Star Wars: Phantom Menace: Lucas Looks Back and Regrets….

It’s very rare that a filmmaker of stature looks back on his previous work and admits some wrongdoing.  It takes courage and honesty, especially when it concerns such a sacred cow as the franchise Star Wars, which incidentally began exactly 40 years ago!George Lucas was not thrilled after he saw a rough cut of 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  He was so perplexed by the climax that he told the small membership in the screening room that he “may have gone too far in a few places.”

There are multiple little moments in the interesting segment of the DVD, such as “The Beginning: Making Episode I.” Lucas told Frank Oz during a shot setup that they would “never catch Titanic” at the box office, but it is footage of the candid chatter after the rough cut that is surprising.

Critics did not care for the film (55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans were also disappointed (59 percent audience score).

One of the larger complaints, besides Jar Jar, was the disjointed climax of the film.  Lucas and crew had that same reaction. However, by the time it was realized, it was too late, according to the DVD special feature.

“It’s a little disjointed.  It’s bold in terms of jerking people around. I may have gone too far in a few places.”

Editor Ben Burtt goes talks about the pacing and tone of the scenes cut together, which include a lightsaber fight and subsequent death of Qui-Gon Jinn; Queen Amidala and troops escaping; Anakin flying and Jar Jar being goofy during a ground battle.

“In a space of about 90 seconds, you go from lamenting the death of a hero to escape to slightly comedic with Jar Jar to Anakin returning.  It’s a lot in a very short time,” Burtt said.  Lucas agreed, but it was too late to make cuts.

Producer Rick McCallum sat in silence, staring at the screen with his hand over his mouth. “It boggles the mind. I have thought about this quite a bit, and the tricky part is you almost can’t take any of those pieces out of it now, because each one takes you to the next place. And you can’t jump because you don’t know where you are.”

“I do a particular kind of movie of which this is consistent,” Lucas says. “But it is a very hard movie to follow. But, at the same time, I have done it a little more extremely than I have done it in the past. It’s stylistically designed to be that way, and you can’t undo that, but we can diminish the affects of it. We can slow it down a little bit, so if it’s intense for us, a regular person is going to go nuts.”

Source: Variety