PT Audience reactions to the PT in theaters

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Feelicks, Mar 17, 2013.

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  1. Thoix Heoro Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 1
    People went crazy a few times during TPM, when Yoda fought Dooku in AOTC, and multiple cheers during ROTS. All three movies received high applause when each one ended.
  2. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    Saw Clones three times and each time the Yoda duel led to cheering. Only film I recall seeing that received theater wide applause during the running time. Clapping at the end of TPM, and laughter during Sith over R2's hijinks and Yoda dealing with the guards.
  3. Zapdos Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2013
    star 5
    I'd start flipping tables and throwing punches if that happened
  4. Khalil O. Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2013
    star 1
    Good ol' USA lol. Well, maybe just some areas...

    I saw AotC at midnight, and 30 seconds after the movie started, the projector stopped working. Needless to say, the crowd was pretty antsy. People were shouting out,"Use the Force! Use the Force!"
    Last edited by Khalil O., Mar 18, 2013
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  5. JediVegeta Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2000
    star 4
    Well, like everyone else, for AOTC, the Yoda vs. Dooku fight it got pretty loud and people chanting Yoda over and over again.

    For ROTS, People got teary for Padme's funeral. Some good ones were, "Oh no he isn't!" someone yelled when Anakin turned on his lightsaber in front of the children jedi, and then a follow up, "Oh, yes he did!" XD. And in the same showing, "I thought she was pregnant...how is she running? She should be waddling to him!" when Padme ran over to Anakin on Mustafar. :p

    The comments were for the first showing (midnight), so people were more vocal than usual, I do believe!
  6. Luukeskywalker Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 1999
    star 4
    It can't be coincidence that a PT hater has this experience......can it? [face_laugh]
  7. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    I know! It's the time! People who don't like them are hardwired to see the film at a certain time in theaters! It must be!
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  8. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I honestly can't really remember many of the reactions for TPM and AOTC. I wasn't really paying attention to the audience reaction then. I was too wrapped up in my own experience with the films. I can only recall some of the more obvious things-- people cheering the Jedi, Artoo, stuff like that. But the most concrete memories I have are from ROTS, which is where I was paying attention to the crowd reaction a little more. Obviously Yoda's battle moments got lots of applause (his moment in Order 66 was a nice bit of relief during the carnage), but the biggest moments were some of the more political stuff. The shots of smoke rising from the Jedi Temple and Padme's line "You can see the smoke from here!" both got gasps at the NYC screening I attended. And later on when I saw it again I remember walking out and hearing a yuppie-looking woman complain to her husband about Yoda's scene killing the clonetroopers on the Wookie planet-- "Why'd they have to be wearing American uniforms?", meaning the camo-armor, presumably.
  9. Darth Xalfrea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2013
    star 3
    I was a kid when Phantom Menace came out. I remember cheers of the audience when the 20th Century Fox fanfare started.

    AOTC I remember more vividly. The one I remember most is the Yoda-Dooku fight, from the moment of Yoda's entrance:

    Laughter-laughter again-audience cheering-laughter again

    Revenge of the Sith I watched in the Philippines. And Star Wars isn't that big here it seems. Barely any audience reactions.
  10. Darth kRud Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 3
    It was something like this:

  11. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    The Republic is at war with The Seperatists The Jedi. The Republic has always been at war with The Seperatists The Jedi.
  12. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Fun thread.

    I dunno what you can deduce about my audiences -- or just me *gulp* -- via this response. Probably too much. :oops:O:)

    Here we go...

