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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Jabba the Hutt, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Jake Lloyd, Samuel Jackson
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Web Site: www.starwars.com
Kiddie Movie: Bring them along, everyone else will.
Date Movie: Sure.
Gratuitous Sex: None.
Gratuitous Violence: People and droids get shot and killed, but nothing graphic.
Action: Lots. Come on, it's a Star Wars movie?
Laughs: Some cute lines.
Memorable Scene: The pod race.
Memorable Quote: None really.
Directed By: George Lucas
Produced By: Rick McCallum

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG

It's 2:11 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
No, I wasn't one of the fanatics lined up to see the first screenings, but I did see "The Phantom Menace" the weekend it opened, and saw it the second weekend it opened, too, and even after the second time, my simple answer to anyone asks how it was is "It's a Star Wars movie. Expect that and you'll be happy you saw it." This works great for just about all of my friends except Fruitcake, who, like those few number of people who didn't see "Titanic," is one of the few people who hasn't seen any of the previous Star Wars films. But you know, I think when he sees it he'll enjoy it more, and anticipate Episode II even more, because he doesn't know how everything wrapped up in "Return of The Jedi." His biggest challenge might be to not see any of the other Star Wars episodes for six years, after Episode III comes out.

"Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace" gets us started on the trilogy we already know about. It introduces us to a really young Anakin Skywalker, a suave and debonair Obi Wan, a naked C-3PO, an always trusty and reliable R2-D2, and of course Yoda. It also throws in new characters necessary for the development of Anakin and the path he will chose. All of this revolves around a story about some sort of trade/tax/conquer of the tiny planet of Naboo with a queen who obviously influences the future Princess Leia's hairdo.

In the story our Jedi's are sent to protect and help Queen Amidala with the trade blockade that has been put in place by the bad guys. Well, the queen has to flee and head to the Senate to plead her case, but they make a pit-stop on a little planet where they pick up Anikan who finds himself really digging one of the queen's helpers and dreaming of being a Jedi, like his father. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I'm mixing up the Skywalkers. Anyway, after the Senate (complete with the E.T. and the Wookie contingent) proves to move too slow, it's back to Naboo for the Queen, the Jedi's, Anakin, and Jar Jar, this goofy character who somehow brings everyone together, to save the planet from invasion. And what more needs to be said about the story? Not much I suppose, but it sets up the necessary things to happen in Episodes II, and III to lead up to IV - the new hope that is Luke.

A lot of people have blasted "The Phantom Menace" for a variety of reasons - the story line, Jar Jar being annoying, too many creature characters, or just about anything else, but I think most of the problems people had were that this was supposed to be the greatest film of all time. It's not, and probably never was intended to be. It was supposed to be a Star Wars movie, and that it is. It lets a new group of ten year old boys dream of outer space and pretend to have "the force," it lets a new group of ten year old girls dream of being a queen or a princess, and it lets grown ups have a clean story with some pretty cool action. Too many people expected different, but I enjoyed it. Not that the movie doesn't have some flaws, but so did the previous movies. I say just go and enjoy the film for what it is.

As far as looking forward to Episode II, well, I am, and I think I have a solution for Lucas' dilemma of finding a slightly older Anakin - let the artists and designers digitally create one. I must say it was pretty amazing the digital characters that came to life in this movie, and there were more people in the credits dealing with the computer animation than there seemed to be actors in the film (although it was good to see Jabba the Hutt played by, well, Jabba the Hutt. I wonder if I can get his autograph someday?). So, take all of the aspects you want in an older Anakin and make him yourself.

Anyway, enough rambling about "The Phantom Menace," and what does it really matter what I say about this film - you know you're going to eventually see it anyway. Me, I give the movie a solid 4 stars out of 5. I enjoyed it the first time, even enjoyed it the second time, and dare say if Fruitcake wants to go, I'll see it a third time.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!

 

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