Here we are less than two weeks from THE MOTION PICTURE. Recently, I took the time to read some of the reviews posted on the net by those who have been so fortunate as to see the film early. As I feared, some of them have had expectations so high that they cannot possibly be met. Others have been quite positive about what they saw. For a while now, I've been wanting to write about some issues people should keep in mind while waiting in line to see this film. Then I figured, "hey, everybody knows this already." Judging from some of the reviews, it seems they don't.
1) THE PHANTOM MENACE WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL
Well, duh. When Lucas and crew made the original films, they didn't have all this computer stuff, and they didn't quite know what they were doing to begin with. Uncle George kept things really simple, and it appealed to us simple folk.
Certainly, Lucas and ILM will be trying to achieve something different with these films than they were way back in the beginning. They might even try to show off this new technology a little. Where's the harm in that? As long as the effects don't rob from the story, we're fine.
2) WE ARE ALL 20-SOME-ODD YEARS OLDER THAN WE WERE THEN.
We've grown up. A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi were all made for little kids, typically 10-year-old boys. Lucas' point was to bring back the feel of the old serials he saw when he was a kid, and at the same time, try to teach a little bit about good and evil. He did a fantastic job at that.
I don't think his target audience has changed. George is still targeting this movie to the kids. We 20, 30, and 40-something people may see ourselves as the "original fans" and think Lucas owes us something, but he doesn't. WE choose to spend hoardes of money on all that plastic and paper stuff. Nobody forces us to freak out like so many of us do. I'm convinced from what I've heard that kids will love this film for the next 20 years. George has a great feedback mechanism: his own kids. I think he's making this for them. Expect the next two films to be even better as he gets feedback.
I would love to see a "dark" film like Empire (IMHO, the best Sci-Fantasy film ever made). I really dig the philosophy and high drama. But it took me years to grow into that. As a kid, I really dug the lightsaber duels and space battles. I think George will give us some of the really deep philosophical stuff; we just have to be patient.
So now, as I prepare to enter the theater, I'm going to mentally transform myself back into a 10-year-old and have fun like George wanted me to. I'm not going to care that they used CG rather than models or people for some things. I'm not going to pick apart every detail of the film. Save that for the critics. (one little profound statement for those who expect such things from me: "The thing about critics is...they're critical. Understand that, then ignore them. Use your own mind.")
I am going to thoroughly enjoy Williams' soundtrack. I am going to love every minute of the space battles & lightsaber duels. Who cares if some of the acting is a little off? Go back and look at the original films. Is that great acting? Who cares if one of the characters has a voice that's a bit annoying?
Quit nit-picking and enjoy the show! We've waited 20 years for it, so I'm going to immerse myself in it and drink it up. I refuse to be disappointed by this film! I refuse to be dragged down into the "I waited 20 years for this film and then he didn't do it like I would have done it" mentality.
3) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE AN ABSOLUTELY "PERFECT" FILM.
Everybody has a different definition of perfect. Thus, you can't ever satisfy everybody.
This is the most highly anticipated film in history. There is simply no way it can live up to what some people have imagined. My advice is Yoda's from Empire:
"Clear your mind, yes, calm..."
Wipe the slate clean. Be as giddy as a schoolboy. Take yourself back in time. When the Star Wars logo appears on the screen, the opening crawl comes up, and you find that you can't quote it word for word, and have no idea exactly what you are going to see next, revel in that feeling.
Peace, and as always:
May the Force be with you!
Darin W. Smith
May 6, 1999
04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions
12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"
12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - TheForce.net Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace
12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1
11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference
12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars