Tag Archives: the phantom menace

In the news: George Lucas takes in some fashion

Random… George Lucas at Fashion Week? Yes, indeed: Lucas was spotted at the Rodarte show on Tuesday with girlfriend Mellody Hobson. According to one report, Lucas is “obsessed” with the work of the women behind the label, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy. (Maybe George is thinking about costumes for one of his art films?)

Also at the show was Natalie Portman, who was wearing Rodarte when she got her Oscar for Black Swan last year – they designed the movie’s costumes.


Sith strategists? Forbes’ Alex Knapp looks at five leadership mistakes of the Galactic Empire.


It’s an industry. In his latest Film Critic column, John Scalzi looks at why Star Wars just won’t go away.


Haters gonna hate. Has-been mouth-frother Glenn Beck went on a rant about Star Wars this week. In addition to hating on The Phantom Menace (so last week) he also hated on… Red Tails? Really? For what it’s worth, Rick McCallum is thrilled.


Listen. Geeky band The Board of Education has a cute song about Star Wars called ‘Why Is Dad So Mad?’

Phantom Menace comes in #4 for weekend with $23M

The weekend box office estimates are in, and it looks like the 3D rerelease of Episode I came in with a respectable $23M. Fox isn’t saying anything about further Star Wars 3D rerelease plans yet, but I’d bet that we’ll be seeing Attack of the Clones this time next year.

As predicted, The Vow and the Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House were the top movies this weekend with $41.7M and $39.3M respectively. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island came in #3 with $27.6M. Overall, theaters took in $190M this weekend, an almost 30% increase over this time last year.

Reflecting on The Phantom Menace 3D

So I’ve been out to the theaters now twice to see The Phantom Menace 3D and what do I think? It had been a while since I had popped in this episode to watch at home, and seeing on the big screen in 3D with my friends and fellow Star Wars fans was the thing to do. I took in both a midnight show and a regular evening show on opening day, and got some popcorn and a great seat and enjoyed. Here’s are my thoughts on seeing The Phantom Menace in 3D.

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Roundup: It’s Phantom Menace 3D day

The Phantom Menace is loose! Run for your lives! Or, chill out as we round up some of the press floating around about the movie. (And don’t forget that the new Her Universe stuff is now on sale!) Onward!


Reviews are in! MTV rounds up a couple from the pros. Our pal Bryan Young liked it. On the 3D, he says, “There was never a moment where I thought it was too overwhelming or too underwhelming.” Brian at Roqoo Depot is also favorable, calling it, “the single greatest post-processed 3D film that has graced the silver screen.”


Over at Entertainment Weekly, George Lucas talks about the 3D conversions came out of his efforts to get movie theaters to switch to digital, and why the format is beneficial to movies.

They also have some neat remembrances on Star Wars from Jeff Jensen, Marc Snetiker, Anthony Breznican and Stephan Lee. (Apparently EW has no lady staffers with SW memories.)

There’s also a photo gallery on their best and worst moments of the saga.

In today’s article, Keith Staskiewicz takes a look at how Episode I influenced special effects. Would we have Gollum if not for Jar Jar?


If you’re intrigued by some of the details Lucas mentioned in the EW video, learn more about The Phantom Menace’s 3D conversion from movieScope.


I’ve been looking at a lot of Phantom Menace stuff this week, and my favorite thing so far? Next Movie’s Eight biopics recast with Jar Jar. Yes, it’s total clickbait, but you certainly know by now that I love me some funny.

If you’re looking for something (sort of) serious, they also have an item about why Millennials (you know, those kids people us GenXers and GenCatalanos yell at to ‘get off our lawns’) don’t hate the prequels. But it’s in the form of a one-act play, so it’s not that serious.


CNN has a more straight-faced look at Star Wars, fandom and the reaction to Episode I.  You know it’s serious because they enlisted Henry Jenkins.


The Dearborn Press and Guide highlights Steve Mitchell, a Michigan 501ster. The Great Lakes Garrison will appear at a Detroit Pistons game tonight and several Phantom Menace showings throughout the state tomorrow.


