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The UnPopular Opinion: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Oct. 24, 2012by: Alex Maidy

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

**** SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I always find that I gauge the age of people I meet based on which STAR WARS movies had been released during their lifetime.  For myself, I have been alive since the release of RETURN OF THE JEDI, so I can take solace that at least part of the Original Trilogy premiered during my life.  But, it also means that the only STAR WARS movies I saw during their original theatrical run have been the prequels.  And, as you can tell from the fact this particular movie is being included in this column, I do not hate STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE.  In fact, I think the level of hate for the movie is a bit overboard.

I firmly believe that if you take the elements of THE PHANTOM MENACE that most fans hated, they are not as bad as you may remember, especially if you have not revisted the film since 1999.  Now, I am not a complete apologist and I recognize the flaws in the prequels and I would never choose them over any of the classic trilogy, but I also do not shun them from the series as a whole.  There is still a lot of fun to be had in THE PHANTOM MENACE.

I won’t go through a retread of the plot of THE PHANTOM MENACE but instead will run down the list of issues most fans have with the movie and explain why I do not think they are such a big deal.  Truthfully, the same problems with THE PHANTOM MENACE exist in A NEW HOPE and we have just had more time to get used to it.  We often overlook the plot inconsistencies and lapses in logic because of the reverence that has built up A NEW HOPE as a flawless motion picture.  But, we are here to talk THE PHANTOM MENACE.

Mee-sa, not a racist-a stereotype!  Mee-sa stupid comic relief!

Jar-Jar Binks:  He has been called a racist caricature, annoying, a waste of film, and much worse.  I don’t despise Jar Jar because I accept him for what he is meant to be: comic relief.  He is a bumbling, clumsy, Buster Keaton-esque alien that is primarily there for the children who watch the STAR WARS saga.  I don’t remember thinking that C-3PO or R2-D2 were very funny when I was a kid, just that they were there.  Over time, they became a part of the STAR WARS universe as a whole.  The stupidity of those robots (C-3PO breaking, R2-D2 shooting sparks and wailing wildy, both of them coming in handy at the very last minute and completely by accident) are the same ways that Jar Jar influences the events of THE PHANTOM MENACE.  Yes, he is annoying.  Yes, he is poorly animated.  But, he is not meant to be a realistic character but rather a humorous method to cut through the more dramatic subject matter.  He is not even close to my top 50 favorite characters in the STAR WARS universe, but I am not offended by his existence.  I do commend George Lucas for making Jar Jar the deciding vote in the Senate hearing that aids in Palpatine forming the Empire.  That is the ultimate f*ck you to fans.  Nice one, George.

Nuff said.

Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker: I don’t think there is anyone who liked little Annie.  But, remember that he is a person and his name is Anakin!  You gotta give him some respect; this kid is the future Dark Lord of the Sith.  But, in the first prequel, he is a bratty little punk who misses his mother and has a pre-teen boner for Natalie Portman.  Then why do we hate him so?  He is every man who has ever existed!  Go back and watch A NEW HOPE and tell me that Mark Hamill’s original portrayal of Luke Skywalker is not one of the whiniest heroes ever put to film.  I mean, he was supposed to go to Toshi Station for power converters and now he has to work on the moisture farm?  Aw, man!  Both Luke and Anakin follow the exact same path over their respective trilogies: they start as whiney bitches; they begin to come into maturity as they grapple with the Force, and they finish their journey by growing to manhood and facing the ultimate evil in the Dark Side.  I get that Jake Lloyd is not a great actor, but he does what his character is supposed to do.  He is innocence and naivete personified.  He exists with an idyllic view of the world which will come crumbling down around in him the next two movies.

At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi for fifteen minutes and then be killed off.

Darth Maul’s untimely death: Yes, Darth Maul was underused.  The most badass character since Boba Fett was killed off as unceremoniously as possible.  For fans of THE CLONE WARS, you know they found a method for bringing him back to life and making him a bigger threat than he ever was in THE PHANTOM MENACE, but in this movie he did serve his purpose: he signaled the existence of the Sith to the Jedi and took out Qui-Gon Jinn.  I am like you and would rather of seen him return in ATTACK OF THE CLONES instead of Count Dooku or in REVENGE OF THE SITH instead of General Grievous.  Having him die in THE PHANTOM MENACE progresses the story and allows the true villain, Palpatine, to continue his ascension.  But, in his scant time in EPISODE I, we have been given the eternal image of his red and black face, his double-sided lightsaber, and a badass Halloween costume for years to come.

Why are all the aliens CGI and we are puppets?

The convoluted political plot: Within minutes of the opening crawl of THE PHANTOM MENACE we have learned about Trade Federation blockades, Galactic Senate infighting, and the inability of the Chancellor to govern effectively.  None of that sounds like the space opera heroics that we came to love in A NEW HOPE, but it still relates to the era of political instability that George Lucas was going for during the pre-Empire time period.  Sure, it isn’t sexy, but it set the framing device for the trilogy.

There were a lot of things that did work well in THE PHANTOM MENACE.  The John Williams score was excellent and gave us the immortal “Duel of the Fates” which is the best piece of STAR WARS music since the Imperial March.  Many didn’t like it, but I thought the pod-racing sequence was beautifully shot.  Our first look at Coruscant was breathtaking and Naboo is a perfect mixture of CGI and location shooting.  The CGi did get better as the trilogy continued with REVENGE OF THE SITH finally being the closest to what fans imagined the prequels to look like.

If THE PHANTOM MENACE had been released in 1985 or 1986, or any time shorter than the two decades it took to get a new STAR WARS movie, I think the outcry would have been a lot less severe.  When you have almost twenty years to think and imagine and come up with your ideal prequel, the real thing was destined to not live up to expectations.  I think the key to enjoying THE PHANTOM MENACE is to take it for what it is: a family friendly action movie that continues the story we all loved as kids.  George Lucas did not make THE PHANTOM MENACE thinking about ways to satiate the adult fans of the original films but rather for those same fans from 1977 who were kids and teenagers experiencing an adventure inspired by the serials he loved when he was a child.  STAR WARS does not owe us anything besides a fun time at the movies.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

Source: JoBlo.com

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6:35AM on 08/01/2013

I agree completly

Star Wars fans love to complain about these movies more than anybody about anything. I like all the Star Wars movies and take them for what they are. Lucas could of made any prequel to those movies and people would of found something to bitch about because it isn't the originals. Get over it and be happy they are making Star Wars movies still so you can complain and have meaning in your lives.
Star Wars fans love to complain about these movies more than anybody about anything. I like all the Star Wars movies and take them for what they are. Lucas could of made any prequel to those movies and people would of found something to bitch about because it isn't the originals. Get over it and be happy they are making Star Wars movies still so you can complain and have meaning in your lives.
Your Reply:



6:30AM on 08/01/2013

I agree completly

Star Wars fans love to complain about these movies more than anybody about anything. I like all the Star Wars movies and take them for what they are. Lucas could of made any prequel to those movies and people would of found something to bitch about because it isn't the originals. Get over it and be happy they are making Star Wars movies still so you can complain and have meaning in your lives.
Star Wars fans love to complain about these movies more than anybody about anything. I like all the Star Wars movies and take them for what they are. Lucas could of made any prequel to those movies and people would of found something to bitch about because it isn't the originals. Get over it and be happy they are making Star Wars movies still so you can complain and have meaning in your lives.
Your Reply:



7:02PM on 10/25/2012

I call bullshit...

on this one, Lucas os one greedy fat motherfucker who needed to realize he cant write a script for shit. Empire is the best of the lot, and everyone compares Gungans to Ewoks, they are both equally absurd. When Lucas dies he will end up in a bad place where he will be constantly sodomized by light sabers.
on this one, Lucas os one greedy fat motherfucker who needed to realize he cant write a script for shit. Empire is the best of the lot, and everyone compares Gungans to Ewoks, they are both equally absurd. When Lucas dies he will end up in a bad place where he will be constantly sodomized by light sabers.
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6:07AM on 10/25/2012

Really

Has anyone heard the dialogue from Jedi, its the worst in the trilogy.
Has anyone heard the dialogue from Jedi, its the worst in the trilogy.
Your Reply:



2:34AM on 10/25/2012

One Word

midi-chlorians
midi-chlorians
Your Reply:



12:01AM on 10/25/2012

The only thing I didn't like about new trilogy...

Is everyone's bitching about everything. In my mind its just more interesting stuff to add to the Star Wars universe. One day when they put out another new trilogy(and they will) people will bitch about it too all the while forgetting that Star Wars is still alive. I'm just waiting for more Star Wars movies in the future.
Is everyone's bitching about everything. In my mind its just more interesting stuff to add to the Star Wars universe. One day when they put out another new trilogy(and they will) people will bitch about it too all the while forgetting that Star Wars is still alive. I'm just waiting for more Star Wars movies in the future.
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6:35AM on 08/01/2013
Amen. I am so sick hearing about these movies being bad.
Amen. I am so sick hearing about these movies being bad.
+10
10:49PM on 10/24/2012

No offence but what a shit article

Jar Jar, Anakin, etc, are NOT the problem with TPM. Your article completely ignores the real problems; poor direction, bad script, badly written dialog, shit editing and terrible pacing. You touched on some of the symptoms but totally ignored any of the real causes or problems with the film.

Oh, and MEDICLORIANS!
Jar Jar, Anakin, etc, are NOT the problem with TPM. Your article completely ignores the real problems; poor direction, bad script, badly written dialog, shit editing and terrible pacing. You touched on some of the symptoms but totally ignored any of the real causes or problems with the film.

Oh, and MEDICLORIANS!
Your Reply:



10:42PM on 10/24/2012
[link]

I'll just leave this here.
[link]

I'll just leave this here.
Your Reply:



9:21PM on 10/24/2012

Just curious, Is Revenge Of The Sith generally liked or disliked?

I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an
I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an easy solution to making the entire Trilogy as good as we all dreamed it could be. Read my next post for "What The Star Wars Prequels Should Have, Could Have Been."
Your Reply:



8:44PM on 10/24/2012

Just curious, Is Revenge Of The Sith generally liked or disliked?

I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an
I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an easy solution to making the entire Trilogy as good as we all dreamed it could be. Read my next post for "What The Star Wars Prequels Should Have, Could Have Been."
Your Reply:



8:40PM on 10/24/2012

One Word

midi-chlorians
midi-chlorians
Your Reply:



8:14PM on 10/24/2012

Just curious, Is Revenge Of The Sith generally liked or disliked?

