The Phantom Menace


Written And Directed By George Lucas. Running Time: 133 Minutes. Rated PG.


From the moment Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “I have a bad feeling about this.” I started to have my doubts. This is a line used in each of the films in the original trilogy. It is used to foreshadow something bad about to happen. The way it appears in The Phantom Menace, as the first line spoken by Obi-Wan, it becomes more self referential than foreshadowing. It is as if a fan of the original films were writing this one to pay homage. This style, or lack of, is again apparent when R2D2 is introduced. In a very good scene R2 saves the Queen’s ship and they make their escape, but directly following for those of you who couldn’t recognize R2, even given a couple of close-ups, this familiar droid is presented before the Queen and she asks for his number and this is all that happens in this scene. Maybe if R2 did a little more than follow people around in this film, this might be an important scene, but lets face it, Lucas is just making it blaringly obvious that a character from the original films is here!


There are moments of Star Wars perfection in this film. Particularly the lightsaber duel at the end of the film between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul and any scene with Senator Palpatine, more famously known as THE EMPEROR. So much was made about the Emperor’s new apprentice, Darth Maul, but so little was done with him in the movie. He just stood around until an hour plus into the film than he tries to ambush our heroes. This fight is continues in the before mentioned obligatory duel at the end, but other than that Darth Maul is useless.


To this film’s credit, no film in the history of man has had more to live up to than this one. I realize that there is no sense in dwelling on this misstep of a film, but the artist’s of the world that succeed and have the world at their fingertips must realize that they are in a high position because they struggled hard to get there. Lucas took a lot of flack for this film and as a result made a few minor corrections as he made the next two, but it is clear for this film that no one had the balls to tell him to rewrite the film a couple more times before shooting.


~ by fumikaelson on July 21, 2005.

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