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Jake Lloyd: A Frustrating Road To Stardom

Star Wars had been nothing short of a franchise breakthrough in cinema with multi-million dollar box office sales, a wide range of merchandise and garnering a huge fanbase over the years of its original trilogy. But after Return of the Jedi being the last film since 1983, both speculation and expectation were overwhelming to those awaiting the origins of how Darth Vader came to be, how he formed his alliance with Palpatine, and changed the fate of the Jedi Council.

The premiere of The Phantom Menace

Any fan that paid for an admission to go see Episode I in theaters will most likely tell you the same experience. The text crawl of the opening had them intrigued, only to be let down for the remainder of it all. Fans were put off by the bland writing, the inclusion of Jar Jar Binks, and the lack of memorable characters compared to Episodes IV, V and VI before it, but above all, the criticism of how Anakin was portrayed as a young boy, and his dialogue throughout. A forced love between him and Padmé literally begins with him asking "are you an angel?" leaving the audience in a chorus of groans.

Although the feedback for the movie was lukewarm, it still had plenty of merchandise backing up potential sales, from limited edition Pepsi cans, action figures, video games and even alarm clocks, it was set to be a successful family movie. From its reception, many would say that Star Wars director George Lucas may have lost his marbles along the way as far as the script went, not only affecting the film's success, but some of the actors weren't greeted with the best response after the movie was shown to the public eye in May of 1999.

The falling out and backlash of Anakin's actor

Jake Lloyd was given the role as young Anakin Skywalker just at the age of 9, but it wasn't his first movie. Among a few prior films, he was also in the Arnold Schwarzenegger holiday movie, Jingle All The Way, having a fresh start as a child star. From its still early release, Jake was still pretty confident about himself during interviews, talking about his experience being in such an ambitious film, having a LEGO minifigure based on his character, among other things.

By the time the early 2000s rolled in, he began getting e-mails criticizing his role in what many called a disaster movie of the year, and fellow classmates from school bullying him to ultimately sever the ties of his film career. He wasn't the only one that was having troubles with peers and the press, as Ahmed Best, the actor behind Jar Jar was almost driven to suicide for the same backlash.

The aftermath of criticism

Jake Lloyd was still getting harsh responses for his involvement with the movie, even several years after it had its time in theaters pushing him to the point of throwing out every piece of merchandise that had his face on it, and who could blame him? By extending blame from the director to also calling out the actors, it only proves that criticism can go off the deep end when there are those that want to chip away at every single nitpick to make sure their friends don't go to see it.

Jake Lloyd, among the other actors that put their effort into The Phantom Menace didn't deserve the backlash that they received. They were part of a movie held by a director that had no idea what he was doing to piece together the lore of the previous movies. But to know that Jake himself got the worst of it is still heartbreaking to this day. Sure, the movie itself wasn't what fans were expecting but in the end, the actors are only told what to do and say, and give it their all in their performance. Most fans consider it to be one of the worst entries of the series, others say it's undeserved of the hate, and I choose the latter, after coming back to it. As George himself once said, "everybody has talent, it's just a matter of moving around until you've discovered what it is".

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echidna64 Posted on Jul 16, 2023 at 04:02 PM

Jake Lloyd did the best he could but they should have cast an actor closer to Natalie Portman's age. In my opinion, The Phantom Menace has much bigger issues than the performances of LLoyd and Best (Ja r Jar).

Game Joy Posted on Jul 08, 2023 at 02:41 AM

I totally agree with you, little brother! While average brains choose to hate Jake Lloyd, I'm proud of being superior in heart and brain, choosing to hate the haters instead! They destroyed a career of a CHILD!! It is a moral problem from the average, or better, haters! They are the ones having serious moral, psychological problems! And I don't need them to "feel included" or whatever, they're hateful people, losers!! If they're able to give their worse to a CHILD, they deserve MY worse!!!

Well, I watched the movie three times and honestly, I didn't find it bad. What I felt watching the movie was as the beginning of a book, for example, when we barely know the characters and story. So, in my point of view, the movie is good.

Thanks for exposing it all, little brother, with your charisma and attention: you are amazing!!

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