Star Wars: Phantom Menace opens 20 years ago

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

  1. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Oh yes, they even had copies that were filmed directly off of the movie screen. Mine was a dub from some original source, I don't know what or how, but it was a good year or two before you could get it on VHS tape.

    Most people today don't realize (or remember) how it was back in the early days of VHS tapes. It was never thought that people would be buying movies for their home use, so all movies on VHS tape were originally priced for rental stores and cost in the neighborhood of $80.

    Before I started selling my collection off back at the beginning of the century, I managed a collection of 3,800 VHS tapes, with all of them being original tapes, no dubs.

    That was quite a feat, because almost all of them were purchased as PVT's (Previously Viewed Tapes), from Blockbuster Video.
     
  2. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Saw it three times in the theatre (Cinerama, Seattle) with different people. Pretty ho-hum, methinks.
     
  3. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    He originally was; throughout the late 1970's and even up to the early rough draft of Episode I - when it was tentatively titled The Beginning - Obi Wan was the protagonist of the prequel story arc, George Lucas even said as much in interviews... but as I've stated here ad nauseum; George has great story instincts, but he simply doesn't trust his instincts, he second guesses himself, and keeps working on otherwise good ideas until they're mush.

    Bravo... I've been saying this for years... if the prequels (which had a real story of substance to tell) had the overall quality execution of the sequels (which have virtually no story of substance to speak of outside of re-riffing the OT for the most part), they would have been a winner all round!

    I'm still convinced that if you handed over all the raw footage for Episode II to a brilliant editor who understands story, character, pacing, performances through editing, etc, they'd deliver a pretty solid-to-strong SW movie overall... the digital looks crap, that can't be changed, but there's more than enough potential there that the overall narrative could be reshaped into a much better film than the rambling and overlong (by a good 15 minutes, imo) cut that was ultimately released into theaters in May 2002.

    Episode III is pretty damn good overall (better than Jedi, again imo), despite some minor flaws along the way... and when it really hits it's stride (the Empire taking over), there is a very real and palpable onscreen sense of tragedy and despair that is quite effectively harrowing for a SW movie, it really does have a dramatic and emotional heft to it that I just didn't think George had in him.

    Dear God, for films that supposedly few people actually like, we're still talking about them constantly a decade-and-a-half after they ended...
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  4. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Naw, Beta and VHS copies also existed in 1977. Anything that started off on 3/4" eventually wound up on 1/2" video, one way or the other.

    Yes, I know, because I was West coast editor of Video Review magazine for 15 years. I was in the thick of things for a long time with home video, from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. I just dabble in it today, but I still know the technology and the history very well, and I'm kind of a student of film history, plus I make my main living in the video mastering business. My partner and I have joked that still to this day, nobody has written The History of Home Video, but I have been interviewed for 3 or 4 documentaries about it, and I'm in James Lardner's book Fast Forward, which covers some of that history through the end of the 1980s. I'm in there because of my testifying three times in Federal court as a witness in the Universal vs. Sony Betamax lawsuit, which was an interesting case.[/QUOTE]
     
  5. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    I always thought Joe Johnson should have directed The Phantom Menace; if you watch The Rocketeer, he would have been perfect for what was essentially a whiz-bang, bright and breezy, classical old-school fairytale using cutting-edge tecnology. And he worked in Lucasfilm during the OT doing the now-iconic design work so he knew already how George and the whole Lucasfilm operation works...

    I've said it here before, but maybe it would have been better if Lucas had hired either a journeyman director or people from the television field to helm the prequel films; he would remain the 'showrunner' and have the final say on creative decisions whilst the director gets the dramatic shots and works with actors to get good performances (basically how Return of the Jedi was made, in essence). I think that would have been a better overall arrangement than the all-George-all-the-time approach he did decide on for that trilogy, alas...
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  6. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Luray, Virginia
    I don't remember if anyone posted this here in any of the Star Wars threads before,but this "sizzle reel" of the ENTIRE Star Wars saga from Phantom Menace to Last Jedi is so well put together...I gotta say if you don't get even smile a little seeing this you are truly dead inside.

    For me personally,whether you hated or loved or merely tolerated the prequels or sequels or think the OT is overrated or are the be all end all,seeing the scope and sheer imagination of this 40 year long 10 movie strong story just reminds me why I love this saga and world so much,warts and all.

    Fun fact....put together by Topher Grace (yep....Eric Foreman from That 70's Show!). I hope he does an update once Episode IX is out. In my opinion Lucasfilm should consider showing this in front of Episode IX. Even the most jaded "Dizney ruined muh Star Wars" fanboy can't resist the feels one gets watching it all layed out and put into context.

     
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  7. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Like your own posts much?
     
  8. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    Gabh Transna Ort Fhéin

    :cool:
     
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  9. WAU rude

    but also I'm going to learn how to say that
     
  10. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Love it!
     
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  11. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    I had one of those. Same source delivered EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and E.T. in the month after they hit theaters. In some ways I regret having had those, because naturally, we watched them often, with friends, family, showing off our miraculous VHS machines. The regret comes from "burning out" on those titles before I ever got to see a decent copy. Then came the real, licensed VHS versions of those titles, adding more to the burnout factor. Next add widescreen LaserDiscs and DVDs and by the time we get to Blu-rays, we hardly ever want to watch these titles.

