Phantom Menace vs. Batman and Robin

Midichlorians vs. armored thongs

We all know that few things rival a full-on nerdgasm for sheer, frothy power, the kind of perfect storm achieved while watching Captain America and Iron Man go at it in “The Avengers” or waxing poetic about why “Lord of the Rings” is the greatest thing ever.

One of those rival feelings, however, is a full-on nerd rage. Talk about sheer frothy power! I sometimes think we like tearing things down more than we do building them up, which is a shame because it makes us like the rest of humanity. And that’s a downer.

Two geek films in particular have, over the years, taken up a pre-eminent position in the pantheon of nerd anger: “The Phantom Menace” and “Batman and Robin”. What I’m interested in is not so much bashing either of these movies (that’s been done to death), but rather why these two in particular are such hot buttons. I mean, there are plenty of other “franchise destroying” films out there, from “Superman III” to “X-Men 3″. They come in for their share of revilement, sure, but nowhere near the level of the other two.

And it’s not even like either of these actually destroyed their franchises. The last time I checked, both Batman movies and Star Wars projects were doing just fine, thank you very much.

So my question for you is really two-fold. First, which of these two did the most damage to their franchise in your eyes. And second, WHY? Why do you take it personally in a way you haven’t for other wretched geek movies?

Also, let me apologize in advance to frequent commenter Nick. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, I’m honestly curious as to what elevates a film from not being just another bad movie, but to something almost personally offensive. It’s fascinating to me.

94 Responses to Phantom Menace vs. Batman and Robin

  1. Sorry, Bats – SW is realy cool.

  2. Definately Batman and Robin. Episode One was a stinker, but not one of franchise-shattering proportions like B&R. That movie was so bad, they had to give up on making sequals of it; not even Superman III can say that. Plus, Episode One had Quigon Jinn and Mace Windu, who are easily my two favorite Star Wars characters. It also led (eventually, after several hours of senatorial debate, spread over two movies) to Episode Three, which is easily on par with the original trilogy…

  3. Three word “SILVER COD PIECES!!!” makes me wanna bat-hurl

  4. Episode I wasn’t great but it did at least try to be a good film when it wasn’t being asinine (i.e., any time when you-know-what wasn’t making a damn fool of himself for unnecessary comic relief). But Batman & Robin was just too damn campy, even more so than the Adam West Batman. For one thing, too many villains in one movie. Freeze, Bane, and Poison Ivy all at once? Craziness. And then there was just the dreadfulness of the acting. The costumes of the Caped Crusader and his young ward were acceptable, though, in design and colour, especially the silver-accented versions. Except for those codpieces. And nipples.

  5. Both films for me are almost equally atrocious but Phantom Menace did more damage to the franchise for me than Batman and Robin did. Batman Forever actually destroyed Batman in the 90’s and lead to that horror. B&R just ended the slide and set up later and much better movies by forcing a reboot.

    Phantom Menace may have introduced a couple of good characters but damaged a lot of the wonder of the mythos. I grew up watching the originals as they were released in theaters. They were an essential part of my childhood and teenage years. The “Gee, Mr. Quigon” sequence tore a lot of the mystery out of the force. Throw in the absurd hints at Anakin’s “virgin birth” and a bunch of other nonsense and you have George Lucas deconstructing some of my fondest memories.

    Yes, Episode 3 did go a long way to restoring some of the cool and epicness I remember but not all the way.

  6. Phantom Menace had the saving grace of Darth Maul and continued with two sequels and a tv series.

    Batman and Robin DID kill the Batman franchais (until Christopher Nolan started afresh). The darker image that Tim Burton started was decayed into the ridiculous, Bat-nipple sporting, bat credit card owning toy advert that thought Arnold Schwarzenegger should play a scientist.

  7. It’s gotta be Phantom Menace.

    Lookit, I know Star Wars love borders on the unhealthily obsessive in some geek circles, but c’mon, Bats has been redeemed in full by Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale. We can look at the absurdity of those chrome cod-pieces (*shakes head in disgust*), but we can then promptly pop in the Batman Begins DVD and it all goes away.

    Phantom Menace, on the other hand, as Jeffrey has so cogently argued to me before, commits the unforgivable sin of introducing two things: midiclorians and Jar Jar Binks.

    1) Midiclorians introduces a concept to the Star Wars mythology that fundamentally alters the functioning of the Star Wars universe. To strip away the mystical, supernatural aspect of the Force literally cuts the mythology off at the knees, reducing the idea of being a hero who can rise above one’s circumstances, save the damsel in distress, and bring down a galactic empire to a mathematical head count of blood cells. This is not what made the original Star Wars great. Not even by a long shot.

    2) Yes, Jar Jar Hate is well known in all corners of the geek realm. But seriously, for just a moment, consider the creative decision to introduce such a person to a world of such iconic and instantly recognizable characters. To so utterly miss the mark, to so utterly misunderstand your audience, to so utterly fumble common sense and decent storytelling tells you that the franchise has jumped the shark before you even get to the third act of the first movie of your “epic” prequel trilogy. Yes, Jar Jar himself is offensive, but c’mon, let’s not overlook the fact that someone thought he was a good idea to include in the movie in the first place. And that, my friends, is a nigh-unforgivable act of creative negligence.

  8. Yes, despite Jar-Jar and Anikan’s Disney movie like persona, Episode I had it’s redeeming qualities and I really don’t think it was as bad as fans made it out to be. Fans tend to over idolize classics (despite their apparent flaws), and bash any remakes or sequels as being awful in comparison when in fact they may just not be as good. I think there’s the childhood/youthful nostalgia effect and the initial wow factor that many times doesn’t exist several years later when our favorites get a new paint job.

    For B&R, it really didn’t know what it wanted to be. Was it supposed to be cheesy like the old TV series or serious like Burton had started? You had 3 villains who were either pun machines or grunting idiots instead of the dark villains that they are. There was really no character conflict on either side (good guys or bad), a weak story, and it seemed like it all came together just for the hell of it. Alfred was dying, but it seemed like no one really even cared, except for the fact that they had to. Plus, you had Batman: TAS that had come out around the same general time, and it had more substance. And it was animated and meant for kids, so who was the target audience for this? Not the 15-25 male demographic that seems to be the target for most Hollywood films.

    I don’t really take this film personally or have a strong hatred for it, I just choose to ignore it. I liked the first Tim Burton Batman, am on the fence about the second (too Burton-y), could take or leave ‘Forever’, and really enjoy Nolan’s first two even if Bale’s Batman voice is a little too much. Kevin Conroy is the best Batman in my book.

  9. Having only watched Phantom Menace in its entirety when it was still in theaters, and having only seen a few bits and pieces here and there since then, what I say here may not be accurate or relevant, but there is definitely something I’d like to say. I think that the inclusion of Jar Jar in the Phantom Menace was a bad idea. Not just because he’s an annoyingly silly character – those kinds of characters do have a place, after all – but rather because he, as an annoyingly silly character, was included in a movie filled with political intrigue, war being more complex than simply attacking enemies ’til they’re dead, and a whole bunch of other things that go waaayyy above the heads of the children that Jar Jar was supposedly intended to appeal to. I know, I know, George Lucas (if I recall correctly) said that Star Wars is “for kids,” but what I think he meant was that it’s for adults with “inner children,” because, let’s face it – most, if not all, of the major elements of the Star Wars plot are incomprehensible to most children, especially as they are presented in movies. I also feel that it’s necessary to include that I remember that when I did first see the Phantom Menace, I was 10 at the time, and even then I felt irritated by Jar Jar, so I, being a child at the time, did not feel that Jar Jar was appealing as a character. In fact, that’s one of the few things I remember, in addition to Anakin being good at pod racing, Quigon Jinn dying, Darth Maul being cut in half and dropping into a pit or void of some kind, and maybe a couple of other things. That’s because, as a kid in a star wars movie, I was zoned out half the time while the grown-ups on the screen were doing grown-up stuff that I didn’t understand.

