WARNING: SPOILERS (plus some fanboy whining)
"Spoilers"!? Seriously? It's a 16 year old movie!
Step into the Wayback Machine, children.
We're going to the mystical land of 1999! When Y2K, pagers, and AOL were still things and cell phones were just big enough to bludgeon a full grown elephant to death.
There was a sparkling anticipation in the air...
George Lucas promised us a return to a fantasy realm filled with knights and wizards...
He promised us...
THE PHANTOM MENACE!
Enough of that, on to the complaining:
The prequels were too linear, there was no depth.
It can be summed up as "Anakin really wanted to have his cake and eat it too."
What if, instead of Padme getting all creepy interested in Anakin, she was first attracted to her peer, Obi-wan, and he, a guy in his 20s was interested, but changed after Qui-Gon's death?
A quick little scene of the two of them together after Qui-Gon's funeral. She reaches for him, he steps back, and whispers "A jedi cannot fall in love" before walking away, tears on her face and single one on his as he walks away.
How much would you felt for the characters?
Why was Anakin so young? Yoda said Luke was too old, but we were interested in his story because a majority of the audience can relate to a college age kid getting ready to become independent, more so than a ten year old being told to go to school.
Age him up to 15-16 he becomes someone we can relate to.
Someone who, as an outsider brought in to the Jedi, we can watch suffer embarrassment at having to attend class with the younglings. Who can develop an interest, and then romantic feelings for Padme.
Who'd want to hide the relationship not only because it's forbidden, but because he's dating his friend's ex.
In the Original we were given an over-arcing villain, Darth Vader.
Someone we could watch the protagonists evolve against.
The prequels started with Maul, then Sidious, then Palpatine.
I would have liked to have seen Maul return in the second movie with bionic legs.
Imagine Obi-wan and Anakin walking and talking, and suddenly Obi-wan freezes. His padawan rushes to him and Obi-wan yells at him to run.
In the distance we see a lone figure who suddenly leaps forward, almost faster than the human eye can follow.
Obi-wan Force throws Anakin through a doorway and seals it as he turns to face his Master's killer.
Imagine the look on Obi-wan's face if he sees the person who he not only thought dead, but the killer of his teacher, suddenly appear stronger and faster than before.
I'm not saying that the original didn't have its flaws, but at least the story moved us.
I had the opportunity to see the re-release of A New Hope in the theaters, I stood up and cheered with every other idiot fanboy when Luke blew up the Death Star, something I'd seen a hundred times on TV.
I saw Phantom Menace in the theater and left wondering if I could get a refund.