Happy 10th Birthday Episode I
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 17:08 by Ian Freer in Empire States
It might have escaped your attention but Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace opened ten years ago to the day in the US (for some inexplicable reason Blighty didn’t get the film for another two months). It seems to me that What Went Wrong With Episode One arguments is an energy that binds a generation together. Put a group of twentysomething/thirtysomethings who have never met and you can bet your bottom dollar that they can find common ground about Darth Maul’s majesty/Jar Jar Binks’ crapness. Nothing stirs up debate like Episode I
I’ll tell you where I am on the debate. I am a Prequel Apologist. I would even go as far as to say that I would rather watch Episode I than any LOTR film. Are the Lord Of The Rings films “better movies” than the prequels — of course they are. But I don’t love Tolkien’s universe half as much as I do Lucas’ lands, so I would much rather race through the Boonta Eve classic or watch Maul pace around like a caged tiger waiting to resume battle than wander around boring old Lothlorien (or whatever it's called).
So how do you feel now about the prequels now the (Mos Espa) dust has settled? In particular, what do you love about the Prequels? What did they get right? And why do conversations about these films still rage a decade on? I’ll start you off by suggesting The Phantom Menace features John Williams best strength in-depth score of the past ten years. Over to you…
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Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 17:42
When Annakin says goodbye to Shmi Skywalker and leaves with Qui Gon to begin his adventure. The jedi apprentice music hits. I get a lump in my throat and goosebumps every time!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:20
Darth maul is just 1 of the best things in all 3 of the Prequels, its a pitty he didnt stick around for the next 2, but i surpose they couldnt have some1 who would show up all the other baddies in ep 2 n 3
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:23
The 10-15 second burst of battle between Obi Wan and Darth Maul when the red lasers drop and the red mist rises has to be the best light saber duel of the entire saga.
Savagery and swordsmanship with both actors really going for it. If only the rest of the film shared their enthusiasm...
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:27
I think there's more right about the prequels than most people would like admit. I think the race is grandstanding, Qui Gon the very embodiment of Jedi sensibilities, and the final lightsaber battle is breathtaking. If people stopped getting hung up on Jar Jar, it's not a bad movie at all. Although it's hard to argue against the poor pacing- it's slow and stodgy at times- it's scope is huge and leads on to the brilliant Revenge of the Sith, which wouldn't have worked without Menace.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:30
I'm sorry, you lost me after "I would rather watch Episode I than any LOTR film"!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:31
What did it get right? That's a tough one.
The lightlaber fights are excellent (better than in any of the other 5 films). One the one hand the effects were awesome (podrace), but also were the cause of the lack of human emotion in the film (droid army).
The big plus was Darth Maul. A fantastic villain to rival even the Emperor & Vader. It was a crazy mistake to kill him off. I think he could have had a solid role throughout the prequels. In fact, of all the new cast, I'd say that he was the only decision that Lucas got right.
Despite the 'saber fights and the excellent Maul, the film was a huge disappointment and I've never watched it since. Sure, I own the dvd to complete the set, but I only put it on once and skipped to the fight scenes.
The script is appallingly bad, as is the acting. I like Ewan McGregor in most of his other roles but he had nothing to get his teeth into for this role. The dialogue and direction is embarrasing. Lucas should have hired a better writer and director and said; "this is the story - make it happen".
Like I said - I love the fight sequences and you are correct about the score - I'd say it's Williams' best ever, but when ever I think about the film, I just feel a great sense of disappointment.
Think about how Abrams made a dreadful series like Star Trek into such an exhilarating movie, yet Lucas took a beloved saga and abused it.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:32
Watching Ewan slowley grow into the roll of Obi was my favourite part of the prequels. He started off with daft, throw away lines but ended with the fabulous 'You were supposed to bring balance to the force' lines on Mustafar. After that moment Sir Alec was replaced in my mind as Kenobi.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:34
Oh, and you're right about LOTR, as Randle once beautifully stated 'Even the trees walked in that movie'!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:37
In the wise words of Tim Bisley: "Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like fucking Shaft!"
The new films didn't get anything right.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 18:47
the prequels got it right in showing the jedi at the height of their power. Maul is pretty much the only thing goin in episode 1.what would really be interesting is the origins of lord sidious and the massacre of the sand people by anakin. the book goes into gritty detail on how he did it, i think it would have translated well onto the screen.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:10
Well, the opening crawl was easily the most boring thing I've ever read & I studied Water way management for 4 years so trust me, I know boredom!
Sadly, for every good moment (Darth Maul vs the Jedi's, Podrace, The end battle in space) there were 3 king size mistakes (Jar Jar, the wooden moppet as Anakin, hinging the plot on trade routes Jar Jar befriending the moppet etc). Just a massive letdown really.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:12
The problem is that all the 20/30 somethings who remember the original trilogy are doing so through a romantic rose tinted goggles. Ask the target audience of the prequels(kids) about the film and it's a great success. I being one of the 30 somethings learned to forgive all of the many problems with the originals and we should do so with the prequels. The prequels aren't as good as the originals but as part of a bigger emersive experience you won't be disappointed..
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:17
10years!! Wow, I remember getting hold of a VHS with Ep 1 on it, me and a pile of friends ran to my houseto watch. Pod race was cool, Darth Maul was amazing!! Midicloreans were shite as was Jar-jar.
The film ended and as the let down feeling began to sink in another film began. The opening scene from the Matrix flew past and we were all hooked in, the film blew us away and for the next few days all we talked about the Matrix with not a mention of Ep 1.
The Matrix came from no-where and stole our hearts (untill the sequels somehow managed to kill any viewing pleasure from any fo the films) where Ep 1 after all the hype and waiting was forgotten before the credits could roll. So after 10 years which film would I rather watch?
Episode 1 please...
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:18
simply the E.T.s
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:19
Any of the full on Jedi moments, the space battles, the pod race and the score are all spot on. Of all it's crimes midi-cholorians will always be my most hated.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:36
Just my opinion, but anyone saying that the prequels didn't get ANYTHING right is a predictable soundbite spouting idiot....
There is some dreadful acting, dreadful dialogue, dreadful plotting, abysmal characters (Boss Nass, Jar Jar Binks etc etc) BUT, how anyone can say that film got NOTHING right, that includes Darth Maul, John Williams Score, the lightsaber battle (as someone said, when Qui Gon has been killed and the red lasers come down, the 10-15 second Obi Wan / Maul fight is by far the most intense fight in the whole trilogy, just fantastic, down to Maul carrying on just as well with half his lightsaber!).
And one thing people also miss out, but the production design was stunning, and only now looking back is getting more plaudits because while it was Star Wars, it was also so new (the yellow Naboo fighters). Some of the effects were also stunning.
And if I here anyone say it was all a CGI fest, there was more model work in The Phantom Menace than the entire original trilogy put together. Look it up if you don't believe it.
Lucas got MANY things wrong (killing Maul, for, and people must have seen it, purely to introduce a new villian in each movie. New villian, new merchandise see?), the pandering to TINY children, rather than just making it a family movie etc etc.
But there are some fantastic things in TPM. Anyone who can recall seeing the first trailer and seeing Darth Maul ignite the double saber and thinking 'this is just fantastic!' will agree that while the final product didn't come together, there are a lot of things that you just don't see in other movies.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:39
I'm 18 now. So when I saw it for the first time 10 years ago I loved it. When I was 8, Jar-Jar Binks was the man. I've not seen it for ages but I can see him being annoying now. But I agree that Episode 1 was definately aimed at kids and I'd say that most kids that saw it really enjoyed it.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:39
Exactly what the first three did, captivate a modern young audience.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:42
Apart from the final lightsaber duel between Obi and Maul..and maybe Liam's role as Qui Gon.. I can't find anything worthy of note.. all I found was the confusion of trade routes, needless politics, anal retentive acting and of course Binks..
If they really needed Jar Jar as guide out of that watery chasm why did Qui Gon sit back and say the force will guide us ?..
I'll take walking tree's any time.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:43
Hmmm....the score was fantastic...i remember seeing it on an album chart countdown at no. 7 or something and said 'I'M GOING TO GET THAT!' I was so excited being a huge fan or the OT. It hardly left my CD player when I did and I know it practically off by heart.
I ignore Jar Jar when I go back to it, it's quite simple...look anywhere else on the screen but at him.
Script was rubbish but Ep.II's was worse.
I still remember my heart pounding during the lightsaber duel.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 19:56
The fact that i love the original trilogy, went to the cinema to see Ep. 1 and subsequently never ever saw it again should speak volumes.
There are a few things that it did right, however, what it did wrong (awful script, direction leading to poor acting) completely drowns out anything that was good about it.
Watching it is like renting a rowing boat in the lake district with one oar; the sights and sounds are beautiful and you'll remember those for a life time but by God is the process while you are there tedious to the extreme.
(By the way i made that analogy up on the spot in like 15 seconds so don't be too brutal with it)
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:18
The positive points for all three prequels, in my opinion, are as follows:
1. The action set pieces are stunning.
2. The special effects, for the most part, are breathtaking.
3. Each of the three films has at least one performance which really stands out - Liam Neeson in Episode 1, Christopher Lee in Episode 2 and Ian McDiarmid in Episode 3.
4. The music by John Williams is pure brilliance.
5. George Lucas knows how to make an audience feel like giddy little kids.
I like all of the Star Wars prequels, even though they have a few flaws. However, I have to say that, in terms of being prequels, the new Star Trek trumps them all.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:33
Darth Maul was good, and the light saber fight was great. That really is about it. I was 14 when it came out, and thought the same back then.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:42
I really like Episode II.
Its fun, sweeping and really quite odd. When I realised that Anakin never says "I love you"- that relationship really is very twisted and interesting.
People hate Cristensen unfairly- his character is a self involved whining petulant child and Cristensen nails it utterly.
Swirling Jedi, Williams magnificance, Jango Fett, sonic bombs, the imperial march in thirds to say nothing of Yoda.
Its my favourite of the prequel trilogy and a fine film.
Although the assembly line bit is bobbins.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:46
what did it get right? In the immortal words of Mel Brooks' Yoghurt:
"Merchandising, merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs-the T-shirt, Spaceballs-the Coloring Book, Spaceballs-the Lunch box, Spaceballs-the Breakfast Cereal, Spaceballs-the Flame Thrower (the kids love this one)."
and nothing else - pablohoolio eat my soundbite - if the only thing that a film has going for it is the production design, then it's a nice coffee table book, not a good movie. If it's a cracking John Williams score then it's a great CD, not a good movie.
The lightsabre duel that you all keep drivelling on about is rubbish - Ewan just looks so choreographed and stiff it's pathetic.
Admittedly Ray Park is cool as f*ck as Darth Maul, but the fact that he's not given more screentime just makes that another annoyance that I just can't be dealing with
and you can all sod off with your 'just for kids' rubbish - the original trilogy was a massive success because of the cross-over appeal - there were characters in it that felt adult enough to engage with a universal audience
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:48
Shows the diminishing quality of Empire if you regard Star Wars higher than LOTR
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 20:54
I really, REALLY liked Episode I. I went to see it six times (couple of them with my son, some with mates) and really, REALLY enjoyed it. There was a lot of good about it.
THE GOOD - Darth Maul is an amazing character and I think it was stupid to kill him off so early (replace a kick ass, horned, tattooed, double-ended sabre bad ass with an asthmatic robot!?!?!?). I think it would have been better if he'd stuck around to be replaced by Vader.
The lightsabre fighting was AMAZING! And still thrilling. Makes Vader and Obi Wan's fight look like two old men waving their walking sticks at each other.
Those yellow Naboo ships were beautiful and clearly influenced by Lucas' love of 50's American cars. Gorgeous.
Qui Gon was mega! The perfect Jedi.
Kiera Knightly getting killed- yay!
The pod race was great (the first few times and too long every time since).
Jar Jar was OK. Much maligned but no more annoying than 3PO or Chewie, we were just older. My kids loved him. Thought he was funny.
THE BAD- Jake Lloyd simply cannot/could not act. When he was going "whoah" and "what does this lever do"- gah!
Watto. Shit he was. And what was that accent???
Midichlorians! WTF?!?!? Now the Force is little things that live in ya and you can like get your forceness measured with a blood test?!?!? Pah! Cop out!
Then came Ep II which I hated. Having enjoyed Ep I I remember, like it was yesterday, the crushing feeling I had coming out after seeing Ep II. I hated it. It was dreadful. And III was worse again.
Shame really because Episodes II and III have blighted the memory and love I had for the SW universe. I grew up with it, was obsessed by it, knew all the trivia and now I pretty much can't be arsed with it at all. A real shame.
If I had to put them in order of greatness it would be Empire, New Hope, Jedi, Ep I and lightyears behind Ep II and Ep III.
Oh and my code to enter this post sounds like a SW robot- F5-D6 ;-)
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:02
I don't think that there is a rose tinted goggle think; I watched Clone Wars in the cinema and thought it was absolute shit, there must be some quality to these films to make me want to watch them every time I see they're on TV and I'm still gonna watch the whole lot on my annual 'Watch all the Star Wars Films back to back day'.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:04
Why do conversations about these films still rage a decade on? Have a word with yourself, most people spent the decade full of rage trying to forget this mess ever happened. Simon Pegg summed it up best in Season two of Spaced he's burning his menece toys and Bilbo says The Phantom Menace was eighteen months ago, and Tim replys yes but it still hurts!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:09
I remember TPM got a four star review in Empire. I haven't trusted an Empire review since!
Sometimes you have to cut through the hype and admit that a film has no characters, wooden acting, abysmal dialogue and an uninspiring story. Basically it has none of the qualities of a great adventure film. Sure there were the odd nice effects and design, but without good characters it's pointless.
Darth Maul speaks about three words- he looked interesting but was not a character. Come to think of it though, that's probably why he was the best thing in the film- he didn't have to utter any of Lucas's dialogue!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:10
This blog is a complete "conversation" non starter.
There's no discussion to be had. Maul and the sabre fight rocks. The rest is mince. Lucas is a gold driven hack and PJ owns his fat checkered money grabbing ass.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:11
I was a student in Germany when Episode 1 hit screens (yet more months after it had arrived in Blightly, nevermind the States). I had to go out of my way (specifically: I had to go to Munich) to catch "Die Dunkle Bedrohung" in English, and I can't say I was disappointed.
In (at least) three respects, The Phanton Menace was a (far) better Star Wars film than either of Episodes 2 or 3: the climactic light saber battle, the production design (with particular reference to the use of Caserta Palace for the interior scenes in the palace on Naboo), and Darth Maul.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:19
Watching TPM for the first time was one of the most confusing experiences of my life. It repeatedly lurched between nail-bitingly brilliant and eye-gougingly crap.
I don't think I ever truly got over it until....thank god for Fan Editing. It has taken me ten years to get round to seeing it, but I finally watched The Phantom Edit this month and it surpassed all my expectations. Through many very subtle cuts it ends up dramatically different. Jar-jar and Ani are still there, they're just not idiotic any more. I've taken the dramatic step of removing the original out of its box and replacing it with the Edit...bringing balance to my Star Wars collection! (y'know like the force...nevermind).
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:33
What a waste of a Blog, It will also be the Matrix's 10 Year anniversray which is A) A much better Movie and B) will have a longer legacy.
The Prequals didnt work, and yes there are a few things which are great in the films but overall they were rubbush and the Phantom Menace was the worst out of the lot. Why go to the Lengths of trying to make this a significant event, when there were so many btter movies out in 1999, for me that year was all about The Matrix and Fight Club, Im a huge Star wars Fan (OT) but come on Lucas got it wrong and shouldnt be forgiven
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:34
Episode 1 - Shite, with a few saving graces
Episode 2 - Mostly shite, with a few saving graces
Episode 3 - One of my favourite films ever made, Palpatine was astonishingly brilliant, the story felt natural, the performances are the best of the 3 and the action/effects are crazy good, the one linners, 'so it's treason then' 'did be a porn of the jedi council'
Completly love Revenge of the Sith, the other two suck donky balls
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:40
Eventhough I've watched Revenge of the Sith about four times (spoilers... just incase you've been living on the moon or something) I still cry like a baby when Anakin breaks Padmai's heart which leads to her death, fights with Obi Wan and turns to the darkside. I just think that if only that bloody Palpatine hadn't messed with Anakin's head everything would have been happily ever after and Luke would never have snogged his sister!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 21:44
With much anticipation i got my passport and flew to New York to see The Phantom Menace i couldnt wait. To be part of the build up and hype was always going to be better than the film. No one can say they didnt get yhe hairs to stand up on their neck when the fox fanfare erupted from the speakers then the famous Star Wars crawl. As the film wore on their were problems pacing which has always been a Star Wars problem but who cared the sheer spectale and fantasy of the movies. The lack of real connection to some of the characters this time was a flaw and too much Jar Jar which was rectified in the sequels. A great if underused bad guy in Darth Maul which leads to the sagas greatest lightsaber duel. The Ben Hur like pod race superbly indulgent and some great touches such as the E.Ts
All in all with time and with the sequels the film seems better than when it was first recieved. Its still better than the Matrix which i did enjoy but that was it. And though LOTR are better made the Star Wars universe is more intestering and fun.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:03
For me the worst thing about Episode 1 was not Jar Jar but the God awful commentry during the pod race. This was the whole turning point in the movie. From this scene on the tone was set. And why did Anakin have to be so young. I mean could we not just have had one story arc instead of jumping from his moppet years to teenage years in later films? I think it would have been better if we were introduced to Anakin in the same vein as we were to Luke. And don't get me started on the dialogue. Yes, yes some of the dialogue in the originals is crazy to but at least there we had actors who could pull it off. Jeez, some of the 'Home & Away' style love scenes between Anakin and Padme are just achingly bad. Such a pity since John Williams's score 'Love across the Stars' is simply breathtaking.
And other thing, The Clone Wars. What a rip off. What Clone Wars? A bloody indsult to Stormtroopers these guys. Neither menacing or deadly. More like wobbly and wooden.
And CGI Yoda. Ha, ha.
And Fraken Vadar. Come on! he even changed the voice.
I love the shots inside the blockade runner at the end of Eps 3. Now that was classic.
Anyway, it was all so wrong on so many levels that it still pains me to this day. Can someone please do a reboot!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:06
I think Episode I contains by far the coolest aspect of any of the saga (yep, even the originals): That uber-awesome double-ended lightsaber! And Darth Maul's incredible acrobatic skill, with back flips and cart wheels. I think people don't give it enough credit as a whole. Yeah, it was a poor attempt to breathe new life into a groundbreaking franchise, but only when you compare it to the original films. As a film, not as part of a saga, it's actually alright. So, the story makes little sense, and they somehow made Yoda look LESS real than he did in the original saga, and yes, Jar Jar is a twat, and okay, I'll be honest, it would've been completely unwatchable if it weren't for Darth Maul, who far outstrips The Emperor (who's only really cool in Episode III) Darth Vader (who fights like he's got a stick up his ass) and Count Dooku (who's just crap). So what I've basically done is contradicted myself, so I'll wrap it up: Film, direction, story, script, acting = crap. Darth Maul and Ewan McGregor's chode of a ponytail = awesome. :)
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:15
I seriously cant believe some of the positive things people are saying about this truly appalling film, A huge part of the plot basically boils down to Qui-Gon trying to fix his bloody spaceship! It's not exactly rescuing the princess or blowing up the Death Star is it. Add to this the dreadful characters, (Binks, Watto, Nass) incredibly slow pace, the overall charmlessness, the most annoying acting performance of all time in Jake Lloyd ('Yippee' ARRRGH!) and scores of scenes that are basically video game cut scenes, namely the gungan - droid battle and the criminally overrated pod race, and you have one of the worst movies ever. They even messed up the yoda puppet for f@cks sake!
Cant deny that the lightsabre duel is awesome though.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:24
Episode 1 ain't as bad as everyone says
Episode 3 ain't as good as everyone says
Episode 2 sucked then...and it sucks now...ctrl/alt/delete george!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:26
I still think that the problem with the whole of the new trilogy is that Lucas really didn't have enough good ideas to fill three films. If the plot for the new three films was condensed into just two films it would have been better - but instead he had to fill three and therefore added lots of filler to flesh them out. Added to that the fact that these days in effects heavy films the makers themselves dont really know what to do for many scenes -they just think 'okay, here is big pod race/chase scene' - lets just make some crap up to fill 10 minutes and make it look cool - with no real direction or purpose.
On the positive side tho, there are still positives - e.g. the score - John Williams never misses the mark.
Rant over! :o)
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:32
What can i say, i loved the prequel trilogy and TPM had everything going for it. I was 5 when I saw Star Wars and I felt that TPM held the same magic as the original movie, it had space battles, shoot outs, evil, danger and the a cracking lightsaber battle. Yeah not everything is right about TPM but there again some may say the same about the original film! TPM was aimed at the younger audience and I'll watch it again and again as the big kid that i am.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:35
No ones mentioned the trailer yet. They got that right. Or the poster with Jake Lloyd and a vader shadow. Natalie Portman's mad star wars hair. First sighting of Samuel L Jackson as a jedi. First sighting of the rolly-over battle droids. Brian Blessed being Brian Blessed, even in CGI.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:37
What the Prequels did right?
They fleshed out the universe rather brilliantly, can you imagine now not knowing that you could have a double ended lightsabre? or a purple one? Or why the clone wars were called the clone wars? Or whether Yoda would be any good in a lightsabre duel!! The context for the prequels is brilliant, and it really shines in the various cartoon series that have popped up, which have been significantly more successful pieces of entertainment.
What it did wrong?
Well - aside from the obvious. Its principle characters were politicians and monks - character chemistry was bound to be sidelined. Leia and Han positively light up the screen in 'Empire', nothing like that here. One of my favorite character relationships in the prequels is Anakin Vs Mace Window - the tension between those two power-houses is great for the collective 10 minutes they're afforded together.
I think the droid army were a mistake - they just didn't pose any real threat at all, they were... pathetic villains!
All in all some great moments - the opening reveal in 'Sith' of the battle over Corusant (or however you spell it) accompanied by great williams music, episode ones lightsabre battle, accompanied by great williams music, Anakins nail biting wait in the council chamber, while mace confronts Palpatine, accompanied by great williams music (is there a pattern here...?)
They haven't spoilt the originals, so given the choice I'd rather have them than not have them. I hope when Lucas dies, someone else can play with Star Wars - lets give Boba Fett his own movie? Or Wedge, Or Kit Fisto. The possibilities are endless!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 22:46
they aren't bad films, but their let down colossaly by atrocious casting for the roles of anakin. doesn't help that he gets all the worst lines.
but a lot of the images are worthy of Zhang Yimou, and dobly so the melodrama.
but still atrocious dialogue.
i say again: atrocious.
but still good.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 23:00
Tin hat on, but as a film franchise, even the original trilogy, it is hard to deem Star Wars as 'great'. The writing was on the wall when Lucas adopted cute and fuzzy teddy bears to be the catalyst in toppling the galaxy's evil (and seemingly indestructable) empire.
The prequels are rightly maligned because they're incomparable to A New Hope or the Empire Strikes Back, the sophistication of the 21st century (near 21st century in the case of The Phantom Menace) effects should have led to three films which would regain the charm and affection which the original trilogy generated. Yet even Indiana Jones' return was not bereft of implausible nonsense that simply didn't function, and Lucas is the common denominator.
Personally I have a soft spot for Episode I. I'd seen Empire Strikes Back during the twentieth anniversary re-releases back in 1997 but being a Star Wars novice, it wasn't particularly memorable. With The Phantom Menace, it was the beginning and it allotted such Star Wars virgins as myself the opportunity to gauge a fresh acknowledgement from the very beginning.
Firstly, the casting of Liam Neeson is as astute as it gets. Grizzled, masterly and vulnerable, he pulls off the role superbly in spite of some baffling dialogue and is a perfect mentor for Ewan McGregor's Obi Wan, who is decent at best.
The pod race is undeniably enthralling and, at the time, a sequence to behold. Yet the undoubted highlight is that of the three-way light saber duel, which is choreographed so perfectly and backed by a stirring and epic John Williams score, that is the best action moment in the whole 6 films. Darth Maul is an iconic and worthy villain, yet his death is all the more baffling given that his 'development' seems to inevitably suggest he'll return in Episode II.
The film is a solid 6/10. For the average film goer, it's an enjoyable sci-fi picture that whizzes by. For the staunch-die hard-geeky-sceptic fan of the franchise who waited 16 years, it has to be a letdown.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 23:05
I will never forget watching the trailer for Menace....if only I had left it at that!
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 23:10
I must admit that I love TPM. It was the first SW film I ever watched and it was what made me fall in love with SW.
I must have been around 11 when I saw it and i loved most things about it. I don't find Jar Jar that bad, actually I find him kind of funny, I simply LOVE Qui-Gon Jinn and the lightsaber battle at the end is wonderfull.
I find the Pod-race a bit to long and boring and Anakin is just an irritating little boy who should shut up but hey, that's just my opinion.
One week-end i watched TPM 6 times and I can the, I admit rather lame, dialouge by heart, just try me ;)
But anyway my point being, love TPM and nothing you'll say can make me change my mind.
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 23:17
The prequels were great, and I actually loved them more cause of all the whiny geeks in tears about it lol
And yeah LOTRs were bloody awful, I think Peter Jackson is a great director but there's only so much you can do with such boring crap. What people don't realize is that to the younger generation, the prequels, originals? it won't mean a thing. My 7 and 4 year old nephews love STAR WARS. Thats all included. They don't prefer one above the other, they just watch them all. So I look at them and am hopeful, cause I know all of the 'originals were better than prequels' moaners will die one day lol And 'The Star Wars Saga' will remain as one unit :)
Posted on Tuesday May 19, 2009, 23:32
I was 16 when I saw episode 1, at the time I thought it was a brilliant addition to the saga what with amazing effects, a "wizard" podrace and lightsabers being used the way they were built for.
But after the buzz had died I realised It was just a shitty sci fi flick with good effects
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:14
Although Episode III was a much better film, this bore much more similarity to the original Saga in relation to effects. The dependency on green-screen in the last two parts of the prequel irritated me, and this film was redeemed by its focus on puppetry and at least some element of set-design, even if the puppetry was a bit naff.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:14
At least you're one year closer to death, Menace.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:28
Episode 1 - Few good sequences but mostly bad.
Episode 2 - an improvement on TPM but still not great (The Jedi were wiped out too easily for my liking)
Episode 3 - I really enjoyed the action, best of the three.
Problem with all of them is how they contradict so much of the originals. In 'A New Hope', Obi Wan can't recall R2D2 even though they were companions for so long, he also tells Luke in 'Empire Strikes Back' that Yoda instructed him when TPM has Qui Gon instructing him? Subtle things that made me go...hold on a second...are what let me down.
LOTRs has more of an Epic feel to it and I got more emotionally connected to the characters than I did with the Star Wars prequels. For me, I was gutted more when Boromir died than I was when Qui Gon died. Similarly, Theodan dying had more of an impact on me than Mace Windu dying. Sorry Empire, but LOTRs was far better.
FRIEND OF TOM CRUISE
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 03:34
Was this really a blog? Not much was said there. Just a bit of a prompt for a debte, no insightful thought or quirky observations. Seriously, you Empire guys need to lay off the 'is it this? is it that? what do YOU think?' bullshit. So boring. At least write something substantial on the subject or else it might as well just be a thread in a forum. Ian Freer says almost nothing here at all except 'I'd rather watch Episode I than LOTR'. Any reasons to back that up at all? I mean, I don't disagree, but I'm not going to write your own blog for you, you lazy hacks!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 04:27
Friend of Tom Cruise, do yourself a favour and get out more.
Anyway, on another note, not even the original three star wars were as good as LotR. But I think all the prequels are above average sci-fi. I mean, when they churn out guff like Babylon AD Phantom Menace really stands out by comparison.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 06:29
Eps 1 wasn't a bad movie. A little dull but streets ahead of Eps 2 which I loved at the time but have grown to hate.
Oh and to the guy who said Keira Knightley dies in it. Does that happen?
Doesn't her character die at the start of eps 2 and isn't it another actress playing her?
FRIEND OF TOM CRUISE
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 07:59
i have a feeling you probably spend way more time on these websites than i do buddy!
phantom menace is super lame for one million reasons and everyone knows it. what's the point in writing a blog in it's defense if you're literally not going to say a single thing about why you like it other than darth maul paces like a tiger...? maybe it's a british thing.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 08:00
No I think Episode I is a terrible film, which only has 15 - 20 minutes of a redeeming feature - the Podrace, which actually is quite exciting and tense, but as far as that goes..... no not much else.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 08:50
The Phantom Menace has nothing going for it. . . . Apart from John Williams (as it has been said) and Darth Maul. He was awesome. I can not watch the film all the way through without wanting to shoot that little sh** from Jingle All The Way! What I love is the duel at the end though. That duel is amazing! Maul was awesome and it is the best one out of all the Star Wars show downs!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:06
@some_film_guy: you're right. Lucas called the pod race sequence "padding".
I just wanna add one more thing, because pretty much everthing has been said about Ep I here: the kid destroys the "mother tradeship" at the end by accident/coincidence. That's not an ending for a multi-million dollar, highest anticipated movie in motion picture history.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:23
Episode 1 sucked! The only good thing was the dual, the score and Maul...
For me all 3 prequals were dissapointing and in now lived to the expectations of seeing the rise and fall of vader. It was too cartoonish with Lucas' over kill of blue screen and lacked the heart and soul of the original trilogy...
Also - LOTR wipes the floor with Ep's 1,2 and 3 in every aspect - well except a dounle ended lightsabre - but then again LOTR had Andúril...
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:25
For what I expected from an addition to the Star Wars Saga Episode 1 dissapointed on the whole, the best bits about it being Darth Maul (cooler than Boba Fett in my opinion) and Qui Gon Jin when he isn't spouting crap about their is always a biiger fish.
George Lucas got this film wrong on the whole, concentrating too much on crap and poorly written charectors and not enough on cool light sabre battles (the Jin/Obi Wan/Maul face off was far too quick) with the exception of the Pod race which was pretty great.
The best of the prequals was Episode 3 in opinion, this was the film with the emotional heft and also "the AnakinObi Wan showdown". Hayden Christiansen may have been critisized for his wooden acting but I think he was stand out in this film and his turn to the dark side was tragic, let down by the pathetic 1st words of one of cinema's greatest villians (Noooooo!!!!! Anyone? Why?)
I can not honestly say that I prefer the Star Wars universe over Lord of the Rings, its wrong to compare if you ask me as one is senseless fun and the other probably one of the finest trilogies ever made.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:25
yesterday, i watched it for the first time
borrowed off a friend and am yet to finish the next five
i was proper confused and had to watch it twice to understand it
i dont reckon its that bad
i dont reckon its good
it got boring too many times
and Qui Gon died too suddenly, it was like blink, oh he died, gutted
i dont know why, maybe its because im a big kid at heart and am a kid really
but i just couldnt help but really like it
its bloody awful
but i love it
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:26
The truth is, I wish I liked Episode 1 (& the prequels) more than I do. It has its positives, all of which are mentioned above, but it has certain flaws which literally lead to me watching scenes through my fingers.
The dodgy Yoda puppet is actually like something out of Spaceballs, it's like a spoof version and it gets me close to tears every time (although at least he isn't CG, yet...) & the Gungan/Droid Army battle - AAAAARGH, no, George, you're better than that, at least what you gave us in '77, '80 and '83 was better - because you created a world that we believed we could touch - often in the prequels the CG is so poor I just don't care. Coz it aint there, what's exciting about a fat guy sitting at his computer with a 'soda' creating this video-game esque world? Absolutely nowt!
Someone above said the originals aren't ruined by the prequels, on many levels I agree, but now when I watch A New Hope and Obi-Wan is telling Luke about the Clone Wars, I picture something in my head entirely different from what we now know to be the Clone Wars - thousands of CG'd rubbish looking clones.
And in the Episode III trailer, when Alec Guiness' A New Hope dialogue provides a running commentary... "before the dark times, before the Empire" - and there's a shot of the aforementioned Clones, the 2 simply don't mix - I wish Lucas had demanded 1000 extras to wear suits, coz it looks poop and I hate that it does.
Add to that Obi-Wan's dragon, that strange, scary huge-flower-world that the sexy blue Jedi gets killed on, that strange creature Ani 'surfs' & the 'dinosaur arena' in AOTC...NO!!
I don't hate the prequels, even if the above does give that impression (!), but I wish someone would go back and do 1-3, make them more authentic, develop the characters better, re-write the dialogue (obviously), and attempt to rectify those contradictions that are now oh so evident in the OT.
Leia in Jedi: "(my mother) died when I was very young..." Yes, extremely young...
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:32
I disregard the prequels as StarWars films. If they did not have Starwars in front of them and lightsabers we would all think they were appalling, shit films...and so would Empire !!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:36
If you want to watch something good and awesome about Starwars head on over to Youtube and type in 'snatchwars' where they replace Darthvaders voice with Bricktops from Snatch...!!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:36
Don't know why, having borrowed from "Hidden Fortress", Lucas didn't lift from other Kurosawa classics.
"Seven Samurai" would have been great for Episode 1.
The Clone Wars are already raging and a small band of Jedi (including Obi Wan) are stranded on a backward moon in a low tech settlement waiting out an impending attack from a superior force.
Turns out that one of the young men in this settler group has a bit of a way with a light saber, picking it up from a fallen Jedi in battle and unleashing hell on the attacking troops. And this would be how Obi Wan meets Anakin.
You could still have the rise of the Emperor stuff in the background but Padme is NOT in Episode 1.
She's introduced in the "Yojimbo" inspired second episode when the apprentice Jedi Anakin is tasked with protecting her whilst she willfully attempts to seduce him from his sterile existence. She isn't in league with any Dark Forces, just a young woman looking to break free. And as such she is complicit in their fate.
If you really want to break the mould, Episode 3 could be a "Rashomon" styled affair as Threepio and Artoo's memory banks are messed with and we see the fall of the Republic through various recollections.
So anyway, that's my master-plan. All I have to do now is wait for a Romulan vessel to change the time line and we're golden...
Bollocks. Wrong franchise.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:46
It's difficult to praise episode 1 when it simply had so much to live up to... it was always going to be compared to everything that came before it... and after a 16 year gap (ignoring those horrible Ewok movies), how was it ever really going to live up to the hype that the long-time-Star-Wars-loving fans had created?
I remember catching the trailer on The Big Breakfast show having not expected to see it, and having no internet at home in those days, had seen or heard nothing of the film before this (pictures, designs, roumers) and I was blown away! I didn't know what half of what I saw was... it got me giddy... NEW Star Wars!
I saw the film at the pics only the once, but really enjoyed it! Sure I was old enough to see the flaws and know what I didn't like, but i was also aware that the film was aimed at a younger audience, much like A New Hope was in all reality... but it didn't bother me... it made me feel young! Ha! There was a lot of crap that countless people have mentioned on this blog (Medi-bollocks, Anakin's whining and all-round bad acting, Anakin building 3PO (in the same design as all other manufactured 3PO-stlye droids! (WTF?)) etc etc)... but it also had a lot going for it. It was vast.. taking in many vistas, great set pieces, a great and Star Wars-like score (one of my biggest worries), new characters and it was definitively the same Star Wars universe... just younger. Sure, the background story about trade routes was a bit dull, an odd move towards politics that no ther SW film had explored... because I guess there was none! It was a dictatorship. But the story wasn't about trade routes, the stroy was about Anakin, the jedi and the rise of the dark side.
Best bit: that fade/wipe from Qui-Gon looking at Anakin's mother with concern (having just checked his medi-count (bollocks)) to Darth Mauls ship speeding towards Tatooine, landing and sending out the probes.. great cutting and an amzing bit of score!
Then along came Episode 2...
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:51
I would rank the prequels as follows:
1. Revenge of the Sith
2. The Phantom Menace
3. Attack of the Clones
I think they all had their good and bad points. The Phantom Menace had some great action sequences, which Lucas decided to try and spoil with a kid spouting cheesy lines like “now this is pod-racing” – Lucas really should have cast Haley Joel Osmond, or just gone for an older actor. I found Attack of The Clones to have been the worst offender. Pacing was very slow, love scenes were cringe-worthy, and Anakin just pissed me right off. The only redeeming features for me were Obi-Wan, Jango Fett, Count Dooku, and finally getting to see Yoda duel.
Revenge of the Sith was very hit and miss again. The pacing was much better. Opening space battle and duel with Dooku was very well done. Unfortunately Lucas really screwed the script in terms of when Anakin becomes Darth Vader – Ian McDiarmid going “unlimited powerrrrrrr” and “henceforth, you will be known as Darth Vader”. It was all very hammy, but McDiarmid did the best with what he had. Some of his lines were brilliant – “so its treason then” and “I know you would. I can feel your anger. It makes you stronger, gives you focus” (when Anakin exposes him and says he would like to kill him). He stole the show really with his Darth Plagius story and his incessant evil laughing. Generally, we saw the darkness in the saga we wanted to see – execution of Jedi and younglings was very moving. Just a shame they ruined Vader’s birth with “nooooooooo”. I thought it would have been much better if Vader had just grabbed/attacked the Emperor on hearing the news that Padme had died, and the Emperor would have given him the good old electric shock treatment, as to say “fuck you, your ass is mine now!”
John Williams’ score for all three films was spot on.
Had Lucas worked more in collaboration with someone else who could actually write/improve on the scripts (like he did with Lawrence Kasdan on Episode V & VI) then I think there wouldn’t have been so many problems with the prequels (especially Episode II).
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:56
I found Episode 2 a bit difficult. It started badly, and if you thought the acting was poor in EP1, it was doubly so in Ep2! That opening was so slow and uninspiring... a ship making its way through clouds... covering everything so you couldn't see... what? Where was the classic ship-going-through-space opening? Then that bit in the elevator... Eugh! McGreggor hadn't much to do in EP1, and here he started really badly. The script was rubbish... the story was kinda boring... some kind of Columbo-esque crpa that still makes little sense (who was that Jedi who made the clone army... and why?)... the absolute horrible pacing (nevermind the stop-start of Ep1... what about the deplorability of the constant cutting back to the sickly shit 'romantic' scenes on Naboo?... what was Lucas thinking? "Oh these two need to get to know one another... let's send them off to Naboo to chat for 20 mins of the film"). The whole story was a really bad idea. Really bad. Clearly had no idea waht to do and thought "this will do". Hated what Anakin was... did he really need to be so whingey? Really?
The film has some moments. I quite like the ferocity of the asteroid sequence, and the occassional moment in the end battle is quite good. I also like Obi-Wan jumping out the window to hang off that probe flying through the city streets... good bit of music too... but the whole thing was just to get to fill the hole that was Ep2 in Lucas' head. He had the story for Ep3 for a long time... and Ep1 seemed pretty thoguht out. But of course he had to do a trilogy didn't he. That's what he'd promised without knowing how the story would develop between finding Anakin as a young boy and him turning to the dark side. It's a shame he didn't take any advice on the stroy let alone the script. Bad, bad, bad.
Then came Episode 3...
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 09:59
Good things about Ep1
1. Darth Maul
2. The choreography of the light sabre duels. Leave Eps IV to VI in the dust.
3. The pacing of the movie. From the opening scenes onwards its pretty relentless and edited incredibly tightly.
4. Liam Neeson. Great in a thankless role.
5. Seeing Jedis at the height of their powers.
1. The back story. Trade wars? Midichlorians? Political infighting? Bobbins...
2. Pointlessly rehashing old ideas. Why go back to Tatooine? Why have Liam Neeson redo Obi Wan, right down to popping his clogs? Fresh ideas were what were needed, not Star Wars greatest hits.
3. Jar Jar & and all his Gungian mates.
4. Introducing Anakin as a child (plus the actor chosen to play him) and then having him be a brilliant pilot aged eight. Bobbins.
5. The grand finale. The Gungian vs Robot land battle was a case of too much CGI whilst the space battle was just too perfunctory (and has close to the worst moment of the movie when Anakin 'accidentally' saves the day). Lucas should have had one or the other, not both. As a result the film has to follow four events simultaneously (land battle, space battle, Jedi duel, fight in the Palace), meaning none are covered satisfactorily.
6. The script.
I could go on but that pretty much the pick of the bunch. On balance I think the bad outweigh the good when it comes to Ep1.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:10
As far as I'm concerned... Episode 3 kicked ass!
After the dross that was Ep2, Ep3 stepped it up a gear and became Star Wars again after its Ep2 hiatus... that opening was and is great... spectacularly grande! After that horrible opening in the clouds of Ep2, we back to traditional spaceships in space stuff... and woah did we get spaceships in space!
There's a bit of a lull following this, where it heads towards Ep2 territory... poo script and acting, and so expositionary. Bah! But once Obi-Wan begins battling Grevious... it picks up the pace and rarely lets up. In my opinion, it reaches Empire Strikes Back levels of excitment and tension in the last 30 or 40 minutes and I loved it for that! Excluding Vader's "Noooooooooo!!!!!" (simply the worst thing in the entire saga!) it really holds up against the original trilogy.
And just the score... I remember listening to the chorus theme from Ep1 (Duel Of The Fates?) a lot.. it was so different from the classic SW themes, but it hit the right feeling, and Ir emember seeing a documentary on Ep1 with Williams discussing the theme with Lucas and saying how it will fit into Ep3 which intrigued me a lot at the time... and how! The fallen version of the theme.. as though voices crying out in pain at Anakin turning to the dark side... probably the most powerful piece of music in the SW saga (bar the grandeur of the titles music!)... fantastic!
And as a side note and kinda off subject... seeing ROTJ at the cinema in 1997 made the ending of that film so much more powerful than I had ever felt. And seeing it big after seeing the prequels betters the film... Vader finding his 'good' again, and the poignance of the funeral pyre... a jedi's funeral.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:11
What did Lucas get right? Nothing. You can basically watch the film and virtually every scene every shot could have been done better. Bad line readings. Sterile sets with flat lighting. Bad actor choices. Continuity (Ewan Mcgregor getting fatter / thinner every so often) and the continuity of the Star Wars universe being ignored even as they set things up from scene to scene (why does Boss Nass look nothing like the other Gungans? why is Yoda so fat?) and so its goes on. The only good thing to come out of the whole mess was the technology developed in terms of virtual sets and CGI that has allowed better film makers to make far superior films (such as The Lord of the Rings ....)
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:19
I think one of the worst mistakes with Episode One was Lucas' attitude towards the violence and war. In the original trilogy there was gravitas to every death, from major characters like Vader to even minor characters like Porkins or the Ewoks, and every battle scene felt dangerous and scary like war should. It felt like you were actually watching a war. In Episode One that goes out of the window. The grandiose battle against the droid army turns into a extravagant Three Stooges sketch courtesy of Jar Jar Jeffing Binks. And the dogfight turns into some rollercoaster ride/video game hybrid with young Twatakin shouting shit like "yippee" and "that'll be a good trick." It's not a circus it's fucking theatre of combat you stupid little shit.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:31
It just sucked, really really sucked. I don't know why people have to show a back story all the time, it ruins the mystery surrounding the character, expaples:
1 Indy- young Indianna Jone Chronicles (ok the bit at the beginning of Crusade was the best bit of the film)
2 Star Wars old - Starwars new (we always wonder about Darth but leave it)
3 Silence of the Lambs- no no no no!
4 Pitch Black- Cronnicles crap (geat character, ruined by other films)
5 X men - Wolverine (love him but film sucked, the claws in the bathroom soooo fake)
Hollywood is ruining so many great characters by removing the, mystery and in alot of cases the tension. we all know Anikan becomes Vader, We all know Sabertooth will live, etc etc.
Star Trek now thats the way to do it blow the S**t outta vulcan! Pike was amazing as Kirk!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:44
The harshest critics were fans like myself. Sure, after all the years of waiting, we felt we were due something earth-shattering, and instead we got a film that was just good. Yes, you read correctly, good.
Let's look at criticisms. Jake Lloyd wasn't a good actor. Neither was Mark Hamill in Episode 4.
Story rambled a bit. Who the hell actually knew about the force the first time they watched Episode 4?
JarJar Binks. It's almost as if Lucas was anticipating that KIDS may go to see the movie. Not 30 year old fanboys like myself.
I enjoy this film. I think the space battle scene at the end was superb. I still get goose bumps when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan face off against Darth Maul and the Duel of The Fates music starts playing.
The podrace scene is in the top ten chase scenes in movies ever!
Just try and view it objectively. An open mind will increase your viewing enjoyment 100%.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:57
I remember when I saw this at the cinema. I took a friend of mine with me to see it. She wasn't big on Star Wars but was nice to accompany me.
When I first heard that Mr Lucas was going to bring out the prequels, I was ecstatic. I thought 'at last, finally we will see how Darth Vader came about. At the same time we will find out what Obi Wan was like in his younger days, were both Chewbacca and Han Solo causing trouble back then?' so many questions asked but only a few answered.
Watching The Phantom Menace, I enjoyed every moment of it. From when we first see C-3P0 (in all his naked circuitry glory), to the amazing double-ended lightsabre.
The pod race was slightly overboard but it provided a bit more entertainment than I was expecting. Overall, it started off the prequels brilliantly. 10yrs later, I know I will enjoy it even more. In fact seeing as I have a day off tomorrow, I will watch it tonight to mark its 10th Anniversary.
So yeah, I loved the movie as I did the others, but of course the originals will forever be the classics we all know and love.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:09
Lets face it, Die Hard's much better!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:10
As everyone is saying the lightsaber duel at the end was amazing. The best of the saga. Darth Maul was an excellent character and he was a Dark Lord of the Sith - he was even more frightening than Vader (but in a totally different way!). Other than that it was a poor film. Maybe it was the hype and the waiting.
But there were so many crimes
- having anakin's origin being explained as a virgence in the force,
- a clunky script (without actors with the panache of Harrison Ford to carry it off)
- a film without the correct pacing (it sort of spewed itself at you)
I actually went to the states to watch the movie when it first came out since I was so excited. What a supreme disappointment in the end. I did get to see the Matrix on the same trip and I was blown away. Pity about Reloaded and Revolutions - Matrix should have been the Star Wars of this generation but they, also, made a mess of it.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:12
having grown up with the holy trilogy, watching the prequels felt like getting my childhood raped.
the end lightsabre fight is brilliant, but seriously, thats about as much comfort as being given spit in a desert.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:18
John William's Dual of Fates music for the final Maul/Kenobi/Qui Gon battle was superb. When the doors slide open and Maul reveals the double light sabre, still makes me shiver.
The Gungan/Robot army battle would have been better if they had cut out the comedy.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:26
The city of Theed was stunning, as were the bright landscapes of Tatooine.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:27
Any scene with Ian Mcdiarmid was sublime. At the end of the Phantom Menace when Windu asks who was destroyed "the master or the apprentice?" and the camera pans to Palpatine, ooh it sent shivers down my spine when i watched it aged 10 and still does now ten years on. It seems interesting that many of the people who hate the new films are those who grew up with the originals. Talking to the kids i know today who are fans of star wars actually prefer the prequels. Personally I feel all six have their good and bad points and could easily watch any of them.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:38
I'm suprised that everyone is harping on about the saber duel between Darth Morph (sorry, sorry thats what my son calls him!) and the two Jedi's at the end.
If you look closly they do very few moves and those moves are reapeated from various differant angles and repeated to make the scene appear longer...don't believe me? go and look again and look carefully a few times!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:41
1. Qui Gon Jinn
2. Darth Maul
3. 3-way lightsabre battle
4. Duel of the Fates and a few others from the score.
6. The Pod Race
7. The locations/sets
8. Mace Windu
1. Annikin is WAY too young. Should have been at least 14/15.
2. Jar Jar/the Gungans
3. Killing Qui Gon - he should have remained a central charater until Ep. 3.
4. No "Han Solo" character to bring some personality (and a bit of cynicism) to the story.
6. The "Trade Federation" (yawn)
7. The script
8. Vader building 3PO.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:59
Yeah yeah. 3 way lightsabre fight aside, it's still al bollocks.
Pod race = Days of Thunder with special effects.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 12:02
Some prequel haters do come across like possessive ‘lovers’. OK - the script and prep time for actors wasn't as strong as needed, but TPM was great for me. The Prequels are true serialised cinema. Lucas calls them visual poems. The prime of the Jedi, the discovery of a young powerful boy, the beginning of the fall of the republic (very much like the film ‘Fall of the Roman Empire(who'da thought that it was Luke & Leia's mother that helped Palpatine take the first steps). This is still Star Wars! Space Fantasy opera and morality tales. The suffering of the people at the hands of the politicians, the religious order loosing touch with the people, and talented children being born into difficult lives. This all addresses all of it. Even Anakin in Episode 2 & 3 is a modern character. If Luke was on the hero’s journey, Anakin’s was the tragedy. He tried to control life and his environment to stop his pain, and prevent his fears. These are all timeless subjects. Even if you didn't like the Prequels, they stayed true to the soul of Star Wars. The new Trek film is a 'sexier' film. But was it was missing (as the reviewer said) GREY MATTER and it did not take us where we have never gone before, though it is a great character piece, the new Trek was missing one of the most important ingredients for a Trek story – the big concept/idea. However, Trek’s good points helped me to forgive the plot holes! But does this mean that as long as a sci-fi is fast, intense, sexy and entertaining enough, we can forget about the concept, story, plot, themes and ideas? Lucas is a slave to all those things. The main difference – for me – between the prequels and originals is that these films cannot be enjoyed as pure entertainment only. The originals could be viewed on a superficial level as well as a deep one and be thoroughly enjoyed. Episode 1, 2 and 3 far less so. And there was no need for a Han Solo character in the prequels, because he turns up in Episode 4. The prequels are meant to work
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 12:34
Darth Maul was cool and John Williams music was as majestic as ever.....
All the light saber stuff and in hindsight - the actual title of the thing....
"The Phantom Menace".......very retro, very old school.
Can't fault any of the actors. If the first Star wars prequel had any obvious shortcomings they can be summed up in two words...............
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 12:35
The music in all 3 is brilliant, and although they do reach critical mass, the CGI was never subpar, it did lead the way despite everything.
I like Episode 3 alot, and there are things I enjoy about the other two. Mainly the action, like the pod race and the battle at the climax of episode 2 (even thou we only see a minute part of the clone wars, for some reason). Episode 3 fees very rushed, but overall it's a vey good film imo, and I think even the hammyest of actors were doing their absolute best with a duff script in all 3.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 13:13
"And there was no need for a Han Solo character in the prequels, because he turns up in Episode 4."
So we have to sit through 3 films with a main cast that might as well have been CGI until we get a character with a bit of life?
A Han Solo-type Jedi with a bit of cynicism, a rogue-ish quality but was essentially good could have provided a good foil to Obi-Wan in influencing Annikin and would also have been really fun to watch. Qui Gon should have been written as that type and been there right until Ep. 3.
But Lucas was generally too interested in getting his story out that he was with creating interesting characters, which is to the detriment of the film. Empire is the best of the bunch becuase it has the perfect balance between the two.
Bob Dylan is very much like Lucas - a genius storyteller and lyricist but his songs are at their best when sung by other people. Just as Lucas's best films are directed by Steven Spielberg and Irvin Kershner.
(Most of) the Clone Wars cartoons have the sort of vibe that should have been used in the prequels.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 13:16
I don't think I have ever been as disappointed leaving the cinema, as I was when I saw The Phantom Menace. Kind of reminds me of Eminem's new Album.
Both Lucas, and Em suffer from the safe thing. They both don't live in the real world. They live in bubbles, and their work shows it.
Where Eminem once was always in trouble, rapping about his fucked up life, now he raps about the prescription drugs he takes, and the bubble he lives in. Its boring, and out of touch.
Same as Lucas. Phantom of Menace didn't connect with anyone I know, as his earlier work did. It was detached, cold, vacant, and sterile.
IN their own ways, their work is just like Elvis, just before he died. Fat, bloated, completely reliant on other people, and unable to relate to the real world whatsoever.
We all remember the youthful Elvis. And in the same manner, I'd like to remember Lucas, and Em, i their prime as well.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 13:37
OK, I may be murdered in my sleep for this statement, but I do have to say at least one thing in defense of the prequels. Everyone keeps saying that they consist of unadulterated cheese. But have any of you actually WATCHED to OT lately? PURE CHEESE! They are my favorite movies ever, they actually helped shape the person I am today, but c'mon! They would kill the lactose intolerant. They are wonderful, epic, gorgeous to watch, and cheesy as hell. Give the prequels a little slack, folks.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 13:39
I have mixed feelings about the prequels. For me it seems like George Lucas has lost his connection with his fanbase and his own source material. ( Indiana Jones being the latest victim of the unwise, commercial driven choices of the big beard) The infantile humor of Jar jar, the laughable droid army and the wooden perfomance of young Anakin are still annoying to me. However, Darth maul, Liam Neeson, The lightsabre Duel and the podrace were excelent. Episode II was a bit better, more adult. Even though I still cringe, everytime Anakin opens his mouth to deliver the unspeakable lines George wrote. But besides that Ep. II had some great setpieces, action sequences, sound design and effects. It's spectaculair, cool in some places ( let's forget the entire romance subplot shall we?) and it ended with a bang ( Yoda fighting like a futuristic shaolin Monk was just cool.) episode III saved the trilogy for me. I see it as one of the best Star Wars movies ever. From the epic opening shot of the spacewar, the bombastic soundtrack, the dark tone, The great, great acting of Ian Mc Diarmid, the showdown between Yoda and the Emperor, Order 66 and the slaughter of the Jedi, hell, even the humor was funny in this one. Too bad about the over dramatic NOOOOOOOO, which degrades darth Vader a bit and the underwhelming duel between Anakin and Obi Wan. ( it was too long, too boring and jumping atop of the floating Lava gliders was just silly.) Special compliments for Ewan Mc Gregor who made Obi Wan a true legendary character.
Let's hope Mr. Lucas snaps out of his shallow, commercial thinking nightmare and starts making movie magic again. Let's cross our fingers for the next Indiana Jones.
Hobin Wan Kenobi
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 13:44
ALthough they may not be adored in the same light as the originals the prequels were (for me) very good, I tend to look past the Jar-Jar type of stuff and to a degree any kiddy stuff in the original trilogy got the same treatment from me.
Who wouldn't want to get to see the Jedi in a time when they thrived and the backstory of some of the best movie characters ever, Phantom Menace may have been dissapointing in bits but the lightsaber duels at the end more than makes up for it, also sets up the next films very nicely.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 14:27
The whole Jar Jar thing aside, the film contains a great nostalgic enjoyment for those of us who were at an age when a "glorified toy advert" was exactly what we wanted. The fact that I demanded, and received (how spoiled!), those toys following the film probably indicates just how young I was when the film was released (11). But even for a kid, Jar Jar was a douche. So there is no escaping that one. But then, the ewoks were also shit. So I believe that maybe the OT isn't quite as untouchable as some people make it out to be.
I'd say this film is free and fun, compared to the Dawson's Creek second film and the Last Days of Anakin Skywalker third. There seems to be more colour, more excitement and more subconscious racism, which is always a plus. Ultimately, the film was massive, probably the most anticipated movie ever released. And I'm glad and proud to have been at a midnight screening with a lightsaber in hand. I still watch the film with fondness and enjoy drunken Jar Jar quotes with my mates. The fact is that this film was monumental and still resonates throughout popular culture. Darth Maul is the ultimate badass (who gets ever more badass with his robot chicken legs) while Palpatine's sneering evil is even more subtle in this film, so further kudos to Ian McDiarmid.
I'd say it's about time we all just took this film for what it is: a commercial to make George Lucas' kids even fatter. And stop whining about midichlorians!!!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 14:50
Like other commenters here, I often try to look back on Episode 1 with some fondness. The depressing thing is, every time I actually watch it is worse than I remembered. The main problem, I'd say, is the charisma vaccum of the good guys (the jedi are po-faced dullards; compare to Leia or Han Solo), and the absense of bad guys. Maul is cool, but he can't carry the movie, and Ian McDiarmid is woefully underused (why disguise him as Sidious - we know he's really the Emperor!). Same goes for Episode II and parts of Episode III.
What's good about Episode One? Those two action scenes: the podrace (like the original films, everything looks 'used'), and Obi Wan vs. Maul (although I don't know how anyone can think that it's a patch on Luke vs Vader in Empire). But even most of the action scenes fall flat: the early scenes of the Jedi chopping up imaginary robots, the palace shoot-out, or the space battle.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 14:52
eres my ten cents
I liked The Phantom Menace - but was very disappointed at the same time (lets be honest - this is how we all feel about it).
My overall feeling is that it just lacked a bit of fun. If Lucas had captured that same sense of fun that A New Hope had (think Han and Luke running around the DeathStar) I would have forgiven it for many things (even Jar Jar). But alas he wanted to tell his story and forgot about us.
Anakin should have been the same age as Luke, as it makes their stories parallel better and (despite whatever Lucas says) there is no need for a deep psychological basis for Anakins eventual descent.
Also, apart from the jedi fight, the final act is quite slow and lacks momentum (Padme and her men basically go for a stroll around the palace).
Also, where was the sense of urgency in the whole thing? In a New Hope they had to stop the death star or the rebellion would be crushed, in Jedi there was a final attack on the death star. But in TMP they had to blow up a ship, so that a bunch of Jar Jars could win a battle (which was only a distraction anyway). sigh.
Now, let me be controversial here. Clones was for me the best prequel. It had, by far, the worst acting - period! But from the Jango fight onwards i found something that TMP lacked. Fun. I left the cinema feeling that i had seen a Star Wars film. Yes there were problems (Anakin wasn't allowed to be his own character in the same way that luke was), and i both loved and hated the jumping-frog Yoda fight, but i watch Star Wars to be entertained, and entertained i was.
Finally, for me Revenge of the Sith was the worst movie. By far. First off, Lee was such a perfect choice as Dooku it was a shame to lose him so quick without realizing a bit more of the characters potential. As to how Anakin fell - it happened far too easy. And Padme - even Kerry Katona can get over a break-up without dying! Weak. But my main problem was again - where was the fun?
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 14:58
TPM is proof that sometimes you CAN polish a turd. Thats what is is..a big, waxed, shined up turd. I havnt read all of the posts but many people list the things the movie got right as being the Special effects, cinematography, action scenes etc..and they are right, it was spectacular to look at. But so what? If the acting, script and "plot" are as abysmal as they were then what the fuck does it matter if Darth Maul does a few back flips? If i dont give a damn about any of the characters then how can anyone say the movie is a success on any level?
You can prob see it glisten and shine from tatooine!..but a turd it remains.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 16:44
'Star Wars' without Han Solo and Chewbacca can be very dull and unworkable, as 'TPM' proves beyond any shadow of a doubt.
'Fatman's Crevice' still sucks the big one a decade on - but the pod race is a lot of fun. Half of 'Attack of the Clowns' works really well - but the APPALLING dialogue and lack of ANY chemistry between Christensen and Portman WHAT-SO-EVER totally kills Episode 2!
But... After 'Empire', 'Revenge of the Sith' is possibly the second-best 'Star Wars' movie ever made! It has a good story, perfect pacing, reasonalbe acting, great effects and a sound-track to die for!
And - let's be honest here - 'Sith' is the prequel that all the true 'Star Wars' fans had been waiting for all along, and Lucas largely managed to deliver the goods. In fact, if he had just made 'Clones' and 'Sith', and spent more time polishing those scripts, the 'Star Wars' saga would have been all the richer for it!
So, in my opinion, the prequels were one-and-a-half films of shite and one-and-a-half films of genius. :-)
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 17:11
They were all awful. None more so than the terrible Phantom Menace.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 18:56
Well, I remember watching Phantom Menace and enjoying it immensly but also thinking that maybe, just maybe it wasn't made for me... You see, I also remember the day in the mid 70s when dear old dad took his only son (a 7 year old - the ultimate age to be introduced to the saga) to see A New Hope. After that, all I wanted was to BE Han Solo! Nothing else came close. The film is legendary and will always be up there as one of the true greats. And then with Phantom Menace I was an adult and I saw for the first time why my old man didn't quite get New Hope... It wasn't for him. PM was for kids (a bit too much, granted) and NOT FOR AGED FAN BOYS. People moaned and griped and laughed and booed but we all still went to see it didn't we.
The great stuff:
John Williams - the best cinematic composer of all time. I defy anyone to come up with an equal for sheer orchestral magic.
Darth Maul - for the tatts, the sabre and the face that Peter Whatsisface from Shaun of the Dead dubbed his voice.
Ewan for doing quite well as a young Sir Alec.
Neeson for grappling with the horrible dialogue.
And, my personal fave - the teaser poster of lil Anakin with Darth Vader's shadow on the wall behind him.
Trying to tell us that trade embargoes are interesting.
Those shit robots who said roger roger all the time.
Killing Darth Maul off.
And just not being good enough to come up to the incredibly high bar set long long ago in a decade far, far away...
So that's it.
It all got far too bogged down in wretched CGI in 2 and 3 so at least we were saved from the BIG COWS IN THE SOUND OF MUSIC MEADOW debacle in PM - we got that drivel in AotC.
You know what I'd love Lucas to do?
Remake Ep1 without Jar Jar and all the pointless fannying about with that Brian Blessed slug thing.
Make it like Ep4, y'know - FUN!
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 19:20
My main issue with TPM is that it's flaws complemented everything that had become bad about blockbuster cinema by the late 90s.
Great set pieces? Check.
Awesome special effects? Check.
Any attempt to actually 'ground' this world (whether it be the performances or script) and make it truly believable? Nope.
The original trilogy stayed fresh in my mind (yes even ROTJ) because there was a genuine 'human' element that stopped the characters and situation from being complete ridicolous. Whether that be Harrison Ford's twinkly Han Solo or Carrie Fisher's hard to love Leia, the shocking twist in TESB or the emotionally charged final battle between Luke and Vader in ROTJ here were a series of films that were informed by the best aspects of classic popular cinema. From Douglas Fairbanks to Kurosowa.
And yet TPM fit perfectly in the era of Batman And Robin, the era of Twister, where selling merchandise and debuting groundbreaking special effects took precedence over the task of actually making a movie that didn't date even though the expensive FX would one day. It's as if Lucas allowed himself to be informed by the superficial changes in the arena he, and Spielberg, created rather than the substantial influences that gave us this world originally over 30 years ago.
I'm not interested in the LOTR vs SW game but yet the best thing about Jackson's trilogy is that it's informed by the best of popular cinema yesteryear in the way Lucas was in his heyday.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 20:15
The image of Darth Maul igniting his double edged lightsabre whilst Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan looked on has to be my favourite image from all of the prequels. Unfortunately, there weren't enough of these moments.
Yeah it had it's flaws and yes in my opinion Anakin was too young in Menace, but it was a good film. And let's face it, how can you top the original trilogy, it was never going to happen.
Thank god The Matrix saved the summer.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 20:34
Episode 3 nearly managed to ruin the whole damn lot: Anakin was meant to be seduced by the dark side, not go sniffling into just to save his pandabear. Where was the lust??
Other than that, and this really bothered me for ages, who the hell teaches Luke to communicate with Obi-Wan when he himself had to learn the trick from Yoda?
Yeah you're right, it still really bothers me.
I liked how Jar-Jar brought about the Empire, that was a neat trick.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 21:56
Episode I is criminally underrated in my opinion.
It has pretty much everything you could ask for from a modern times Star Wars film.
Great protagonists (the duo of McGregor and Neeson is one of the best double-acts in space times), great villain, great action sequences and an epic score.
Also, some of those set-pieces are some of the best in the series. The pod-race is as great as the trench run in a New Hope, and the three-way battle finale is an incredible ending to the film.
Now I don't care how annoying Jar Jar Binks was. I think that criticism of the film is overstated. He alone cannot detract away from what is a worthy Star Wars film, one which is the 3rd best in the series (behind ESB and RotJ).
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 22:16
One more thing...as much as I loved Ep.I, I thought Ep.II and III were huge let-downs.
Ep.II with the strangely weedy and camp Anakin played by Christensen was bloody poor. Christensen is possibly the worst thing about the prequels because here you have a young actor that cannot act trying to carry the film.
You never feel any of his turmoil or inner-conflict. At all.
Ep.III was just a complete mess. The worst of the whole series.
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 23:02
dreadful...but pales into insignificance against the absolute drivel that was Episode II.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 00:14
There is a lot to like in [i]Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace[/i].
And no, Jar Jar Binks is not that bad. In fact, the last time I saw the film he actually made me laugh.
What the film got wrong was its attempts to balance too many stories: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's adventure; Padmé's adventure; Anakin's adventure. In theory, this can be seen to work as a strength. In reality, it dilutes the theme of the film and reduces the focus of the narrative. Nothing really pays off in a satisfactory way because the audience isn't a singular thread to hold on to. When it comes to classical fairytale storytelling, you can't do it [i]American Graffiti[/i] style. When Anakin Skywalker - the saga's protagonist - does not appear until the second act of the film, you know something isn't right.
On the other hand, it does make for a very interestingly structured plot. There is an optimism and energy about [i]The Phantom Menace[/i] that's hard to ignore, and the scattergun structure of the screenplay seems to reflect those qualities as much as the film's visual aesthetic. The podrace sequence is enthralling and very well designed. The climactic lightsaber duel is both visually stirring and emotionally compelling. And there is a genuine sense of pathos and the great weight of destiny accompanying Anaking tearing himself away from his mother's warmth and hurtles into the icy cold of space.
So yes, some bad, some good. It's a mixed bag. But it's certainly great to watch.
And I agree with Ian that it's a world you can't help but be drawn into. You want to be on Tatooine with the heroes. You want to run around the rolling hills of Naboo. And you want to be Anakin in that pod as he shoots thrillingly through lethal crevices at the speed of sound.
There are far worse ways to spend your Sunday afternoon than with a box of snacks and a DVD of [i]The Phantom Menace[/i].
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 09:14
@ petsound1966, Re. Phantom Menace:
'dreadful...but pales into insignificance against the absolute drivel that was Episode II.'
Absolutely spot on, could not have summed it up better. Episode II (AOTC) is so bad it actually makes TPM looks better. And Revenge of the Sith, although good in most parts, is nothing more than some sort of redemption for an overall poor prequel trilogy.
LOTR: not as good as the Original Trilogy (IV, V, VI).
LOTR: better than Prequel Trilogy (I, II, III).
LOTR: better than overall Star Wars saga (I, II, III, IV, V, VI).
Many thx George for screwing it up, and watch the new Star Trek on how to make a superb modern sci-fi prequel that does not alienate the original material.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 09:31
two words: Ewan Mcregor
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 10:11
Let's face it Jar Jar did make the Ewoks look good, thereby inadvertantly making the OT even better. PT talk in our house is offically banned as no one wants that dirty tainted memory, much like Star Trek I want to remember the 2 good films and forget anything else ever happened...
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 12:09
Funny, how a ten year old movie can still evoke so much discussion. I guess George Lucas has done something right. I must agree with some of the other comments that there are some spine chilling shots in The Phantom Menace. As was said before, the double lightsabre reveal with the incredible duel of fates soundtrack, scoring the moment, is still giving me goosebumbs. Also, the shot with Darth Maul on Tatooine, standing straight up. Lightsabre in hand, shot from behind while the jedi flee in their silver starship is epic( darn, Why didn't that fight in the desert between Darth and Quai Gonn last any longer?)
George Lucas does have the potential make a great movie. Still, if I look at my spare room stuffed with Phantom Menace stuff, I think he really should have named the movie : The Merchandise Menace.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 12:56
For me, the missing element for the prequel films was the lack of a "family" element. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids were bonded by friendship (and blood in the twins' case) and what affected one affected the others in some way or other. There's none of that closeness between the central characters in the prequels. Anakin reckons he loves Obi Wan like a father, but that's while he's ranting that Obi Wan is holding him back. And what the hell was with Padme's confession of love for Anakin. Did Lucas think getting Portman to whisper it would make it sound more genuine? Was she worried the droid guards would laugh?
Allow me to make a few pedantic comments: the droid battleships have their main reactors at the back of their landing bays? Shifting a couple of wires around will completely regenerate a cruiser's deflectors? A planetary government has a 15 year old girl as it's head of state??? And what was with the battle droid with a stutter... "oh, wait, er, that does not compute, er, you're under arrest!" I appreciate that Darth Maul had to die in order to make way for the more strategically minded character of Darth Tyranus, but since the introduction of Asajj Ventriss the story has got around the Two Sith Only rule and it's a shame they couldn't do the same for Maul.
There is so much about the production that was got right, but the dreadful script and direction completely let down Eps 1 and 2. Episode 3 was a lot better; still missing the chemistry between it's protagonists but at least you got the impression they liked each other!
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 13:14
In hindsight it really is the weakest of all 6 films. Slow, plodding and has some downright unforgiveable continuity errors (the way that Kitster and Wald miss high-fiving after Anakin wins the pod race, the fact that most of the cast were missing for the added scene where Palpatine tells Anakin that he will "watch his career with great interest" and so we have look-alikes instead of Sam Jackson, when Natalie Portman mouths some of Liam Neesons dialogue by accident) for someone who took so long to make a movie as Lucas did for TPM, he was sure sloppy. But what it gave us at the time was an unrepeatable excitement of what could be. It was a phenomenon, which of course by it's very nature cannot be repeated, and despite it's short comings, you could actually go to a local cinema and actually watch a new Star Wars film for the first time since 1983. Which I did. 14 times :-)
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 13:30
Pod Race! I was so blown away by that sequence when it came out. And I played the N64 game to death. Imagine my satisfaction when I got the DVD and saw that the Pod Race was extended by a few shots. Bliss.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 13:44
I disagree what you say about Christensen being a bad actor. If you've seen Shattered Glass, I'm sure you'd see why.
On the subject of the prequels, as much as I like them (as a Star Wars fan), I just wish Lucas had allowed someone else to direct the films.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 14:00
When it came out i was bout must of been bout 9 and it was the most amazing film i had seen, im of the younger generation and to say they were not as good as the originals is stupid. This music was better the effects were better and Obi wan and Darth maul fight scene wasn't rigid like the original Obi and Darth Vader fight in New Hope.
I enjoy them all but my favourtie character has always been Qui Qon he summed up the movie, a powerful old tragic fight. As for Jar Jar my younger sister got the bloody toy and it was soooo annoying!
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 16:38
The prequels mean nothing to me, SW's stopped at ROTJ, I grew up and Star Wars didnt :( Far to many continuity mistakes between the OT and the Prequels, that were explained away with the wave of a very arrogant hand. There are some things to enjoy in them, it got my nephews into the whole saga (they love looking at my Vintage toy collection), but the films themselves are tripe.
Oh and who said Ewan became his Obi-wan after ROTS! WTF are you on (sorry) there is and only ever will be 1 Obi-wan Kenobi and it defo isn't fooking Ewan McGregor ;)
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 20:04
Seem I have to add a bit too, this surely will soon be the most posts on a site ever! :)
The prequels were unforunately mind blowingly average films, for every incredible momnent (Ep 3 Final Duel) there was a complete bollock drop (Jar Jar). These are just two examples, but I'm sure we could go on for hours, it would be a new game to play whilst drunk.