    In addition, when viewing the bits and pieces of the movie that I saw later on in life, I must say that Anakin was also irritating as a character, though for different reasons than Jar Jar. What irritated me the most was that scene in which he’s flying around in space in a ship that he flew off in (with the excuse that he was supposed to “stay in the ship”), and he piloted it not only better, but also with a much calmer mindset, than the actual pilots who were actually trained to be pilots. As I said, I don’t remember much of the movie as a whole, so correct me if I’m wrong, but COME ON! The kid’s used to pod racing, not space combat, and using expertise in the former to justify expertise in the latter is just a weak argument. I think the reason he had better skills than the actual pilots was, again, to appeal to children, this time by appealing to the rebellious and extremely overconfident nature of children who don’t realize that, if the movie were more realistic, Anakin would have been blown to bits within seconds of entering combat.

    Once again, I must say that I could be wrong, given what little memory I have of the whole movie and what little pieces I saw more recently, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  10. I couldn’t give less of a flying fornication for Star Wars, it jumped the shark as soon as Obiwan used the Force for mind-control. This is a good guy? Hacking off the arm of a rude space-biker and hanging out with people that shoot bill collectors? But what was done to Batman was worse than what Lucas did to Indie when he met the aliens!

  11. The Atomic Punk

    Where to even begin… First, I agree with John about the midochlorians. The Force is now a matter of eugenics, which is very unnerving. Though I find Jar Jar Binks less offensive than George Clooney. Just saying.

    Batman & Robin was just barf. Barf. Barf. Barf. For that matter, I liked Batman Begins but grew tired of Christian Bales in The Dark Knight. He made a convincing Bruce Wayne, but was a real ham as Batman.

    Star Wars endures and continues to grow in an almost obsessive pursuit to re-cast and re-write Episodes I & II. Batman is… well, he’s Batman. Even the dastardly Joel Schumacher could not destroy him.

  12. I grew up watching star wars, and as a little kid I thought Jar-Jar was about the best thing on planet. As such, I have to many fond memories of hysterical laughter to bash him. Was he unnecessary? Probably. Do I regret his character being introduced? No. I would also support the idea of the Midiclorians. “Magic” in a Sci-Fi setting really just doesn’t make too much sense to me. Yes you can have both, but the “magic” needs to have a Sci-Fi-ish explanation. If I was writing it, I might have gone about it a different way, but the result would have been the same. Yes you could take it out entirely, but to me it added something believable, that this was a quantifiable force and this is why it was a quantifiable force. I also though it cool that these itty bitty little nothings could do so much to be neat concept.

  13. for me, the prequels DESTROYED star wars. i used to love sw. now i just cant stand it. the stupid mythology, the lame back-story of what was once the coolest movie villain of all time. make that 2 of the coolest movie villains. (boba fett is some clone?) batman and robin was redeemed by the very next film. the two turds following episode one were somehow WORSE!

  14. I think a lot of people loose site, that yes, Star Wars was made for kids. And when the Phantom Menace came out, those kids that loved The Originals were then adults, and they were expecting this prequel trilogy to be better than and far surpass the original.

    When asked why the original series was episodes 4,5, and 6, and why he did those first, his answer was ‘Because that was the best and most exciting part of the story.’ (Not an exact quote, but close). And everyone lost site that the the first and last three of the 9 episodes were more back story and an epilogue. And in GL’s own words, were not as good as the middle three.

    Was Phantom menace Awesome? No. Was it good enough? yes. It’s back story, the roots of the Original story – whether you like it or not, Darth Vader was an annoying kid. What did you expect? It was clearly stated in the OT that Vader used to be a nice guy.

    However, the story continued after PM. Two more movies, several season of Clone Wars, and dozens of books, comics, and games. That spells success any way you look at it. Even if it’s a new generation of fans instead of the old school ‘haters’.

    That said, My kids grew up on the Prequel trilogy like I did on the OT, and they love them as much as I loved the OT.

    Batman ended there until they had to bring on a new cast, crew, and generation, in order to get it going again.

    But even then, it’s been an ok ride for batman. Batman begins was a good reboot, TDK was pretty slow, and not that great (IMHO). I’d rather watch Phantom Menace than TDK any day of the week.

    Gee Jeff, way to stir up the pot on a Tuesday ;)

  15. I’ll throw my two cents out there as to why both these movies seem to inspire nerd rage at least from my point of view.

    Star Wars was the biggest movie franchise ever. It inspired an entire generation and continues to be unmatched in the number of fans and the sheer love people have for the films. Then the day arrived and the first prequel was released. By then everyone had an idea of what THEY wanted to see and were all excited. But the movie was different and had an entirely different tone and theme than the original films. That caused many people to be disappointed in the films.

    (In my opinion) The first prequel didn’t ruin the franchise. It was different and had a different theme than the originals, but that doesn’t make it awful…it makes it different. Although I’m not defending the movies it did cheapen a lot of the Star Wars elements like the force longer being a mystical energy, it’s now biological. And of course Jar Jar, but the franchise was and forever will be Lucas’ vision and if his fusion is for a racist alien then thats what it will be.

    Batman was originally created to be very serious and dark. But of course there was a period where people felt he was too dark and so they made him campy. Some feel this started with the 60’s tv show but really it started before that in the comics. In the 80’s many artists and writers fought hard to make him dark and serious again. Thus the Tim Burton Batman films were made. They were exactly what Batman was supposed to be mysterious, vengeful, and a creature of the night. Then the Joel Schumacker films came out and it brought I back to the campy and stupid elements.

    (In my opinion) Batman and Robin didn’t destroy the franchise. It was just the aftermath of Batman Forever. Batman Forever really was a shock. Remember the last movie we had was Batman Returns then it jumps to Jim Carey being…well Jim Carey. Batman and Robin took what that movie did and continued it. In my opinion the worst thing about the movie is not the Bat-nipples or the Bat-credit card (Anyone who knows Nostalgia Critic is grabbing their guns now) but the ultimate sin is what he movie did to the CHARACTERS. Examples:

    Baine – Was stupid and brainless nothing like the original.
    Poison Ivy – Had no real focus and was brainless.
    Robin – Was a whiny brat. More like the Jason Todd version than the Dick Graysen version.
    Bruce Wayne – Was…well George Clooney.
    worst of all Mr. Freeze – He was a dumb thug who told bad jokes and made puns. In the comics and the animated series he was the most driven serious and focused villains. The movie version was none of those things.

    Sorry my post is so long, but for the reasons stated above I believe Batman and Robin ruined their franchise more than SW. I mean it would take years before we could take any of those characters seriously. Im hoping they make a Mr Freeze movie in the new franchise because people deserve to see him as a true threatening villain.

    (“A BAT CREDITCARD!!!!”)

  16. I’m chalking this up on a purely emotional level. After the Phantom Menace was over, I was pretty happy. Was it the best Star Wars movie? No, not by a long shot, I was even willing to admit at the time. Did I have problems with the movie? Between Jar Jar, the Nemoidians, Jake Lloyd, and Midichlorians, you bet I did. But I was still glad to revisit a galaxy far far away. There was a lot about the movie that I still remembered fondly afterwards.

    After Batman and Robin, all I did was complain about the sheer stupidity of it all. Bat nipples. Stupid cold puns. Bane being a grunting idiotic troglodyte. A pointless Batgirl character. And a tacked-on “Alfred is dying” subplot. I wasn’t happy with Batman Forever, but Batman and Robin filled me with so much disappointment. They seemed to want to cram too much into the movie, and most of what they crammed in was crap. There was nothing I fondly remembered about it afterwards, just everything that was wrong with it.

  17. drummergirl4

    I actually liked The Phantom Menace.

  18. I almost went out of the theater for Batman and Robin.
    I didn’t for The Phantom Menace.
    Thus, I’d say that the first is worse than the second.

    BUT, I’d say that, IMO, The Phantom Menace was worse for the franchise than B&R.
    And that’s because TPM (and episode 2… Episode 2!!!) are canon, just like all the shitty revisions Lucas makes to his movies. We gotta live with them, and can’t ignore them, whereas B&R was just one take on the character, which we don’t have to live with anymore.

  19. Bat-Nipples.
    I rest my case.

  20. McKnight57

    I despise both of these films, in the same way that the Sith despise Jedi or Bane loathes Batman. I grew up with both of these franchises (being the geek that I am), but I can honestly say that Batman and Robin was worse than Phantom Menace. Consider for a moment that it took Chris O’Donnell 12 years to make up for the damage this did to his career. That alone makes this worse. You know, aside from Bane somehow being a moron and Poison Ivy joining forces with Mr Freeze, the worst thing about this film can be summed up in the following geek-curse words, “bat nipples”. Oh and the Governator being Mr Freeze was a big turn-off as well. Then there’s the fact that Batgirl was a red-head, named Barbara Gordon.

