New Video Highlights 'Star Wars' Fans' Undying Love Of 'The Phantom Menace' Back In 1999

Welcome to #FlashbackFriday, where we look at past moments with filmmakers, actors, etc. and highlight something in cinema history that’s fascinating, amusing, perhaps something you never knew or have seen, you name it.

This week’s #FlashbackFriday is a bit different than previous ones. We’re not going to highlight an old interview with a filmmaker. There’s no lost gem of a video that we came across. No, this week we are going to take a look at a video, courtesy of YouTuber EckhartsLadder, that dissects the fan reaction to the triumphant return of “Star Wars” back in 1999 with ‘The Phantom Menace.’

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And while you may think that fans were level-headed and understood that what they were watching back then was a pale comparison to the Original Trilogy, you will be surprised to know that “Star Wars” fans over-reacted, said that critics were wrong, and defended George Lucas until their dying breath. In other words, we really haven’t learned much in 20 years, huh?

All kidding aside, it’s truly interesting to take a look back at the 1999 message board conversation where fans were so deluded with their love of the franchise and their excitement at a series of new films that they were able to overlook the clear faults of the film. Even people who say that they dislike the Prequels were the ones saying that ‘Phantom Menace’ was one of the best “Star Wars” films ever.

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Take Kevin Smith, for example. Obviously, the filmmaker is known as one of the biggest fanboys around (self-admittedly), and like many fans, he saw ‘Phantom Menace’ and said it was his second-favorite “Star Wars” film behind ‘Empire Strikes Back.’ That’s right, he thought ‘Episode 1’ was better than ‘A New Hope.’ The hype was real.

You can watch the full video below, which is full of interesting pull-quotes from folks like Roger Ebert, as well as the 20-year-old message board posts from the Internet’s infancy. It’s fascinating.