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The Phantom Menace

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... 1990s sci-fi film, heavily laden with CGI special effects but enjoyable and entertaining nonetheless.

See also Independence Day (1996), Starship Troopers (1997) and Men in Black (1997).

Discuss.

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I heard it is coming to Blu Ray and all will be revealed tomorrow.

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none said:

 

Alexd wrote : Anyway, as we can see on IMDB, the negativity is the minority:

You need to specify where you negativity line begins.

Below 5, I suppose.

An award given to the worst movies of the year.  And according to the link below TPM was nominated for just about every category, but Wild Wild West took many of the awards

I know what the razzies are. However, as you noticed, it only won one of them. If it's about nominations, then one should count the Oscars, Baftas, Saturns, Grammy, etc...

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...People's Choice.

Alexr wrote: Below 5, I suppose.

So there's the difference. Would assume most consider that entertainment should have a higher initial expectation.  Like grades in school the 60% level is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and that's what many consider a 3 out of 5 star review.  66.6%.  (but if you want to add in zero, then 3/5 is 50%...)

But like the polling for presidency rating, anything over 50% like you have it, is saying that it is acceptable and generally positive.

With expectations that low, i'm going to go comment on something else.  Which is another value of public opinion which can't easily be determined.  The numbers who do go do something else instead of commenting on the piece of culture in question.

 

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I enjoyed the movie when it came out, and I occasionally enjoy it now. The lightsaber battle at the end, and the accompanying choral music, is exciting and well choreographed.  It is nostalgic to see Tatooine.  The villain has cool makeup.

However, I have never thought it was a good movie. It baffles me that someone who isn't already a Star Wars fan would want to see it more than once for the eye candy. The characters in it are utterly wooden and lifeless. Much of the movie is a bureaucratic bore, and everyone in it looks depressed.  It not only has zero character development, it may be the only movie I have ever seen that makes no apparent attempt at character development. The only character in the movie with any personality, emotion, or development whatsoever is Jar Jar, which is pretty sad.

And when comparing against the performances of Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing and Harrison Ford, and contrasting the main non-human characters R2D2 and C3PO vs. Jar Jar, TPM becomes quite a reach to even compare against the OT by any serious moviemaking standards.  I would even go so far as to say that TPM has hurt the general public's image of Star Wars, by moving the franchise from the realm of moviedom to the realm of computer-based kiddie fare.  The AFI might put Star Wars in their top-20 films of all time, but to most people you say Star Wars and they think light futurama video game pablum, and we have the PT, especially TPM, to thank for that.

That perception could be one of the reasons that more people aren't upset by the lack of restoration of the OT.  Something like TPM, most people wouldn't care if its theatrical release is preserved or not.  They'd say, "it's just a movie".  But I'm not sure many people who blurt that out if the topic were preserving "Citizen Kane", or "Casablanca".  Nor should they about "Star Wars", and yet they do. And that too is something for which we can thank the PT, particularly TPM.  Most people no longer awe at Star Wars, they chuckle at it... because Star Wars is no longer a great movie, it's a pod race.  That's why I appreciate this board, because it is populated by people that for the most part appreciate what made the OT (at least SW and ESB) among the greatest movies ever made and want them preserved as are all other similarly great movies.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Ok, I confess. I watched TPM about 10 times in the theater. And paid for it. I was young and I didn't need the money. It's my fault, that AOTC and ROTS were made. Sorry...

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

I would even go so far as to say that TPM has hurt the general public's image of Star Wars, by moving the franchise from the realm of moviedom to the realm of computer-based kiddie fare.  The AFI might put Star Wars in their top-20 films of all time, but to most people you say Star Wars and they think light futurama video game pablum, and we have the PT, especially TPM, to thank for that.

That perception could be one of the reasons that more people aren't upset by the lack of restoration of the OT.  Something like TPM, most people wouldn't care if its theatrical release is preserved or not.  They'd say, "it's just a movie".  But I'm not sure many people who blurt that out if the topic were preserving "Citizen Kane", or "Casablanca".  Nor should they about "Star Wars", and yet they do. And that too is something for which we can thank the PT, particularly TPM. 

 That's an interesting theory, I had never thought of it like that. In 1997, the OT was sure considered a classic; in fact, I would say this is the height of its reputation. It had all the popularity and hype and financial success of 77-83, but now it also had something else: prestige, because it was a re-release of a series of classic films from the past. And you had all those "Power of Myth" and Smithsonian things debuting. That was something new. It was now a modern classic. The issue of "preserving the OOT" didn't exist, because the SE was brand new and available in VHS (LD was obsolete by then) so the versions were totally equal, and there were still a ton of the Faces tapes in stores.

