
        3) When Obi wan met Anakin he was already a great star pilot (oops, now he's 7).
        4) Obiwan is present at the birth of Luke and is how old> Add 20 years to that he's so old that most people think he's dead? Really?
        5) How can he not know R2 in star wars?
        6)Why is R2 still being used Xwings 20 years later?

        And many more. In addition to the betrayal the movies were just bad...In fact they were almost clones of the first 3.
        First one ends with Anakin flying into and blowing up the space station
        The 2nd one see Count Dooku make almost the same speech to Obiwan as vader does to Luke in Empire (essentiall "Joine me and together we'll rule the galaxy")
        The 3rd saw vader defeated in combat lying broken, then saved (this time turning from good to evil after his huge battle in Jedi he turned good after such a battle).

        The films just weren't up to snuff.

        February 10, 2012 at 4:44 am |
      • Muggles Rule

        What I meant or should have said was "relatively easy to fix in the script or production phase". Now that the movie has been out there for more than a decade, its a bit late now, isn't it? And I don't agree about the 'make entirely different movie' remark. Cinema history of full of examples of movies being changed with editing, new music scores, reshoots, recasts and alternative endings.

        February 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |
      • Muggles Rule

        Clyde M what I meant or should have said was "relatively easy to fix in the script or production phase". Now that the movie has been out there for more than a decade, its a bit late now, isn't it? And I don't agree about the 'make entirely different movie' remark. Cinema history of full of examples of movies being changed with editing, new music scores, reshoots, recasts and alternative endings.

        February 10, 2012 at 5:19 am |
      • Romulan

        CTed, I agree with you. What bothered me the most was to put Death Star into play. In fact, I still don't understand why the plan was passed around. Only Palpatine had the resources to come up with that design. At the end of episode 3 we see the Death Star being constructed. So it took 20 years to make the first one but couple years to make a second?

        It still bothers me that Yoda couldn't finish Count Dooku, but Anakin did. The fight with Palpatine was even ridiculous. Windu brought with him 3 jedis and they cut cut down with so much ease. And if Windu could defeat Palpatine, why couldn't the great Yoda?

        And you're right, Obi-Wan was probably in his 30's at episode 3. But the guy looked like 65 at episode 4. And does Vader look like he's in his 40's in episode 6?

        February 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Jim

      I agree to some degree. In particular the Mito-Condrians were a dumb addition - in this science/pseudo-science age they just felt compelled to make it a pseudo-scientific explanation instead of it just being a mystical force.

      February 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  18. Sheogre

    Ok, being a diehard StarWars fan since I first saw the original in theaters at 7 yrs old...I have to say that I was very excited to see the 1st prequel. While looking at it, on its own, it is not the best of movies, I have found that when looking at the movie in the context of the whole series, it is wonderful!
    I also found it wonderful because I was able to enjoy the movie with my son, who was just a bit older than I was when I first saw "A New Hope". It made it all the more special. I was pregnant with his little sister at the time, and when Episode 2 came out, she joined us for that movie, and I was pregnant with their little brother.
    The 3D showing will be my youngest little Star Wars fan's first showing of the movies on the big screen, and he is VERY excited! To our family, Star Wars is more than just a movie, its a family tradition!

    February 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  19. mongopoo

    Obviously Star War fans need a real life.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • opinions vary

      And YOU commented on it. Oh, the irony!

      February 10, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  20. Bj

    One word: Midi-chlorians

    February 10, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  21. el

    As a lot of people are pointing out the prequels, esp the first, were just crappy movies, crappy acting crappy dialogue crappy direction etc etc. It has NOTHING to do with too much CGI IMO, dont know how anyone comes up with that one trying to figure out why people dont like the prequels. The prequels were about as fun as watching a soap opera.

    And Jake Lloyd has to have been the least likeable child actor ever.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • KevinAllyn

      Episodes 4-5-6 will always be superior. They colored my childhood, so they are almost perfect. But the reality is that I still don't care for the Ewoks. Same with the prequels. They color my nephews' way of seeing things, and we all agree that Jar Jar is the true menace. But it's a piece of the story, one that makes sense, and I still love the films. The last 3 are far superior to the prequels, but I will still watch them with love. It's Star Wars, and better than most of the crap in theaters these days. Long live George Lucas. He'll forever be my hero. Always.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:15 am |
      • Thomas

        "Episodes 4-5-6 will always be superior"

        Only if you still have the originals. Remember, Lucas has pulled the original 4-5-6 off the market and replaced it with his "greedo shot first" crapola.

        I am glad I still have the originals so I can show my grandchildren how it actually was.

        February 10, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • scotteos

      I agree. The so-called "anti-fans" actually have a valid argument, they aren't just rebelling against a pop-culture icon. The original series was a better story, that had heart, despite flaws. The new movies were window dressing for technology – with crappy plots, serious breaks in established continuity, and set-piece scenes designed to appeal to fan-boys as opposed to moving the story forward. Had the "phantom menace" been the original script in '77, Star Wars wouldn't have been the phenom of pop-culture it became... simply because it wasn't as likable.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  22. Bill Clay

    After waiting 16 years for a new Star Wars movie, some friends and I waited 8 hours in line to be at the first showing of The Phantom Menace. When we walked out at the end of the movie, the crowd looked shell-shocked. We were all afraid to be the first person to say out loud, "The new Star Wars is awful!" Once someone finally broke the ice, everyone started commiserating about how disappointed and let down they were with the new movie. The plot was dull as dishwater, the acting was stiff, and the computer effects looked like a cartoon. We all know Natalie Portman is an Oscar-caliber actress, how could her performance in Phantom Menace be so awful? It had to be the Director's fault.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • mythologist

      It was the director's fault. Lucas has a reputation as a very introverted individual who had trouble communicating what he wanted. All he'd ever say is "Faster. More intense." When an actor is in front of a blue screen without anything concrete to act against, quality direction is vital.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Thomas

      And now with 3D it will suck in three dimensons instead of sucking in only two.

      February 10, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  23. StarWarsFan

    I'm a huge Star Wars fan I enjoyed it. Thanks Mr. Lucas!

    February 10, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  24. Derek

    The Star Wars prequels are poorly scripted, poorly acted and poorly directed. Thus, they are simply failures as cinema. Sure, they add to certain aspects of Star Wars in fun ways. Sure, they may be enjoyable and watchable. But when everyone agrees that the three big story telling factors in movie making (scripting, acting, and directing) are all sub par, even if the general story or the production values are good, might the reason people have a problem with them be that they are simply BAD movies?

    February 10, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  25. jamesnyc

    I won't see the whole thing again in 3D. It's a waste of money. Even though there were good story elements here and there, I found the first three to have very wooden dialog. I felt bad for Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman for the dreck they often had. As far as the first 3, I could have done with out the blatant merchandising of the "ewoks". Gawd that was revolting. At $20 dollars a movie (without popcorn), I will wait for them to be back in 2D and in the DVD/Bluray bin at BestBuy or whereever...

