Cassandra B. (cass75) from VANDALIA, MI Reviewed on 8/26/2009...
Good movie. It is the first in the star wars series. It tells how Luke and Leyah's parents met.
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May the midi-chlorians be with you
Joker | Michigan | 08/15/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace came out in May 1999, some people said the movie sucks. Some people said they liked it, while others said it was just "OK". Well, that's how it's been for the last eleven years. This is a movie that has gotten mixed reviews. What's my opinion of this movie?
It's OK, that's all. So...it gets 3 stars.
This is a movie that could have been so much better, but George Lucas botched it up. There are a number of reasons, so I'll explain.
First of all, the script. Oh, the script, the script, the script. The script is HORRIBLE!!!!! George Lucas wrote one draft and then gave it the stamp of approval. I don't get it. It's so wordy. This is a movie that the average person is not going to be able to memorize, unlike the scripts from episodes IV, V, and VI (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi).
Second of all, midi-chlorians. Why was this concept used to give a scientific explanation for The Force? Why was The Force explained at all?
Third of all, wooden acting. A lot of the characters are so stiff, so wooden, and so boring. I know the political talk isn't the most exciting subject matter in the world, but at least have the characters show a little emotion and personality.
Fourth of all, the higher technology. Why is the technology more sophisticated and superior to the technology from episodes IV, V, and VI? This movie is supposed to take place 40 years before Episode IV - A New Hope, yet the technology seems like it would be more suited for a movie that takes place 40 years after Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi. The only hint of inferior technology in The Phantom Menace is that of ships needing help from a "booster" to go into hyperspace.
Fifth of all, the slaying of Darth Maul. What on Naboo was that? Obi-Wan Kenobi is hanging on for dear life several feet below where Darth Maul is standing and looking down at him. Suddenly Kenobi looks in the direction of where Qui-Gon's lightsabre is lying on the floor. My question is this: With Kenobi several feet below floor level, how can he see Qui-Gon's lightsabre from that vantage point? The lightsabre is completely out of his view. Does he have X-ray vision? Another thing - Why does Darth Maul just stand there and watch as Kenobi jumps up, grabs the lightsabre, and swipes him? Maul had every opportunity to swipe Kenobi in those several seconds.
Why was Darth Maul killed off to begin with? He's one of my favorite characters in the entire six movie saga!
Sixth of all, Jar Jar Binks. Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh Jar Jar Binks. He was SO annoying. He was meant to provide comic relief in place of R2D2 and C3PO, seeing that C3PO was being built at the time and was not a companion of R2D2 yet. Instead, he single-handedly ruined the movie, or at least came pretty darn close. Plus, I didn't find him that funny. It was dry humor at best. He was meant to appeal to little kids. I really believe that if I was seven years old when this movie came out I wouldn't like Binks. Seriously. If there was a Worst Movie Characters Of All Time Hall Of Fame, Jar Jar Binks would be a first ballot Hall Of Famer.
Seventh of all, Anakin Skywalker. Jake Lloyd was given a script to act like the little kid he was. Not entirely his fault. His character showed no hint of possibly developing an evil side in the future, not even in the most subtle way. His character comes off as very child-like and uninteresting and shallow, for the most part. His interaction with Padme is awkward.
Eighth of all, the pod race was too long. It was great visually, but I get the feeling that George Lucas wanted to just show off what he can do with CGI technology, which leads me into my next point...
Ninth of all, there was too much CGI technology. George Lucas fell in love with CGI technology and overused it. That's why the technology in the galaxy far, far away is so much more sophisticated in the prequels compared to episodes IV, V, and VI. It makes no sense.
Overall, the movie is just OK. There are some strong points to it, but the negatives outweigh the positives. Some of the positives are the musical score by John Williams, which I feel is one of the best scores in the whole six movie saga, the high intensity lightsabre fights with Kenobi, Jinn, and Maul, and the battle scenes on Naboo are visually stunning (just pretend Jar Jar isn't in those scenes). I also like a lot of the costumes, such as Queen Amidala's arsenal and Darth Maul's.
I dismiss this movie as basically a kiddie flick. There are lots of kids in this movie, unlike the original trilogy, which didn't have any kids that I can remember. I think George Lucas deliberately loaded up Episodes I, II, and III with kids so he could market all the toys to the kids through the movie itself. But it's funny how Episodes IV, V, and VI appealed so much to kids, yet the movies didn't have any kids in them. My point is that you don't need to include kids in these movies in order for the movies to appeal to kids. The CHARACTERS are what get the kids interested, not some no-name kids who are taking up room on the screen. Think of characters like R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, the Jawas, etc. Also, the spaceships and weapons get kids interested as well.
All the scenes that are supposed to be "funny" instead come off as childish. There are a lot of distracting things that appear on the screen throughout the movie, thanks to Lucas getting carried away with CGI. Everything is overdone. Also, a lot of the characters are just plain funny looking.
I was glad that George Lucas bounced back and got back on track with Episode II - Attack Of The Clones, and better yet, Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith.
May the Force be with you.
May the midi-chlorians be with you."