    All of that goes WAY beyond Jar Jar Binks and the flying frog thing that somehow enslaved young Darth Vader (I cannot refer to him as Anakin due to the existence of Hayden Christiansen.)

  21. McKnight57

    thejay:
    Bat-Nipples.
    I rest my case.

    You’re forgetting Batgirl not being a red-head or Barbara Gordon.

  22. I went with the Phantom Menace, not because it was a worse movie than Batman and Robin, but what it did to change my perception of the Star Wars universe. I enjoyed the original three, warts and all, because of the story it told and the cool journey it took me on. I cared about the characters and wanted to see them through the adventure.

    Then I watched the midnight showing of the Phantom Menace on opening day. After it was finished I walked out of the theater shell-shocked with extreme disappointment. I didn’t care about the characters and anticipated a long, tedious journey to the end. My low expectations were met with the following two movies.

    I didn’t expect anything out of Batman and Robin so it didn’t raise my nerd rage like the Phantom Menace. Batman and Robin was a natural progression of suck, while the Phantom Menace dashed my hopes for another fun ride. And to me that was a greater sin. Now I don’t care about anything Star Wars related.

    I just wish I could have been sitting next to Lucas on his computer, slapping his hand whenever he wrote something that fell into the Suck Zone.

  23. DiCicatriz

    I agree with other sentiments that while Batman and Robin was a clusterf–k of awful, it wasn’t necessarily the series-killer that Phantom Menace was. There were just so many things about the movie that desecrated not only the narrative elements that made Star Wars such a good story, but even the cinematic innovations that made the original films so great. These are outlined in greater depth and detail than I would dare go into here, within this ten-part review on youtube. Seriously. The way its framed may be absurd, but the review absolutely destroys the movie (and Lucas as a current filmmaker) and is well worth watching.

    Also incidentally I did not find a ten part review outlining why Batman and Robin was so awful :) B&R may have had a number of terrible elements, action figure variant costumes, Bane as a mindless meathead, nipples and codpieces (although to be honest I did not mind the George Clooney/Chris O’Donnel eye candy), Batgirl as Alfred’s [half-sister or something, right?], and let’s not forget DAYGLO HOCKEY STREET GANGS. But… in the scheme of things people are able to separate the movie itself from the Batman mythos. Batman as a symbol and a character endured, which remains incredibly true to what Batman stands for as a whole. To paraphrase Batman Begins :
    “As a [movie]… [it] can be destroyed, but as a symbol? As a symbol [it] can be incorruptible. [It] can be everlasting.”

    Star Wars as a continuity and symbol has yet to recover from the atrocities of the Phantom Menace. Hell, the storyline was so bad it made Natalie Portman (Academy Award winning actress) come off as awkward and unbelievable, along with other fine actors like Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson (the list would later include the legendary Christopher Lee). That in itself is a new level of suck. It meta-sucked. It sucked so much that it reflected its suck back into the real world components of itself. Batman and Robin may have temporarily tarnished Batman’s image, but Phantom Menace ripped out Star Wars’s heart… and tore it to pieces… while its family watched.

  24. Gene:
    I think a lot of people loose site, that yes, Star Wars was made for kids.And when the Phantom Menace came out, those kids that loved The Originals were then adults, and they were expecting this prequel trilogy to be better than and far surpass the original.

    When asked why the original series was episodes 4,5, and 6, and why he did those first, his answer was ‘Because that was the best and most exciting part of the story.’(Not an exact quote, but close).And everyone lost site that the the first and last three of the 9 episodes were more back story and an epilogue. And in GL’s own words, were not as good as the middle three.

    Was Phantom menace Awesome?No.Was it good enough?yes.It’s back story, the roots of the Original story – whether you like it or not, Darth Vader was an annoying kid.What did you expect?It was clearly stated in the OT that Vader used to be a nice guy.

    However, the story continued after PM.Two more movies, several season of Clone Wars, and dozens of books, comics, and games.That spells success any way you look at it.Even if it’s a new generation of fans instead of the old school ‘haters’.

    That said, My kids grew up on the Prequel trilogy like I did on the OT, and they love them as much as I loved the OT.

    Batman ended there until they had to bring on a new cast, crew, and generation, in order to get it going again.

    But even then, it’s been an ok ride for batman. Batman begins was a good reboot, TDK was pretty slow, and not that great (IMHO).I’d rather watch Phantom Menace than TDK any day of the week.

    Gee Jeff, way to stir up the pot on a Tuesday

    back in the day lucas was quoted many times that they was no overarching story. he came up with vader being lukes dad like halfway into shooting empire. hate to break it to you but it wasnt until lucas realized what a cash cow he had that he made up a bunch of bs of this being the “middle chapters”. new hope was just star wars for a long time.

  25. barbario: back in the day lucas was quoted many times that they was no overarching story. he came up with vader being lukes dad like halfway into shooting empire. hate to break it to you but it wasnt until lucas realized what a cash cow he had that he made up a bunch of bs of this being the “middle chapters”. new hope was just star wars for a long time.

    Actually, even when released in theaters, it was Episode 4. Frankly, I think he made that one first (along with 5 & 6) because it was the most enjoyable part of the story. It was therefor the easiest to sell to the money people. If he had tried to do Phantom Menace first, the money would never have been there.

    For the record, I hated B&R as a film a lot more but it did nothing to damage my love of Batman. Phantom Menace had that effect on me.

  26. darkvatican

    My vote goes to Batman and Robin as more franchise-damaging. Let’s face it, George Lucas only held off doing the prequel trilogy while waiting for an opportune (ie, profitable) moment, and possibly because the story wasn’t in a completed state. In fact, myself and many others believe that it wasn’t complete at all, but was instead just a bunch of vague ideas floating in Lucas’ mind. I digress…

    First and foremost, Batman and Robin was a box office flop of epic proportions. The movie didn’t even cover its base cost on the domestic market. Batman has always been an enduring character in the foreign market, but American superhero films have nearly always done better in the US than abroad. That this film failed to do so is very telling.

    Secondly, the reception of this dismal entry in the Batman movie catalog was so bad that it demanded a complete re-invention of the movie franchise.

    Finally, even with the obvious need for a reboot, it still didn’t get done until Marvel had finally made their own successful forays into film. The 1st X-Men movie was a moderate success, but even it was far more successful than B&R had been, since it was made on a relative shoe-string budget, by WB’s standards. After two successes under Marvel’s belt and with progress almost indefinitely stalled on the long-planned-for Superman sequel, Warner Bros had to take a chance, or run the risk of falling behind Marvel. Batman was the ONLY property they had any hope of casting an actor and director for, and they were willing to pay mint. That they pulled out all the stops to ensure Batman Begins was a success is just further evidence that the owners were worried over the success of this first entry since B&R.

  27. i never saw batman and robin but iv seen the more recent ones (the dark knight) and star wars was better.

  28. A Battle Royle of crap.

    I must say however that Phantom is the lesser crap. Phantom had elements of a decent movie trying to get out from the force choke of George Lucas. Yeah, Jar Jar showed up to the dismay of almost all Star Wars fans…that said, knowing that there was going to be 2 more movies there was the hope ( a phantom hope) of them killing that lame-o. Star Wars had two more movies to redeam itself.

    Batman and Robin…was just bad. I really can’t think of any redeamable elements other than the movie ended.

  29. Seriously, is that a question? The Batman movie was worse. SW1 was ok. But Batman and Robin? NEITHER would EVER wear THOSE jumpsuits! (I must admit, though, the Adam West series costumes were WORSE!)

  30. barbario: back in the day lucas was quoted many times that they was no overarching story. he came up with vader being lukes dad like halfway into shooting empire. hate to break it to you but it wasnt until lucas realized what a cash cow he had that he made up a bunch of bs of this being the “middle chapters”. new hope was just star wars for a long time.

    I hate to break it to you, but somewhere floating around here I have an article clipped from Time magazine (I believe) right after star wars was released, an interview with Lucas describing the nine part series he had outlined, and why he did the middle three first.

