Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition Boxed Set) [VHS]
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"I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this is Star Wars, but is it my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breather Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a m¨¦lange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park.

Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics.

Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson

Customer Reviews:

  • The Phantom Menace
    The Phantom Menace was ripped to shreds by the generation which waited 16 years for the Star Wars prequel. Fortunately, I am not in that generation. Devoted fans may have learned a lesson, not to expect too much from a middle-age writer who has made his fortune. The kid who plays Anakin has no personality. He exhibits no sign of being fated to become Darth Vader. Jar Jar Binks is controversial. Some saw a racial stereotype. I saw a duckbill dinosaur crashing into Star Wars from Jurassic Park.

    ...more info
  • Not Much To See Here....Move Along
    The sad truth dawned on all of us watching Phantom Menace that this movie made Return of the Jedi look like Taxi Driver. With nothing but emotionless dialogue, bad acting from star Jake Lloyd and LONG gaps without any action Phantom pushes your patience. Add to that the tornado of annoyance that is Jar Jar Binks, and you have the weakest Star Wars movie in the saga. The menacing presence of Darth Maul is the only saving grace here, and the lightsaber duel is pretty impressive in it's own right. But the rest of the films flaws are just to much to suffer through. Kids will love it and it's great for introducing real young ones to the franchise, but otherwise just stick with the SW movies with Darth Vader on the cover. ...more info
  • The Perfect Beginning for a Perfect Saga
    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, the second Star Wars episode I'd ever seen and the one in which it all begins. When Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn meets a young boy named Anakin Skywalker, the latter's thousands of midi-chlorians convinces the Master that he has found the Chosen One, the person destined to destroy the evil Sith Lords and bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council refuses to train Anakin, but when the Sith Lord Darth Maul murders Qui-Gon, the latter has his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi make a deathbed promise to train Anakin. (Watch Episode II - Attack of the Clones to see the results of this!) A lot of the action of this movie also revolves around Queen Amidala (or is it really her servant, Padme) trying to free her planet Naboo from the Trade Federation. Don't hesitate!...more info
  • A Disgrace, Anti-Christian Film
    I personally popped the DVD out of the player and threw the whole thing in the garbage. This was due to the part where they said the Anakin Skywalker was of virgin birth by his mother Slmi Skywalker (one of many virgin births that had occurred through recent history, according to the Obiwan). I can't think of a greater slap in the face to a Christian than this, which mocks the birth of Christ Our Lord by the Holy Mother Mary.

    Another thing I despised, was that the Jedi Knights (the good guys) condomed and approved of the practiced of slavery and indentured servants (both Anakin and his mother were slaves). What kind of message does that send to children who watch this? I have since boycotted all Star War products because of this. And I love science fiction.

    I think this is a choice for those of the Christian faith: either stand with God (and boycott Star Wars products, films & books) or join Lucas (who has milked this thing for over 30 years) in his eternal fate. Your choice.

    ...more info
  • Good Company
    This movie was sold as 'used-very good condition' I recieved a movie in 'like new-excellent' condition. At a great price. Shipping was fast, it did suprise me that it was shipped FedEx but arrived by US Postal. I would and will do business with this company again. BTW, my 6 year old is a star wars nut and he has watched this movie over and over, with no issues with the dvd....more info
  • Star wars
    Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
    Good movie.I am glad I bought it....more info
  • Just as Great as the Originals.
    As in many of my other reviews, I shall start by saying that if you have a problem with the new movies, whether it be acting, directing, ect; and you only like the "Old School" Star Wars, then you are no Star Wars Fan. As a true fan I love all the movies. Phantom is filled with action and starts the series with a huge KABOOM! There are no continuity problems and it explains much that was not told in the original three. This just as Episodes II, III, IV, V, & VI is a masterpiece and should not be under rated just because you are over critical. If anyone has any questions about the movie or my review just email me at I am willing to answer any questions to make this the most helpful review you have ever read.

