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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

1999  136 MN


 1.0



Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace on IMDb
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George Lucas
  Director




Anakin Skywalker, a young slave strong with the Force, is discovered on Tatooine. Meanwhile, the evil Sith have returned, enacting their plot for revenge against the Jedi.

 Release Date

May 19, 1999

 Runtime

2h16m (136 min)

 Budget

$ 115,000,000

 Revenue

$ 924,317,558


 Top Billed Cast

 Liam Neeson
 Qui-Gon Jinn
 Ewan McGregor
 Obi-Wan Kenobi
 Natalie Portman
 Padmé Amidala
 Jake Lloyd
 Anakin Skywalker
 Ian McDiarmid
 Senator Palpatine
 Pernilla August
 Shmi Skywalker


 Written by

George Lucas Screenplay

 Tagline

Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning.

 Videos




 Cast

Liam Neeson
  Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor
  Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman
  Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd
  Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid
  Senator Palpatine
Pernilla August
  Shmi Skywalker
Oliver Ford Davies
  Governor Sio Bibble
Hugh Quarshie
  Captain Panaka
Ahmed Best
  Jar Jar Binks
Anthony Daniels
  C-3PO (voice)
Kenny Baker
  R2-D2
Frank Oz
  Yoda (voice)
Terence Stamp
  Chancellor Valorum
Brian Blessed
  Boss Nass (voice)
Andy Secombe
  Watto (voice)
Ray Park
  Darth Maul
Lewis Macleod
  Sebulba (voice)
Warwick Davis
  Wald / Pod race spectator / Mos Espa Citizen
Steve Speirs
  Captain Tarpals
Silas Carson
  Nute Gunray / Ki-Adi-Mundi / Lott Dodd / Republic Cruiser Pilot
Jerome St. John Blake
  Mas Amenda / Orn Free Taa / Oppo Rancisis / Rune Haako / Horox Ryyder / Graxol Kelvynn / Mick Reckrap
Alan Ruscoe
  Daultay Dofine / Plo Koon / Bib Fortuna
Ralph Brown
  Ric Olié
Celia Imrie
  Fighter Pilot Bravo 5
Benedict Taylor
  Fighter Pilot Bravo 2
Clarence Smith
  Fighter Pilot Bravo 3
Samuel L. Jackson
  Mace Windu
Dominic West
  Palace Guard
Karol Cristina da Silva
  Rabé
Liz Wilson
  Eirtaé
Candice Orwell
  Yané
Sofia Coppola
  Saché
Keira Knightley
  Sabé
Bronagh Gallagher
  Republic Cruiser Captain
John Fensom
  TC-14
Greg Proops
  Fode (voice)
Scott Capurro
  Beed (voice)
Margaret Towner
  Jira
Dhruv Chanchani
  Kitster
Oliver Walpole
  Seek
Megan Udall
  Melee
Hassani Shapi
  Eeth Koth
Gin Clarke
  Adi Gallia
Khan Bonfils
  Saesee Tiin
Michelle Taylor
  Yarael Poof
Michaela Cottrell
  Even Piell
Dipika O'Neill Joti
  Depa Billaba
Phil Eason
  Yaddle
Mark Coulier
  Aks Moe
Lindsay Duncan
  TC-14 (voice)
Peter Serafinowicz
  Darth Maul / Battle Droid Commander / Gungan Scout (voice)
James Taylor
  Rune Haako (voice)
Chris Sanders
  Daultay Dofine (voice)
Toby Longworth
  Senator Lott Dodd / Gragra (voice)
Marc Silk
  Aks Moe (voice)
Danny Wagner
  Mawhonic
Amanda Lucas
  Tey How / Diva Funquita (voice) (as Tyger)
Katie Lucas
  Amee
Simon Allen
  Flag Bearer (uncredited)
Don Bies
  Pod Race Mechanic (uncredited)
Trisha Biggar
  Orn Free Taa's Aide (uncredited)
Ben Burtt
  Naboo Courier (uncredited)
Doug Chiang
  Flag Bearer (uncredited)
Rob Coleman
  Pod Race Spectator in Jabba's Private Box (uncredited)
Roman Coppola
  Senate Guard (uncredited)
Sean Cronin
  Coruscant Senate Guard (uncredited)
Zsuzsanna Cseh
  Pod Race Spectator (uncredited)
Matt Daniel-Baker
  Naboo Foot Soldier (uncredited)
Russell Darling
  Naboo Royal Security Guard (uncredited)
Philip Delancy
  Naboo Starship Pilot (uncredited)
Andrew Doucette
  Pod Race Spectator (uncredited)
C. Michael Easton
  Pod Race Spectator (uncredited)
Andrew Elias
  Naboo Royal Guard (uncredited)
Salo Gardner
  (uncredited)
Andrew Gersh
  Pod Race Spectator (uncredited)
Ned Gorman
  Naboo Citizen (uncredited)
Joss Gower
  Naboo Fighter Pilot (uncredited)
Raymond Griffiths
  GONK Droid (uncredited)
Nathan Hamill
  Pod Race Spectator / Naboo Palace Guard (uncredited)
Tim Harrington
  Naboo Security Guard (uncredited)
Sally Hawkins
  Bystander (uncredited)
Jack Hayes
  Pod Race Spectator in Jabba's Private Box (uncredited)
Alexi Kaye Campbell
  Naboo Guard (uncredited)
David Knight
  Aqualish Alian (uncredited)
John Knoll
  Lt. Rya Kirsch - Bravo 4 / Flag Bearer (uncredited)
Kamay Lau
  Sei Taria - Senators Aide (uncredited)
Andrew Lawden
  Naboo Foot Soldier (uncredited)
John M. Levin
  Naboo Fighter Pilot / Naboo Citizen / Senator (uncredited)
Dan Madsen
  Kaadu Handler (uncredited)
Iain McCaig
  Orn Free Taa's Aide (uncredited)
Rick McCallum
  Naboo Courier (uncredited)
João Costa Menezes
  Naboo Fighter Pilot (uncredited)
Lorne Peterson
  Mos Espa Citizen (uncredited)
Steve Sansweet
  Naboo Courier (uncredited)
Chris Scarabosio
  Neumodian Senator (voice) (uncredited)
Christian Simpson
  Lt. Gavyn Sykes - Bravo 6 (uncredited)
Paul Martin Smith
  Naboo Courier (uncredited)
Scott Squires
  Naboo Speeder Driver (uncredited)
Tom Sylla
  Battle Droid (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Tlusty
  Chokk, Jabba's Bodyguard (uncredited)
Matthew Wood
  Bib Fortuna / Ody Mandrell (voice) (uncredited)
Jeff Olson
  Pod Race Spectator in Jabba's Private Box (uncredited)
Michael Dondero
  Battle Droid / Protocol Droid (voice) (uncredited)

