Trailer Tuesday: The Phantom Menace 10 Years Later

star-wars-the-phantom-menaceI remember it vividly.

The date was November 1998, I was eating lunch and listening to my illegally downloaded copy of (thanks Napster!) Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” I had skipped class so I could sit by the computer and watch the new “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” trailer download via my free dial-up Internet connection. It took five hours and when the sparkly Lucasfilm logo appeared and “Every saga has a beginning…” scrolled by, I just about pooped myself.

For me, a fan of Star Wars, this was a dream come true, and the trailer didn’t disappoint. The familiar snap-hiss of the lightsaber was present, along with John Williams’ magical and triumphant score, as were starships, kooky creatures and all sorts of CGI that surely would make “The Phantom Menace” the best Star Wars film ever.

Boy, was I wrong.

After standing in line on opening day wearing a Darth Maul t-shirt and feeling like a kid again, I had no idea how raped I’d feel two hours later. I first felt something was wrong when the credits started to roll. Star Wars just didn’t feel the same this time. It felt wooden, forced and void of the soul that powered the first three. I didn’t want to see it again, and when I did a few weeks later, I fell asleep.

Sadly, the prequels never recovered. “Attack of the Clones” was worse than “The Phantom Menace” and by the time “Revenge of the Sith” rolled into theaters and Lucas started to get the picture, it was too late. The deed was done. Sure, the movies made money, but in creating the anticipated prequels and doing a ineffective job, George Lucas sullied the Star Wars franchise forever.

So, ten years later, here is the first teaser trailer for “The Phantom Menace.”

What do you think? Am I wrong, or are the prequels crap?

11 comments On Trailer Tuesday: The Phantom Menace 10 Years Later

  • Thanks for dredging up the emotional trauma… I have to agree with you here, Andy. I still remember seeing “Return of the Jedi” for the first time on opening night from the projection booth at the Capitol Theater. And because my dad worked as a projectionist while I was growing up, I saw in the theater a total of more than 225 times over the summer and well into the fall with 3 shows a night (yes, I know I need a life). The prequels could have and should have been so much more. And not in CGI or a stunning score. ILM and John Williams held up their part. Rather, in the plot, the script, the silliness and stupidity of Jar-Jar Binks, the heart of the saga that was ripped out and left beating on the theater floor after the final credits rolled on “Return of the Jedi.” I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive Lucas for violating my trust in the franchise – or in him.

  • Crap, but the kids love em. I’ve had to watch the clone one like ten times in the last month because it’s in our car. The kid that plays Annakin needs his ass kicked. Hard.

    You’ve added douche to my vocabulary. Thanks for that.

  • Paul, I really think Lucas started to go downhill with “Return of the Jedi.” I’d say that movie is 85 percent good, but the silliness is really ramped up and Lucas stopped believing that we, as filmgoers, were smart and could figure things out. Everything is spelled out.


    Lando – “I wonder why those Star Destroyers aren’t attacking?”

    Cut to the Star Destroyer bridge.

    Officer: “Sir, why aren’t we attacking?”

    Admiral Piett: “I have my orders from the Emperor himself. He has something special planned for them. We only need to keep them from escaping.”

    I think the flatness and the cuteness started in ROTJ bled into the prequels. And that is a shame, because they really could have been great. Here’s how I’d rank the Star Wars movies:

    1. Empire
    2. New Hope
    3. Revenge of the Sith
    4. Return of the Jedi
    5. The Phantom Menace
    6. Attack of the Clones

  • Jenny, douche is a fantastic word. In fact, you should add other offshoots of douche to your vocabulary. I also enjoy “douchey,” as in “That guy is a friggin’ douchey,” and the ever-potent “douchebag,” as in “Move over Gramps and stop driving like a douchebag!”

  • I agree with the disappointment of what could have been and the infinite mockery and fun that comes from making fun of the prequels, but if we’re not over them 10 years after the fact, maybe it’s time for some counseling.

  • It’s hard to get over seeing something so beloved treated with such carelessness, despite arguments to the contrary. That, sir, is what leaves the taste of bile in my mouth. Thank heavens “The Lord of the Rings” was happening at roughly the same time, as that franchise was the Balm of Gilead to my Star Wars wounds.

  • I think I agree 100% with your rankings Andy. I’ve only seen the prequels once each, and it’s been a while, but I remember thinking III was the best of them. Ewan McGregor saved that movie, IMO.

  • Andy, I think I am going to have to agree with Dan, it has been 10 years, time to move on. HAHAHAHAHA! You are a Star Wars nerd, but I love you oh so much!

  • Oh Noooos! As far as this kid’s concerned, Jedi bounces all over Revenge. Even Ewoks can’t derail Jedi’s prowess over the Emporer’s upskirt, “ultimate power”, screamin’ Mace Windu, the provident lightsaber, FrankenDarth, oopsie choke after “You done breakin’ my heart, Annie!” and the “scuse me” droids.

    Jedi’s got more charm and personality in its opening 10 minutes than Revenge does in its full 140 minute running time, visual razzle-dazzle, flickering moments of promise and all. When it boils down to it and you remove all 20 minutes of good, the rest of the 120 minutes of Revenge is only slightly better than mediocre.

  • I treasure each n every one..i eat my cheerios in the morning while watching hayden christensen cry like a bitch to padme about how obi wan is jealous!

    Star Wars sucks..i wish it would die..plse die!

  • Whether “Revenge of the Sith” or “Return of the Jedi” is better is debatable, but all I’m saying is “Return of the Jedi” greased the wheels of suckdom for the Star Wars prequels. The beginning and the end are the only good parts of that movie.

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