    May the Force be with you,

    RevAnakin...more info
  • great sword fights, historical background
    Four stars for the 1st of a tragic swashbuckling film. This is the first film I saw in over a decade, literally, emerging from a self-imposed culture fast. My techno, pop culture, modern movie-making technics lack allowed me to see this film, not only as a connector to the original Star Wars (which blew my socks off seeing it in a first run theater so many eons ago) but as an incredible advance in movie making. Since this film I've had the pleasure of seeing a few more incredible movies that draw on the Marin people and Pixar.

    As for the story, it dragged in places and I wanted to see Liam Neelson do more acting.

    Who was the masked bad guy? Incredible technic. I would like to see him in action.

    Finally, Obiwan - it becomes clear from this snap shot that the faults of the teacher propagate and intensify as they pass through to the pupil. Fringe teacher (Gauwan) to rebellious student (Obiwan) to a break with law (Anakin).

    Thanks for a good movie....more info
  • Best Movie Ever! Muy Muy I love you!
    Okay, Ja Ja Binks here, and Ima gonna be reviewing dis here movie, Star Wars Episode 1, da Phantom Menace!

    Now first of all, mesa kinda biased with dis one, mmm hhmm! Know why? Cause itsa be starin me! Ja Ja Binks! Dis defintiley be bein da best outta all da Star Wars films. First, da Jedi be fightin the Trade Federation who looka like Chinamen, Den, dy fly to Naboo where dey meet me, Ja Ja Binks! And when dey me in trouble, mesa come along to rescude dem! Deysa about to be sentenced to prison by our maxibig leader, but mesa defend dem and we are all allowed to leave and go on adventures. Uh huh!

    Da Jedi be goin to da desert land of Tattooine, and here dey meet da young ANakin Skywalker. I thinkin it bein a good idea to brign himin alongin, sos I talk da Jedi into takin him along. While dis is going on, I help da young Anakin win a pod race so we can free all the slaves on da planet.

    Now meesa go back to Naboo and be leadin our army to war against the TRade Fedaeratiobn. And deysa havin all robats, but we having our Gungan bombad genreals, and our sheieldsenm, and our giant lizard things! Deysa can't win against all datin!

    Sos once I save da day dere, mesa become decorated war hero and beocme a maxibig senator for the da people of Naboo. Uh huh!

    dis is bein da best of all da star wars films, and if you a beein seein just one, you be makin sure you be seein dis one.

    Oh yeah, after I retire from bein senator I retire and become inportant journalist and Gungan movie reviewer on Amazon!
    [...]...more info
  • A great story told in a captivating manner
    This first episode of the Star Wars saga is a magnificant achievement. The pace is brisk, the detailed imagining of alien worlds and peoples is incredible. Special effects are the best that exist. And it includes homages/allusions to many other science fiction/fantasy classics. This is moviemaking at its best....more info
  • I find it hilarious
    That people thought the new trilogy was bad, full of bad acting and bad scripts, but you should really go take another look at the original trilogy. It was just as bad, and when it came out there were plenty of other SciFi movies that were decades beyond what Star Wars tried to do, it's just that Star Wars was so overwhelmingly popular that those other titles were overlooked. I personally loved the new trilogy. And I personally thought Empire Strikes Back was one of the worst movies ever made, so it's funny how some Star Wars fans try to say that is every star wars fans' favorite.

    Sure, the new trilogy has its flaws, but so did the original trilogy....more info
  • I think I sithed my pants
    Loved Darth Maul. Awesome character. Wished he would have been used more. Awesome intro and fight scene although it did seem un-Jedi-like to double team a single foe. Jedi's at times seem to be master fighters and other times buffons. Their fighting skills go up or down depending on who they are fighting....more info
  • Frustratingly flawed
    Any film awaited with the kind of hyped eagerness as THE PHANTOM MENACE, George Lucas' first STAR WARS installment in sixteen years, would have had a hard time convincing audiences and critics. However, even given that, the film is a miscalculation on George Lucas' part. Clearly, Lucas wanted to start his saga on a lighter note as a contrast with the dark deeds he had waiting in the wings for the next two "prequels." The problem is that he went too far. MENACE plays like an expensive Saturday morning kids' TV program. I can't help notice that many users have the same comment: "my five-year-old loved it." As a childrens' film, it may be successful--though I can't imagine kids following all the political goings-on or not being disturbed by the image of the slave-child Anakin being torn from his enslaved mother--a motive that is never resolved satisfactorily. For adults, MENACE doesn't hold together. The comedy is too prevalent and juvenile--including bits of "poo-poo humor" and the most hackneyed of slapstick gags--for any of the serious elements to work. It is typical to regard the CGI creation Jar Jar Binks as emblematic of the problems. But really, Jar Jar, however irritating he is, sets the tone of the film--a kids' movie--more than anything else. It is the tone itself that is the problem: it is unsuitable for the beginning of a monumental saga whose last three chapters (the first filmed: STAR WARS, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI) are iconic and have long been part of our common cultural language.

