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Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace

  • Mar 15, 2011
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I have decided to revisit one of the greatest film series' of all time, but I have decided to revisit it chronologically in terms of story, so you can expect reviews of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith soon but not today. Anyway, Star Wars wasn't anything that was just going to go away and stay in history. It made George Lucas a shitload of money and this is when he started to milk it for all it was worth. So he released three prequels to go along with the original trilogy, and this one is the first of those prequels. Is Phantom Menace an insult to the entire original trilogy? Absolutely. But is it terrible on its own as a film? No. Even though it has definite problems (we'll get to those later), The Phantom Menace is still a decently entertaining movie.

The Phantom Menace is about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who escape the ship of a droid army that plans on attacking the peaceful sovereignty of Naboo, lead by Queen Amidala. They, along with a gunga named Jar Jar Binks travel to Naboo and take the Queen on their ship for her safety. The ship promptly gets stranded on Tatooine, where they meet the young slave boy Anakin Skywalker. This seems to not be a coincidence, so Qui-Gon frees the boy and takes him on the ship so the boy can be trained as a Jedi. They later have to battle Darth Maul and the droid army in easily the most epic part of the movie.

The story gets pretty lost in the battle scenes and the visuals, and is easily the worst part of the movie. The movie is rather poorly paced and a little overlong, but the battle sequences are fun and are the one good thing from the original trilogy brought into the new trilogy. The battle sequences, however good they are, also take away from the character development, and the critics were totally right with their consensus. Plot and character development were lost in this movie, but there is plenty of eye candy to behold. All in all, this movie wasn't terrible in terms of story, but it did get entirely lost and was written terribly, alongside with the characterization.

The performances, however, were actually okay. I heard that Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon was terrible in this movie, but I don't think that he was that bad. Ewan MacGregor was okay as Obi-Wan, but neither of them give the performances of their careers by far. Natalie Portman also did okay in her two roles, but where the acting really is problematic is Jake Lloyd as young Anakin. The kid cannot act, and he single-handedly makes Anakin Skywalker an annoying little brat. Seriously, every time he opened his mouth I just wanted to sock him right in the mouth. However, the rest of the acting (outside Jake Lloyd, who doesn't appear to have a career anymore) was just okay.

The other place where the problems lie in terms of character is that annoying, stupid, universally hated amongst the star wars community thing by the name of Jar Jar Binks. Yes, I hate Jar Jar as much as the rest of you. He's annoying, he's stupid, he's actually quite racist, and his speech is pretty much unintelligible. Thank god they at least didn't get Chris Tucker to voice him. However, anything else that can be said about Jar Jar has already been said and would involve terrible profanity, so we shall move on.

The visual effects are impressive, but the sets are more impressive than the creatures. The creatures vary from decent-looking to ugly clay puppets. I would have to say that the creatures from the original films were more well-done, which is strange because one would think the newer, more advanced effects would be better right? The sets are very well-done and are pretty much on the level with the paintings in the original films. The battle sequences are wonderful too and the score still kicks ass, as is Star Wars standards. However, that's pretty much all that can be said for the film.

This is an incredible insult to the greatness of the original trilogy, but when one judges it as its own film, then it isn't that bad. I hear that it is arguably the worst of the series, so I hope the next two will be better. It has a muddled plot and no character development, as well as laughable dialogue. However, it has decent performances, hit-and-miss visuals, and entertaining battle sequences. I would recommend it if you want to watch the series for completion's sakes. Otherwise, its worth a rental, but watch the rest of the series first.

P.S. Duel of the Fates is awesome

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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
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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 . May 17, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: It begins the true story George Lucas wanted to tell     Cons: That ACTING! WOOD!     The Bottom Line: Paarents could have an amusing in-joke amongst themselves if they referred the the boogyman as the phantom menace.     Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace confused me a bit at first. I understood the plot and all that, but some of the dialogue left me a bit confused. It was only after a series of repeated viewings that I finally …
review by . October 04, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"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 …
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 …
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"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...

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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
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