While Ewan McGregor was pretty good as Obi Wan, his performance was, to be fair, more of an impression of a great actor!
Liam Neeson and Chrostopher Lee were underused, the best of a bad bunch.
The performances of Portman, Christiansen, Jackson, McDiarmid were nearly woeful enough to make Yoda the most believable character in it.
There was a shocking series of scripts, bad-pacing and too many pointless "sell more merchandise" characters.
The biggest crime of all, the end of Episode 1, breaking up the momentous Lightsaber Duel with, the Naboo palace fight, the Outer Space Pod Race rubbish and the utter cock Gungan vs Droid Army fight. 4 denouements, all happening at the same time. I was confused, never mind the kids this film was aimed at, and it detracted from each to have them broken up so.
But I get it, it WAS aimed at kids, the kids we were 30 years ago.
I remember what it was like the first time I saw Star Wars and I saw on kids faces in the cinema foyer when I came out of this showing and that's why I love the prequels. They were made for kids, not the 30-40 year old movie cynics we've become.
And for me, best prequel moment?
The teaser poster: Kid in the desert, casting the shadow of Vader.
One of the best movie posters I have ever seen, simple and so effective.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 21:31
"I don't care what universe you're from, that's gotta hurt!" Well I'm from the only universe I currently know about, and it definitely hurt!
Did anyone else play the "Which-direction-of-the-screen-is-the-next-scene-going-to roll-in-from-game?" um... maybe that was just me... on my own.
Good - The double ended lightsaber and the Sith who carried it
Bad - "Roger roger" and a trade dispute I didn't care about or try to understand.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 21:42
im 15 now which means i was only 5 when i saw the film (god i feel so old now) and i loved it i loved jar jar and all the action. but then i saw it about 2 weeks ago for the first time in about 7 years and only realised how bad it was. but despite ruining the franchise it did have some good moments like the lightsaber fights and the space battle and the fact that its probably the only one of the new trilogy that isnt entirely comprised of digital
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 21:52
As a huge star wars fanboy (movies, books and lego) I dont see what everyones problem with PM is.
I liked it, alot.
Classic star wars adventures have the following ingredients:-
Young female princess type fighting against a large tyrannical organisation.
A young hero in the making:- check
A mystical old guy:-check
A kick ass baddie:- check
Super cool chase and fight scenes:-check
a fun sidekick relationship:-check
So what the script wasnt ideal, but in fairness the first time you see a new hope, you dont have a clue what they hell anyone's talking about anyway.
So there was a bit of bad judgement in the one or two characters, but you have to remember a new hope was billed as a family adventure, and it didnt feel right to have 3po and r2 be the comedy hinge this time, so george tried somethine else, that didnt work.
As for the cast, everyone seems to miss out on how good Portman was in this film. She may have had one or two lapses in the following 2flicks, but in pm she was solid all the way through, i also really liked the idea that Leias mum was also a planetery princess/queen type.
As for the lack of a han solo character, this was about setting up an epic saga, developing the key character that would be present in all six films. There wasnt room for a 'rouge come good' space pirate,and if there was one it would be forced and would needlessly sidetrack the story.
This post is getting on a bit, so il finish up.
In my opinion TPM though not perfect in anyway, had more than enough goodness to be classified as a star wars movie, and i thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thats my 2 credits.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 22:08
the prequels are fuckin great,i think all should go back and look again,remember that the new films where aimed at a nu generation of kids,not us old men,the originals look quite dated to todays kids
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 22:15
I like Episode I. Not perfect by any means (fairly dull plot, slightly overlong, lacking much in the way of threat) but it's a good, thoroughly entertaining curtain raiser for the series. I even like Jar Jar. Always have, always will. I think that people were disappointed due to the hype, and caught on the one thing which stood out most - Jar Jar - and jumped on the 'Jar Jar sux!' bandwagon... The Empire four star review was spot on, in my opinion, ditto that for Ep II, while Ep III gets five from me.
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 22:33
george lucas lucas should go see star trek and say 'damn i should have done that with the prequels'
star trek was more like the original trilogy: fun, exciting and also had the han solo type in chris pine's kirk
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2009, 23:30
I was 12 years old when Episode I came out. I had been a fan of the SW universe since I was eight, and I had bought several comic books ("Dark Empire" and "Shadows of the Empire") that expanded on the universe. Some of them had interesting texts about the universe, and there was once that talked about "The Clone Wars" and the Mandalorians, the warrior clan Boba Fett belonged to.
The experience of watching the trailer and watching every bit of minor info or sneak peeks about the project will never be duplicated. I was thrilled. We watched the movie on the first day of release. It might be the greatest movie theatre experience. It was incredible.
Now I can see many of its flaws, while back then my vision was clouded by my child-like enthusiasm. I think that besides Jar Jar Binks and the pedestrian plot concerning trade tariffs, it still holds up for me. Liam Neeson's performance (wise, paternal, kind, badass) is one of the best in the series (McDiarmind also foreshadows his awesomeness in the next episodes). The duels are the best in the series, and Darth Maul's death is one of the best ever filmed.
Episode III is the best of the prequels. Episode II suffers from terrible dialogue. But my biggest dissapointment about the whole thing was Lucas's awful rendition of the Clone Wars. The original movies had hyped it so much, and the Expanded Universe's authors as well, that I was pissed off about how they turned out...I was expecting the clones to be the Mandalorians...thousands and thousands of Boba Fetts fighting Jedis. And Boba Fett doesn't look anything like I envisioned...I was expecting Clint Eastwood. IMO, the plot of the Clone Wars should've begun at the end of Ep. I too and Anakin as Vader in the middle of the 3rd.
Regardless of my dissapointment concerning the plots, I still have a special place in my heart for the prequels...even if none of them are "Return of the Jedi".
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 09:49
There's a moment at the start of the duel where Darth Maul, all the while eyeballing his opponents, 'force-throws' something from the floor onto the blast door control panel behind him. The doors open and battle resumes. The sequence can't have been more than 2 seconds. In my excitement I actually stood up in the cinema and had to be dragged back into my seat by my then girlfriend. I was 21.
Let's be honest, as standalone films all three prequels are hugely flawed. But they're still Star Wars, and each one has at least one moment like this which still brings out the kid/geek/Jedi/Sith in me.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 10:57
It's hard not enjoy Star Wars. Especially if, like me, you grew up with the escapism that it afforded you. When the Episode 1 came along it allowed you to relive some of your childhood by taking you back to an alternative reality which was always highly enjoyable. I think that's the reason I loved the prequels so much, even if they were flawed.
Darth Maul was excellent and it was a shame to see him killed off so early but it was fucking ace to see a young Obi Wan finish him off so stylishly. It kind of cemented him as the hardcore Jedi he was always rumoured to be.
Someone mentioned something about slow pace and stodgy dialogue. Hard to argue but I think if you look back at episode 4 then you'll find even more evidence of this and no one ever complained about it then.
Clones was a massive leap forward. The action was fantastic and Yoda showing his guns was fanboy heaven. Plus Natalie Portman's nipples were clearly visible in that white body suit she was wearing, something that episode 3 sorely lacked.
Episode 3 was a real pay off. From the first battle it was just fantastic. In terms of drama it holds the best scene since Luke took Vaders mask off. When Padme arrives on Mustafar to find Anakin has gone loopy, Anakin spots Obi Wan standing on the ship. Just this revelation alone is heart stopping, but the dialogue that follows in this scene is superb and brilliantly acted, particularly Ewan Mcgregor.
Call me crazy but I love the prequels. I love ewoks. I dont hate Jar Jar... I simply love Star Wars.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 11:42
'But my biggest dissapointment about the whole thing was Lucas's awful rendition of the Clone Wars. The original movies had hyped it so much, and the Expanded Universe's authors as well, that I was pissed off about how they turned out...I was expecting the clones to be the Mandalorians...thousands and thousands of Boba Fetts fighting Jedis. '
I agree completely, I thought the Clone Wars was flat, boring and totally uninteresting. In fact, too many of the action sequences in the prequel trilogy were intentional 'mirroring' of the original trilogy. To me, that is just simply lazy filmmaking, unable to come up with inspired & exciting new action pieces. A real shame, because at least good action set pieces would have masked over dull scriptwork and poor acting.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 12:19
Many thanks to whoever suggested watching 'Snatch Wars' on Youtube. I don't think I've laughed my ass off like that since those 'Downfall' subtitle videos.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 14:03
I'm arriving at this party late, so everything's pretty much been said.
The three-way lightsabre duel at the end of TPM was the highpoint of the whole prequel trilogy. Generated high hopes for the Obi Wan/Annakin smackdown at the end of ROTS but Lucas ruined it for me by having them conduct it on little hover-platforms, floating over a lava river (I mean c'mon... why??).
Of the three films in the prequel trilogy, TPM probably feels the most like a Star Wars movie. Thought Ewan McGregor was a great choice for the young Obi Wan but would've liked to have seen him start off a bit more wayward – young and cocksure – with the things he experiences in his story arc over the three movies eventually sobering him up. But hey - the list of 'what could've beens' is endless. And I guess that's the problem with the prequel trilogy – the things they got right are far outweighed by the things they got wrong. But that's my opinion and every Star Wars fan has one (and they'll all be different).
And I just wanted to say at the end (just to upset people, most probably) that I very much enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – and I'm a lifelong Indy fan – so I've not got a downer on all franchise resurrections.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 15:59
Agreed - most has been said.
The hallmark of a great movie (or one I like anyway!) is how many times it can be watched before one picks it up, makes a face and puts it back on the shelf.
Star Wars OT - I have watched so many times since I was about 5 (i'm now 30) maybe 50? 100 times? My face lights up when Han Solo comes on screen, the air gets punched at various points in battle scenes, I hide my face when they are in the squasher thingy, my heart sinks when Han gets carbonised and carried off (put Mr Solo in the boot!) It is truly one of my favourite movies of all time . Yes the cgi is rubbish compared to nowadays but you just can't buy that kind of chemistry, plot and characteristation. As a youngster I wanted to be Leia for so long, I identified with Luke and his dull life - then puberty hit and I enjoyed it all over again with Han Solo the object of my affections this time. Darth was the bestest baddy ever and the musical score rocked. I wanted to be a jedi too but in those movies they didn't have female ones!
Phantom Menance...I've seen about 3 or 4 times. I would only stomach watching it again for Ewan and Liam. Otherwise it grates heavily. I remember how whiny Lil' Ani' was, how wooden the delivery was, the really annoying Watto, Bombad and JarJar, roll my eyes and pick something else.
Its total saving grace was the musical score and lightsabre battles (I could watch that bit a hundred times over!). Other than that it was mediocre. At best. And a real let-down. I blame silly characters, limited scope for the actors to characterise (i know ewan and liam are capable of much better!) and poor script/plot/direction.
Shame on you George! I hope you are taking a long hard look at JJ Abrams and learning some valuable lessons there
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 17:58
I was 8 when the phantom menace came out - i loved jar jar binks, but couldn't understand any of the tax stuff - still don't.
It was ejoyable enough - just after harry potter and lord of the rings, you sort of forget a mildly good film with cool effects.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 18:00
The Phantom Menace is a perfectly serviceable family-friendly adventure movie. It and the other two prequels' principal failure as Star Wars instalments is the mishandling of the Skywalker/Kenobi/Amidala triangle. We get next to no impression of Anakin and Obi-Wan as mentor and pupil and even less of them as friends, so we don't care when they turn on one another. That and the rushed, forced nature of the romance with Padmé means Anakin's fall from grace lacks resonance. In this respect Attack of the Clones is actually the poorest of the three, a film made doubly worse by hinging the plot on a mystery (the sabotage of the Jedi's records and the apparent collusion of one of their order in the creation of an illegal army) that's forgotten in the final reel as the puppet-master makes an all too obvious move and our heroes rush off into battle. The events of Episodes I and II should have been conflated into one screenplay and Qui-Gon Jinn's traits into Kenobi. An episode actually portraying some of the Clone War would have given breathing space for more heroism from Anakin (something else sorely lacking from the existing films), wooing of Padmé and recriminations with Obi-Wan. Nor do all the dangling or contradictory plot points help, the worst for me being that McGregor and Christensen are too young to age into Guinness and Shaw in the time between the two trilogies. The most enjoyment from the prequels comes from Ian McDiarmid's performance. He's superb.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 18:07
For the most part, Episode 1 was great. I enjoyed it when I watched it for the first time at the cinema (I was 20). The only thing I'd change about it is Jar Jar, everything about him was awful and I suppose it was only my ability to tune him out that saved the film.
At least Jar Jar provoked a reaction (albeit the desire to punch him in the face), LotR was just boring which is the cardinal sin of any film. I saw the first two and couldn't face another three hours of watching people walk for the last one.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 18:15
I'd take the Star Wars prequels over Lord of the Rings too. At least they're shorter.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 19:39
The biggest problem I saw with the prequels was that Lucas was concentrating more on cramming as much digital eye candy as he could into them, & not concentrating enough on things like, I don't know.......CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT? I have to admit that the lightsaber duels WERE fantastic.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 20:22
I recently watch all three prequels back to back and as an avid Star Wars fan, I'd have to agree that I would much rather watch a star wars prequal than LOTR, and I actually think the prequels are getting better with age, they each have some stand out moments that still take my breath away; The pod race, the first time Yoda pulls out his lightsabre and The Emperor revealing himself, The fight between Obi-wan and Anakin, you can't deny that there are some excellent moment. Sure the prequels have their dumb moments, the acting isn't great and I think this was a direct response of having so much green screen. The story(s) were still better than alot of the sci-fi crap out there and as we get older and the six films merge together, we may even find ourselves forgiving JaJa.
Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 20:39
I agree id rather watch a Star Wars prequel film than a LOTR film, why? because to watch a LOTR film especially the extended ones u need 4hours spare. The LOTR films just drag on and on. Also Tolkiens world is not as dynamic and colourful as the Star Wars universe. The special effects and the fights scenes in the Star Wars Prequels are superior to anything in LOTR, LOTR main strength is its superior acting.
Regarding Episode 1, i admit i was dissapointed but then 10 years ago people were expecting this film to be the second coming, i was one of those poeple. So the film was gonna dissapoint no matter how good it was.
However Episode 1 was really aimed at a child audience to try and create new younger fans to the saga. Hence the inclusion of characters like jar jar binks, but as it turns out jar jar is the worst character in the whole saga. When he is is conversing with the wise jedi Obi Wan and Qui Gon he just seems out of place, u think how can these wise jedi take such a stupid creature seriously.
Then u have one of the best characters Darth Maul, the scariest villian in the saga, who makes Count Dooku seem like he belongs in an old peoples home, Maul is a force of nature and just gives the impression that he is every Jedi's worst nightmare. The fights scene at the end is the highlight of the film for me but Maul's death seems untimely. The reason he is killed i believe is because he is too good a villian. He is almost better than Vader which the whole saga is based on, so they had no option but to kill him off early.
The other strength of Episode 1 is the production, the film is one of the most beautiful ever made. The scenes in Naboo and Corascant are breathtaking. The film is a visual feast from start to finish.
To summarise this film let down all those thirtysomethings on its release because its a kids film. However its a very well made one.
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 04:42
I feel that what every episode bar episode I had was that they made you want to be a Jedi. Every other episode had scenes with Jedi's doing crazy things that you'd never even imagine doing (and we all do imagine, especially if you've read this many comments). This I personally feel wasn't an aspect that they managed to capture in episode I but they brought it back with, my favorite scene of the prequels, episode II when Anakin kills the bugs (type things) that are going to kill Padmé and then obi wan jumps through the window and grabs the droid with everything that then entails from that ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 10:43
These are things i think it TPM got right:
1) The Duel of Fates, one of if not the BEST piece of Star Wars music ever.
2) Darth Maul was great as was the 'saber fight at the end especially the exceptionally fast part between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul.
3) Ewan McGregor actually seemed to care about acting in this one as a young Alec Guiness styled Obi-Wan. (I think as he is a fan boy of the OT he stopped caring so much after watching this)!
4) Liam Neeson brought much needed gravitas to this movie also.
Things they got wrong however i think are:
1) I think Anakin's story would have been served better had he been older therefore missing a lot of his training mirroring Luke's lack of training later on.
2) Jar Jar Bink's wasn't needed for comedy value as we had Artoo and Threepio again!
3) Not so much in TPM but especially in ROTS they gave the droids stupid dying sounds to make it seem funny, aside from the stormtroopers banging their heads and getting killed by Ewoks did you ever laugh at them dying?
4) This could go on so I will stop there.
I was such a huge fanboy of the OT (and my best mate) we went out drinking after seeing PTM on release day (we were 19) and we were in denial for a good few hours then we really pulled it apart.
Funny enough I still hold the opinion that TPM is the best of the prequels whereas everyone think's i'm nuts as they seem to think that ROTS is! it's bloody awful people! Come on!
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 13:17
When something truly beloved in cinema history returns after not just years but decades away , a bit of Second Coming sydrome is inevitable, as not movie can ever match the anticipation built up over so long. Second Coming syndrome is not unique to Star Wars, it's just that Episode 1 caught it full-blast. Same thing happened with The Godfather Part 3. Same thing happened with Superman Returns. Same thing happened with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. None of these movies can ever hold a candle to their originals, but, frankly, all are okay movies in their own right. And i guarantee you that, as sure as eggs is eggs, the same thing will happen with The Hobbit in '11.....
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 17:20
Wow, the debate truly does rage on, if 145 comments are anything to go by.
I suggest that for this simple fact alone, Ep1 is a good piece of cinema in that it divides opinion so vehemently.
I agree that in some places of the LOTR triliogy, I'd rather be watching a SW prequel, but that means nothing. Every film has a few places that the individual person watching will find slow or boring, thats just human nature. I for one watch the opening sequence of Revenge of The Sith, then skip through the dire middle bit in order to get to the two AMAZING fight sequences at the end. And yeh, ok, it goes a bit down hill again after that...
But, I agree with #12.
Episode 1 was the first Star Wars movie I ever saw all the way through. In fact it may have been the very first movie I remember watching in a cinema, and as a 10 year old, it blew me away. The VHS of it pretty much lived in our machine for about a year!
But now, I'm a 20 something, I can see a whole host of flaws in the acting etc etc, but I dont care, cos it still reminds me of being an excited 10 year old who thought the whole thing amazingly cool, and influenced me to go and watch alll the other Star Wars films, and started me on the road to the level of Geekiness i possess today.
And I don't agree with the John Williams bit. The score for Revenge of The Sith was so much more powerful, because you not only had the 'Duel of the Fates' -esque big pieces, but the level of instensity in the other pieces (Anakin's Betrayal, Anakin's Dark Deeds etc) is just so much more powerful than Duel of the Fates alone, which was the only stand out point in the score for Phantom Menace.
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 18:58
Put into your mind a recent picture of George Lucas.
Is he actually turning into Boss Nass? That baggage under his chin is something else!
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2009, 22:44
This is a terrible movie! I used windows movie maker to edit out Jar Jar and the running time came to about 1 hr 15 mins, and it's not that bad either!
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 00:30
The problem for Ep 1 (and the subsequent movies, the worst by far being Ep 2 by the way!) is that it was always going to be compared to the original trilogy. This is of course ridiculous and unfair. When compared with anything else kicking around at the time, it is hugely superior although by no means perfect. Jar Jar was an understandable miscalculation as I find Threepio no less of an irritation! Artoo is one of the most fantastic comic creations and far makes up for any of the wrong' uns. Neeson lends gravitas which was unsurpassed in the following movies aside from McDiarmid as The Emperor.
As for Ian Freer's comment about taking this movie above any of the LOTR movies, I couldn't agree more. I found the LOTR movies to be lacking in a sense of fun. Aside from Gimli, the script took itself far to seriously, a criticism you could never level at any of the Star Wars movies.
For all its faults, it never lost a sense of what it was which was an amazing and entertaining sci fi movie. An extension to a fantastic world which, due to the lack of novelty, will never be able surprise like it once did. Special effects are standard these days.
One of the main reason's that Star Wars will always be superior to anything else is that this galaxy and all its creatures were Lucas' own creation! LOTR was a film based on somebody else's world, albeit a competent one. That it couldn't live up to the previous films was a foregone conclusion. Times have changed. That it remains superior to any other event movie in this age is undeniable. Don't compare to itself, compare with everything else.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 01:24
Wow, so the LOTR comments are really confusing people by the looks of things. Quite a few comments are dismissing the argument completely, simply on the basis that they disagree with, or rather didn't quite understand, the LOTR comments.
I recognise and accept that Schindler's List is a better, more important, more engaging and more powerful film than Superbad. But I would probably choose to watch Superbad every time. An extreme example to clarify the point, but the intended message is clear - the latter is more fun and enjoyable than the former.
Anyone making stupid dismissive comments like "you lost me at (LOTR comment)", or "shows how Empire's standards have slipped if they believe (LOTR comment)" clearly didn't understand this.
Prequels pish for me, however.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 09:37
I still don't think TPM is as bad as everyone makes out - I went from London to see it in New York (courtesy of a friend I still haven't paid back - sorry Phil!) and, Jake Lloyd, Jar-jar Binks and Midichlorians aside, I thought there was a lot right with it. Obviously Maul and the sabre fights, but I loved the Jedi scenes, thought Neeson and McGregor did a superb job with what they were given and felt it was a good, fun and ominous start to where we all knew we were going. Yes I would have changed stuff - Kenobi should have been a bit more rebellious/rock'n'roll, Anakin should have been either a) older or b) less prominent, Maul could have lived etc, but I certainly didn't hate it leaving the cinema and still don't now.
It was AOTC where it all went to hell in a handbasket, and much as anything short of a miracle could barely have made up for it Ep III was just woeful.
The day Lucas (may he burn in hell) decided to make the prequels without including the Clone Wars he should have contracted a terminal and painful case of midichlorian. Cretin!
They should have set II and III in the wars themselves (take a note from Tartarskovy - if II had covered the ground Lucas left to the original Clone Wars cartoons it all could have ended much better.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 11:21
Personal it feels like Lucas ignored everything in the first three films, I agree with comment the about the prequels never hoping to be like the original but he sure could have tried harder.
Another comment which i disagree with is that the prequels are 100% for kids and that the older fans should relax, but the original trilogy catered for both audiences and still did amazingly well. I even like the original three films more as an adult, so again I think Lucas could have done way better expanding a great fictional universe.
In my mind both Darth Maul (Ep I - TPM) and the Order 66 murders (Ep 2 - ROTS) were the best part of all the prequels and shows how much potential the entire trilogy had. I mean imagine how cool a face off between Dart Maul and a rage fueled Anakin would have been, instead he kills him off in Phantom - missed opportunity my movie fans, missed opportunity.
All hail Darth Maul............
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 12:01
When i first seen this film 10 years ago when i was more or less a child i really enjoyed it with the pod racing and Qui Gon Jin but i think anybody can back me up in saying Jar Jar Binks is the worst and most annoying character of all time!
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 13:20
Heavily flawed, the prequels are, but the saving quality is simply -
You get to see the Jedi(s) when the are as HARD AS FRICKIN' NAILS.
No crumbly thesp (apart from Lee) or asthmatic cyborg (apart from Grevious) - fast moving, high jumping, saber-swinging cool.
God bless Nick Gillard.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 15:59
This was too much a Lucas show. He had so much to risk with the OT that he also involved others (Kasdan, Kirshner, etc.) in the process. He is not the best writer, let alone the best director. He is a fantastic producer, however, and starting and idea and shepherding it through the process of film production is a job perfectly suited for Lucas (examples: Raiders, Empire - counter argument: Howard the Duck).
The main weakness I found on reviewing the DVDs of the NT a while ago is the lack of charisma of both actors who play Vader-to-be. There is a tragedy in this character and it is played & directed like amateur hour. As far as the prequels go, this is Anakin's story. The original movies have always been Luke's story and him finding his place in the universe.
But the main crime of the prequels is that it takes away all the glorious revelations of the OT: Yoda's introduction, "I am your Father", the brother sister relationship between Luke and Leia. All these key elements are nothing more than fodder if the movies are watched in a chronological order.
In hindsight we should question: Was it necessary to make the prequels? Did we, as an audience, gain something out of it that wasn't already - better - handled in the original trilogy? The answer is No.
There was a lot of talent involved in the making of these movies, behind and in front of the cameras. The weakness has been, from the opening scrawl op Phantom Menace right up to Owen & Beru watching the sun set in Sith, the structure. There wasn't just enough interesting story to tell for three movies. No, wait, correct that. There was. But it wasn't told. Probably in the cartoons (which I haven't watched) or in the novels (which I haven't read), but definitely not in the movies.
I am quietly waiting for a uber-Prequel-Edit. All of the three movies cut in one 2.5 hour prequel. Lots of action, minor exposition and just pure entertainment. It won't solve any of the problems, but it would be a lot more bearable.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 16:58
Why does Empire continually try to make excuses for these 3 films? They were shit, rather watch these than LOTR, Rings trilogy is much longer but the effort it would take me to attempt to watch these abortions again I'd rather invest in Jackson's magical trilogy.
Yes I'm probably more connected to the Star Wars universe having grown up with it, I remember cueing at the age of 6 to go in to see Ep 4 and been continually being blown away by the Star Destroyer crawl opening until these blasted films came out, the effect of these prequels have as much as I try not to let them do, have ended up diluting my love for the original films.
I'm sorry I know Lucas always says he intended these to be kids movies but making 3 extended toy commercials does not cut it with me. Yes I'm sure some little kids have good memories but do you think they'll mature like fine wine, I don't think so. I was disillusioned that I thought he might actually make a set of films to honour the previous ones but then make something that the original audience loved them so much could relate to not what we got. If only he's applied the same method to the pequels as he did for Empire, provide the story, produce and that's it.
No! he didn't rape my childhood but he certainly left a sour taste in my mouth, so no I won't be celebrating Phantom Menaces 10th Birthday I'm trying to forget it.
Thank god for Jackson & JJ, at least they know not to insult their audience.
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 23:57
The effects for the most part were superb, including the sound effects too.
The choreography of the lightsabre fights was outstanding, especially the final Darth Maul fight. The score, as always from Williams, brilliantly added to the action on the screen.
The script and plot were really lacking in parts though in all the prequels, which was a big shame really considering the story it was leading up to.
Everyone jumps on the 'I hate Jar Jar' bandwagon, but he wasn't as bad as all that, he was just a comic relief character that was just pushed a bit too far, and for the most part is easily ignored!
Qui-Gon was just the coolest Jedi ever, and should not have died there...
Posted on Monday May 25, 2009, 14:16
It's a terrible film with a decent soundtrack. What George didn't realise was that when we were kids, no one wanted to be Obi Wan Kenobi in the playground. We all wanted to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker. The Jedi's in Phantom were boring, ponderous civil servants and every moment that they weren't swing their light sabers was near coma inducing. The daft idea to make the focus of the film a precocious little tyke was just plain wrong and if Jar Jar Binks wasn't the most irratating thing you've ever seen on the big screen then I don't envy you.
Sequels Not Prequels
Posted on Monday May 25, 2009, 14:53
Lucas started with A New Hope for a reason - best story, most appeal, would have been ok as a stand-alone film had they not been as successful as they were
The prequels just don't have any of the energy or excitement of the originals - and it's clear that Lucas was just making shit up as he went along; i think they suffer because he was going for symmetry, but there's not enough there for a trilogy, hence we get lumbered with trade routes and pod-racing (designed purely to shift some computer games - shocking)
Maybe it's because we all know where it's going that makes most of 1 & 2 seem so lethargic, but in the end the wait is not worth it
Shit points: CGI (how Lucas signs off some of that is laughable); acting (Jake Lloyd's still better than Ewan McGregor though); cartoon characters; scenes from the originals not tying in with new plots; the princess finding an 8 year old attractive; Yoda (I remember the whole cinema laughing when he did his Bruce Lee thing); Vader building 3PO ad infinitum......
A lot of people are saying the Darth Maul scrap was the highlight - i agree, but can't help feel that Lucas wouldn't have been as involved in this scene; it would have been some shit-hot martial arts dude setting it up, and was therefore one scene he couldn't feck up
South Park had the right idea with the Indy-rape scene!
