The Phantom Menace

The Phantom MenaceSynopsis: Every Saga Has A Beginning

This epic movie takes a journey back to the earliest days of the Star Wars legend. Witness the first historic meeting between young Anakin Skywalker and Ben “Obi-Wan” Kenobi, the young Jedi Knight who comes to be his mentor for a time. The film explores the beginning of the legend as the Empire begins to take shape amidst a galaxy in turmoil.

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The Phantom Menace 7.0

eyelights: the lightsaber skirmishes – especially the finale.
eyesores: the awkward dialogues. the juvenile humour. the quality of the CGI. the quantity of the CGI. its antiseptic quality.

“You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting. “

I liked ‘The Phantom Menace’ when I first saw it. Like everyone else, I had reservations, but I walked out of the midnight presentation thrilled and excited. I even went to see it a second time on my way back from work that evening (I nodded off due to deep fatigue – my friends and I had even had a-post ‘Phantom’ viewing of ‘Star Wars’).

But, eventually, once the fanboy enthusiasm that took hold of me when I first lined up for tickets subsided, reality set in: the flaws were near-impossible to ignore, and frequently overwhelmed even the movie’s greatest moments. It didn’t take long before I lost any appetite for picture. I got the DVD, but watched it only 2-3 times since.

And upgrading to blu-ray isn’t in the cards.

I’m not alone: ‘The Phantom Menace’ is frequently cited as the weakest entry in the series – a distant sixth, according to many. Even the most devout ‘Star Wars’ fans tend to recognize its flaws and are loathe to defend it. And it has since been argued that it contributes so little to the franchise that it can be dropped altogether.

But here we go anyway.

(Nota bene: Since the ‘Star Wars’ movies have been already talked about to death, we decided to simply pick apart their strengths and weaknesses as we watched them – in list format and -mostly- in chronological order.)