    The only reason he didn’t put into the opening crawl when it was first released was because he had no idea that it would be successful enough to do the sequels.

  31. Thanks to this thread, I went back and re-watched The People versus George Lucas. Ah, the nerd rage.

  32. McKnight57

    rex:
    i never saw batman and robin but iv seen the more recent ones (the dark knight) and star wars was better.

    BLASPHEMY!!

  33. Dr. Shrinker

    I waited many long years for Star Wars:Episode I, and they gave me $#@!ing Jar Jar Binks! Almost as bad, they made affinity for The Force the result of bacterial infection!

    I will never forget, I will never forgive!

  34. Strictly examining the damage done to each respective series, I have to give it to Star Wars. What followed from B&R was the Batman Begins, a new high point for the franchise. What followed that was The Dark Knight, which was higher still. On the other hand, TPM forced the SW universe into AOTC (bad), ROTS (bad), and finally The Clone Wars (cinematic abortion), a new low point. Batman and Robin was a bad movie, but it forced a reboot that did wonders for the property overall, whereas TPM locked SW onto a path of awful movies full of awful characters and awful concepts. To top it all off TPM actually managed to screw up the original material by turning Vader into an emo crybaby and the Force into an infection whereas of all the things Batman and Robin did wrong, and there were many, nothing it did managed to ruin the source material.

    St:TPM by a mile.

  35. I voted for Phantom Menace. For me it ranks just a little bit worse, simply because I never want to see it again. The only way I can enjoy that movie is with the RiffTrax commentary on. And even then, not much. Batman and Robin, horrible though it is, I can actually watch.

  36. Nick Hentschel

    Apologize? To ME?! Good grief, I did come down awfully hard, didn’t I?

    As you may imagine, I voted for B&R, but I really do think that I have logic on my side here, for the simple reason that B&R *ended* the franchise, while TPM *revived* it: you don’t argue with results.
    Those who hate the Clone Wars films are, indeed, vocal, but I’m unconvinced that they are in the majority, for the simple reason that interest in SW remains so strong, especially the Clone Wars era. Far from ending things, TPM brought in a new generation of fans, and secured SW’s future. Nothing succeeds like SUCCESS!!!

    So there. ;-)

  37. The mere existence of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight, financially successful and fan-acclaimed movies, proves that the Batman franchise was ultimately unharmed by the Batman and Robin movie.

    The Star Wars prequels were financially successful but diminished my and other fans passion for the series. Only a complete reboot and rewrite of the prequels would change my opinion now. So until Lucas hands over the reins to someone more capable I’ll just sit here and wait….

    I wonder what Nolan has planned after that last Batman movie. :)

  38. Jeff? As interesting as this debate is, I’m having trouble equating the two at all . . . Batman is an inter-related multi-treatment set of lore redone and undone by so many productions in several media that I can’t imagine any ONE movie or new timeline undoing it. SW, on the other hand, is one set of canon and various lesser addenda of prequels, midquels (?) simultquels (?), and sequels that are mostly not canon. SW should be considered a china doll next to Batman’s Scrabble Set of Steel–you can make a lot more good and bad of Batman. I will say that B&R needed an actual WRITER and not just one or more hacks good at piecing together one-liners. B&R was a wrecking ball and still couldn’t have done the same amount of harm. I won’t be voting this time–I can’t!

  39. TPM is bad, and the worst offender, exactly because it didnt kill the franchise. instead, it created a whole new legion of fans off of something that was only superficially related to the original trilogy, perverting and poisoning the opinions of the current generation by telling them star wars was so good and so memorable not because it was a beautifully designed hodge-podge of classic TV serial tropes that helped revive and redefine the film industry, but because it had nice special effects and lightsabers. it is the zombified corpse of star wars; brought back to life as a hollow shell of its former self to eat our brains. as much as we loved it in life, the best thing we could do after seeing what it had become was to try and kill it.

    B&M? it didnt do anything to the batman name that the adam west show didnt do already. i suppose thats why people hate it; it took batman back to the embarrassing days of the silver age, reminding us of the reason people dont generally take comic-book stuff seriously. personally, i was able to accept it as one of those “so bad its hilarious” movies and actually enjoyed it.

  40. I must say this is an interesting poll because it isn’t about which is the worst movie (Batman and Robin has far more suckage in my opinion), but which has had a greater impact on fan love and good will. If I had to endure Batman and Robin to get to Batman Begins and the Dark Knight then I am happy to do so. I have forgiven Batman and moved on to a much better place. If Phantom Menace had lead to something equally awesome I would have forgiven it too. And since Lucas holds the reins I have no hope for a Nolan-type rebirth of Star Wars that would totally wipe out the bad taste of Phantom Menace from my brain.

  41. Frotality:
    TPM is bad, and the worst offender, exactly because it didnt kill the franchise. instead, it created a whole new legion of fans off of something that was only superficially related to the original trilogy, perverting and poisoning the opinions of the current generation by telling them star wars was so good and so memorable not because it was a beautifully designed hodge-podge of classic TV serial tropes that helped revive and redefine the film industry, but because it had nice special effects and lightsabers. it is the zombified corpse of star wars; brought back to life as a hollow shell of its former self to eat our brains. as much as we loved it in life, the best thing we could do after seeing what it had become was to try and kill it.

    I think you may have it hit it right on the nail. I will have to remember this analogy.

    “Why is Uncle George gnawing on my brain?”

  42. dblade: Only a complete reboot and rewrite of the prequels would change my opinion now. I wonder what Nolan has planned after that last Batman movie.

    Actually, I think a do-over of the whole thing might be interesting. Except that I can’t really imagine loving a reboot like I do the originals. While I think Lucas might be better off leaving the actual writing to other people, his design aesthetic is so strongly entwined with Star Wars in my mind that I can’t even picture the movies with the totally different look that Lucasless films would have.

    (On the actual topic, I got nothin’. Neither film inspires much rage in me.)

  43. Batman and Robin was at least funny. In a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. But there’s no salvaging TPM. As dblade said, it would take a complete ground-up reboot and rewrite to ever salvage it.

  44. Iago Valentine

    As much as I don’t like it, I’m going to have to say that The Phantom Menace did more damage to the franchise than Batman and Robin, although not for any of the reasons that have been outlined above.

    People got over Batman and Robin. Nolan’s new films came out, and Batman fans everywhere are happy. B&R is just tiny stain on the codex of Bruce Wayne’s adventures, and we were all content to move on. I remember seeing it when it first came out and thinking “Yeah, all right, this is kind of crap.” but that was it. No anger, no bitterness.

    But I didn’t feel that about Episode I either. The reason I say that Menace did more damage is that it created a frothing legion of angry, entitled “fans” who view a disappointing film as justified grounds for saying some really very stupid things, especially their personal attacks on Lucas himself. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I mean really huge. And, yeah, Episode I was a low point in the saga. But the truth of it is: go back to what Lucas said when putting up guidelines for the universe in 1977. The midichlorians that everyone hates so much and that always come up as a point against Episode I are mentioned several times as part of his vision. They existed 20 years before the movie even came out, but all the people who didn’t like them just pretended that they were apocryphal. The script wasn’t great, but no worse than the scripts for the first three. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was perfect. Far from it. But I don’t think the level of hate that it gets, and the impact that hate has had on the franchise and fanbase, is at all warranted. I remember a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a gentleman who I’d be working with. He said that he loved Star Wars, and then spent the next half hour telling me that he hated Star Wars.

    I just don’t get it sometimes.

  45. I gotta say SW:TPM was way worse for two reasons:

    1) It was done by the creator! Lucas brought us ANH, brought us Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, brought us Artoo and 3P0, and the Falcon. THEN, he brings us Midiclorians, Jar Jar, Darth Maul (they keep saying he’s a bad-ass, but he has a body count of ONE and get’s killed by a dude with a 80’s rat tail), and battle droids ala 3 Stogges. In B&R’s defense, Bob Kane didn’t take the steaming pile of crap on his own creation that Lucas did.

    2) Clooney appologized. ‘Nuff said.

  46. im torn i like Darth Maul but its Batman, i just hope its not a contest between wierd nipple showing costumed batman and SW cause if so SW wins if not its Batman all all the way cause he probably knows the force already.

  47. im torn i like Darth Maul but its Batman, i just hope its not a contest between wierd nipple showing costumed batman and SW cause if so SW wins if not its Batman all all the way cause he probably knows the force already.

  48. This has, indeed, challenged me. I mean, which film is the lesser of two evils?

    It’s akin to asking, “What smells worse, a loaded baby’s diaper or a roadkilled skunk?”, or “What’s more embarrassing, sharting during a date with a hot girl or pissing on yourself in front of the class in grade school?”.

    In the end, I’ve left my judgement to a rule of thumb that has served me well over the years. Liam Neeson happens to be one of those rare, exceptional actors whose company elevates whatever film they’re in. TPM is palatable whereas Batman & Robin leaves the victim viewer like that of a stroke patient: confused and brain damaged.

  49. Keep in mind the poll isn’t about which is the worse movie (a person would be hard pressed to defend Batman & Robin while keeping a straight face), but which did the greater harm to the franchise.

  50. Nick Hentschel

    It’s funny, really: watching all this insanely overheated rhetoric against TPM and George Lucas…. while the opposite faction is winning the poll by more than a 2-to-1 margin! Could it be that Lucas-haters are so loudmouthed, precisely because no one listens to them?

    This warms my heart, and renews my faith: I’ll never let Star Wars fans bother me again!

    Thanks for making this moment possible, Jeff. (Seriously.)

  51. dblade:
    Keep in mind the poll isn’t about which is the worse movie (a person would be hard pressed to defend Batman & Robin while keeping a straight face), but which did the greater harm to the franchise.

    Yeah, it seems to be kinda lost…

  52. Nick Hentschel: …the opposite faction is winning the poll by more than a 2-to-1 margin!

    That fact is interesting, in more ways than one. The last poll, Star Wars vs Avengers, maintained an almost exactly 30%/70% split throughout the entire debate…so far this one is doing the same. For some reason, I find this fascinating.

  53. It should really be Return Of The Jedi up there. Jedi is where all of the crap that people hate from Menace was born. Think about it. Before Jedi, Darth Vader was a guy named Darth Vader. It wasn’t until Jedi that they made him into Anakin Skywalker. Hell, Anakin didn’t even have a name until then. Vader was a villian who may have been Luke’s dad, or may have just been playing mind games. But the kicker here is, he was always Vader. In Jedi they changed it to this whole “He’s your father, but he changed his name” crap. Why couldn’t it have just been that the person who Luke thought of as his father, just wasn’t? I guess the idea of Vader knocking up Luke’s mom wouldn’t have fit in very well in a “kid’s movie”, or more likely Lucas just was doing this stuff on the fly. Jedi is also guilty of the utterly moronic Leia is Luke’s sister. Why? I still hate that, to this day.Then there’s the fact that they clearly had no idea what to do with the story, so they just toss another Death Star in there. Hell, it worked in the first one. Why bother to develop characters like we did in Empire, when we can just blow stuff up. Plus, Wicket is the foundation of Jar Jar. You can’t place too much blame on Lucas for wanting to replicate the huge success he had with the Ewoks. And let me tell some of the younger kids here, the Ewoks, for as much as they get bashed now, were friggin HUGE in the 80’s. We had toys, and dolls, and cartoons, and two really bad spin off made for TV movies. Talk about unwatchable. Phantom Menace could get Best Acting Ocsars when compared to the Ewok movies. Finally, the absolutely laziest piece of bad writting ever, “From a certain point of view” Really? REALLY? And we just accept that? And what’s worse, PRAISE that movie while saying “I don’t know why the prequils were so bad?” Yes, Jar Jar is annoying, yes Anakin as Jesus is lame, but come on? Retconning your own words, and the best you can come up with is A certain point of view? And to then try to shoehorn it in Revenge Of The Sith, just to try to validate it? 98% of what’s bad about Menace is acting/editing. 98% of what’s bad about Jedi is bad story. I’ve said it before about Menace, I think the story itself is good, once you realize it’s not about Qui-Gon, it’s not about Padme, it’s not even really about Obi-Wan and Anakin. It’s about Palpatine, and his rise to power. Anakin’s fall form grace is a side story. And while I’m earning the hatred of everyone here anyway, how can people blast Hayden Christensen, and give Carrie Fisher a pass? She was subpar at best. Yeah, we all love Slave Leia, but her scenes in Jedi are like nails on a chalkboard. Her only saving grace is most of her time is with Harrison Ford, who saves the scenes, but makes her look so much worse in the process. Everyone may now tell me how dumb I am.

  54. I think the attacks on Lucas as a film-maker are certainly justified. The original Star Wars movies came about because of his narrative and his vision, sure. But the production of those films was a collaborative process, touched by set designers, prop-makers, producers, editors, hell who can say Han Solo wasn’t made infinitely cooler by Harrison Ford’s personal touches as an actor? This was before Lucas was the unstoppable juggernaut he is today, before he was given free reign to whatever the hell he wanted, his own production company, and an army of yes men. He was just an unknown filmaker trying to tell a good story, aided by a whole bunch of people who necessarily colored the final result that everyone loves.

    Now look what happens when he’s given free-reign to do a movie completely and utterly how he wants to have it done. The Phantom Menace happens. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull happens (the main travesty of that being the awful story, which was in fact written by George Lucas. You’ll notice that Steven Spielberg, being a good director, happened to still pull pretty decent performances by the actors at his disposal.) Lucas once upon a time wrote an unbelievably epic science fiction story and made some of the most iconic films ever produced. Now he’s just a hack who gets by on his previous notoriety.

  55. Nick Hentschel:
    It’s funny, really: watching all this insanely overheated rhetoric against TPM and George Lucas…. while the opposite faction is winning the poll by more than a 2-to-1 margin!Could it be that Lucas-haters are so loudmouthed, precisely because no one listens to them?

    This warms my heart, and renews my faith: I’ll never let Star Wars fans bother me again!

    Thanks for making this moment possible, Jeff.(Seriously.)

    Try to keep it as friendly as nerd rage will allow and stick to bashing/supporting the movie/directors rather than attacking your fellow Machinists.

    And judging by some of the comments, people are voting for which is the better movie as opposed to the question Jeff posed. You would probably find that the vote would be closer to 100% if that was the case. Batman and Robin is that bad. Alas I voted for Phantom Menace since I still lament the harm it did to my Star Wars love, while Batman and Robin had no effect on my appreciation of Batman.

  56. Nick Hentschel

    dblade: Try to keep it as friendly as nerd rage will allow and stick to bashing/supporting the movie/directors rather than attacking your fellow Machinists.

    And judging by some of the comments, people are voting for which is the better movie as opposed to the question Jeff posed.

    HA!!! I *dare* you to prove that. I’d say I won that little exchange, and you’re just making double-talk in order to to stymie my arguments.

    I don’t respect “nerd rage”: smart people are supposed to be more mature than that, and heroes are supposed to inspire *better* behavior in people, not worse. I scorn “nerd rage,” and frankly, a lot of Lucas’s worst critics are total psychos, who are not to be defended, but locked up in Arkham. “Justified,” hell!

    I *loved* Return of the Jedi, and still do; it’s my favorite of the original trilogy, perhaps because it’s the one I remember most clearly (I was 8). And just to make sure where I stand, let me say a few things more…

    – I like the idea of “midi-chlorians,” as it fit very well with established continuity about the force: how force-sensitivity could be inherited, how the vornskr could evolve an immunity, and how the Emperor could devise a machine to detect it.
    – The Ewoks kick ass! I think seeing big, bad Stormtroopers torn apart by an army of angry teddy bears is hilarious, especially after what they did at the Jedi Temple. And any pint-sized species that can take out Imperial hardware, and build a functional hang-glider, without even possessing metal-working technology, has my whole-hearted respect.
    – I felt sorry for Jar-jar, not hateful. As someone with a lifetime of learning disorders, for whom nothing seems to work out right, I could honestly relate.
    – Not only did I enjoy TPM, I bought the novelization, and I preferred Natalie Portman’s cover to Darth Maul’s! Moreover, I think that Maul and Boba are total nonentities.
    – I like “Crystal Skull,” too; it was STILL better than “Last Crusade.” And it actually reflected some of my own ideas, which I was glad to see.