    TPM: I remember my own reactions a lot to this one. Wincing, mainly. Nothing to do with the film, mind you. It was the sound: it was LOUD. Real loud. Hellaciously loud. There was a terrible whistling in my ears when the title music started up. And I remember thinking, "Please, end". Not a good start. It improved later on, but some sounds remained ear-splitting. One I strongly recall to this day is the awful noise of that tank shooting at Anakin as he flies out the hangar on "automatic pilot" in the N-1 starfighter. I think I actually flinched at that part. I saw TPM at the Showcase Cinema in Erdington, West Midlands, and they had a habit of playing films filthily loud. Other reactions I remember included awe at the swim to Otoh Gunga (my own), a woman chuckling at Jar Jar when he says, "Steady, steady", as the Gungans nervously await the droids on the plains of Naboo, and ye gods, do I remember my mate's reaction -- a fellow Star Wars fan -- the moment the blast doors opened and Darth Maul appeared behind them!! He turned to me with unadulterated glee and said he'd been waiting, like, forever, for this moment. The excitement of the entire film, condensed into that one moment, was palpable. Afterwards, we exited into the lobby and briefly discussed the implications. I remember flagging up Palpatine and saying that I bet few people in the audience knew who he was. I recall my friend disagreeing. He may have been right, as now I look back, I also remember a groan from at least one person when Palpatine assured Anakin they'd be watching his career "with great interest". Apart from the sound, which was too much of a good thing, it was a fun time. I was only sixteen and fresh out of school back then (just like my mate). It's hard to think back to the relative innocence of that time. I guess it's an innocence I feel is somehow safely locked away in TPM, generously reflected back at me whenever I sit down to watch or merely contemplate it.

    AOTC: This one is a little more diffuse to me, if I'm being perfectly honest. Like the film itself -- appropriately enough, I suppose -- my recollections are cloudy and fogged over. I saw this one at Star City (West Midlands, again), with another friend who also quite digged Star Wars. Star Wars at Star City. It works. (Actually, that place I now consider a bit of a dump -- don't go there). This same friend was the one who gave away Qui-Gon's death matter-of-fact when we chatted on the phone prior to me seeing TPM with my other mate (my AOTC companion had already seen it a few days earlier with another friend of ours back in that lazy summer of '99 and couldn't wait to tell me about it -- or lord it over me). His exact words: "Liam Neeson dies". I remember the off-hand delivery of that spoiler like it was yesterday. I guess I'd already figured it out for myself (not hard to figure that the hippy Jedi would bite it in the opening installment), but maybe I've never forgiven him for being so blase about it and soiling the experience for me. Heh. Anyway, IIRC, I watched AOTC in a rather thinned auditorium, with only a few punters about. Which might sound odd, but that's how I remember it, and it's, again, appropriate: TPM was packed out, AOTC was pretty dull, turn-out wise (though, given my foggy memory, I could be misrecollecting), and my first viewing of ROTS was similarly damp, but the second and last one came full-circle with that rapt TPM audience, playing loud and proud to a packed crowd. While something felt off about the opening scene -- all that fog, I reckon -- the ship suddenly blowing up took me by surprise. And I remember some groans during Obi-Wan's quip, "Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me?" I definitely don't recall sniggering or snark toward the romance scenes -- any of 'em -- actually, but nor do I recall much reaction one way or the other. My mind is oddly blank about it. Two notable exceptions. When Anakin was confessing his Tusken crime to Padme, there seemed to be a hushed reverence in the air, and when Yoda ambled in to take on Dooku, there was a crackle of excitement and anticipation in the air from all around me, even surpassing my mate's "Maul" moment in TPM. That memory alone is a keeper. Not sure why I struggle to recount a lot of the experience, though. But AOTC is a more moody, misty, ephemeral type of a film, even as it delivers on classic thrills 'n' spills, so perhaps that genuinely has something to do with it. The film may even have an "alpha wave" aesthetic (first seen by George Lucas in 1971). Anyway, that was my time with AOTC. I'll just add that I saw it projected digitally and it looked decent (the one and only time I saw a prequel film projected digitally on original release). There was one small glitch during the tour of Kamino, though (after the "I don't like sand" scene), and I remember my mate turning to me with surprise... ya see... it being digital doesn't guarantee it being free of error! How fitting that it should happen at that point: from a certain POV, the weirdest scene in Star Wars.

