Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)


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images“And you, young Skywalker; we shall watch your career with great interest.” – Chancellor Palpatine

Number of Times Seen –  Between 10-20 times  (twice in Theater, DVD and 16 Jan 2014)

Brief Synopsis – Two Jedi Knights are sent to settle a dispute between worlds and end up stranded on a desert planet where they seek the help of a boy who seems quite powerful in the Force.

My Take on it – This is clearly the weakest of all 6 Star Wars movies, but even so, it is still a great movie.

George Lucas is known for writing great story-lines and situations for his characters, but he is crap at writing dialogue because it all comes out very cheesy.  This movie is by no means an exception to that rule.  The dialogue here is very campy and it’s sometimes quite hard to believe that the actors agreed to say some of the lines.

BUT….

The story here is great.  It isn’t easy to take one of the greatest cinema villains of all time and make him a cute little slave boy who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to help out two strangers.

It is great to see the Jedi Council at work.  They all seem to be pre-occupied with meditation and we can see how they were completely blinded by what was to occur in the coming years.

I love Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu and even though his character is quite tame in this movie, you know his badass personality will jump out in the future installments.

The podrace is truly an amazing piece of film.  We get to see a diverse group of aliens in a no-holds bar race at supersonic speeds and even get to see Sand People taking pot-shots at the racers as they make their way around the course.

This movie was one of the most highly anticipated movies ever since we all had to wait 16 years, I said 16 YEARS!!! for it to come out.

The two major flaws here are Queen Amidala who seems like she has a stick up her butt the whole movie (except when she is pretending to be Padme, cause then she is fine.  I think she has a split personality disorder) and Jar-Jar Binks who is from a strange race called the Gungans who don’t at all seem equipped to fight the Trade Federation robots, but in Charlie Chaplin style manage to do so.  Lucas, knowing how much the fans hated him, at least made Jar-Jar’s ineptitude the reason for the Senate to agree to create the Clone Army in the next movie and therefore we can all always blame Jar-Jar for the Clone Wars.

I have always had a bone to pick with Shmi Skywalker’s (who’s name we only learnt 3 years after this movie came out) claim that Anakin had no father.  Many people believe this to mean that he was conceived in an immaculate conception, but I still think that the meaning of her line “There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can’t explain what happened.” is that she got pregnant and the father had no connection to her afterwards.  There are rumors that perhaps Palpatine himself is the father.  It truly doesn’t matter who the father was, but I have trouble believing that Anakin was solely created by the Force.  We will never know the truth because it isn’t explained fully in the movies and Lucas himself refuses to explain it completely.

The duel between Kenobi and Qui-Gonn vs. Darth Maul is amazing and we finally get to see a real lightsaber duel with movements as opposed to two guys just banging swords together and slowly turning around.

Kenobi himself doesn’t have much to do here, but is essential to the plot since Qui-Gonn makes him vows that he will train Anakin as he takes his final breath.

John Williams continues his amazing musical scores here and the music here is exemplary.

Lucas outdid himself with the Special Effects and this movie is amazing to watch from that perspective also.

Bottom Line – This is the weakest of all 6 Star Wars movies, but necessary in order to tell the story properly no matter how you look at it. Great story, Amazing Special effects and an unbelievable soundtrack. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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11 thoughts on “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

  1. Definitely the weakest of the series, so weak I would probably call it BAFTA Worthy, using your definitions.

    But I’m glad you seem to like it more than me, for your sake. 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1999 |

  4. Pingback: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – Encore Review |

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