    So there, again. I stand by the Clone Wars as great entertainment, however, imperfect, and say that the people have spoken. And I maintain that the homicidal hatred of George Lucas is aired by poseurs at best, psychos at worst, and does not speak for the majority.

    Man, I feel good today….!

  57. Nick Hentschel: And I maintain that the homicidal hatred of George Lucas is aired by poseurs at best, psychos at worst, and does not speak for the majority.

    And I say again that you’re engaging in the very behavior you’re decrying, by casting anyone who disagrees with your personal opinion as a “poseur” or a “psycho”. I don’t like that kind of stereotyping and I’ll ask you again to not engage in it. There’s no need to get personal.

    I appreciate your saying why you do like it and why you think others are wrong, but castigating every single person who disagrees with you with that kind of rhetoric is destructive, reductive, and not something I want to encourage here.

  58. I voted B&R because when I first saw Phantom Menace, I liked it. I was really little (maybe 8 years old) but regardless, it was my first introduction to Star Wars. I guess the fact that I wasn’t able to be offended by midichlorians or Jar-Jar (he reminded me of a cartoon character) helped me not be bothered. I got really into star wars, and I don’t necessarily hate the prequils. but to me, TPM made a fan of the series as a whole. I actually like a lot of the things in the prequils, and Midichlorians make more sense to me than magic in a sci fi anyway.

    I first saw B&R five years later. It was okay, but it didn’t really make me like batman, I was just kind of like. “huh, so, there’s a gay guy dressing like a bat sliding down a pole with a teen boy…”

    In recap, I think B&R did more damage, because while TPM turned me on to Star Wars as a little kid (I’m talking movies, videogames, coloring books, the works) Batman just kind of…was there.

  59. Nick Hentschel

    Jeff Hebert: And I say again that you’re engaging in the very behavior you’re decrying, by casting anyone who disagrees with your personal opinion as a “poseur” or a “psycho”. I don’t like that kind of stereotyping and I’ll ask you again to not engage in it. There’s no need to get personal.

    So, these quotes are “Friendly”?:

    “I think they should take a way George Lucas’s pen, and break his fingers!” [Exact quote, heard at a party]
    “They had this great idea, about going back in time to 1981, and killing him before he makes any more movies….” [Paraphrase, heard at work from someone sitting RIGHT BEHIND ME!]
    “The man’s deal with the devil ended after 1983….” [Recently read on a website.]
    “If I were George Lucas, back then, I would shoot Steven Spielberg, and then myself, to stop all the future horrors…” [Paraphrase, but heard RIGHT HERE on the HM boards.]
    And then, there was the guy in the job line, who happily joked about ROTJ director Richard Marquand committing suicide….

    You getting my point? After hearing all this insanity, I can no longer hear personal criticisms of George Lucas without experiencing PTSD flashbacks. And with NO ONE standing up against it except me, I can no longer believe that it’s not at least tacitly supported by the complainers, as a whole.

    There are some really crazy people out there, and some of them claim to be Star Wars fans. I won’t suffer, as a fan, because of them.

    May the Force be with you. :-)

  60. Nick, those are comments (all but one of them not even on this site at all, much less in this thread!) about the film maker, a public figure. You’re making remarks about your fellow HeroMachinists.

    That’s the line. Maybe it’s fair and maybe it’s not, but it’s my line. Do not make personal attacks against the other commenters here. If anyone does it again the remark will be deleted. If it continues after that I’ll remove the offender’s account completely.

  61. DiCicatriz

    I think that Jeff is just trying to point out the difference in criticizing (however vulgar and violent that criticism may have been) a person of notoriety on a comic-book blog that said person will likely never see (said person again being a person of repute whose work exists in the general public sphere and is regularly subject to such rabid criticism, especially in light of his recent endeavors) and personally criticizing those people with whom you are directly interacting on the aforementioned blog.

  62. DiCicatriz

    Ah. Jeff beat me to it. :)

  63. Nick Hentschel

    I believe that the rules should be uniform: you don’t talk about ANYONE that way, regardless of context.

  64. dblade: Try to keep it as friendly as nerd rage will allow and stick to bashing/supporting the movie/directors rather than attacking your fellow Machinists.

    And judging by some of the comments, people are voting for which is the better movie as opposed to the question Jeff posed. You would probably find that the vote would be closer to 100% if that was the case. Batman and Robin is that bad. Alas I voted for Phantom Menace since I still lament the harm it did to my Star Wars love, while Batman and Robin had no effect on my appreciation of Batman.

    To argue the point, for some people it might be the same thing. And frankly in all cases, this is merely personal opinion; as Jeff pointed out, neither franchise has actually “destroyed” itself to the point of being financially irrelevant. In fact, quite the opposite, all the Star Wars prequels had giant box office returns, and The Clone Wars is pulling respectable ratings for The Cartoon Network, while both of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies also did quite well at the box office, and Batman has always been one of DC’s best selling titles. So the question has to be “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you? For guys like Nick and I, TPM did nothing to destroy our love of Star Wars. For someone like you, dblade, the movie diminished Star Wars, and perhaps even rendered the movies unwatchable. I know a guy on a chat board I used to go to that railed that Star Wars:A New Hope was the worst thing to ever happen in motion picture history, because it spawned the trend to release summer blockbusters that placed a higher priority in visuals than story (so in that case, Star Wars begat Avatar….*shudder*).
    In that spirit: Did The Phantom Menace destroy Star Wars for me personally? No, not at all. Did Batman and Robin destroy the Batman franchise for me? Well, it might have hurt it a little, temporarily (and I still refuse to watch B & R ever again). So, I stand by my answer.

  65. Nick Hentschel:
    I believe that the rules should be uniform: you don’t talk about ANYONE that way, regardless of context.

    And that speaks well of you.

    Myro: So the question has to be “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you?

    Exactly! What interests me, as I said originally, is what makes someone take a bad movie so personally that it ruins their enjoyment of other parts of the franchise they love. It’s a fascinating illustration of the thin line between love and hate.

    I have to say I’ve found this discussion much more enlightening than I could’ve hoped originally. Really good stuff, cogent points well made, and insights I haven’t had previously. Y’all rock!

  66. Nick Hentschel

    Myro: To argue the point, for some people it might be the same thing…….. .So the question has to be “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you?

    That’s actually a MUCH better description of the question that most people here are answering (as opposed to the poll’s question), and probably the most insightful thing that I’ve heard so far.

    It’s absolutely critical that A) people distinguish between these two questions, and B) that it not be made personal: it’s only a movie.

    I suppose that my own comments could be re-evaluated in this context, by saying that it’s the hostility I’ve encountered, that’s ruined Star Wars fandom for me, to the point where I am honestly afraid to share my love of the films. Obviously, some don’t agree, even relishing the change, and don’t like hearing MY anger about it. But I am genuinely scared of the trends I see at work around me, and it’s deeply hurtful to me, that no one sympathizes with that fear.

    Thanks for the support.

  67. Enough said, Batman a Robin was way worse in damage. It actually killed batman and super hero movie for nearly a decade.

    While Phantom menace was childish it was atleast watchable and even somewhat fun for the more casual viewer. Sure not everyone loved it but only big fan where butthurt over it.

    By the way, since english isn’t my first language, i watched at first a dubbed version of both movie who had tuned down the annoying by alot. I only watched the original recently. Even dubbed, batman and robin was a stupid forgettable mess while phantom menace was actually good.

  68. Nick Hentschel:

    I *loved* Return of the Jedi, and still do

    I don’t know if this was in reference to my comment, but let me clarify. I Love Star Wars. Look back at anytime TPM comes up here, and you’ll see I’m ususally one of the first to defend it. My point wasn’t about hating SW, it was about pointing out the hypocracy that people have with the whole series, and how people act like the Prequils are the worst thing ever, and turn a blind eye to the flaws of the originals. I have never been the person to wish death on Lucas because I didn’t like Jar Jar. My personal “Nerd Rage” comes in when people don’t have anything more to back up their arguement as to why they hate the movies other that “Jar Jar / Hayden sucks”. But that being said, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I personally think Jedi is the worst one. I think in my previous comment I gave a pretty good explanation of my reasons why I feel that way. And I know that my opinion is far from the popular one.