What’s TPM going up against at the box office? I don’t think it has much to worry about from The Vow, a romantic drama starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum… But the kid-friendly Journey 2: The Mysterious Island may also be a draw for the action-adventure crowd, not to mention the 3D big bucks.

Coming Soon is projecting The Vow to take the top spot, but has Episode I beating Journey by several million. Entertainment Weekly projects the same, but with a few more million between TPM and Journey.


And finally, for the bitterest kittens, here’s a little piece from my hometown paper: 10 reasons why not to see The Phantom Menace. (I’m rather partial to escaping to a more civilized age.) Or, swing over to see MTV’s Josh Horowitz argue TPM with Simon Pegg. Prequel-lovers, for you I have 10 reasons to love Jar Jar and MTV’s list of six underrated TPM characters.


We’ll be adding links to this post throughout the day, so check back!

Star Wars raked in $3B in 2011 and Han never shot first: George Lucas in The Hollywood Reporter

The Phantom Menace is coming upon us yet again, and the press has been piling up. We’ll have more of a roundup tomorrow, but for this afternoon let’s start off with The Hollywood Reporter’s feature on Star Wars George Lucas. In it, we learn the franchise raked in $3 billion in licensing revenue last year. (That’s a lot of lightsabers – in the accompanying photo gallery, they say the franchise has raked in $20B in licensed goods alone.) Overall though, the feature doesn’t hold much for informed fans – merchandising rights, The Clone Wars, etc. So what’s really making waves among the geeky internet is a Q&A sidebar, where Lucas talks reaction to his Star Wars tweaks (“…when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world.”) and Han not shooting first:

Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.

He also talks about CGI Yoda, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and SOPA, but you know what’s getting passed around the internet for the rest of the evening…

Poll: Will you go see The Phantom Menace in 3D this weekend?

So Friday sees the release of The Phantom Menace 3D. Drew McWeeny praises the conversion, and his kid loved it (and he has a funny story about being banned from Skywalker Ranch.) Coming Soon’s Chris and Benjamin Mason were “blown away” by the conversion, though Richard Gray of The Reel Bits is less impressed, calling it “disappointing” and “murky.” But it’s The Phantom Menace, so of course the reviews are mixed.

In any case, our pal Bryan Young really wants you to see it. Others… Not so much. (I’m debating, but… Well.) Of course.

But the real question…

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Star Wars toys return to McDonalds’ Happy Meal this Friday… As ‘boy toys’

A new occasional feature here will be sharing those things that money (technically) can’t buy (at least not until it is on the secondary market).  Some examples: the podracer 3D glasses (though you can buy them if you’re not near a giveaway theater.)  Orange Death Star hand fans,  Pins, LEGO mini-figs,  ghost Obi-Wan figures,  and Special Edition Luke figures.

It will not be an exhaustive listing, but when we come across various tie-ins, we’ll do our best to share them with you as well as revisit some from the past from time to time.  Why? Because who doesn’t appreciate the free finer things in life?

First up — the McDonalds Star Wars Happy Meal toys for The Phantom Menace 3D rerelease.

McDonalds has had a few waves of Star Wars toys included in their happy meals in the prequel era.  The last couple of series were tied to The Clone Wars and were amusing.  The 2008 set focused on a cross between characters and ships – best of both worlds for most kids I know.

Threepio Happy Meal toy from 2011

The 2011 set  featured lightsabers, a Jedi Mind trick, a C3PO bobble (with R2-KT sticker!) – I still have some of those around and they were great for boys and girls. Who wouldn’t want 3PO hanging around all day?

Starting this Friday (per contacts in my local market, YMMV), you’ll start seeing a new round of Happy Meal toys.  I was excited when I first heard about the promotion, looking forward to seeing what McDonalds would come up with to celebrate the movie.  McDonald toys have been pretty cool lately with either multiple pieces, built in electronic lights and/or sounds, or just something above and beyond a hunk of plastic.  I was thinking maybe Jar-Jar with a long tongue (it’s been approved before), or prequel lightsabers like the 2011 promotion, or ships, or figures with voice chips.  Something strongly tied in to TPM at least.

