6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
As imminent conflict brews between the powerful Trade Federation and the peaceful planet of Naboo, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi travel to Naboo to warn the Queen of the galactic fallout which is to follow.
Eventually, Naboo is invaded forcing the Jedi to evacuate the planet with the Queen and her court.
They travel to the desert planet of Tatooine where they meet a slave boy named Anakin Skywalker who is evidently one with the Force.
They enlist his help in fighting the war, while the Jedi confront one of the Dark Jedi behind the invasion, Darth Maul.
Mauls master Darth Sidious continues to lead the invasion as a "phantom" behind the scenes.....
OK, so there is nothing really more to say about one of the biggest pillagings of a beloved franchise, so I won't hit on it too much.
I just wanted to see it again after all these years, Just to see if it really is an insult to 'real' fans. I have the Blu Ray but never once put it in my machine.
I just wanted to know, is it really that bad? No, it isn't, it's visually stunning, and Maul is one of the most iconic villains this side of Hans Gruber, but when it comes to direction and acting, the film just loses it's way.
People dog on Lloyd for 'bad' performance, the kid was ten for crying out loud, and wasn't really that bad.
You want to see the bad acting in this? see Macgregor, who just spends the duration of the film doing a really bad impression of Alec Guiness, and Portman, why is it whenever she is wearing make-up, she has to do a really silly voice.
Neeson, knows what he is making and walks around with a swagger, acting cool and basically telling Obi-Wan to chill out.
So all in all, it's not a good story, the narrative is awful, as is a lot of the acting, but it's visually stunning.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2002
I have to say that Episode I was slightly disappointing...but only slightly. The special effects are amazing, the battle outside Naboo being one of the best, and the lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul is, put simply, AMAZING.
Most people I've spoken to find Jar Jar extremely irritating. I can never understand why: he adds a comic aspect that, given the slightly bad plot, is very welcome. He does get a bit annoying at times, but he's still very funny to watch.
Only one major gripe: THEY CUT SOME OF THE BEST BITS OUT!
When you watch some of the deleted scenes, and read the novel, you'll see what I mean.
The music, as usual, is unfaultable. "Duel of The Fates" has to be one of the best pieces of music in the film.
As for the plot...well, it fades in places that it shouldn't. For example, in the fights involving the Naboo and the Battle Droids...well, they don't really seem that worried about being shot at, especially not Padme Amidala, which is slightly worrying.
Nevertheless, Episode I is a worthy beginning for the Star Wars saga, and well worth viewing.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2008
This absolute mare of a film with be 10 years old next year. And guess what? Time hasn't been kind to this boring, insulting film, and complete and total disappointment.
George Lucas should have been brave enough to hand the reigns over to the likes of Frank Darabont and David Fincher to direct what should have been a dark, depressing journey all the way to the dark side of the Force. It should have been thrilling, amazing, and awe-inspiring. Instead it was trill, mediocre, and bloody awful.
He's directed one good film - back in 1977 - what idiot thought he could deliver a trilogy of real quality in this day and age? Well, with the chief yes-man Rick Mcallum on board to ensure this dated, patronising, twee vision actually made it to the screen, I guess we were in deepest. darkest committee hell. Remember - a room of professional, mature, articulate, creative adults, would have met on numerous occasions and discussed the introduction of Jar Jar Binks as being a good idea for the film. They would have discussed design sketches, discussed accents, and then, weirdly, amazingly, decided on something that they ALL agreed would benefit the film.
The story (if you could call it that) was devoid of any kind of excitement and plot development, and the casting of Anakin Skywalker brought to light two of world's worst wooden actors. Again, what were they thinking? And why make him the focus - the original three films had a real characters with many different threads to the story. Little brat turns to teenage brat then goes bad - what should have been an epic, sad, terrible journey to the dark side of the human psyche was handled with all the panache of a 6th form film student.
Then there's all the obvious insulting plot holes that make you think that the film was directed by someone who was brought in at the last minute having only watched the original trilogy the day before.
I'd have more respect for George Lucas if, in some weird, almighty precedent, he held his hands up and disowned the films - he could blame Mcallum, retrieve the films and give them to some directors with talent.
