Man Behind Epic _Phantom Menace_ Review Speaks

(video after the jump)

If you’d stopped by the Heeb office recently, you would know how obsessed I’ve been with this 70-minute review of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I was so obsessed that I reached out to the critic himself, Milwaukee-native Mike Stoklasa. His justifiable character assassination of the worst Jedi ever (Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jin) and his overall slamming of the CGI clusterfuck that helped spawn a generation of overvisualized, underdeveloped and downright boring blockbusters is especially relevant today with everyone spewing blue goo over James Cameron’s self-important Smurfs project.

One final note: Don’t read any further until you’ve watched Stoklasa’s review:

How long did it take you to piece together the Star Wars review?

Probably 7 to 10 days overall. That includes finding all the clips to use, writing the voiceover, editing, et cetera. At one point I got pretty sick and had to stop, so the exact timeline of how long it took is uncertain.

Stoklasa, playing a character in his online series The Grabowskis

Do you think The Phantom Menace is the shittiest of the prequels or are they all equally pathetic?

Phantom Menace was the most disappointing because it was the first one and you were just like, ‘Oh, this is how it’s gonna be for the next two films.’

On which one was the worst, it’s a toss-up between the first and the second. TPM had more structure to it. Attack of the Clones really was just a connecting piece meant to advance the love story. Not much happened, but it has less Jar Jar and no little kid, which gives it points. I guess I’m on the fence about which is worse, really. There are pros and cons.

Don’t you think TPM is responsible for how blockbuster have become nothing but CGI clusterfuck nonsense?

Not sure if Phantom Menace was the one that did it. I think I might actually blame Twister with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. That was a, ‘We can make realistic tornadoes with the computer so let’s make a movie about storm chasers.’ Then came the slew of disasters movies like Volcano, Lava!, Dante’s Peak, Inferno: The Lava Movie and many more.

Do you think Hollywood will ever emerge from this rut?

A lot of films post-Jurassic Park, which used the new technology appropriately, started dumbing down the story a bit in exchange for the spectacle. Some movies have used special effects to work for the story, but for the most part, it’s the opposite. I just saw Avatar and after the two-plus hours of amazing visual effects, the guy in the row behind me shouted out, ‘Corny, that shit sucked!’ and got up.

I’m not saying that’s how I felt about the movie, but it was interesting how, after all that action and amazing effects, he still just shrugged his shoulders like, ‘What’s next?’ I think at this point we’ve become desensitized to visual effects and are going back towards movies with interesting ideas and stories. I think District 9 married visual effects and a unique plot to form something new. I’d imagine that would be the shape of things to come. Who knows?

Do you have any films out there we can see on Netflix or something?

I do. Netflix carries an live action animated feature I did called Oranges: Revenge of the Eggplant. Also, Comcast will be carrying another feature called The Recovered which stars B-Movie Scream Queen Tina Krause. It’ll be available through their Video on Demand pretty much everywhere.

I’m also trying to finish a new feature called Feeding Frenzy which is a horror comedy homage to the 1980’s rubber-puppet monster movie genera (i.e. Critters, Ghoulies, Gremlins). We have about 85 percent of the movie shot but ran out of money and the weather is pretty awful right now. Hopefully, we’ll be able to finish shooting in the next few months.

Are you planning on doing more reviews?

I probably will do more reviews since some sites have started asking me. I’m not a reviewer or a critic by nature. A lot of times I let dozens of movies float by that I planned to see and just didn’t feel like getting out to the theater. You might think I’m just some kind of uber-film-geek type who knows all the movies and this and that, but it’s not really true. I’ll give this a shot and see how it goes, though. It is fun at the very least.

Related Posts:

Ramis on Ghostbusters 3: “Plans to Shoot Next Summer and Release in 2011”

What do you think?

About The Author

Brian Abrams

35 Responses

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    Love this series. Husband loves it too. Thanks for turning us on to it.

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