I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an
I am a fan of the originals, Episodes 1 and 2 had some good elements, but on a whole they were awful, the most disappointing movies in history, and you can quote me on that. Then Lucas surprised the hell out of me with Revenge Of The Sith, it was awesome, better than RofJ, it brought back the dark seriousness of the first trilogy, and visually it was awesome to behold due to the simplistic/retro look of the the Empire sets, which Lucas had to recreate for continuity purposes. But there was an easy solution to making the entire Trilogy as good as we all dreamed it could be. Read my next post for "What The Star Wars Prequels Should Have, Could Have Been."
Your Reply:



6:07PM on 10/24/2012
While it's the weakest of the series, I still enjoy it. The positivies: Liam Neeson, Darth Maul, John Williams score, cool special effects. The negatives: Jar-jar, Anakin, bad pacing. I know why people dislike it, but to me I still see it as an entertaining movie with some flaws. Like Spider-man 3, the so-called "fan" nit-pick about the same things, but refuse to see there's still some good in the film. I think the problem with the prequels is that they aren't good stand-alone films like the
While it's the weakest of the series, I still enjoy it. The positivies: Liam Neeson, Darth Maul, John Williams score, cool special effects. The negatives: Jar-jar, Anakin, bad pacing. I know why people dislike it, but to me I still see it as an entertaining movie with some flaws. Like Spider-man 3, the so-called "fan" nit-pick about the same things, but refuse to see there's still some good in the film. I think the problem with the prequels is that they aren't good stand-alone films like the original trilogy. You have to really watch all 3 together for them to be great and have the story come together. With the OT, each film is a great stand alone watch.
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+0
5:52PM on 10/24/2012
No sould, no brain, just a lame 2 hour ILM showcase with sleepwalking actors! George Lucas turned himself into the PG version of Michael Bay!
No sould, no brain, just a lame 2 hour ILM showcase with sleepwalking actors! George Lucas turned himself into the PG version of Michael Bay!
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5:43PM on 10/24/2012
Hey I gotta admit I liked Episode 2 and even like RotS more that RotJ but TPM was pretty bad. Now I get really annoyed by uber nerds that nitpick every little thing about the prequels but TPM was just so uneventful and boring. Not just Jar Jar but the Gungans as a whole were annoying. When their leader would start motor boating an imaginary pair of titties out of nowhere I was like really? That is suppose to be funny? The whole humor in the movie was the equivalent of a grown man making funny
Hey I gotta admit I liked Episode 2 and even like RotS more that RotJ but TPM was pretty bad. Now I get really annoyed by uber nerds that nitpick every little thing about the prequels but TPM was just so uneventful and boring. Not just Jar Jar but the Gungans as a whole were annoying. When their leader would start motor boating an imaginary pair of titties out of nowhere I was like really? That is suppose to be funny? The whole humor in the movie was the equivalent of a grown man making funny faces at a baby. Then he made a cool looking villain only to give him like one line of dialogue and then kill him off. TPM just sucked. At least in Episode 2 we get Jango Fett, Yoda with a lightsaber, and less Gungans. Also more Palpatine.
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+0
5:22PM on 10/24/2012

Episode I is still great and enjoyable, for Star Wars

Not the best in the series, but also not my least favorite of the series. Nothing can compare to the awful love dialogue in Episode II. The only thing I don't like about "The Phantom Menace" is Jake Lloyd, way more annoying than Jar Jar. Somehow I still have a deep and profound admiration for this film. I will admit that it could be better, more Darth Maul for starters, but I also have to admit that I was not disappointed on Opening Day and I'm still not to this day. In fact I think I'll make
Not the best in the series, but also not my least favorite of the series. Nothing can compare to the awful love dialogue in Episode II. The only thing I don't like about "The Phantom Menace" is Jake Lloyd, way more annoying than Jar Jar. Somehow I still have a deep and profound admiration for this film. I will admit that it could be better, more Darth Maul for starters, but I also have to admit that I was not disappointed on Opening Day and I'm still not to this day. In fact I think I'll make this my movie for the night.
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5:09PM on 10/24/2012
It's official, Alex Maidy is my least favorite person at this site. I'm glad I can read who writes these things so that now whenever I see his name I could just skip whatever it is.
It's official, Alex Maidy is my least favorite person at this site. I'm glad I can read who writes these things so that now whenever I see his name I could just skip whatever it is.
Your Reply:



7:32PM on 10/24/2012
Agree or disagree, but don't be a dick.
Agree or disagree, but don't be a dick.
12:05PM on 10/25/2012
Actually this is not the first time I've been bothered by Alex's writing style. Why not address what was good about the movie instead of wasting time justifying (and failing to do so) what was bad?
Actually this is not the first time I've been bothered by Alex's writing style. Why not address what was good about the movie instead of wasting time justifying (and failing to do so) what was bad?
+0
4:23PM on 10/24/2012
While I agree it's a fairly bad movie, I remember enjoying it as a teen with my friends in the theater. I had fun with it, even the pod races, and wasn't disappointed by it after coming out of the theater. Of course, I was also 16-17 when it came out and wasn't the biggest Star Wars fan, so I guess my expectations weren't quite as astronomical as others. I agree it's rap is usually worse than the film actually is (people often talk like it's the worst movie ever made), but it's still a bad film
While I agree it's a fairly bad movie, I remember enjoying it as a teen with my friends in the theater. I had fun with it, even the pod races, and wasn't disappointed by it after coming out of the theater. Of course, I was also 16-17 when it came out and wasn't the biggest Star Wars fan, so I guess my expectations weren't quite as astronomical as others. I agree it's rap is usually worse than the film actually is (people often talk like it's the worst movie ever made), but it's still a bad film nonetheless. And I fully agree about the original film. The Skywalkers may be gifted Jedi, but they aren't gifted actors.
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+6
3:53PM on 10/24/2012

One word:

Miticholrians.