The toys are previewed on HappyMeal.com. (See the screenshot above.) And they appear to be of the Beyblade  / LEGO Ninjago (minus the mini-fig) style of tops to compete with and collect.

The holders are light saber hilts, 2 pod racers, and R2.  The tops feature pictures of various standouts from the movie associated with the holder model.  The one standout is in the shape of R2-D2, with a matching top.  R2 fans will enjoy adding it to their collection and if you’re crafty you could modify it to match another of your favorite R2-series droids.

Recently Happy Meals have changed to include apple slices as well as fries as part of the meal to encourage healthier eating.  I can’t help but wonder if this decision has affected the budget for the toys.  Healthy living is important and as a mom I appreciate the apples being there and not just a choice, but cheapening the toy further is messing with tradition.  I’d rather not see the Happy Meal toy go the way of Crackerjack prizes in terms of quality.

Kids are still going to be happy with finding one of these toys in their Happy Meal but there is something far more discouraging .  The Star Wars toys have been deemed “boy toys” and have been paired up with Build A Bear as the “girl toy” offering.  Why oh why do we continue to have this designation and only for certain partners?  The Chipmunks were not divided, Happy Feet 2, Avatar – all these toys were offered to both boys and girls equally.

You’d think after 30+ years of girls vocally loving Star Wars, they’d offer an expanded collection for both girls and boys to play with and share.  At least Burger King offered Iron Man jewelry for girls during their promotion rather than assume girls did not want to celebrate Tony Stark.  Iron Man 2 even had at least two strong female characters in Pepper Potts and Black Widow. The Phantom Menace has a queen, her bodyguard handmaidens, a mother, and numerous female characters who appear throughout the movie.  What a disappointment to not include any of these characters in the Happy Meal toys at all.

Shame on you, Ronald.  What a wasted opportunity.

Out this week: Some 3D movie, Book of Sith, comics

This week is strong with the dark side: Not only are we seeing Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D arrive in theaters Friday, but that’s also the release date for Dan Wallace’s Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side, the latest fancy whatsit you can use to frighten impress your friends with your supreme geekery. (A book coming out on a Friday? Unusual, but it’s no ordinary book… Though I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to get it at midnight.)

Appropriately, there will be a mighty bounty of new Star Wars comics in stores Wednesday: Knights of the Old Republic: War #2, Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #3 and Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost #4. There’s even a little something for the Omnibus fans, A Long Time Ago: Volume 5.

Surprise! VW’s Star Wars ad is a Super Bowl hit

Volkswagen’s second Star Wars ad officially debuted during the Super Bowl last night, and although reception in the fandom was lukewarm, (‘last year’s was better’) it seems to have done fairly well with the general audience, and the dog (and his fat suit) even got a small spotlight from the Los Angeles Times.

For instance, San Francisco Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub named it his second best, behind only the Clint Eastwood Chrysler spot. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Scott D. Pierce named it his #1. Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams admits that the spot was “shameless” and not as good as last years, but came out in favor because, well, dogs and Star Wars. The A.V. Club were less impressed, calling the dog “fairly cute” but saying the Star Wars endcap was “buzz insurance”.

But, naturally, democracy reigns, and you can vote for your own favorites on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and even the NFL themselves, where the VW spot is currently #3.

Making a surprise showing last night was a spot for The Phantom Menace 3D, which was apparently named the “the most-memorable movie spot” in one poll.

Dear Darth Plagueis: It’s not you, it’s me

I don’t know why I was surprised when James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis failed to blow my mind.

I bought the book on the release date, but didn’t start it until last Monday – mainly because I knew I’d have to recap the Luceno Facebook chat on Wednesday and I didn’t want to be spoiled for what folks on Twitter were labeling AMAZING REVELATIONS. So I forced myself through it in two days.

And I was not blown away. The revelations? Not that amazing. To me, anyway.

There are no overt spoilers for Darth Plagueis after the jump, though there are some references to the content which may be obvious to anyone well-versed in fandom. Continue reading