Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

PG   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy


Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) Poster

Two Jedi escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to claim their old glory.

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6.5/10
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  • Liam Neeson in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

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9 January 2000 | jugophon
9
| Take it for what it is
This movie, the most hyped movie of all time, has been put under the microscope and looked at in a variety of different ways. It seems that everyone had prejudged the movie before it was even released, and then strutted about claiming that they told you that it would be that way. There was the die-hards, who were impossible to dissapoint. There were of course the disenchanted and the unimpressible, who probably would not had conceeded the movie was good no matter what. There were the people who acted as if this movie symbolized their disapproval of media hype itself, and by principle decided to dislike the film. Looking over the other comments I see the opposing viewpoints clearly. OK, the movie was overhyped, but what do you expect in 1999, the year of hype? I was four years old when the A New Hope came out, and of course, I loved it. I was four, and a science fiction epic can have its way with a boy of that age. I think many people in the 20-35 age group expected to have that same life changing event that happened to them twenty years ago this time around. That is the equivalent of going to Disney World for the first time since you were a kid and being let down: Did you expect the impact to be the same? Take the movie for what it is. OK, it isn't just any movie, but it behaved like one, with strong points and weak ones as well. First the strong points.

1. All the acting was terrific, with the exception of Jake Lloyd. Many critics complained of the stiffness of the Jedi characters. What some people saw as flat acting I believe was well acted restraint by Neeson and Mcgregor. Their characters were kung-fu monks, not the pirate Han Solo and the upstart Luke. 2. All of the sets and costumes were beautiful. Even Oscar worthy. 3. The music was terrific. John Williams outdid himself with the otherworldly choir at the end. Breathtaking! 4. The fight scenes were excellent as well, better than the ones in the Matrix because they had less special effects woven in. 5. The plot had more substance than the prior three combined. The intricate dealings of politics, the metaphysical properties of the force, the nature of bondage and the messianic innuendos sent me reeling. 6. The pod race. Ben Hur for the Space Age.

And for the weak points: 1. The flow changed speeds too often, making it seem somewhat unnatural. 2. Something did not work for me with Anakin's success at the end. It seemed more haphazard than the supernatural workings of the force. 3. Jake Lloyd is not a good actor. Period. the scenes between him and Portman awkward and seemed difficult. 4. The fact that some of the races of aliens resembled ethnic groups should not be considered offensive (I wasn't offended, and could have been). It does, however, seem like a lack of imagination.

Personally, I put this movie ahead of ROTJ, but behind the first two. It still definitely is worth watching. By the way, I was rather indifferent to Jar-Jar, as I was to the plight of R2-D2 and C3PO in all the other movies. I have a feeling history will smile on this movie as the story progresses in the future installments and we become more familiar with some of the new concepts introduced in this one. If you have decided not to go to any of them anymore, fine. That means just less of a line for me.

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Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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