The only time you can really compare the anticipation for the Force Awakens to anything was when, in 1999, sixteen years after Return Of The Jedi, George Lucas dropped a seismic pop-culture bomb on the world with The Phantom Menace, the first film in a trilogy of prequels to the original Star Wars saga. Reactions were mixed at best, with most detractors citing the overused and not wholly impressive CGI of the picture as the chief reason for its failings. Elsewhere there were the standard aversions to George Lucas' directing style (or lack thereof) and his baffling approach to standard English usage. There was also a certain character who seemed so far-removed from what Star Wars was all about that it had to be a joke, right? The Phantom Menace did of course have advocates, though, and rewatching it certainly unearths admirable aspects of the film, which is now commonly bracketed in the cliché so-bad-it's-good category of film history. That might be a little unfair, and while it's certainly the worst of the prequels (and worst overall Star Wars film), it's still an important movie in the pantheon of popular culture. Moreover, those (like myself) approaching their mid-twenties now will have been around eight or nine when the Phantom Menace was released, meaning that any modern-day rewatch is bound to be a completely different experience than it was back then. Here's a collection of thoughts accrued while rewatching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the first time in a long time.