Tuesday, April 03, 2012

LXB | Things that make you go, "Whoah."

Having spent three weeks on one LXB assignment, I'm really behind the rest of the League. Gonna get caught up by doing two League posts a week, starting with this one:

What media announcement had you throwing fist pumps and doing roundhouse kicks in the air? Did the final result live up to your dreams?

Every generation has a legend…
Every journey has a first step…
Every saga has a beginning…

In retrospect, there's no way Phantom Menace could have lived up to my expectations of it. To be fair though, in retrospect, I'd already outgrown the series by Return of the Jedi and just didn't know it yet. But not knowing it, when the first trailers for Phantom Menace came out, I couldn't sit still for them. I was so excited about new Star Wars movies that I wiggled in my chair like a three-year-old on Christmas morning.

I camped out for tickets, which turned out to be unnecessary. Since Star Wars had always been a family event for us and not all of my family could handle being out until 2:00 in the morning for a midnight show, we decided to take Opening Day off work and go to the earliest matinee we could. For Empire and Jedi, Opening Day meant long lines and sold-out shows, so I thought I'd still need to camp out for tickets, not realizing that everyone else was grabbing midnight passes. Our Opening Day matinee was mostly empty except for me and my family.

I don't remember being disappointed by the small crowd, but I wonder how much that affected the experience. I know I didn't hate the movie. I probably saw it five or six times in the theater, taking Menace virgins with me each time to re-experience it through their eyes.

I remember deciding that it felt like a Star Wars movie thanks to the John Williams score, the title crawl, and the inclusion of "I have a bad feeling about this." I remember thinking that Jar Jar Binks was silly, but he didn't ruin the movie for me and actually made me laugh a couple of times. I remember being underwhelmed by Jake Lloyd's performance, but convincing myself that it was balanced out by Liam Neeson's. I remember being confused about the Trade Federation's scheme, but deciding that I'd figured out enough of what was going on that I could let that go. I also remember being confused about just what Obi Wan Kenobi felt about Anakin Skywalker and whether that confusion was a problem with the script, Ewan McGregor, or both. In short, I remember being critical of a lot of things, but trying to make myself believe that compared to the pod race, Darth Maul, and just seeing R2 and Tatooine again, my criticisms weren't that important. So no, it didn't live up to my expectations, but I didn't dislike it either.

I should end this post right there having answered the question, but I feel like adding that my opinion of the film hasn't really altered in the last thirteen years. I still really like the parts I liked before and still have the same criticisms of what I didn't. I relate to the fans who were disappointed by it, but totally don't get the attitude that it's unwatchable.

The other League members have long since chimed in on the "Whoah" topic and a couple of others talked about Star Wars, but not the prequels. Chris Tupa talked about being excited for the theatrical release of the Special Editions and AEIOU and Sometimes Why mentioned some deleted scenes he got to see at Star Wars Celebration V. Chris' post reminds me how excited I was for those Special Editions and how I had to camp out for those tickets too because they were selling out Opening Day. Back in those days, we were so excited to see those movies on the big screen again that we didn't care about stuff like Han Shot First. It wasn't until later that we got upset, because we realized that a) Lucas intended these versions to replace and not supplement the originals, and b) that he wasn't nearly done tinkering.

Other League members who looked forward to the same stuff I did were Lair of the Dork Horde (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Double Dumbass on You (Iron Man, or - specifically for me - the Return of Robert Downey Jr), and Sideshow Cinema (Alien vs Predator).

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