HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY to STAR WARS - THE PHANTOM MENACE

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nope, love it still, it was a great spring/summer when it came out, and it really re-established the way I approached my fandom and quirky SW rituals. good times man good times!
 
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For me it still feels the most authentic of the three prequels in terms of aesthetic and feel. It was also the first time that I was witnessing a Star Wars movie debut in cinemas, so it is always going to be special to me.
 
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well, I'm an old ******* at almost 44 so I saw the OT theatrical run, but also the SE in winter '97. This was the first release for me to thoroughly enjoy in the classic SW summer style, the May release dates. Being a kid in the old days w/ less funds and less everything, from merch to exposure etc i t was cool to be older and be able to seek out the promotions and interviews and all that cool stuff much easier and abundantly. Also, for me it just lends itself to the overall great vibe at that time of the year-you start mowing, cookouts, windows finally open again, fresh spring air, etc. and SW! It's a great positive flow overall, you know.
 
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I adore TPM more and more as the years go by. Not only because it was my first SW love, but post-TPM, SW spiralled into mediocrity in every aspect. And I don’t mean just the remainder of the prequels, the current sequels are even more insulting.

There’s absolutely no denying what a mess TPM ultimately turned out to be: Juvenile, boring, lazy and weak direction and clueless acting (due to the lazy direction). But the potential, the ambition, the confidence, the vision. George was brimming with confidence and I get the impression TPM is his ideal SW: A simple fairy tale from a past era (even sunny Norman Rockwell-idealistic), uncluttered by the pandering of current pop culture and fandom. It genuinely felt like his story. And it was so fresh, so new without relying on a single classic OT-trope of pirates, smugglers, TIES and X-WIngs etc that’s the current trappings of this bland and color-by-corporate-numbers Sequel era.

The CGI’s definitely become dated almost 20 years later, but TPM has only grown in charm to me. It still feels more innocent, more untouched by the blandness of corporation that’s infested all these Marvel/DC superhero movies (except for the totally on-point Deadpool) to a generic dullness despite all the tacky and expensive loudness. TPM just feels more genuine in its presentation than ever before to me. I’ve lost interest in the current state of SW, although RO was a nice surprise on how SW sort of got its groove back for me. I can’t stand the forced Guardians of the Galaxy cheese, so that brand of goofy fun is nothing I’d want for SW. TPM was a tad too serious, even gormless for sure, but at least it wasn’t try-hard obnoxious like Guardians

Even AOTC is starting to have an odd hold on me in retrospect. But it’s like a totally different genre next to the innocence and otherworldly vision of TPM. It’s such a hot, directionless, insecure, camp mess it’s starting to take a charm of its own with its beautiful but vapid leads, especially in light of that SW knock-off TFA. AOTC-Amidala is the result when a world is dumb enough to let the Snowflakes/SJWs of current society with the brainpower and attention-span of the Jenners/Kardashians lead the world. AOTC-Hayden’s Anakin is Elizabeth Berkly’s Nomi of the all-legandery cheese-mess Showgirls— from his screamy over-acting to his dim-witted trait. And by ROTS, Ian’s Palpatine is definitely the equivalent of Gina Gershon’s cheese-Queen Cristal to Anakin’s Nomi LOL

If only someone would dub the AOTC soundtrack over with N’Sync hits… and maybe insert Justin and Co in for jedi cameos, AOTC would rival Showgirls’ hot mess. Maybe even be up there with the 1980 Flash Gordon LOL

BTW, one of the best SW track for me is “Across The Stars”… so lush and so baroque. Completely un-SW, but so perfect. It's the only element that sold the laughable "love story".
 
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I'm 32, TPM competes daily with ANH as my favorite SW movie. The prequels had to grow on me, but now I know for sure SW has peaked.
 
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I love The Phantom Menace and glad to have been a part of it. I was 16 when the film came out and I remember every moment of it and its hype.

Thank you George!
 
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I lined up for tickets. I attended the midnight showing with my favorite sister. we were kids, all over again. it didn't suck. I miss her.
 
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I also went to see TPM for the first time with my older sister in in May of 99... She may have fallen asleep during the screening.