Seriously, Lucas screwed the pooch severely when he tries to give a different explanation for the Force. A fact that he actually realizes is so bad (which is amazing that he heard the fan outcries with his head buried so far up his own ass), and never mentions again in the other two prequels.

Then there's the whole, we'll buy the kid out of slavery, but we won't come back for his mother problem. Pretty much the only thing Anakin wanted was his mother by his side, and the
Miticholrians.

Seriously, Lucas screwed the pooch severely when he tries to give a different explanation for the Force. A fact that he actually realizes is so bad (which is amazing that he heard the fan outcries with his head buried so far up his own ass), and never mentions again in the other two prequels.

Then there's the whole, we'll buy the kid out of slavery, but we won't come back for his mother problem. Pretty much the only thing Anakin wanted was his mother by his side, and the Jedi just leave her there in slavery. Even though the Jedi are supposedly opposed to slavery (yet they buy a young boy because of his mitichlorian count).

Jar Jar wouldn't have been considered a racist stereotype if he was the only example. Unfortunately, you also have the members of the Trade Federation talking like stilted WW2 Japanese stereotypes. All you needed was some jive-talking, watermelon eating aliens in blackface to complete the racist trifecta.

I'm not even going to mention the ridiculousness of Anakin 'accidentally' blowing up the robot control center ship, when an entire fleet failed to do so. Oh wait, I just did mention it. My bad.

It was a bad movie, all the way around. Even compared to the original Star Wars movie (which at least had the distinction of never being done before). This what a lot of you kids don't realize about film history. Just because a movie hasn't aged well, doesn't make it bad. It may have done some ground-breaking stuff back in its day that everyone else has copied and is now so commonplace as to be a cliche (Bullet-Time, anyone?). Trying to capture that magic again rarely works, even when you slap a label on it trying to explain the crappiness of it away by the cop out that you made it for kids. Especially when the C-SPAN-like plot is obviously waaaay over the heads of any kids in attendance.
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3:40PM on 10/24/2012
I too did not hate TPM. I do consider it the worst of the franchise, but it is watchable, it has plenty of positive things going for it, and in the end introduces the mythology well. Yes, Jar Jar and Jake Lloyd were horrible, the midichlorian storyline was pointless, and the acting was stiff as hell. But the light saber fights were great, Darth Maul kicked ass, and Ewan McGregor was perfect casting. And I also enjoyed the pod race and its meaning in the movie.
I too did not hate TPM. I do consider it the worst of the franchise, but it is watchable, it has plenty of positive things going for it, and in the end introduces the mythology well. Yes, Jar Jar and Jake Lloyd were horrible, the midichlorian storyline was pointless, and the acting was stiff as hell. But the light saber fights were great, Darth Maul kicked ass, and Ewan McGregor was perfect casting. And I also enjoyed the pod race and its meaning in the movie.
Your Reply:



3:17PM on 10/24/2012

DUDE

JAR JAR BINKS.

WHAT

THE

FUCK.
JAR JAR BINKS.

WHAT

THE

FUCK.
Your Reply:



2:40PM on 10/24/2012

Ugh.

I really despise SW prequel apologists. Even more than the prequels themselves.
I really despise SW prequel apologists. Even more than the prequels themselves.
Your Reply:



2:40PM on 10/24/2012
I remember taking my mom to see The Phantom Menace when it was in theatres. She had come late to appreciating Star Wars but she liked the fairy tale aspect of the original trilogy. When the movie was over, she turned to me and said, "This movie doesn't have the heart the other three films had." That pretty much sums up my feelings as well. George Lucas was never a great director but he could achieve greatness when he had other people who could tell him when he was going off-track. Once he
I remember taking my mom to see The Phantom Menace when it was in theatres. She had come late to appreciating Star Wars but she liked the fairy tale aspect of the original trilogy. When the movie was over, she turned to me and said, "This movie doesn't have the heart the other three films had." That pretty much sums up my feelings as well. George Lucas was never a great director but he could achieve greatness when he had other people who could tell him when he was going off-track. Once he lost the capacity to listen to these people, the quality of his work steadily declined.

I know an animator who worked at ILM and he told me everyone there HATED working on Jar-Jar Binks because they despised the character. That should have told Lucas something but he went ahead and put this obnoxious, unfunny character on film. At least C-3PO and R2D2 were funny; Jar-Jar wasn't and everyone (including ILM employees) knew it. The fact that Lucas kept using the character even after the negative reaction was a gigantic f**k you to fans.

