May 19, 1999

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The crowd cheered at the appearance of the Lucasfilm logo and the opening theme music. Then, the indecipherable opening crawl began:
Episode I
Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.
Hoping to resolve the matter
with a blockade of deadly
battleships, the greedy Trade
Federation has stopped all
shipping to the small planet
of Naboo.
While the Congress of the
Republic endlessly debates
this alarming chain of events,
the Supreme Chancellor has
secretly dispatched two Jedi
Knights, the guardians of
peace and justice in the
galaxy, to settle the conflict...
What the heck does all of that mean? In Episodes 4-6, the bad guys were big and strong, and they were chasing the good guys, who were small and weak. The bad guys looked like walking skeletons with skull masks, and were led by the seven-foot-tall black samurai. As an 8-year-old in 1980, it wasn't hard to figure out the basics.
In 1999, you had to have minored in Inter-Galactic Diplomacy to determine who's on whose side.episode1
Then Jar Jar Binks arrived. Then Young Anakin spoke. If you had told me in 1983, that Lucas would make three Star Wars prequels, and they'd all stink, I would have never believed it. On May 19 1999, I bought tickets for two screenings in a row. When I walked out of the first screening, I immediately got in line for the next show. Like I said above, I had assumed my whole life that, when the magic day finally arrived, that I would love Episode 1 so much that I would want to see it again instantly. I stood there in that queue, wishing I hadn't spent the money on the second screening. How f***ing sad is that? (May 19 (twice) and May 21 (once); Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth)