TPM is bittersweet for me. Not because of the movie, though that may play a role. I saw it in Vancouver where I went to see my mother, who was dying of cancer. She passed away 12 days after I saw TPM
And yes, she suggested I go see it while I was there.
That aside, I was pumped for the movie. I had seen the previews, downloaded the trailers, done all the geeky stuff. I did not go see it the first day, went two days after it opened in the middle of the afternoon and the theater was darn near empty. I found that weird, but it was a weekday. No one clapped or cheered, but the adrenaline was flowing for me anyway.
For the most part, I enjoyed the movie in the theater tremendously. Most parts I could handle. The Good
Obviously the light saber duel was spectacular. The best in all the movies, IMO, though I have hopes it is topped in the last of the films.
The technology of the film was good. Weapons were well done and I could live with the ships for the most part. I was annoyed at the difference in many ways between OT and PT ships, not clear in my mind how they would evolve, but that is more my shortcoming than anything else.
I enjoyed both OB1 and Qui-Gonn's characters, was dismayed to see QG die. Not nearly so dismayed as seeing Maul die, but that comes later.
I was not at all annoyed by the "racial stereotypes" that some people chose to inflict upon the movie. Watto/ JarJar accents did not offend me. The Bad
Jake Lloyd was indeed wooden and upon reflection (and screen tests) there were better choices available. The one thing I think he did well was to communicate the petulance of young Anakin.
Jar Jar was incredibly aggravating and just would not go away. And I know Brad won't agree with me, but this is a direct result of the Ewoks from ROTJ. Prior to Return, there was no cutesy factor in these movies. Oh sure, R2 and 3PO were there for the kids, but it was a quasi-adult humour in the style of Laurel and Hardy. Funny without pushing too hard and without being too annoying. Lots of tension and dark moments offset by subtle humour and heroics. Then comes ROTJ. Everything cruises along fine until the Ewoks show up. Had they been a bit part, everything would have been fine, but no, Lucas has to go and make them a major feature of the movie, completely out of the 'character' of the remainder of ROTJ and the first two films. People in general loved them (the general viewing public) and Lucas was desperate to have that back. JarJar is the spawn of the Ewoks, ergo my hatred of the former. As mentioned above, I did not mind the accent, but the stupidity of his actions and behaviour were absurd and an insult to Star Wars fans.
Boss Nass also was an absurd and unnecessary inclusion in terms of character. He didn't look like any other Gungan or resident of the underwater world that I could see. I'd have much rather seen someone as practical as Captain Tarpals in charge. See, I have no overwhelming dislike for the Gungans in general, their behaviour and fighting style in the film was fine. It was the two incredibly annoying buffoons that so damaged the film.
Darth Maul. What! No, the death of Maul. I do get why it happened, to make room for the eventual rise of Vader, but I still don't believe it was necessary to kill him off in the first film. Kill him off, yes, but not yet. And not in such a lame fashion. A spectacular character to be replaced in Ep II with another Sith? No, we'll wait for a cartoon for that!? You cannot make me believe that Lucas thought that through.
I enjoyed the movie overall and left the theater feeling happy. Aggravated at some parts, but not nearly so devastated as Matt. I went back and saw it and enjoyed it again. Only upon serious reflection and way too much time on the net have I trained myself to dislike it so. I suspect with time it may surpass II in my mind as a better movie, simply because I so cannot stand the love scenes in the second movie.
There was midnight madness up here btw. I didn't go to the store (TRU) for it. Instead I rolled into a rural Walmart about 10 in the morning and found everything I wanted. Fantastic to see that many SW toys on the pegs, especially after Hasbro Canada screwed us with incomplete selections of POTF2 and commtech. Little did I know we'd get screwed on the last waves of Ep I merchandise as well