I will agree that Jake Lloyd didn't deserve the crap he receive for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. Let's face it: none of the younger actors did well simply because George Lucas can't direct actors. Look at Natalie Portman, who would later win a Best Actress Oscar: she looks and sounds wooden in all three films. If someone as talented as Natalie had problems with her role, what chance would someone like Lloyd have?
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2:22PM on 10/24/2012
You said it brother. TPM is still my least favorite of the Star Wars movie, but come on, look what you are being held up in comparison to.
You said it brother. TPM is still my least favorite of the Star Wars movie, but come on, look what you are being held up in comparison to.
Your Reply:



2:01PM on 10/24/2012
Also I love how I now realize the Namodians sound like Trey Parker's Japanese voice on South Park.
Also I love how I now realize the Namodians sound like Trey Parker's Japanese voice on South Park.
Your Reply:



1:57PM on 10/24/2012
and this one has LIAM NEESON! NEESON SEASON!
and this one has LIAM NEESON! NEESON SEASON!
Your Reply:



1:56PM on 10/24/2012
I actually like it more than the other two prequels and the reason was not included in the column. Which is sad. This one had the least green screen, more locations, sets, creature makeup than any of the prequels and before they turned yoda cgi in the re-release....felt the most like the original trilogy. Sure....Jar Jar sucks, Jake Lloyd sucks (Anakin should have started in his teens... then he would've been "too old") but the feel of the movie was Star Wars. I can't the say the same for the
I actually like it more than the other two prequels and the reason was not included in the column. Which is sad. This one had the least green screen, more locations, sets, creature makeup than any of the prequels and before they turned yoda cgi in the re-release....felt the most like the original trilogy. Sure....Jar Jar sucks, Jake Lloyd sucks (Anakin should have started in his teens... then he would've been "too old") but the feel of the movie was Star Wars. I can't the say the same for the other two.
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12:43PM on 10/24/2012
I watched this a couple days ago for the first time in 8-9 years I would say.
It was far worse than I remember. It even damaged my appraciation of the original trilogy.
I watched this a couple days ago for the first time in 8-9 years I would say.
It was far worse than I remember. It even damaged my appraciation of the original trilogy.
Your Reply:



12:42PM on 10/24/2012
Even though it was the least favorable of the movies, it does have Darth Maul going for it. Darth Maul was underused and was an ass kicker. That's why I don't regret this movie. At least I like the kid better than Hayden.
Even though it was the least favorable of the movies, it does have Darth Maul going for it. Darth Maul was underused and was an ass kicker. That's why I don't regret this movie. At least I like the kid better than Hayden.
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11:52AM on 10/24/2012

Nobody says Wizard anymore

Look, I actually kind of like Phantom Menace. Its got Qui Gonn, Darth Maul, Duel of the Fates, the best lightsaber battle of the series. I have an easier time with Jake Lloyd than Hayden Christensen, and I think the pod race is some of the best Star Wars action of the entire saga. And the sheer anticipation of seeing it on the big screen is a fond memory of my adolescence.

But don't compare Jar Jar to 3PO and R2D2. 3PO and R2...at least in the original trilogy...serve a real
Look, I actually kind of like Phantom Menace. Its got Qui Gonn, Darth Maul, Duel of the Fates, the best lightsaber battle of the series. I have an easier time with Jake Lloyd than Hayden Christensen, and I think the pod race is some of the best Star Wars action of the entire saga. And the sheer anticipation of seeing it on the big screen is a fond memory of my adolescence.

But don't compare Jar Jar to 3PO and R2D2. 3PO and R2...at least in the original trilogy...serve a real storytelling purpose. Anthony Daniels does an incredible job bringing this expressionless stiff-legged droid to life, and R2D2 is one of the deepest characters to never have a line of dialog. More than that, what they represent sets up the idea of the entire Star Wars universe.

Whereas Star Trek is about discovery, the unknown, the new frontier....Star Wars is about civilization at its absolute peak. 3PO with his six million forms of communication represents how civilization has conquered all language and most cultural barriers. R2 with his ability to repair and operate any form of technology but particularly lightspeed vehicles represents how civilization has reached the pinnacle of travel and commerce. Many elements in Star Wars go along these lines...the Jedi represent the ultimate in mental/spiritual achievement. The Death Star the ultimate weapon of war.

In the prequels however the droids are just used like Jar Jar...for comic relief almost completely detached from the main story. Its one of my biggest gripes.
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4:38AM on 10/25/2012
Well said!
Well said!
+1
11:51AM on 10/24/2012
The Jedi were boring, Padme was cute but boring, Anakin was annoying as hell, and Jar-Jar should've never made it past the concept stage. The pod race was cool, and the duel with Darth Maul was great, except that it was intercut with Jar-Jar fighting stick figures and Anakin playing "Rebel Assault". Did I miss anything?
The Jedi were boring, Padme was cute but boring, Anakin was annoying as hell, and Jar-Jar should've never made it past the concept stage. The pod race was cool, and the duel with Darth Maul was great, except that it was intercut with Jar-Jar fighting stick figures and Anakin playing "Rebel Assault". Did I miss anything?
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1:58PM on 10/24/2012
BAHAHAHA @ Anakin playing "Rebel Assault"

I do miss those games.
BAHAHAHA @ Anakin playing "Rebel Assault"

I do miss those games.
11:28AM on 10/24/2012
You said it right when you said JarJar Bink is only a comic relief but that is exactly the problem since it makes the character unidimensional. The original trilogy did have "comic relief" moments too but each one was integrated into an interesting character like Han Solo or C3PO.
You said it right when you said JarJar Bink is only a comic relief but that is exactly the problem since it makes the character unidimensional. The original trilogy did have "comic relief" moments too but each one was integrated into an interesting character like Han Solo or C3PO.
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+1
11:24AM on 10/24/2012

