Volume 93, Issue 2

Friday, May 21, 1999


The Phantom Menace is phucking phantastic

The line up: A first hand account

Galactic technology, talk and toys

Party's place in the music world is their cup of tea

Midsummer's is a mid-size success

Ron Sexsmith gets fresh

Galactic technology, talk and toys

©Chris Chaconas

Breaking new ground

It seems every time George Lucas' vanguard special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic works on a film, new territories are forged. ILM's work on the latest Star Wars epic is no different. 95 per cent of the frames in The Phantom Menace utilize digital computer technology. The nearly 2,000 computer generated screen shots more than triples the largest number ever used in a major motion picture. In addition, over 60 of the characters inThe Phantom Menace are completely computer generated. It took 250 digital computer artists over two years to bring this new cast of characters to life.

Musings on Menace

"When Ewan [McGregor] and I began rehearsing a duel in which we're pitted against some formidable enemies, we started making the lightsaber sound effects." – Actor Liam Neeson, living the dream of 6 year olds worldwide.

"My cousins had always been obsessed with the films, yet I hadn't even seen them before I got the part. When it all happened for me, my cousins were exclaiming, 'Oh my God, you're in Star Wars!'" – Actress Natalie Portman.

"Ultimately, it'll be six films and about 12 hours of one story. Throughout the writing and making of Episode I, I always stayed focused on 10 years from now. Then people can watch all six films together as they were meant to be seen." – Creator George Lucas on his grandiose plans for the Star Wars saga.

Collectible frenzy

Enormous public interest in The Phantom Menace has also generated peak levels of demand for vintage Star Wars collectibles. According to Brad Ashton-Haist, owner of Worlds Away, a London store specializing in comics and collectibles, the large majority of figures from the first run of Star Wars fetch a trade value of $7-$19. The worth of a figure is dictated by its condition, whether it still comes with accessories, such as a weapon or cape and most importantly, whether it is still in its original packaging.

Ashton-Haist also points out there are a few highly sought after figures which typically fetch astronomical prices. "Luke Skywalker in a storm trooper outfit would sell for about $150 out of the packaging and about $600 in it," he notes.

If you can't find that particular item in your childhood toy collection, try looking for Jabba the Hutt's skiff, which apparently commands up to $700 in its original packaging.

–Mark Pytlik

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