Light Side of the Film

  • Fox Fanfare: Let’s be honest, for my generation, the Fox fanfare is intertwined with John Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ theme. There’s a Pavlovian reaction the moment it plays. We’re, like, “Holy !@#$, ‘Star Wars'”, and our fanboy excitement surges with fervour. Especially if it’s followed-up by the Lucasfilm logo. At the midnight showing, the crowd lost their !@#$ altogether.
  • Liam Neeson: Yes, he’s given shitty lines and he was directed poorly, but, fuck, it’s Liam f-ing Neeson. As a Jedi knight. Yes, a Jedi knight with extremely poor judgement. But it’s fricken Liam Neeson, so who cares?
  • Ewan McGregor: I was a fan of his since ‘Shallow Grave’, so I was thrilled to find out that he played Obi-Wan. And so well: he had Alec Guinness’ accent SO down. They couldn’t have cast this one any better. He’s almost as good as Karl Urban is as Dr. McCoy.
  • Darth Sidious (i.e. the future Emperor): The guy is most sinister, so his appearance truly sets the tone. McDiarmid is SO good in this part. I’m even willing to ignore his name, which is the first in a growing line of increasingly simple-minded and transparent villains’ names.
  • Qui-Gong an Obi-Wan’s pretty sweet moves: Lucas wasted no time giving some Jedi action and our duo’s choreography was near flawless. So cool.
  • Queen Amidala: People like to give Natalie Portman crap for her performance, but I love her Queen Amidala: she’s dispassionate and in control. I like her demeanour and even the unusual way she speaks because it makes her stand out. Since no one on Naboo is anything  like her, I simply assume that it’s all royal tradition, that all their monarchs would be this way (even if it turns out it’s not the case). Anyway, I think she’s awesome.
  • The lavish sets: The first impression when one sees the CGI-enhanced sets is jaw-dropping awe. You’d love to visit these worlds: everything looks so bloody amazing. Of course, this is a double-edged sword, because there’s no balance: everything is dialed up to 11, thereby nullifying the individual impact of the sets.
  • The underwater Gungan city: It looks magical. Wow. It’s ill-suited to ‘Star Wars’, since it looks more like something out of Disney. But then I guess that’s fitting, ultimately.
  • Boss Nass’ voice: Listen to that deep baritone! Saweet!
  • The Emperor’s theme: The most outstanding new piece of John Williams’ score to ‘Return of the Jedi’, the creepy choirs used to denote Darth Sidious are utterly bone-chilling.
  • Amidala’s outfits: I’m no fashionista, but you have to admit that Amidala’s regal attire is as impressive as it impractical. Just like her behaviour, it’s all ceremonial, tradition. And it’s impressive. She is without a doubt the most visually stunning character of the picture.
  • Artoo saves the day: Okay, forget for a moment the incredible coincidence that Artoo crosses paths with our heroes: the sequence is exciting. It would have been, irrespective of which droid saves the day.
  • Sebulba: Sebulba’s a cool-looking character who makes an instant impression. I love way he walks and moves.
  • Darth Sidious and Darth Maul meet on Coruscant: The two look very sinister together, especially under the cover of darkness, conspiring as they are.
  • The pod race: Yes, it’s essentially a product placement for a video game. Yes, it’s overly long. Yes, it doesn’t develop any of the characters. Yes, the outcome was never in doubt. But it’s high octane stuff for people who like vehicular chases. You can’t deny the energy that pours from this scene, near-redundant as it is.
  • Qui-Gon vs Darth Maul: It’s brief, but our introduction to Maul’s fighting ability is stunning. The choreography is perfect.
  • Nute Gunray’s walking chair: It looks peculiar and impractical (one could easily walk faster – you’d have to be really lazy to use this), but I like how odd it is and love its design.
  • Terence Stamp: Sure, Supreme Chancellor Valorum is an unenviable part, being an impotent weakling, but Stamp is awesome as always.
  • The political discourse between Senator Palpatine and Queen Amidala: Yes, some people find this bit slow, and in comparison to the rest of the film it is (anything would be). But I enjoy their exchange; it sets the stage and helps understand why things are going the way they are, how Palpatine is making use of Amidala’s relative inexperience to further his aims.
  • The Jedi Council: It’s just really cool to see the way the top echelon of the Jedi Knights function, even if it’s mostly Mace and Yoda who handle things while the others look on. Let’s remember: aside for Qui-Gon, these were the first new Jedi we were seeing – and there are some pretty cool ones (not looking at looking at you, Master Q-Tip Head!).
  • The barely noticeable smile creeping on Palpatine’s face: When the Queen leaves for Naboo, a small smile creeps up on his face: It’s hardly discernible, so you either have to see this at the cinema, or have a majorly big screen at home, but Palpatine is quite pleased with himself. Very nice touch. It adds to his creep factor.
  • Darth Maul’s appearance during the finale on Naboo: The way Lucas shot this, there is no doubt that Maul’s presence there is going to be massive! Especially thanks to John Williams’ brass section!
  • The music for the lightsaber fight: Williams’ creation for this sequence is so epic, what with the choirs and so forth, that it’s chill-inducing – you know, in that good way. This is easily some his best work in the whole series.
  • The lightsaber fight choreography: Holy crap! Two Jedis against one Sith, and every beat is near-perfect. It’s probably the most memorable lightsaber fight of the whole series.
  • Darth Maul’s pacing: As Maul waits to regain access to Qui-Gon, who is separated by a temporary energy shield, he paces like a feral animal; the guy is a beast. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon meditates peacefully. It’s quite contrast.
  • Palpatine’s final words: When Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin that he intends to watch his career with great interest, you can’t help but get chills – especially knowing the outcome of this alliance. Brrr. It also serves to show that Palpatine seems to know a lot more than he’s letting on. He seems in control.