    February 10, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • jojo

      20$ a movie!! Where do you live? I only pay 10$ in San Antonio.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:21 am |
      • nadine

        He is probably including the parking. I don't go to the cinema anymore because of parking hassles. Rather wait for any movie on DVD rented at 2 bucks available at our corner store.

        February 10, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Bla blogger

      People are just STUPID , I prefer the NEW ONES than the old TRILOGY ,
      I LOVE GEORGE LUCAS , I wish I was his Son
      I love starwars more than any other movies .

      February 10, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Muggles Rule

      One of the reasons I don't go to movies much anymore is people's sheer rudeness! Down here in New Zealand – talking, fidgeting and endlessly texting during the film – phones glowing in the dark. Young people's A.D.D. lives are getting so BAD that they can't for 90 minutes, 2 hours whatever JUST TURN YOUR PHONES OFF, SIT STILL AND WATCH THE DARN MOVIE!! I dunno what its like in the rest of the world, but that's what's happening here!!

      February 10, 2012 at 5:36 am |
      • MrsFizzy's not just NZ! ;0) Mind you when we visited there we were told by some late-middle aged people how going to the movies when they were kids throwing "snifters" (loved 'em!) at each other was a very important part of the experience, so....?

        February 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  26. ML

    The Prequels are mediocre because of:

    The convoluted and boring story line (Trade Federations, Blockades, etc.)

    Lack of interesting characters with depth and gravitas (No one even comparable to the charasmatic Han Solo and Darth Maul was way underdeveloped, for example).

    Horrible acting (wooden delivery and eye-rolling dialouge between Padme and Anakin in Episode II being the worst),

    Excessive use of CGI and a "busy-ness that didn't give a sense of continuity between the original trilogy and the prequels, this didn't FEEL like the same universe).

    The presence of Jar-Jar Binks

    And worst of all...Hayden Christiansen (Does ANYONE actually believe that this p*ssy could actually one day become Darth Vader???).

    February 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Bla blogger


      Shut up LOSER

      February 10, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • Baal

        Go back to your Mommys basement lil boy. You wouldnt know a good movie if it bit u on the ass...

        The moment Lucas had KIDS and sold out the franchise to the lil kiddies is the day Star Wars DIED as an edgy, gritty storyline....

        February 10, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • jojo

      I agree with you. I sometimes wonder if Jar jar Binks was intentionally unintelligible so people would have to buy the movie and watch the movie with captions.
      What about the queens stupid get ups and her almost mechanical delivery of her lines.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Josh Olsen

      I couldn't have said it better myself. I own no Star Wars memorabilia other than the original films (not widescreen of course because Mr. Lucas wouldn't release those). So while I may be somewhat of a "purist," I am by no means fanatical. There was, however, a certain realism to the originals (acting, character development, cinematography, etc.) that allowed people to relate and even get lost in the movie.

      Re-editing the original films (IV through VI) was just stupid. The relatively minor changes really didn't enhance the film at all and worse they ruined parts of it for those whose nostalgia is wrapped up in them. I can buy the argument that CGI is more relatable for kids of today. In fact, the CGI doesn't bother me as much for the NEW films. But what is ridiculous are all of the other things that ML mentions including the boring storyline, subpar character development poor overdramatized acting (if you can call it that – no method actors in those later films), lack of character chemistry, use of silly and borderline masturbatory dream sequences replete with moaning (you didn't see those in the original episodes), action sequences that lacked any semblance of realism (ala Padme falls to the ground form a flying vehicle groaning as if in sever pain, then jumps up rapidly and says Im O.K. and runs off – I get it! It's make believe but do you have to shove the fact that it is fictional down our throat – most directors try to make you forget that you are watching a movie).

      And let's not forget the tediously annoying, unlikable and borderline ethnic stereotype-based character of Jar-Jar Binks. In fact, that three syllable name pretty mush sums up everything I just mentioned and everything that male Phantom menace a very poor movie by any standard purist or not. It's too bad that Lucas didn't re-edit Episode I and expunge the Jar Jar Binks character. That alone would probably bring half of his original fan base back. Maybe in another 20 years he'll release the Jar-Jar-free Episode I Box set for another $59.99.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Cervantes

      EXACTLY!!!! For Anyone who watched the Gennedy Tarkofsky (sp? – Dexter's Laboratory) Clone Wars cartoons you actually get a feel for what the Jedi can actually do AND especially for the intense friendship that Anakin and Obi-wan have for each other. The ability for Hayden Christensen to bring this out of his character, let alone act with Natalie Portman trying to carry him and horrible dialogue, was clearly beyond him.

      From the little boy slave from an outer-rim planet stepping onto a solo naboo fighter and destroying an entire starship to Hayden's whining delivery of the most advanced jedi since Yoda....the movies were doomed.

      Thankfully the Clone Wars animation has been excellent and the story continues.

      Thankfully I've never seen Hayden Christensen on the street...I'm not sure I'd be able to keep my disdain contained to a mean look.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  27. Miguel White

    OK, we need to say this one time – slowly please for the "purists" who scream the loudest....

    1) It is GEORGE LUCAS's STORY and his IDEAS – so if he wants to make 3 episodes of what happened beforehand it is HIS ABSOLUTE RIGHT

    2) George Lucas and his people did a wonderful job on the entire six stories and wrapped up an epic saga in an epic timeframe – 30 years – that in itself is a memorable feat

    3) All the movies had good points, and I enjoyed every one of them, and so did my kids and so will my grandkids and great grandkids.... oh they will also enjoy the Indiana Jones movies too from him – in short they are great stories and very entertaining – they are not defining my life however

    4) for the purists – please go outside, take off the stormtrooper hat and play in the sunshine for awhile, and remember rule 1, it was not your idea or story – it was George Lucas, and he deserves the credit

    February 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Michael

      He IS getting credit. For 3 horrible movies.

      February 10, 2012 at 1:24 am |
      • mythologist

        This is the irony of Lucas as film maker. These ideas are not originally his. He took Joseph Campbell's story structure literally. No one had done that before, and people responded to the symbols and mythemes, projecting into them something far deeper than Lucas had intended. That's the problem with symbols. We do not own them. The hubris of believing that the film maker's ego is the author of mythic symbols is akin to Vader himself. Lucas identified with the character of Luke Skywalker. In the Prequels, his obsession with technology over story clearly shows how he got possessed (identified with) the Vader archetype. That's what happens when we think these ideas are solely ours. He earned the backlash. He didn't grasp how powerful symbols are. When I was in film school I was infatuated with the movies like everyone else. And I felt the betrayal after watching the prequels in 1999. But years later, after my MA/PhD in Mythological Studies, I realized that even the original movies were pretty fluff. Lucas himself was not that deep. He imagined Star Wars to be like the Flash Gordon serials he loved as a kid.

