Star Wars: Phantom Menace opens 20 years ago

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by mmars982, May 20, 2019.

  1. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    You're fortunate. Just when things can't possibly get any more stupid, they do.

    And with a Star Wars movie, that is saying a lot!
     
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  2. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

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    At least I made it through all of them. Can't say the same on the most recent ones.
     
  3. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    One of the strong things with me with regard to the final trilogy, is that the dialog is less stupid and more like you would find in a normal, non Star Wars movie. Things were way less stupid to me and I liked the new characters.

    The part with Harrison Ford and his son was pretty cringeworthy.
     
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  4. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    Its safe to say both the Prequels and the sequels have their issues. The prequels were great ideas and general arc,but poorly executed from a technical aspect. The sequels thus far is generally a thinly veiled repeat of the Original trilogy general arc of Evil Empire vs a rebellion,but executed fairly well and well made films technically and judged on their own. They are good sci-fi films and ok Star Wars films. They just lack the imagination that perhaps both the Prequels and the original had.

    In other words,the Prequels were great story generally executed shoddily. The sequels are a Shakey premise executed very well.

    I'll go even farther to say the originals had similar issues to lesser degrees. The only truly great Star Wars film to date in my opinion from all aspects is Empire Strikes Back. The original Star Wars apparently was saved in the edit,and Return of the Jedi had Ewoks and played things too safe. The only thing that makes it good is the Luke vs Vader vs. the Emperor stuff. The rest just feels like a huge step down from Empire.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  5. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

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    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I actually watched all three Star Wars prequel (Phantom Menace when I was 16 years old), The Force Awakens, Rogue One (the best out of the bunch IMO), The Last Jedi, and Solo, all in the theatres... not sure if I'm going to watch The Rise of Skywalker in theatres... :sigh:
     
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  6. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

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    We can agree to disagree on that...
     
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  7. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

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    I agree with most of that.
     
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  8. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

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    Too bad you were too young for the originals.
     
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  9. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

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    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Well, I did watch the VHS of the original trilogy pre-remastered when I was 12 years old...
     
  10. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    I also 'discovered' Star Wars around that age the same way. Mine were the last VHS release circa 1994-95. The black box with the blue Star Wars logo and Darth Vader's face on it.it was remastered (cleaned up audio and video )without the special edition changes. I did catch the special Editions in the theaters as they came out. I've now seen all of the Star Wars films in the theater and I am excited to see Rise of Skywalker in December.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  11. Same for me! I've got that set, the VHS Special Editions, the silver DVD box set with the documentary, and I refuse to buy those Blu-rays.
     
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  12. MekkaGodzilla

    MekkaGodzilla Forum Resident

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    Ah...forgot that one. To be fair though I don't think most people remember that one. He did that and went back to doing stuff like Schindler's List until Star Wars. It seems like since then his bread and butter became action oriented roles. Of course once Taken happened,it kicked everything into that direction.
     
  14. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    Well I got those Blurays as a gift from a well meaning relative. They aren't completely terrible and the vintage documentaries and the like on the third bonus disc is almost worth buying that set. I still find myself going to the initial silver DVD set if I wanna watch the OT. I do watch the Blu-ray versions of the prequels though whenever I do watch them, which is seldom aside from Revenge of the Sith.
     
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  15. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

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    Hollywood, USA
    I have to say, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith actually got better over time. Lucas claims he didn't pay any attention to the critics, but it's interesting to note that the worst elements of the first film (particularly Jar Jar) did not get repeated in the second and third films. But Phantom Menace is jaw-droppingly bad. My personal belief is that Lucas was wounded by the critics and did take steps to change the subsequent films to try to overcome those problems.

    I really, really liked the fan-made documentary The People vs. George Lucas, which shows a group of fans going to see Phantom Menace the day it opened and reveals their shock as they're going home, unable to believe what they just saw. It pretty much captured my reaction as well.

    Editor Paul Hirsch recently wrote a book, A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away: My Fifty Years Editing Hollywood Hits, and he goes into some detail as to what happened in the editing of Star Wars. While I think the film was saved in the edit room, it was saved because George Lucas made those decisions. George is a very, very hands-on guy in post-production, so any cut you saw was either his idea or done under his supervision, so don't think he went on vacation for three months and came back and his editors magically fixed the movie. That's not the way it works at all.

    [​IMG]

    Note that the original Star Wars editor was fired, and basically it was George, Paul Hirsch, and George's wife Marcia Lucas who cut the film together. George didn't take a credit because he was not in the union. George himself is extremely hip on the essence of timing and coverage -- in fact, I think he's far better in post than he is as a director or a writer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  16. keefer1970

    keefer1970 Metal, Movies, Beer!

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Was that the doc with clips from a bunch of Star Wars fan films in it? If so, I saw that too... some funny stuff in there. I especially liked the one that parodied Stephen King's "Misery," with the fan keeping George Lucas prisoner until he re-writes "Episode III." :D

    I have been told that lots of times, and I see the DVDs of Clones and Sith sitting on the shelf at the library all the time. Sometimes I think, "Ehh, maybe I should give'em a shot," but I've never gotten round to it.
     
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  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

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    As I usually do in these threads, if you want to know more about how the films were made, and why compromises happened over time, read The Secret History of Star Wars:

    [​IMG]

    https://www.amazon.com/Secret-History-Star-Wars/dp/0978465237

    Some interesting facts: Lucas spent four or five years in the 1990s experimenting with the TV series Young Indiana Jones, and one of his goals was to figure out how to spend as little money as possible on sets and props and all that stuff, so that every dime spent showed up on the screen. Once he had made enough money on merchandising in the 1990s (after losing about $100 million in his 1984 divorce), he was able to self-finance Phantom Menace so he could own all the rights. Phantom Menace used a lot of "virtual sets," which was one of the things Lucas felt would help make a $115 million dollar movie look like a $200 million dollar movie.

    The "Making of Phantom Menace" documentary on home video reveals some amazing facts, including Lucas' struggles to write the script himself (in longhand, on yellow legal pads), and why he chose to cast the worst kid actor among all the ones who auditioned (the kid they wound up with looked the most like Mark Hamill). There were also several reshoots of Phantom Menace done to change the plot and improve the coherence and make it fit in better with the later films, so it's fair to say it was a difficult story to tell, nor was it an easy movie to make. From Lucas' point of view, the early films were supposed to be for little kids; then the subsequent episodes would be for an older audience, basically like they're growing up over time. You can disagree with that today, but that was his intent 20 years ago.
     
  18. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    It also shows two loser...erm...fans standing on a street corner singing "George Lucas raped my childhood." I rolled my eyes at that then and do now. I want to scream at the screen "He also gave you your childhood with Star Wars,idiots!"

    I think what happened with George and the Phantom Menace is that he didn't become a worse film maker. He just was 1) a bit out of practice and 2) didn't have someone like Gary Kurtz and his ex-wife Marcia to reign in and help execute his vision more competently. Rick McCallum may have been a nice guy but he always came off as just a yes man to George, which is definitely not what he needed when making TPM especially. He needed someone willing to challenge him and see the bigger picture beyond the one playing in George's head.



    Like you,I certainly believe he realized he made some big mistakes with Episode 1 and worked to correct some aspects as he went along. Revenge of the Sith in my opinion,on its own without the previous two is a very good Star Wars movie. In many ways I find it more entertaining than Return of the Jedi. It showed that George still had it in him. Honestly,of the four Star Wars films he directed,SITH is his best IMO,even when accounting for some cringe.

    I still find it sad how the same insane sect of fandom screaming about "Dizney Star Wars" now also bullied George to the point he just became disenchanted with it all and sold it off. Now of course since it's the cool thing to deem those in power of Star Wars now as the enemy of fandom and that which needs to be vanquished,now many of those same "George Lucas raped my childhood" fools want him back in charge.


    I do wonder though how TPM may have turned out if Ron Howard had taken George up on his offer to direct? Irwin Kershner said that outside of the production and effect side of things, George was pretty much hands off and let Kersh do his thing on Empire,and it was great. I imagine he may have been as equally hands off of Howard. Might have been a better movie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

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    Lucas goes into this in the "Making of" documentary. He says, "I originally wrote the script with Anakin Skywalker at about 12 or 13, which might be old enough to fly the spaceships and build robots. But I decided to make him 8 years old instead so that the scene where he's separated from his mother would have greater emotional intensity." :eek: So help me, that's what he says. I think it's a crucial creative mistake.