    The core of the prequel trilogy is the rise and fall of Anakin/Darth Vader, but the Anakin we see in MENACE, as weakly played by Jake Lloyd, is far too young, even if some lines convey a certain awareness. Moreover, the age difference between him and Padme (Natalie Portman) makes an attraction troubling if he's eight when she's about sixteen in MENACE. Of course, in the next film, they reduce the difference: she only seems about twenty to Anakin's nineteen, so the issue disappears.

    Lucas also introduces an idea which is very unfortunate indeed, in that it demystifies the Force as something which, as Alec Guiness's Obi-Wan describes it in STAR WARS (1977), "surrounds us and penetrates us, binding the universe together." In MENACE, it is reduced to the overabundance of "midi-chlorians" in the blood, making Jedi status a superior race, reminiscent of the horrible, crackpot, racist (and Nazi) eugenics theories of the early 20th century.

    In short, THE PHANTOM MENACE could have been far superior with certain elements corrected, re-balanced, or eliminated. But Lucas didn't see it. As it stands, it would have been better as a half-hour introductory short to ATTACK OF THE CLONES....more info
  • Technically brilliant but flawed
    Nana: My grandmother, Anne Gillis

    Of the eighty quadrillion reviews written or televised about this eagerly awaited Star Wars prequel, most seem to have a common summary: The film is technically brilliant, stunning and innovative in its scope and visual computer-generated wizardry, but painfully slow, actually dull in some places, and has little or no character development and little human drama.

    I was disappointed to learn that the critics are correct. But let's talk about the good stuff first.

    First up, there isn't a word powerful enough to describe the amazing technological leaps that Lucas had made in computer magic. Of course, Lucas founded the Industrial Light and Magic special effects company that has created some of the most innovative, impressive and memorable effects in movies for the last two decades. What's amazing is that he keeps raising the bar - the effects just keep getting better.

    A full 95% of the scenes in Phantom Menace have some degree of digital component, with live people interacting seamlessly with computer-generated characters. The fully-three dimensional landscapes and scenes are so realistic that you actually get vertigo. The Jedi temple and planet Coruscan scenes are breathtaking. Make no mistake, when it comes to cinematic breakthroughs, Lucas still sets the standards others are measured by.

    The little touches in Phantom Menace are nice as well - the fact that spaceships and light-sabers cast shadows on the ground, that control panels are in an alien language and not English, that you actually see waterfalls flowing in obviously computer-generated vistas, all make for a more believable experience. Also, since this prequel takes place thirty years before the other Star Wars movie, Lucas made an effort to make the technology look a little more quaint and primitive. He succeeded.

    The sets - the real ones not created by computer, such as the interiors of Queen Amidala's place - shot in a real palace in Italy, are awe-inspiring. Speaking of the queen, I liked Natalie Portman as Amidala. Not just because of the interesting accent she speaks in, and the cool costumes she wears, but this 17 year old is terrific in her role as the young ruler of the planet Naboo. The movie doesn't tell us, but we know from the hype, that Amidala is destined to marry Anakin Skywalker, the future evil Darth Vader, and give birth to the twins Luke and Lea, the heroes from the fist Star Wars movies. So it's great that there's chemistry between her character and young Anakin, played by Jake Lloyd. But we'll get to him in a Moment.

    Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are well-cast as the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobie. Kenobie, or course, was played with style and flair by Sir Alec Guinness in the previous Star Wars movies, and McGregor does the younger version of the character justice while still making it his own. Unfortunately, neither character is given a lot to do. Kenobie, in fact, spends much of the first part of the movie on board a ship, making repairs and talking to Qui-Gon Jin on a futuristic communicator.

    Samuel L. Jackson appears in a cameo as a member of the Jedi Council; he has a lot of presence on film and you end up wishing he had more to do in the film.

    Unfortunately, there's a lot to dislike about the picture, and I'll start with the most aggravating, maddeningly irritating character I have ever seen on film: The computer-generated Jar Jar Binks, who is a silly, floppy-eared vest-wearing frog-man with an absolutely incomprehensible accent. This character, supposedly played for laughs, hurts the film, and gives an infinitely greater weight to the word "annoying" than anything imaginable. This "comic sidekick" character detracts from the main story so severely that I honestly considered walking out twenty-minutes into the film.

    And what's the deal with the new villain, the devil-faced Darth Maul? We get no insight into this character whatsoever, except that he is obviously a very bad man with extremely fake-looking horns glued to his head, and that he's very adept with a light-saber. Beyond that, nothing.

    The battle scenes featuring entire battalions of computer generated robots and characters is breathtaking in scope, but quickly becomes a little boring. There simply isn't anything compelling about watching thousands of robots and unreal characters being killed or exploding. It's a big video game with no human connection, and really no reason to care what happens. In fact, the battle scenes are so massive and complex that the mind occasionally wanders with thoughts of, "This must have cost a lot of money to make." When one lengthy battle scene ended, I almost expected the screen to flash "GAME OVER, insert 25 cents to play again."

    My biggest disappointment in the film is the waste of the character of Anakin Skywalker. This has nothing to do with actor Jake Lloyd, who plays the young version of the dark lord. Lloyd is very likable, and although his character seems written to be almost a "Home Alone" cute-as-pie moppet, you never get annoyed with him because he's interesting: He loves his mother, is tough but vulnerable, can fix any machine, can build androids like C3P0, and pilots a pod-racer like Mario Andretti.

    And that's the biggest problem--We know that he'll grow up to be Darth Vader. But we don't believe it. Not for a second. It makes no sense. The kid is pure sugar, all "Gee-Whiz, Mom, can I go be a Jedi, yippee!" and there isn't even a HINT of a darker side - he never even throws a temper tantrum. This kid should be on TV, hawking Grape Juice.

    Yes, the two planned sequels will deal with Anakin's transformation from good to evil, but the transition would be more believable if we saw even a glimmer of the evil that is to come. All we get is Jedi Master Yoda's cryptic feeling that the boy is dangerous. We know he'll be evil. This movie should have at least given is a glimpse of WHY. A hint. As "Austin Powers" Doctor Evil says, "Throw me a bone here!"

    No doubt Phantom Menace will make hundreds of millions and Star Wars fans will see it in droves repeatedly. But remembering back to the amazing explosion of the original Star Wars film in 1977, how it changed the future of movie making, and having waited 16 years for the new sequel, I was expecting a lot more story.

    Much like the first Star Trek movie, which had a weak plot and was bogged down by endless special effects, Phantom Menace could have been so much more if the special effects had been pared down a notch in favor of more character development and human drama. A little more humor wouldn't have hurt either. The incredible visuals and good acting simply aren't enough to carry a movie. The underlying story feels underdeveloped.

    Parts II and III are better, but that is they say, another story....more info
  • Star Wars Heaven
    Love it, it wasn't the best of the six but it was great. If you love the Star Wars Universe you'll appreciate this one. This is where the movies all begin!...more info
  • In defense of Jar-Jar
    I think Lucas was right. The more I see this movie, the better I like it. I think, somewhat like Empire did, it will grow with time as it is seen in the larger context.