But there were huge voices clamoring for the original versions into 2001 and 2004 and 2006. I think by 2006 when the GOUT came out, the prequels had been so far in peoples consciousness that they stopped caring. It was tiring, and SW's image was shifting. Stuff like the Clone Wars cartoons, even though its very good, further orients things towards prequel-era and cartoon stuff. I'm not sure I would pin the blame on TPM or even the PT as a whole, but rather the re-orientation that LFL enacted towards the content and style that now people think of when they think of Star Wars. It began with TPM, but it didn't end there.

On the plus side, it won't last, its just the way things are now. In 30 years from now, Lucas will be dead, there will be much less Star Wars stuff, and the original versions will be available in high-def. People will look back on the OT as classics and everything since then as not-classics. It's the same thing with Star Trek: TOS is considered more of a classic now than ever (it was derided as silly in the 70s and 80s and 90s), despite forgettable stuff like Voyager and Enterprise and spoofs like Galaxy Quest. No one remembers the crappy spin-offs, except as a footnote to the classic original. King Kong had a sequel; so did Wizard of Oz; French Connection did too; Breathless was remade with Richard Gere. Etc. At the time, it cheapens the original, but after a while people don't pay attention. Rocky is still a classic even though Rocky V exists.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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none said:

...People's Choice.

Alexr wrote: Below 5, I suppose.

So there's the difference. Would assume most consider that entertainment should have a higher initial expectation.  Like grades in school the 60% level is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and that's what many consider a 3 out of 5 star review.  66.6%.  (but if you want to add in zero, then 3/5 is 50%...)

But like the polling for presidency rating, anything over 50% like you have it, is saying that it is acceptable and generally positive.

With expectations that low, i'm going to go comment on something else.  Which is another value of public opinion which can't easily be determined.  The numbers who do go do something else instead of commenting on the piece of culture in question.

 

I agree with this wholeheartedly as far as the topic is concerned. If I took a test and got 60% I would consider that unsuccessful. If I took a test and got 70%, I wouldn't consider that particularly bad, but I would be disappointed that I didn't do very well, because 70% to me is not exactly a good grade, it's so-so.

Also, if I saw a movie and didn't like, I wouldn't go to its IMDB page and vote against it, and neither would a lot of people I think. If you don't care for a film, you usually simply forget about it and move on, unless the film has just come out and its on the IMDB main page and has a lot of hype about it. IMDB didn't have much registered voters in 1999 compared to today, which is why regular viewers aren't likely to be represented in its rating and why it's probably mostly fans of the film who have taken the time to visit its page over the subsequent years and vote. You have to consider the context.  Those interested in the film come back to it, perhaps drawn by all the prequel EU and CW cartoon. So, over time, it's rating has increased in voters due to fan interest, while its earlier rating which likely had non-fan audience participation only had a small number of voters in the first place compared to IMDB movies today. Case in point, in 2004 TPM only had 71,00 votes while today it has over 200,000, so extrapolate back to 1999 and you realize its not a very good representation of audiences. The numbers simply aren't there, and in 1999 a lot of people weren't even on the internet, and didn't know about IMDB anyway so for a film this old its not something to put so much significance on. Probably it was mainly SW fans back in 1999 voting anyway just because average joes didn't use IMDB. In fact, I would say it was fans all along, I remember there were SW websites and message board threads encouraging people to support the film at IMDB.

Even with all the fan interest, it still only scores 6.5, which is on the poor side anyway so it's not like this poll is in its favour other than demonstrating that IMDB viewers like the film a bit better than the critics--this is relative, of course, because critics gave it a lousy 5.2. Its IMDB rating of 6.5 is mediocre. When you average IMDB and critics for an "overall picture" if you even believe in the IMDB numbers, you get 58.5%, which is still a pretty bad failure. You end up in the 50s either way.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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TPM - I read the kid novelizations first, and going by them I thought the story sucked. Then I read the adult novelization, and I found it a lot better than the kid novelizations. I then finally watched the movie on video. I liked it, but still thought it pailed in comparison to the OT; I probably would have rated it around 7/10 (The OT was practically a 9-10/10 for me back as a kid).

Over a decade later, my tastes have changed dramatically. I now give it a 4.9/10. That's more than I'll give for the other two prequels, though, which I both rate 2/10.

STRANGE

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This is one of the few movies that I read the book before seeing it. I remember finding the book ok. I also remember buying a CAM version of the movie from a friend of a friend and also watching it in the theater. Though many faults it's still my "favorite" of the prequels. I can hardly watch AOTC to the end and ROTS is also very forgettable to me.

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zombie84 said:

... The issue of "preserving the OOT" didn't exist, because the SE was brand new and available in VHS (LD was obsolete by then) so the versions were totally equal, and there were still a ton of the Faces tapes in stores.

Laserdisc might have been on the way out, but was by no means obsolete; and the SE was released on LD in 1997.

The format was almost dead in 2000, but The Phantom Menace still got a LD release in Japan that year. 

Incidentally, even though the 2001 DVD release of TPM looked like shit, it still achieved record sales in the US.

