Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menance - Star Wars Film Project

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menance - Star Wars Film Project

We realize that we are still very much in the middle of our Disney Movie Project, but that doesn't mean we can't be working on other interests as well. When we realized that we will be seeing the newest Star Wars film in just six weeks and that there are 6 existing movies, it was the perfect excuse for a new weekly movie event! Alex and I have decided to watch the entire Star Wars film series and share our reviews about each movie.

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We've always disagreed on where to begin when watching the movies. I grew up with the original trilogy and they weren't referred to as episodes 4, 5, & 6 back in the seventies and eighties. They were the first Star Wars movie, the second Star Wars movie and then the third. Both my husband and I still feel like these should be watched first because they are the oldest. 

Alex is faithful to the idea of going in order and he would never dream of starting with anything but episode one. I can totally respect his desire for chronology, but I think part of my hesitancy is because that means I have to watch a movie with Jar Jar Binks in it. Ugh! I have to admit that I like the idea of  'Machete Order' that Raj suggested in the Big Bang Theory episode about Star Wars movies. 
"Watch episodes four and five, skip one, watch two and three as a flashback and finish with 6"

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Alas, you can tell by the title of this post who made the most convincing case. LOL! And so we start with The Phantom Menace. Spoiler Alert - there are spoilers in our reviews so if you are worried about that, go watch the movies and then come back!

Katie's Thoughts

I've already mentioned that this particular film is not my favorite of the series. I appreciate that there were great advancements in film and special effect technology by the time this one was made, but the old Star Wars movies (even with their less impressive effects) held much more magic for me than this movie.

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The acting and voice work is sub-par for several characters and the story drags for the first part of the movie. There are so many problems with Jar Jar and the way the Viceroy are depicted that it is tempting to toss the movie altogether. If you can make it through all of that, then there are some good scenes waiting for you at the end. The lightsaber battle with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan against Darth Maul is action-packed and visually stunning. Several of the battle scenes are exciting and fun to watch.

How strong is the force with this movie? I give it a 3 out of 10. It's mostly a setup for the next films, but it's fun in it's own way.

My very favorite part of the movie isn't even in the film itself. What I absolutely love about the Phantom Menace is that it inspired The Saga Begins song by Weird Al. It is one of my all-time favorites and I will readily admit that I totally like it better than the original American Pie song it is based on. Any true Weird Al fan will tell you that everyone waits for this number as the big finale to his concerts! I guess I've gotten off topic though... on to the good stuff!

Alex's Opinion

May Four Stars be with us: The Star Wars Reviews.

-we came in?

Name’s Alex, and supported by my Padawan Katie (or is that the other way around?) we will be reviewing the Star Wars Movies.

We’re doing this in order of the episodes. I realize this is controversial, but think of it as like ripping off a bandage: quick and with little pain. Also, Episode 7 is coming out six weeks after these reviews start. So that’s also a compelling argument. (Seriously, Episode 7!) If you disagree, start reading at Episode IV. We’ll come around to you.

Katie will be reviewing the movies individually, and I’ll review how each one feels in the saga. But we’ll be doing that at the end, and bouncing off general ideas throughout. 

Oh, and there’s a spoiler warning. Have to put that in there so no one complains.

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Episode I: The Phantom Suspense
Starting off, there’s quite a lack of combat in this film. I know combat isn’t the only thing that makes Star Wars, but it really adds to the way the films work. This film has two lightsaber battles, two piloting sequences, and not much else to add to the general combat. This is probably because there were advances in the real world government, but it makes for a boring installment.

And since we have no droid companions or anything like that, the comic relief is handed off to a bunch of two-bit aliens in the pod-race segment.

Oh, there’s also Jar-Jar Binks, who is completely useless in the plot except for two ideas. And what he does cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called funny.

I know everyone and their Mom is fawning over the new roll-around droid coming in Episode 7, but I’d like to point out that similar hype surrounded Jar-Jar. I even have a birthday card of him saved from all those years ago! I'm a little embarrassed to admit in my youth that I liked Jar Jar. Hey, I was only six years old!

First CGI character, hated by fandom, and forgotten in his pioneering by all the hype Gollum got in Lord of the Rings.

The main problem here is too much talking. If this were a video game, it would be an installment in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, due to how little action there is compared to talking. People talk via radio. People talk on floating chairs. People even talk during a funeral! (Seriously?)

The moment the fighting does start, it cuts back and forth to the point of confusion. Still, I loved the fight at the end. It shows just what sort of promise was available, and that the films could be executed correctly.

Liam Neeson also pulls off his role in the film with conviction. If you see the film, look to him for its saving grace. Totally worth it.

The Force is strong with:
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn, as a good cop/cowboy cop Jedi, one of the best roles available in the Prequels, in my opinion.
The lightsaber sequence at the end. (Freaking Finally!)
The plot between Anakin and his mom. Serious stuff, and more proof that the films can be done correctly.

The Dark Side lurks within:
Jar-Jar Binks, and the very presence of the Gungans. 
Young Anakin’s Super Space Flight (Hint: Try spinning, it’s a good trick!)
The Senate is too long, and really boring, and don’t they have a bunch of proof? I mean, they have a message of what’s happening from a citizen of Naboo. And an alien that witnessed the attack firsthand!

The Jedi Council’s opinion:
A rocky start to the prequel series, and not as focused as it could have been. We elect remedial plot study. Diplomacy is but one means of conducting oneself, and to attack is not always the worst option. – Mace Windu.

VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE (4 out of 10)

More to say, have you? Feel free to leave us a comment!

 

 

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