TPM always gets me around this time of year. I’ve grown to adore it more and more as the years go by, many many many faults and all. Such a charming offering.

Haven’t watched this, The Beginning in likely since it first came out on DVD… It all feels so… innocent, passionate, and a genuine heartfelt ambition of the odd, nerdy but likeable visionary— who gave the slight impression from time to time during the doc of his delusion of how “great” TPM would be, but also who had the world at his fingertips at that point in time. George really was in his element and you can easily see his love for this new vision. And it genuinely felt like a new vision. There’s such an aura of progression of new SW frontiers to be challenged and conquered, and a beautiful idealism to it all, back then...

The Beginning: Making of Star Wars: Episode I / The Phantom Menace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da8s9m4zEpo

 
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I'm 41 (so I grew up with the OT), and I remember seeing this film something like 9 times in the theater. I was SO excited that a new SW movie was out that I overindulged.

While I never thought it was a "bad" movie, I remember virtually everybody hating it after a while. I'm surprised to see how much people's minds have changed about it. Now everybody seems to hate AOTC more, which I enjoyed more than TPM.

Is this movie more loved now because of nostalgia?
 
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I love the prequels..
But the phantom menace to me is the best of the prequels..
Still love watching the pod racing and darth maul vs. Quinn Jon desert fight scene..
 
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I'm 41 (so I grew up with the OT), and I remember seeing this film something like 9 times in the theater. I was SO excited that a new SW movie was out that I overindulged.

While I never thought it was a "bad" movie, I remember virtually everybody hating it after a while. I'm surprised to see how much people's minds have changed about it. Now everybody seems to hate AOTC more, which I enjoyed more than TPM.

Is this movie more loved now because of nostalgia?
It may be nostalgia for some— just like seeing Han/Luke in the cockpit of the Falcon is enough for some to commit to this Sequel… Perhaps others have just come to realize that for all of TPM’s shortcomings, it at least took risks in showcasing original ideas and new story threads to AGFFA. That it at least made an effort to engage the audience, the fandom in new visions instead of feeding them a regurgitated, reductive slop that this Sequel is.

BTW, I had no idea the original Star Wars won an Academy for Best Costume Design. TPM deserved at least a Best Costume Design nomination that year at the Academy, but TPM’s disappointing impact just left the visionary designs neglected and rejected. Gladiator definitely deserved the win, but TPM also definitely deserved a nod. Never again would we see such attention to details, techniques and cultures by design in any SW episodes the way TPM infused all these elements so impressively, and believably into a culture of the era of The Old Republic.
 
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the sequel is full of rejected concept art from the mcquarrie years; there's a reason those designs were rejected; the sum total of ALL that rejected artwork, adds up to your 'reductive slop' observation. it's not new or original, nor even 'authentic' -- it's like taking a step backwards in the design process, towards less-refined concepts. ("reductive" indeed).

I agree the costumes were a huge part of TPM's design aesthetic -- a huge part of TPM's "authenticity" (which is lacking from modern SW films). Trisha Biggar brought a LOT to the table. it's amazing to think all those amidala costumes were all designed and sewn by hand, where nowadays they would probably use CGI.

(re:did you know, there are -NO- 1:1 clonetrooper props from the prequel movies? no armor, no helmets, no costumes,at all? the clones were all CGI cartoon characters. they didn't even bother to create a single fiberglass clone trooper costume, at all, for these movies ---> for all its flaws, at least TPM had physical/practical "battle droids" on set LOL :p but AOTC couldn't be bothered -- "costumes?"we don'need no stinking COSTUMES! LOL -- they didn't even create costumes for the "stunt doubles" they just used guys in green pajamas).
 
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^^^ If only long rejected McQuarrie concept art designs are the only reductive component of this Sequel LOL One of the very first line of dialogue from TLJ is… “Punch it!”…. (OMG OMG Han said that!) ...:sigh:

Thank goodness RO retained that richness in its design/costume sensibility. It’s not the same as TPM’s opulence and decadence, but it’s clear it possesses a distinct look, and actually contribute a design progression that compliments the best of SW’s unique design vocabulary. Even the starkly graphic aesthetic of the Rebel leaders' dress was new and interesting. RO is a gleaming gem in this age of retro-nuSW.

