On February 10, 2012, Star Wars fans will be able to experience the re-release of Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D! Unfortunately, I will NOT be one of them...for several reasons:
#1 I admit that I already own Episode I on Blu-ray, DVD and even on VHS.
#2 I refuse to spend $12 or more for any movie ticket.
#3 I cannot stand 3D! (I get enough headaches watching Episode I as it is!)
#4 Jar Jar Binks and Jake Lloyd!!
#5 I'm BROKE!
#6 Did I mention Jar Jar Binks? Yeah, he's twice as bad!
While I'm sure many fans will be going to experience it (again) instead of a review, I thought I'd take this time to present a retrospective on Episode I and how it changed Star Wars and made me the angry nerd I am today...
May 19, 1999 marked the release of THE most anticipated movie in the last 20 years: STAR WARS - EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE! For months, eager fans like myself awaited the release of what was sure to become a pop-culture phenomenon, some waiting in line in front of theaters many weeks before tickets were even available. For what was to be the beginning of a new trilogy in the Star Wars Saga, and the start of three prequels which would begin a new era for Star Wars fans both young and old, Episode I was to be the rebirth of a franchise. For many fans who had grown up with the Star Wars saga (like myself) this movie would turn out to be both a curse and a blessing. But for many fans, Episode I was a complete and utter disappointment... and we've been spending the last 13 years complaining about it!
We constantly berate George Lucas, who was considered for the longest time a prophet among nerds and his Skywalker Ranch was like nerd Mecca. The ingenious filmmaker who created a new mythology that many revere as an integral part of their lives and for some, even their own personal belief systems (i.e. Jedi Church). We both were shocked and awed by the release of the original Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition (1997) as Lucas sought help from the 'Dark Side of the Force' in utilizing state-of-the-art Computer Generated Images to "improve" on what was already a modern movie masterpiece. Even later, he would rely even more on this new found medium to enhance the new trilogy in the form of prequels with Episode I and then in 2002 with Episode II: Attack of the Clones and then finally Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Recently, I had some second thoughts on what I previously regarded as the greatest travesty in the Star Wars Universe, after reading an article in the October 2011 issue of Star Wars Insider, written by Fanboys (2008) director Kyle Newman about the impact of Episode I:
"Star Wars was everywhere you looked. It was inescapable. Even the most cynical fan was pulled in like a tractor beam. More than just a re-launch of one of the most beloved stories of modern times for a whole new generation of would-be Padawans, it was a celebration of all things Star Wars and every fan was a part of it!" - Kyle Newman, "Phanboy!"
I realized that there may be more to Episode I than I had previously considered, although in no way will I renounce the many faults and gripes I have about Episode I. As a devoted Star Wars, fan I cannot deny it's existence or therefore it's importance in the Star Wars Saga as a whole. While it may be the least watched in my Star Wars collection (along with Episode II) it does however rank higher than the mid-80's Ewok movies and that's saying a lot! I think for the most part Episode I does have some merit although I doubt I will be seeing it again on the big screen (or for that matter in 3D). But truly, I think Kyle Newman said it best in his article:
"No matter how you feel about Episode I, you have to applaud Lucas' tremendous cinematic vision. Seeing the film on the big screen was an affirmation of everything we have ever loved about Star Wars...But The Phantom Menace will always be bigger than just a movie. It changed Star Wars forever, sending a shockwave through fandom, with reverberations that are still felt today..."
May The Force Be With You!