 Crew


George Lucas
  Executive Producer
Ben Burtt
  Editor
David Tattersall
  Director of Photography
Robin Gurland
  Casting
Paul Martin Smith
  Editor
Rick McCallum
  Producer
John Williams
  Original Music Composer
Trisha Biggar
  Costume Design
George Lucas
  Director
Peter Walpole
  Set Decoration
George Lucas
  Screenplay
Gavin Bocquet
  Production Design
Peter Russell
  Art Direction
Chuck Duke
  Animation
Ben Burtt
  Sound Designer
Jim Barr
  Prop Maker
Mark 'Rocky' Evans
  Rigging Gaffer
Matthew Wood
  Supervising Sound Editor
John Knoll
  Visual Effects Supervisor
Gary Rydstrom
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Shawn Murphy
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Scott Squires
  Visual Effects Supervisor
Dennis Muren
  Visual Effects Supervisor
Tom Johnson
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Rob Coleman
  Animation Director
Roger Christian
  Second Unit Director
Paul Higgins
  Assistant Director
Dario Cioni
  Second Assistant Director
Sagar Bhanushali
  Post Production Assistant
Peter Heslop
  Production Manager
Ben Howarth
  Third Assistant Director
Jeremy Johns
  Unit Manager
Michael Blanchard
  Post Production Supervisor
Moez Kamoun
  First Assistant Director
David Turchi
  First Assistant Director
Jayne-Ann Tenggren
  Script Supervisor
George Walker
  Second Assistant Director
Jo Burn
  Production Manager
Guido Cerasuolo
  Production Supervisor
Bernard Bellew
  Second Assistant Director
Philippa Day
  Unit Manager
Matthew Goodman
  Post Production Supervisor
Lisa Vick
  Script Supervisor
Abdelaziz Ben Mlouka
  Production Supervisor
Nick Gillard
  Unit Manager
Enrico Ballarin
  Unit Manager
Jeremy Pelzer
  Unit Manager
Christopher Newman
  First Assistant Director
Richard Sharkey
  Location Manager
Christopher Granier-Deferre
  Second Second Assistant Director
Marc Gabbana
  Storyboard Artist
Tory Belleci
  Modeling
Nick Gillard
  Stunt Coordinator
Andreas Petrides
  Stunt Double
Dominic Preece
  Stunts
Morgan Johnson
  Stunts
Ray De-Haan
  Stunts
Rob Inch
  Stunt Double
Rob Inch
  Stunts
Joss Gower
  Stunts
Peter Russell
  Supervising Art Director
Fred Hole
  Art Direction
Rod McLean
  Art Direction
Phil Harvey
  Art Direction
John King
  Art Direction
June Prinz
  Boom Operator
Ty Teiger
  Property Master
Peter Myslowski
  Key Grip
Ann Maskrey
  Assistant Costume Designer
Sharon Long
  Wardrobe Supervisor
Meg Speirs
  Makeup Artist
Melissa Lackersteen
  Makeup Artist
Sarah Love
  Hairdresser
Darlene Forrester
  Hairdresser
Jim Passon
  Color Timer
Gary Burritt
  Negative Cutter
Tom Bellfort
  Supervising Sound Editor
Ben Burtt
  Supervising Sound Editor
Teresa Eckton
  Sound Effects Editor
Chris Scarabosio
  Sound Effects Editor
Matthew Wood
  ADR Recordist
Sara Bolder
  ADR Editor
Sara Bolder
  Dialogue Editor
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  Dialogue Editor
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  ADR Editor