The Beginning doc is a great reminder to all those that dismiss TPM as just a CGI-infestation. There were so much tangible props, animatronics in their ****nal, and on-location shooting. It’s just too bad the CGI-component will be what most remember of TPM (and such awful lighting/cinematography: If only TPM was as masterfully lit as Gladiator was, at least the tonal shifts from world to world would have given a more varied mood...) Admittedly, there are absolutely a tad too much impossibly-smooth CGI-feel to some parts— the Theed Generator action set is a perfect example of that excessive CGI-infestation that resembles more the nonsensical architecture of a video game and ruins the potential of a hugely original concept of new form of lightsaber duel.
 
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Such a magical time it was to be a fanboy, circa 1999, fresh off the Special Editions and with a cultural event about something I cared deeply for about to take the world over. Looking back it was really the start of the geek revolution that now is the norm. We were no longer marginalized but we and the things we loved were popular. I do find it interesting that all the hate the OT purists had has dissipated and now moved over to the sequels, almost like what a hate group does when there targets have become far to mainstream to be threatened, they move to the more vulnerable.
 
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Such a magical time it was to be a fanboy, circa 1999, fresh off the Special Editions and with a cultural event about something I cared deeply for about to take the world over. Looking back it was really the start of the geek revolution that now is the norm. We were no longer marginalized but we and the things we loved were popular. I do find it interesting that all the hate the OT purists had has dissipated and now moved over to the sequels, almost like what a hate group does when there targets have become far to mainstream to be threatened, they move to the more vulnerable.
It is indeed a very interesting time and I would give all to relive 1999 when I stood in line for a day to see The Phantom Menace; now you order a ticket online and have a reserved seat and no longer speak to anyone......
 
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I remember standing in line to get tickets for TPM. some people had camped out all night.
I joined the line at around noon and spent the rest of the day chatting with the people around me.. a pair of young girls c/w lawn chairs and a pair of bubbly..
..personalities. ah yes. those were the days.
 
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I love the prequels..
But the phantom menace to me is the best of the prequels..
Still love watching the pod racing and darth maul vs. Quinn Jon desert fight scene..
right there with you. TPM did a lot for expanding the world. Great locations beautiful shots and it looked amazing in 3D.
 
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I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought TPM was great. It's hard to believe it's been almost 19 years since this was released to theaters. I really enjoyed the film. It had an underlying darkness that was subtle, but still very present. Though the Trade Federation robots were intentionally simplistic in appearance, the Destroyer Droids were great - and worthy opponents for the Jedi. I felt Darth Maul was a great villain; very menacing & evil. The visuals of the Naboo Palace were impressive, as were the various costumes worn by Queen Amidala/Padme. The podrace was incredible & gripping. And, it was very poignant to see Anakin leaving home & his mother, never to see her again (which was the strong impression I got even long before seeing AOTC).

I remember all of the hype leading up to the film; the soundtrack, HC novelization, storybook, and a plethora of toys were released in early May '99, a couple of weeks before the film itself was released. I remember going to the now-defunct Border's Books and Music & getting the books. The toys were all over the place, i.e. TRU, Target, Wal-mart, and K-mart. I remember being able to get everything I wanted by going to different stores.

I actually saw the film two days after it was released, on that Friday. Even then, there was a long line, so I had to get there early.

These days, people seem to forget that TPM - despite getting widely panned by critics & fans alike - did extremely well at the box office. I saw it numerous times in the theater in Summer '99, and the film definitely did repeat business that summer - i.e., the same people went to see this multiple times (I saw some of them when I myself went to see the movie multiple times - LOL). In fact, in my area TPM left theaters towards the end of the summer for several months - then was re-released to theaters (for a brief time) in December '99. If the film had truly been as horrible as everyone has claimed over the years, I don't see that people would have been going back to see this more than once - or that it would have been re-released.

