Counting down the 35 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.
In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday! ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!
REVIEW ONE – THE PHANTOM MENACE
In preparation for The Force Awakens, the family has been watching the original six films. How do they hold up?
Is it as bad as you remember? No, probably not. Is it actually good? No, it’s not. The Phantom Menace is a movie in search of a compelling plot. Truly, there’s not much going on here and the best parts you remember (the Darth Maul vs. Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi light saber battle and, is there another good part?) really have very little to do with the actual plot of the movie which deals with trade agreements and elected queens and pod races and aliens drawn so broadly that they boarder on racial stereotypes.
WHAT WAS GREAT?
- Well, we do have to remember that it was pretty cool to see Star Wars back on the screen when this movie opened and, though on reflection the opening crawl told us all we needed to know to be concerned about the movie, the opening scene of Qui Gon and Obi Wan arriving on the Trade Federation Ship was pretty cool.
- However, the only truly great thing in The Phantom Menace is the climactic light saber battle. Bracket the convenient “power walls” that popped up cutting the combatants off from one another, and you’ve got one of the best saber shows in all six films.
- But Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu is pretty solid, too.
WHAT WAS NOT GREAT?
Messa so unhappy!
There’s so much that just doesn’t work in this movie.
- Jar Jar Binks is rightly castigated (though I must admit that my teenage children enjoyed him as we re-watched the movie a few months back – they enjoyed him more than I thought possible) as a pretty awful creation designed intentionally to appeal to children. Aside from introducing Qui Gon and Obi Wan to the Gungans (a necessary introduction of cannon fodder to be used against the Trade Federation later in the film) just what purpose does Jar Jar serve here? Yeah, none.
- The same might be said of Qui Gon Jinn himself. Though I know that George Lucas intentionally built the same story beats in Phantom Menace that he laid in A New Hope, Qui Gon seems needlessly destined for death from the opening credits on. His actual passing packs very little punch.
THE FORCE ISN’T WITH THIS ONE
This is just a bad movie but it takes itself so seriously it never pushes to the “so-bad-it’s-good” category. It’s just bad. Think of the important scenes with Padme… okay, list them. Yeah, right. There aren’t any. Anakin is such an obnoxious kid, you find yourself rooting for the other side. The “introduction” of the R2-D2 and C-3PO completely violates established logic of the other movies (and makes viewers consider an off-screen memory wipe for the characters to make things make sense).
There is NO NEED to re-watch The Phantom Menace. Catch the light saber battle on YouTube and save yourself the headache of the other 2 hours of movie.