Dark Side of the Film

  • The opening crawl: I know I’m not alone in this, but the introductory text is pretty underwhelming. Trade dispute? Whoopteedoo!
  • The CGI robots: The moment the “ambassadors” arrive we are treated to a bunch of CGI robots just waiting in the landing bay. They look so obviously fake, a problem that will plague the production. CGI should used to enhance, not replace, real things since CGI can’t emulate tangibility.
  • Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s arrival: We don’t see them leave their ship. They just arrive. Sometimes it’s nice to set the stage a little bit. But I guess Lucas had to cut footage somewhere to make room for the pod race. It’s stuff like this that garnered him so much criticism for having ADD.
  • The Jedi’s first line: You know what? As funny as “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!” was in the first film, it felt overused and trite by the third one. Using it as the Jedi’s introductory line is overkill.
  • The somewhat Asian Neimaoidians: So.. was this Lucas’ unsubtle way of saying that the Chinese are bad people? Then why make villainous Trade Neimaoidans speak in Engrish and give them vaguely Asian features? Anyway, it’s a questionable choice given that character designs are strictly limited by one’s imagination. So, instead of inventing something new, Lucas used a cultural stereotype. So weird.
  • The Jedi’s reaction to an explosion: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan hear an explosion in the distance, and their reaction is to turn on their lightsabers. Really?
  • Qui-Gon stabs a door/blast shield: How does stabbing the door with a saber work, exactly? Is it like shooting a locked door to open it? Instead of just making the door unfunctional, it works in the hero’s favour? Hmmm…
  • Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan jump into the cargo bay: Here’s another example of crappy CGI. The movement is all wrong given gravity and human movement and it doesn’t match their landing in the next shot.
  • The lavish sets: See the entry in “Light Side”
  • The pace: Why bother setting the stage for us when you just string a series of action sequences together? It’s just non-stop, too much.
  • The Jedi’s arrival on Naboo: The moment they land they’re in danger. Not a split-second to waste! Sigh…
  • “Muyi muyi, I love you”: I know Lucas wanted to make Jar-Jar funny, but this kind of line makes no sense contextually and it made all traditional Star Wars fans’ ears perk up wondering WTF.
  • The somewhat Jamaican Gungan: Another cultural stereotype, and this time to embody the most irritating, stupid and useless character of the series. It’s as culturally insensitive as Mickey Rooney’s turn as Mr. Yunioshi in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • Jar Jar doesn’t blend in with the Jedi: CGI characters and live actors don’t blend. They just don’t. We might as well be watching ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ – which, at least, was funny. And properly choreographed (unlike when Obi-Wan ducks to avoid Jar-Jar’s ears).
  • Jar Jar’s pirouette: Why the !@#$ does he do a pirouette to jump in the water? And make a ridiculous cry as he does it?
  • Awkward dialogue: Check this out: Jar-Jar says “Gungans no liken outsiders, so don’t spect a warm welcome.”, to which Obi-Wan retorts “Oh, don’t worry. This hasn’t been our day for warm welcomes”. Nobody talks like that. It’s one of many examples of Lucas getting characters to basically repeat the other interlocutor’s words back them. It’s painfully obvious in moments like this that actors weren’t shot together and didn’t get full scripts.
  • The underwater Gungan city: See the entry in “Light Side”
  • Scatological references: Getting another Gungan to tell Jar Jar “Yousa in big dudu dis time”, is childish. If you must say he’s deep shit, do it in a dignified manner, for goodness’ sake. Does the whole Gungan race speak like 3-year-olds?
  • “How wude!”: See above. 3-year-olds!
  • Boss Nass: I love his voice but watching the guy shake his jowls and splatter spit everywhere was absurd. Clearly, this was meant to make children laughs. F- the older fanbase, who usually have an intellect higher than that of a 3-year-old’s.
  • Qui-Gon’s judgement: Why would he even consider bringing Jar-Jar with them? It’s so obvious that he’s going to be an impediment, a pain in the butt, but somehow the Jedi thinks this is a good idea.
  • Attack by a big fish: Really? A big fish?
  • “There’s always a bigger fish”: If this corniness is what passes for wisdom amongst Jedi, I’d rather they be more choosy when they speak.
  • Awkward dialogue 2: Couldn’t Nute Gunray say something less redundant than “No need to report that to him until we have something to report!”?
  • Jar Jar’s incessant screeching: !@#$ Someone please shut him up.
  • Attack by a big fish 2: What? Another fish? Surely there are other underwater threats. Not that we need to string along more action…
  • The Jedi and Jar Jar’s resurfacing: Again, likely to make room for the pod race, we don’t see our trio making their way to the surface. They just pop to the surface and float there. Like magic.
  • Robot talk: Why do the robots talk to each other? To other lifeforms, fine. But to each other? It seems terribly inefficient when they could send messages instantly.
  • The Jedi rescue the Queen: Naturally, they just happen to be there when the Queen passes by, captured by robots. We don’t know how they got there, and at that juncture, especially given the size of the place. But there they are.
  • Jar Jar’s slapstick: Naturally, during the rescue operation, Jar Jar pratfalls about. Way to ruin an otherwise intense moment, George!
  • The robot leader’s hesitation: Why does the main robot hesitate before putting Qui-Gon under arrest? What kind of crap computer programming is that?
  • The escape ship’s shield generator: So… it’s actually possible to hit the shield generator through the shield? Or is it stationed outside the shield? Either way, it’s one massive design flaw. Except for the fact that it contrives another much-needed action sequence.
  • Artoo: R2-D2 just happen to be on board? What a coincidence!
  • “How wude?” 2: 3-year-olds!!!
  • Darth Maul’s introduction: Although it’s meant to be a stunning reveal, Maul’s appearance in the holographic transmission looks cheap.
  • Artoo’s commendation: Who the !@#$ commends a droid?
  • “You must trust my judgment, Your Highness”: Says the same guy who brought Jar Jar along. To a Queen, no less. Arrogant prick.
  • Qui-Gon’s search for spare parts: Why would he bring Jar Jar and Artoo along? The former is incompetent, whilst the latter will slow him down. It doesn’t make sense.
  • Scatological references 2: Jar-Jar steps in pooh. In ‘Star Wars’. ‘Nuff said.
  • Watto, the somewhat Mediterranean Toydarian: Another culturally sensitive moment from Lucas, who makes this unscrupulous trader sound vaguely like Krusty the Clown and makes him look like a sweaty, obese bug. Nice.
  • J-type 327 Nubian: Another cultural reference that immediately makes me think of that scene in ‘Chasing Amy‘ when Banky asks “What’s a nubian?”
  • Jar Jar sticks his tongue out at Qui-Gon: Yes, for comic effect. This is what ‘Star Wars’ has come down to, friends.
  • “Are you an angel?”: Yeah, sure, kid. Worst introduction line to a character since “Muyi muyi, I love you”. I remember cringing when Anakin said that to Padmé. Corny as !@#$. Plus which she’s been trekking through the desert; she’s not exactly dolled up. Lucas has a flair for dialogues, for sure.
  • Jake Lloyd’s acting: Poor line delivery, lots of pouty face. Makes Mark Hamill’s whiniest moments as Luke palatable in comparison.
  • “I’m a person”: Anakin corrects Padmé when she calls him a slave. Yes, kid, you’re a person. But you’re also a slave. Fine social commentary from George Lucas.
  • More Jar Jar slapstick: In Watto’s shop. Does he ever stop?
  • Qui-Gon’s patience with Jar Jar: Why does the Jedi knight tolerate this irritating amphibian?
  • “Yippee!”: No one says that anymore, George. Except maybe at the rodeo.
