Escape to the Movies: The Phantom Menace 13 Years Later

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I think MovieBob's spot on here. Phantom Meneace wasn't any more cataclysmic than we allowed it to be. For my part, I was a kid when it came out. The original Star Wars movies were hands-down my favorites, so I was simply psyched when the first prequel came out. It didn't disappoint me--although I distinctly remember being daunted that it wasn't quite as awesome as the originals--because I didn't expect it to remind time. It was contemporaneous to my enjoyment and idolization of Star Wars rather than subsequent.

With the benefit of hindsight and the odious Episode II I came to decouple the first from my infatuation with the originals, and now I see it only as a not-terribly-good film. However, one thing that I like about the prequels is that much of the visual design, the art, the sound effects, and the soundtrack, were simply excellent. I was so sad when I realized that the awesome designs of the Clone Troopers and their droids opponents and ship designs were forever shackled to the mediocrity of the prequels, but I was uplifted when projects began to come out of them that I could appreciate (e.g., the Clone Wars cartoons, both the Genndy Tartakovsky and 3D versions). Although the movies themselves were ultimately failures, they at least served as wellsprings for better things.

I think one of the reasons people keep bringing up how very not good the prequals are is because George keeps pulling out more editing bs and changing more of the originals that we love and making them less good. It reminds us of our bitter feelings are refeshes them. I would still buy the prequels. I was waiting for the box set to come out since the announced the prequels, but now I don't know if I want to pay for them because I want the original originals. Stupid special editions.

unacomn:
Phantom Menace is probably the one I disliked the least, until a few years later, I kinda liked it. What really killed the SW prequels for me was Anakin becoming Vader mostly because he acted like 12 year old on the internet who couldn't find any rational reason behind his actions and statements, so he started to throw tantrums, threats and called everyone a Nazi... then he killed a bunch of kids for the fun of it.

I could stomach JarJar, he was sometimes funny, I could stand little Any, I could overlook the plotholes, but making that wuss Vader was just painful. That retroactively poisoned the prequels for me, to the point where all I feel for them is apathy.

I think it was just the whole Second Movie which in turn made the third suck far more than it should have. If they could redo the entire thing, I think it would have turned out a LOT better as the second kinda got off-track with the stupid romance bullshit.

Also to the Fanboys:

This movie I like, it was the first Star Wars Movie I saw in theaters and it is what got me into Star Wars. So please:

SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

Your bitching and moaning is degrading not only to yourselves but to the fandom as a whole. Please, grow the fuck up.

Edit: Please note that the above comment was not to anyone in particular on Escapist or other sites but to the whiny little elder fans as a whole.

"Get some distance from it and try to see it with fresh eyes"

How about not seeing it at all? I'm not obsessed with it, nor do I ever really think about the movie, but I don't see any reason to ever watch it again.

It would have been an ok movie if Jar Jar wasn't in it SO MUCH, but with him it reminds me too much of a Barney show or something like that.

Also I'm pretty shocked you said this movie included some of John Williams best work. I found the music in the prequels fairly forgettable compared to the original trilogy, or Indiana Jones, or Jurassic Park. Certainly some of the choir parts were pretty effective, and indeed I can remember them if I try, but some of his best work? Can't agree there.

Anyway, point taken, maybe it's not so bad, but Jar Jar is still something I never want to subject myself to again. He is best used in Robot Chicken spoofs to make fun of himself. "ANNIIIIEEEE! MESA ALL BLUEY AND GLOWY!!!!" lol

PS I really like the image for this on the front page, Darth Maul with 3d glasses haha awesome

The only star wars film That I don't totally hate, only 'cos the big bad looks awesome.

Darth vader looks like batman, which to me isn't a good thing. Darth Maul has a red and black face with horns, that shit looks bad ass ... it goes nicely with the dual bladed red glow stick.

From what I remember he isn't in it much and his fight scene is really short but I am no star wars fan so my memory isn't perfect on the matter.

NightmareLuna:

Duffeknol:
I hope even more people watch the Plinkett reviews now thanks to you :)

I tried too, but just like Jar Jar, I could not stand his fucking voice... oh by spongebob, I could not stand his awful, awful, stereotypical voice.

I listened to at least 7 minutes, and he made sense... But that could not keep his voice away. :(

Please do a cover of it, haha. ^^

You do realize the voice is an act, right? Like he's supposed to be a 119 year old psychopath who murders hookers?

I really feel bad for you if you're going to miss out on literally the best reviews on the entire internet just because you dislike someone's voice... :(

The fact that you whined more about the people whining about it rather than reviewing the movie other than "It's technically proficient/has good camera work/shitty comic relief" annoys the hell out of me. You stopped us at the beginning and told us to just go watch another video if we wanted to essentially hear what we wanted to hear from you. I don't care how much people whine because I'm not the one whining. Saying a movie is "Not that bad" doesn't really give me much.

I don't know why I bother watching this series anymore. It seems like Zero Punctuation is the only series that's worth watching anymore because at least he bitches about the game he reviews, you bitch about people non-stop.

^^Hypocrisy as well, me bitching about Bob bitching, heh.

I'd like to contribute to some sort of debate here, but all I can say is: absolutely 100% spot on, Bob!

The main problem with the phantom menace to me is that it is basically a JRPG. An odd thing to say i know but its many flaws i think fall oddly close to the many flaws in the storytelling, plot, characters and cutscenes of many big budget JRPGs right down to the overwrought fantasy bullshit and dumb characters.

It also has some of their strenghts. Im going to go out on a limb here and say that visually the Phantom Menace looked fantastic when it came out and i still have a soft spot for the way it looks today. It looked kind of lush and some of its excess could have worked in a fantasy movie propper. Problem is this isn't Final Fantasy. Its Starwars and the outlandish visuals here go nowhere near to fitting into a universe that is meant to be in a state nay 40 years from the films propper.

I just got back from the theater. There were three people there, me and two friends. It was so much fun. It was incredibly nostalgic for us.

It's reviews like this that make me think that comment sections on videos should be taken out completely. I'm dead serious. Even what I'm writing right now should be as well.

This is the third article/video I've seen this week that inadvertently attacks those who will be inevitably commenting on how wrong said author is. I actually could not post any other comment besides what I'm writing at this very second, and honestly there's no point to anything I'm saying.

Other than "Good review, enjoyed it," I can't think of anything to say. So there.

Good review. Enjoyed it.

That was great man. I didn't even realize I was still holding onto some of my old hate for this movie until you started praising it a bit. I had tried to distance myself from the film, as you said. I see now that what I thought of as distance was actually just me burying my emotions. Wow. You are right about the "never being able to go home" part. In 1999 my life was falling down around me. At the time, PM was like a familiar hand reaching out to me from better times to protect me from the strife of my existence. I really put a huge amount of unrealistic expectation behind that movie. Oh well. I liked the third one and I'll always have Yavin.

I don't get the hate for the phantom menace when we have the revenge of the sith to hate on since its a much much worse movie, at least the phantom menace had the possibility of good movies following it, regenge of the sith was just shit.

Duffeknol:

NightmareLuna:

Duffeknol:
I hope even more people watch the Plinkett reviews now thanks to you :)

I tried too, but just like Jar Jar, I could not stand his fucking voice... oh by spongebob, I could not stand his awful, awful, stereotypical voice.

I listened to at least 7 minutes, and he made sense... But that could not keep his voice away. :(

Please do a cover of it, haha. ^^

You do realize the voice is an act, right? Like he's supposed to be a 119 year old psychopath who murders hookers?

