Movie Defense Force: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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So, here is how I tolerate all the crap surrounding what the prequels did to the saga... And it's thanks to more creative and thoughtful individuals than me...

First up, The Phantom Edit.
Fan made edit of Episode one that removes alot of the unnecessary crap that made it so hard to watch at points.
Can't remember where I found my copy (Place might have been called buccaneercove.no or something) but it's worth looking out for as a good example of what a little restraint can add to the tone.
He kept in the "Are you an angel?" line and possibly the "Spinning is good" but most of the pointless lines are removed...
One thing I liked that Jim might disagree on is that the speech of the droids is edited to be quite minimum. They keep their same character but now they trade looks and pretty much just say "Roger roger".

Secondly, The Machete Order.
I think I first heard about this on an escapist forum somewhere but it's also pretty easy to google.
It describes an ideal viewing order for those of us looking to introduce someone to the complete saga for the first time without spoiling either the "Father" or the "Sister" surprises.
He even points out that skipping Episode 1 sets the story better.
Read it and see if it doesn't sound like a tasty method.

http://www.nomachetejuggling.com/2011/11/11/the-star-wars-saga-suggested-viewing-order/

I actually kind of enjoyed Attack of the Clones. There were just assorted parts in the movie that I liked, such as the cloning facility, Jango Fett, Sand People murder, Slave 1 chase, Coruscant, Natalie Portman factory sequence, Jedi battle, and the Yoda battle. I'm not saying it adds up to a legitimately "good" movie, but it's one I'll glaze over at when it's on the TV.

TwiZtah:

trty00:

TwiZtah:
I actually enjoy the prequels far more than the first trilogy. Time has not done the first trilogy and good, the acting is bad, the CGI is bad, and most of all, the action scenes are WORTHLESS, especially the lightsaber duels which is just abysmal.

Actually, the acting is just fine, there is no CGI, and the duels, while not very exciting by today's standards, are excellent in their own way. They're not just the huge jumbles of choreography that the prequel fights are, there's actually some emotion attached to them.

Well, I feel the acting is sub par, not that the prequels have that much better acting though. I can kind of excuse the CGI (or lack thereof), but not the Ewoks and throwing stones at armored storm troopers knocks them out. Meh, the fight scenes are still boring, and the whole Light versus Dark side in every fight does not ring a bell with me.

The "light versus dark" thing is in the prequel trilogy as well, it's just drawn out by boring-ass scenes of politics. It's the epitomy of hero's journey story, and if you oppose that, you might as well dislike almost every single work of fiction in existence.

And dude, the effects aren't silly because they're old school, at they're real. Who cares if the ewoks beat up the stormtroopers? For every logical incosistency you find in the original movies, I'll find five in the prequels. It's called suspension of disbelief, use it.

The only good thing I can say about The Phantom Menace is that at least it has physical sets and scenes shot on location, in comparison to the rest of the films.

And Jar-Jar's annoying presence is overshadowed only by Jake Lloyd's. I wanted to field kick that kid into a cactus patch.

I will say I've always liked the look of the droids, they have a very neat design. Unfortunately this is all rendered meaningless, since there's zero sense of threat to them. They're just there for the Jedi to cut 'm down.

It's a pop-corn muncher space flick on par with Independence Day. But that's not what Star Wars was about, so I feel the pain of other fans. However, unlike Independence Day, Episode 1 had the lore of 3 other movies to fuck with.

but i liked watching the battles in attack of the clones :(

Vivi22:

Urh:
Actually, a closer look at the darth maul duel shows that it's well...kinda shit too, and comically so:

You mean that whole scene was fake? They were just actors and they weren't really trying to kill each other? And it becomes obvious when you slow it down and show the moves several times back to back?

Colour me not the least bit shocked.

That's not the point he was making. In comparison to the originals, the lightsaber duels in the prequels lacked weight. The video points out that it never seems like any of the comatants are aiming for each other. But more importantly, there's no emotional connection between Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gonn. If you go back to the original trilogy, the memorable bits are the storys the fights told, not the choreography. That's why I think the duel between Vader and Obi-wan in Ep IV is actually better than the one in the prequel. The emotional baggage of everything between them, which at the time was unelaborated, hangs tensely over the scene, and makes the slow pacing actually improve the scene rather than detract from it. And more importantly, it knows when to wrap up instead of dragging on for 20 minutes or so.