It's also worth noting that TPM took forever to hit home video. It was first released to VHS tape in April 2000 (this was before the DVD format was that popular), and didn't hit DVD until October 2001.
 
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I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought TPM was great. It's hard to believe it's been almost 19 years since this was released to theaters. I really enjoyed the film. It had an underlying darkness that was subtle, but still very present. Though the Trade Federation robots were intentionally simplistic in appearance, the Destroyer Droids were great - and worthy opponents for the Jedi. I felt Darth Maul was a great villain; very menacing & evil. The visuals of the Naboo Palace were impressive, as were the various costumes worn by Queen Amidala/Padme. The podrace was incredible & gripping. And, it was very poignant to see Anakin leaving home & his mother, never to see her again (which was the strong impression I got even long before seeing AOTC).

I remember all of the hype leading up to the film; the soundtrack, HC novelization, storybook, and a plethora of toys were released in early May '99, a couple of weeks before the film itself was released. I remember going to the now-defunct Border's Books and Music & getting the books. The toys were all over the place, i.e. TRU, Target, Wal-mart, and K-mart. I remember being able to get everything I wanted by going to different stores.

I actually saw the film two days after it was released, on that Friday. Even then, there was a long line, so I had to get there early.

These days, people seem to forget that TPM - despite getting widely panned by critics & fans alike - did extremely well at the box office. I saw it numerous times in the theater in Summer '99, and the film definitely did repeat business that summer - i.e., the same people went to see this multiple times (I saw some of them when I myself went to see the movie multiple times - LOL). In fact, in my area TPM left theaters towards the end of the summer for several months - then was re-released to theaters (for a brief time) in December '99. If the film had truly been as horrible as everyone has claimed over the years, I don't see that people would have been going back to see this more than once - or that it would have been re-released.

It's also worth noting that TPM took forever to hit home video. It was first released to VHS tape in April 2000 (this was before the DVD format was that popular), and didn't hit DVD until October 2001.
I couldn't agree more! While TPM and prequels in general get panned online most people I know in real life enjoy them. The amount of overall excitement leading up the release of Episode 1 will likely never be felt again and something I'm glad I got to experience.
 
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For me it still feels the most authentic of the three prequels in terms of aesthetic and feel.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. The way the film was made was more like the OT than the next two in the trilogy and that helps give it some charm. I think there was a much better blend of practical and digital, more sets were used, more location shooting was done, and even things like lightsabers looked more consistent with the OT. Just compare the lightsabers in this to say in ROTS and you'll notice a difference. For example, the hue of Blue and it's saturation are very different and TPM is more in-line with the OT.

Even the story of TPM was the best of the trilogy for me. I found it pretty straight forward in a lot of ways and the "boring" political element in the story does not bore me and made sense to include. (One of the ironies in the ST is that they are so obviously politically motivated behind the scenes but yet seem to be scared to death to touch on in universe politics because of TPM.) I also like that the movie can stand on it's own, away from AOTC and ROTS. Granted, that's not so good if you want it to be a consistent trilogy that flows together, but I really like that it feels so isolated and alone and not mixed in with the latter two. It's like ANH in that it's just really it's own movie. I've just come to enjoy TPM a lot over time and I'd currently rank it as my 4th favorite SW movie after the OT.

Edit: Oh, and John Williams' score is great as usual.
 
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I remember going to the midnight opening of Toys R Us with a ton of other crazy fans and collectors, buying up everything I could get my hands on.

I remember waiting in line with my best bud, chatting about anything and everything star wars with strangers and fellow fans. I went to the midnight showing and then back to back to back during normal people hours...four times total opening night/day, only taking a break to grab a bite to eat. I saw it 19 times in all. It is my personal record for viewing one movie.

I did like the movie even more as time went on. Part of it was sharing it with my kids, part of it was appreciating the good things more and worrying less about the bad. Then 2015 hit and Disney even made me appreciate the PT even more. Funny that others feel the same. I started a thread with the same premise in mind

So anyway, I'm late to the party as usual. Happy almost 19th birthday to TPM!
 
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Glad to see so much love for TPM here on this thread, especially given that, amongst many (including hardcore SW fans) it's received a lot of unadulterated animosity & hate over the years.