I really feel bad for you if you're going to miss out on literally the best reviews on the entire internet just because you dislike someone's voice... :(

That's why I said stereotypical. To me, it adds nothing but annoyance, like Jar Jar... He is my Jar Jar of reviewers. :P

And meh, no need to feel bad mate. I really don't care one way or the other. :P

You know what, I had three whole paragraphs of text about my feelings for the prequels and how they are super important to me despite sucking, and how I have a right to like sh*tty movies and how Star Wars fandom has become more nasty to be a part of than it is.. and blah, blah, blah. But for once I'm just going to stick to what I've promised myself: to just not post about it on the Internet anymore. It's not making me any wiser, not even in the nerdiest of senses, and I need to stop wasting brain power on things like that.

I'll just comment on the video. Pretty nice, videos (especially somewhat aggressive videos on somewhat controversial topics) tend to come off as better when you agree with them, but still, well said... even if you led me in on a trail of thought I would rather never stray in on again. Also, you are aware that you are setting yourself up for just as big of a disappointment with The Avengers as the rest of the Internet is for The Dark Knight Rises right? Good, just checking.

I absolutely love the Plinkett reviews but I never agreed that the prequels were the worst films ever made. SW fans alongside StarTrek fans and comic fans have always struck me as some of the most insane and obsessive among all nerd fanbases. People need to just chill out and move on with their lives. Michael Bay utterly raped my biggest nerd interest in to the fucking ground but I don't care because they're just dumb movies.

I personally believe that Episode I wasn't as bad as itis refered to(except Jar Jar) but Lucashas almost milked this series out of its finally $.

Oh MovieBob you know the entire cinema going public so well. I'm so glad we have you here, in your infinite wisdom, to tell us all how we should think and act, we'd be nothing without you.

Look I hated the canon parts of Phantom Menace. But the scenery, the cinematography and the CGI sequences at the time. The real reason to watch EP1 was the fight scenes. Plus considering the wait we all had to watch the Episodes Lost (1-3) of course we'd be mad and hate on George Lucas. The real problem I ever had with him was messing with the Mona Lisa's that were 4-6 (Ok they weren't Mona Lisa's but they were great movies) and of course we were disappointed.
I agree with you Bob, Ep2 and Ep3 were worse. Which is why I don't watch them.
I read the EU books (the good ones that Lucas didn't try to alter...)

Phantom Menace was the only Star Wars I've seen in theaters so my view on it is a bit in its favor already. I'll probably see Chronical before Phantom Menace and even then I'll likely seek out a theater showing it in 2D because I live on Kill-joy Island.

Bravissimo! +2 for offhand reference to the Worm Ouroboros.

Tim Bisley dealt with it properly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmdOuXyTJIk&t=2m35s

Well spoken. People fail to remember that in the time the originals came out sci-fi was not even taken seriously as an adult genre.

That's right, your holy grail (and mine I must confess) was aimed at early teen audiences at the very most. Don't whine and cry because the beginning of a second such trilogy was aimed at the same general demographic instead of the far, FAR more critical grown-up OT audience, trying to be more light-hearted and taking advantage of the fact that things won't get really bad until the third act. As Bob just said, the one aimed at said grown-up audience actually ended up worse off.

When it came out I was 12, and I enjoyed it despite having watched the OT long before, too young to spot all the ethnic stereotypes or care that they were there.

Anyways, at least one amazing thing came from the Prequel Trilogy that was worth it- Matthew Stover's Episode III novelization.

LordLundar:
My only main beef with the prequel trilogy was that they went almost exclusively for big ticket names to star in it and you can practically see the egos rise up throughout the movies. The only real exception to this (in my eyes at least) being Samuel L. Jackson who actually gave a solid performance. The rest though? Practically calling it in and dull as dishwater.

Compare this to the original trilogy where nearly everyone was an unknown and the trilogy gave them their big ticket start off. You saw determination to give a good performance there because their livelihood relied on it.