Mahoshonen:

Vivi22:

Urh:
Actually, a closer look at the darth maul duel shows that it's well...kinda shit too, and comically so:

You mean that whole scene was fake? They were just actors and they weren't really trying to kill each other? And it becomes obvious when you slow it down and show the moves several times back to back?

Colour me not the least bit shocked.

That's not the point he was making. In comparison to the originals, the lightsaber duels in the prequels lacked weight. The video points out that it never seems like any of the comatants are aiming for each other. But more importantly, there's no emotional connection between Maul, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gonn. If you go back to the original trilogy, the memorable bits are the storys the fights told, not the choreography. That's why I think the duel between Vader and Obi-wan in Ep IV is actually better than the one in the prequel. The emotional baggage of everything between them, which at the time was unelaborated, hangs tensely over the scene, and makes the slow pacing actually improve the scene rather than detract from it. And more importantly, it knows when to wrap up instead of dragging on for 20 minutes or so.

I suppose you could say that the one good thing about the prequel trilogy is that it makes some of the stuff that happens in the originals more impactful.

TwiZtah:
Time has not done the first trilogy any good, the acting is bad,

You might be able to argue that for the A New Hope, but not really any of the others.

TwiZtah:

the CGI is bad,

Depends which version you watched, if you watched the shitty "special editions" which put in all the horrendous CGI (that was never there in the first place) then sure.

TwiZtah:

and most of all, the action scenes are WORTHLESS

I don't know how you can define an action scene as "worthless" in the original trilogy, as almost all the action serves a purpose.

TwiZtah:

especially the lightsaber duels which is just abysmal.

On what grounds? The prequel trilogy features so much acrobatics that you wonder if it was supposed to be a "duel." While the original trilogy has shots intentionally meant to resemble Akira Kurosawa's filmed samurai duels.

I'm going to confess something: I never understood why people hated Jar Jar. I didn't even realize hating him was a thing until years after the movie came out. I agree with Jim. Its not like Jar Jar was focus of the movie, he was just "there"

Also, didn't Movie Bob already do this?

Kitsune Hunter:
Phantom Menace is a really horrible film, is it as bad as Star wars fans make it out to be? Not really. The film had some really good action scenes, the pod racing was enjoyable, it had Liam Neeson, one of my favourite actors and Jar Jar Binks.....well..... ok fair enough, I really hate him, but he didn't ruin the whole film

Worgen:
Jar Jar was annoying but the kid was much much worse.

Agreed, but I pretty much expect that from child actors(except the ones from Game of Thrones), but at least Lloyd was only in the first one, but I agree with Jim that at least it's not Attack of the Clones were Anakin is played by Hayden Christensen

Anikin being all whiny really killed it for me, granted hes a teen so you kinda expect that but really he shouldn't have been the focus of the movie, he should have been a side character and have someone else be the real main character.

I think Jim needs to do battle with Plinkett over this. Also, I'm in the camp of people that still thinks Episode I is worse than Episode II. At least Episode II had a somewhat coherent plot and Sarumon in it.

But Jim!

Who was the main protagonist?

What were the defining characteristic traits of ANY of the cast???

Too much basic 'film making 101' missing for anything redeemable to shine through and personally, I think the prequel's got better as they went.

Daft Time:
The pod-racing made a half-decent game.

It was actually quite a solid arcade racer for the time it came out in. I had a friend that badgered his grandma into getting him two copies of it so he could play with people over LAN. I wish I could dig a copy of it somehow and play it again, might have to hit the second hand stores one of these days and see if I can find one.

I'm surprised Jim didn't tackle Jake Lloyd as Anakin. Both the actor and the character were annoying as hell.

PoolCleaningRobot:
I'm going to confess something: I never understood why people hated Jar Jar. I didn't even realize hating him was a thing until years after the movie came out. I agree with Jim. Its not like Jar Jar was focus of the movie, he was just "there"

Jar Jar was an easy target. At the time, folks that were disappointed with the movie weren't sure why they were disappointed because on paper the film had everything they wanted. There was no Plinkett Review (which, interestingly, hardly mentioned Jar Jar) to disect all the problems. Jar Jar was very visable as a character because he clashed wildly with the film's otherwise overly-serious tone. Add in the fact that he acted like something out of a black-and-white minstrel show, and you have the perfect scapegoat for a fan's disappointment.

Creepy amazon queen and a 10-year-old boy...
Still a better love story than Twilight

I never saw the original trilogy. What few I saw of the original looked so.. dated due to it's special effects. I know they're decades old but they didn't look enjoyable to watch, they "didn't age well".