Bruce Lacey
  Foley Editor
Marian Wilde
  Foley Editor
Kevin Sellers
  Assistant Sound Editor
Steve Slanec
  Assistant Sound Editor
Tony Eckert
  Foley Mixer
Frank 'Pepe' Merel
  Foley Recordist
Dennie Thorpe
  Foley Artist
Jana Vance
  Foley Artist
Jessica Bellfort
  Assistant Dialogue Editor
Kenneth Wannberg
  Music Editor
Giles Nuttgens
  Second Unit Director of Photography
Benton Jew
  Storyboard Artist
Iain McCaig
  Concept Artist
Jay Shuster
  Concept Artist
Ed Natividad
  Concept Artist
Kurt Kaufman
  Concept Artist
Marc Gabbana
  Concept Artist
James Gemmill
  Scenic Artist
Hermione Ninnim
  Production Coordinator
Kathryn Farrar
  Production Controller
Trevor Coop
  Camera Operator
Adam Dale
  Aerial Camera
Graham Hall
  Focus Puller
John Midgley
  Sound Recordist
Keith Sewell
  Steadicam Operator
Craig Burns
  Sound Assistant
Jason Coop
  Clapper Loader
Shaun Evans
  Clapper Loader
Amanda Bernstein
  Assistant Set Decoration
Rajeshree Patel
  Assistant Accountant
Anthony Brookman
  Wardrobe Master
Helen Mattocks
  Wardrobe Assistant
Neil Murphy
  Wardrobe Assistant
Michael Mooney
  Costume Assistant
Brian Blues
  Supervising Carpenter
Morag Ross
  Makeup Artist
Sue Love
  Key Hairdresser
Jan Archibald
  Hairdresser
Eddie Knight
  Gaffer
Stewart Monteith
  Best Boy Electric
Gary Colkett
  Electrician
Vernon Connolly
  Electrician
Adam Lee
  Electrician
Mark Thomas
  Electrician
George White
  Electrician
Marypat Plottner
  First Assistant Editor
Aura Gilge
  Assistant Editor
Ned Gorman
  Visual Effects Producer
Jeff Olson
  Visual Effects Producer
Heather Smith
  Visual Effects Producer
Ginger Theisen
  Visual Effects Producer
Judith Weaver
  Visual Effects Producer
Kenn Moynihan
  Projection
V. Scott Balcerek
  Visual Effects Editor
David Tanaka
  Visual Effects Editor
Greg Hyman
  Visual Effects Editor
John Bartle
  Visual Effects Editor
Monique Gougeon
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Alexandra Altrocchi
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Amanda K. Montgomery
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Lori Arnold
  Visual Effects Coordinator
David S. Dranitzke
  Visual Effects Coordinator
David M. Gray
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Luke O'Byrne
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Robin Saxen
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Susan Greenhow
  Visual Effects Coordinator
David Valentin
  Visual Effects Coordinator
Warren Fu
  Concept Artist
Tony Sereno
  Sound Mix Technician
Jurgen Scharpf
  Sound Mix Technician
Kent Sparling
  Sound Mix Technician
John Neufeld
  Orchestrator
Conrad Pope
  Orchestrator
Giles Keyte
  Still Photographer
Nick Heckstall-Smith
  Second Unit First Assistant Director
Peter Hutchinson
  Special Effects Supervisor
Graham Riddell
  Special Effects Technician
David Brown
  Production Supervisor
Shawn Kelly
  Animation
Craig Lyn
  CG Artist