  69. Nick Hentschel: I suppose that my own comments could be re-evaluated in this context, by saying that it’s the hostility I’ve encountered, that’s ruined Star Wars fandom for me, to the point where I am honestly afraid to share my love of the films. Obviously, some don’t agree, even relishing the change, and don’t like hearing MY anger about it.

    The point I’m trying to make here, Nick, is that you’re doing to people who don’t like the movie the same thing that has hurt you. People were vicious and personal and that scared you. And now, your comments could be construed to be doing the same thing to them. I know you’re not a mean or vicious person, and it’s rotten that the comments of others in the past have affected you personally, but that doesn’t make it ok to do it in return.

    I think this thread is a great example of people being perfectly safe in expressing their opinions about these pieces of entertainment without personal animosity or rage at any of the other commenters who might disagree. The majority of folks actually have expressed a deep liking for Phantom Menace and I don’t see anyone harshing on them personally for it. Yes, some (like me!) still find the film itself loathsome, but I don’t hate you or anyone else for liking it.

  70. Dan: the hypocracy that people have with the whole series, and how people act like the Prequils are the worst thing ever, and turn a blind eye to the flaws of the originals.

    In talking this over with FOH John Hartwell, this was one of the facets I mentioned. That maybe part of the personal outrage a lot of original series fans felt was that in seeing the creator they revealed give us something that was (in our opinion) Really Really Bad, it made us question our own little-self judgment. Like, maybe Phantom Menace being so bad means that the original Star Wars was ALSO pretty bad, only we got sucked into it an early age. That sense of something cherished from childhood being threatened might explain some of the … shall we say “intense”! … reaction from the older cohort.

  71. Jeff Hebert: In talking this over with FOH John Hartwell, this was one of the facets I mentioned. That maybe part of the personal outrage a lot of original series fans felt was that in seeing the creator they revealed give us something that was (in our opinion) Really Really Bad, it made us question our own little-self judgment. Like, maybe Phantom Menace being so bad means that the original Star Wars was ALSO pretty bad, only we got sucked into it an early age. That sense of something cherished from childhood being threatened might explain some of the … shall we say “intense”! … reaction from the older cohort.

    It’s a very interesting point. See, for me, the prequils enhance the originals, not take away from them. But as I’ve said in the past, I read the books, and they explain alot of stuff that the movies didn’t. So I look at SW as a whole. I can totally see why people don’t like the movies. I watch them alot now because my son likes them, but most of the time I don’t have the sound up. Let me tell you guys this, they are great as silent movies! I think people overlook the great things about the prequils, like how amazing they look, because, and let’s be honest here, there’s some REALLY bad dialouge. And I respect anyone, like Jeff who actually gives an explaination as to why they don’t like them.

  72. Nick Hentschel

    Jeff:
    I think you just repeated my new-found point for me. After having had a few hours (and a nice, long bicycle ride, which always helps) to think about it, I’ve come to realize that as absurd as it seems to me, people were objecting to my comments for the same reason that I was objecting to theirs. Moreover, I suddenly realize that you can’t make personal attacks or dismissals, when arguing on *moral* grounds: after all, if you disliked people so much, why are you arguing with them? (Of course, I could say the same thing about why people who “hate” Star Wars keep talking about it….. but we’re arguing in circles.)
    Your point about the blow to the viewer’s confidence is also valid, and needs no embellishment. It may be that I was spared this, myself, since I never watched the first 2 films of the Original Trilogy very much: I grew up chiefly with the NPR radio dramas, never liking the films as much, and moved straight on to ROTJ.

    My thanks to Dan, Iago, an several other people for defending more positive opinions, and I’m sorry that I didn’t notice your comments sooner; it might have helped.

    Anyway, I think that this may have been a mistake that I needed to make, today; it’s cleared up some things about inter-personal interaction that have been bothering me for a while.

    And lastly, I’d like to clear up one important thing that =originally brought me to HM: that instead of critiquing another’s work at length, I’ve decided that it’s better to CREATE YOUR OWN VISION, and have things your way from the start. I’ve been gradually working on this (you’ve seen some of the characters), though I’m not there yet, and I really do value the resources and input that I get here at HM. I just want *everyone* to get the same benefits… even George Lucas (hypothetically).

  73. McKnight57: BLASPHEMY!!

    whats blasphemy

  74. Myro: So the question has to be “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you?

    I suppose that’s a little clearer, but I still stand by my original answer.

    Batman and Robin was bad, but I can watch other good Batman movies and read good Batman comics without being reminded of how bad B&R was. With Star Wars, I can’t do anything without flashing back to TPM and all the other terrible prequels. I can’t even so much as glance at any piece of Star Wars media without being reminded of the prequels and feeling a little ashamed that I paid 8 bucks apiece to go see them. The closest I came to re-experiencing Star Wars without feeling like crap was playing The Force Unleashed, a game I almost passed on because of how much the prequels turned me off of Star Wars.

    There were times when I would walk into Borders or Barnes and Nobles and immediately walk right back out again because there were prequel-based Star Wars novels on display just inside the front door. I couldn’t even stand to look at them, they made me that mad.

  75. Dan: My point wasn’t about hating SW, it was about pointing out the hypocracy that people have with the whole series, and how people act like the Prequils are the worst thing ever, and turn a blind eye to the flaws of the originals.

    Fair enough, however, I challenge you to watch these reviews and point out how they are wrong:

    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-1-the-phantom-menace/
    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-ii-attack-of-the-clones/
    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/

    And THEN, I want you to come back and explain to me how the original Star Wars Trilogy was equal in quality to the prequel trilogy.

  76. I’m not interested in people trying to somehow convert others to their point of view, I’d much rather just hear why you personally feel as you do.

  77. McKnight57

    rex: whats blasphemy

    Are you asking for what I’m referring to in your statement or a dictionary definition?

  78. McKnight57

    rex:
    i never saw batman and robin but iv seen the more recent ones (the dark knight) and star wars was better.

    I have to ask what it was about Dark Knight that you didn’t like. I mean, if it was Maggie Gyllenhaal, then I don’t blame you. On the other hand, having Heath Ledger as the Joker was amazing, unless of course you’re more of a fan of Cesar Romero from the 60s era Batman series. Those are the only two downsides I can see to that particular film.

  79. McKnight57: I have to ask what it was about Dark Knight that you didn’t like.

    This is getting off topic, but while I liked Dark Knight, I can definitely see how some people wouldn’t care for it. I mean, it’s pretty dark. That’s not what some people want from their movies, especially summer super-hero action type movies.

  80. ProwlerKnight

    McKnight57: You’re forgetting Batgirl not being a red-head or Barbara Gordon.

    Actually Barbara Gordon WAS batgirl at one point, then she was shot by the joker in the lower spine and was forced to a wheel chair and became the prophet. As for her being Alfreds Neice I’m sure they just tied two characters into one and said “They’ll never figure it out.” I don’t know if they had another character for batgirl like they did Robin, but I know Commisioner Gordons daughter was batgirl.

  81. McKnight57

    Jeff Hebert: This is getting off topic, but while I liked Dark Knight, I can definitely see how some people wouldn’t care for it. I mean, it’s pretty dark. That’s not what some people want from their movies, especially summer super-hero action type movies.

    I agree. But what I loved about it was that it wasn’t even really in the same ballpark as Batman and Robin. Dark Knight actually made sense compared to the other. It got back to the roots of the character, because Batman and Gotham are almost the exact opposite of what most people expect to see in a superhero movie. Gotham is a dirty, violent place and the Nolan-verse capitalized on that. Not just in the look of the city, but in the complexity of the story, the characters and costumes. I’m also seriously hoping for just as much grit and danger in The Dark Knight Rises.

  82. Doornik1142: Fair enough, however, I challenge you to watch these reviews and point out how they are wrong:

    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-1-the-phantom-menace/
    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-ii-attack-of-the-clones/
    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/

    And THEN, I want you to come back and explain to me how the original Star Wars Trilogy was equal in quality to the prequel trilogy.