I liked the prequel trilogy. The stormtroopers were awesome in the second part and the action sequences are helluva cool.

I guess Star Wars fans are to the Star Wars prequels as to what I am to any Aliens made after Aliens.

A few years ago, I watched all 6 movies from Ep I through III and then the original trilogy.

I didn't really know the original movies much as I only watched them once before, when I was a kid, on a small BW TV. So, I can say, no bias.

Ep I is quite crap. I dunno maybe it works as a kids fairy tale, but it's just a boring meh movie.
Ep II is almost OK.
Ep III is, well, pretty good. I actually like that movie a lot.

And then I watched:

Star Wars. Mind = blown. Now this is a really good movie. Seriously, how come this one, so much older than the prequels, is so much better?
The second one (I get the names of the last two mixed up). Mind = blown again. Though I didn't like some bits of it, again, so good.
The third one. Now this one is kinda silly in my opinion, but apart from falling asleep at the forest part, it's still good and sort of on part with Ep III.

Oh, Jim already mentioned the Plinkett review early on... that's usually my go-to link in situations like this. But he's also not saying that the movie is good or that it lives up to it's namesake. I'll admit that the movie was entirely watcheable and did have it's moments. It seems that's what his whole point is and validly so in my opinion. It's not great but it also isn't an abomination.

I will say that I genuinely did not enjoy Binks and his homeworld. It was a really out of place scene that was somewhat silly. Binks himself was annoying, but I also find superman annoying when he bumbles around as Clark Kent. Inept people who have no business doing what they're trying to do because they're so inept can be infuriating. I imagine people like Binks trying to drive a car in front of me during rush hour.

But yeah, thinking back on it, the battle scene was entertaining. It was his dumbassery actually being good for something.

Jasper Kazai:

It's a shame that the fantastic cartoon here was officially retconned so Lucas could make that movie/show with Ashoka. I've heard that new Clone Wars show is good (although it's now canceled), but I couldn't get over the fact that the awesome Tartakovsky cartoon was canned.

Clone Wars was very much hit and miss, with some downright awesome episodes and some horrible filler.

I thought by the end though, it had really matured and there were some genuinely awesome characters and character developments. Not to mention it had some amazing big set piece battle scenes and duels:

The main thing that held it back was the obvious demographic considerations. Was all over the place. One week they'd have multiple deaths, battle scenes and intrigue. Then they'd waste the next three-four episodes following around some lame comedy relief droid group. The amount of 'teach the kids' Captain Planet style morality crap got old.

Still shits all over the movies to be honest. But to be fair, without the movies, you wouldn't have had any of it so I'll salute them that much.

I can sort of agree with Sterling on this

Its a terrible star wars movie, but as a pop-corn flick on its own its not that bad. The point Sterling made to begin with, that Lucas's work is best when there's someone telling him "no" - loved it.

I have always defended Episode I as arguable my favorite Star Wars films. I'm a big fan of Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor too so that probably helped. I love the final duel with Darth Maul and the music throughout the film and as Jim said, it's an entertaining popcorn film and I will enjoy it every time I watch it. And yes, it isn't Attack of the Clones, which is god awful and should be destroyed.

Jar Jar > Young Anakin

PoolCleaningRobot:
I'm going to confess something: I never understood why people hated Jar Jar. I didn't even realize hating him was a thing until years after the movie came out. I agree with Jim. Its not like Jar Jar was focus of the movie, he was just "there"

I agree, I think it's more about what he represented. Lucas was trying to appeal to kids and adults at the same time and it came off as wierd (you have a goofy mascot character in a movie about people discussing trade route taxes).

PoolCleaningRobot:

Also, didn't Movie Bob already do this?

No, because all Bob did was effectively bash the people who didn't like the The Phantom Menace, didn't analyze the film, and then gave a list of films he thought were worse.

I've always thought that Episode I (and the other prequels to some extent, although less so) is a perfectly fine sci-fi action/adventure movie.

It just fails as a Star Wars prequel.

Really, change characters and setting to be something different from Star Wars, and it is pretty OK.

Fangface74:
But Jim!

Who was the main protagonist?

Who is the main protagonist of Pulp Fiction? Inglorious Basterds? Crash? Sin City?

There are such things as ensemble films, wherein there is no singular main character, but a cast of main characters. And there is no reason why an ensemble film can't be as good or 'legitimate' as a film revolving around a single character.

