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5 Things I Hated About Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

star-wars-episode-one-the-phantom-menace-3d-movie-posterStar Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace has about concluded its run in theaters during this 3D release and to me, the 3D conversion was useless, but at least it didn’t make the film unwatchable.  Seeing it again in the theater brought back both the good and bad memories of things I remember from the first time I saw it, and since I already covered the good, here are 5 things I hated about Episode I.

5. Why is Darth Maul the biggest thing on the poster?

This leads more to the point of how Episode I is organized as a story.  (Also, it’s kinda strange to make Anakin so small on the poster you can’t see his face as Episode I is the first of three movies about the rise and fall of his character.)  Villains should be interesting, not a blank slate, and when Maul finally does talk, I don’t know what he’s talking about.  “At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi.  At last we will have our revenge.”  Revenge for what?  I’m not digging into the Expanded Universe novels to find out, so I’ll have to let it go.  Other things Maul says include, “Yes, my master,” and… uhm…  that’s all I remember him saying.

Nice lightsaber, though.

4.  Anakin, Jar Jar, Viceroy Nute Gunray, and more Darth Maul complaints – OR, here are some other characters that annoy me.

I just don’t get why Anakin had to be a kid and if it was essential to the story George Lucas wanted to tell, why’d they hire Jake Lloyd?  Surely somebody on the Star Wars crew saw Jingle All The Way and new how bad he was…  I just don’t get how this happened.  Was Haley Joel Osmet not old enough yet, or not available?  Could they really not find any little kid who could act?

I know, I know, everybody hates Jar Jar.  He doesn’t ruin the movie for me, but I’d rather the movie spent more time developing Darth Maul (or any time) and less of this:  “Ex-squeeze me, but the mosta safest place would be Gunga City!  It’s where I grew up – tis a hidden city!”  You just said ‘it’s’ – what’s with the ’tis?’  Make up your mind!

Viceroy Nute Gunray is the stupidest character in the movie.  Why the hell is he working for Darth Sidious?  What does he stand to gain?  I guess they have some kind of deal under the table, but I don’t get it – Gunray stands to lose everything and gain… I don’t know what.

Darth Maul is the bad guy the protagonists are forced to confront while Darth Sidious is safely hidden in the background, but who the hell is Darth Maul, anyway?  I mean, I can tell he’s evil – he looks like the God Damn Devil and he always has a sneer on his face, so he’s the bad guy, I get it, but who is he?  Where does he come from?  At least I have a vague idea who Sidious/Palpatine is and who Count Dooku is, but Darth Maul is just there. Read the rest of this entry

5 Things I Loved About Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

star-wars-episode-one-the-phantom-menace-3d-movie-poster**Don’t worry – the things I hate are coming up!

I caught Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace in all it’s 3D glory (or lack there of – the opening crawl and subtitles were certainly in 3D), and I have to say that every time I’ve watched this movie since it came out in 1999, it’s always better than I remembered.  It’s the sort of movie that’s tailor made for the movie theater experience because it’s so heavy on visuals, sounds and short on…  other things that make a movie great.  Anyway, here are 5 things I loved about Episode I.

5.  Liam Neeson is in this movie?!?

I just like watching Liam Neeson  do his thing – if he came  out on stage and blew his nose, I’d clap.  He doesn’t have anything especially interesting to say, but that man can handle a lightsaber – as opposed to Samuel L. Jackson in Attack of the Clones, who looks like he’s about to fall flat on his face.

4.  Computer Graphics

The digital effects that appear in Episode I might be par for the course these days, but back in ’99, this movie was visual eye candy the likes of which had never been before, and it was in every single scene.  Space ships, droids, Jar Jar (p-usa!), Watto and so on – it’ just kept going!  Even that quick shot of Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Jar Jar swimming to the underwater city was mind blowing back then.

3.  Lightsabers! (And Other Stuff That Goes BOOM!)

Speaking of Liam Neeson handling his lightsaber (err…  that didn’t come out right), there sure is plenty of lightsaber action in the movie, so much that you might say the lightsaber is overexposed in Episode I, but there it is.  Also, stuff just blows up all the time in this movie (mostly on Naboo – not much blows up on Coruscant or Tatooine), and at it’s core, Episode I is an action movie, so it’s all good.

2.  The Pod Race

The Pod Race scene is the only part of the film that makes it clear that this is an independent movie – a studio movie would never have a 10 minute racing scene in it – well, unless the movie was about racing.  This and the ending lightsaber duels are the most memorable scenes of the movie.

1.  The Music

John Williams really tears it up in Episode I.  The score just never stops rocking – beyond the first two laps of the pod race, almost every single moment of the movie is coated with music, and it’s quality stuff – not the leftovers Williams served up in Attack of the Clones and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  When bad dialogue or incoherent storytelling rears it’s head in Episode I, you have nothing to fear:  John Williams is there to tell you what this scene is supposed to make you feel.

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