        February 10, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  28. Darth Maul

    Why do I only get a camo? I think I deserved better!

    February 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Yes. Yes, you did.

      February 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  29. Popcorn

    Jar Jar banks

    February 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Bla blogger

      The only thing I didn't like is that , LUCAS made a joke out of the BATTLE DROIDS , by showing them as stupid Robots ,also I didn't like the fact that in the REVENGE OF THE SITH , how senator Palpatine kill 3 Jedis so easily when he confronted MACE WINDU , however the fight with MACE WINDU was fine , but he killed Kit Fisto too easily .

      February 10, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  30. Goldentusk

    Why I Hate Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, But Love George Lucas || Spoken Word

    February 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  31. David

    For me, the failure of the first 3 movies start and ended with the characters. I honestly had no problem with the story and thought it answered a lot of questions about what led to the events of ep 4-6. Had no problem with the SFX either. Maybe a little too digital heavy, but still not bad. But I just couldn't get into the characters like I did with the first 3. Luke started out as this kinda of whiny kid, but he still had character. They all did. Heck, even the Wookie has an awesome personality and the audience didn't even know what he was saying unless another character translated. In my book, if the characters fail, the movie fails. For the most part, the acting was just as good as the last 3 ep, so I don't blame them. I blame the parts they were given.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  32. Martin

    Since the original movie was not shot with the modern generation of 3d cameras, the 3d effects will have been added digitally and will not be anywhere near the quality of newer movies such as Avatar. 3d effects are also inferior on regular movie screens as opposed to IMAX. With IMAX the screen is wide enough and gives enough depth that the 3d effects fill your vision. With a regular screen the get about halfway out and then collapse to 2d and it makes the effects really weak.

    This is simply George Lucas showing an epic level of greed trying to generate more millions that he has no real need of. This is going to be a very lame redo of what was a bad movie in the first place.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  33. Derek James

    Not all of the prequels were "bad." I thought Episode III was on par with the originals.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • moe smith

      then you must be younger than 30.

      ALL of the prequels were bad. plain. simple. period. end of story. game over. thanks for playing. these are not the prequels that should have been made.... Move along.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
      • haz

        LOL.. that is the point.. most people who love the originals and hate the new ones were under 30 with the first ones came out.. I loved the first ones.. i was 15 when they came out. Does that make them bad, like apple sauce on pizza????
        See how silly you sound?
        I like the new ones, not as much as the originals, but I like them. And my son loves them.

        February 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
      • lightbayne

        The A New Hope is hideously boring, over-complicated, poorly acted rubbish.

        February 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
      • SomeDude

        In the end, it doesn't matter.... because Star Trek is waaaaay better. Trollalalalalalala

        February 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |
      • Derek James

        Nice weighty analysis there, Moe.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  34. Jacob

    Phantom Menace came out when i was a kid and i LOVED it. sure it wasnt the same as the originals and yes they will always have a special place in our hearts. and jarjar is pretty stupid but cmon people its a movie. and Darth Maul was AWESOME and i am TOTALLY GOING TO 3D >:D

    February 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • moe smith

      you loved it because you were a kid and didn't know any better. my daughter, who is 2, likes applesauce mixed in with ranch dressing smeared on pizza. Is it good? Nope. but she doesn't know better yet because her tastes aren't refined... .just like yours. One day you'll realize applesauce mixed with ranch on pizza isn't good either.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  35. Goofyfoot2001

    Crap it is huimmmm

    February 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • JG

      Speaking as someone who really loves the original series (I saw A New Hope at a drive in when I was 5 years old) if you are going to compare the original series to the prequels then in fairness I think that you have include The Star Wars Holiday Special. I am not sure if Jar-Jar binks, Haden Christian Anderson and Midichlorians are any worse than Lumpy, Harvey Korman, and Life Day. The Star Wars universe has always been bigger than George Lucas. Ewan Mcgregor is awesome, Harrison Ford was awesome, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson, Anthony Daniels, BIlly Dee Williams, are all really, really good. I would say that you have to enjoy the good parts and try and ignore Jar-Jar Binks and the fact that the cast Anakin Skywalker too young.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
      • MrsFizzy

        But didn't Lucas not really have any involvement in the Christmas special?? I mean it was BAD but - other people can do Star Wars bad too I guess.

        February 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  36. B

    I also wished that they had developed Darth Maul's character. He (obviously) didn't have enough lines and Ray didn't get to show off enough of his martial arts skills - it probably would've taken away the "luster" of the good guys. Wished the damn pod racing scene was WAY shorter so they could have fit more relevant action into the film. I mean geez, we all knew he was going to win, so it wasn't very dramatic. Goes back to what someone else mentioned about things not being dramatic enough when you already know what happens later (i.e., IV – VI). All in all, though, it is and always will be a movie, and some of us shouldn't get so worked up over it...

    February 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  37. Darth Fader

    Without argument, THE WORST, of all 6 films. Please reply if you disagree, i want to include you in a study. 🙂

    February 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Office Fan

      Roger, Roger!

      February 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Jacob

      2nd was the worst 🙂

      February 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • dewed

        Agreed. Episode II was by far the worst. Horribly bad.

        February 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • JG

      Don't you mean 7 films? And don't you mean The Star Wars Holiday Special?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • mattc212

      I agree that the second is the worst.

      I actually think the first is my favorite but it was also the first one that I ever say.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
      • smsw

        I absolutely hated the second one, but i loved the first one. I understand that the people who grew up with the originals were incredibly attached to them and I think that no matter how good the acting was in episode 1 they still would have hated it. episode 4 is a close second to being the most awful and episode 6 is a close runner up to being my favorite, after episode 1.
        I don't know why people are hating on little Anikin, I think he did a great job and Padme had to sound formal because she had to convince people that she deserved to rule even though she was only 14 in the movie.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  38. really?

    the moment I saw episode one in 3D I laughed so hard knowing it would not do very well.
    First alot of people dislike episode one, mainly because of jar jar.
    Second alot of people dislike 3D movies.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • really really

      Yeah. Having already made a profit on the production cost spending a minimal amount of money for enough viewers to assure at least a modest profit of a few MILLION dollars is such a bad idea. Like it or not. There's a reason Disney, James Cameron, and George Lucas are all rereleasing movies in 3d, its a quick easy buck, plus more publicity and exposure, spurring another wave of DVD sales. You're thinking that people have refined tastes. You are also not realizing how easy this money is.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • Jeremy

        I think too many people are expecting too much out of the prequels. Truthfully they are not that bad and have several great scenes. Especially episode 3 and if I remember correctly there are a lot of people that think episode 5 and 6 suck too and Lucas should have stopped at just the one. And its not just Lucas trying to get a quick buck for 3D movie remakes. This spans the industry. Though I have to make a correction here on the James Cameron comment as he is advocating for all these companies to NOT remake movies into 3D as they don't look as ones shot in 3D.