    ROTS: The first crowd was comprised of about a dozen students and was largely a quiet, callous, indifferent gathering. A little bit of tittering here and there -- and I remember being disappointed that the screen wasn't bigger and the sound louder. In so many ways, the film blew me away, and I was damn near on the edge of my seat (quite literally: perhaps the only time ever) during the Mace-Sidious confrontation, but the cinematic side of it could have been better. By the time the mask came down on Vader, well, I was ready to have any reaction, ever a humourous one. And that's what happened. When Vader drew his first breath, a guy laughed, and I laughed along. But I think it was one of those "this is so cool and iconic how can you not laugh?" moments more than it was pure cynicism. I dunno. I didn't feel it wrecked the mood. And there seemed to be quiet awe for the rest of the scene, including the nooooooootorious "no". The second viewing -- the first being in Lincoln, England, and the second at a now-derelict cinema in Bangor, Wales -- trounced the first. The cinema was this beautifully-decaying one-screen affair. Ruddy massive, that screen was: of pant-wetting proportions. And the sound was nice and punchy (without being ear-splitting like that first viewing of TPM). It was one of those old auditoriums, with sloping seats, and a raised platform at the foot of the screen with handle rails. There were even ushers with torches and snacks. Great stuff. As drab as that first audience was, I might be getting the two mixed up eight years later, but I recall some strong chuckling at some of Obi-Wan's lines, including "Not to worry, we are still flying half a ship", and, "Another happy landing!" A lot of it was pretty shush-shush after that (or my faulty memory again), but one thing that is CLEAR AS A WHISTLE... Okay, two: 1) Yoda flipping the guards (they mention this on the DVD; it certainly had a big effect when I watched it), and 2) Anakin's immolation. Now, for all the muteness and vague superciliousness of my first audience, this is eerie, because in BOTH screenings, someone to the right or just behind me, like some Force ghost that snuck in to the auditorium for this one moment, as if to embed a fascination with these films inside me forever (I can't prove otherwise), said, and I quote, "He's cut off his legs!" Real shock. At both screenings. Same comment, same timing. Maybe my soul left my body and *I* said it. I guess the film left its mark. Kinda puts all the online grousing about "higher ground" and "you underestimate my power" into perspective. Whatever fanboys decided to see was NOT what my audiences -- even the student-dominated first one -- were seeing. Not remotely. Oh, yeah. A final one: lots of laughter over Artoo in the opening sequence. And I remember being put into rapture by the opera and reveal scenes, mainly because of Ian McDiarmid. At the second screening, I was grinning ear-to-ear when Palpatine says, "It gives you focus... makes you strongaahh!" Brilliant. As with my AOTC viewing, ROTS fizzed for a second the first time I saw it during the Sith coronation scene: the negative skipped and changed colour. Again, rather appropriate timing. The real-world somehow added to the spooky vibe. Or as Lucas said of AOTC when he and crew were at Italy and it started raining: "It's God's way of adding to the movie". Boy, this thread sure got metaphysical!

    And finally, to close this off, something about the detour to Utapau, just in terms of pure, transcendent beauty... I've loved that damn planet ever since. If I had to pick two favourite scenes/sequences in the PT, it might just be the swim to Otoh Gunga and Obi-Wan arriving at Utapau. Wonderful scoring, astounding visuals. And a pleasure to experience both as they're meant to be experienced: up there, on a big screen, in a darkened room, with surround sound, all-enveloping and larger-than-life. That is Star Wars, my good friends. If you didn't see the prequels on the big screen when they first came out, then you missed out. I never really had much money (still don't), so couldn't justify return visits to see films a second or third time (or however many times you're meant to watch these damn things), so TPM and AOTC were pure one-shot-only affairs. An exception was made for ROTS, however, because it was the last of the saga, as far as I was concerned then, and still am: an historic moment in the history of cinema. Not everyone may have seen it that way, of course, but I did. And I'm glad I have a second viewing in a second location to compare and contrast to the first. After all, comparing and contrasting is basically what I've been doing since I joined this site in 2005. And here I still am. It's been quite a ride!
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Mar 19, 2013
  13. Rawne Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2008
    star 2
    They do the same at Walsall. Some films I've seen there have been perfectly fine but then some (Inception, Tron: Legacy, The Dark Knight-s) were Earth shatteringly loud.

    And yeah, Star City is a dump.
    Last edited by Rawne, Mar 19, 2013
  14. Darth kRud Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 3
    Doubleplus bad thought crime makes me bellyfeel ungood.
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  15. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    "A local boy."

