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  1. #1

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    Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Where were you on May 19, 1999?

    Do you remember?

    Watching the first new Star Wars movie in what felt like AGES... The Phantom Menace. Episode 1.

    That was 10 years ago! Can you believe it?




    So share some stories with us, fanboys (and girls). Did you camp out? Did you see it opening day? What were your thoughts then vs your thoughts now?


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  2. #2

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)



    I saw it on the first weekend it open, which was a Sunday. I thought Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace was excellent back then. Now I think it was just okay to just make a big cash in. I think I perfer Disney's Tarzan over Star Wars: Episode I
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  3. #3

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Ten years and the Jar Jar inflicted wounds are still healing!
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  4. #4

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I think The Iron Giant was the better Sci-fi movie for that year, and Sleepy Hollow and The Mummy were more fun to watch.

    But that's just my opinion.
    I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

  5. #5

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I was at home jealous of all my friends who got to go to the midnight show. My parents wouldn't let me go on a school night (though my youngest brother got to go to midnight shows of Episode II and III, not fair!)

    I finally got to see it the Saturday after it opened. I had a fun time with my friends. Once the excitement died down and multiple viewings I realized how craptacular Episode I truly was.


  6. #6

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I remember that my boys, their friends and some of the dads all went to the midnight showing and we let them skip school the next day to see it again.

    I have never seen it.

  7. #7

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Saw it first show at the local cinema. I was working in TV news so I got to see the film, catch all the sound bites (including one of myself) edit the piece for the newscast and keep the EPK, not a bad day at work.

  8. #8

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Quote Originally Posted by Angie_Duke View Post
    I think The Iron Giant was the better Sci-fi movie for that year, and Sleepy Hollow and The Mummy were more fun to watch.

    But that's just my opinion.
    Iron Giant is one of my favorite movies of all time.

    I remember seeing Episode One at the Tyler Mall's movie theater and thinking "wow this is awesome!" But more excited by Greg Proops doing the voice as the alien MC during the pod races than anything else...Oh him and Ewan. Love Ewan.

  9. #9

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I remember, I dressed up like Spock and me and a dog puppet harassed the line-up...

    ...I kid, I kid.

    I was in Victoria (BC) in my second year of college. On the 18th, me and two classmates went to see The Mummy for a 9:00 PM show. When we got out of the theater, there was already a bunch of Star Wars geeks lined-up in costumes. The next day we had classes and a bunch of guys from my digital electronics class skipped and went to see a matinee. The two other classmates and I saw it a couple days later for a matinee. I remember coming out wondering "Is that it?" I did go see it a 2nd time by myself and again I came out of the theater wondering, "Is that all George Lucas gave us?" It has grown on me over time though. I guess I was expecting a grittier Star Wars since the first three were gritty. I didn't expect all the new flashiness and streamlining of the ships etc.

    I still have my ticket saved, I think this is the one from the 2nd time I went though:


    Hard to believe 10 years went by, and I guess The Matrix is 10 years old too this year, along with Episode 1 and The Mummy.

  10. #10

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I remember the hype, the excitement. I dare say I won't see as anticipated a movie again in my lifetime.

    Everything was an event: the Vanity Fair issue, the previews debuting, the 60 minutes story...

    My sister lined up to get tickets the week before. I can't remember how long that wait alone was, but we were relegated to the 12:15 showing, not the coveted midnight show.

    It played in many theaters, and was easily sold out in all of them. People were playing Star Wars Monopoly and other games, it was quite the atmosphere. I remember being amazed at the huge lineups for post 3:00 AM showings as we were let out.

    At the time there was a labour dispute and the projectionists were locked out. I was working a union job and wasn't really supposed to cross a picket line. I wasn't about to not see the movie I'd waited what seemed like forever for. I remember trying not to be caught on camera by the news crews that were there.

    It really was an amazing movie at the time. We hadn't seen a movie with this many special effects. The movie was a wall-to-wall visual splendor. Combined with what I thought was an amazing John Williams score, and it was a movie that I could watch again and again. In fact, I saw Episode I a dozen times or so in the theater.

    Yeah, Jar-Jar was annoying, and the Yoda puppet was inexplicably bad (looking forward to the version where he is replaced by CGI Yoda), but the pod race and lightsaber battles kept me coming back for more.

    Funny though, that it's a pretty painful movie to watch today. The novelty of the effects have worn off, and all that's left is a pretty bad movie. Virtually every non-action scene is a chore to sit through, waiting for the movie to get going again.

    I really felt the prequels improved a lot with each subsequent chapter, thank goodness.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    hmmm....I was probably working. My now husband and our church group went to Baton Rouge to see the movie. I opted out. Not a Star Wars fan.




