In any case, I went to go see “Phantom Menace” in theaters when it came out and wish I remembered the cultural phenomenon that must have surrounded it. It was a new “Star Wars” movie when fans still kind of trusted George Lucas. It was the origin story of Darth Vader, a premise that does sound fairly promising on paper. Obi-Wan was back – Liam Neeson, a respected actor, was on board as a new Jedi – and everything sounded great.
Well, one Jar Jar Binks later (an annoying aquatic creature with strange speech patterns, for the uninitiated) and the future-Darth Vader shouting “Yippee!” a few too many times, fans were distinctly unimpressed. But hey, a new actor was coming on board as Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. future-Vader, for the next movie, so maybe this thing could be saved.
Long story short: it couldn’t. Anakin was whiny in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” the final two films in the prequel trilogy. While the trilogy had a couple of good points – Ewan McGregor, playing the younger version of Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, was uncannily good at imitating the older actor’s speech patterns and did as much as he could to save the movies – the three movies were, overall, a snooze.