George Lucas transports audiences back to the future with Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace, the first installment of a prequel trilogy in which the director imagines the foundation for the entire six-part saga. Des... more »pite receiving a storm of adverse criticism (notably for Jar Jar Binks), Lucas continually fascinates with his ability to place his characters--some new, some old, some CGI--in the same dramatic situations posed in the original trilogy: whether it be the juxtaposition of primitives with technologically advanced societies or the timeless battle between good and evil, the very familiarity of these recurring scenarios and rhythms galvanizes the viewer. Of course, the state-of-the-art visual effects contribute mightily to the final impact: the kinetic Pod Race sequence, the epic military battles, the Romanesque grandeur of Naboo, the underwater city of Otoh Gunga, the decadent brio of Tatooine, and the dizzying skyscrapers of the city planet Coruscant. --Kevin Mulhall If The Phantom Menace was the setup, then Attack of the Clones is the plot-progressing payoff, and devoted Star Wars fans are sure to be enthralled. Ten years after Episode I, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), now a senator, resists the creation of a Republic Army to combat an evil separatist movement. The brooding Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is resentful of his stern Jedi mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), tormented by personal loss, and showing his emerging "dark side" while protecting his new love, Amidala, from would-be assassins. Youthful romance and solemn portent foreshadow the events of the original Star Wars as Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus, played by Christopher Lee) forges an alliance with the Dark Lord of the Sith, while lavish set pieces showcase George Lucas's supreme command of all-digital filmmaking. All of this makes Episode II a technological milestone, savaged by some critics as a bloated, storyless spectacle, but still qualifying as a fan-approved precursor to the pivotal events of Episode III. --Jeff Shannon« less
"These two Star Wars movies are not major masterpieces like the original three but at the same time, they also are unfairly bashed by critics. From my perspective though, these two movies are simply great movies to watch and are worthy prequels to the original three. Yes they're both flawed but still, I don't understand why so many seem to hate these Star Wars movies so much. EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE- This first episode in the entire franchise begins with increasing rebel activity becoming an increasing threat to the Galactic Republic. The Republic is being lead by a mysterious figure named Queen Padme Amidala. Padme is under threat of being overthrown from power by a rebel force lead by Darth Sideous and his apprentice Darth Maul. A young boy named Anakin Skywalker comes into the picture who is a slave to a creature named Sebulba and has to win a pod race to be freed. Anakin is discovered to have HUGE potential to become a Jedi Knight but is considered a danger to the republic and the galaxy. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon Jinn and his sidekick, a young Obi Wan Kenobi go on a quest to train the young Anakin Skywalker to become a Jedi, against the objections of the Jedi order. Overall though, the movie suffers from occasional bumbling roles especially from the bizarre giraffe-like Jar Jar Binks who is despised by most although not by me personally and also of poor scripting in some areas. I thought that Jar Jar was funny in some areas but annoying at times. The big flaw though in my opinion was that THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH DARTH MAUL!!!! That was the main disappointment. Still though this movie was great. I think of this movie as a large bag of popcorn as opposed to an epic work. Lucas did a pretty good job with PM. This is a very underrated movie. This is the first of the episodes and is the skeleton frame of what's to come on the next two episodes. EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES- The second episode of the Star Wars franchise takes place ten years after the demise of Darth Maul with Anakin Skywalker as a nearly adult Jedi who by now was inching closer to the evil side. The Republic is under increasing threat from rebel attacks that becomes obvious after a failed assassination attempt on Senator Amidala that kills her decoy Corde. A romance is kindled between Padme and Anakin but is endangered because of Padme's role as a Senator and also conflicts with Skywalker's dream of becoming a powerful Jedi Knight. Meanwhile, a secret army comprised of cloned beings is being built on a planet that has eluded detection of the Republics authorities. Several pivotal events happen that make "Attack Of The Clones". First, Anakin starts going at odds with his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi and Amidala is under new threats from forces hired by Count Dooku aka Darth Tyranus. Overall, I thought that Dooku was classic, bringing out much more personality than Darth Maul. Yoda also surprises us in a duel with Dooku as well. Overall, while "Clones" has it's flaws from bumbling acting in some occasions, it's an improvement over "Phantom Menace". This is the precursor to the possibly riveting events that are to take place on Episode III with Anakin becoming Darth Vader. These two movies make a nice action movie combo and are both worth owning. While they may not be major masterpieces like the original three were, they are great on their own field. Hands down to George Lucas for bringing out the creativity in his mind and onto the big screen again."
