Issue 8 Contents


Blasting Phantom Menace

First off, Mike got us up at 6am to go see Phantom Menace and we're glad we did. It was a fun movie and I wasn't asking for more than that. Sure people have gone a little freaky for it, but if rabid fans managed to get a special Dr. Quinn movie made, surely Star Wars devotees are not that peculiar. Unfortunately, critics around the globe are shitting on Lucas and his movie.

Case in point - I just read Toby Young's 10 Reasons not to see Phantom Menace in Salon Magazine. Know now that Young writes this crap without seeing the film! It's supposed to be humorous, but funny doesn't have to be mean, petty, or inaccurate. Let's examine his criticisms. (You can check them out yourself at Salon)

His first complaint is that the episodes are in the wrong order. In an attempt to be clever, he writes, "Surely, on Page 1 of the storyteller's manual, it tells you to begin at the beginning. Of course, it's possible that the author of the storyteller's manual started straight in on the middle section on Page 1, but only an idiot would do that." That's not clever, it's weak. I think some negative experience, possibly sexual, prevents him from understanding prequel is not as bad as that other pre-word he hears around the house.

His next reason is that he thought his 1977 light saber sucked. I don't suppose this guy had any suggestions to improve the saber. Is the quality of a 20-year old toy really relevant to whether or not you'll enjoy a contemporary film?

In complaint three, Young writes "Anakin Skywalker's locks are truly revolting. It's one of those sissy, just-washed helmets that no self-respecting kid would tolerate for a second, even on the planet Tattooine." It's disheartening to live in a world where people are judged by their appearance rather than their Jedi potential.

Next Young calls Lucas "a capitalist running dog" and asks, "Does each of us really need to enrich him further by paying up to $9.50 apiece to see the wretched thing?" (Again how does someone who hasn't seen the film know it's 'wretched'?) Guess we shouldn't see Disney, Spielberg, or Miramax films either, since they too, have a lot of money.

He also complains that Harrison Ford isn't in the film. Based on that kind of creative thinking, I guess Austin Powers will suck too.

Complaint Number 6, a cheeky little slam at the special editions of the first Star Wars Trilogy, asserts you should wait for the Special Edition of the Phantom Menace. "It would be a pity to ruin our experience of that masterpiece by seeing the current, inferior version." Should I even bother addressing this weak attempt at humor? Suffice it to say, this guy has no concept of creative vision and couldn't imagine improving anything as demonstrated by the quality of the article.

"George Lucas is an opportunistic hack." Evidence of this declaration includes the shocking revelation that Lucas worked on The Ewok Adventure and Captain Eo. It's clear Young has never been involved in an unsuccessful project and Salon magazine does not employ opportunistic hacks.

The next complaint is that he disliked Ja Ja Binks, a character with whom he isn't aquainted, because he hasn't seen the film. The crux of this argument is, 'I heard this character is annoying and so must be.' Advance that argument to any junior high school debate team and see who prevails.

Number 9 is a rehash of complaint number one, because Young couldn't think of another Lucas failing and he wanted to move right into the final thesis, "George Lucas is evil" and advances this supposed Lucas quote. "I'm going to make five times as much money as Francis on these science-fiction toys and I won't have to make 'The Godfather,'" he boasted to cult filmmaker John Milius. "I've made what I consider the most conventional kind of movie I can possibly make." I can't help but diagreee with the assumption that the formula of conventional film + sci-fi toy bonanza = evil. I'll check with the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world, but I'm pretty sure evil is defined differently. I think they'll tell me evil is mostly perpetuated by jealousy and envy.

Vibe's reviewer seems similarly bent toward unfair and inaccurate analysis. Here's a comment from Vibe's review, "Lucas has mesmerized every child in the audience and established The Phantom Menace as one of the most visually spectacular films ever made. Anyone who still needs to know what the hell the Trade Federation is must be a cynic. Or an adult. " Does this reviewer actually think this movie was made for adults? It was made for twelve-year old boys. This kind of comment is tanamount to saying ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME, MARGARET didn't show enough maturity.

Vibe also offers the following complaint. "There's no denying that Anakin's pod race is one of the most adrenaline-intensive action scenes ever to grace the screen-but all he wins is a hyperdrive modual that will enable the Jedi and Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) to make it cto the galactic capital. Don't those fancy-looking ships carry spares?"

Is he suggesting the lack of spare parts of the ship makes it impossible for the audience to share in the joy of the victory? I'm sorry he thought the hyperdrive module was a weak prize. It must have been so debilitating to him he failed to notice that the win also freed Anakin from slavery.


Do not listen to anything these people say or write.