  • Jar Jar sucks: Why does the cretin suck meat from the food stand? “How wude”, I say!
  • Anakin shows up to save the day: Out of nowhere. I guess he had been following the others and saw Jar Jar get into trouble? Is that it?
  • Anakin built C-3PO: Really? Since when? What a tremendous coincidence!
  • “My parts are showing!”: C-3PO realizes that he’s naked. Because his eyes hadn’t been working until then…
  • “How wude!” 3: Mentally-deficient 3-year-olds!
  • Qui-Gon catches Jar-Jar by the tongue: Just because CGI allows you to do anything doesn’t mean you should.
  • “Why else would you here?”: Yes, you right Ani: there could be no other reason for the Jedi to be on Tatooine than to free the slaves. Yet another example of flawless logic from that little twerp. Greatest Jedi ever!
  • “…the biggest problem in the universe…”: Again, stellar social commentary by Lucas. The biggest problem in the universe is… George Lucas’ dialogues.
  • Qui-Gon’s deal will Watto: Look, Qui-Gon’s deal with Watto is really good. Problem is that it’s TOO good. It’s a wonder a seasoned gambler and deal-maker like Watto didn’t get suspicious…
  • “There was no father.”: Oh, pull the other one, George! And if you’re going to steal from somewhere, don’t make it so damned obvious, for goodness’ sake!
  • Wald sucks: If you wondered if Ani was friends with a young Greedo, he wasn’t; the kid’s name was Wald. But, given Lucas’ predilection for re-introducing familiar characters, you’re forgiven. In any event, he looks like crap and act like a douche. Sorry, Warwick Davis: This is not your shining moment.
  • Kitster sucks: Man, that kid is terrible. Even next to Jake Lloyd.
  • Jar Jar freezes his tongue: Right after being forewarned by Anakin, the cretin gets his tongue stuck in the energy binders and then his hand in a vent. Hurray for more awful slapstick!
  • Qui-Gon lies to Anakin: Why does he feel the need to lie to Anakin all the time (ex: freeing the slaves, checking his blood for infections, …etc.)? What kind of Jedi is this guy? Well, at least now we know where Obi-Wan learned to do it. “From a certain point of view”, my @$$…
  • Midi-chlorians: So now it’s not a religion anymore, it’s a science? Some people really are better than others, then. So why aren’t there midi-chlorian transfusions? Or midi-chlorian farms?
  • “This is so wizard!”: Shut up. This painfully obvious attempt to feed children a “cool” expression didn’t catch on. And for good reason: it’s stupid. We all knew that. Why didn’t you, George?
  • The pod race: See the entry in “Light Side”
  • The pod race crowds: Man, can you possibly get a more half-hearted bunch of yahoos? Seriously, how can you poorly perform cheering?
  • Scatological references 3: An animal farts at Jar Jar. Okay, he deserves it. But is this what ‘Star Wars’ has come down to?
  • Sebulba sabotages Anakin’s pod: …and no one notices. Thousands of people are on site, it’s being broadcast live, and no one sees this.
  • “Woah!”: Better than “Yippee!”, but it doesn’t take much to impress Anakin, it sure looks like. Oh, brother…
  • CGI Jabba: Jabba looks so fake it’s ridiculous. Someone should simply Photoshop him from ‘Return of the Jedi’. He was a puppet, but he looked better.
  • One big video game: It’s not just product placement: the pod race looks like we’re watching someone else playing a video game.
  • Tusken Raiders: So… no one cares that the raiders are sabotaging the pod race?
  • Three robotic stooges: Watch three repair droids pull a Moe, Larry, and Curly for some reason. Le sigh…
  • Jabba drops a space chicken from a height: For a kids’ movie, ‘The Phantom Menace’ has a strange outlook on animal cruelty.
  • Sebulba cheats: So… not only can he sabotage, not only can the Tusken Raider interfere, but Sebulba can also cheat during race? If it’s allowed, why is he the only one? If it’s not, then why isn’t he pulled from the race?
  • The commentators look stupid: Both in the sense of seeming moronic and in the sense of them looking ridiculous. F- CGI.