 Quotes

 New Quote

I have a bad feeling about this.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi

   


A communications disruption can only mean one thing: invasion.
— Governor Sio Bibble

   


I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war.
— Padmé Amidala

   


 Reviews


 New Review

Full destruction of the Star Wars saga
By DJ on January 1, 2016
 1

Admirers of Star Wars had been waiting for this movie for sixteen years, since the release of "Return of the Jedi". "The Phantom Menace" was one of the most expected movie of the twentieth century, if not the most one. Expectations were more than high. And surely, the pressure was definitely too big for only one man.
Still, George Lucas decided to produce three prequels.

Six months before its release, the trailer of the movie was already a phenomenon in an era where social medias and smartphones did not exist.

In May 1999, the film was finally released and fans from all over the world went into a theatre nearby with full excitement. I was one of those people and I will always remember the excitement and the people wearing disguise.
Suddenly, the Star Wars music was playing in the cinema and the first words of the prologue text was being displayed. History is starting... And here are the words:
Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlaying star systems is in dispute. Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.
While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict.....

As soon as the text appears, the first thing that comes to mind is: huh?! Trade federation? Taxation of trade routes? Endless debates? Jedi sent to resolve a political conflict?
Can it be that this movie will ruin the saga? Let's continue to find out...

The first sequence - the very first sequence of the Star Wars saga - is showing Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Jedi going to discuss with the trade federation. This sequence makes no sense at all from the beginning to the end. Let's analyze it.
The apprentice senses threat while his master says everything is great. Shouldn't it be the opposite? Anyway, moving along. Once they all sense threat, at the same time that Qui-Gon Jin says "I sense an unusual amount of fear", a droid serves them a beverage. They of course drink it without thinking that they could get poisoned.
Once they get blocked in a room full of poisonous gas, the head of the federation says to some droids "Destroy what's left of them" just seconds after sending the gas. Just let them die! So, the doors opened and of course the Jedi Knights feel perfectly fine.
Soon after, they hide in the federation ships invading the planet of Naboo. We learn that to go to the city, they need to go through the planet core, which of course means that the invasion will take place at the exact opposite side of the planet. This would mean that the federation decided to land its ships at the very opposite of the Naboo planet.

So, it's been already 10 minutes into the movie, and the worse is yet to come. His name? Jar-Jar Binks. We all know this CGI character that is the best description of the Star Wars destruction. Even though they had some humour in them, the episodes 4, 5 and 6 are very serious and dark. Here, we could say that this film is intended for children. But still it's not the case, since the plot is so overly complex and hard to follow, even for an adult. It deals with politics, trade routes, treaties, and so on. And in the middle of that, Jar-Jar Binks. Misa misa...

Our two Jedi Knights spend some time in the sea, with big fish eating even bigger fishes ("There's always a bigger fish.").
They of course have no clue where to go, but "The force will guide us."

