Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Rating PG
Length 2h16
Release 15.7.1999
Director George Lucas
About Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi set out to stop the Trade Federation from invading Naboo. While travelling, they come across a gifted boy, Anakin, and learn that the Sith have returned.
Moon: Full moon during the funeral scene
Where to Watch: Disney Plus

The Good

  • On the most part, the cast Lucas put together for this was incredible. From the pitch perfect Ewan McGregor to the recall of people from the original trilogy. This is the best of the prequels and its largely to do with the adult cast and how they are able to work with the woeful dialogue.
  • John Williams is on form with this score. From the reworking of Vader’s march into Anikin’s theme to Maul’s suite that orchestrates that final battle between the Jedi and Sith.
  • Liam Neeson. Ah, how I avoid his films now. Yet, this is the film that sparked my love for the Irish actor. There’s a gravitas he brings to the film that’s akin to what Alec Guinness presented in A New Hope.
  • Short and sweet, but I love the presence of Samuel L Jackson. I can imagine it was something he loved to get and the little we saw allowed the viewers to wish for more.

The Bad

  • Jake Llyod really had a tough job with the script he was dealt. I’m pretty certain there wasn’t a kid out there that could have handled it better. That said, he’s fucking annoying from the get go. The less said about the “are you an Angel?” bullshit towards the handmaiden who will go on to father his children the better.
  • The CGI was hard to watch this time. And probably the last time I watched it too. Even considering when it was made, I feel it was a poor job. A lot of the ships, creatures and backgrounds look more like they’d be at home in an animated film. It’s a shame, because the original trilogy was created with practical effects and they work so much better.

The Ugly

  • Jar. Jar. Binks. Jesus, I hate saying this, knowing how much the hate for the character has impacted upon the health of Ahmed Best. However, Binks, to look at is cute. He’s this trilogy’s Ewoks. Until he opened his mouth. Again, I doubt this is on Best. This will be the workings of the man-child that is Lucas. Binks ruins the film with his inflections and random commentary.
  • “Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.” What utter bullshit is this?! It’s pissed me off more this time because it proves that Kathleen Kennedy was talking out of her arse when she claims that Sidious was in play even in The Force Awakens.

Final Thoughts

Its flawed. At the time, I thought these were the worst thing that happened to Star Wars. I wish I was right about that.

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