For me it’s pretty insane that it’s been 20 years, because this is probably the first big thing that I personally remember happening that is now 20 years old. Which yeah, I guess makes me feel old too.
Reflecting on TPM is weird for me, because it’s a film that I have an absolutely immense amount of nostalgia for, but it’s nostalgia that is ultimately trumped by my feelings for the saga as a whole, simply because TPM has never in my life been my favorite Star Wars (can’t remember if it ever got higher than 4th place honestly). So there’s a fondness for the film that is ultimately tempered by a lot of things.
At the end of the day, I think what’s most notable about TPM is that it is the only Star Wars film ever that is just pure, unfiltered George Lucas. With the OT there were a lot of factors that pushed the films away from the vision in his head and a lot of people refining what he wrote. With AOTC he was responding a bit to the criticism of TPM and also coming up with a lot of stuff on the fly and in post. And with ROTS he was playing catch up and providing some fan service. But TPM is really the only one where he had a lot of time to write all by himself (and a lot of freedom in the story due to its setting in the timeline), and then when it came to production there was basically nothing stopping him (technology or budget-wise) from getting exactly what he wanted. It’s definitely an interesting film to look at in that regard, but ultimately I think it’s clear to see the problems with that as well.
So yeah, my feelings are mixed. But ultimately I think it’s a fun anniversary and will probably try to watch the film sometime soon, because I honestly still enjoy it quite a bit.