REVIEW: Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace
This may come as a shock to see this movie on our site, but to many of you it probably isn't. Perhaps a great deal of you are wondering what the fuck took me so long to finally get to this unmitigated cinematic nightmare. Just by posting this title here, let alone calling it a bad movie will drive scores of 30 year old virgins, still living with their parents out of there minds. That is part of the reason why I do this now......but really its about the film. Bottom line, it's a bad movie...and like any bad movie before, it must be dealt with in the harshest of manners. RELEASE THE KRACKEN!!!
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace is probably the greatest sequel (yes I know it's a prequel you fucking geeks) fuck up next to Highlander 2: The Quickening. Sadly, the movies following Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace didn't follow the rules of the Quickening and completely ignore this disaster similiar to how Highlander 3: The Sorcerer and Jaws : The Revenge did.
It would be very easy to lay the blame of Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace on George Lucas, but really the finger, and I mean middle, points directly at his staff. Imagine a situation, similiar to the old fairy tale 'The Emperor's new clothes' (if you don't know the story, put down the X-box controller, brush the Funions off your tits and look it up you pale faced losers), and you will have a perfect representation of what goes on over at Skywalker Ranch. George Lucas is surrounded by a staff that is terrified to tell him the truth. When he threw the script for Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace in front of them, all they had to say was....'umm George, this isn't very good' or perhaps 'George, this could use some tweaking...", anything to help make the product better! Holy Shit! I highly doubt that meetings with Lucas are similiar to those with Spectre where individuals not willing to tow the corporate line are electrocuted or dropped from a blimp at the touch of a button! Regardless, their actions(or lack thereof rather) as 'support staff' warrant death by Operation Grand Slam and a generous raping from Grace Jones...Dennis, Rick....Stan.
By itself, Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace would probably be a halfway decent film. However, since it was supposed to be the backstory to possibly the greatest movies ever (yes I will stand by the original Star Wars trilogy as near perfection), the Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace was nothing short of a scar on the original franchise.
The focus of Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace is of course Darth Vader. A prototype as far a villians go. So, when we first meet him as a young boy, what better way to portray him than with Dakota Fanning's androgenous evil twin (if you haven't figured it out thus far, I can't stand Dakota....especially since War of the Worlds, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she falls from grace like the rest of her child star peers). Jake Lloyd. Jake you got to play the greatest character in a movie since Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs....and you failed sir, you failed miserably....hopefully after Jingle All the Way we won't ever see you again.
At this point, you probably think I'm going to give George Lucas a pass.....no my friends, I save the best for last. The original Star Wars story he created was without equal, and frankly still is. Even with millions of dollars, unlimited technology, and a plethorough of top rated actors, he could not even come close to the originals. George Lucas has an innate ability to suck the talent out of actors, so their performances become robotic, stiff, and unemotional. One only needs to look at Natalie Portman's portrayal of Padme / Queen Amidalla (wow was I fooled that she played both characters) or Samuel Jackson's performance as Jedi Master Mace Windu. Mr. Jackson is arguably one of the finest actors working in movies today, and George Lucas managed to direct the acting right out of his performance so that we are left with a monotous, boring, and stale Mace Windu. Why ask Samuel Jackson to play the part if you aren't going to let the man act? I envisioned Lucas on the set saying things like: "Sam, what the hell are you doing?".....Jackon would respond "I'm acting George"....which Lucas would say "There's no place for that shit here!"
Dialogue. George, George, George. The 1940's are over my friend. If you are trying to capture an era of film that you grew up with, why didn't you make Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace a silent film? That way we wouldn't have had to listen to Jake Lloyd do his Dakota Fanning impression throughout this fucking disaster.
Jar Jar. Fucking Jar Jar. Obviously this subject has been beaten to death, and called everything from ridiculous to racist. Regardless, this character, along with the Pod Race helped transform Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace into a 2 hour licensing campaign. I understand that one of the goals of Hollywood is to make a profit, but not at the expense of the story. Lucas went to such great lengths to cater this hemmorroid to licensing deals that he may as well have had Yoda drinking a fucking Pepsi. A new generation the choice of is.
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace was also a situation where Lucas went against his own statement "A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing" (I'm paraphrasing from his interview in 'From Star Wars to Jedi'). Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace was nothing but special effects...hold the story please! The funniest thing is that I think he got so lost in his own technology that he forgot how to utilize it. Look at the way Peter Jackson and his crew have seemlessly melded miniature models with computer effects in the Lord of the Rings. The architect of the technology has been bested by a student of it. Everything in Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace was over polished, and too perfect. The beauty of the original Star Wars movies is that nothing was perfect, the ships were angular and boxy, and many were unattractive, but that is what made them so attractive. Nothing in life is perfect.....this bad movie more than nails that point home.
Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace opened the doors for the prequels, and just last year the arc was concluded with Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. To this I can only say....Lucas, now your failure is complete.
If you are upset by any part of this review, then you are not a real Star Wars fan.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,