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Star Wars

The Phantom Mania

By Nathan R. Scott

Why? That is the question that many people have asked me. Why did I wait in line ten hours for tickets for a two-hour movie? Why did I wait almost five hours to get seats for the 12:01 AM showing opening night? Why did I see the movie four times in the opening four days?

My generation has grown up on Star Wars. From the ewok toys to the Empire Strikes Back trading cards, from the vinyl soundtracks to the original Atari arcade game, Star Wars has been an integral part of our youth. Now, for the first time in our lives, the generation raised on Star Wars has the chance to be on the front line. We finally have a chance to be the first to experience the first chapter in the saga. For me, a lot of the excitement surrounding The Phantom Menace stems from the fact that we all know how the story ends. None of us know how it started, though. It’s like reading only the second half of a book. Finally we will get the whole story. All of the questions that have haunted us for years are finally starting to be answered. Who was Luke’s mother? What happened during the clone wars? What made Anakin turn to the dark side?

Part of what makes the Star Wars Saga so captivating is the attention to detail that Lucas put into all of the movies. Every time I see one of the movies I uncover new subtleties. All of the little touches in Phantom Menace are what make it such a good movie. From the E.T. delegation in the senate, to the glimpses of the original C-3PO in Watto’s shop, to the cameo by the lead actor in Willow during the podracing sequence, the little touches really make Phantom Menace a joy to see multiple times. Not only does the film itself have subtleties, but the soundtrack does as well. Listen carefully the next time you play Anakin’s theme. The theme ends in the same way that the Imperial March ends. Also, if you stay through the credits, the very end of the music ends just as the Imperial March does. Nice touch.

The Phantom Menace is an epic movie. There is too much going on to understand it the first time. The expectations for the movie also create a false image in the mind of most viewers. My Phantom Menace experience was akin to listening to a new album. The first time you hear it, it is not what you expected and often you aren’t sure if you like it. However, as you keep listening to it, the album grows on you. The complexity, and special touches keep growing on me every time that I see the movie, and it would have been a tragedy to only have seen the movie once.