    1. I think there are a lot of fans whose sense of self-identity is wrapped up in this series, and when a character emerges that challenges who they perceive themselves to be (not a comical child), they get very defensive. When I was a child, I LOVED the Ewoks. I had their tree fort (which would later suspiciously emerge as Robin Hood's). I can see now, as an adult, why so many were frustrated by this choice. But it did its job for me as a little boy. I think people need to back off on Lucas about Jar Jar. The major misstep with Jar-Jar was not having him, but having too much of him. There were certain lines and scenes that detracted from the movie - but there were others that provided a nice comic release for a child watching it.

    2. I enjoyed the storyline - discovering the boy and the slower parts certainly played out a larger mythological beginning. I give Lucas credit for not forcing constant action and allowing the characters and stories to play out. If you watch the original Star Wars, it is REALLY slow to get going.

    Perhaps my biggest gripe with this and all the newer movies is mechanics. Amidst all the Joseph Campbell mythmaking, how many times was Han trying to fix the ship or they were bantering back and forth. These are all much more sterilized - perhaps necessarily so for where the Republic is at the time. Still, I miss the grit....more info
  • The Beginning of the Destruction of the Franchise
    George Lucas really cannot write or direct. This (and the the 2 subsequent "pre-quels") are horrific movies with terrible acting and even worse writing .
    ...more info
  • One of the most disappointing films of all time!
    I was one of the thousands of fans who stood in line on opening night, having waited for 16 years for another Star Wars film. I can still recall the optimistic mood and loud chatter of the crowd as we waited, and then finally filed into the theatre. I can also recall the loud remarks of disappointment within the theatre as the movie ended, followed by near silence and murmurs of disappointment as we all filed out.

    This film was one of the most anticipated releases of ALL TIME. It can also be considered one of the greatest disappointments of all time. It's probably the only film ever to have achieved HUGE box office profits while actually being HATED by the majority of viewers who paid to see it. The huge box office gross was basically GUARANTEED, and does not represent HAPPY VIEWERS.

    I could go into all the details as to why this film basically destroyed everything that the original TWO, and a portion of the third, had accomplished.... but then, if you're an original Star Wars fan, you already know exactly what I would write.

    To sum up;

    One of the most hated and disappointing films in history, that also just happens to be a huge commercial success, for no other reason than 16 years of built-up anticipation. If they had offered a "money back, satisfaction guarantee", I imagine the true box office figures would have been a few thousand dollars profit :)

    I would also imagine that most people who purchase this film on DVD only do so to complete their collection. Then probably half of them regret the decision.

    JM...more info
  • In the Beginning, there was The Phantom Menace!
    This is the film that people who are new to the Star Wars Saga should view first, after all, it is Episode I. Those familar with history, and have a passion for science fiction, should find The Phantom Menace as George Lucas' masterpiece, as it truly is. And the good part is that it keeps getting better, as there are five more chapters in Lucas' Epic that add on to this piece. A true Triumph!...more info
  • I respect George Lucas, but...
    This entire movie, except the end, was mediocre. I wish he didn't go back and do 1, 2, and 3 but he did and we have to live with it. ...more info
  • Besides Return my least favorite.
    Besides Return Of The Jedi this is my least favorite episode and here's why. Jar Jar Binks. A character who has no purpose other than to annoy the heck out of everyone who was wanting more Jedi Sith time onscreen. Also the storyline was not the best. The whole Gungan thing to me was not needed. Darth Maul was not used well. And I wasn't crazy about the whole midiclorian thing. The movie just took too long to get going.

    Now the good. The casting was great to me. Ewan Mcgregor was the perfect choice to show us a younger Obi Wan Kenobi. Natalie Portman was good as well. Liam Neeson, Ian MaDiarmid were good as well. My favorite casting was Ray Park as Darth Maul. In the movie when the jedi are trying to return the queen to her throne and the door opens up to show us Darth Maul standing there waiting to kick some butt everyone in the movie theater had that look on their face like oh hell yeah. The whole movie we are waiting the see the Jedi in their prime and battle some Sith and we get it good.Besides the fight between Obi and Ani in Ep 3 this is my favorite fight scene.

    Do I like the movie? Yes. It could have been alot better though. Take away Jar Jar Binks from the first three movies and the Ewoks from the last one and the movies would have been perfect.

