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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | March 13, 2012 | Add Comments

2 1/2 stars

Jedis Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent on a mission to negotiate with the Trade Federation who have mysteriously blockaded the peaceful planet of Naboo. When the two Jedi learn of a dangerous plot that involves the Trade Federation and the evil Sith, the Jedi must team up with the Naboo people, the Gungan people and a little boy named Anakin who just might turn out to be the chosen one.

The idea of re-releasing the Star Wars franchise does sound enticing. What would those spaceship dogfights up in the air and those enthralling lightsaber duels down on the ground look like? Imagine: the mind of George Lucas poured into the multiplex theaters in 3-D. That is just what is happening: in the heyday of 3-D, now is the perfect time for Lucas to go all out nuts with the new technology. It looks great. Although the film obviously had to be converted to 3-D instead of shot in 3-D, this is probably one of the greatest 3-D films I’ve seen. The Adventures of Tintin might be the best, but Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is the best converted to 3-D film…yet.Despite, my fondness for this film’s look (it’s the first of the prequels and a great way to bring the look of the originals to a new generation) almost all of the new characters are very poorly written and acted. The big one being Jar Jar Binks. Binks, a Gungan is  unreasonably clumsy and ridiculous in all conversations. Lucas doesn’t change gears and turn the movie into a discovering who you are story, instead he uses Binks as a comic relief. This does not work. A few minutes after I met Binks I already knew I wanted to um …cut him out of the film. Another character that I dislike is Anakin who unfortunately gets a fair amount of screen time. It was necessary for the young Anakin to be shown, but from watching the character as Darth Vader in the originals I didn’t picture this. Lucas scripts Anakin with lines that seem to be jokes. Jokes like “Are you an angel?” in the Star Wars franchise? Oh my. The performance that Jake Lloyd gives as Anakin is very, very different from James Earl Jones and Hayden Christensen’s performances as the character at different points in his life. This is fine with me because the character of Anakin Skywalker goes through many different stages of behavior, thoughts, etc. But Lloyd gives a performance showcasing sarcasm, which is not what I think the character would act like when he is younger. There’s a million other problems that a Star Wars fanatic could have with this film, but my critiques are based on “what movie would be the best to see if I could only see one or two this weekend?”.

Unfortunately, Phantom Menace will be out of theaters soon because it has been in theaters for over a month and a half. Although, I wouldn’t recommend anybody to see it if you are looking for a film to rival the quality of the first, the 3-D is wonderful. The visuals are breathtaking but the characters are poorly scripted. If only the script was completely rewritten, Phantom Menace could be a much more enjoyable installment in the saga.

 

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