Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Drama and Science Fiction/Fantasy 2 hrs. 11 min.
Release Date: May 19, 1999
MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action/violence.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Jake Lloyd
Directed by: George Lucas
Produced by: Rick McCallum, George Lucas
When this movie came out, it was my instant favorite. It was so superior to previous Star Wars movies. For starters, it had semblances of a story, plot and character development, concepts that were lacking from the original trilogy.
There were, however, still some major flaws. It did have some bad acting namely the boy who played Anikin (making him a close second to Harrison Fords award-winning bad performance in the saga). The new Yoda just plain sucked. And, of course, my biggest pet-peeve, the references to the republic as a democracy. How stupid do you have to be to assume that a republic and a democracy is the same thing? They’re two completely different words, let alone systems of government. Lucas is truly an idiot.
And what the hell was he thinking by putting those dumb-ass robots (C3PO, R2D2) in the prequel? They totally upstaged one of the best new characters in the saga, Jar Jar Binks. Everybody hated Jar Jar, though none of them could give a legitimate reason why. Me’sa like’sa Jar Jar Bink’sa. The sole reason he wasn’t accepted wasn’t because he was annoying (after all, the droids R2D2 and C3PO were always just as annoying in the original trilogy), but because the audience were given a choice. You just can’t have two separate comic reliefs. Especially when one them is already beloved.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the R2D2/C3PO combo, I just think they didn’t belong in the prequel. Had they not been, Jar Jar and other fresh characters could have been more developed.
It’s always easier to pick out what I don’t like in these movies. Keep in mind, however, that if I don’t mention it, I liked it. This movie was, after all, my favorite of the saga. Well, at the time it came out anyway.
Summary: Naboo, a peaceful planet governed by the young Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), is being threatened by the corrupt Trade Federation, puppets of an evil Sith lord and his terrifying apprentice, Darth Maul (Ray Park). The seemingly benevolent Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is chief adviser to the queen. Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are called on to intervene in the trade disputes. Along the way, they acquire an apprentice of their own named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). When the Trade Federation launches an attack on Naboo, the queen and her allies must battle hordes of robot troopers while Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan face off against the sinister Darth Maul.