    Long live Star Wars. ...more info
  • Episode I on DVD
    While I think TPM was the second weakest of the 6 films it's still Star Wars and that put it well above most movies in my book. The pacing of the action is good and it had some very memorable lightsaber battles. Some people find Jar Jar Binks to be incredibly annoying, but I really did not feel this way. It doesn't have the flavor of the original trilogy, but that might have something to do with being made 16 years later. As for the DVD itself, the picture and sound quality are superb as with all the Lucasfilm releases on dvd. This is a must for any Star Wars fan....more info
  • Star Wars - Episode I
    We'd been looking locally, without luck, to complete our Star Wars collection of 6 - the old and the new in one set - and I was grateful to find this one, the last needed to complete the set, on I won't "rate" the movie itself - we're Star Wars fans and love every one of the movies in it's own way -- but will say I like dealing with in general. Things largely ship when scheduled, and you get a timely notice if there are delays. "Stuff" in general is what the write-up says it is and arrives in good condition.... This DVD "Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace" was no exception....more info
  • Cheese Galore
    I have watched every Star Wars made, purposely avoiding this one. I am not a fan of the Saga, but it has a few good moments and of the newer ones, I liked Revenge of the Sith the best-both in regards to actual plot and acting improvements.

    Finally after being utterly bored at home and this on at a convenient time, I decided to just watch it, just to watch it. Well, I am actually surprised I sat through the whole thing. Attack of the Clones was pretty darn cheesy, from beginning to end, but Phantom Menace no doubt takes the cake in that department.

    I actually thought watching Liam Neeson and Ewan Mcgregor on screen together would be far more interesting than it was. Well, Mcgregor was underutilized and Neeson was a bore. The awful dialogue didn't help matters. Neither did the special effects. I nearly fell of the couch upon seeing Yoda in this.

    I just don't get it. You get these brilliant actors-outside of the Star Wars arena-and they're great. You put them in front of a green screen and they're so unbearably wooden it's weird. And this didn't even have the excuse of Hayden Christensen. But Natalie Portman was just odd and stoney in this one, as in the rest of the trilogy. Of course normally, she's a pretty good actress. Same goes for just about every actor in this. And I'm not even going to get started with that Jar Jar character.

    The editing was all over the place-just way too jumpy. Music was pretty cool-at least that stayed consistant. The costumes were just beautiful, no question there. Everything else-a mess. It just all came off a bit childish. Darth Maul would have been a really cool character-if he were in the film for more than five minutes.

    I thought Attack of the Clones was the worst Star Wars film, but after finally watching The Phantom Menace, there is no doubt in my mind that the positions have changed. ...more info
  • Many Flaws, But TWO That I Just Couldn't Ignore.... & Still Can't
    What I want to say is that I really, really tried to love this movie, OK? I made a real effort. LOL.

    Now, I watched Episode 1 more than once, so I didn't hate it. Each time, as with viewing any film multiple times, certain things would stick out or grab me more than others. Some aspects of the story, certain special effects or visuals, the music, dialog, specific characters, etc.,whatever, would be more prevalent, more on my mind, more in focus.

    Anyway. Alright, the two things that I could not accept, that just to me are virtually impossible to ignore are:

    1. Jar Jar appearing in the movie __as MUCH as he does__.
    2. Darth Maul appearing in the movie __as LITTLE as he does__.

    Also --and maybe this is #3-- would definitely be the way Darth Maul dies. Nope, sorry do NOT, can not buy that. Look, he just stands there. Go back and watch it if you'd like -- Darth Maul stares at Obi Wan with a frown on his face, sees Obi Wan looking over to the side staring at a light saber, and then watches as the young Jedi flies up from the shaft -right in front of him- and then comes down on his(Maul's) other side. OK, watch it again if you feel this is nit picking at all. It's absurd, __especially since Darth Maul is portrayed, in the few scenes he is in, as a total bad a**!__ What was Maul doing? He literally just stands there and then after Obi Wan lands he slowly turns around and doesn't even make a move.