Once on Naboo, the two creeps from the trade federation want the queen to sign a treaty stating that the invasion is legal. What is the all point of the trade federation? Blocking trades (so that they don't get money) and then invading a planet, for what?!
By that time (25 minutes already), the lightsabers have been used so many times that there is no sense of danger at all. Not one bit. Droids are being killed by the dozens. There is no building of any emotion. As an audience, we don't care one bit of anything.

Later, the queen is formally thanking R2D2 (a robot). Remember when Luke Skywalker says hi to R2 in the first movie? This is a small thing but this shows that every good thing from "A New Hope" is bad in this one.

After half an hour, we finally get to meet Darth Vader! Of course, the young version of him. Unfortunately, the young boy playing Anakin Skywalker is giving a more than bad acting performance. Jake Lloyd is definitely an error of casting, and a big one - error that will be done once more in the next two films with Hayden Christensen.
Jake Lloyd is simply reciting lines, and it's pretty obvious. It's even more obvious when watching the making of the film, where you see how much the boy is struggling.

After the mother of Anakin is explaining that she gave birth and that "there's no father" (immaculately conceived), Qui-Gon Jin is taking a blood simple from the young Darth Vader and we discover as an audience that the force is actually in the blood of the boy. This once more destroys the saga entirely. All the great discussions from the first three movies about the amazing concept of the force are destroyed. The force is in the blood, nothing more to show, people. Moving along.

After almost an hour, we get 15 minutes of a podrace, where we all know in advance that Anakin will win. It clearly feels like watching a videogame, as almost all images are computer-generated. There is no emotion, no suspense, no point at all. This is totally useless.

Ultimately, the movie ends with a war taking place at four different places: in the city with the queen, in the landscape with Jar-Jar, in the sky with Anakin and with Darth Maul, the only character that we will remember from this movie. Indeed, while we don't care about the three first separate sequences (stupid: both Jar-Jar and Anakin randomly wins by coincidences), there is just one scene that is built and is a bit interesting. I am talking about the fight between Darth Maul, Kenobi and Jin.
Unfortunately, this sequence is cut many times with other sequences, hence the emotions that are finally being built come down each time.
But for this sequence, the only great thing that we will remember is the excellent music created for this scene by John Williams. This insane theme is named Duel of the Fates and is the perfect theme.
Even though the fight is heavily choreographed, still it is fun and entertaining.
But it's still late and the film ends soon after.

The end credits are rolling and now we can do a proper reflection on this film. Cinema is an art form based on collaboration. George Lucas had sixteen years to write it or find good people to do it for him. But he chose very poorly. And, from what we can see in the making of, most people around him praised him for those choices.
"The Phantom Menace" is one of the worse movies that I have seen. The story is totally boring and serves no purpose. Indeed, Senator Palpatine is trying to get elected Chancellor. Whether the Jedi Knights are there or not, he would have succeed anyway. So what's the point of all that?
As for the characters, Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi should clearly have been the same character, as there is not much difference between them and we don't care for any of them. Can we really compare Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader to dull characters such as Qui-Gon Jin, Padme or Jar-Jar Binks?
Finally, the direction is horrible. There is so much crap on each and every frame.
Once more, looking at the making of is extremely interesting, as you can see that the movie was really created in post-production. And that when the team saw the rough cut for the first time, they clearly hated it. Of course, I'm sure they would all have preferred to produce an entertaining movie. They also should be praised for all the tremendous efforts that they have made into it. The special effects are very well done and the level of perfection and details is high.

But instead of simply complaining about the film. Let's go to the high level and rethink what is the basis of all good film. A damn good script. Looking at the script, there is no way that people thought it would be a great movie. But it was Star Wars and everyone thought that because of it, it would be a great movie.
In a way, this is reassuring, because this proves that whether you have millions and millions of dollars, this does not matter one bit if you work with a poor script. And words have no price.


NeoBrowser

If it were the first "Star Wars" movie, "The Phantom Menace" would be hailed as a visionary breakthrough. But this is the fourth movie of the famous series, and we think we know the territory; many of the early reviews have been blase, paying lip service to the visuals and wondering why the characters aren't better developed. How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story "Nightfall," about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen.

"Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace," to cite its full title, is an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking. If some of the characters are less than compelling, perhaps that's inevitable: This is the first story in the chronology and has to set up characters who (we already know) will become more interesting with the passage of time. Here we first see Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda and R2-D2 and C-3PO. Anakin is only a fresh-faced kid in Episode I; in IV, V and VI, he has become Darth Vader.

At the risk of offending devotees of the Force, I will say that the stories of the "Star Wars" movies have always been space operas, and that the importance of the movies comes from their energy, their sense of fun, their colorful inventions and their state-of-the-art special effects. I do not attend with the hope of gaining insights into human behavior. Unlike many movies, these are made to be looked at more than listened to, and George Lucas and his collaborators have filled "The Phantom Menace" with wonderful visuals.

There are new places here--new kinds of places. Consider the underwater cities, floating in their transparent membranes. The Senate chamber, a vast sphere with senators arrayed along the inside walls, and speakers floating on pods in the center. And other places: the cityscape with the waterfall that has a dizzying descent through space. And the other cities: one city Venetian, with canals, another looking like a hothouse version of imperial Rome, and a third that seems to have grown out of desert sands.

Set against awesome backdrops, the characters in "The Phantom Menace" inhabit a plot that is little more complex than the stories I grew up on in science-fiction magazines. The whole series sometimes feel like a cover from Thrilling Wonder Stories, come to life. The dialogue is pretty flat and straightforward, although seasoned with a little quasi-classical formality, as if the characters had read but not retained "Julius Caesar." I wish the "Star Wars" characters spoke with more elegance and wit (as Gore Vidal's Greeks and Romans do), but dialogue isn't the point, anyway: These movies are about new things to look at.

The plot details (of embargoes and blockades) tend to diminish the size of the movie's universe--to shrink it to the scale of a 19th century trade dispute. The stars themselves are little more than pinpoints on a black curtain, and "Star Wars" has not drawn inspiration from the color photographs being captured by the Hubble Telescope. The series is essentially human mythology, set in space, but not occupying it. If Stanley Kubrick gave us man humbled by the universe, Lucas gives us the universe domesticated by man. His aliens are really just humans in odd skins. For "The Phantom Menace," he introduces Jar Jar Binks, a fully realized computer-animated alien character whose physical movements seem based on afterthoughts. And Jabba the Hutt (who presides over the Podrace) has always seemed positively Dickensian to me.

Yet within the rules he has established, Lucas tells a good story. The key development in "Phantom" is the first meeting between the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and the young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd)--who is, the Jedi immediately senses, fated for great things. Qui-Gon meets Anakin in a store where he's seeking replacement parts for his crippled ship. Qui-Gon soon finds himself backing the young slave in a high-speed Podrace--betting his ship itself against the cost of the replacement parts. The race is one of the film's high points, as the entrants zoom between high cliff walls in a refinement of a similar race through metal canyons on a spaceship in "Star Wars." Why is Qui-Gon so confident that Anakin can win? Because he senses an unusual concentration of the Force--and perhaps because, like John the Baptist, he instinctively recognizes the one whose way he is destined to prepare. The film's shakiness on the psychological level is evident, however, in the scene where young Anakin is told he must leave his mother (Pernilla August) and follow this tall Jedi stranger. Their mutual resignation to the parting seems awfully restrained. I expected a tearful scene of parting between mother and child, but the best we get is when Anakin asks if his mother can come along, and she replies, "Son, my place is here." As a slave? The discovery and testing of Anakin supplies the film's most important action, but in a sense all the action is equally important, because it provides platforms for special-effects sequences. Sometimes our common sense undermines a sequence (for instance, when Jar Jar's people and the good guys fight a 'droid army, it becomes obvious that the droids are such bad fighters, they should be returned for a refund). But mostly I was happy to drink in the sights on the screen, in the same spirit that I might enjoy "Metropolis," "Forbidden Planet," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Dark City" or "The Matrix." The difference is that Lucas' visuals are more fanciful and his film's energy level is more cheerful; he doesn't share the prevailing view that the future is a dark and lonely place.

What he does have, in abundance, is exhilaration. There is a sense of discovery in scene after scene of "The Phantom Menace," as he tries out new effects and ideas, and seamlessly integrates real characters and digital ones, real landscapes and imaginary places. We are standing at the threshold of a new age of epic cinema, I think, in which digital techniques mean that budgets will no longer limit the scope of scenes; filmmakers will be able to show us just about anything they can imagine.