And the argument that the new films were aimed at a new generation of young people as the original trilogy was doesn't quite wash. I can watch any of the original trilogy as a thirty-something, whereas the new ones were insulting to even teenagers.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2001
It's not that Phantom Menace is a bad movie, far from it, but then any franchise that waits 22 years between chapters is going to suffer. It also didn't help Episode One's cause that it was a prequel. It serves as an explanation exercise into characters and events that have already been well established....it presented the audience with little in the way of originality and invention. Indeed, the fact that Darth Maul...the films big selling point...only amasses a handful of screen minutes and is despatched to Sith heaven all too quickly seems testament to the fact that George Lucas has money to burn.
In 1977, with a meagre budget and considerable studio restrictions, Lucas created a small sci-fi movie that captured the hearts of millions. Myself included. But now, after the original Star Wars trilogy has been immortalised in cinematic history and it's profits firmly bulging Lucas's bank account....there are no restrictions or money considerations to be adhered to.
Phantom Menace...and the entire Star Wars universe...is George Lucas's baby, but with the cash coming from his own pocket he was free to do what he wanted. This lack of restriction seems to have ruined an otherwise golden opportunity to give us what WE all wanted...More of the same!
Phantom Menace is a movie of clean, dazzling effects, a movie of composite digital flare that leaves all in it's wake gagging in envy. It's a movie of dynamic design that HAS stood the test of time whilst alsorans strive to recreate it's undeniable power and attention to detail. It's a movie filled with references to characters that we know and love...it strikes a note within anyone who's ever been absorbed by the Star Wars phenomenon....BUT!
It's a movie of hollow, empty acting. It's a movie of idiotic religious leanings. It's a movie of missed opportunites and wasted set pieces...constantly cutting away from the light-sabre fight at the movie's climax is unforgivable. It's a movie that peaks an hour before it's end, the Pod Race is the ONLY nod towards the style and passion that we all know Lucas is capable of. It's a movie bursting at the "scenes" with Jar Jar Binks...If Mr. Lucas truly cared about US and what we want from these movies he would do away with this debacle of a character forthwith. Feedback came in torrents of negative response but he's moved not a jot. Perhaps a studio snapping at his heals would have seen Jar Jar consigned to digital hell, but as I said before...control is solely in the hands of Lucas. End of argument.
I didn't hate Phantom Menace but it IS the weakest of the four movies. A 22 year wait, a fan-based longing and a critical chomping-at-the-bit could never be overcome...not even without Binks.
A serious case of style over substance. I await the hate mail with a sense of dread.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
For years, everyone of us who adored George Lucas's "Star Wars" sci fi adventure trilogy longed for more, and eventually, Mr Lucas obliged with "The Phantom Menace", the first part of a prequel trilogy.
Well, there's an old proverb which says "be careful what you wish for", and after sitting through "TPM", I came to understand fully the meaning of this. Just about everything that could be wrong with "TPM" is wrong. The story is plodding to the point of dreary, the script leaden and cliche ridden, the two dimensional characters are reduced to one dimension by some woefully wooden performances, and even the CGI looks plastic and tacky. Okay, it's got a John Williams score, but Williams alone can't redeem a turkey of such proportions. There's no charisma or spark, no enthusiasm or belief. I've had more enjoyment and excitement washing the car. At least Liam Neeson has the good grace to look uncomfortable, as well he should.
Some diehards tried to defend this disaster with arguments along the lines of "Lucas is setting the scene; it'll take off with 'Attack of the Clones' " etc. Trouble is, it didn't, and the whole prequel trilogy turned out to be a huge waste of time. I just gave this another viewing in the hope that it would grow on me a little, but it's about as much fun as an ingrowing toenail. Joss Whedon's "Serenity" is everything this should have been but isn't. It must make Lucas eat his heart out.It's enough to make any self-respecting "Star Wars" fan want to hurl his dvd player through the window and send the bill to Twentieth Century-Fox. A huge and perennial disappointment.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2014
Ok. if there were going to be more StarWars, there was always going to be a compromise.
