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DVD Review: The Phandom Menace

Posted By Joshua on April 25, 2002

by Joshua Griffin

A couple of years ago, in a suburb not far away?

Turmoil has engulfed the offices of Star Walking, Inc., the Australian Star Wars fan club. For some members of the club it's becoming a full-time job handling all the media requests, special guests, promotional costume appearances and movie screenings. Never before in the 11 year history of the club has an event of such impact unfolded.

A new Star Wars film.

- www.thephandommenace.com

Every time I watch a documentary about Star Wars fandom, I wonder how much of a 'fan' I really am. I don't hardly collect a thing, I have never dressed up for a movie, and I barely wait in line for tickets. I don't read the books, skim a few comics and don't even know what CCG stands for. But I know one thing, I do like Star Wars.

Which leads me to this review of a DVD documentary on Star Wars fandom. Seems that most of these tend to focus on the 'Outer Rim' of fans, with few being honest enough to look inside at why people are so drawn to the saga. Where would this one focus?

So I popped in the copy of The Phandom Menace, this new to DVD documentary about Star Wars fans in Australia, and was surprised by the candor of the delivery and the quality of the work. Technically, the editing is tight almost entirely, the sound is excellent and the picture quality is fantastic.

While there's no narrator for the feature, the 62 minute DVD focuses primarily on the people, the fans, and let's them be the voice of the film. With a few notable guests like Timothy Zahn and Hugh Quarshie, the film follows the emotion of starting a new fanclub and seeing its rise to the top of the sub-culture phenomenon. Meeting the casual fan to the most hardcore, the film works diligently to deliver content from all levels of fandom, not just the extreme.

But the documentary shines most in its honesty and delivery focusing on the before and after effects of Episode I on the fans. The ascension to the top of organizing fans to the frustration for defending a movie that clearly didn't resonate with them. That and the talk of the importance of Episode II is timely and welcomed at this juncture, just before we finally see Episode II.

The out-takes are interesting but were left out mostly for good reason, and the Director's Commentary is a promising feature for the budding crew. All of their work in 1999 comes together beautifully in one of the most technically sound documentaries on the prequel saga. While targeted primarily for the Australian fan base, internationally the honest dive deep inside the humanity of fandom is welcomed and appreciated. A job well done.
(A-)

The title can be purchased here.






[Latest News - News Archives]
Rebelscum Breast Cancer Awareness Charity Patch
Posted By Philip on November 25, 2014:
Thanks to everybody that ordered patches. I sent a check for $1,600.00 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation on Monday. While it's not as much as I hoped for, it's still very much appreciated. They will remain for sale in the store for anybody that still wishes to purchase them. Details after the jump.



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