I recently got back into one of my obsessive Star Wars mood… a mood I’m happy to get lost in every year or two. This time around, I decided to go through EVERYTHING Star Wars that I could get a hold of (movies, shows, games). And go through it chronologically at that (to the Star Wars Universe). So, let us begin with…
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Ok, lets talk about the elephant in the room. It was NOT what us fans wanted. It was not what we expected, having grown up with the past ones. It had numerous things we all could complain about. But in the end, they are Star Wars films, with numerous memorable things too. So, lets go through some of each, and see where we end up.
It’s the Star Wars universe. This universe, however the story is told, is just amazing. Another film in these worlds is always a positive feeling to me. I love seeing the city / planet of Coruscant, the under water city of the Gungans, the giant aliens, etc.
Lightsabers. Lightsabers are the coolest idea for a weapon ever. EVER! Seriously. And not only do we get to see tons of saber wielding Jedi’s, but we get to see one of the best choreographed “sword” fighting scenes ever. The final confrontation between Obi Wan and Darth Maul is absolutely outstanding.
Pod Racing. Hate Anakin all you want, that racing scene was awesome. From the genius idea of the vehicles themselves (common, think about it… It’s two jet engines and a seat), to how great and fast it actually looked, to the most impressive aspect of all – the distinctive and diverse sounds of the engines themselves.
Speaking of sounds, the musical score not only brought us back to the universe of Star Wars, but that climatic ending with Maul is possibly one of the most memorable musical scenes to me ever.
The actor, Jake Lloyd, was NOT the best casting for Anakin. I realize Lucas wanted to show a kid who was completely innocent and good (to emphasize how corrupting the dark side is), but still… I think they could have found a better actor for that.
The one-liners. Especially those generic Battle Droids. Roger-Roger.
CGI. Everyone said there was way too much CGI. And sure, I love and appreciate the old ones, I didn’t think it was all that bad. I think one issue was the “shiny” aspect of everything. Nice, clean and new. There was a reason for this, but I still don’t think it worked. In the previous films (IV, V, VI) Lucas had specifically said he wanted everything to have a worn down feel. Dented, broken, dirty. He wanted to show a life where everything is slowly falling apart, and dying away. This downfall was always based on comparison with the good old days of the Republic – what we see in Episode I, II, III. So Lucas just wanted to show how new and clean everything is. Problem with that is… he made it too new and too clean, to the point where is just didn’t look that real anymore. (That’s another reason I like the Pod Racing scene so much though… all those racers look “real”. They’re dirty and broken and dingy).
And finally, Jar Jar.
It comes down to 1 thing. I hadn’t watch the movie in a while. And for all the things I dislike about it, I had to admit; I was smiling like a little kid, excited and happy to be watching the movie and being back into the Star Wars story again. It put me in a good mood and excited to be going through the entire saga once more. And I know everybody thinks Lucas ruined it, but I have to give him credit that he captured the love of millions of kids. Kids the age we might have been when these first came out. And 20-30 years down the line, they will probably be looking back to these movies with a positive memory.
I’m happy the film finally was made (after all those years wishing for more Star Wars) but I will admit that The Phantom Menace is my second least favorite of the entire saga.
Catch me next time when I review Episode II Attack of The Clones!