  • The CGI crowds look crap: They just don’t look real. They just don’t.
  • “You have brought hope to those who have none.”: Really? By winning a race? How does that work exactly? No wonder he grows up messed up and with delusions of grandeur: he gets lied to by his mentors all the time.
  • “Yippee!” 2: Shut it. Just shut it.
  • Darth Maul’s attack on Qui-Gon: He just attacks out of nowhere: one moment he’s on his crotch speeder, the next Qui-Gon’s has to defend himself. Can you say “ADD”? Plus which his jump from his crotch speeder looks very CGI. Painfully so.
  • Qui-Gon’s escape: Qui-Gon’s jump on the ship was so fake it’s ridiculous. He was basically an immobile CGI character moved with a cursor.
  • Sammy J’s delivery: Samuel L Jackson can be great. And sometimes he can be a great ham. Here his delivery is just bad: stilted, unnatural. I blame George, who’s well known not to be an actor’s director.
  • Non-confidence motion: It’s so easy to motion for non-confidence in this Senate, that it’s a wonder they don’t elect a new Chancellor every day.
  • The Chancellor is so easily shaken: For a seasoned politician, he drops his arms pretty damned quick.
  • Anakin’s trials: Um… they test Anakin with a computer guessing game? Yo, yo… let me try it: I think I’m a Jedi too!
  • “That is the clue we need to unravel this mystery of the Sith.”: I know what they mean by it, but look at the sentence and tell me if it makes sense.
  • Awkward dialogue 3: “Master, sir…I heard Yoda talking about midi-chlorians. I’ve been wondering: What are midi-chlorians?” “Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that resides within all living cells.” Repetitive, stilted dialogue. Again.
  • “Wesa going home!”: !@#$
  • The ADD pace: Funny how the film’s furious pace doesn’t give you time to be bored… but I was bored anyway.
  • The Gungans’ sacred place: Right after Jar Jar talks about going to the Gungans’ secret hiding spot, they arrive there. How secret! Even we’re not allowed to see where it is! And who cares about setting up the scene anyway?
  • Amidala’s great reveal: Why does Amidala reveal herself so quickly? They barely got started talking, for goodness’ sake!
  • The animals they ride look utterly fake: They look like they’re riding cartoons, and their weight distribution is all wrong. Give me crappy tauntaun over this anytime.
  • Bombad General: Boss Nass makes Jar Jar a General? Based on what qualifications?
  • Jar Jar faints: …upon being named General. But Boss Nass doesn’t revoke the appointment. He not only is unconcerned, he laughs it off! I’m sure your men will be laughing their way through battle, too, you ninny!
  • Awkward dialogue 4: “And there’s an even bigger danger. If the Viceroy escapes, Your Highness, he will return with another droid army.” “Well, that is why we must not fail to get to the Viceroy.” Wait… wait… were we talking about the Viceroy? I wasn’t sure. Personal pronouns exist, George.
  • Taking Anakin in combat: Why would Qui-Gon bring Anakin into deadly battle and then tell him to find cover? The best cover would be to stay behind, wouldn’t it? #WorstJediEver
  • Anakin hides in a ship: So, when he is told “cover”, Anakin translated that to mean “climb aboard a ship”? The Force is strong with this one!
  • Jar Jar leads troops: And not too convincingly. He must be great for morale…
  • Rows of same characters: The joy of CGI is that you can copy and paste stuff until you have enough of it to fill your screen. Lovely. It’s like bad wallpaper.
  • Jar Jar’s combat skills: He swings bombs over his head, nearly hitting his own soldiers. It’s meant to be funny, but it’s pathetic. Those soldiers are likely all destabilized, attacked as they are without AND within.
  • Darth Maul’s use of the Force: Why does Maul toss debris out of way, while fighting Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan? It looks cool, but it’s such a wasted move since the debris was in no one’s way. And if he’s trying to impress the Jedi, he should try something more memorable. Like tying their shoelaces together.