It's probably not fair to immediately blame the actors for this, though. There are many issues here: almost all sets are virtual, and so are a lot of the creatures and characters. The actors had to interact with invisible people in walls covered in blue (or green). Not very helpful for actors to get in the mood. Also, George Lucas is not considered to be a great director for actors. A more skillful director in this particular skill may get good performances even from mediocre actors (and yes, the original trilogy has its fair share of bad acting too, but Lucas only directed Ep. IV, which may explain why the acting is somewhat better in the original trilogy). Not least, there's the terrible dialog he writes. You can find interviews with the actors in the original trilogy complaining about the badness of the dialog (especially Carry Fisher). Note also that in the original trilogy Lucas collaborated with some other people on the screenplays, whereas in the prequel trilogy he wrote it all by himself.

I really don't think the bad acting is the actors' fault, especially considering most of them did very well in other films.

I don't get the obsessive rage (nor have I met anyone who did so) they're just movies, crappy little movies where the only time where I got angry was Episode 3 where they opened to this big space battle (which I love) and it was looking to be really fun and amazing annnnnd it focused on 2 ships with a dumb problem. But that's my inner space battle lover.

What can i say besides I do not agree? I think you are projecting your own reaction upon evryone else. i had already overgrown star wars by the time the movies came out, but I was still of course really excited. I was not even expecting anything mind-blowing, really, I wasn't. i remember trying realy hard to like it even.
However, the utter dissapointment of where the story was taking us, combined with the faults you pointed out, were just that, really dissapointing. it is impossible to seperate this from the old star wars and I think it will be impossible for me to ever forget this feeling of dissapointment.

This comes from someone who has read loads of crappy star wars novels and enjoyed them! Not because of the quality, but simply because they were star wars. I think you are doing people who still vocally hate the prequels a disservice. Ok, there's no reason to be a cry-baby, but this was much worse than just an average sci-fi movie blockbuster. This was watching star-wars being destroyed by its creator. like it or not, there is a big difference and that difference will never dissapear for anyone who grew up with the originals.

tehweave:
It's reviews like this that make me think that comment sections on videos should be taken out completely. I'm dead serious. Even what I'm writing right now should be as well.

This is the third article/video I've seen this week that inadvertently attacks those who will be inevitably commenting on how wrong said author is. I actually could not post any other comment besides what I'm writing at this very second, and honestly there's no point to anything I'm saying.

Other than "Good review, enjoyed it," I can't think of anything to say. So there.

Good review. Enjoyed it.

He didn't say no one could criticize the video, he only anticipated a probable response to his thesis that The Phantom Menace "isn't so bad". He said "don't post the Plinkett review as a rebuttal". And if he hadn't said it, someone would certainly do exactly this.

I stopped watching your reviews a few months ago because I just don't agree with you very often, and I think you're too quick to put movies that appeal to your particular definition of "edgy" up on a pedestal (i.e. Splice).

But when the mood strikes you, you can be beautifully level-headed. Thanks for this.

I thought I read some time ago that Lucas wanted to retire (from making blockbusters) because of bitching fans?
I think Phantom Menace was betrayal and that Lucas simply lost touch with the fan base and his own former ideals.

BTW. I prefer The Expendables over the prequel trilogy.
Whats up with the hatred for that one? - At least you should have been able to expect the outcome of that one...

I've never really had much of a problem with the prequels. Considering my interests in Star Wars really falls under just my interest in the idea of the Jedi and the Sith and lightsaber and force combat, I was fine with them because those movies had plenty of that.

Jamane:
erf why did you mnention the eragon movie that was a special kind of bad...

I don't know what would be special about it, unless it is special as an example on how much of a train wreck Hollywood can make out of a simple and cool fantasy story.

I mean, other than character names and premise, there is nothing about that movie that is of the Eragon book.

I highly doubt the makers of it actually read the book. If they had any contact with anything that told them about the story, it was probably from half a cliff notes book about it that had coffee spilled on it and briefly been dropped in a toilet.

The problems/errors in the movie are so bad that if they wanted to make a second movie, they wouldn't be able to until they remake the first one and do it right.