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zombie84 said:

On the plus side, it won't last, its just the way things are now. In 30 years from now, Lucas will be dead, there will be much less Star Wars stuff, and the original versions will be available in high-def. People will look back on the OT as classics and everything since then as not-classics. It's the same thing with Star Trek: TOS is considered more of a classic now than ever (it was derided as silly in the 70s and 80s and 90s), despite forgettable stuff like Voyager and Enterprise and spoofs like Galaxy Quest. No one remembers the crappy spin-offs, except as a footnote to the classic original. King Kong had a sequel; so did Wizard of Oz; French Connection did too; Breathless was remade with Richard Gere. Etc. At the time, it cheapens the original, but after a while people don't pay attention. Rocky is still a classic even though Rocky V exists.

This is very interesting. But here's something to be considered- none of the sequels to those films were popular- much less top grossing films. With the  exception of the Rocky flicks, they were mostly over looked and forgotten within a decade. This isn't the case with the Star Wars prequels which still have a very strong following. I'm really afraid Star Wars will be "kiddie movies" for the rest of time.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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Am I the only one who can't take Moth3r seriously with that avatar?

Anyway, it's not surprising that the DVD sold well despite how it looked.  How many people could tell how bad it looked back then?  How many people *now* can tell?

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I'm not one that hates the pretrilogy, but TPM is the one I watch the least often. It's only halfway through the next film that I start to get the "Star Warsy" feeling. But that's just me, I know some fans consider this is the closest PT got to the OT.

Speaking of which, how is it that the SE of ANH never got Jabba to look like in this film? I'm sure it may have something to do with George mistreating the OT, but it does make you wonder. 1997 and 1999 weren't that far away, and the SE tested SFX techniques later applied to the PT.

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Put Solo in the Hold wrote: 1997 and 1999 weren't that far away, and the SE tested SFX techniques later applied to the PT.

Technology grows exponentially.  In 1996 maybe they could get away with 1 million polygons in a scene, by 1998 it would be multiple millions.

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Was I the only dipshit who decided to hold off judgment until the trilogy was finished? From about 1999-2003 I was that guy: "Hey come on guys, wait a second, it's not THAT bad is it? Maybe this is going somewhere." Duh. But when young Anakin's head was pasted into Jedi, intended to be the new seamless ending to this entire 12 hour thing, it was so breathlessly retarded I had to give up.

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I like TPM. Is it a good movie? No, but it's entertaining. I watch it the same way I would watch the original TMNT movie: with no purpose other than nostalgic entertainment.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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The one thing I will give TPM much credit for is it's design and imagination. As Roger Ebert said, there really is this genuine sense of wonder in every scene. I mean, the story and the characters aren't very imaginative, unfortunately, but the world itself is quite captivating. I guess this is complimenting the art department rather than Lucas himself, but just visually, the film is to this day quite breathtaking, even if sometimes the CG is a bit hokey. Actually, there is something weirdly charming to the sorta-perfect-but-not-quite CG and digital composites, compared to the slicker, more seamless stuff of today, maybe like how the early model and stopmotion work has its own charm. It has a character that the other films lack, and part of it I think is that it's still archaic in some ways--shot on film, still had big sets (Theed hanger), lots of big location shooting (Mos Espa), more model work than ROTJ, wasn't finished digitally but photochemically, filmed in the old English studios rather then the new Australian ones, etc.

Maybe when people say it has a more OT feel, this is subliminally influencing them.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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The prequels were made for the DVD format. I've programmed my player to jump to the parts I enjoyed.

Maul, Jango, etc.

I can't get through a whole prequel. Just can't do it.

“Anakin had those qualities so rarely seen, exuding an unmistakable confidence and yet still able to touch one’s heart in simply knowing how he was so flawed… wounded.”

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bkev said:

I like TPM. Is it a good movie? No, but it's entertaining. I watch it the same way I would watch the original TMNT movie: with no purpose other than nostalgic entertainment.

I'll take the original gritty kick ass TMNT movie over it's crappy neutered sequels any time! I still hear "Ninja Rap" in my nightmares...

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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The reason I watched TPM so often, was, like someone (I don't remember who) in the BluRay Thread wrote, that I really wanted to like the movie. I had a camrip of TPM (the one with the "Z") which I watched before the movie started in Germany (that was 3 more months waitig for us). And I was like 'it's Star Wars, but a different kind of Star Wars', and I couldn't point my finger on it. And then I watched it in the theater. Maybe I could like it more. But I couldn't.
But it's by far the one of the PT I like the most. Not because of the Story, but because of the SFX, which were more real, than in the other two movies. They used models for most of the scenes, and real sets instead of BS (Bluescreen). It was less CGI, which is always a good thing.

12 years later, the only thing I can remeber is that overload of merchandise that appeared. Darth Maul and JarJar were f#cking everywhere (no, they weren't actually f...., aw, f#ck it, you know what I mean).

I didn't pay for the other ones though, to see them in the theater. Thanks to my 501st membership I was able to see them for free. And I think I won't pay to see the PT in 3D.