    Back to #1 and #2: I know, I understand Jar Jar is for the children. Fine, I got it. But, man, we all could have done with a bit less of that character. Also, they coulda toned it down a couple of times -- as for example when they are at the dinner table. You know the scene.. I thought, OMG, "he's actually ruining the movie". But I would have been fine with Jar Jar if he had a smaller role. #2 What the *****? Remember those AWESOME PREVIEWS with Maul in them looking so freaking bad? He was barely in the movie and instead a retarded children's comic relief imbecile was the star.

    Now, look, I am familiar with the tendency, ESPECIALLY for fans, or what would be better described as SUPER-FANS to rationalize away the flaws, ample flaws, of these films. I am also aware of the common tendency to be overly critical of the movies. So, I hope that I am not simply coming across as overly critical here. All I wanted to bring up is that in watching this movie a bunch of times I could let slide a lot of stuff, but not everything.

    Hope you enjoyed my two cents and let's hope future Star Wars stories are better, and are told better as well. Lucas created something special, something that I think grew larger and is greater than his ability to handle. God I wish he'd let Spielberg direct....more info
    Showing my age here: when STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE finally appeared in 1979, I was among the first in line; I stood in the snow waiting breathlessly for the second show. When the audience for the premiere emptied out, everyone had blank, bewildered faces. Not good. After watching it I understood why. STTMP put the best characters on the sidelines and rehashed "Where No Man Has Gone Before."

    Fans develop attachments to characters and themes.

    Even the late great Joseph Campbell revered the original STAR WARS trilogy. The original will always remain a classic, and Empire, the immediate sequel, nearly topped it. But by the time we got to Jedi we had cutesy Ewoks running around and a rehash of blow-up-death-star.

    Drunk on profits, Lucas was already dumbing down the franchise.

    Little did we know just how dumb it would get until PHANTOM MENACE.

    We've all seen and suffered through it anyway, so I'm preaching to choirs. But it's still staggering to witness just how childish, simplistic and foolish PHANTOM is - this from a man who could literally film anything he wanted - and he did.

    Nobody wanted to say NO to George Lucas.

    Jar-Jar Binks: easily the most reviled "character" in film history; that took a lot of work to accomplish.

    Darth Vader - a cultural icon - is reduced to a silly child. "Annie! Annie!"

    ANNIE??? That's a girl's name, and a rather famous one.

    There are so many jaw-droppingly stupid scenes, from the underwater "fish" people prancing around to the idiotic "finale" with Annie running amok as a wannabe pilot.

    After suffering through this I have more respect for Mel Brooks' SPACEBALLS. It's about the same - except Lucas was serious.

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  • Bad Hair Movie
    My six-year-old had this on and I saw bits of it so I can't really say what it was about. He did like it and I suppose he's the target audience, but there's no excuse for any movie, even a kid's movie, being this lame. I somehow managed to mostly notice Natalie Portman. She's really pretty but what's with Lucas and the hairdos? Remember Carrie Fisher's cinnamon buns in the first movie? Portman has many styles that are more like outlandishly elaborate pastries than hair. And honest to God, I did a better acting job in my 4th grade production of Sleeping Beauty in 1972, wearing my mother's nightgown as a fairy costume, than Portman does in The Phantom Menace. Like, what meds was she on? I'm happy for Ewan MacGregor and Liam Neeson that they got nice paychecks out of this as they have given many fine performances in lower-profile films, but the material here is so bad that even actors of their talents can do little. If your kids HAVE to watch this, find something else to do, in a galaxy as far, far away as possible....more info
  • Its good but not great.
    Good overall, some parts should have been shortened up. I know they are telling the story, but some of it just drags on. Some parts are just annoying, like Jar-jar and the announcers of the pod race.
    Since I am a fan of the series, I got this for the collection.
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  • The mighty have fallen... into mediocrity
    Get ready to be swept away by the next installment of one of the most loved and watched sci-fi movies of all time... Star Wars Episode One. It sounds more exciting than the actual experience of watching this slow, drab, feckless piece of work. I'm a huge Star Wars (episode 4-6) fan like many others but this new installment was bad Han Solo not firing first bad.