I also saw TPM numerous times in the theater, probably around 15 (at least). It's the only movie I've seen in the theater that many times.

Going along with this, seeing this numerous times in the theater during that time made sense because the film came out long before the relatively quick releases of films to home video - and long before streaming. I.e., these days a film will hit DVD/Blu-ray about 3-4 months after it hits theaters, and streaming is also an option. However, back in '99, it took a year (in some cases) for films to hit home video. VHS tapes were still dominant at that time, and few people even had DVD players at the time. And, in the specific case of TPM - it took almost a year after it hit theaters to be released on VHS (April 2000), and a year and a half before it hit DVD (October 2001).
 
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TPM was soooo eagerly awaited, people imagined the movie so many times before having seen it...
Since 1983 they changed but don't understand everything changed too.

Today with the ST it's another time but the same conclusion.
 
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You can't blame a bad movie on anything other than the people that created it. Lucas had 100# control. He took a" I don't care if they like it" attitude on the prequels. He said it many times. Many people answered back "we don't like it". Now if your one who likes it that's fine too, and the way it should be. People like films for many different reasons. The dislike for the prequels comes from many different places and some have very valid reasons and it's not just Old age and high expectations.
 
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When TPM was coming, there was a lot of hype and I was caught up in it. I had started reading the EU in the early 90's and found that I was very interested in more stories in this universe.

With all the talk about people camping out to get tickets, the premiere was coming but I had no time for that. I played softball twice a week and had a two hour daily commute. I was feeling the crunch of running out of time with no solution of how to see this movie on opening night. I'm not talking about a freak out fan boy crying or pitching a fit. I just didn't want to miss out knowing more story as soon as it was available, seeing new story on the screen after so many years.

I wasn't collecting figures, I hadn't yet thought of my EU reading as collecting, and I wasn't online or involved in any clubs. I was a Star Wars fan in a vacuum so there was no one else to look to for tickets.

The local rock radio station morning show was giving out free tickets for about two weeks but they were never anywhere near me... until the morning of the midnight showing. They had a goofy 'correspondent' who went out and about for radio bits, and he was at the local theater, 'soaping' car windows and giving away tickets. Now I worked at a bank that was very concerned with keeping decorum and didn't know exactly what to expect, what my car would look like in the employee parking lot, but this was for midnight premiere Star Wars tickets! It was a bit out of the way and if there was any sort of crowd I wouldn't have had enough time to stop. Luckily when I got there one car was leaving and one was getting 'soaped', so I was next. In a matter of a few minutes I was away with two tickets for the premier! My girlfriend worked at the bank as well, on the same floor, and after I got to work, I went into her office with the tickets and said check this out!



You can almost make out the Star Wars window danglers I had in the rear window above the 'W' in the station's name. I had three TIEs chasing two X-Wings, a Y-Wing, and the Falcon towards the Death Star, with a Star Destroyer off to the side.

I tell all this to share my enthusiasm leading into it. I was wide open to see more story about what happened before ANH, what the Republic was like with Jedi before the Empire. And I was completely fine with all of it. With the entire PT in fact.

Since then, with all the EU reading that was to follow, I have developed tastes and preferences in storytelling, and remain very much interested in the larger picture of the galaxy, the political intrigues, how one event influences everything after. This is what I loved about the EU, it all counted and had to fit (other than early year hiccups as they were developing a plan, it was really Lucas who caused the most ripples when he would override something previous written).

So the PT still remains very interesting in the rise of Palpatine and how his machinations manipulated the Jedi and galaxy to allow him to create the Empire.

I knew the PT would be about world building. We were first exposed to SW with ANH and that was the middle of a story, after a great many things had changed. And of course TPM in a sense would or could be slow or small in scale at times, because we were being exposed to the beginning of something big. So trouble with one planet (Naboo), government struggles, time stuck on Tatooine, none of this bothered me as boring or dull.

