How the Internet Reacted to The Phantom Menace (1999 and beyond)

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Now we’ve arrived in 2019, not only do we continue the countdown to Episode IX in December but we also cast our minds back 20 years (those of us who were around then that is) to May 19th 1999 and The Phantom Menace.

The YouTube Channel Eckharts Ladder, via Movieweb, take a long look at the reactions to the release of Phantom, views which ran from rabid enthusiasm to vein-popping apoplectic rage. Good to know things have changed in the last 20 years….

Before The Last Jedi, the first movie in the long awaited prequel trilogy back in 1999 was a contender for the most divisive movie in the franchise. But, it wasn’t always like that.

When The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, the majority of the reviews were overwhelmingly positive amongst fans. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/5 stars and the New Yorker also gave it a glowing review. Hardcore fans were even putting up positive reviews online before the movie even came out, which just goes to prove that everybody really, really wanted to love what George Lucas was giving us. Some reviews after The Phantom Menace came out go as far as to call Lucas a genius for the movie that he created.

Back in 1999 I was running Wirezone, changing its name to Lightsabre.co.uk on 28th June ahead of the UK release of the film on 16th July. For me it was a magical time to be a fan, especially in a very different online era, and as such Fantha Tracks will be looking back to ’99 throughout the year on the site, in podcasts and at events around the world.