    Story (lacked originality): The story is fundamentally sound there is good vs. bad and the battles for who will prevail. Jedi knights get entangled in rescuing themselves along with a queen from an evil corrupt federation. There are amusing fights with the Federation standard robot army. They bounce around the galaxy and end up finding a very young boy on a remote planet we've already been to TWO times before. The boy displays natural ability in regards to the force but lacks any acting talent. A cool evil sith lord is introduced but given an anorexic amount of lines. Viewers will visit the galactic capital Coursant but this is less entertaining then a Disneyland commercial. These stories are meant to sweep us away and take us to new worlds where we're simply awed and amazed. I ended up being awed by how bad the acting and script were and amazed my beloved series has been reduced to dribble.

    Acting (mostly below average): Do I start with the bad news or the good news. Well I don't really have a whole lot of good news except several gifted actors/actresses starred in this movie (Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neelson plus the original C-3PO actor). The problem was none of there performances were above par when compared to there previous works. In fact this movie didn't bring out there talent but seemed to siphon it. Then there are the already bad actors. There performances are out right criminal. We're stuck watching the main character a young boy who for one is a bad actor and for two is put in ridicules situations that again took away from this movie. I can't even start with Jar Jar yet it hurts too much to speak his name.

    Script (god awful): George Lucas must have been on the can when he wrote this script. The lines are chalky and lack originality. You're stuck time after time hearing a regurgitated lines stolen from the original movies. The script feels like jigsaw puzzles that doesn't have any of the right pieces. There isn't smooth transition from one part of the movie to the next. It all feels either rushed or awkward. The movie also becomes very complex but in a 20 car pile up sort of way. Your shown glimpses of the galactic senate and taken into the honored Jedi Counsel Halls but no one seems to have motives that make sense. The Federation is being very naughty to the planet of Naboo but why doesn't the galactic republic army crush them? Is there a galactic republic army? If not then how do they maintain power since no strong government ever does without a military. Why doesn't the Federation simply attack Crousant and go for the gold if they don't have a military? You literally see about ten Galactic soldiers I mean this is the capital for the whole universe and there is only ten soldiers come on give me a break. Unfortunately not even Yodas few witty lines could save us from this mostly stale experience. Yoda mostly reminded me that this movie isn't about creating a new cutting edge craft but about attempting to relive the past.

    Music (Fair): The music as a whole is only fair. I'm not blaming John Williams the man had nothing to work with. That being said the music is one of the better parts to this movie. The end Sith battle music is powerful with a strong chorus added to the orchestra. The effect was moving but little to late in this already flat experience.

    Most the fight scenes are cool but others are ruined by Jar Jar and Anakin. The end Sith lord light saber battle actual had some emotion. The only problem was the Sith lord was the most interesting character and he was never given a chance to shine due to him not given hardly any lines or back story. He does however wield a sweet double bladed light saber. All this being said a lot of younger viewers love this new installment and fail to see the plethora of flaws that ensue. For any one who isn't a fan of Star Wars or enjoys solid movies with a plot feel free to pass on this popular yet boring movie.
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  • Awesome-To all you purests out there
    Its time people realize somthing important. When George Lucas sat down to write star wars in the early 1970's he wrote episodes 1-6. Not 4-6, 1-3 but ALL six!!! He couldn't make a movie that long. So he came up with the story from ep 4 because he felt it was the best part for the time. It was the greatest film of all time. He did not expect it to do that well. He was exhausted from working on it, and vowed never to direct again, which is why he did not direct ep 5 and ep 6. However, years went by, and so did the technology (which his company developed!! ILM) which became CG. Now that it existed, he could tell the story he wanted to tell- ep 1-3. BY KNOCKING THIS MOVIE YOU ARE KNOCKING LUCAS HIMSELF!! Its his baby. NOW PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, get over Jar-Jar!! I was frankly blown away by the lightsaber scenes in this movie. And the other characters-awesome. For those that think Jar-Jar was stupid what about C3PO and R2-D2 they were comic relief as well....more info