Well said, Bob. I never had much of a problem with Episode I, hell, Jar-Jar never really bothered me. But I don't think I'll go see the re-release in theaters, I already know what happens. Besides, I'm not sure how one converts a movie that's already been created to 3-D.

At least it's better than "Attack of the Clones", that movie [i]sucked[i]... though the first cartoon follow-up was pretty good.

Now, this might seem blasphemous, but I really don't care for "The Empire Strikes Back" And before you fanboys jump on me, let me explain myself: I just could never get into it, and the ending was - to me anyway - depressing. The point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't let your perception of something color your enjoyment of something... or other people's, for that matter.

If you still hate this movie, fine, that's your opinion.

Besides, there's a great webcomic that (hopefully) makes "The Phantom Menace" more bearable: http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0001.html

Aiddon:
The Phantom Menace isn't atrocious, just boring. Actual problem is that Lucas never seems to have accepted his own limitations and insists he knew what he was doing as a writer and director. He shoulda just contracted other directors and writers to do the prequel trilogy. Seriously, I can't imagine what a Star Wars Trilogy done by Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, and Bryan Singer would have been like. I'm not exactly bitter, but I'll never accept the Prequels as cannon. Or Lucas as the end-all, be-all for the universe.

That and written by someone like Timothy Zahn, A.C. Crispin, or Roger MacBride Allen.

Personally, I first say the Phantom Menace when I was around 5 and at the time I lenjoy it. Now I hate it, and to me, that's the central problem; The original series, for all its goofiness, is enjoyable to multiple audiences. Kids can like the fact that Yoda is a hilarious little muppet and Chewbacca is just so darned cuddly, and older audiences can enjoy stuff like Darth Vader's redemptive storyline and the fact that Han Solo is the cool as a cucumber scoundrel that we all wish we could be. By contrast, the Phantom Menace doesn't really have any of that, it's always struck me as purely a kids movie, which dooms its ability to be remembered as a truly great movie because its audience will grow out of it. And that's why the Phantom Menace is my least favorite Star Wars movie.
MovieBob's point about Episode 2 is quite valid, but I do still prefer it to Ep. 1 because at least it helps to set up the mythology of the later films and introduces a large scale conflict. While considering the movies at length a few months ago I was struck by the fact that Episode 1 is almost completely superfluous, there is very little in it that couldn't have been weaved into the dialogue and backstory of Episode 2 easily.
Anyway, my position on the whole affair is that the prequel movie were full of cool ideas; Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Grievous, Jango Fett, Qui-Gon Jinn (Am I spelling the name right? I'm too lazy to check.) that were never really implemented well.

Also: It still totally sucks that we have to wait through the three prequel movies before we get to the Star Wars movies that people actually liked.

And does anyone else want to see an episode of The Big Picture where Bob weighs in on the issue of George Lucas' constant tweaking of the movies? I mean, Bob will of course disagree with everything that we hold dear, but it is always interesting to here a well reasoned argument that you don't agree with.

Now see, I was never really a star wars fan, I enjoyed the empire strikes back and a new hope, sure, but we were a jurassic park househould. So when my dad took me to see the phantom menace all I came away with was that it was not very good. But I have genuinely rented it a couple of times, when there was nothing else on the go because darth maul is great. So on the whole I sort of agree with what bob is getting at.

What I don't agree with is the arrogance that he has, the contstant portrayal of those who disagree with him a negative sterotype and the sweeping, pervasive nature of the 'every one but me is WRONG' attitude that keeps coming up. This is why I think that moviebob is far better when he just reviews the damn movies instead of trying to review his audiance.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Movie Bob is right and The Phantom Menace isn't as bad as I remember.

*goes to watch it*

*2 hours later*

Okay, I'd forgotten how absolutely crummy that entire stupid, rotten movie is. The only good thing was that Darth Maul fight, and even then he lacked the common sense to bring that cool villain back.

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