PT Episode I 15th Anniversary

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by DookuIsTyranus, May 19, 2014.

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  1. DookuIsTyranus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2001
    star 2
    Well, here we are! Today's date marks the 15th anniversary of The Phantom Menace. I vividly remember waiting in the front of the first morning's line at the AMC Southlake Pavilion 24, wearing a print style Episode I tee shirt and wielding the newest issue of Star Wars Insider to keep me entertained until the staff opened the doors for that morning's first showing. Quite a line that first day! I had already stood in line a week prior to get my advance ticket, so I was good to go. Got the concession snacks and settled in. Watching the previews for Titan AE, Anna And The King, Sleepy Hollow, etc. When the 20th Century Fox Fanfare started, you would not believe how everyone hollered, clapped, and cheered! Then when the scroll started, it started again! Completely awesome. Quite a day that day! :) What's everyone else's memories?
    Last edited by DookuIsTyranus, May 19, 2014
  2. MrCody Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2013
    star 1
    I was only 4 when this came, so i really can not rememberer anything. I did enjoy and loved and still do! But to young to have a memory like yours. Hopefully episode 7 is like that :p
  3. DarthWilliams Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2008
    star 4
    Crazy that this was 15 years ago. I was 12 at the time (well, 11 actually, my birthday is 5/21) and had built up so much excitement over months of staring at the poster, watching and re-watching the trailers, making my mom drive me to Toys R Us so I could buy figures, etc., etc. I'll always have a special nostalgic feeling for this film, and am really glad we have more new ones on the horizon.
  4. DookuIsTyranus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2001
    star 2
    Well, I forgot to throw in my age at the time since you guys have stated what your ages were at the time. I was 27, three days away from turning 28 (birthday being 5/22). Saw it again on my birthday anyway, obviously. One of the lucky few who has been around since this whole saga started back in 1977.
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  5. Kez-Iban Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    I was 24 and went on opening day with my wife. My oldest son, who was 7 months old at the time, had to have a babysitter for the first time and cried the whole time we were gone. I don't remember if I really liked the movie or if I was disappointed. I enjoy the movie now though and am currently reading the Episode I novel for first time all these years later.
  6. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I was 7 when this came out. Can't believe its been that long. Wow. Don't really much from the first time.
  7. SeparatistSympathizer Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2014
    Man. I just turned five. As Force Smuggler said, I don't recall much of the actual viewing, though I do remember where we went. I enjoyed what I had seen, at the very least.

    Going to have to rewatch it tonight, after work.
  8. Gamma626 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2014
    star 3
    I would have been 4! I rember seeing it. I brought along two little die cast pod racers, and an Obi-Wan/Maul figure to play with. The theater was huge! People were dressed up, and before the film started, a couple guys in robes light saber fought with toys lightsaber a in front of the screen. It was a really wild crowd!

    One of my most vivid memories.
  9. Summers1913 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2014
    star 3
    I was 19 years old when it came out. I was most excited because I was too young to see any of the OT when it came out. But I watched it my entire childhood.

    But I remember when the Lucasfilm came up the crowd went crazy. Even when I watch the movie now I still get that feeling I had for the first ten minutes (I can't believe I'm watching new Star Wars).

    I think that lasts until my first glimpse of Jar Jar and I puke in my mouth. (Just kidding, but yeah I can't stand him)

    But I'm so excited for episode VII obviously for myself but I also get to share this one with my children (5 & 7). The 5yo is the most excited. He lives Star Wars everyday. He has already made me promise to take him opening night. And has even discussed the costumes my wife and I are going to be wearing. Everyday when I get home from work he asks me for updates on the movie.


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  10. Maul95 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 6, 2013
    star 1
    I was 4 back when it came out. I didn't watch it in theaters but my dad purchased the VHS and I loved it, I could spend all day watching it over and over again xD.

    It was a great experience as the first SW I watched, good times indeed.
  11. solo77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2002
    star 5
    17 when it came out. I was at the midnight premier in NZ so was literally ahead of everyone seeing it!
  12. Brady2121 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2014
    I was too young to remember anything when it first came out, but I do remember when it came out in 3D. Talk about lines of people ;)
  13. mes520 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2012
    star 3
    I was technically six when it came out. I turned seven the next day. [face_party] I did not get the chance to see it in theaters. Just VHS, which we probably got for Christmas.

    Don't really remember watching it for the first time. Though I do remember watching the pod race and the duel at the end.
  14. Tornado Wrangler Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2013
    star 1
    I definitely remember this. I was a Junior in high school. My older sister waiting in line the day the tickets when on sale and bought as many as she could (12 i think, then got back in line to by more). I think all together I had about 17 or 18 members of my extended family there. Even though my whole family was very much into Star Wars, I knew nothing about what would be happening in the movie besides what was shown in the trailers. It was easy to stay spoiler free in 1999. A few friends of mine had read the novel but I waited until after the movie as to not be disappointed with what they had to leave out of the movie.

    I must admit, on first viewing I had absolutely no idea what Jar Jar was ever saying. It's not that I hated him or anything, I just didn't know what the heck he was saying! Boss Nass as well. It was all just gibberish!

    I remember when I first got it on DVD, the first thing I did was turn on subtitles so I could figure out a few of the lines I still had never deciphered.

    Overall, I really liked the movie, went back to see it probably 5 or 6 times. Like many, it wasn't until later that I heard that it was hated by some Star Wars fans.

    Oh well, it's still my favorite prequel movie! Hard to imagine it was 15 years ago!
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  15. thejeditraitor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    i was 21. unbelievable. seems like yesterday.

    sadly i knew qui-gon died because i skimmed the graphic novel in a book store. one of the great things about star wars films is that people clap. that doesn't really happen for films anymore. i remember people clapped before and after ep 1. i took my buddy to ep 2 in 2002 and people clapped at the end. he said, "i've never seen people clap at a movie before".
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, May 19, 2014
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  16. Palpatine77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2010
    star 1
    I can't believe it's 15 years ago. I have such fond memories of that day. I waited 16 long years after Return of the Jedi for the long-promised Prequels, and it seemed like that wait took forever but FINALLY here it is! Living in Chicago, the place to go was McClurg Court movie theatre in downtown Chicago, I had seen local news broadcasts weeks in advance showing die-hard fans lining up and sleeping outside McClurg. The release of this movie was a huge deal for an entire generation, it's not hyperbole to say Phantom Menace was probably the most anticipated movie release of all time.

    Showing up early that morning for the 7AM showing and seeing the line was unbelievable. The line just went on and on, down the block and wrapping around the corner, many fans dressed as characters: there were X-Wing pilots, Han Solos, Leias, more Jedis than you could count, even a Queen Amidala and Darth Maul. The excitement among us and the crowd was electric. you could almost feel the anticipation in the air. The fans dressed as Darth Maul and a couple of Jedi did an elaborate lightsaber battle at the front of the line, amusing us all. Once we got inside, the place was just buzzing with excitement. Then, the lights go down. When the 20th Century Fox logo played, with that iconic music, we erupted in applause. Here we go. I can't believe it. Then, "A long time ago...", another big, huge round of applause. Then, STAR WARS and WIlliams' score blast on screen, and I have never in my life heard a crowd roar and cheer louder in my life than that moment. The. Place. Went. Nuts. As the film went on, the packed audience laughed at every joke, cheered wildly when any familiar character appeared (Obi-Wan, Palpatine, Yoda, R2-D2, 3PO, even the quick cameo by Jawas and Tusken Raiders elicited huge cheers and applause). The lightsaber battle between Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn had the strongest reaction of the whole movie. Fans were cheering wildly during the fight. This audience was wildly into the film, from beginning to end. When the film ended, the audience erupted one more time into enthusiastic applause. It was just the most extraordinary, electric movie-going experience I've ever seen.

    Needless to say, me and my buddies walked outside, giddy from the first new Star Wars film in 16 years and that experience, and got right back in line for the next showing to enjoy it again. Now, if you had been there and experienced that first showing like I did, you never would've guessed that down the line Phantom Menace would become a punchline, because the reaction to that first screening was just unforgettable.
    Last edited by Palpatine77, May 19, 2014
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  17. LadyJediscientist Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    I now feel very old, but that's not the point. There was nothing quite like seeing a new Star Wars film on the big screen for the first time, not to mention being awed by Qui-Gonn and Ob-Wan in the opening sequence of the film (This is what the Jedi can really do :eek:). Also, this film is responsible for one of my favorite memories from college: re-enactment of Phantom's lightsaber duel by three college sophomores to announce an on-campus screening of the film. =D=[face_dancing]
    I also went to see five times before it left the theater. :D:D
    Last edited by LadyJediscientist, May 19, 2014
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  18. PodracingSkywalker Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2014
    I remember all the hype for this, you couldn't walk two feet without seeing any SW merchandising. Even bags of potato chips had character's faces on it LOL.
  19. AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 3
    The 16 year wait between ROTJ and TPM seemed like forever, but now here we are 15 years later, its flown by. In the UK it didn't come out til July I think. I was excited, pleased and disappointed with some aspects of it. But one things for sure it was amazing to see SW back on the big screen.
  20. thejeditraitor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    well it'll be 10 years since ep 3 when ep 7 comes out and we've had tons of games, shows and media. there were some games and other e.u. but not nearly as much sw after rotj.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, May 20, 2014
  21. AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 3
    I think pretty much since 1997 with the special editions and then the release of TPM in 99, the franchise has not really gone away.

