Episode 114: Growing Up With The Phantom Menace


Last week I talked about one of the scariest things on the Internet: nerd rage. By the end of that episode, I included a clip of Yoda saying that anger is a bad thing. That specific scene came from Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the very first Star Wars movie I’ve ever watched.

I already detailed how my four-year old self totally enjoyed the movie way back in my 28th post. I mentioned how thrilled I was with the battles. I loved the costumes, especially the really lavish ones Princess Amidala wore. I actually laughed at the antics of Jar Jar Binks… because, hey! I was four! That kind of low-brow humor appealed to me!

Anyway, I actually liked The Phantom Menace… even if I didn’t know what a “phantom” nor what a “menace” was at the time. I just thought they were pretty funny words for a good movie, which is why I was I was amazed that my brother and his friends positively hated it! Frankly, I was surprised that they detested Jar Jar Binks with a passion! It’s like George Lucas added the character to appeal to kids.

Well, it worked! I actually loved the guy way back then. I’m honestly kind of ashamed that I did but it’s the truth!

A week or so after then, my brother came home with the Original Trilogy on DVD. Thinking about it (and doing the proper research before writing this post), I can’t actually figure out how he got it since they were never released on DVD until 2004! I did ask him how his friend got it but he can’t remember. Guess it’s going to be one of those mysteries I’ll never be able to solve.

Anyways, I got to watch the films with him and I vaguely remember enjoying them as well. However, I was kind of confused by them because I came in thinking I would see most of the people from The Phantom Menace. The only ones I recognize was R2-D2. I wasn’t able to identify C3-P0 since he was “skinless” throughout Episode I!

To be totally honest once again, throughout my first viewing of the Original Trilogy, I actually thought it was pretty boring. I mean, my four-year old self didn’t care for things like “plot” or “character development” or “dialog.” I just wanted to see some action (and maybe a little more slapstick humor courtesy of Jar Jar Binks). The Phantom Menace was filled with big battles with lasers and explosions as well as easy-to-follow comedy. Not to mention a pretty brilliantly¬†choreographed lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul!

That’s not to say my four-year old self didn’t like Episodes IV, V and VI. I still enjoyed it to a certain degree but not in the same way as I did with Episode I. I actually loved the two droids a lot. I can actually still remember Darth Vader’s introduction in Episode IV and they really did a fantastic job on showing the viewer he was the bad guy!

And, once again to my great shame, my favorite film of the Original Trilogy was Return of The Jedi. Not because it was the end of the series. Or Darth Vader became good at the end. Or that the Empire was finally defeated by the Rebel Alliance. Nope! The main reason why my four-year old self loved Return of the Jedi so much was because of the Ewoks! I loved those cute cuddly furballs. Especially the one that spoke Filipino/Tagalog!

As I got older, I have rewatched the movies again. My older self is mature enough to look at films more for their story and plots rather than the flashy action and slapstick comedy. Looking back at it, I can generally concede that the Original Trilogy is much better than the Prequels. I can even say that The Phantom Menace deserves a lot of the hate it gets.

However, the four-year old girl in me can’t really hate it that much. I can’t deny I loved it then so I still feel a twinge of love for it. I’m guessing this will be the same experience four-year olds will feel about Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Whether is a good and bad movie, if they love it, they’ll feel some connection to it.

However, it is kind of scary all the money Hollywood pours into movies these days. From what I know, films weren’t really produced like that before. There were a lot of cheap, B-movie schlockfests before. I think next week, I’ll write about them and why Hollywood should also try to remember these low-cost theatrical flicks!

What was your first Star Wars movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thought on “Episode 114: Growing Up With The Phantom Menace

  1. Pingback: Episode 158: Growing Up with CGI Movies | 3rd World Geeks

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