  12. #12

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Quote Originally Posted by BC_DisneyGeek View Post
    Funny though, that it's a pretty painful movie to watch today. The novelty of the effects have worn off, and all that's left is a pretty bad movie. Virtually every non-action scene is a chore to sit through, waiting for the movie to get going again.

    I really felt the prequels improved a lot with each subsequent chapter, thank goodness.
    I love the beginning and all the scenes on Naboo, but I find the Tatooine scenes drag on. Simple solution, just skip the next few chapters.

    I remember hitting the KFCs, Pizza Huts (or is that Hutts?), and Taco Bells for the toys and the cup toppers. I never have been able to complete the full sets though, as I didn't eat at Pizza Hut much. I got a bunch of those discs that came on the cups as well.

    I remember when the Episode 1 toys showed up at Walmart in Victoria. Any of you remember the Commtech reader? I still got mine. I remember the news covering all the hysteria at the Toys R Us stores, all the people trying to get their hands on the new toys. I still got Jedi Duel Darth Maul sitting on my desk sealed as that was the most popular one in that first wave. (I got one open too).

    I just remembered, I still got a sealed can of 7-up that had the Phantom Menace stuff on it. Mmm mmm, aged 10 years to perfection.

  13. #13

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    I went to an early morning showing on opening day at Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood. I would then go on to see TPM around 5 more times that summer. Nowadays, I don't think I'd be able to sit through it even once.

    I also went to the midnight sale for the action figures and toys at Toys R Us a few weeks prior to May 19, 1999. Although I can't enjoy the film very much these days, I still look back upon that summer with great fondness.

  14. #14

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbossa View Post
    I remember hitting the KFCs, Pizza Huts (or is that Hutts?), and Taco Bells for the toys and the cup toppers. I never have been able to complete the full sets though, as I didn't eat at Pizza Hut much. I got a bunch of those discs that came on the cups as well.

    I remember when the Episode 1 toys showed up at Walmart in Victoria. Any of you remember the Commtech reader? I still got mine. I remember the news covering all the hysteria at the Toys R Us stores, all the people trying to get their hands on the new toys. I still got Jedi Duel Darth Maul sitting on my desk sealed as that was the most popular one in that first wave. (I got one open too).
    I have one of those Commtech readers. Didn't get it until it was on sale. Pretty mediocre I'd say, there's a reason it was short-lived.

    I was actually given a set of the cup toppers as a gag gift a few years back, and eventually threw them out. I also eventually threw out my Darth Maul battery operated lollipop spinner, but from where I sit I can see I still have a Darth Maul water bottle.

    Darth Maul was one of the most disappointing things about the movie. He seemed so cool in the trailers, but he wasn't developed as an interesting villian whatsoever.

    Interestingly, I actually bought a piece of Episode I merchandise just last week. A small cardboard Jar Jar Binks dresser top standee for $0.69 at a nearby comic shop. Someone I hate will be getting it for their birthday
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  15. #15

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    Re: Where were you May 19, 1999? (Happy Bday, Jar Jar Binks)

    Alright here's my story:

    I was a student at UCSB and at the time, there weren't many GOOD theaters in the area. I'm talking stadium seating, surround sound, the works. Not a good selection. So months prior to this date I drove down to Ventura (40 minutes south of Santa Barbara... maybe 40 minutes to an hour north of LA) with some friends and camped out. We got our tickets!


    May 18th was actually the day we drove down to wait in line. Between me and my friends, we had bought 42 tickets for the midnight show and well... we had 42 people in line with us. I really don't know how we managed to get that coordinated but you know what? It just shows you how anticipated this movie was. People were cutting classes to make sure they had a good seat for this movie!

    We had it all: Star Wars trivia, other boardgames, snacks... we just hung out and had a blast. The movie started at 12:01am and you know what? I had a great time.


    I recall thinking afterwards that I didn't quite get what I had expected, but the imagination put into the film was still astounding. Sure Jar Jar was annoying. Sure the Neimodians talked with bad accents. Sure I never felt a sense of real urgency or danger for the invasion on Naboo. But it was Star Wars and a lot of this movie impressed me. It was fun.

    The drive 40 minutes back to Santa Barbara at 3 in the morning was not fun.



    May 19th was a wednesday and I had class. Nothing mattered. I kept on thinking / daydreaming about Star Wars. Even through the bad, I loved it. I was geeking out.

    I got home from class and I told my roommates that I had to confess... I wanted to see it again. I wanted to see it NOW. Without hesitation, we had a car full of 5 on the way to the ARLINGTON theater, a historic theater in Santa Barbara and the only place playing the movie. It's so huge that we were able to get tickets and decent seats and we watched it all over again... twice within 24 hours.


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