Episode I: Phantom Menace Phantom Plot
Samurai Dave | Tokyo, japan | 08/22/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I should make it clear that though I am fan of the original three Star Wars movies, I do not hate the prequel movies out of some kind of fanatical fanboy reaction. I just don't like the films because they are not good films.
Defense of this film and the other two follow-ups has been fierce in the wake of wrath from many disappointed fans and haters of Jar Jar Binks. Prior to its release, I understand that some die-hard fans showed their loyalty to the Star Wars franchise by paying out over $500 to see the premiere of "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." If you paid $500 for a crappy movie, you'd defend it rather than admit you wasted a buttload of dinero.
Phantom Menace: A Phantom Movie
The Phantom Movie has a ghost of a plot and a phantasm of characterization. Mainly, it is just one long joyless ride of mediocrity relying more on flash than substance. As many critics and fans have pointed out over the years, the first three movies may have had many flaws but they were overall good films with interesting characters and a simple but engaging plot.
Some people gripe about "Return of the Jedi" because one of the most controversial moments in the original trilogy has to be the introduction of the Stone Age teddy bears known as the Ewoks. However, one really has to admit that Jar Jar Binks of "Episode I" redeems the Ewoks; at least some of those teddy bears had the decency to die and you couldn't understand them when they were talking.
The original Star Wars films had enormous success and popular acceptance because they were grounded in ancient primal myths that people from all generations and cultures could relate to. In addition, the first three films are nostalgic of 1950s and 1930s sci-fi adventures films and serials. There is a lot of just sheer, campy fun lines like, "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you!"
Nothing like this in "Episode I." Dialog is appallingly poor and lifeless. The characters are uninteresting, with the exception of the rarely seen Darth Maul -- and even he comes off second best to Boba Fett of the original films. Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan character has far less screen time in "Star Wars" than Liam Neeson's practically unpronounceable Jedi character. And yet Obi-Wan's death had far more impact on audiences than the latter's because Obi-Wan was more of a recognizable, developed character an audience could feel for. I felt Neeson's character was a stranger throughout the whole movie, more cardboard than Jedi. I sometimes forget that he even died in the movie, his character being so forgettable as it was. I don't blame Neeson for this. I blame poor storytelling and characterization.
Perhaps I'm getting too old for special-effects eye candy, but I found the CGI in the film overbearing and fake. Give me the old clunky-looking models and men-in-rubber-suit aliens. It seems that when Lucas and company had less money and technology they were forced to be more creative. Now blessed (or cursed) with an abundance of both, the end result is Jar Jar Binks, one of the most hated sidekicks to darken the silver screen. As for the battle robots, they are wimpy-looking talking broomsticks with guns.
The humor of "Episode I" is degrading and pandering to kids with primarily all of it delivered by Jar Jar through poor slapstick routines Buster Keaton would have been nauseated by. The humor of the first three films works mainly because there is chemistry among the characters.
The story of "Episode I" doesn't hold interest well either. We have a plot about a blockade over trade regulations (at last! economics and sci-fi!) and a kid with extraordinary powers but possessing all the personality and charm of a piece of furniture.
Then there's the very subtle sub-plot of Darth Maul that's so sub it's practically a submarine. And there's just too much repetition in certain scenes, such as the underwater voyage on Naboo, as big fish devour big fish, and the overly long, never-thought-it-would-end pod-racing scene. Perhaps NASCAR racing fans liked it.
Overall, things happen more by blind dumb luck rather than by the Force, such as Anakin blowing up the mother ship completely by accident. And speaking of the Force, gone is the mystical, Zen-like idea that so grabbed audiences and pop culture of the past. Instead we have a scientific Star Trek interpretation of the Force as some kind of blood disease.
One of the biggest problems I had with the film was Anakin Skywalker, often lovingly referred to by many critics as "Manakin Skywalker." Jake Lloyd's acting abilities aside, presenting the future Darth Vader as a kid is not so crucial that a whole film should be devoted to it. The "Episode I" storyline could have been easily condensed down to about 15-20 minutes at the beginning of "Episode II: Attack of the Clones."
The story behind the prequels is the fall and transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. But a child is not an interesting character for the type of overall story George Lucas presented in these newer films. I would rather have had Anakin first revealed as a youth in his mid to late teens as a flawed but sympathetic hero who slowly descends in the course of the three prequels into darkness as of result of his own decisions and things outside of his control. And at absolutely no point should he shout "Yippee!" no matter how well he does something.
A few other notes of irritated concern:
Why do the robots in the film need to talk out loud to each other?
Why did they have Hugh Quarshie all funked up like a 1970s chauffeur for a pimp? (referring to the Queen of Naboo's bodyguard's highly questionable fashion)
How come Obi-Wan forgot about C3PO and R2D2 in later years? Was it Jedi senility? (I know the answer: They were just in the film to establish a flimsy continuity. Logic isn't even an option).
And for that matter, how come Darth Vader doesn't remember Tatooine? Dark Side senility?
Why would the rest of the Republic delegates give a toss for a backwater world like Naboo and call for a new election of their leader, Supreme Chancellor Valorum (Terence Stamp)?