Downvote me all you want

I sort of liked Episode I. Obviously not great, but entertaining none the less.
I sort of liked Episode I. Obviously not great, but entertaining none the less.
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11:19AM on 10/24/2012
I think the Phantom Menace was hype backlash at its most severe. It's my least favourite of all the films, and by its own it's not terrible, it's just kind of bland. But when measured against its predecessors, and considering the positively insane amounts of hype surrounding it, it's perceived to be much worse than it, objectively, probably is. Lots of dedication went into it, as with every Star Wars film. Watching the behind-the-scenes documentary, it was interesting to see that even though
I think the Phantom Menace was hype backlash at its most severe. It's my least favourite of all the films, and by its own it's not terrible, it's just kind of bland. But when measured against its predecessors, and considering the positively insane amounts of hype surrounding it, it's perceived to be much worse than it, objectively, probably is. Lots of dedication went into it, as with every Star Wars film. Watching the behind-the-scenes documentary, it was interesting to see that even though CGI was definitely overused, the podracer engines of all the pods were still built full-size and transported by cargo plane to Tunisia...where they suffered the brunt of a rare thunderstorm. What comes to mind when I think of Phantom Menace is the tragi-comic ending of "Fanboys", where the titular Star Wars fanatics are finally in the theater as TPM begins. One turns and asks the other, "what if it sucks?"
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10:50AM on 10/24/2012

Link

The link doesn't work, sorry....Google RedLetterMedia
The link doesn't work, sorry....Google RedLetterMedia
Your Reply:



2:24PM on 10/24/2012
Yeah, I've watched that video several time. You can completely pick apart almost every point he makes if you actually think about it rather than just jump on the Hateboy bandwagon.
Yeah, I've watched that video several time. You can completely pick apart almost every point he makes if you actually think about it rather than just jump on the Hateboy bandwagon.
10:49AM on 10/24/2012

Check this...

Check out [link] is an hour and half breakdown of how bad these prequels are. They are EXTREMELY entertaining and funny.
Check out [link] is an hour and half breakdown of how bad these prequels are. They are EXTREMELY entertaining and funny.
Your Reply:



10:36AM on 10/24/2012

Everything that guy just said...

...is bullsh!t. Thank you.
...is bullsh!t. Thank you.
Your Reply:



11:23AM on 10/24/2012
nice - I'll be watching My Cousin Vinny tonight
nice - I'll be watching My Cousin Vinny tonight
10:33AM on 10/24/2012
Didn't really mind Jar-Jar that much. Didn't even really have problems with the "trying too hard" plot.

But Jake Lloyd... no, just no. That wasn't a part that was just a bit average or not up to par with the others. That was straight up awful acting and not even in cutesy way, but in an incredibly annoying way. Probably one of the worst castings by a big name director in recent history. The level required for this kind of action/sci-fi fodder isn't that high, but still he didn't even come
Didn't really mind Jar-Jar that much. Didn't even really have problems with the "trying too hard" plot.

But Jake Lloyd... no, just no. That wasn't a part that was just a bit average or not up to par with the others. That was straight up awful acting and not even in cutesy way, but in an incredibly annoying way. Probably one of the worst castings by a big name director in recent history. The level required for this kind of action/sci-fi fodder isn't that high, but still he didn't even come close.
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10:28AM on 10/24/2012

The Phantom Menace was shit...

That is all...
That is all...
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+2
10:24AM on 10/24/2012

Not a bad movie...

There's no denying it does have its problems. But overall, it's not a particularly bad movie. Any other movie like this, had it not been Star Wars, would have gotten a pass. But fanboys are a highly critical group. Hey, at least it's not Turkish Star Wars... or the Star Wars Holiday Special. Now THOSE are bad Star Wars outings.
There's no denying it does have its problems. But overall, it's not a particularly bad movie. Any other movie like this, had it not been Star Wars, would have gotten a pass. But fanboys are a highly critical group. Hey, at least it's not Turkish Star Wars... or the Star Wars Holiday Special. Now THOSE are bad Star Wars outings.
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12:34PM on 10/24/2012
Erm Turkish Star Wars is a knock-off, it's not a Star Wars movie by any stretch of the imagination or broad definition of the term. That's like saying that a PS3 is better than a GameStation 3000...
Erm Turkish Star Wars is a knock-off, it's not a Star Wars movie by any stretch of the imagination or broad definition of the term. That's like saying that a PS3 is better than a GameStation 3000...
10:14AM on 10/24/2012
It's not an unpopular opinion- EVERYONE hated it...
... duh wha??? He LIKED it?
Haha Just joshing, but seriously it's awful. The podrace was awesome- the rest was poopa or doodeh or whatever they call shit in this movie.
It's not an unpopular opinion- EVERYONE hated it...
... duh wha??? He LIKED it?
Haha Just joshing, but seriously it's awful. The podrace was awesome- the rest was poopa or doodeh or whatever they call shit in this movie.
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10:10AM on 10/24/2012
I actually pretty much agree with your arguments, even though I still don't think Phantom Menace is a great movie. It's entertaining, and I've watched it a couple times since its release (I was nine when it came out, and of course I absolutely loved it then). It's not a great movie, but it's not awful. Just mediocre.
I actually pretty much agree with your arguments, even though I still don't think Phantom Menace is a great movie. It's entertaining, and I've watched it a couple times since its release (I was nine when it came out, and of course I absolutely loved it then). It's not a great movie, but it's not awful. Just mediocre.
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+3
9:43AM on 10/24/2012

"If THE PHANTOM MENACE had been released in 1985 or 1986 ... I think the outcry would have been a lot less severe."

