Reviewing one movie at a time…

Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)


Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Running Time: 2 Hrs and 16 Min

Starring-Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman  – Directed by – George Lucas

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away….

Star War: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace

Two Jedi Knights show up for negotiations with the Trade Federation as ambassadors, Once they discover they are Jedi they attempt to kill them and fail the Jedi then attempt to save Naboo, they run into several paths of different characters and a young man who will bring balance to the force. As they are doing this the Sith resurface from hiding and try to put an end to the Jedi Knights work.

Ran-Dizzle (Host)

Since the Star Wars/Disney news I’ve wanted to go back and re-visit Star Wars, Of course these movies never get old with me, (and the Ep.IV – VI bring back some memories of me and dad on the  couch watching these movies.) Anyways back to the review

This particular Episode is one that I am 50/50 on. I like the Storyline, how they bring some essence of what Anakin was like, and get to know some back story of Darth Vader, Greedo, Obi Wan, and who gave birth to the hero’s down the line. Although I think Padme was rocking the cradle a little bit, especially when you see this then it jumps to Episode 2..but let’s continue on with Episode 1.

One Character I DESPISE!! Jar-Jar Binks, The most annoying, obviously he was thrown in when George Lucas was drinking or Smoking something at Skywalker Ranch, because this character is 100% annoying and couldn’t figure out other then they make him a connecting point between Jedi and the Gungans. Some compare him to Ewoks…Yes, if your going to compete on which one of any Star Wars Character is going to be considered the “Gay Icon” of Star Wars, My money would be on Jar-Jar…atleast Ewoks are furry and cute, yes annoying, but they are just Midget Chewbaccas… Something else that bothered me a little was the acting of Jake Lloyd, I mean for a Young Anakin, not bad but just when he’s talking to Watto, or just anyone else it kind made me feel like he was over acting, which isn’t hard to do being a child star you don’t really know emotions ect. (I know you are probably thinking “As if I know, your not even in Hollywood.” But  I have had some acting classes so I know a little)

I like how the Sith come to light in this movie, Darth Maul was interesting loved the Double-Ended Lightsaber, I think they killed him off too soon. They build this bad-ass sith and then Obi-Wan kills him in a matter of minutes…???

Over all the Special Effects and Storyline was good for a prequel. (Don’t Forget it’s now in 3-D)

4‘s

Big JD

I remember when this movie first came out.  I waited in line so excited for a matinee viewing and after it was all over said and done.  I was left more overwhelmed than anything.  I over looked the whole Jar Jar thing but just to see a Star Wars film was my only care.  There was an overload of information and at times there were moments that were completely unnecessary. (corny comedy).  After growing up with the original trilogy all that I could do was to take everything in and see how it all related.

We start by seeing a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor) and his master Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) acting as ambassador’s in a trade negotiation.  Neeson does great in his role as the seasoned veteran Master Jedi.  Even with his great acting the Jar Jar Binks character turns it into Gungan mush.  Actually the addition of the whole Gungan race was sort of ridiculous.  Boss Nass was not much better than Jar Jar.  Although it was kind of nice expanding the universe as this movie did.

So Naboo is invaded by the Trade Federation and their crappy Battle Droids.  Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) is captured and we get to see her in a different outfit every scene she is in.  Although the wardrobes are great, if she would spend less time changing clothes and more on Diplomatic Process she may have avoided this.  Battle Droids.  They are weak and not very tough for anyone to get by.  That’s all fine and dandy but why must we hear them say unnecessary things.  “That doesn’t compute, uh wait, uh your under arrest”.

The introduction of R2-D2 was very exciting to me.  I love R2!  Better yet we get to see what his main purpose was.  Astromech droid.  He fixes ships.  It makes so much sense now!  The intro to his pal C-3PO was also pretty cool “My parts are showing, My Goodness!” Yes, 3PO without his gold body.  The comments from him are a bit corny but it is only a taste of what is yet to come in Episode II.  And to think… he was built by Darth Vader… Damn that memory wipe!

Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) was young to say the least.  Put him in a scene with Jar Jar and it is just painful.  Although his “hitting” on Padme was equally uncomfortable.  It all comes down to his acting though.  “I’m a person, and my name is Anakin”.  Not funny.  Enter Darth Maul.  The second coming of Darth Vader for the fans.  They needed to see a bad guy.  Darth Maul was pretty cool and so was his initial fight scene.  Although we don’t get to see much of him. His final fight scene has to be one of the better Lightsaber fights I’ve seen.  Coupled with John Williams’ score only made it great.  “Duel of the fates” was/is spectacular.

The whole podrace/Anakin and him being freed felt a little forced story wise but it works out In the end.  The podrace in general was pretty neat-o when I first saw it too.  Anakin’s Ingenuity and his ability to control the force slightly is really stressed upon here.  The announcers were one of the many unnecessary additions to the movie.  Oh, and I haven’t seen a digital Jabba I have liked yet.

Why did the “force” need to be broken down?  Midi-chlorians?  I remember hearing that for the first time and thinking “ok, yeah, that makes sense?  But why?”  So in the end, Jake Lloyd’s acting, The corny characters (such as Jar Jar, Watto, Battle Droids, etc.) mixed with the one liner’s that were written throughout, and the Midi-chlorians all detract from the movie it could have been.  Speaking of Detracting…  When I first saw Yoda, I was like “What!?”  I thought that he looked that way because he was younger but that much of a difference between 30-40 years when he is like 800 plus years old anyway?  Whatever.  The Blu-ray release has him digitized and he looks much, much better.  I mean, I was all for the use of puppets before but that puppet looked nothing like Yoda.

So, with this being my least favorite Star Wars movie, after you watch it a million times it does get better, although the corny one-liners seem to become more prominent after every watch.

Comic Book Movie Plus:  Samuel L. Jackson: The Avengers, Iron Man 2, Marvel Post Credits, The Spirit – Liam Neeson: The Dark Knight Trilogy – Natalie Portman: Thor, V for Vendetta, Terrance Stamp: Wanted, Elektra, Superman, Superman II – Ray Park: X-Men – Dominic West – Punisher: War Zone

3.5‘s

Willie Good-Cook

-Lucas, WHY!!!-

This is going to be long folks, so get your popcorn and drinks ready! Ok, first off I was not alive during the original 3 movies being released. So I missed out on the first Star Wars nerd fever. My parents however did not and they were nice enough to have me watch the movies and impart onto me a little of the madness. I was very excited to hear about this movie coming out. My own generations trilogy. How cool did that sound?! But then came George Lucas….

This movie had some of the things that made the original trilogy great. Great light saber battles, pretty good special effects, a decent story, and nice new characters. He also failed in many ways. Who the f#$% decided to cast that guy as Anakin? Who thought it was a good idea to call him Annie?! Jar Jar….why? WTF is a midi-clorian? Why tamper with the force from the first trilogy?

These were all things that easily could have been avoided had Lucas and his team of writers had their heads pulled firmly out of their a$$es. The actors/actresses did a wonderful job. The score to this movie is one of my favorites in any movie to date. They did a great job of matching the music to the first movies without making it identical or some cheap knock off.

The story line and plot are ok in this movie as well. Except a couple things. How does a kid make a fully functional robot? I tinkered around when I was that age…but come on. Seriously? Why bring two important characters in and then kill them off in one movie? Annie single-handedly takes down the control ship which conveniently shuts down the whole droid army (Avengers style).  How did Qui-gon get owned so fast by Darth Maul. They have an even fight for like 20 minutes then all of a sudden he gets facerolled. Whats up with that?

-Suggestion-

Star Wars is for nerds…just like Star Trek. If you have a little nerd in you, indulge him and watch this one.

3.5 ‘s

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