Posted on Monday May 25, 2009, 18:36
I'll begin with what went right, first i feel that Liam Nesson was an Inspired choice for Qui Gon, as weel as a young Mr Mcgregor for Obi Wan, both wonderfully acted performances. The light saber duels, especially Qui Gon vs Darth Maul are truly magnifecent, and I liked a little of the poltical intrigue going on behind the scenes, I think this was a better movie than Attack of the Clones which simply fell flat in so many places. Now what went wrong, for time and space sake I'll just go over the highlights, first the script, it felt flat, the dialouge has no life, no snap, it feels very forced, like even the actors knew people even Jedi don't talk like this, all the humor, i.e Jar Jar, does not work at all, its like that guys who comes up with a joke in his head and can't stop laughing while others simply look on puzzled, and the worst, I mean the worst and really its what killed the second trilogoy all around I feel, is the epic miscasting of the vital role of Anakin, Jake Loyyd was just a horrible choice, granted he is just a child but come on, there are so many extremly talented child actors out there, I'm sure they could have found someone better, that is what killed the entire movie and prequels for me, first loyyd than christianson, niether put much life, love, pain, fear or longing into Anakin, just porrly preformed all around and thats were the movies hit or miss I feel, since the preqeuls are all about his transformation into Darth Vader, he just feels to blah, and thats why ultimatly I feel the prequels fail.
Posted on Monday May 25, 2009, 19:28
10 years? God I feel old now! I remember being excited that my son was being born the same year as the first film of the new Star Wars trilogy, just like I was in '77. I remember persuading the other half to come see the Mask of Zorro just so I could see the trailer (I think she twigged though!)
The agonising 2 month wait after the US release was almost too much, particularly when a pirate copy on video was doing the rounds at work - I resisted though, didn't want to spoil the movie.
On release day I made sure I saw the first showing of the day. I was by myself (and followed this tradition for all the prequels) and sat exactly in the middle of the cinema about 2/3 of the way back to get the perfect seat! When the opening crawl came up I felt a HUGE sense of excitement, those hairs on the back of my neck stood up and...
You know what? I enjoyed it. It wasn't the ultimate Star Wars film that I think we all probably expected, but there was enough there to get excited about and it left me feeling gutted that it would be 3 years(!) before the next one.
What worked for me? I think the tone of the film was more in keeping with the original trilgy than Episodes II and III, the fact most of it was filmed on real sets helped with this. Qui Gonn was everything that I expected a Jedi to be and the real soul of the movie. Seeing Chancellor Palpatine begin his plans was great fun, as was telling those friends that hadn't twigged yet that he was also Darth Sideous! The heartbreak at the end knowing that this sweet, slightly woodenly acted boy wasgoing to fall so far in the next 2 films. The podrace was AMAZING and as for the lightsabre fight at the end... WOW!!! One of the defining moments of both trilogies - helped massively by the Dual of Fates and a cracking score overall.
I've just watched it again with my son. He's a big a fan as I was/am. His verdict - he likes if more than Jedi, but not as much as any of the others. Jar Jar doesn't seem to bother him too much though..
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 02:24
Star Wars rules over all other sagas
Even though Episode One is that great (it isnt that bad either) and Attack of the Clones sucks its still better than LOTR
Star Wars is hands down the greatest saga in the history of film
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 08:38
Really disagree with comment 45, the prequels shrank the Star Wars universe far more than they expanded it.
Tattooine, a quiet backwater planet? Really? Then why did it feature in all 3 prequels? Yode knew Chewbacca? Really? Anakin built 3-PO? And forgot? R2 and 3-PO didn't recognise Tattooine?
Almost nothing of any importance in any of the 3 movies hinged on *new* characters, and that felt very flat. And to top it off, Amidala just dies of a broken heart? Nothing to live for? With 2 newborns to care for? Selfish cow wouldn't last 2 minutes on a council estate in 21st century Britain.
Good points are few, Duel of the fates, the music and the epic 3 man battle, Jango Fett, um....anyone?
The Voice of Fate
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 09:45
What really disappointed me about the prequels was the concept of midichlorians.
Prior to that it was possible to imagine that anyone with sufficient nobility and application could become a Jedi. After - it seems it's just random chance like having blue eyes or being short. Suddenly being a Jedi was not something you achieved, it was something you just happened to have - or not have. It made it less valuable and deserving of less respect.
Agreed Jar-Jar and "Lil' Annie" were awful. The music was great. All the comedy scenes were poor. It was too long. The Jedi were stiff and boring.
BUT and it's a big "but" (which is why it's in capitals) it was the first film I took my son to see at the cinema and he loved it, thrilled at the excitement and then cried buckets when Liam Neeson's character died. For that adventure, I will always be grateful.
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 10:12
The concept of a young boy leaving behind everything he had to follow it's destiny was good, the Boonta Eve race was great, Qui Gin Jin's character really great, Darth Maul's character was really really great, the lighsaber duel at the end was magnificent. Too bad it wasn't as dark as Revenge of the Sith!
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 11:41
Finally it's good to see someone looking past the Jar Jar Binks!!! I know people hate this character but it is a character meant for kids and kids do love him, I know my 6 yr old stepson likes him!! Remember the Ewoks would be crap if you saw them as a cynical adult!!! Okay Jake Lloyd is also a bit grating but give him a break he was only little!!!
I personally loved Episode 1 when I first saw it at the cinema and much more that Episode 2 which I did feel disappointed with. Episode 1 has that awesome lightsaber duel at the end, a space battle, the podrace, the gungan/droid army battle which is quite impressive and of course Brian Blessed!!!
I still think of the new trilogy that Episode 3 is the better film but this would certainly be next!!
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 11:43
Oh and I forgot the great Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn!!!!
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 12:29
TPM has some great points which most people have covered here, however, I must however, take exception the General Abuse that Jar Jar is taking. While I agree he was not the best Character, and Yes at times was quite annoying, his Role was being Set Up for the Attack Of The Clones, when Senater Palpatine needed someone to Raise the Motion to Grant the Chancellor Emergency Powers. Palpatine needed someone who was Dumb Enough to be able to plant the Idea into, to make him think it was a good Idea, and who had enough power / respect within the Galactic Senate that the motion would be passed, and as he was given his Representation Role by Amidala, then this legitimised his Motion, and Palpatines Power Grab was realised.
Sometimes you need to look further than what is happening, and see what the End Game is.
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 12:56
I remember going to see the original star wars with my Father when I was a young whipper snapper. I don’t think any single event has ever shaped my life so much. The completely overwhelming experience of losing myself in another galaxy and, for just those 2 hours, forgetting about the real world sparked a fire that would burn into what is now a character defining love of cinema. Every visit I have made to a cinema screen since has been an attempt to lose myself in the same way. Plenty of movies have managed to evoke this feeling of escapism, but nothing has quite the profound effect on me as seeing the fox fanfare directly followed by the immortal words “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away….”
My first son was 2 years old when the Phantom menace came to the cinema. I would have given anything to have been able to take him, the way my father had taken me, but it would be a good few years before he had his first star wars cinema experience.
So I was alone as I sat, excited beyond belief, in a theatre full to capacity waiting to relive the wonder of my childhood.
I don’t mind telling you that my eyes filled up when the blue letters appeared on the screen announcing that I was once more about to be taken back in time to a galaxy far away.
I was not disappointed. For the next 2 hours I was 6 years old again. Completely and utterly lost in the magic that unfolded before me. And I think this is the key to enjoying Star Wars. Sure we can all point out plot holes and wooden acting maybe even some less than convincing effects (although still groundbreaking at the time) but in terms of pure escapist entertainment and spectacle, I truly believe that The Phantom Menace delivers exactly what it should. I could go on for ages about why I believe that Jar Jar is an essential character in the overall story arc, or why the inclusion of the political story arc is absolutely essential. But that would be missing the point of what Star Wars is to me. In fact if, I’m honest, I didn’t even really pay much attention to the political side of the story on my first viewing! The point of Star Wars, to me, is to experience the child like wonder of the fantastic. To lose myself in something portrayed onscreen that surpasses the stuff of even my wildest dreams. I find the majority of people who were disappointed by the prequels are 30-40 something’s who “grew up” with the original trilogy. But what they are overlooking is that one simple fact. They have “grown up”. If you want to truly enjoy Star Wars, ANY Star Wars, you have to watch it through the eyes of a child.
3 years later I took my then 5 year old son to see his first movie. Star Wars Episode 2: the Attack of the Clones. During the battle in the arena on Geonosis he leaned over to me and under his breath gave the movie perhaps the greatest compliment a child can give “I’m soooo going to play this when I get home”
I now have 2 sons. The youngest is 4 and my oldest is now 12. we are all Star Wars fans. Each week we tune into the new CGI clone wars series and sit together on the couch to lose ourselves. It gives me a such a warm feeling to hear my 4 year old jumping around his bedroom, simulating the sound of a lightsaber. Its just a shame that there wont be the opportunity for me to take him to the cinema to enjoy this awesome spectacle. I can only hope that Mr Lucas has something else up his sleeve.
So for my part, I loved The Phantom Menace. I loved all the prequels. Loved them as much as any of the original trilogy simply because,as I am now approaching my 40’s, they allow me to see through the eyes of a child again.
Thank you George.
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 15:58
The starwars prequels had some good points as many have said, including the soundtrack, space battles,the pod race, overall design and look etc. Most of these achievements, sadly, though were of a technical nature.
The main problems were that the cast were either underused (Darth Maul, the Jedi's etc) or incredibly wooden (Anakin of course). The overall adherence to 'telling George's big story' also got in the way of the main thing that got us all excited about starwars in the first place - ie. just having some real FUN !....
Talking of which I think the biggest thing the new movies lacked was some characters we really cared about and could empathise with. Whatever their flaws Episodes IV-VI had that thanks to the Luke/Leia/Han Solo love triangle. Talking of which what the 2nd bunch of films REALLY lacked was a flawed but fun space cowboy like Han Solo - he gave the whole thing a dash of cynism and steely grit that was obviously lacking from the rather dour Anakin/Padme love story that (along with the whole rise of Vader thing) dominated the prequels.
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2009, 16:04
The Prequels are an utter abomination and the Phantom Menace is its nadir.
Apart from the fight between Obi Wan and Darth Maul, there's nothing redeeming about The Phantom Menace. I can't believe I convinced myself for a considerable time that it was actually good.
From its awful story, energy sapping dialogue, wooden performances, overly busy and shiny special effects, the Phantom Menace was the first of the appaling prequels that would tarnish the legacy of the wonderful original trilogy.
The subsequent installments, while they gradually got better, shared many of the weaknesses of the first prequel. However there are probably only a handful of moments in the whole of the prequel trilogy that are of any value.
When you see the new Star Trek the bitter disappointment of the prequels stings all the more.
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2009, 00:35
Enough Star Wars chat. Why? oh why Lucas did you butcher my childhood hero? Indy oh Indy...
I tried to like it I really did, but...
I'm not like most people who always rant on about the aliens. Depending in what you believe all the plots are just as silly as each other, it just so happens that Christianity is fairly popular (maybe an understatement) and thus more conceivable. Even the opening had potential, but no, he survives in a fridge... I know its lead, but, seriously.... and then the jungle bit. Then the entourage of characters that make returns. The stunts were terrible too. Lucas I think I speak for a majority of people when I say, WHAT IS THE OBSESSION WITH CGI? Star Wars fine but with Indy. Why George? WHY?! I'll be honest aliens wasn't the best choice...
And yes Episode I was crap as was II, as was III. Yes they had good bits but set pieces and the occasional good actor does not make a film enjoyable when everything else is so utterly terrible. I'm not sure if its me but Hayden Christensen is a terrible actor... Simon Pegg, 10 years on and George is still rubbing salt in the wounds (indiana jones, the clone wars). I feel your pain.
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2009, 13:44
I was on Holiday in Orlando when this came out and I seen this at the local IMAX.
For me the best bit was when I went on Back the Future: The Ride for countless amounts of times.
The Worst bit was when Twilight Zone Tower of Terror broke down after being in the que for 45 minutes.
Great Holiday, well recommended.
P.S. This did not do anything right at all. Why don't you do a retrospect on some other worthy movies of that summer.... South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut or Austin Powers 2.... ?
Hell, even a debate on The Blair Witch Project would be more interesting and worthwile.
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2009, 19:53
I was going to share my thoughts here but after reading the above comment by dingerhoffen which completely mirror my own feelings toward the prequels and Star Wars in general, now I don't need to!
Posted on Saturday May 30, 2009, 17:19
George, comment 169...
I'm around a decade younger than your good self but I just had to say...well said.
There was, and never will be again, a film that is capable of leading grown adults to literally squirm in their seats and get goosebumps all over when that Fox Fanfare powers throughout the auditorium.
Even though the prequels were a huge let-down, those 3 occasions when first viewing the prequels in '99, '02 and '05, were magical moments that I'll never experience ever again - coz they're Star Wars. I don't have kids yet but I can't wait to show them the most beautifully created cinematic galaxy of all time when I do.
Great blog. Read every single comment. Gutted it's over..!
Posted on Monday June 1, 2009, 13:55
Ian Freer - "I am a Prequel Apologist"
That would explain why you described Jake Lloyd as "fresh and believable" and Jar-Jar as a "triumph of character animation" in your original review all those years ago.
Posted on Wednesday June 3, 2009, 23:12
I love the prequels as much as I love the original episodes.
Why all the Jar-Jar-bashing? I find him a lovable character. (I especially like how he contrasts with Qui Gon.)
I also find Maul one of the best characters of all SW. Pity he was sent sabred in half down a bottomless pit. He would have made a much more fearsome enemy than that ridiculous Grievous. (A lump of meat in a mech suit killing Jedi? Please...)
The only thing disturbing about Ep 1 was the 21st century sleekness of the Naboo star fighters and the droid army and the too obvious CG-ness of the aliens (sorry Jar-Jar) as well as the overall, compared to the original three, much more elaborate coloring scheme. I feared that there would be a break in continuity of the visual design of the SW universe created by the originals. How would Eps 2 and 3, with all the modern stunning VFX, ever convince me that they really happened before 4,5 & 6, with their dodgy space explosions and stop-motion AT-ATs?
Well, they did convince me. (Particularly the Republican clone army evolving into the Imperial army is very realistic and, surprisingly, without making it look less futuristic). The 6 episodes form one integral and continuous story. I don't think better or worse of the prequels than I do of the originals.
Oh, and just so everyone knows, I much rather have a clumsy Jar-Jar than those f*cking ewoks. I don't like seeing any episode remade but I'd make an exception for Return of the Jedi if it would feature the ewoks getting massacred by Stormtroopers with much blood and gore (which would be quite more believable).