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.

PLOT SUMMARY

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.

THOUGHTS

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