Here in the thoroughly jaded future, it's easy to forget that Phantom Menace was the most hotly anticipated movie basically ever. We hadn't had a Star Wars movie in 16 years, and it still meant swashbuckling pilot heroes and badass, whine-free villains. People were so amped that when the studio held limited-release advanced screenings of the trailer, they drove for hours to see it, and this was at a time when advanced trailer screenings weren't even a thing. Soon, people were buying up tickets for movie showings where the trailer was playing, including The Waterboy and Meet Joe Black, only to leave after they saw it and then come back to see it again after the movie was over. How much of Adam Sandler's mansion was built on Jar Jar's back, do you think?
To the fans and critics who sold their souls to Brad Pitt for a glimpse at some podracing, it was well worth it. "Unbelievable," one fan was quoted as saying. "I consider myself a harsh critic, but after the trailer I was applauding." Probably the most heartbreaking quote comes from this guy:
New York Times
The trauma was so big, he hasn't updated his website since.
You know what? Forget the suicide cult. These poor, poor souls never saw what was coming. Anyway, back to getting pumped for Episode VII, everyone! Woo!
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