    Honestly, I really can’t stomach more complaining about the prequels, so I don’t think I’ll take you up. And again, I know that my opinion is not the popular one, and I know that there are many flaws with the prequels. I just don’t think that they are as bad as people make them out to be. And I certainly don’t think that just because someone didn’t like a movie, that they should wish death upon the guy who created it. I love Star Wars, the originals, and the prequels too. I also read the books, the comics, watch the tv show, and play the games. Not all of them are winners. Alot of them stink. Alot of them contridict each other. But I like to take it all in, so I can embrace what I like, and not dwell on the stuff that I don’t. And truthfully, there’s alot of stuff that most people that come here like that I hate. Like Avatar. And the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. So, thanks for the reviews, but I’m gonna pass. :)

  83. McKnight57: Are you asking for what I’m referring to in your statement or a dictionary definition?

    what are refering to in my statement

  84. McKnight57: I agree. But what I loved about it was that it wasn’t even really in the same ballpark as Batman and Robin. Dark Knight actually made sense compared to the other. It got back to the roots of the character, because Batman and Gotham are almost the exact opposite of what most people expect to see in a superhero movie. Gotham is a dirty, violent place and the Nolan-verse capitalized on that. Not just in the look of the city, but in the complexity of the story, the characters and costumes. I’m also seriously hoping for just as much grit and danger in The Dark Knight Rises.

    But see, some people could argue that for them Batman & Robin brought it back to the roots of Batman that they knew. You have to remember, before 1989, what most people knew about Batman was from the 60’s tv show. And still today, even with Begins and Dark Knight, the 60’s haunts us. And remember DC also changed the comics in the 50’s to be more cheesy and campy too. Some episodes from the 60’s show were taken right out of the comics. It’s what makes Batman so great, that even through garbage like Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin, and comic revamps, that Batman can grow and change and stay timeless. They way I look at it, it took Bats having to sink to the depth of Bat-skates and Bat-credit cards and “Everybody Chill”, to be able to rise up to The Dark Knight, and have it be one of the best superhero movies ever made. And even still, there will always be people who say that the 60’s show is Batman done the way he’s supposed to be.

  85. McKnight57: I have to ask what it was about Dark Knight that you didn’t like. I mean, if it was Maggie Gyllenhaal, then I don’t blame you. On the other hand, having Heath Ledger as the Joker was amazing, unless of course you’re more of a fan of Cesar Romero from the 60s era Batman series. Those are the only two downsides I can see to that particular film.

    i didn’t hate the dark knight i just think star wars is better
    f.y.i. i dont really know actors names nor who they play in almost everything

  86. rex: i didn’t hate the dark knight i just think star wars is better
    f.y.i. i dont really know actors names nor who they play in almost everything

    I guess I just took it the wrong way. I have very strong feelings about the new Star Wars trilogy. I can’t really connect one to the other, because despite being younger I still think that the originals are the only ones that matter. I like pieces of the expanded universe, but I’m not really a fan of the movies.

    Even still, Batman and Robin was a worse movie because it felt like the writers and the director in particular didn’t even attempt to make a good film. Every bit of batman that I grew up with was dark and gritty, even the old animated series. I love laughing at the old 60s era series because I see it as a satire of the Batman that all the comic geeks remember.

  87. I’m sorry, but I really feel that this shouldn’t even be a debate.

    Batman and Robin made 130 million, barely making money. This caused an eight year gap to ‘Batman Begins’, which made 371m.

    In contrast, Phantom Menace made 508m. Ep II made 608m, three years later. Ep. III…made 898m.

    Sure, there were some mistakes with the plot of Episode I, but I don’t see that franchise being ‘damaged’ at all. Those mistakes were basically a speed bump to make wheelbarrows of cash later, whereas ‘Batman and Robin’ killed the Batman movie franchise for nearly a decade.

  88. I think that Jeff makes the point in his introduction that neither one of these movies actually killed the franchise (financially and the amount of products produced afterwards). I think it is more of a personal ruining of the franchise for fans who had great love for the originals. I think it is easier to bounce back from Batman because there is not a singular model guiding the franchise. One movie or series of movies can be forgotten, replaced by some other vision. Whereas the Star Wars movies had a singular vision in Lucas for the most part, and the six movies are all we are getting for the core canon. If you don’t like Phantom Menace then it is much harder to be excited about the whole narrative. If you don’t like Batman and Robin you can just say that movie was a mistake and Batman Begins is a better representation of the Batman story.

    So the question put forth is easier to answer “Phantom Menace” because it matters to the whole, while “Batman and Robin” can be wiped away without affecting the rest. This is not about which is worse because I would be voting for Batman and Robin without hesitation.

    If had loved Phantom Menace I would have avoided this discussion because the question itself would have had no relevance to me personally. At best I would have had to argue that Phantom Menace did not belong in the poll which would have been a different argument all together.

  89. dblade:
    I think that Jeff makes the point in his introduction that neither one of these movies actually killed the franchise (financially and the amount of products produced afterwards). I think it is more of a personal ruining of the franchise for fans who had great love for the originals. I think it is easier to bounce back from Batman because there is not a singular model guiding the franchise. One movie or series of movies can be forgotten, replaced by some other vision. Whereas the Star Wars movies had a singular vision in Lucas for the most part, and the six movies are all we are getting for the core canon. If you don’t like Phantom Menace then it is much harder to be excited about the whole narrative. If you don’t like Batman and Robin you can just say that movie was a mistake and Batman Begins is a better representation of the Batman story.

    So the question put forth is easier to answer “Phantom Menace” because it matters to the whole, while “Batman and Robin” can be wiped away without affecting the rest. This is not about which is worse because I would be voting for Batman and Robin without hesitation.

    If had loved Phantom Menace I would have avoided this discussion because the question itself would have had no relevance to me personally. At best I would have had to argue that Phantom Menace did not belong in the poll which would have been a different argument all together.

    But see, that would completely change the nature of this poll from “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you?” to “Did The Phantom Menace ruin Star Wars for you?” And the second question is far less interesting.

  90. Myro: But see, that would completely change the nature of this poll from “Which movie destroyed the franchise for you?” to “Did The Phantom Menace ruin Star Wars for you?” And the second question is far less interesting.

    You are talking about my last paragraph, right?
    If so I can just say “Exactly”.
    I wanted to deal with the poll question rather than a defense or even attack on the quality of either movie. I hate to say it but only a person who was disappointed in both movies, or at least accepted a multitude of fans were disappointed in both movies, is actually in a position to argue this poll. If you don’t accept the situation then it is a waste of time to even get involved.

  91. Hmmm rather than “I wanted to deal with the poll question rather than a defense or even attack on the quality of either movie.” I should have said “I wanted to deal with the poll question rather than a defense or even attack on the quality of either movie while ignoring the actual idea of which was personally more franchise-damaging.”

    I could have gone on for pages describing my hatred of Batman and Robin, yet Phantom Menace was personally more franchise-destroying than that cheesy piece of bantha doo doo.

    By the way, I think the key word I’m getting hung up on is “more”, implying both were franchise-damaging in some way. In true nerd fashion I have gotten obsessed with the details.

  92. doornik? As to what’s wrong, his pronunciation, his trivia, history, (I’m not sure he was joking about all of it.) SOME of what he said was subjective. . . in general, the more esoteric he was, the more correct he was. His lack of patience does seem to have lowered his listening skills, but, even so, the principles of storytelling he understands perfectly.

  93. It’s gotta be Batman and Robin, the Star Wars franchise is still going strong, but I’ve seen relatively little of Batman compared to Star Wars. And I still have action figures ranging from the legacy series to the Clone Wars littered around my room.

  94. ProwlerKnight

    Neither really killed, since the Star wars movies werent played out to be a long franchise in movie sense from what I see (three original episodes then the three prequels to tie it together, unless they plan on a prequel to the prequel or a sequal to the sequal, then basically the cartoon series, books, and games are all thats left, and the movies cant kill those because they are, though on the similar plot and setting, different storylines) and Batman is like any other comic-book based franchise, the storyline is loose due to the mass of plots and enemies, so one failed movie is nothing to the vast empire of the hero. Now I’m not strong in supporting either film because frankly Episode one wasn’t the strongest of the series sure, and Batman and Robin was poorly made. So to me both are equal in my eyes in the damage caused, but neither series is killed over these two films, you can’t call a whole forest rotten because of one bad apple.