Now since it was the beginning, I find today I can't really watch all of it, I skip over the podrace, maybe fast forward through the Gungan battle, because the results of those parts are all I require to know, and they don't advance the story very much. I don't do that with the rest of the PT or OT, but I understand what I'm feeling. I need the pace of story content to be on par with the pace of the action and in those areas it seems to stall while the action is playing out. But I know that I would look at the beginning of any large tale in a similar way, that it seems slow compared to once it gets going several books or episodes in.

Everything I took in, I completely bought, in that I was being told 'this is what happened.' Any part that didn't ring as my favorite, never garnered a negative view, because I was being given the facts. Did I ever think Anakin built Threepio? No. Did it bother me? I didn't dwell on it, I was told that's what happened. OK, so he did. Was Jar Jar annoying? Plenty of people walking around earth are not my favorite people, but I accept them for who they are, so I was fine with his existence. I will admit to thinking there was a bit too much childishness in his vocabulary, as well as his stepping in dung. I could accept a lot of it but some was too much for my tastes. But it didn't ruin anything for me. I wasn't carrying around years of my own back filled story, so there was nothing to criticize as not being the way I thought it should have been.

No, it wasn't until I joined RS much later that I learned to hate TPM. How Jar Jar was perhaps mocking Jamaicans, the Nemoidians were stereotyping Asians, Jake Loyd stunk up the screen (I thought he was just a very young kid being his natural self, I had no acting requirements of him). That the politics were a bunch of boring nonsense, where was Han, the Force was a lame blood disease now and not a magical mystical thing, seeing Jabba ruins him in the OT, Padme is too old (or Anakin is too young) to like Anakin (I never thought it romantic love, I took it as fondness and sincere appreciation for the help).

How stupid was I to have liked this movie when everyone else here seemed to hate it, to 'know' it was bad, not just 'think' it was bad? I must 'know' nuthin'.

I jest here. I don't hate it at all, but it hasn't been a joy to publicly like it on RS, so I never involve myself in PT discussions regarding quality, I stick to plot points of interest and the larger themes. I guess in a way I'm thankful that I didn't join the site until 2012 because I never had to live through the years of hatred. It was bad enough all the hatred that came out for the EU after Disney discarded it. So many people who never liked it taking real pleasure in seeing it gone, not having a scintilla of compassion for fellow fans who did enjoy it... but then SA 3.75 inch figures went away and 5POA and 6" were here to stay... and the ST 'ripped off' the OT and 'ruined everything it stood for'... so perhaps there is a segment who hated the PT and TPM, being a downer among those who liked it, who got to experience the same thing when fans of newer segments weren't very sympathetic to their personal preferences in SW.

I shall continue to endeavor to enjoy the PT and TPM and hope that others who like it are able to do the same.

Here's a follow up TPM inspired story...
I remember back then discussing Maul vs Vader with one of the owners of the local comic shop, and he was all about how Vader is the greatest bad guy of all time, and I was trying to say they were both bad but in different ways. Vader seemed more about intimidation in his faceless look and deep voice, but Maul had a sneer and a look in his eyes, much less his red face, tattoos, and horns, and while yes Vader may kill you, Maul looked like he wanted to physically attack you. That with Maul you might get a more personal, physical confrontation from evil, than Vader. I wasn't saying better or badder, but I would compare it to being attacked by a knife wielder versus someone with a gun. No one wants to be shot and killed (Vader), but I think being attacked and cut and stabbed and killed (Maul) would be something people feared more. The means to the end from Maul may be scarier than from Vader, even if the end was the same. And that was how I saw the two differently. Then he said to me, "I know why you like Maul, you ride a Harley and he's got a motorcycle on Tatooine!" I laughed at that but he was serious about it.
 
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I didn't camp out the night before tickets went on sale, but I did join the line at 8 in the morning, which was already around the back of the theater. I ended up seeing it 11 times at the theater, at least once on every single screen that showed it. Make that 12 if you count the 3D version a couple of years ago.

I have loved the prequels since Day One. Never bought into the hate so many have for them. For the longest time, ROTS challenged for my 2nd fave of the saga. I don't think they are as good as the OT, but I still feel they captured the "feel" of Star Wars in a way the ST has astonishingly failed to do.

Ian
 
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