How is 7 or 8 too old for Jedi training? Do they have an embryo training academy? (And just forget the fact that Luke made some considerable progress in a couple of years from farm boy able to lift only small household objects to Jedi superhero challenging the Emperor and Darth Vader.)
How come all the Naboo pilots look like close-to-retirement office workers seemingly without an ounce of combat training and wearing only safety glasses and leather baseball caps? (They looked like the clueless adults in Disney movies that the hideously adorable kids have to fill in on what is really going on.)
Why did Obi-Wan lie about his first meeting with Anakin? Anakin was not the best pilot in the galaxy when they first met; he was a wet-behind-the-ears, 10-year-old domestic servant.
Overall Phantom Menace was a disappointment both as a Star Wars film and just as a film period."
STAR WARS - EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE
Margot Marion | Cle Elum, WA, US | 09/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BOTH THE SERVICE, PRICE AND, OF COURSE, THE PRODUCT WAS GREAT. I WOULD PURCHASE FROM HERE AGAIN WITH NO HESITATION. THANK YOU."
E. DANGELO | Florida, USA | 09/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watched the DVD as soon as I got it and was surprised at how much I still loved it after all this time, not having seen it since its initial release, because I've read nothing but bad reviews over the years. Jar Jar is definitely an annoyance, but all in all, I found it exciting and beautiful to look at."
George Lucas: The Phantom Menace
TheGodfather | 09/24/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I remember all the hype leading up to the theatrical release of this movie and after 16 years of waiting, the prequels had finally arrived. I had my doubts from seeing the trailers which didn't look that good, and I should have known from what went wrong with much of Return of the Jedi that it would translate over to these new movies. The first two Star Wars movies were so effective partially because George Lucas was not given as much autonomy which in reality made the movies so much better. If you have seen the earlier scripts for Star Wars you would see how silly some of his ideas were. With Return of the Jedi, George Lucas was free to do whatever he wanted, and his silliness and eccentricities were poured forth strongly within Jabba's palace and the whole Ewok thing. So after such a long wait, the Phantom Menace arrives. I was very anxious to see it, but I had my doubts. Afterward, I did enjoy it, but there were many things I did not like about it. The story in many ways contradicts the information that we did know about Anakin that Obi-Wan explained to Luke in ROTJ: "When I met your father he was already a great pilot (not a podracer). I was amazed how strong he was in the force...I took it upon myself to train him...I was not as good as Yoda was" etc. So I really had a problem with Anakin being as young as he was. I always imagined Anakin being around Luke's age in the first movie, but more of a Han Solo type in his humor and recklessness; yet noble, but with a dark side with his temper and stubbornness. His character would be likeable and he would seem like one of those guys you would love to have around (thus making his future fall that much more tragic). The story of Padme being the elected Queen of Naboo at age 16 was ridiculous; her costume was plain silly. I see her story taking place on Alderaan, as a princess of the ruling family that was close to Bail Organa. There was a lot of time wasted in this movie with stories that did not matter to the saga as a whole: Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans, the fish chasing the ship, the Gungan battle, etc. I really think that a lot of this frivolous storyline could have been eliminated and elements of Episode II incorporated into it so we could see more of the Clone Wars in the next movie. Lucas wasted too much time and as a result we are stuck watching cartoons to see more of a sensationalized version of the Clone Wars. The Jedi Council was ridiculous with all of its bizarre creatures (like the thing with the long neck) and Yoda's insistence that he sees anger and fear in Anakin but it is not substantiated. I don't like Anakin and his mother being slaves and there should have had a connection with the Lars family right away (and sincere disagreement from Owen Lars with Anakin being involved with the Jedi, etc). The Podrace was cool, but I think a skyhopper race would have been more appropriate and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan could have felt how strong Anakin was in the force right away while descending upon the planet and chancing upon the race. Elements of Episode II could have been incorporated with Mace Windu doing (Obi-Wan's) investigation into the cloning facility. The entire trade federation battle was a waste and there could have been a better way to incorporate Anakin as a pilot without doing a shoddy remake of the first attack on the Death Star. The movie is full of annoying characters: the Gungans, the Trade Federation and the battle droids, Watto, Padme's advisors, etc. I would have scrapped about 70% of this movie. The midi-Chlorian concept should have been trashed as well. C3PO and R2-D2 were always intended to be in all of the movies, but I don't like the idea of Anakin being the one that created C3PO - it just doesn't fit. The only bright spot to the movie is Darth Maul and the lightsaber battles which are spectacular. I believe he should have lived in order to establish Anakin's skills in the next movie by Anakin defeating him, but underestimating Dooku who surprises him and dismembers him before escaping.
In retrospect I think "The Phantom Menace" is a failure and George Lucas really messed up this movie and forever contradicted the original storyline. It's sad that the man that started such an amazing universe sabotaged his own creation including his constant tinkering with the original trilogy. There are too many gratuitous references to the classic trilogy that don't belong in the movie; I think George Lucas got lost in his own universe and really missed the mark. I'd love to see someone do a remake and really do the prequels some justice. There are plently of graphic novels and books that do George Lucas' universe more justice than the man himself."