    Yet after ROTJ it was dead. For a while it looked like it would not come back to the big screen with new films. Obviously the EU books starting in the early 90's resurrected it somewhat for the die hards, but it wasn't at the level of exposure that its at now.

    No matter what people may think of the prequles I think one certain fact is that they've helped to re-cement Star Wars on another generation of fans. Now it carries on again with another series of films.
    Last edited by AndyLGR, May 20, 2014
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  22. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Thank you for this recollection and for your post in general.

    I really enjoyed reading that. This is what being a fan is all about.

    At 16, in the summer of 1999, I experienced a much more muted reaction at my cinema -- but then, I'm British, and we tend not to make so much of a song and dance of things (for better and worse).

    *sigh*

    There's only one first time for every Star Wars film. All being well, I hope to cherish my first viewing of Episode VII, whatever comes of it.

    And yes, 15 years .... Jiminy Cricket. Where does that time go? One more year, for me, and as much time will have passed between then and "now" as between being born and watching "The Phantom Menace"!

    That'll certainly bring extra meaning to seeing Episode VII for the first time. Gosh, I only just realized that. Lucas himself was 32 years-of-age when the bulk of production on the first movie took place.

    It was a very good experience, on the whole, seeing TPM. A bit loud, and a bit overwhelming, but good. Like being born, I suppose. Maybe this makes me a "Born Again" Warsian. Born Wars. Heh. Bring on the next Walt Disney-approved rebirth.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, May 20, 2014
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  23. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Okay, I'm double-posting, but I just wanted to celebrate TPM some more.

    This is a recent post I made to IMDb about TPM on the film's allocated message board (March 31st). I've written several posts of this specific type and content -- i.e., why I like TPM -- and I've chosen this because it's about my most recent. It was in response to someone who began a thread about "things (TPM) did right", and their opening post focuses on the droid army, so that explains the way my post starts. Anyhow...


    Nicely said. Very few people praise up that aspect of the film, and many seem opposed to the very idea that combat droids should be used as armies in the era of the PT. Personally, I think it's a very cool idea that sets the PT apart from the OT, and also works on various symbolic levels, adding incredible depth and beauty to the entire saga. The battle droids are also a very economic solution to a number of prickly problems, such as showing the Jedi as bad-asses without them wracking up a major kill-count against living beings (a tidy means of avoiding them so starkly contravening their code of ethics (or an implied code) and keeping the screen relatively free of blood and entrails). Yet the deeper visual connections are the most interesting. I like, for instance, how Jar Jar is visually associated with the droids in different ways. These associations are very fluid and have, almost to a man, been entirely missed or dismissed.

    At this point, if you don't already know me or my writings, I should come clean: I'm a big Jar Jar fan. I think Jar Jar and his interweaving was something the movie got very, very right. He makes the first 15 minutes of the film very colourful and exciting -- for me. I like the dadaist overtones, the early camaraderie with Qui-Gon (the bumbler and the straight guy), Jar Jar's creature design, the physical and vocal performance of Ahmed Best, Jar Jar's underwater society, the bonds he forms with other characters, the technical execution of Jar Jar (this was all done with 1990s computer technology), and well, the fact that Jar Jar fits an even more lively "fool" archetype than any previously shown in the saga. It's like going back in history and discovering rivals to what you thought were, in some sense, elemental and always existed. But no, the Laurel and Hardy duo of Artoo and Threepio once had an outsider nipping at their audience-guide/awkward-outsider heels. And neither, in this movie, seem to like Jar Jar very much. That Jar Jar is destined to fade and be forgotten -- he and his race are nowhere to be seen in ANH -- when he's so prominent here, adds an underrated poignancy to this mythical account of history.