        This whole thing is similar to books and all old movies. We are in a world of remakes. We recreate every old show and movie we can get our hands on because it is a known fact that those will make a quick buck. Some are done well and others not so well while some completely fail. On that note, the Star Wars prequels are NOT epic fails. The recent first Hulk movie was an epic fail. Star Trek Enterprise was an epic fail.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  39. Rob

    Star Wars story line would have been better if the followed up on what happend After return of the Jedi. But I understand wanting to go into the past. But the over whelming Jedi was not as powerful. As just Luke, Ben and Yoda. Being the only Jedi left in the whole galaxy.
    I would say I am that second generation of Star War fans. I was born in May of 87. Ten years after New Hope. I would see the first re-release of the the original trilogy. When you could by the gold and silver VHS. The few years before Episode 1 in 99.
    Those who watched these new movies are the third generation of Star Wars. Now there will be a 4th generation but in 3D. After 35 years. 1977 2012. I laugh at the studios that turned Lucas down.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • really?

      indeed episodes 7-9 would have been so much better, the story was alot better.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • prime

        It would have been cool to see ep 7,8,9.....there were plenty of characters and as far as know didnt lucas originally write
        like 13 episodes ? It would be cool to see who would turn to the dark side in the latter movies i could see Leia having Hans kid......imagine Han solo with sky-walker blood......has dark side all over it.

        February 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • RedOne

      you do know they have novels that cover 40 years after episode 6 right?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Derek James

      I'd sell my first-born for a Thrawn trilogy of movies...

      February 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • Trekkie459

        A Thrawn trilogy would be incredible.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  40. Mark

    The prequels were a shower of gold for Lucas and a golden shower for the fans.

    And the first major sign of trouble between Lucas and the fans goes back to when the first Ewok strolled onto the screen.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Bubbatroid

      Well said.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Mark

      You mean waddled?

      February 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Peterw

      I agree, well said. I hate to use the gravitas but I will. There was a seriousness to 4 and 5 that made them excellent movies. Once you start introducing furry telly tubbies and a racist buffoon, you've crossed the line into silliness.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • JG

      Go watch The Star Wars Holiday Special. Any naive idealism about Lucas having any sort of lofty vision will quickly drain out of you.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  41. Joe WI

    Are people really complaining about the acting in the prequels in comparison to the first three? Aren't we looking through rose-colored glasses a bit at the Oscar-worthy dialogue like "Laugh it up fuzzball" and "Why are we still moving towards it?!?!" (rolling eyes) I am 42 and the first three defined my youth. The second three captivated my three kids. It's entertainment...period. Just because you don't like the second three does not make them worthless trash. My kids know every line to those like I know the first three. In the words of William Shatner....get a life people.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Becky

      What exactly does get a life mean?

      February 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  42. defff

    misa lubs da star wars, yesa misa lubs it soooo much!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  43. kathleen

    I loved the first Star Wars and watched them repeatedly .
    I loved loved the new batch and wish people would just get a life .
    Roll with the new action and try Not to be obsessive compulsive nit pickers .

    February 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  44. JeffinIL

    Return of the Jedi with it's Teddy Bears' Picnic on the forest moon of Endor was the beginning of marketing the films toward children. George Lucas has the merchandising rights so he decided to maximize the audience for the product. This is why there were Ewoks and this is the reason for Jar Jar Binks. On that level, the strategy worked.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • JG

      Am I the only one on this message board who remembers seeing the holiday special on TV? Am I really that old? 🙂

      It was in trouble long before the Ewoks.

      February 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • JeffinIL

        Everyone else who saw it is trying to forget having seen it, but point taken.

        February 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Brett

      It's = it is

      February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
      • Sam I. Am

        Why does everyone have to be a spelling/grammar nazi? I knew what he meant!

        February 10, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • JeffinIL

        You know, there IS no edit function here. I knew it was wrong as I clicked Post. Too late. But if it makes you happy...

        February 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  45. James Lucas

    It's remarkable how many people seem to hate the prequels (nearly everyone on this chat) and yet, the movies have so far, grossed 2.5 BILLION dollar worldwide, and average a 6.9 score on IMDB. Not bad considering most people seem to hate them. I've never seen movies that have done this well that are supposedly this hated.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  46. Davy Crockett

    It's laying the foundation of the other movies. It's going to be somewhat slow and boring as a result of that.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  47. Biggs

    What about Jek Porkins?!? He gave his life! His chubby tubby life!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  48. Dean

    Has anyone noticed that most of the fans interviewed for this article were women? Since when did the sci-fi fan demographic swing in THAT direction? Not that I'm would be nice to walk into a room of fellow Star Wars fans that wasn't a total sausage party.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  49. mike hunt

    Jar Jar Binks. Need I say more?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  50. Dustin

    The acting is horrible, the characters are annoying, and the movie is generally boring, but I'm still going to see it in 3D.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Falcon Blue

      I agree, but I will not be watching. The selection of actors, and the characters themselves did not pull you in like the original trilogy.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  51. bannister

    One interesting thing about the Prequels: They got better as they went along.

    I'd rate Phantom Menace only a "C" but the next film "Attack of the Clones" found it's footing and earned a solid "B".

    And then – Revenge of the Sith was TRULY an excellent film, A plus all the way. Lucas finally recaptured his vision by the last film and it neatly wrapped up the entire series.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  52. Panda

    The first three movies were a fun story with some special effects, the prequels were special effects with an awkward story tacked on. I doubt that George Lucas cares that much about negative reviews, he's laughing all the way to the bank at this point and could write Jar Jar into the original three films as a major character if he felt like it.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  53. You're a geek if you complained.

    Too much. I mean, hey, I didnt like the prequels, over use of CGI, the magic gone, insincere acting by almost ALL the actors minus whats his face who did the role of the young Obi Wan. And I loved the Boba Fett scene... did I spell that right? I'm not a geek, how should I know! I also loved the actual making of Darth Vader where the film and in fact, the WHOLE prequals slowed down to the original movies pace... and it was elegant, beatufiul, and the only time the movie captured its original spirit. And i'm not talking about when Darth was at that volcanic edge either. That was awful.

    And sadly, just a brief look into the world of the Chewie's. Only few times the prequels shined.

    BUT ... BUT if you complain too much, you're a geek and you need to GROW UP.

    Kids didn't care, and thats how I view the Star Wars movies the originals, I try to place my self in that time again, just enjoying the magic, not complaining, never did for those movies, and when you do I think you enjoy things better. I think The prequels suffered from the anonymous cowardly hate filled commentary thats been going on for years.

