How the Failure of “The Phantom Menace” fed my “Star Wars” Obsession

My “Star Wars” obsession began in 1997 when George Lucas unleashed the new editions of his trilogy in theaters. For me it was something of a passing fad that I admired through the fun commercials and the heavy connection to Doritos. I wanted those pogs even if I didn’t know who Luke Skywalker or Lando Calrissian was. A year later, I borrowed the original trilogy from a friend on VHS and consumed the whole series in one sitting over the course of a weekend. I never came back from that obsession, and to this day it’s a hard habit to break. “Star Wars” is a series that kept me hooked for a very long time and I was always looking for anything I could find to read about it, or consume in some form as entertainment.

In 1999 when Lucas aired the first ever trailer for “The Phantom Menace” on primetime television, I rushed home to watch the trailer on video tape, and I must have seen it at least ten times. It looked amazing.

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Brightburn (2019)

As a hardcore Superman fan I was very intrigued and a bit excited for “Brightburn.” I think we’ve reached the point in pop culture where, what with the glut of superhero movies being released, we can finally start to deconstruct and or satirize the classic mythology. With “Brightburn” the premise amounts to a spooky, chaotic, violent, but very entertaining horror tale that re-thinks one of the most recognizable superhero origin stories in pop culture history.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

The entire “John Wick” series is something of a surprise seemingly out of nowhere. What might have been a weak vehicle from Keanu Reeves turned in to a pretty groundbreaking and exciting action series where Reeves is able to re-invent himself once again for a new generation. You wouldn’t figure Reeves would be believable as one of the deadliest assassins in the world, but he handles the role of John Wick so proficiently. Wick has become something much more than the titular anti-hero of his film series. He’s become the key in to a very unique cinematic universe.

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Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

Every once in a while, I’m glad to break out of the doom and gloom of DC Batman movies and watch something that is just fun and exciting. I admit that I missed all the waves of comic books in the last few years where Batman crossed paths with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so this movie was completely new to me. Suffice to say being a fan of both properties I was anxious to see how they would handle it, and thankfully DC/Warner and Nickelodeon delivers something for the fans and the general audience looking for a good pop culture crossover.

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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I was more than a little surprised when “The LEGO Movie” ended up being one of the best movies of its year. Lord and Miller managed to take what could have been a glorified commercial for LEGO and ended up building a unique universe, and a heartfelt, hilarious adventure about reaching deep to find what makes us so special, and appreciating the child within us. I even loved the meta-climax, which with other creative minds behind it, might have destroyed everything we saw before it.

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“X-Men: Evolution” Was a Step Up for the X-Men

After FOX Studios revived comic book property the X-Men and paved the comic book movie as bonafide moneymaker, the canvas of pop culture was carved from the gateway “Blade” forged. After the 2000 cinematic adaptation “X-Men” and its sequel “X2,” both films and the franchised built shocking influence, not just on other genre properties, but comics in general. With X-Men once again being celebrated, the iconic series and comic book team was primed for an animated reboot, after the end of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Marvel and Film Roman approached the series from a different angle by establishing a new continuity of the “merry mutants” in contemporary times. They changed the focus of the series, as well as the ages of the entire group to appeal to a wider young audience.

And it worked.

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When the “X-Men” Took the Nineties

“Previously on, X-Men…” was one of the trademark openings kids in the nineties heard every Saturday morning while watching the FOX Kids line up. It was during this time, in the midst of the networks third year (which also included “Batman: The Animated Series”), that FOX and Saban Entertainment teamed up to take on on yet another very popular and ambitious comic book property: Marvel Comics’ “X-Men.” The series came to be widely known by FOX and hardcore fans as “X-Men: The Animated Series.”

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Remembering 1989’s “Pryde of the X-Men”

“Pryde of the X-Men” (also known as “X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men”) is an animated pilot I mostly remember thanks to its VHS release in 1989 that my brother and I must have borrowed from my cousin a thousand times over. Despite its obscurity, however, this relic of the early Marvel Entertainment days is one of the many abandoned projects from Marvel that’d inadvertently become a classic. Before 1992’s “X-Men: The Animated Series,” there was 1989’s “X-Men,” a series that begun development after constant guest spots from the team during “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” Watching it years later, it’s surprising just how much of the early episodes of the 1992 series were based on the “Pryde of the X-Men” pilot.

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