Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
I think this movie gets a real bad rap and really doesn’t deserve it. I saw this in the theater and I really enjoyed it. Like other movies I have reviewed on here I didn’t realize how many people disliked it until I got on the internet. It really is my favorite of the prequel movies. However, like all Star Wars movies, this one has its flaws as well as its good points and for me the good points outweight the bad.
In these reviews I will follow a format where I will look at the Pros and Cons and then I will post my overall opinion on the movie.
Pros: I am an FX junkie and these movies, especially the prequels, are pure eye candy. I love the sets, the designs of the futuristic worlds, the costumes and the creatures. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn are brilliant in their portrayals and I love the Characters they portray. Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala/Padme is also a stand out. It does get confusing at first, are Padme and Queen Amidala the same person? When she plays Padme she demonstrates a sweetness and kindness that is essential for making her a multidimensional character. As the queen she is very stiff and formal, although colorfully dressed, and it is her times as Padme when we get to know her. The Pod Races is the highlight of the movie. Great action ans special effects. These are the types of scenes fans go to these movies to see to begin with. They have become an iconic part of the entire franchise and the pod race certainly does deliver the goods.
Cons: I think the main negative thing for me was the story seemed too bogged down with politics. While this movie did have good action an adventure the heavy, and at times, confusing politics, seemed to hamper the story telling. I know Jake Lloyd has been roasted enough by people for his portrayal of young Anakin Skywalker so i will not do that here. I think he was at times good in the role and times he was a bit stiff in his acting style. My problem was not with the actor, my problem was in making the character as young as he was. If I am to believe he grows up to fall-in-love with Padme and to become the father of Luke and Leia I wish they would have depicted him as old as Padme. Yoda complained that Luke was too old to be a Jedi and he also said Anakin was too old to be trained to be a Jedi. Yet he trained Luke so it would have been plausible for Yoda eventually to be trained by Qui-Gon Jinn even if they had made the character older. Before the movie came out many were thinking that Darth Maul was going to be the second coming of Darth Vader…although he had a cool double Light Saber, I found him to be underwhelming…athough I was pissed he killed Qui-Gon Jinn who I would have loved to have seen in the other movies. One last quibble was the fact that young Anakin was the one who built C3-PO. Why the heck would he have wanted to build a protocol droid? It was a bit cheesy.
My Thoughts: How could I have come this far without mentioning Jar Jar Binks, the most hated character in the entire franchise? Well, I don’t hate him and he fits into my overall thoughts of the movie. Star Wars is a “fun” action and adventure franchise that appeals to children of all ages and the young and old. Jar Jar was a big part of what made the movie fun. I here there is a fan edited version that takes him out of the majority of the movie. I think that would be wrong to do. I think if he was not in the movie the movie would be a little empty without him. He reminds us to have a little fun with these movies and to not take it all so seriously.
I know I may get flamed for what I just said above but that is my opinion. The movie does have all the ingredients for a good Star Wars movie and this movie does, overall, mixes those ingredients very well. Let me get back to my point about he age of Anakin in the story and it will highlight what I think was wrong with all of the prequels. I think what people wanted to see was Anakin turn into Darth Vader, how did he det to the dark side. I don’t think George Lucas needed 3 films to do that. If Anakin had been an older character the story of his fall to the dark side could have taken a film and a half to show. Then the second part of the second prequel and the entire third movie could have really shown us how much of a terror and threat that Darth Vadar was and that would have been a better lead in to the original trilogy. I will get more into that as I move through the prequels.
Despite those flaws it still is an enjoyable movie and it was good to see some of our old friends again.
Posted on May 15, 2013, in Old Movie Review and tagged Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Ewan McGregor, George Lucas, Jake Lloyd, Jar Jar Binks, Jedi, Liam Neeson, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme, Queen Amidala, Qui-Gon Jinn, Yoda. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.