This isn't just quite as good as the original trliogy, but hey, we asked for more...
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2000
TPM: so what was it? Star Wars! More or less.
In a nutshell, it was good, but not *that* good.
Fantastic explanative film - one of the most important parts was explaining how the Emperor got into power.
The overall plot was nicely done, the special effects were eye watering.
Also revealed what a lot of people wanted to know - what happens if you shove a lightsabre into a solid metal door.
Needed more outstanding dialog, more one liners, stronger characters. More space battle clips would have been nice too. The final part was too similar to Jedi, several battles going on at once. Although well put-together, I couldn't help thinking of Ewoks, Death Star attacks and "If you will not turn, you will meet your destiny".
Some incredibly cheesy one liners. "What does your heart tell you"
Ewan McGregor is FAR too 'English'
I've now seen this 5 times. 3 times at the cinema and twice on Video. As with the original, you see more as you watch it....possibly not as 'profound' or revealing as watching 4, 5 and 6, but still there.
"Careful, there might be more of them out there" "Hey, it's Star Wars"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
The grand children love it. Arrived in good condition well packaged. I would recommend to other grandparents to keep the children entertained.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Phantom Menace is probably one of the most divisive films ever made. Generally hated by Stars Wars/ Sci Fi fans and critics alike, although a stonking hit worldwide, Phantom had a lot to live up to and it is generally accepted that it didn’t cut the mustard.
The first nail in its coffin was that meaningless title. What on earth was Lucas thinking of? The fans, at least all the ones I knew, hated it and the first alarm bells started to ring well before the release date. When the film eventually arrived, we were presented with the horribly irritating digital character Jar Jar Binks, Ewan McGregor’s strained accent, embarrassingly bad dialogue, especially for young Anakin, over reliance on CGI sets, uninspiring direction from Lucas and a wordy leaden script. Fans were extremely vocal in their initial appraisal that Phantom was a complete and utter mess for its full 130 minutes.
However although I agree with most of the above, Phantom is no mess. Imperfect and disappointing it may be but there is much to enjoy. Many have doggedly concentrated on the negative and will not even acknowledge the positives plainly on show.
Phantom is firmly set in a recognisable Star Wars universe and looks very handsome; the production design and overall look are in keeping with what was expected, the music by John Williams is right up there with his best, Duel of the fates being rousing and exiting in the same measure. The POD race, scorned by many, is a marvel of sound design in itself. The special effects are very handsome and convincing if not exactly mind-blowing. The acting by Neeson, McGregor, and Portman are generally very good if hampered by stiff dialogue on occasion. And who cannot like that fabulous double ended Light Sabre.
So to sum up Phantom Menace is not very good, but it’s not very bad either. The overall film is definitely a disappointment after a 16 year wait, but is not the total disaster many insist it is. If I had to give it a mark out of 10 I’d give it 6.5.
If you’re a big fan of the original trilogy, and a film purist, then you probably have your view on Phantom already carved on a stone tablet for easy reference somewhere. However if you are not a purist and accept that Star Wars is not a listed building or a protected ancient monument, you can enjoy it for what it is; a Star Wars movie made 16 years after the last one. The world has changed and so has the franchise. Even if its not for the better.
Knocking the prequels is a bit of a national sport for diehard fans and I’m positive they absolutely love doing it, because I know quite a few. Shoring up and projecting, to others, your original trilogy credentials are more important to some, than accepting and enjoying the less successful prequels. Many also seem to think that accepting the prequels as Star Wars movies in some way reflects badly on the originals and is also in some odd way disrespectful. Nothing of course could be further from the truth. The real truth is all 6 are fully fledged Star Wars films, some more successful than others.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Just watched this on Blu-ray, and WOW!! it was just pure class, the sound and picture quality is just awesome, but this is the only positive thing I can say about this dire awful film. The young lad(Anakin Skywalker) was awful, a new born baby could act better than him, plus ja ja binks has to be the worst sci-fi character in the history of films, he is in it from the eleventh minute, and he just spoils the film, plus he is in every big fight scene at the end. The sad fact about this film, its more appealing to children under the age of ten. Awful film, and a disgrace to the star wars series.