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    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace [25]

    Movie Reviews
    I know my esteemed colleagues will barbeque me for this but I just saw Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace and I give it a generous 25. I will perhaps give it a higher rating if it's ever re-released and ultra improved in director's cut form. (I'm banking Lucas might do that being the perfectionist he is assumed to be and everything--this can't be the final way he wanted to present this.)

    Is my 25 rating because I am disappointed in the movie? NO.
    Is it because I thought it was poorly written/directed/failed to live up to the hype? NO.

    The movie is a good movie. Visually exciting. It transports the audience back into the mystical Star Wars universe and presents us with new and interesting characters on fabulously designed worlds. I could stare at that scene outside the Naboo Imperial Palace for hours! Many die-hard fans I'm sure have already seen this movie half a dozen times since its debut last Wednesday. One thing many fans seem to have forgotten as I read about them and their opinions in the hype section of the daily papers is that the fans who saw the first Star Wars movie twenty years ago are twenty years older now. This movie will never live up to the hype for those WILL to a generation of new fans. The older fans are just that. Face it we are older and more "experienced" and will never recapture the "innocence" of our youth. One trade-off is most of us can now afford to buy all/most off those Star Wars things/toys etc. we wanted when we were younger but our parents simply could not or would not afford. Also Mr. Lucas is older. He may have outgrown some of his youthful angst and now being a father more interested in making something his own children might like may have changed/adapted his directing style somewhat.

    Personally I found the movie fun! Appropriate for all ages. With good guys and bad guys and chase scenes and very cool starships. What I didn't like and the reason for the lower rating is this:

    1. The movie overall was not that compelling.
    They covered a lot of ground but I never sensed the grandness or immediacy I felt in the first three movies. That may be a result of there being no Empire to dread but the old Republic didn't look that old and certainly Tatooine isn't that far away--a few hours by starship from Naboo. In Star Wars Luke Skywalker left us feeling that Tatooine was as far away from the Empire/Rebellion conflict as a farm boy in Iowa was from the World War II effort in the Pacific. In Episode One it is more like a truck stop off I-35 outside Des Moines and the Republic planets of Naboo and Coruscant are simply downtown.

    2. The Editing. The Editing. The Editing.
    Nothing eats me up going to movies more than poor editing. This movie had one whopper of an editing/continuity mistake I can't ignore. I really need to see the footage left on the cutting room floor to explain away this editing GAFF.


    In the scenes building up to the pod race (which was way beyond cool) young Anakin shows us the pod racer he built and sets in motion activity to "get it working" by tomorrow's post time. Later that evening he is being treated for some nasty looking abrasions on his arms by Qui-Gon Jin who uses the opportunity to snare a blood sample to be sent Jedi Central after being analyzed by Obi-wan for the presence of Midi-chlorians (microscopic entities that live symbiotically with all living things- apparently the more you have the more "in-tune" you are with the force and young Anakin has plenty of 'em). What I want to know is when did he cut himself? One moment he is fine, the next he's bleeding. The only explanation I can offer is that Anakin hurt himself on the cutting room floor in the editing department. Mr. Lucas, you explained it in the book but in a movie like this a little detail like that shouldn't be overlooked. Many in my audience were left confused like they missed something major because you left out the explanation.

    Now for some things I did like: I liked the creatures. I liked the starships. I loved the pod race. I loved Queen Amidala's royal garb (costume Oscar?). I enjoyed seeing many actors reprise old roles. I liked that it had something for everyone! The soundtrack, the soundtrack, the soundtrack. John Williams is a genius! Go see this movie and see for yourself. It's FUN!!!

    (One last thing...did anyone else feel the irony the that General Zod was Chancellor of the Republic's Senate? Just wondering...) {JB}

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    Added: June 24th 2004
    Reviewer: JDB
    29 Point Scale Score: 25    [25]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 2544
    Language: english


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