As surely as Anakin Skywalker points the way into the future of "Star Wars," so does "The Phantom Menace" raise the curtain on this new freedom for filmmakers. And it's a lot of fun. The film has correctly been given the PG rating; it's suitable for younger viewers and doesn't depend on violence for its effects. As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day.

3.5/4

-Rodger Ebert


CharlesTheBold

Frankly, this film is terrible, and the producers were obviously banking on the original Star Wars coming back all excited, and didn't bother come up with a good story.

What's wrong? Well --

(1) The virtuous Obiwan Kenobi talks an admiring young boy to participate in a dangerous race so that he can bet on the boy and win the money he needs for his mission. Sounds like the later movie HUNGER GAMES, except that in HUNGER GAMES we're expected to despise people who bet on children's lives.

(2) The young boy befriends a teenage girl who is presumably 6 or 7 years older. Come the next movie, they're suddenly the same age so that they can have a love affair. Are they of different species that age at different rates, or did the writers simply not plan ahead?

(3) The boy's mother tells Obiwan that she gave birth to the boy without having sex. Having introduced this bizarre Christological symbolism, the writers promptly forget it.

(4) And there's a character named JarJar, who apparently has no function in the movie except to irritate a lot of the critics.


Wuchak

***Solid return of the franchise after 16 years, highlighted by Liam Neeson***

A Jedi Knight & his apprentice (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor) escape a blockade with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks, and the handmaiden of Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). Upon damaging their vessel, they find sanctuary on a planet where they meet a slave boy, a gifted pilot and engineer, who may be the prophesied “Chosen One.” Meanwhile, the supposedly extinct Sith resurface, including Darth Maul (Ray Park).

"Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace" (1999) is the fourth Star Wars film and the first of the prequel trilogy, followed by “Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Return of the Sith” (2005). It marked writer/director George Lucas’ return to the popular franchise after 16 years, the previous film being “Return of the Jedi” (1983).

Star Wars is fantasy packaged as science-fiction or “space fantasy” whereas Star Trek is dramatic science-fiction in a space-travel context. I’ve always preferred the latter because it’s more adult-oriented, but I don’t mind a Star Wars flick now and then and “The Phantom Menace” is entertaining enough.

There’s a new cast of characters along with a young version of Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2D2, C-3PO, Yoda and Jabba. Liam Neeson stands tall as the no-nonsense Qui-Gon Jinn, McGregor is solid and Portman is attractive at the young age of 17. Also notable is Hugh Quarshie as Captain Panaka.

I didn’t mind the loathed Jar Jar Binks and I enjoyed the wondrous underwater sequence and the thrilling podrace in the first half (even though the mother allowing her son to enter the life-and-death contest is unlikely, not to mention the Jedi knights condoning it). Unfortunately the climax comes down to the clichéd “big battle sequence” and it’s predictable who’s gonna die in the corresponding duel. Yawn. Still, “The Phantom Menace” is all-around entertaining if you have a taste for Star Wars.

The film runs 2 hours, 16 minutes.

GRADE: B-/B


Gimly

This is a terrible, terrible movie. I'm amazed that A) Lucas made a film like this, knowing how beloved the franchise was, and B) that the franchise remained so beloved after this had come out... It introduced Maul though, who is my favourite _Star Wars_ character. So points on that one.

_Final rating:★★ - Had some things that appeal to me, but a poor finished product._


r96sk

A huge drop off the original trilogy. I still like it, mind.

I do have split feelings about 'Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace' though. One positive is the casting, which is well done.

Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are strong choices to enter the franchise, I enjoyed both of them. Jake Lloyd does a fine job in his role, while the likes of Terence Stamp, Samuel L. Jackson and Keira Knightley also feature. Natalie Portman appears too, but I honestly never really cared for her lot's side of the story. Ahmed Best, meanwhile, is very hit-and-miss as Jar Jar Binks.

Speaking of Binks, the CGI is rather iffy in this fourth installment of 'Star Wars'. Of course it did come out in 1999, but other films from that era and beyond have aged better in these terms. The score is, at least, more than up to scratch.

