Pretty great video on the lead up, response, and fallout to TPM.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pEJ18N_JuM&list=PL9fMTieMhS2Qd_vmNftYyhL0J1tgOC0em&index=26&t=0s

I really enjoyed this video. I will never forget 1998 and 1999's hype for The Phantom Menace. I was a Star Wars Insider subscriber and slowly but surely they'd be revealing more stills and information on the film. I remember getting tickets for opening day, the lines, the figures, the whole deal. I was the first one in school to see it. I remember peers being jealous! But then it came out...and boy was it not what was expected. Initially I loved the film. I was in 9th grade, still pretty young and far less analytical and critical of film. So I was rather confused by the fairly mixed to even negative reaction it produced. I don't often confess this, but I saw the film ten times in theaters. It wasn't until I got the film on VHS and subsequent viewings at home that I truly started to notice the cracks. Then from that point on, I wasn't especially able to enjoy the following prequels even upon first viewing. I recognized the flaws immediately, I wasn't blinded by the pretty pictures. But I have to say, this video did show me something. I may not particularly like the film...but I do have a level of gratitude and perhaps even guilt over some of the things I've said about it and Lucas. Sure the film is plagued with issues, George himself even seems to know that, but the lead up was so exciting and downright exhilarating. Frankly, it was just fun. This is actually why TPM is my favorite prequel film. It might not be the best prequel from a technical standard, but just the hype it produced was like a Christmas is coming feeling. It just gives me a swell of good memories. When you watch this, you see how professional Lucas is when confronted with critical views. He's not attacking the fans, he's not belittling the fans, he's very mature about it. I respect that. And while I do think some of the issues he's been accused of having (poor directing, poor writing, over emphasis upon commercialism) are accurate, I take back a lot of what I've said about the man over the past decade. He's not a bad guy, he's just doing what he thinks is sincerely best. Maybe it's not best for the story, but the point is...he's not trying to "subvert expectations," he does seem to care about the fans no matter how much they bashed him. And in a contemporary time when Lucasfilm/Disney SW directors are literally attacking the fans, well, I miss the grace and maturity that Lucas seemed to have brought to the table. Flawed though he may be, he at least went out with grace.
 
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TPM was never a good film. I knew that when I experienced it for the very first time. I was 18yo: I was bored by the time the Jedi fought the ineffective battledroids on the Trade Federation ship. That’s what— 5 minutes into the film…???

But I still enjoyed it: The design aesthetic; the multicultural references— both in design and the film’s politics to actual historical events of our world; the simple fairy tale narrative; the worldbuilding element that was at once distinctively of its own vision and still very reminiscent of and connected to the OT’s; the ambition and heart… and above all else, it wa magical. And 20 years later, it remains potently magical of an era of AGFFA. That’s the best way I can describe when SW is at its best: Magical. When you bring in current, trendy social and political tones, when the characters speak in a manner that’s very much of our time, and all these components are used to manipulate the audience into identifying with the characters, that magic is stripped away, and we’re back on Earth and not AGFFA. TPM never stooped to such lows. And it never bashed the audience over the head with how superior the directors/producers are for championing diversity/inclusivity. In TPM's case, George showed and didn’t need to tell.

TPM is the one SW film I watch the most. It’s one of my favs. I know it’s not a good film, I know the acting and storytelling leaves much to be desired, and I know it’s boring as f*ck LOL But like Mary, there’s just something about it. And that something is magic. George may not be a good writer nor director, but he’s a visionary who’s a real-life Willy Wonka.


Depending on the mood I’m in, my top 3 SW films will alternate between ESB, RO and TPM. None of them are perfect— but no film is. But all 3 possess that all-important magical component that can effortlessly transport me away to AGFFA. And TPM seems to have that pull on me the most, warts and all.
 
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Yeh, watched that today myself. It was a slow day, so I had plenty of time to waste.

It's fair enough and balanced, but I don't agree with his conclusion that 'The Phantom Menace' was a "good bad film". I just think it's a bad film, full stop. There are flashes of great stuff in there, as there is with all of Lucas' films. But, over all, it's just not a good movie.

As pointed out in the video, George Lucas just had way too much power and not enough challenges to his more whacky ideas and poor decision making and that's what led to the failure of, not only, 'The Phantom Menace', but the entire prequel trilogy. With some things (actually no, with a lot of things) changed, the prequels could have been great. But that was never going to happen with the sycophants that surrounded Lucas. There's just too much in 'The Phantom Menace' and the prequels, as a whole, that simply doesn't work and the sickening thing is that they didn't have to be there at all.

That said, 'The Phantom Menace' is probably the most entertaining of the prequel films, even though it's actually a completely unnecessary addition to the saga, if you look at it critically. I know 'Revenge of the Sith' gets a lot of praise. But that film only kicks in in the last half and by then it's too late and it never reaches the nadir that was 'Attack of the Clones'.

And all of the failures can be laid at the door of George Lucas, unfortunately, who, in an ideal world, would have been able to relinquish directorial duties to a competent director and position himself into the producer role. Another essential tweak, though, would have to be numerous script revisions too and at least several character changes.
 
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One really funny aspect of the video is the collector mentality. I'll never forget the TPM madness. Everyone trying to invest in memorabilia and now it's almost all completely worthless, less than original retail value.
 
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lol TPM is the one movie I sat out Collecting, only got Darth Maul and Sidious. So I dodged a bullet on that one. However, AOTC got me hooked with all the Clones and Jedi!
 
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^^^ I don’t collect anything, but if Hot Toys ever come out with a fully transforming Droideka… Oh my goodness- I don’t think I’d be able to resist. Their Maul and Qui Gon are so tempting already... (I did buy a few Hasbro Droidekas for $40 USD each at a comicshop back in the summer of 1999 LOL )
 
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