The Return of 'Star Wars'

Newsweek International, June 14, 1999 | Go to article overview

The Return of 'Star Wars'


David Ansen's critique of the new "Star Wars" movie, "The Phantom Menace," says that the casting is bad, the acting is bad and it's badly written (" 'Star Wars': The Phantom Movie," Society & The Arts, May 17). When I was little and my parents took me to see "Return of the Jedi," I didn't notice any flaws like bad dialogue or bad casting. I saw a shiny gold robot and his little buddy, a little green man who talked funny, a blond hero ready for anything, a giant hairy thing that growled like a big puppy, a pretty girl with long hair, a cool pilot and, last but not least, a very scary guy in black. I didn't pay attention to the critics. So why should I start now? People go to these movies because they want to see something that will capture their eyes and hearts--as the previous trilogy did many years ago. Do critics out there really think those avid fans and their children are going to listen to their negative reviews?

Justin Scott Mooresville, North Carolina

On May 25, 1977, a pretty girl and I stood in line for three hours to see "Star Wars." Now, 22 years later, I wanted to see "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" with her, but then I realized that the chances of getting in on opening night were tantamount to my winning a lottery. But the anticipation of seeing it in July, when it opens in Japan, may be as delicious as the original experience. The Force is still around.

Michael G. Driver Ichihara City, Japan

I am sorry David Ansen didn't like "The Phantom Menace." I'm also sorry he thinks that it's overhyped, and that Lucas is "rusty" and "his rhythm is off." However, I can sum up the feelings of all real "Star Wars" fans in three words: We don't care! Do you believe for one second that any of the ugly reviews we're reading will deter any of us from seeing the movie and loving every minute of it? Not on your life!

Penney Nile Hollywood, California

David Ansen, shame on you. At a time when tragedies such as Columbine demonstrate that children need entertainment devoid of gratuitous violence, gore and self-destruction, you turn into the Grinch That Stole "Star Wars." "The Phantom Menace" is an entertaining and original adventure that introduces fantastic new creatures, worlds and characters while exploring the archetypal theme that made the first "Star Wars" trilogy so timeless--the eternal conflict between good and evil. The reintroduction of a popular children's entertainment that dares to state there are forces of good and evil in this world, that one must choose between the two and take responsibility for one's actions, is a breath of fresh air from the stale lungs of Hollywood.

Ted Spellman Stevenson Ranch, California

I'm sorry to hear that David Ansen found "Star Wars: Episode I" disappointing. Anyone who has studied a little bit of "Star Wars" knows that the saga is not just about "urgency." Director George Lucas set the basis in "Phantom Menace" on which "Episode II" and "Episode III" will be built. It might be true that this is "the ultimate example of cultural auto-intoxication. …

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