    Ya. I've been back to that same Showcase a couple of times since. Subsequent visits yielded quieter screenings.

    Maybe they just like blowing viewers out of their seats for the tentpole entertainments. I pity the kids, though. TPM probably stole some hearing from me on that day that it's never given back.

    I don't know what happened to Star City; or my perception of it. It used to be okay. It's a little rough and kinda out-of-the-way. But before that aspect got to me, the cinema took a nosedive in my imagination when we were all kept waiting for a showing of "Die Another Day" -- a very late showing -- by more than half an hour. It was midnight before we finally got through the doors. Better yet, it was in a smaller screen, up some stairs, and there was a dash to get a seat when they finally opened the auditorium up and let us agitated patrons inside. It was a noisy crowd and we were packed in there like sardines. I don't think there was a single seat spare. Then, when the film kicked off, some idiot kept shining a laser pen on the screen, and no-one did anything about it. And then there was the film (although I don't think it's so bad in retrospect).
  16. natureboy76 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 1
    TPM: When " A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." popped up on the screen the audience cheered, clapped and goosebumps shot up my body. :)
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    That just reminded me:

    I saw my first screening of ROTS with a flatmate who turned to me when that famous text came up and said, somewhat mockingly, "Are you excited?" I couldn't deny, I was -- and so, I suspect, was he (hey, not in that way -- well, okay, maybe in that way; you can never be too careful). Pretty much everything that followed lived up to the numinous promise of that calm blue text, which is no easy feat. Yet it's those little moments that really enrich the experience in a way that can't be measured or ever really duplicated. For both the first and last time, we were about to see a new Star Wars movie by George Lucas. Whatever else you have going on in your life, good or bad, that's living the dream. And how amusing that a calamity of Internet mockery and outrage inevitably followed. But make no mistake: it didn't lead, it followed. More than merely a titular explosion, nothing less than an abyss of cultural dreams and nightmares is announced with that simple text hovering pregnantly, for just a few seconds, like a Force ghost, over velvet black. From such simple origins are legends -- and, perhaps, universes -- born.
  18. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I'll also add-- it seems to me that audiences have been getting more responsive to films in the past several years in theaters. I may not recall every single laugh or response to the Prequels, but I do remember that they were pretty much the only movies I saw that audiences responded to at all in the theaters, the only ones that got cheers or applause at all outside of, say, the occasional movie at film festival or an art-house screening (and even then, those could either just be polite or rare-- there weren't that many claps among the senior-filled crowd I sat with for Mulholland Dr.)

    Today, though? Maybe it's just that audiences are seeing more and more stuff that they recognize and remember on a more personal level. One of the reasons people clapped and responded to the Prequels was that they all knew the characters and elements, more or less-- they might not have known all the arcana of the pre-OT period, but they knew a Jedi when they saw one, and knew that Anakin's path ended with becoming Darth Vader. Did most audiences have the same familiarity with Lord of the Rings (the only response I remember there was people laughing at Frodo and Sam, and making gay jokes during the movie-- and I'm talking dyed-in-the-wool queer-friendly people and LGBT folk themselves cracking wise, not homophobes)? Or new stuff like The Matrix? All the superhero movies we see today are easier for people to get into, because they know the characters and stories, either from the comics or from cartoons and the movies themselves.

    One of the biggest "audience moment" movies I saw in recent memory was X-Men: First Class, where huge mainstream crowds were responding to it exactly the way you'd expect someone would only if they knew the series well. They gasped with sympathy for Mystique and Professor X, or cheered on Magneto and Beast. They'd gotten used to these characters over years of exposure from the Bryan Singer movies, the FOX cartoon. It's reached a critical mass, like Star Wars had. Makes you appreciate how hard it is to really invent a pop-mythology like this.
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  19. Iefan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2013
    star 1
    Some guy sitting next to me kept going "OH. OOOOOH. OH MAN. OUCH. OOOOH" every time R2D2 bounced into a wall at the beginning of ROTS. That wasn't fun.