    One can push deeper with Jar Jar, or any concept this film brings forth, and say that he's also an enlarged metaphor for the preciousness of dreams and the child-like aspects in humanity and nature. Jar Jar is very much a hand-hold, a guide, for the young and young-at-heart, and also honours the complexity of the story by unconsciously offering himself as a servant to Qui-Gon: a conduit through which we jump into the story and have someone on our aesthetic level, or even lower, being just as surprised at the artifacts around him as the rationalizing intellect is overworked (a parallel between character and viewer), as it tries to process this richer, more elaborate cine-world. To expand on that last musing slightly, what I mean is, you could take the battle droids as symbolic of the ubiquitous, machinic aspects of the Machiavellian plotting (I wonder if "machinic" and "Machiavelli" have the same -- or a similar -- root?), while Jar Jar is the flexible, adaptable, and possibly indestructible (so many battle droids are downed and die; Jar Jar keeps going), "living" counterpoint to that, reacting against the brittle plot details (battle droids are easily damaged or destroyed) with a uniquely irrepressible energy or elan. The movie critiques itself through Jar Jar. In short, there is an "intellectual" or "interlocking" aspect to Star Wars, just as there is a pure, giddy, experiential side. A two-tier system.

    But Jar Jar aside, I could cite numerous "design" details that I like, ranging from the Flash Gordon screen that Nute first communicates to Amidala via, and Amidala's own appearance in this scene, with a notable "third eye" amulet to ward off the similar-looking "evil eye" of the Neimoidians' glare, to podracers, the Senate chamber, the starships of Naboo, statues, waterfalls, the sun-kissed world of Tatooine, Watto, Qui-Gon and his poncho, Darth Maul and his binoculars, the aforementioned probe droids, the vertiginous skyscraper symphony of Coruscant, the Theed generator room, the laser gates, Anakin's necklace, the japor snippet, the Gungan underwater city... honestly, I could keep going. This film, to give comedic understatement, has a striking look about it; the visual field is unusually dense. Add in sound design, then merge that with an incredibly lush and musical score by John Williams, and you have one of the most richly-designed and iconic fantasy-action movies of the past twenty-five years. This, to me, is all the more impressive when you consider that three films had already been made in the same series, making TPM the third sequel. How many movie series even get a third sequel; and how many look or feel half as imaginative as this one?

    Of course, I also like the story, the characters, the action sequences, the quieter scenes, the location changes in general, the tone. TPM is a movie that does a lot of right by me. I don't want a bland or unchallenging work of cinema, let alone when tens of millions of dollars are being spent. Fortunately, for me, TPM comes through. I wouldn't claim that it's perfect, but I like to talk up its good points; which, to me, are engaging and many. The choice, as well, to recast the Star Wars saga as epic myth -- it was more a chamber drama before this movie, truth be told (again, in my opinion); albeit, a particularly visceral and unusually cinematic one -- is another reason I remain fascinated by TPM. Here, finally, we're given the sense of a major life chronicle, starting with a key character in their childhood, and having the board set to follow them into adolescence, then middle-agedness, and finally, death; with each period marked by dramatic transition for both this character and the world around him. That this story is linear, but not quite, is the final master-stroke. Many things overlap and repeat in a story structure that literally starts in the middle (multiple middles depending on your POV), then wraps round and devours itself, and does so endlessly, like a cosmic serpent.

    I appreciate all of this about TPM (and Star Wars generally: TPM, primarily, is so powerful, for me, because it exists in a larger suite of films). And I haven't even mentioned the genie of nostalgia, which plays a very big part, all its own. I was only sixteen when this came out; so it's been with me almost half my life. That can't be overlooked. The idyllic fantasy of Star Wars, even with all the dark things inside of it, is a huge part of the draw. Again, this movie triumphs to me in that area, with its bright, exhibitionist resolve, and the presentation of places and ideas which seem like a neat thing to wrap one's self up in and get lost in -- at least, for a while. And one person built all of this. Not really: he had a lot of help. But still, one person decided, "What I can dream, I can build," and went and made that reality. And he could have folded and taken an easier path numerous times. That's extremely inspiring and is, ultimately, the most enduring aspect of Star Wars, in my estimation. It's another aspect, in my opinion, which comes across strongly in this movie, and keeps me watching, as I fixate on the construction of this thing, and on its manifold layers of eccentric brilliance.

    But this has all just been one fan's opinion.
  24. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
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  25. thejeditraitor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    love your posts cryo.

    as far as jar jar, all you have to do is watch "the beginning" documentary and see gl watching buster keaton films to get hat jar jar is.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, May 20, 2014
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