    I agree, the problem with that film is the whole thing rest's on that kid's shoulders, and he's not good enough to carry it. And I feel bad for the actor (who has had terrible personal problems in the years that followed), because I'm sure he did the best he could in a *****y part in a *****y movie. On the other hand, as producer Rick McCallum reminded me, "hey, we must have done something right because the film made a billion dollars." So from their point of view, most of the non-fan public liked the film.
     
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  20. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    You are expensive to know...I always buy books you recommend and I always really enjoy them! But this one...$20 for a digital version? Pass. Looks very interesting and a must read for you! I haven’t seen People VS Lucas...hopefully on youtube? And I guess I’m one of the few that liked the prequels. I think part of the problem is some people forget to check their brains at the door. With some movies, you just have to. I guess I did. For simply pure entertainment, they worked for me.
     
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  21. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Had you all beat. In the early 80's, before SW was released on VHS tape. I managed to get my hands on a pretty decent bootleg copy.

    Let's just say that they went to see it and leave it at that.
     
  22. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

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    Luray, Virginia
    Very true,but the fact it made a billion in 1999 BEFORE the global box office became such a big deal does indeed mean that at least a big chunk of the audience liked it enough to keep coming back for repeat viewings. Yeah some of those came back to convince themselves to like it,but there were enough legit people who enjoyed it. No movie,no matter how huge a name, that's actually hated by a majority of ticket goers will make a billion plus. It may do big opening weekend and first week or two,and do decent gross, but will quickly grind to a halt and fall short. Case in point Batman v. Superman.

    The general consensus in fandom is TPM was hated by the entire world,but the box office of it, and the rest of the prequels don't bear it out.it obviously did find it's audience. Same as now with TLJ. YouTuber and Reddit tells us it killed Star Wars forever and was a colossal bomb,yet it made 1.3 billion and the DVD/Blu-ray sales ranked as the second biggest selling Blu-ray of 2018 just behind Black Panther.

    Just because a bunch of nerds (us included) opine that something was a terrible failure or a bomb doesn't mean it's true across the general audience. In fact often times,it can be the opposite. Mainly because the general audience looks at these things differently than fans. Most people just go to be entertained. If they walk out feeling they didn't waste their money and time and think " that was fun. I'll bring my wife/husband tomorrow to see it." Then it's a win. That's where the money is made.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  23. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

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    Trust me, there were videotape copies out in the summer of 1977.

    Star Wars was first released on home video for rental only in May of 1982, at a list price of around $80 (as I recall), but they dropped it to something affordable like $30-$35 within six months. My memory is that the laserdisc followed in 1983. I also think there's been five legitimate versions of Star Wars released to home video; I did the last one that went out on Blu-ray. I'm convinced there will be a boxed set of all nine original theatrical versions next year, but we don't know yet if it'll happen. The D23 Expo in Anaheim is happening in two weeks, and my bet is there might be an announcement there.

    No comment. But I think the overall theme in The Secret History of Star Wars is not far from the truth. It's a testament to Lucasfilm that they allowed the book to be published, complete with multiple script extracts and all kinds of inside information.

    What I will say is that I think Lucas was at his best when he had great collaborators, particularly Lawrence Kasdan to write the script. On the other hand, Kasdan and his son wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story, and that didn't turn out very well. I think Star Wars looks easy from a distance, but when you consider all the decisions that have to be made, plus the added problem of dealing with toxic fandom on the net, it's very, very, very difficult.
     
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  24. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    TPM is SW equivalent of Batman and Robin. In the begging of the movie when you see the caped crusaders surfing their way back to earth from space, you know that whatever is coming up next is going to be pretty awful.
     
  25. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    While I have seen the originals since they first were released, I never considered myself a big SW fan.

    I watched them because they were decent and a franchise, like Planet of the Apes or the James Bond movies.

    I tend to accept SW being what they are, not really SF type movies, just action/adventure movies set in space.

    I never set a high bar, for them with regarding acting or dialogue, but that is just how they were, so I go with it.

    But I call them as I see them. I don't think that TPM was an all around awful movie. As I have indicated, I thought some of the actors and their parts were quite excellent SW, but Jar Jar and the kid were the worst.

    The "kid" grown up in the sequels, was even worse then when he was little.
     

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