Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

As I previously mentioned, 2011’s #movieaday goal was based around watching 365 brand new movies (to me).  2012 will not have that limitation put upon them, which – honestly – makes it so much more attainable.  Also, I just did it, so I don’t care if I miss a day.  One of my Christmas gifts was the Blu-Ray box set of the Star Wars movies, all of them, episodes I – VI, the great and the bad.

I remember the anticipation for this movie as being, well it was the most anticipated thing of all time, anywhere.  The most modern thing I can attribute that to nowadays, would be the release of The Dark Knight Rises in several months.  It won’t be the same though.  I won’t be waiting outside until the ticket windows open, two weeks before the movie even hits theatres, no, I learned my lesson thanks to Episode I.

The hardest part when it comes to discussing the Prequel Trilogy is separating fanboy cronyism from actual film criticism.  Whatever you think of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), you have to be able to analyze the other aspects of the film, and just get over that completely righteous anger over Binks’ creation.  Because, even though he sucks (hard), there’s still a whole movie going on around him, and for the most part … well, it’s far below the standards of the Original Trilogy.

The two bright spots are Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor’s performances as Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively.  There’s humour and heart and actual emotions in their depictions of the two Jedi Knights.  You could also say Darth Maul (Ray Park) was pretty badass, but that is tempered by the fact that SPOILER ALERT he gets killed off far too early.  It was also neat seeing Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, clearly the most kickass of all Jedi Knights.  And there’s all the little hints and Star Wars nerdery throughout that makes it tolerable.

However, director and writer George Lucas made such a terrible decision when it came to Jar Jar Binks, that it overshadows everything else in the movie.  Jar Jar’s stench is palpable in everything, and there’s also the silly little decisions that Lucas made when it came to directing actors in the movie.  He’s not an actor guy, he’s the tech guy.  Even though McGregor’s performance is fun and good, he looks entirely too bemused at the goings on around him.

And then there’s Jake Lloyd, portraying the future SPOILER ALERT Darth Vader as young Anakin Skywalker.  So many dumb things included, like his “WHOOOAAAAA” when Qui-Gon lifts him into Anakin’s pod racer.  This kid has faced death on numerous occasions in past pod races, yet he’s amazed at being lifted three feet up in the air by a Jedi Knight?  Better, nerdier, fatter and more socially awkward people than I have written longer articles on all the things that are wrong with Episode I, and while I don’t particularly like the movie, it’s a kind of guilty pleasure for me.  After all, it still is Star Wars.

2 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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