    Other than that, Yoda's lightsaber, Darth Vader, ending of ROTS and Mace Windu going to Sids room to arrest him all got major applause.
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  20. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    PK EDIT: Please play nice.
    Last edited by PrincessKenobi, Mar 20, 2013
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  21. King Terak Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2012
    star 1
    I do remember hearing laughs during R2's antics during the Invisible hand sequence.
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  22. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    ROTS -- The first crowd went wild when Artoo urinated oil on the droid and proceeded to immolate the poor schmuck with his jetboosters.

    (And really, if that gag fails to draw out a laugh, you have no soul.)
  23. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE
    Saw TPM in a really big packed theater in New York city. I wanna say it was called the Ziegfeld, and if that's the name of a big movie place in midtown Manhattan, that's what it was called. Episode I had already been out for two weeks, but the place was still sold out. Dudes were selling (bootleggy) double bladed and single bladed lightsabers outside before and after the movie. The audience reacted loudly when STAR WARS appeared on screen. Spirits were high throughout the movie, but I don't remember anything in particular. Jar Jar wasn't cool to hate yet, so he got laughs. I saw it again at the same place a couple weeks later. The movie remained huge but the audience was a small fraction.

    EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS
    Saw AOTC opening day after I got out of school. At the place next to the Virgin Megastore in Union Square. Didn't even have to buy a ticket in advance. There was a line for Episode II, but not like Spiderman if I recall. My biggest memory of seeing Attack of the Clones in the theaters was being 16 and being extremely impressed by Natalie Portman's .... uh, ... costumes. That white thing she wears on Geonosis, in my memory was MUCH more revealing. Like, wet T-shirt revealing. But since I only saw it in theaters once, I'll probably never know for sure. I remember the SOUND more than anything about that movie. The asteroid scene and the droid factory in particular! The droid factory scene really left an impression on me. Even though Episode I had two of the greatest scenes in any Star Wars movie, that droid factory scene was the official return in my mind. But enough about us, back to the audience.

    Now, I know it was an afternoon showing, but for an opening day for a Star Wars movie in such a busy part of town, the place was SPARSE. Like, MAYBE 25 people. They were quiet during the movie, but as soon as Yoda started flipping around, it was a cross between cheering and uncontrollable laughter. Someone in the theater obviously thought Yoda's fighting was hilarious. As I left the theater, I looked at the people behind me who had been laughing. Two to three males in their late teens doing their Yoda impersonations. I imagine that they had been watching the movie all day, pretending to be Mystery Science Theater 3000. The life of a prequel hater. Meh, whatever floats your boat. Thank god they didn't know the Anakin/Padme love story was supposed to be hilarious yet. I went home to the sounds of a CD a friend had lent me: Nine Inch Nails's The Downward Spiral, which coincidentally begins with a sample from Lucas's first movie THX 1138. It was a surpising, satisfying day. Visually and sonically.

    EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH
    Saw it opening weekend on 86th street and Lex at around midnight. It wasn't packed, maybe about half capacity. It was Sunday night though. They laughed at the R2 stuff, and the Yoda/guards moment, but I didn't really think about the audience until about an hour and a half into the movie when I noticed I was the only person crying. I was so moved by the whole thing that I just assumed that everyone around me felt the same thing I was feeling. Not the case. I went home excited about the best and last Star Wars movie, and how everyone else MUST have at least recognized it as such. Pff. My friend online was all like "oh, yeah. it was okay. that darth vader 'nooooo' scene sucked, but it wasn't that bad." ARGH! Then I went to the TFN boards for the first time, and that was even more depressing. Like pearls before swine, I say.
  24. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    --bold mine.

    Are you sure they were haters? I find myself laughing at parts of movies I find really enjoyable, especially when there's a knowing kind of absurdity to them, as there is with Yoda with a lightsaber. Hell, this past winter I was cracking up during Django Unchained. That bit where he shoots the lady of the plantation in the face and sends her clear across the room without even looking at her? I think I laughed for a solid minute uncontrollably at that. There's something very cathartic about great movie moments like that.
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  25. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    Nope. Not sure they were haters, but this was definitely a heckler's vibe. They didn't spoil my fun or anything, but it was a reminder that there are many ways to approach Star Wars fandom, and that some of them are cheekier than others.
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