Phantom Menace Review and Discussion

phantom menace99Hi guys!  So yesterday marked the start of my new Star Wars series and I am going to be doing reviews on this blog plus a new web series on my youtube channel.  I am going to be discussing with my friends Abby and Jeremy each of the Star Wars movies and yesterday we tackled Episode 1: Phantom Menace.  It was my first time doing a Live Google Hangout and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Most people know I was not a fan of the Star Wars prequels but I have always stood up for Phantom Menace a little bit because Attack of the Clones seemed so much worse at the time  (we will see what I think this week).  But I have to say on the rewatch Phantom Menace was a lot worse than I remembered. It has some decent sequences but at the core it is an unfocused mess with no climax that matters, no developed villain or other characters, poor acting and an incredibly annoying character in Jar Jar.

Even things I thought I liked such as the podrace or the fight with Darth Maul weren’t as good as I remembered them being.


Phantom Menace is about Naboo being threatened by Darth Sidious and the Federation and the Jedi trying to stop said threat. They appeal to the Gungan where they meet Jar Jar. Then they stop in Tatooine and meet Anakin who Qui-Gon feels is the chosen one who can save Naboo and become a great Jedi. To get Anakin out of slavery he must win a podrace which he can do because he can predict the future with the force. Darth Maul is sent by Darth Sidious to kill stop the Jedi and capture Naboo Queen Padme Amidala.

Padme speaks in Coruscant to the Republic Senate to try and stop the blockade. The senate is corrupt and Padme returns to Naboo where she enters an alliance with the Gungans. They enter a battle with the droids from the federation. Meanwhile Anakin pilots a ship by accident and destroys the Federation battle ship. At the same time Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul and Qui-Gon is killed by Maul and Ob-Wan slices Maul in half. With the battle victorious the council decide Obi-Wan is a Jedi and he can train Anakin. Peace is declared in Naboo.


The problem with Phantom Menace is it wants to be equally appealing to kids, adults and everyone in between.  It also doesn’t matter as a story to the Star Wars world.   You could get rid of the movie and pick up on what is going quite well in episode 2. There is no climax, no compelling villains and no protagonist that we are rooting for.  All in all it is a mess.

Some of the actors are good but they are handed material that doesn’t do them any favors.  Despite all the exposition it can also feel very confusing of who is doing what and why.

I also hate the edition of midichlorians to the Star Wars lore.  I always thought of the force as kind of like the priesthood.  It is a spiritual force you must be trained to sense, and use.  That’s why Master Yoda had to train Luke in order for him to go into battle and to use the force. The Force is the power of Good and that’s why it has such strength but it can be used for evil too. To revert it back to a little boy being able to use it without any training is disappointing.

It also feels very long and a lot boring with scenes that don’t connect well to the over all story (which there isn’t really one so it is tricky)

Jar Jar is more annoying than I remembered. There is always humor in Star Wars but this is pretty insufferable.   There are also moments that are borderline offensive with particularly asian accents making me cringe.

It’s unfortunately the equivalent of a bunch of people standing together talking instead of a Star Wars movie and boy was it a let down back in 1999.

But now on to episode 2: Attack of the Clones!

What about you and Phantom Menace?  What do you think of it?  I would love your comments on our video if you get a chance.  Thanks!

Overall Grade- D

12 thoughts on “Phantom Menace Review and Discussion

  1. Reblogged this on Smilingldsgirl's Weblog and commented:

    Check out my first Star Wars review of Episode 1: Phantom Menace. My friends Jeremy and Abby joined me for a google chat about the movie. I’d love for you all to take a look as it was my first time hosting a live google hang out. I think it went pretty well.

  2. “first live Google Hangout”- What am I? Chopped liver? Lol!

    Well, I did enjoy this film more than I did Episode IV. Yes, I feel the film is pretty badly-written, whatnot, but I did enjoy myself. I even liked Jar-Jar Binks!

    1. I wasnt hosting yours. This was my first one to set up and arrange, lead the questions ect. Ha.
      I love episode 4. I think it’s about perfectly paced. Good there is Star Wars for everyone. 🙂

      1. It was pretty easy to use but I messed up and forgot to monitor comments that people were making during the video. I felt bad about that. Will try to do better with that while not getting to distracted next time.

      2. Believe it or not I actually haven’t seen 3 either. It came out on my mission and I never bothered to see it since I hated 2 so much.

  3. Episodes I, II, and III were all big mistakes, artistically speaking: Absent story arcs, scripts that stank, and abysmal acting, throughout. But the concept had been sliding in that direction after the very first movie, which was the best one (because it adhered closely to a classic plot, it had Alec Guinness for its backbone, and James Earl Jones’s sinister voice). Liam Neeson was a brand-name actor, but he didn’t have the strength to rescue the patently pathetic production that was Episode I. But a lot of people go to the cinema just for the special effects, so it provided job security for computer animators and Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic.

    1. Cool. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love the original trilogy but New Hope may also be my favorite;although Empire is just about perfect film. When I saw the rerelease in theater it was the coolest experience I’ve had in a theater. Everyone was cheering and it was awesome. I’m so excited for the new film in December. On to episode 2!

  4. This was the first Star Wars movie I saw in the cinema, and the first Star Wars movie I watched from start to finish. Even as an impressionable seven-year old, it barely resonated with me; and I barely remembered the film’s plot by the time I collected it on VHS. My dad, who was a bigger Star Wars fan than I was at the time, decided that Phantom Menace was bad enough to not warrant further investment. And to be honest, I was more entertained by the Darth Maul/Jedi duel than anything in Episode II which I still consider the worst on a thematic and story level, but aside from a fairly entertaining climax it’s probably the dullest.

  5. Love reading your reviews, but I entirely disagree with you on Episode I. I was watched it again two weeks ago and still really enjoyed it. It has a handful for utterly superb sequences, a generally extremely high quality of visuals, effective CGI and extraordinarily compelling environments. It had an awesome villain in Maul, and ultimately an even more awesome villain in Palpatine. It had a lightsaber battle that was frankly off-the-scale in terms of conception; part martial-art, part dueling, part opera. It had an extraordinarily good soundtrack by John Williams. And it generally had any number of terrific moments scattered throughout. And the podrace is still an extraordinary sequence, the scope of which only George Lucas would ever have taken on and pulled off.

    1. Cool. I’m glad you enjoy it. I definitely didnt agree with most of your points but that’s cool. To me the podrace and Darth Maul didnt hold up very well. The light saber fight felt choreographed. I dont hate it but it wasnt as good as I remembered. The podrace is ok but it goes too long and it doesn’t really matter to the story. There was no satisfying climax or conflict.

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