Overall, I'm OK with this but it most definitely should've been far greater. Some scenes do go on for too long, while I did find a lack of a serious threat for the first chunk of the film. Darth Maul looks the part, but ends up being rather forgettable.

I can see how diehard fans of the series could be disappointed by this.


sykobanana

So I watched this at a midnight screening when it was released (the first time midnight screenings happened...).

The blast of horns for John Willams' score occurred and the title scrawl happened, droidikas appeared - I had a buzz going.

But that buzz got less and less as the film wore on. Jar Jar appeared...and then Anakin trying to crack onto Padme...Darth Maul appeared and I got excited, but the dialogue continued like a child had written it and the excitement had dissipated by the time the Pod Race started.

It was the first time I had really been deeply disappointed by a movie.

The came the Lego Star Wars games...and this movie became alright. Probably because Lucas had made this film for kids (hence the overly simple plot and dialogue), is why it worked so well with Lego characters miming scenes.

I have watched this now countless times as a part of the 4-6, 1-3 order of Vader being a villain, redeeming himself and then becoming a villain. And my appreciation of it has grown a little.

The CGI for the time was great - it has become old though; and the movie relies on this too much, so some scenes do not feel grounded (or have people looking into space rather than at a character).

Im now OK with the pod race as a homage to Ben Hur - the details that have been thrown into it are grand, and it is a good length for the film.

And I really like that Lucas tried to expand what goes on in this universe. He started the world building quite well, but this meant A LOT of exposition to catch people up on how things are different to 4-6. I dont mind that, there was a lot of exposition in 4 as well.

And as always, Lucas put in details that you didnt expect, like Yoda's comments to ObiWan that he could see QuiGon in him, or the spinning parts in C3PO, or R2's introduction and his quippy nature from the start. Setting part of the film on Tatooine is actually smart (Anakin hates it, so Vader wouldnt go searching there between 3-4). And having a planet that is not just a desert, or show, or a forest, or lava, or a city, but that is like Earth is refreshing in this series. I dont even mind the Midichlorian comcept - why wouldnt an advanced society try to find out how "magic" happens and find a way to test for it?

But you can also see the things where Lucas just tried toooo hard- they stand out like nothing else. And here are the usual topics for this film - JarJar, having to go to Atlantis (you could take both of these things out and the plot and character development wouldnt change at all), the under-developed plot and dialogue, Anakin being "bratty". The Pod Race also feels kind of superfluous - written into the plot as Lucas wanted to "homage."

And Ill give it credit for actually trying to do something and expand the universe (unlike the dreadful Ep 7, but thats another story). There are consequences in this universe and foreshadowing of some things to come. we got to see how the Jedi worked in their prime (and moreso in Ep 2).

As movies go, this one is really mixed. But it is a great computer game.


Manuel São Bento

MORE REVIEWS @ https://www.msbreviews.com/

Rewatching it before OBI-WAN KENOBI.

Even ignoring the lack of narrative impact of THE PHANTOM MENACE in Luke Skywalker's journey, it still doesn't work for me. The climactic lightsaber fight and the podracing are cool, but the terrible dialogue, awful editing, Jar Jar, and the f****** midi-chlorians ruin the whole thing.

I'm not as annoyed by Anakin as others, though. Nor Padmé, I actually like her character. However, when most of the script consists of extremely boring political meetings or scenes with an overreliance on - now dated - CGI, most performances feel the same: emotionless.

John Williams' score is THE big plus. "Duel of the Fates" is going to be remembered forever. It genuinely saves the movie from being an absolute disaster, to be honest. If not for the poor editing choices, the final act would have been much, much better.

Rating: D+


CinemaSerf

Hmmm. I watched this again recently hoping that it wasn't as mediocre as I had thought first time around. Sadly, not. The opening scenes are great: a good fight with lots of action and lightsabres; then it descends into a sort of cross between "Ben Hur" and "The Golden Child" with some pantomime thrown in too. The film is clearly designed to be part one of another trilogy and as such spends way too much of it's time setting the scenes and establishing the characters for the films to follow - we do start to get a sense of the evil "Palpatine" and it looks spectacular, but it is basically pretty empty and soulless with a very weak storyline.



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