Posted April 30, 2010 by Greg Dragon in Spicy News Reel

In Defense of The Phantom Menace

Did you see Star Wars – The Phantom Menace when it came out? Were you one of the people who said it raped your childhood or something along those lines? Do you claim ownership of the original three like some people do, citing the actual creator George Lucas as committing a crime when he opted to make three prequels to his original Space Opera? Well I am not of your number when it comes to Star Wars; for me Star Wars was and is the creation of George Lucas and Lucasfilm. Anything George adds and changes is considered Canon whereas fanfics, prequels and the Skywalker Ranch books are merely feel-good fantasies for the fans. Accepting this fact allows me to accept the Canon without much bias as to “where does this place Exar Kun?” or any construct of books that weren’t penned by Lucas.

It seems that the biggest consensus amongst the jaded fan-base is that the prequels were garbage and the 3rd was the most tolerant of the three. Yet for me I find the middle scenes on Attack of The Clones to be the only cringe-worthy portion of the movies; due to Anakin’s teenage angst and the love scenes between he and Padme on Naboo. The shock of seeing the cute, likable kid of The Phantom Menace being portrayed as an emo, whiny, disrespectful young man, was hard to take. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) single-handedly ruined Attack of The Clones but appeared poised, likable and tough in Revenge of The Sith. This leads me to believe that the haters are weighing in on Anakin Skywalker and not the movies themselves.

Nerd Hate for George Lucas

Lucas can do no right by his fans, it is an odd type of relationship that borders on insanity. While he obviously owns the story, the characters and the movies; talking to most of the fans would have you believe it was they that penned Star Wars – A New Hope. I can say without any hesitation that were George Lucas to make three more movies, along the lines of the original three with as lovable a cast as they had, people would still complain. I have watched The Phantom Menace over 10 times since its release, and outside of Jar Jar Binks I probably have a more positive take on it than the average crotchety Star Wars fan.

What I remember from The Phantom Menace

I remember relationships mostly about The Phantom Menace. The gifted boy who met and fell in love with the strong queen. The rebellious and zen-like master who chose to train him when nobody would have anything to do with him. The shadowy apprentice who is sent out  to single-handedly take down a small army, his un-erring devotion to his training and his ultimate demise coming from his pride. I remember seeing the Jedi council for the first time, feeling their arrogance and close-mindedness and anticipating their fall for it. I remember a boy’s love for his mother and the tragic moment when he had to be separated from her to fulfill his potential. And finally I remember the beauty of Naboo, on the big-screen, the first time I witnessed it.

The things I found annoying in the movie were actually placed in it for the children in the audience. Things that I was not meant to understand being a grown man with limited patience. Jar Jar was a lot, he was, my girlfriend made mention of this when I introduced her to the Star Wars series – it being the first of 6 in the marathon we watched for a day. But you know what? She absolutely loved The Phantom Menace, and while the arguments of many nerds who bemoan the prequels number a lot of reasons, it all boils down to entitlement. The original three were around too long for George to make prequels without flack, but they’re here now and if you are new to the series, I would urge you to deafen your ears to some of these whines. Star Wars is an epic and beautiful story within the Sci-fi genre, this goes from The Phantom Menace to a New Hope, all the way into the animated series now playing on Adult Swim.

To quote a popular meme created specifically for anonymous, internet negatives: Haters gon Hate, but guess what? Hate all you want, the Star Wars Universe will forever live on.

Greg Dragon

Cinephile and opinion writer, Greg Dragon has been a fan of movies since the 80's when Kung Fu theater was all the rage and Roger Moore was James Bond. Greg is the founder and lead critic of Spicy Movie Dogs. You can follow him on Twitter @Rafacus or on his Google+ account.