Fixing the Phantom Menace

Since everyone eventually accepted that the Star Wars prequels are really very terrible indeed there’s been this uncontrollable urge to find a way to do the stories justice. People, after all, care a lot about the franchise, and it hurts to know that fifty percent of it is more or less an abomination.

Now I’ve never had a huge personal attachment to Star Wars, which is a little weird considering my level of exposure: I’ve seen the films, played some video games, assembled LEGOs, watched the Clone Wars cartoon (a good amount of the one that’s on now as well as Genndy Tartakovsky’s excellent miniseries that came out between the second and third prequels) and even read some expanded universe novels. So I certainly know a lot of the mythology, but it’s never felt like my personal thing. Probably because when so many people get far more invested in it than I have it just doesn’t feel like I’m part of the movement. But I love our culture, so it’s inevitable that I’ve done my time in Lucas’s world.

Anyway, I first realized how truly terrible The Phantom Menace was from Red Letter Media’s brilliant takedown of every stupid little thing that it does. I used to think it was an okay film that let people down after the original trilogy created such huge expectations, but nope. It’s actually awful.

Obviously everyone has suggested improvements, many of which are immediately apparent, but never before have I seen something so compelling and well-presented as the following video, in which a guy offers a detailed revision of The Phantom Menace that is still recognizable when placed beside the finished movie, but also manages to improve on it in almost every way:

His revisions are so good, so basic, so clearly the way the film should have been made that they actually inspire a kind of fury. Honestly, the movie he’s describing sounds like the setup for a trilogy that could actually match the original. And it will never, ever happen. It’s a horribly depressing notion, and I can confidently say whenever Episode I comes up I won’t be able to avoid thinking about the (now very specifically laid out) movie fans didn’t get to see. Hopefully you’re doomed as well.

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