    These movies were so big, so important-feeling as movies, that I wondered at the time how long it would be before STAR WARS or any of those others would just be random movies running in rotation on the local UHF-independent TV station on a Saturday afternoon. And while I have seen STAR WARS marathons running on TBS or TNT on a Saturday afternoon, I don't think my scenario's ever been reached - and part of that is the fact that local UHF-independents don't run movies very much anymore like they used to.
     
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  12. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    I believe that factor is due in no small part to the great John Williams' score.
     
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  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Yes, Johnston is a first-class director who should have been much more successful over the years. He fell on his face with The Wolfman, which was a total disaster about 10 years ago, but I was really, really glad when he had a huge hit with the first Captain America movie. I have heard that Joe Johnston is an extremely nice person and a total pro as well. I have no idea why they didn't let him do more Marvel films. The Rocketeer is an interesting case of a movie that -- on the surface -- should have been an enormous hit, but I think it suffered from some casting issues and some budget issues. At its core, there's a good movie there, and I've often cited it as being one of the most interesting bombs Disney made in the last 25 years. Great James Horner soundtrack, too.

    The Secret History book I think runs down some of the people Lucas asked to direct Phantom Menace, and I think Ron Howard, Spielberg, and Kasdan were all asked, but all turned it down because of "scheduling problems." I think the truth was they knew the script had issues and didn't want the stress of being under Lucas' thumb. I don't know why he didn't hire a lackey. Return of the Jedi was more involved than you think: J.W. Rinzler's book on the making of that film reveals some surprising issues.
     
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  14. CraigBic

    CraigBic Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I didn't see it on opening night but I did see it in the cinemas as with all of the prequels and I liked all of them back then. I think the pod racer scene might be one of the highlights of the trilogy. The movie has since soured with me a little though my feeling is that the casting is much better than its subsequent sequels as shot mostly in England I believe. It's also held up better than the other too a little better visually just because it's shot on film rather than those early digital cinema cameras. There is supposed to be a handful of digital shots from the reshoots but I haven't really looked for them.
    I think the end works really well but then it's sort of a mix of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.

    One other thing, when it did come out on DVD I remember it having the best behind the scenes documentary I had seen at the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  15. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    When THE PHANTOM MENACE was due for release on home video, Mr. Lucas decided to eschew the popular standard of the day, DVD, and instead released the film only on VHS. I recall the outcry over that, but I also went out on day one to buy the special packaging of THE PHANTOM MENACE. It included a frame from the movie. Still have it, and recently scanned it into the computer for a hoot. This is the frame I got:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Anthology123

    Anthology123 Senior Member

    I did stand in line for an early morning viewing. Despite how many felt afterwards, the whole audience cheered when the scroll started up with Episode I
    it was great to see a new Star Wars film back in the theaters. As a film overall, it is not as good as its predecessors, but there are some nice moments in the movie. Also, I did buy the VHS and Japan Laserdisc (the only original theatrical versions of the film released?).
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Senior Member

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Saw the 11a.m. show opening day. Thought it was worse than ROTJ, which was my least favorite of the original trilogy. Had fun telling coworkers at work how bad it was. Had a 2nd shift job back then.
     
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  18. Jaco944

    Jaco944 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ky
    That is cool!
     
  19. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Luray, Virginia
    I don't get though how it was "fun" to tell others how bad a movie was. I guess different strokes got different folks....
     
  20. Scopitone

    Scopitone Inveterate Skipper

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I saw it 5x in the theater. (well, 4.5, as the last one was a very late night showing, and I left because I was falling asleep!)

    That's how hungry for new Star Wars we were back in the late 90s.
     
  21. Scopitone

    Scopitone Inveterate Skipper

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    *watches*
    :mudscrying:
     
  22. Rhett

    Rhett Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cool City
    Chris Stuckman reviewed TPM and he nailed the movie quite accurately.

     
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  23. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Luray, Virginia
    Should read "different strokes FOR different folks..." Curse my auto-correct and the short edit window..
     
  24. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Luray, Virginia
    Thanks for sharing. I mostly agree with everything and even though I'm 8 years his senior,his TPM experience sort of echoed mine. Although even then I knew Pogs were going to be worthless!:D

    I still think ultimately I'd rate AOTC as the nadir of the prequels and the saga as a whole. Yes there were some improvements and legit fun stuff ,but the Anakin/Padme stuff was attrocuous on multiple levels and the whole thing feels so plastic visually. At least big chunks of TPM still felt tangible old school Star Wars from a visual standpoint. AOTC feels and looks like your average 90s to mid 2000's sci-fi movie.If it weren't for some familiar iconography, lightsabers and John Williams doing his damnest to make us care,you could forget you were watching Star Wars.

    For all the issues the Sequels may debatably have,they are instantly recognizable as Star Wars films,and so were the other two prequels. AOTC on balance doesn't. It feels like a plastic imitation of Star Wars,even more so today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  25. Hoopster

    Hoopster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St. Louis
    Star Wars The Phantom Menace was the most disappointing thing since my son
     
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