Let me start off by saying I’m not a huge Star Wars fan. With the coming of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I wanted to review our favorite-to-hate/love Sci-Fi series of movies. Star Wars is wholly unique in that it has such a huge cult following based on 3 good movies made in the 70’s and 80’s and 3 bad ones made in the 90’s and 00’s. It’s amazing how all of the bad/mediocre Star Wars media hasn’t ruined the franchise. The Crystal Star, The Clone Wars movie, The entire Jedi Prince series, anything with live action Ewoks, and, of course, our topic at hand: Star Wars Episode I: The Canon Premise.
Of course if you have seen this movie, you don’t need to be warned. I actually don’t think the Phantom Menace is all that bad as long as you keep in mind it’s for children. The main problem is that it was severely over-hyped and had no hope of living up to the nostalgia that fans of the original trilogy were hoping for. Return of the Jedi was released in 1983 and the prequel Phantom Menace wasn’t made until 1999. Very few movies get sequels/prequels after 16 years. The problem was so much anticipation. It’s like going to bed with someone for the first time thinking “This is going to be the best sex ever. They are going to know all my spots and I’m going to ‘arrive’ like a God.” When you get to the act with all that promotion, even if it’s good, it just isn’t that great. Any time I would hook up with a woman for the first time before getting married I always would say “No pressure, I can be started and finished during the commercial break.”
If you look at Phantom Menace as a stand alone kids movie and don’t think about the original Star Wars films, it’s pretty good. Decent story, fine acting, and great music make it watchable. The special effects are really good and hold up over time. Of course, Jar Jar Binks is seriously annoying but that’s his deal. Check out this fan theory about Jar Jar which may make him slightly more likable. The story is easily accessible and explains itself well without needing further back-story. Overall it’s not bad.
Midi-chlorians: Over explanation is the problem with a ton of movies. You want that mystery. Not knowing everything is part of the fun. You don’t want to walk away from a movie with too many questions but you also don’t want everything spoon-fed to you. Having the Jedi in Phantom Menace explain the force as being micro bacteria was easily one of the most disappointing things in the movie. You don’t always want to be told everything. What’s the MacGuffin in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? What kind of alien is Yoda? What’s in the FedEx box in Castaway? How did Batman get back to Gotham so fast from being in that cave? I honestly don’t want to know those answers. I am ok with just accepting that is how it is. The worst is when you are watching something that has some supernatural stuff and you find yourself nitpicking about something totally mundane. “So in this universe that has Werewolves, Vampires, and Witches, you can’t accept that a guy can hang from an elevator shaft for 10 minutes? That is the thing you just can’t buy into? ‘I am OK with the living dead but strong fingers? NOPE’.”
The worst part about the Midi-chlorians is that no one was asking the question it answered. I know tons of Star Wars fan-boys/girls and I don’t know one that was wondering the biology of how the force works. Thanks George Lucas. I bet he’s the kind of dude that explains magic tricks to people too. Buzz-killing muggle should go somewhere quiet to live out his years and not bother anyone.
I may review all of the Star Wars movies just for fun since they are mostly OK at best. Feel free to argue with me in the comments or my social media pages. As always I am Tim McDonald, your movie watching stunt double. Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook to make suggestions or comments. Original featured image from http://1darthvader.deviantart.com/