Does lose scope in Fullscreen, but no need to get extreme...
dvdcollector18 | USA | 12/01/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I caught bits and piece of Episode I in Full Screen on television last week, and it was chop and cut job, a [relatively] good one, but still lots of things are lost: character's voices heard without them being on screen (or at least half seen) and noises of objects or characters that are no longer seen. Plus the scope of the cities and the worlds that were created are reduced considerably. The battles and Pod Races, for which these movies get their most of their thrills from are horribly truncated with much of the surrounding action completley deleted.On the other hand, why are widescreen faithfuls being so extreme? These films ARE INDEED available in Widescreen for those who choose to get the filmaker's prefered format. And you will be better off when full screen buyers end up with Black Bars on the side of their screens in the end when widescreen televisions become dominant, so what's the fuss on our part? We get the whole movie for our money, not half for the same price.The "unhelpful button" clicking may commence, I assume..."
Buy the separate Widescreen releases instead!
Edward M. Curtis | Morgantown, WV USA | 06/08/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It puzzles me why Fox only chose to offer a PAN-AND-SCAN box of the first two Star Wars prequels.
If you're a fan of these films, it's much better to buy the separate widescreen releases of each. You won't get the pretty slipcase, but at least you're getting the whole movie and not a butchered pan-and-scan version.
It is rumored that when Episode III comes out on DVD this November, Fox will release a box set of all three prequels in their proper Widescreen Anamorphic format. Hopefully that rumor is true. (Though, since I already own the WS versions of Episodes I and II, I'll forgo the box and pick up the regular release of III.)"
One okay movie, one better movie.
Joe Clay | 04/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was one of the many people who didn't like the Phantom Menace, and considered it a major disappointment from the last three movies. I was not impressed by the acting and script, and found Jar Jar Binks to be annoying. I liked the visual effects and everything else in the movie to consider it an OK film, but could've been alot better.
I was very anxious to see Attack of the Clones when it came out at the movies, because of the good word of mouth on it. When I saw it at the movies, I loved it very much. It had almost everything I was looking for in a Star Wars movie, except for the good acting from the two leads, and better romantic dialogue. But I still loved it as much as the other films. You shouldn't buy both movies together, because you may not like one of them, or both, but what I would suggest is renting The Phantom Menace first, then Attack of the Clones to make a decision if you want to buy both movies."
Re: Another dazzling space adventure from George Lucas
Joe Clay | 01/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I hadnt seen a Star Wars movie in the theatres in almost 20 years before I saw this one....and Ill tell you....I forgot how GOOD it sounded!!! The light sabers sounded incredible to say nothing of the full battle sequences. Ok I had to get that out hehe...on with the review. Now...call me a purist....call me old fashioned etc....Im still trying to get used to all the computer special effects in Star Wars. Im used to puppets....now we get computerized monsters. Ill have to grow to like them hehe. The movie is very very good....loads more action than in Episode 1.....Its fascinating to me to see these guys Annakin Skywalker and Obi Won Kenobi 'back in the day' when there was a Republic and loads of Jedi Knights. The storyline is as engaging as ever....in this case Annakin is real stuck on Padame....Count Dooku is building a massive droid army under the noses of the Republic....and the Jedi knights and the Clone Army have to go stop them. Really intense action sequences.....the light saber duels are as great as ever....the full battle sequences are awesome!!! They really put in the time on this one. So if youre a Star Wars fan....go and get it. Its terrific!!!"