From J. W. Rinzler Blog:
“Not only did he have a forward-thinking company, a whole freakin’ all-star roster of artists and groundbreaking technicians, Lucas was back making movies—Episode I: The Phantom Menace had just come out and I’d really liked it, as had my older daughter, who was about 11 at the time. And, believe me, I don’t say I liked Episode I lightly, because I know that people whom I respect find this baffling. However, I find their inability to see past a few flaws to the greater achievements of Episode I to be equally baffling. My daughter and I attended a preview of the movie in SF, so in that brief moment before the backlash and after, none of the government or trade blockade material bothered me; in fact I found it interesting—true, Jar Jar and some of the jokes were not to my taste, but neither had the Ewoks been a rousing success—and it was great enough to see Jedi in their prime (though, clearly, representing a flawed Order, which was also intriguing); Liam Neeson was good; Darth Maul was a fantastic villain; the art direction was beautiful (it would’ve been redundant to see the same universe as before, given that it’s a different galactic time period); and the Podrace—a showstopper—was a symphony in sound design, like the speeder-bike chase in Jedi. I was ready for the sequel—and I wanted to be there, involved. (More on the quality of the Prequels later.)”
J. W. Rinzler used to be a writer and editor at Lucas Licensing. He wrote The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, The Making of Return of the Jedi, and also the comic mini-series The Star Wars and two episodes of The Clone Wars.