First off, I have to say that for the most part this DVD has been put together quite well. It has some pretty good rockin' background music, and it covers the phenomenon of Star Wars as well as the specific build up of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The only complaint I really have about the DVD is that the bonus features menu for the deleted scenes doesn't leave the last feature you just watched selected or the next feature selected in the list. In other words, after each deleted scene, you have to start from the top of the menu again instead of where you left off. But other than that, it's a well put together DVD. And the bonus features are good.
I must say, even though I know how big Star Wars is, I never actually got to experience hype that big until watching this DVD. I knew about the crazy people camping out waiting a month and a half for the movie and whatnot. But to actually be a part of it I never was really. The most I've done was get in line two hours before the midnight showing on opening night of Episode II with my ticket in hand. And even that was a big event. But to actually have a documentary dive into different areas around the U.S. and talk to people waiting in line for 42 days and to just see all the craziness behind it is incredible.
They documented the Toys 'R' Us mayhem of May 3, 1999 with legions of Star Wars fans lining up just to buy the new toys. They covered people who actually believe the force is real and claim Jedi as their religion. They interviewed famous stars like Meat Loaf and Joe Pesci about what their thoughts were on the Star Wars phenomenon. They talked about costumes, the lines, the toys, the "religion," the force, the conventions, the lack of father figures in these geeks lives, etc. They even compared the crowds pushing each other around to get to the toy they want to the crowds in Kosova pushing each other around just to get food. Very ironic. They definitely did cover the phenomenon. So overall, it's a very interesting documentary.
When I watched this DVD, I realized that I'm better off being a low-key fan like I am. Sure, I have a Star Wars website. Sure, I collect Star Wars stuff. Sure, I went to the midnight showing of Episode II. But I'm not insane and out of my mind like these people are. I mean, this documentary really shows how nuts these people actually are. Star Wars is their life. Maybe that's why I wasn't so let down by The Phantom Menace like some of these fans in the documentary were. I mean, they practically deserve to be let down. One shouldn't build up a movie, no matter how big of a movie it is, to be the second coming. One is destined for a let down then - even the director of this DVD, Tariq Jalil, says this in the commentary. Sure, there will always be people who will be let down no matter what. But has anyone noticed how many more fans were pleased with Attack of the Clones than with The Phantom Menace? TPM had 16 years in the waiting, and enough inescapable hype in 1998 through May 1999 to sink us into a black hole. And that's exactly what happened. People got sucked into a black hole, thinking that the movie sucked beyond belief, when in reality it's only them that's the problem. AOTC had only three years of waiting, and the hype was considerably low-key on purpose. And most fans walked out loving the film. The fan-base's opinion of the movie wasn't split down the middle like with TPM.
So I'm glad that I didn't build these movies up to be more than movies. I mean, they are a phenomenon and one cannot escape that. And I don't think one should. It's good to be fascinated with something and to even make it a big part of your life. I don't get down on those fans for doing what they did. I think it's cool that they waited in line that long to see The Phantom Menace. I mean, the hype is fun and exciting. But it's when the hype alters the opinion of what should be a good movie that it gets to be too much. My advice for fans of Star Wars would be to basically get a life, but not forget about the movies. In other words, find other things to focus on, but still enjoy the genre that is Star Wars. It's a great hobby, and a great phenomenon that one should not be ashamed of being a part of. It's ok to have this hobby. But don't let it have you.