You're right, because then they wouldn't have used greenscreen and CGI throughout the whole movie. TPM is an assault on the eyes with a convoluted plot and annoying characters. It also has little to do with the other five movies, you can practically skip it altogether and not miss out on much of the metastory. If you must watch it, just skip straight to the Darth Maul fight, that's really the only cool part.
You're right, because then they wouldn't have used greenscreen and CGI throughout the whole movie. TPM is an assault on the eyes with a convoluted plot and annoying characters. It also has little to do with the other five movies, you can practically skip it altogether and not miss out on much of the metastory. If you must watch it, just skip straight to the Darth Maul fight, that's really the only cool part.
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10:12AM on 10/24/2012
Little to do with the others? It's how they discover Anakin... DARTH VADER! It sets up the entire thing!
Little to do with the others? It's how they discover Anakin... DARTH VADER! It sets up the entire thing!
7:28PM on 10/24/2012
The individual who wrote this goes into much detail as to why Ep1 is unimportant: [link]
The individual who wrote this goes into much detail as to why Ep1 is unimportant: [link]
8:32PM on 10/24/2012
You dissed me yet we both disliked Phantom Menace, either way I wanted to thank you for posting that link to Star Wars Machete order. My beef is not with you kind sir!
You dissed me yet we both disliked Phantom Menace, either way I wanted to thank you for posting that link to Star Wars Machete order. My beef is not with you kind sir!
9:30AM on 10/24/2012

"When you have almost twenty years to think and imagine and come up with your ideal prequel, the real thing was destined to not live up to expectations."

I hate this argument.
I hate this argument.
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+1
9:07AM on 10/24/2012

It's Star Wars!

Even bad Star Wars is a-okay with me. This film didn't bother me. It's just good fun int he Star Wars universe.
Even bad Star Wars is a-okay with me. This film didn't bother me. It's just good fun int he Star Wars universe.
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-1
9:01AM on 10/24/2012
If The Phantom Menace was released in the eighties it would have been a completely different film. What do Empire and Jedi have in common? Both not directed by Lucas and it had other people writing the screenplay. The Phantom Menace probably would't have been called the Phantom Menace in the first place. It probably wouldn't have had a young Anakin but an already adult Anakin. C3PO and R2D2 would have had a larger role. The backdrop of all prequels might have been the Clone Wars already.
If The Phantom Menace was released in the eighties it would have been a completely different film. What do Empire and Jedi have in common? Both not directed by Lucas and it had other people writing the screenplay. The Phantom Menace probably would't have been called the Phantom Menace in the first place. It probably wouldn't have had a young Anakin but an already adult Anakin. C3PO and R2D2 would have had a larger role. The backdrop of all prequels might have been the Clone Wars already. Instead of fighting droids the enemy could have been the Mandalorians. Who knows what the prequels would have been if they were made in the eighties.
Your Reply:



8:57AM on 10/24/2012

No

The problem with Phantom Menace is how disconnected and green screeny it is compared to the original trilogy. It doesn't feel organic.
The problem with Phantom Menace is how disconnected and green screeny it is compared to the original trilogy. It doesn't feel organic.
Your Reply:



8:48AM on 10/24/2012

not a compelling argument

Anakin's character isn't satisfying, and the Gungans are a colossal waste of time. Jar-jar may be intended as comic relief - but he's not. In addition, this film didn't move the needle on effects or the space fantasy genre, so it doesn't deserve the pass you've given to A New Hope.
I don't hate the entire prequel trilogy, but this film is easily the worst of all six. It fails the "next chapter" test. If I press "next chapter" on every annoying scene, I'm only left with about 20-30 minutes of
Anakin's character isn't satisfying, and the Gungans are a colossal waste of time. Jar-jar may be intended as comic relief - but he's not. In addition, this film didn't move the needle on effects or the space fantasy genre, so it doesn't deserve the pass you've given to A New Hope.
I don't hate the entire prequel trilogy, but this film is easily the worst of all six. It fails the "next chapter" test. If I press "next chapter" on every annoying scene, I'm only left with about 20-30 minutes of movie.
I don't fault you for your unpopular opinion, but your defense of Jar-Jar and Anakin are sufficient, and therefore don't justify the rest of your arguments. For example, I don't hate Maul's untimely death, but if the rest of the movie were better, it would have been more of a positive. At the end of the day, this film fails to connect with most audiences who came in as fans of the original trilogy, whether they saw them in the theaters or not.
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8:39AM on 10/24/2012

This film is shit.

Really shit.
Really shit.
Your Reply:



8:31AM on 10/24/2012

Phantom Menace is crap, nuff said...

and this is coming from someone who enjoyed the other prequels a lot (particularly Ep. 2), but sorry Phantom Menace is a terrible film only slightly watchable by the badassery of Darth Maul, that's all I have to say, I can tell majority agrees.
and this is coming from someone who enjoyed the other prequels a lot (particularly Ep. 2), but sorry Phantom Menace is a terrible film only slightly watchable by the badassery of Darth Maul, that's all I have to say, I can tell majority agrees.
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8:01AM on 10/24/2012

Not a kids movie.