    But I digress, I do think the prequels suck I have no interest in seeing them ever again, I'll stick with my orgiinal VHS rips.

    And yes, I didnt spell check I;'m in a rush.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • mythologist

      I think there is plenty to complain about that's non-geek oriented. To me a geek is somebody who takes imagination literally. That's the guy who really thinks he's a jedi and wants to live the fantasy. They need for the film to be a certain way, because for them it's history. Screw up the tiniest detail and they're all over it. But there is another way to approach the imagination, and it's the way Joseph Campbell intended, metaphorically. George Lucas has enjoyed way too much credit for the success of his films. Personally, I think the magic is in the story structure (a direct application of Campbell's hero's journey) and the amazing music of John Williams. Before this, no one had introduced Wagner-like leit motifs. Lucas deserves full credit for his contribution to technology and for popularizing the ideas of Campbell. He also deserves a lot of credit for helping the career of poster designer, Drew Struzan. But as a director, Lucas fumbled in almost every way. He misused powerful symbols and earned the backlash he drew from fans. That's what happens when you dip into things you don't understand. Lucas borrowed Campbell's ideas without understanding them. If he had taken them to heart he would have understood his cultural role as artist. That's not geeky. That's academic.

      February 10, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  54. Dan

    Annoying things about Episodes I-IIII? The really cool fighter Darth Maul dies an Extremely! cheap and unrealistic death after kicking Obi-Wan's ass all over the screen. Count Dooku was the strongest on-screen fighter in any of the movies (defeating multiple major Jedi at the same time), but then you never see him again. Yoda fighting with a light saber was just plain silly looking, they should have stuck to him simply using Force powers. And yeah, Anakin and his girlfriend were pretty weak actors.. And the whole not telling us who Anakin's father was and making some it sort of supernatural / religious thing was just completely lame. For the future though: Maybe they should do a movie on Anakin's father and the heydey of the Jedi.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  55. Tom

    I actually was willing to let TPM slide, as it had been so long in coming. There were some good parts, Liam Neeson was good as usual, I liked Ewan Mcgregor throughout the prequals, the lightsaber fights in TPM were great (except Obi-Wans leap of D. Maul, ugh) SW was huge for my siblings and I as a kid. II and III wrecked SW for me though. Just not into SW that much any more.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  56. AmericanSam

    I like to pretend the prequels don't exist.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  57. Maty

    Also, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman were god-awful.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • omega21

      Agree about Hayden & Natalie, but it's not that their acting was bad (it's certainly wasn't great), to me, it's that they had zero chemistry – none!!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  58. Maty

    I understand that the actors were to old, but Thrawn would have been a much more compelling story to tell than retreading the history of Vader.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  59. Tom

    The more George keeps peeing in it, the worse it tastes.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  60. Mordac

    Jar Jar Binks. What more can you say? The Alpha and Omega of everything wrong in the universe.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  61. RabiaDiluvio

    Plinkett's review echoes my every thought about that abomiable movie. redlettermedia dotcom. Watch it (NSFW)

    February 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • db_cooper

      YES! the BEST review ever... it's 10 videos, 10 minutes each... the guy is doing a weird character as the reviewer, but don't let that keep you from watching it... these videos will provide you with the answer to that nagging question so many people ask themselves: "I really tried to like the Phantom Menace... really, I did... so, why didn't I?" The answer will make you laugh, and blow your mind in one entertaining go.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  62. Dave

    Are there still people who take Star Wars seriously? After the atrocious prequels, and the awful changes made to the originals by Lucas, being a fan of these movies is like being a fan of watching a drunk with urine soaked pants roll around in his own vomit. There's no entertainment value in that.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      Mostly agree, but I still find pleasure in watching the original 3 movies with my kids. I think the minute they lost sight of the fact that Star Wars was essentially a B western in outer space (with some cool effects thrown in) and started taking it too seriously, it killed it.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  63. obviousguy

    It has little to do with sets, props, cgi, etc. It has everything to do with the story and that story reeked. Lucas thought he could just throw garbage in front of the fans, surround it by loud explosions and cgi effects, then watch the fans tell him what a stupendous achievement had been realized. Without a coherent plot or even a couple 3-dimensional unique characters, the newer trilogy (especially the first movie) was nothing more than a marketing vehicle to introduce a million new toys. I see the stores have all put out episodes 1-3 for sale again, but I passed them up with the thought that if I see them once more in my entire life, I can watch the vhs ones in the closet. Lucas dragged his reputation and his credibility thru the mud on these movies.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  64. Sorry Folks

    Menace rocks. You people – not so much. Not trying to be offensive, just stating plain facts. Lucas is laughing at you all the way to the bank.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • phearis

      He can laugh all he wants, doesn't change the fact that it sucked. As P.T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute."

      February 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • obviousguy

      He could do that before the Phantom Menace. Now, he can do it w/o the credibility and with the fan recognition that he's a sell-out.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      If you want lessons on how BAD the movie really was, a great place to start would be Plinkett's review at redlettermedia dot com.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Sorry Folks

      Now why would I want lessons from some brainless neanderthal who calls himself 'Plinkett' . Sounds like a mouth-breathing troglodyte to me. Seriously I liked this one even better than Jedi. I did find Empire Strikes Back to be a colossal mess, although the toys were cool.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
      • db_cooper

        wow... as Steve Jobs famously said of Microsoft, I say of you: some people have no taste.

        February 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • Max

        A mess?! Empire Strikes back is the best of the Star Wars movies! What's not to like? Yoda, taun-taun sleeping bags, Ben Kenobi's Ghost, Boba Fett, mr Old Enlish himself Lando, Vader stopping laser rounds with his hands, and ending the movie with a line that was the ultimate plot twist (Obi-wan never told you what happened to your father).

        Don't get me wrong, Return of the Jedi is a good movie. I'm glad Luke didn't join Vader to rule the galaxy as father and son. But it ain't nothing compared to Empire Strikes Back.

        February 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • db_cooper

      you're 8 years old, aren't you? red letter media phantom menace review... watch it! you'll be so glad you did... 😉

      February 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  65. bagman

    What the author glosses over is that the script was an incoherent mess. The film made no sense at all. Ive seen it a dozen times and I still have no idea why the "Trade Federation" wated to invade Naboo. I have no idea why Palpatine wanted the queen to sign a treaty. I have no idea why he was trying to prevent the queen from reaching Coruscant when he needed her to vote "no confidence" so he could be emperor.

    Nothing makes sense. Theres no drama, no anticipation, no one we care about. Nothing.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • MrBo

      The acting by Jake Lloyd (and in the next two movies by Haiden Christensen) was astoundingly stiff. The plot is childish. The attempt at explaining The Force as coming from some microbes that sound like something in my Gatorade was utterly laughable.