(A friend has since told me that Maul used that piece of debris to open the hangar door. So… much like shooting a locked door opens it, then? Ah… much better! *sarcasm*)

  • Anakin starts his ship by mistake: Best starpilot in the galaxy.
  • Autopilot: Why does the autopilot take Anakin into combat?
  • CGI Gungan battle: Layers and layers of artificiality don’t generate emotional investment in the audience. It’s like watching someone else play a video game.
  • Jar Jar destroys robots: …by mistake. How reassuring for his soldiers, who could easily have been his inadvertent target instead.
  • Ascension guns: Ascension guns? This is standard equipment? And they all have the strength to carry their own body weights, without losing their grips? And they don’t fall off the ledge? And the Queen uses gun at close range to shatter a window, but no one gets hurts? Pull the other one!
  • Ben and Maul’s falls: These guys can fall from great from heights and not get hurt? No dislocated shoulders? No broken bones? Wow!
  • Energy walls: What the !@#$ are those energy walls separating Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul for? It’s a cool device for the sequence, but what is their practical application exactly? Looks like a video game challenge to me.

Oh, right…

  • Slapstick in combat: It’s bad enough that the picture has slapstick in it, but having some during combat takes away from the credibility and suspense of the moment.
  • Maul’s saber gets chopped in half: …and it still works. Wouldn’t happen with Earth technology, I can assure you! He’d have to send it in for repair, and work with a loaner for 4-6 weeks!
  • Shutting down the robot army: Of course destroying the main ship shuts down the robot army! They don’t keep doing what they were doing (as per the latest instruction) until they’re destroyed. Nope. They don’t go rogue. Nope. They just stop. Worst design flaw ever – just like shooting a locked door to unlock it. Rubbish. It was a facile way to wrap it up; it was lazy writing.
  • Anakin is an accidental hero: Greatest pilot in the universe.
  • Obi-Wan jumps over Maul: But the latter doesn’t react. Was he too busy admiring Ben’ sweet moves?
  • Awkward dialogue 5: “Mmm. Always two there are….no more…no less. A master and an apprentice.” “But which one was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?” Who writes this shit? NO ONE talks this way! Mace would simply say “But which one was destroyed?”

‘The Phantom Menace’ had a wow factor at the time that simply hasn’t transcended time. When reality set it, few of us could overlook its glaring flaws. To make matters worse, every blockbuster is like this now: all soulless CGI action. Frankly, if it wasn’t under the ‘Star Wars’ label, it’s a movie I would see just the once and forget.

It’s just one of those, nothing special. It’s good for what it is: A kiddie sci-fi adventure.

But fans -as well as the franchise- deserved better.

“Now, be brave, and don’t look back. Don’t look back. “

Date of viewing: November 29, 2015

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5 responses to “The Phantom Menace

  1. I’ve been making me way through the series again in preparation for the new film and just watched Ep. 1 the other day. I’m watching them in Machete Order (4,5,1,2,3,6) and while I think that it serves the story better for the Luke/Vader relationship, going from V to I really makes you realize just how much harder the prequels are to sit through.

    Poor storytelling can’t be saved with liberal CGI. This is point that you made several times and I think it’s the most important lesson to be taken from this movie. You can’t just plop weird CG aliens into a space meeting and expect them to carry your terrible dialogue.

    This is an interesting way to do a movie review. I’ll usually take notes and then try to write something up in paragraph format, but I might try this next time. I like the list format even though it kind of necessitates the reader having seen the movie before.

    Good job man, here’s to hoping the Force Awakens doesn’t disappoint.

    • Glad you enjoyed this post. I agree that it supposes that readers will have seen the picture, but I suspect either they already have or never will.

      As for the format, the ‘Star Wars’ movies have been done to death, so I figured I had to approach them slightly differently. I usually do paragraphs as well, with some exceptions (like the 007 films).

      It’s really just context.

      If I tackle ‘The Force Awakens’, it’ll be with standard paragraphs. We’ll see. Not sure I’ll be up to it, though. Let’s just say that I’m more curious than hopeful.

      How you? Are excited? 🙂

      • I’ll admit that I have a certain degree of worry that it’s going to be underwhelming, but from what clips we’ve seen and based on my love of the series I think it’ll be entertaining at worst. Definitely going to be doing a review either way. I look forward to hearing what you think too, come 10 days time.

        • You’re right: at worst, it’ll be entertaining. I just hope it doesn’t get too cheesy or gimmicky. I only watched the first two trailers because they made me feel iffy about it (a rolling, ball droid? a cross-guard lightsaber?), so I stooped. I fear it’ll fall into the trap that the series has been stuck lately, relying on lightsaber fights and spaceship battles for lack of substance. We’ll soon see. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Star Wait | thecriticaleye·

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