The Phantom Menace Hits 20

Episode I: The Phantom Menace at 20 | Green Card Back

A long time ago…

Cast your mind back to mid-May – hasn’t the time flown since then?

Well, way back in 1999 that same period of time we’ve just traversed felt endless. While our US friends celebrated this milestone back in May it’s today, July 16th 2019, that marks 20 years since the UK release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace!

For a film that’s been mired in disdain for the last two decades it sure has been great to see the outpouring of love over the last few months. We’ve seen re-appraisals, month-long retrospectives and a general consensus that informed viewers reached years ago – The Phantom Menace isn’t perfect, but it is a bold, ambitious and creative first chapter for the saga. It’s brim full of ideas even if it does fall a little short of its potential due to some flaws in the execution.

At the time you would have been forgiven for thinking that George Lucas had made something far, far worse.

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Galaxy of Adventures: Star Wars Reboot in Waiting?

Galaxy of Adventures - A Star Wars Reboot? | Green Card Back

So, have you been watching Galaxy of Adventures?

The latest animated Star Wars micro-series is a collection of YouTube exclusive 3-4-minute shorts detailing key moments from the Star Wars saga. While the scenes, sound FX and even some of the dialogue is taken from the films in their entirety, the videos themselves are stylised, hyper-kinetic traditional animation with anime flair.

Check it out for yourself right here:

Galaxy of Adventures has been generally well-received by the fandom. But while the viewing figures have not been stratospheric, what’s more interesting than outright performance is that the series even exists at all.

As well as returning to the source material of Lucas’ films, Galaxy of Adventures has a wider target audience than the young girl demographic of Forces of Destiny. Regardless of the pros and cons of either approach, there’s no denying that this feels like a safer approach to the franchise for Disney. But since the Mouse can’t live off Lucas’ six films forever, what could the long-term strategy be?

Obviously, I don’t know what they have planned for sure; but this is how I could see Disney’s approach play out. And if it does go this way… I won’t mind that much at all.

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An Honest Reaction to Episode I

An Honest Reaction to The Phantom Menace | Green Card Back

Recently, the idea that the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy has caused people to change their views on the Prequels has become prevalent. From fairweather ‘fans’ who never gave the Prequels a fair shot to Simon Pegg, who never gave the Prequels a fair shot, people are starting to re-appraise Lucas’ creator-led work.

The idea from some quarters that people are only now jumping on the Prequel bandwagon has played on my mind. For what it’s worth, I’ve been consistent in my appraisal of Lucas’ saga. The Prequels tell a great story but suffer from some shoddy execution, no more so than Attack of the Clones; a film of good ideas undone by slopiness and in a style that doesn’t quite work. Meanwhile Revenge of the Sith has been a high point of the saga since 2005 – an impression only re-affirmed with time.

Yet I’ve also been guilty of dismissing the Prequels over the years. It’s always been in an attempt to fit in with the prevailing view point, and never been true to my own heart – and nowhere was this more prevalent that through my relationship with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

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Positive Fandom #1: The Story

The Story of Star Wars | Green Card Back

The Art of Storytelling

As a lifelong Star Wars fan (born in ’83 and raised on the Original Trilogy while still young enough to enjoy the Prequels), the Disney era has been pretty tough to take so far. That’s been reflected by a rising cynicism in my posts here, which, while understandable given the current state of Star Wars, isn’t exactly how I want to celebrate my fandom of the greatest film saga in Western culture.

With Solo only weeks away it’s time to heed the call of the light and bring balance to the blog. Welcome to the first part of a series about why Star Wars is so special – and where else to start but with the story itself?

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Anakin vs Obi-Wan

There are few scenes in the Star Wars saga more pivotal than that of the duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. It was a scene that fans had waited decades to see, the key piece of Skywalker’s transformation into the fearsome Darth Vader. In-universe the sense of tragedy is palpable as a friendship ends and the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. It’s a huge moment in the Skywalker story, and the maestro John Williams delivers a suitably epic score.

What I love the most about Anakin vs Obi-Wan, besides the marching re-contextualising of the Battle of the Heroes theme, is how the tension builds and breaks into a full, lush rendition of the Imperial March. Williams understands how to tell stories as well as Lucas, and the sweep of Darth Vader’s theme underscores the raw power of Skywalker.

Anakin vs Obi-Wan | Green Card Back

We all know it doesn’t last. Kenobi gains the high ground and the rest is history (at least from a certain point of view). But in that moment we get a taste of the uninhibited power of Darth Vader, and that’s in large part due to the incredible work of  John Williams.


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