      The movie was simply horrible.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • cmc

      Agreed. In addition to the boring, convoluted story, the characters are also bland and forgettable.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
      • Scotty4370

        But what about Jar-Jar Binks? Don't we care about him???


        February 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Dave

      Jar-Jar was the least of the problems with that movie. It was bad in every possible way.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  66. EP Sato

    Add me to the list of those who hated the prequels. I'll buy the complete series set on Dvd/blu ray for my kid eventually, but paying $20 just to see a crap movie because it's in 3-d is asinine.

    I'd love it if the star wars fans all sat this one out and let the movie bomb in the theaters. It's pure crap. Dull acting, no plot, Jar Jar, horrendous child acting from a 5 year who's supposedly going to hook up with the queen who seems 20 years older than him even though she's only 16? The intro to R2D2 as just some average robot who was serving on the queen's ship? Dreadful. Anakin builds a robot he does not recognize as a grown up? PLEASE.

    The movie has one fun scene in the podrace, but the poorly done crap digital graphic battle scene was nearly unwatchable. Robot stormtroopers? Qui gon Jin who never shows up again yet all the other jedis do? AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL.

    It makes me mad just thinking about how Lucas is going to make more money off suckers who'll continue to drink the lemonade. The emperor's new clothes aren't invisible people, he's naked! Wake up and don't waste your money on this awful excuse of a movie.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • DarthDougy

      Don't worry, you have company. I am not falling for the "3D" re-release either.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • Omar, Riverside, California

        Count me in on the sit out of the movie in 3d.
        Though I must say I was not originally put off by the movies.
        I thought well 1 sucked bad. They will fix it with 2 then oh three must be fixed. They must see it shouldn't they. I am just lucky that I bought the originals before the re-edited masters.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • Scotty4370

        I hung in there thru all of the crap that was Episodes 1-3. Lucas lost me for good when he added Vader's "Nooooo" as Luke was getting fried by the Emperor. Lucas is in love with one thing...his ego.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  67. lazurite

    Didn't like any of the prequels at all. Nearly walked out of The Phantom Menace. Should have stopped after the first three movies and left it alone.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Dave

      You said it.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  68. Huh?

    We underestimate the available time, treasure, and passion of the American people for trivial things.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Huh? Isn't it "misunderestimate"??

      February 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  69. ConcordantMind

    Geek or no geek this movie has no story, no main character, a worthless villain who does nothing evil, fake looking effects, abysmal dialogue and is BORING. Almost nothing happens in the entire film. no 3 act structure. everything happens by chance. It is an undisciplined, poorly made film and that is all there is to it.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • TimT

      This CNN reviewer believes that fans hated the new films because they liked nostalgia. Wrong. The first films weren't exactly deep. But the characters and situations were geared to college level kids and there was a Joseph Campbell resonance that added some depth. And that combination allowed sci fi fans to use their imaginations.

      But the prequels dumb down the plot to the grade school level. The mythic element is eliminated - probably because Lucas didn't really understand myth or story in the first place.

      The film maker is clearly out of his depth in the first few movies. He already had characters that were too cutesy for words. But he didn't talk down to his audience.

      The second trilogy dumbs down all the good work that was in the first films. Lucas figured he would target the little kids with a hero that was that age. He made the grown up Anakin more superficial than what you'd see in an after school special. No one with half a brain can imagine that person having any spiritual depth at all. And you have cringe-worthy characters like jar jar no great film maker would have touched.

      The Pixar movies have proven that you don't need to talk down to your audience. And the fans realize what the CNN reviewer doesn't, that the real issue is quality.

      Several comments have said that none of this matters, these are only movies. True. Hamlet's only a play. The Sistine Chapel is just a painted ceiling. But these things charge our imaginations and make us feel more whole.

      And I've always wondered what would have happened if Lucas had been a great writer and director instead of a hack. If a great writer had seen the potential of these ideas and created films for adults, we might have had flicks that would still be considered masterpieces.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
      • Kman1000

        I agree!! Well said.

        February 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  70. alweg

    It's been all about toys since Return of the Jedi. The Ewoks were supposed to be Wookies (hey! Unscramble the word, kids!) But Lucas said it would be too hard to create the Wookie village. Uh, sure. Ewoks sure are cuddly, though.

    And Chewbacka doing a Tarzan yell? Where'd that come from?

    "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo."

    I give Lucas A LOT of credit for THX1138, American Graffiti, Apocolypse Now, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark. But he has lost it.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Romulan

      I could live with those but I can't believe myself at the end of episode 3 when the Death Star was partially completed. Why did it take over 20 years to finish when the second one took a couple of years? And I love the fact Anakin and the two droids were so tight. But Lucas shouldn't make it as such because Vader tried to destroy the droids and seemed to have very little indication he knew them.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  71. Snacklefish

    Jar Jar Binks is what you get when you cross a retarded rabbit-eared duck with Mario.


    February 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  72. rtbrno65

    I thought the prequels and "Phantom Menace" were fine. When "Menace" came out everybody I knew who saw it in the theatre when it opened liked it. I'm not sure why there is all this hostility, other than they weren't what people imagined they would be.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  73. mark

    man, once the self-proclaimed psychologists get involved, things start to get crazy. how about a simpler explanation – many fans disliked TPM for the same reason they disliked Indiana Jones 4 – THE MOVIE SUCKED.

    HAN SHOT FIRST. I will never purchase a disc that does not include this episode. never. period. just like I won't purchase a version of ET with FBI agents running around pointing walkie talkies at people.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Romulan

      Such DVD exists. The sealed one goes for around $175-200. Unfortunately those were still in non-anamorphic transfers. But that's the only way to watch the real originals.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  74. Romulan

    It wasn't just the Star Wars prequels Lucas tried to destroy. He also did a pretty good job hurting the Indiana Jones with the last movie. At this point George Lucas has so much money he doesn't care less.

    The prequels were full of bad actors, bad story that don't make any sense with episode 4-6.

    The proof is in the DVD price. If you check Amazon or #bay you'll see the original unaltered DVD (episode 4-6) going many times the price of complete saga (all 6) on Blu-ray ! But George Lucas continued to edit the movies. I was told the Blu-ray version of the movie is yet different from the theatrical version. I think that's Lucas' full time job now: editing and mess up his movies.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  75. Jim

    Yeah, when I sat down at midnight back in 1999 and saw the Episode I "crawl" talking about trade federations and sanctions and political alliances, I thought "Uh oh, we're in for a long 6 years of prequels."

    But then, I haven't liked anything since they escaped from Hoth.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  76. Romulan

    Movie was terrible. But I'm going to see it by going in with different movie ticket so Lucas won't get a penny from me.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  77. Oh Man

    Hated TPM so much I refused to see the next two.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Dave

      You didn't miss a thing. The Star Wars prequels make Plan 9 from Outer Space look like Citizen Kane.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Max

      You didn't miss much. I made the mistake of taking a date to see the "Attack of the Clones". But after an hour and a half of me laughing at how stupid and predictable the movie was, I think the other patrons regretted seeing the movie as well.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  78. Partial_M

    I love Star Wars, and am unashamed to admit it. I grew up on it (Return of the Jedi was the first movie I ever watched in a theatre) and love it still as an adult. People who get angry about it are immature. I was a huge fan long before the Prequel Trilogy, and, yeah, some of it bothered me. But it's a movie. It's not worth raging about.

    I don't even hate Episode I. It's the worst of the series, sure; by far. The characters are unimpressive (with the possible exception of Qui-Gon Jinn and Senator Palpatine), Jar Jar is annoying and it's much harder to care about lil baby Anakin than it was to care about Luke. Even Darth Maul, while cool as he may be, is a shallow villain, far beneath the cerebral Tarkin or the vile Jabba of the Originals. Episode I feels more like a fan film than some of the fan films! It's not horrible; but I don't love it, and will not pay to watch it again (in 3D or otherwise); though I will watch it every couple of years to revist the parts I do like. Qui-Gon, Darth Maul and Palpatine.

    I like Episodes II and III enough to not get riled up over Episode I. My strongest complaints about Episodes II & III are the weak dialogue (compared to the universally quoted Original Trilogy), the unconvincing romance between Anakin & Padme (compare it to Han & Leia) and the rather pathetic Fall to the Dark Side of Anakin. But they were enjoyable films, and felt like Star Wars to me. I particularly liked Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan in II & III.

    The only thing that Lucas has done to the Originals that upsets me is making Han shoot first. And that bothers me mostly because of his explanation that it was "for kids" so that they would know "Han did not have a choice" and was still a good guy. Well, as someone who watched Episode IV long before Kindergarten, I can say that kids always understood Han, and that's why he was so popular. Yeah, he was a rogue, a criminal and scruffy looking; but he came around in the end, and his growth as a character remains one of the best things about the Originals.

    In short; I love Star Wars, and always will. George Lucas is just another man, and has his own vision. I can't hate him for not making movies that were up to my (unreasonably high) expectations. For all of it's awesomeness, Star Wars is a series of action flicks, and while the fictional universe is sure worth exploring (through the novels, comics and games), it is just that – a fictional universe. Why get mad about a movie?

    So for me, I will not go see Episode I in the theatres again; but I will go to see the rest. And I'll have fun doing it.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jar Jar Binks



      February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Vykk Draygo

      If anybody here ever read the EU Han Solo books, they will know that Han really wasn't a "good" guy persay, but just a criminal with some more morals than others. He had no qualms with killing. Why Lucas wanted to do this, i can see, but why he actually did this, i can not.

      P.S. Look at my name. Familiar???

      February 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Dave

      Sorry, I really didn't see how episodes 2 and 3 were much better than episode 1. True, there was no Jake Lloyd and less Jar-Jar, but those were really the least of what was wrong with the first film.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  79. Otheym

    If evil Anakin Skywalker had killed his childhood playmate Jar-Jar Binks in the third movie, all would have been forgiven!!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jar Jar Binks


      February 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Qui-Gon Jinn

      Anakin Nooooooo!!

      February 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  80. J

    One would be hard pressed to find a more poorly written or poorly acted movie in the history of cinema. Eps 2 and 3 come awfully close, but even those travesties can't compare to the horror of Ep 1. I thought Ep 4 was mediocre and Ep 5 was decent, but that's as far as I'll go in praising the series. I have come to completely loathe Lucas and his sorry franchise.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Romulan

      Empire Strikes Back was generally considered the best of the 6 episodes. Unlike most people I consider episode 6 to be slightly better than 4. Episode 1 was unwatchable. Getting rid of the kid Anakin and making Jar Jar Binks shut his trap made the other 2 barely watchable. But no good acting would fix the issues with bad story that has tons of holes.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  81. Brian

    The author missed the biggest point. Jar Jar Binks sucks and makes the movie unwatchable.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jar Jar Binks



      February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  82. Jar Jar Binks



    February 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  83. urmomlol

    Three words: Red Letter Media

    Go there. Watch the reviews of Episodes 1-3. That's pretty much all that ever needs to be said.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Nyarlathotep

      Exactly. Red Letter Media's hour-length takedowns of Phantom Menace, etc, are actually more entertaining than the movies themselves.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Dave

      Absolutely. A much better use of your time than watching these awful movies.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  84. Greedo

    Han shot first!

    Worst. Edit. Ever.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • scott

      I disagree. The worst edit ever was the song scene in Jedi. Totally broke the flow of the beginning of the film.

      February 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Dave

      The worst edit ever was every edit in every scene of The Phantom Menace. The film cans should have been sealed in a toxic waste barrel and dumped in the Marianas Trench.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • Sam I. Am

        But think of the poor FISH!

        February 10, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  85. fel

    I think it's fully possible to be a grown-up, well-educated, married, successful person who doesn't live in their mom's basement AND still love Star Wars AND be able to acknowledge that the Prequels were crap. It's not the overuse of CG was the crappy plot and storyline (the "ancient" jedi order which were still around in the same lifetime as most of the people in the originals?, Padme lost the will to live?), some really bad acting (Natalie Portman CAN act...see Garden State or Black Swan, but Lucas CANNOT direct and gave her nothing to work with), and some ENTIRELY unnecessary changing of the original trilogy (Leia REMEMBERED her real mother, midichlorians???).

    And yes, Jar Jar was geared to appeal to kids, but wasn't Chewbacca and the droids, yet they didn't make adults want to claw their eyes out everytime they talked?

    And Darth Maul rules. Period.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • JohnW

      Leia remembered her mother? "Just images, really." No continuity problem there, sorry.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dave

      Leia remembered her mother? "Just images, really." No continuity problem there, sorry.

      No offense, but are you crazy? Leia's mother died when she was about five minutes old. How can she remember ANYTHING about her?

