Movie Hype
New Releases, Oscar-Winners and Obscure Movies!

Mediocre "Beginning"

  • Oct 4, 2004
"The Phantom Menace" isn't what everyone expected it to be. Die-hard Star Wars fans were expecting another "A New Hope." Casual fans were hoping to get more of the whiz-bang adventure that was presented to them in the initial trilogy. Folks relatively new to the Star Wars phenomenon were left wondering what the big deal was over all of these films to begin with.

What we were actually given was a typical, contemporary, over-budget sci-fi flick that had great intentions and huge shoes to fill. Perhaps George Lucas let his delusions of grandeur go to his head. Perhaps all of the Star Wars geeks placed him on such a tall pedestal that all he could do was fall. Maybe he just ran out of ideas. No matter what, I think it is safe to say that this film was doomed from the get-go. Even if it were the greatest film ever made, it will always be in the shadow of the original trilogy. The second film, "Attack Of The Clones," probably benefited from this fact since it is not the first film in the new trilogy and the standard set by "Menace" isn't that high.

There are few memorable performances from this film. Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson do well as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, but I couldn't connect with either of them in this film like I did with Alec Guinness in "A New Hope." The kid who played Anakin Skywalker was a little bit annoying to me. I'm glad to see him out of the picture. Jar-Jar Binks was raped by critics and fanboys alike, but I have to admit that his oafish comedy actually helped me trudge along through this film. As a matter of fact, the character that I disliked the most was the one that no one would stop talking about: Darth Maul. For some reason, I got the feeling that this guy was forced on us in the hopes that he would achieve Boba Fett-like legendary status. Boba Fett had few lines, but people fell in love with him. Maul has a few more lines, and I hated him. Both of them were supposed to be sinister warriors and feared opponents. Both of them had cool costumes. They each had a neat sounding voice. But in the end, Boba Fett's popularity came unexpectedly. Maul's fame came by way of commercialism.

The special effects were excellent, though they worked against the original trilogy in that the technology looked billions of light years ahead of the original films. How can you fly around in clunkers after you've had such fancy ships as Amidala's cruiser? The lightsaber battles were enjoyable, but without Vader or Luke in them, I felt somewhat cheated. The android troops seemed to be more efficient in this flick than the slow-minded stormtroopers in the original series, but the stormtroopers had something to them that cold androids with guns lack. Stormtroopers screwed up and they looked funny doing it. These androids try to drop one-liners, but they aren't funny at all. In fact, they gave the Jedi bigger problems than the stormtroopers.

In all, things just don't add up between the original trilogy and this new one. Sure, these new films are adequate, but they will never be as good as the original ones for the simple fact that they are sequels to the originals. The standard set by the original series is almost unreachable, but I'd love to see Lucas come as close to that standard as possible with the "new" third film.

I recommend this to folks who merely need a base for the original trilogy or fans who are willing to look beyond the shortcomings of the new flicks. Average movie-goers may not see what's so special about the Star Wars mythos, but if they view the original films, I'm sure they'll understand.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
More Star Wars: Episode I - The Pha... reviews
review by . March 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Every Legend has a story and every saga has a beginning...
We all have choices we make in life sometimes they are for good reasons and sometimes the choices we make leads us down a path from wince there is no return. For Anakin Skywalker has walked this path and turned his back on everyone and everything he has ever known. But the biggest question that is lurking in everyone's mind is how did he choose the dark side over all that he knew and loved? Why would he help destroy everything that was so dear to him? Did he do it for power? did he do it for love? …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
First of the infamous prequels for Star Wars. Suffers from a weak story that doesn't make sense and characters that don't resonate the way they should but at least it's fun. Try and ignore Jar Jar and the literal destruction of the magic that is the force and it's like I said, fun.
review by . January 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I remember reading all of the horrible reviews of The Phantom Menace and my disappointment upon first seeing the film. Admittedly, it's not the greatest Star Wars film and a lot of the criticisms are valid. However, I recently rewatched it with my wife and started to see some value in it. It is an adventure movie with some pretty cool scenes (the Darth Maul duel in particular). But more importantly, it isn't supposed to focus on character and plot development - that's for Episodes II and III. Rather, …
review by . June 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Peaceful palace on Naboo
No movie got more hyped up or got people more excited then The Phantom Menace.      No, not even The Dark Knight, though it comes close.    In 1999, The Phantom Menace was talked about by everyone and before the movie opened, it's merchandising was everywhere.  Red and black Star Wars logos were on everything, toys, lunchboxes, posters, soda cans, video games, shampoo, fishing rods, charcoal, Batman toys etc.    Well okay, maybe …
Quick Tip by . November 20, 2009
A big budget and the first of Lucas's prequel trilogy has some impressive sights and action but the story is weak and Jar Jar is a pain.
review by . July 12, 2009
In 1999 everyone was excited about Star Wars starting over.  It was now becoming a full circle thing.  We were going to learn about how Anakin was seduced by the dark side of the force.  But... is this something we really want?  It seemed like something Lucas wanted.  What could go wrong with making prequels?  I mean besides Lucas deciding that watching his original trilogy wasn't important?  Oh not much except giving us a different look at the biggest badass …
review by . May 29, 2006
The Phantom Menace was probably one of the most anticipated movies of all time, and ended up disappointing a lot of folks. The DVD release has fared better. The DVD contains lots of special features that describe the technical, human, and creative work that went into creating Episode I. In doing so, this DVD has set the foundation by which all newer DVD releases are measured; how completely do the special features describe the movie and all the thought and work that went into making and advertising …
review by . August 09, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: CGI is outstanding     Cons: CGI is outstanding, acting is flat, not enough battle scenes.      The Bottom Line: In the end, The Phantom Menace fails to live up to the hype leading up to its release, or the standard set by its predecessors.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. As I stated in my review of Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones: Usually at the end of a movie I like …
review by . February 08, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
The acting in this movie was very bad. My favorit charictor in the movie was Jar Jar Binks, but even his ears went through people because the acter's never even stoped to look at how to do this. A discrase to Star Wars.
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #32
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie


"I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) inStar Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menaceas he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in theStar Warssaga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this isStar Wars, but is itmy Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all theStar Warsmovies,The Phantom Menacefeatures inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breather Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh aboutStar Wars22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a mélange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race inBen-Hurlook like a Sunday stroll through the park.

Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt...

view wiki


Director: George Lucas
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: May 19, 1999
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: George Lucas
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005
Runtime: 2hrs 11min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
First to Review
© 2015, LLC All Rights Reserved - Relevant reviews by real people.
Movie Hype is part of the Network - Get this on your site
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since