The only good thing about The Phantom Menace was Darth Maul. The pod race wasn't bad, but then again it was nothing too spectacular either. I think that writing this off as a kids movie is wrong. There's way too much political intrigue and jargon in it to be enjoyable or even easy to follow by kids. I mean come on, some of the first words that appear on the opening crawl are "taxation of trade routes", do you know any ten year olds that know or actually care about what a taxation of trade
The only good thing about The Phantom Menace was Darth Maul. The pod race wasn't bad, but then again it was nothing too spectacular either. I think that writing this off as a kids movie is wrong. There's way too much political intrigue and jargon in it to be enjoyable or even easy to follow by kids. I mean come on, some of the first words that appear on the opening crawl are "taxation of trade routes", do you know any ten year olds that know or actually care about what a taxation of trade routes is? What made people fall in love with the original movies, was the universe and the compelling characters and their adventures. It was a pretty simple tale of "good vs evil" and that's what made it easy to follow by kids and adults alike. It seems like Lucas wanted to have his cake and eat it with the Phantom Menace and it ended up being a jack of all trades, master of none kind of movie: too slow and complicated to appeal to kids and too silly for adults and Star Wars fans. Red Letter Media has hit the nail on the head with the Phantom Menace, I pretty much agree with everything those guys have said. It's not the worst movie ever made as some people claim, but it is mediocre and dull.
Your Reply:



7:58AM on 10/24/2012

Don't dig your defense, here...

Of the Prequels, I have to admit this is the one I like the most. Which says something about the sequels, really. I don't hate this movie. That said... Your defense leaves a little to be desired.

There's nobody alive who didn't understand the purpose behind Jar Jar Binks. We get that he was meant for comedy relief. But there's a difference between retarded comedy relief and well constructed intelligent humor that lightens tension (in a generally tensionless film?). Essentially, Jar
Of the Prequels, I have to admit this is the one I like the most. Which says something about the sequels, really. I don't hate this movie. That said... Your defense leaves a little to be desired.

There's nobody alive who didn't understand the purpose behind Jar Jar Binks. We get that he was meant for comedy relief. But there's a difference between retarded comedy relief and well constructed intelligent humor that lightens tension (in a generally tensionless film?). Essentially, Jar Jar went "Full-Retard" with the humor, going WAY too over the top with it. As a result, you get a shift in tones to the extremes. I also think using the defense of what he does in later films while trying to defend the first one makes little sense. For the purposes of this article, defending ONE movie not the prequels as a whole, whether Jar Jar has anything to do with the sequels is irrelevant. He was still annoying as f*ck and useless in this particular film.

As for Luke and Anakin, I would argue that while Luke starts off as a whiney bitch at the beginning of A New Hope, he's a MAN by the end of that film and we don't ever have to listen to his crap anymore after that. Anakin, on the other hand, is a whiney bitch through THREE FULL MOVIES. And he was intolerable.

George wasn't thinking about making a family friendly film for the kids of the new series, he was thinking about selling action figures. So, he introduces a ton of stupid-ass characters who were "kid friendly" in order to do that.

If Pixar has taught us anything, it's that you can create a family friendly film without alienating and pissing off your audience. The stupid humor moments, slapstick, and otherwise out of place shit in Phantom Menace is a direct result of poor writing, not because we didn't understand Lucas' intentions.

And the difference between the kids of today and the kids of our generations who enjoyed the original trilogy, is that many of them grow up and change their minds about their fondness for characters like Jar Jar and Grievous, etc. They recognize, at an older age, that these characters were stupid and useless, whereas we never thought that and still don't think that about R2D2 and C3PO so many years later.
(My basis for this are my 8 nieces and nephews who all grew up watching and loving the prequels, liking them less as they grow older).
Your Reply:



7:27AM on 10/24/2012

Lucas making Jar Jar the deciding vote in the Senate hearing was NOT a f*ck you.

He only did that to still have him in the films, but not speak a word. No fans cared about that at all.
He only did that to still have him in the films, but not speak a word. No fans cared about that at all.
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7:27AM on 10/24/2012
I still very much love and enjoy the sequels and realistically the only two things that drive me nuts in the PM is Anakin and Jar-Jar. The pod race is still fucking phenomenal and the build-up to the final duel with Darth Maul is epic.
I still very much love and enjoy the sequels and realistically the only two things that drive me nuts in the PM is Anakin and Jar-Jar. The pod race is still fucking phenomenal and the build-up to the final duel with Darth Maul is epic.
Your Reply:



7:18AM on 10/24/2012
I enjoyed (still enjoy) the prequels. I was fortunate to see ROTJ at the cinema when it was originally released and have been a fan of the originals for decades, but that didn't stop me from having a good time with the prequels.
I enjoyed (still enjoy) the prequels. I was fortunate to see ROTJ at the cinema when it was originally released and have been a fan of the originals for decades, but that didn't stop me from having a good time with the prequels.
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7:15AM on 10/24/2012

Grown ups getting rage at Kids films is hillarious.

Remeber seeing this at the cinema with a mate and being blown away. Both in our mid/late twenties and having grown up with Star Wars.
Yes Jar Jar is a little annoying. Not as annoying as 3PO in AOTC or though. Yes Jake whathisname is a pretty poor actor. Not expecting Shakespearian acting from these kind of movies, why would you.
In fact I revisited all the films again recently and the weakest of the whole lot is AOTC. This I enjoy, quite a bit.
Remeber seeing this at the cinema with a mate and being blown away. Both in our mid/late twenties and having grown up with Star Wars.
Yes Jar Jar is a little annoying. Not as annoying as 3PO in AOTC or though. Yes Jake whathisname is a pretty poor actor. Not expecting Shakespearian acting from these kind of movies, why would you.
In fact I revisited all the films again recently and the weakest of the whole lot is AOTC. This I enjoy, quite a bit.
Your Reply:



7:02AM on 10/24/2012

Well...er

I dont like this movie, but sure as hell didn't hate it...... It was an average movie for me...
I dont like this movie, but sure as hell didn't hate it...... It was an average movie for me...
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