      February 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • Office Fan

        He is referring to the scene in RotJ when Luke asked Leia if she remembered her real mother, and Leia said she remembered images of her, but she died when she was very young. That is the continuity that was referred to: Leia could not remember her real mother since Padme died in childbirth

        February 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  86. Darth Chip

    If not for the 3D, I wouldn't see it at all. But if the 3D visuals are anywhere close to as good as the 3D in Star Tours, the rest of the movie is probably no worse than the line at Disney World to get in to Star Tours.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  87. Lila

    This movie blows, glad he's messing with this and not making a bigger mess of the originals. The Clone Wars are great, always look forward to watching them,he seems to be more in his element today with cartoons and special effects.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  88. Arch

    Like with most things I think the answer is somewhere in between the two extremes. Phantom Menace had some good points (Darth Maul was cool, and some of the action scenes were fun etc) and yeah it's fair to say that the enormous expectations placed on the prequels didn't help any. On the other hand, the writing and some of the acting in that movie were atrocious and Lucas hasn't helped himself much with his....challenging...personality.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Darth Maul WAS cool, until a jedi-in-training jumped over him, did a flip in the air, and cut him in half. Maul should have laster all three movies. The double-bladed saber was one of the most talked about scenes in the teaser trailer. And this is just one of the many reasons that TPM sucked.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Dave

      I hated Darth Maul (he didn't even talk – what kind of villain is that?) and everything else in the movie was worse.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Office Fan

        Actually, he did talk. On Coruscant, he was speaking with Darth Sideous and he said " At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last, we will have our revenge."

        February 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  89. Shawn

    Wow... the author completely misses the point. Yes – the movies had unrealistic expectations. The real problem is that they just weren't very good movies. I've never heard any old fans say "oh the digital effects took the physicality away." No... they just say the dialog was bad, acting was wooden, and product was unfinished. The originals had some of these same problems too, but the fundamental problem is that everyone knew exactly how they would end... which killed any potential dramatic tension.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • John

      Exactly... This nonsense about generational nostalgia. I grew up in the 70s and 80s. The prequels were just not very good movies. When my 14 yr old son and I went to see them we just laughed at the stupid dialogue... The effects were not that mindblowing as well. Heck, the space battle in Serenity was just as good as anything Lucas included in his films. Not sure if its his ego that prevents the hiring of a better director/screenplay... Anyways.. wont be plucking down $10 bucks for the 3D version.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  90. BanthaPooDoo

    They are just movies. Just like the bible is just a book. It is all in how people attach emotion to works of fiction. If churches came out and said they wanted to revise the bible and add new books and tweak the old ones, the religious fanatics would riot over the upsetting of the only "truth" they have ever known. I doubt Muslims, Jews, or Buddihsts would care much about any changes. Likewise, a lot of Star Wars fans are as engrossed in the universe as if it were a religion and changes that upset that have an equally upsetting effect on their minds. Tomorrow let's rewrite how Judas turned in Jesus to make him seem like it wasn't his fault at all and hope the faithful dont take offense to a change in canon.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Greedo

      Jesus shot first!

      February 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
      • BethTX

        Your dialogue is better than Lucas'!

        February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Doofango

      You are a fool. Why would you bring religion into a discussion of a silly movie and offend millions of people?

      February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  91. Stern

    The only shining star in the movie was Darth Maul. Arguably, the best Star Wars villain.

    Ray Park with his menacing acting and being a champion in Wu Shu martial arts made the whole movie.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Mystique

      He would have beaten those two Jedi if he had just used his tongue.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • sevenseas

      Darth Maul looked great, Ray Park did a great job. However, the character was a cookie cutter villian, no back story, no emotional attachment. Had Darth Maul been fleshed out and presisted in the latter 2 prequels, things would be different.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Mister Jones

        Yeah, he had the potential to be the best Star Wars villain ever. The double-bladed saber was awesome, but somehow he was written out of the story in the first book. And written out in a retarded way. I am pretty sure that when someone tried to jump over Obi-Wan, he cut their legs off. But Darth Maul just watched the guy fly and flip over him and then just got cut in half. ... Not even killed off well. Whoever was in charge of that should be sacked.

        February 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Dave

      Darth Maul had hardly any dialogue and we know nothing about him. Plus he looked like a member of KISS.

      Darth VADER was by far the greatest Star Wars villain – until Lucas made the prequels and took a leak all over his back story. Now Vader is just a joke, like everything else about the Star Wars universe.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Mark

      Yeah, Ray was such a visibly superior fighter to Liam Neeson and Ewan MacGregor it was kind of laughable. Ewan killing off Ray reminds of the infamous 60s pairup of the old Adam West Batman and the Green Hornet in one episode, in which Robin actually defeats Kato. The thought of Burt Ward taking down Bruce Lee makes about as much sense as Ewan MacGregor taking down Ray Park.

      February 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • Ed

        Good analogy!

        February 10, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  92. Stern

    The child Anakin Skywalker was a travesty. He was one of the worst actors ever who made the whole movie a cartoon with his laughable face twisting method of acting.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • BethTX

      Add to that Keira Knightly/Natalie Portman wooden acting and it was actually pretty amusing.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      "I'll try spinning ... That's a good trick!"

      February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  93. sbp

    The author left out an aspect of the prequels which accounts for much of the distaste. The prequels, and ESPECIALLY Episode 1, were blatantly calculated to capitalize on merchandising. Elements of Episode 1 were ham-handedly pandering to smaller children, in an effort to really reap the rewards of the secondary market. Jar-Jar Binks? Audiences are OK with being manipulated emotionally by a good story; they are not OK with being manipulated into buying a lunchbox.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  94. BethTX

    At the end of the day, they're kids' movies. Slick, commercial, enjoyable kids' movies. But then, I don't live in Mom's basement.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Dave

      There's nothing enjoyable about these movies, even for children. They're BORING and horribly written and acted. And that's from a non-Star Wars fan who doesn't live in anyone's basement.

      February 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  95. Jaymee Stahrr

    People! People! They're just movies. I was a kid when Star Wars debuted and I don't have a problem with the prequels, other than Jar Jar Binks. I thought that they served a neccessary function of explaining the source of the battles between Vader and the Jedi and I thought Lucas did an excellent job. Maybe it's the fact that I have an actual job and a wife and kids and am firmly planted in current reality that I'm not joining the geeks in all of the weeping and wailing about Lucas.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • BethTX

      Same here. I liked the movies and have watched each many times since Star Wars came out when I was a kid. I guess the main difference is, what difference does it make? They sucked, they didn't suck, it's fun to discuss, but when someone gets as emotionally invested in a movie as I've seen some people become, it's close to mental illness.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • wanderinbilly

        Of course people can get emotionally invested in movies! They may also become emotionally invested in books and music; I'm pretty sure that's a major component of the arts. Pronouncing that someone doesn't have a life or is "close to mentally ill" because they have a passionate opinion about something intended to evoke emotions says a lot more about the speaker... Oh, and Jar Jar Binks can suck it.

        February 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • old fan

      I remember watching the original in the theaters when I was a kid, I watched every one up to Episode 1. After that I never watched another one. And what is going on now, It seems that Lucas is out of anything resembling an idea and is just going back to milk the same old cow. And people just keep buying it, so why should he do anything different?

      February 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  96. Doofango

    The Phantom Menace is hideously boring, over-complicated, poorly acted rubbish.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • i_know_everything

      (hand wave) you think Phantom of Menace is the best movie ever

      February 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
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