What were the defining characteristic traits of ANY of the cast???

Qui-Gonn: the older teacher with a rebel streak who goes against traditional thinking.

Obi-Wan: the snarky student who, underneath his dry humour, is much a much mroe by-the-book Jedi.

Anakin: homesick young kid thrown way out of his depth

Amidala: young girl trying to deal with the weight of having to protect an entire planet

Shall I stop, or would you like me to continue?

Too much basic 'film making 101' missing for anything redeemable to shine through

Too much parroting Red Letter Media and taking their word as gospel, without wondering if perhaps counter-arguments exist :P

OT: I like Phantom Menace just fine. I like all the prequels just fine.

To clarify, I've never been a huge, huge fan of the original films. I like them, sure, and enjoy watching them. but to me, the original Star Wars films were only ever fun popcorn entertainment. They had some nice emotional scenes and a decent mythology behind them, but the acting, script and such were always hokey enough that it was never much more than popcorn entertainment. That's what the prequels also provided me with. Decent popcorn entertainment with some well done emotional scenes thrown in. Sure, some of it's incredibly hokey, but all three films are entertaining, and the third prequel is actually one of my favourite SW films. I enjoy it a good deal more than A New Hope.

But what do I know? My favourite OT film is ROTJ, and apparently that's the shit one...

Oh look, Jim Sterling made essentially the same argument that Moviebob did in early 2012.

Christmas has come early.

anthony87:
Thankfully Jake Lloyd only played him for one film. I mean I know he was only a kid back then but still, if Game of Thrones has shown us anything it's that child actors don't have to suck.

Yea yeah, GoT was over a decade later so it may not be a valid example but shhhhhhhhhhh!

To kill a mockingbird had good child actors, and that was made back in the 60s.

OT: I used to watch this movie a lot as a kid, and would always argue with older people who denounced it, but after seeing a bit of it recently, I must admit, it's not quite the masterpiece I remember it being. But I do still enjoy it, and I think we can all agree, at least it doesn't have Hayden Christensen.

You convinced me by Attack of the Clones :P (but I liked Doku though)

Defending episode 1 while saying episode 2 was worse seems to be becoming a thing at least on the escapist.

im curious or you liked episode 3 I have to admit I kind of like it, as a popcorn film at least.

I also agree with Jim. TPM is just mediocre bad. The other two prequels fly straight off a cliff. I'll never understand people who think those are better than TPM.

1) Definitely agree about the battle droids. A cheap, disposable technological solution that fails half the time but doesn't need training or discipline or demand a raise, benefits, or time off? With a master OFF switch to prevent them from turning against their masters? That's exactly how a short-sighted, profit-minded corporation would fight a war!

2) I liked the pod race. It was a nice nod to Ben Hur, just like a lot of the memorable scenes from the original trilogy likewise reference classic films. My only complaint is it lasts a bit too long.

3) The Qui-Gonn/Obi-Wan/Darth Maul duel is pretty cool. I actually don't mind it being so polished and choreographed: it's two fully-trained Jedi at the top of their game fighting an elite, fully-trained opponent who was sent because he could challenge them. What are the circumstances of the duels in the original trilogy? New Hope: Old man vs. a cripple. TESB: brash, barely-trained rookie vs. cripple who avoids the fighting half the time by Force-projecting heavy objects. ROTJ: Young Jedi at the height of his powers destroys crippled Sith.

The duels in the other prequels I despise, however. Dooku vs. Yoda and Sidious vs. Yoda are jokes, as is Grevious, and Anakin vs. Obi-Wan started out great and almost undid all the ill will I had towards the prequels--until halfway through the fight, some goofy-looking droids pop up and make stupid little beeping sounds. At that moment, Star Wars was dead to me.

4) You're right, Jar-Jar isn't as prominent as we remember. He's just always around there in the background when other idiotic stuff is going on. I actually liked the rest of the Gungans. They had some interesting tech, and were willing to fight an army of battle droids on equal terms, which is more than the human Naboo did. They also recognized that Jar-Jar was a complete idiot and exiled him, so more points in their favour. The prequels might have been better if they'd ditched Jar-Jar and brought in that other Gungan.

Honestly i loved the phantom menace when i first watched it. Granted, i don't think i was even eight years old at the time and never saw the original movies. I personally never had a problem with the prequals. Like i said, i loved the first one and i think revenge of the Sith is a pretty good movie. Attack of the clones did bore me to tears though. When i learned how much hate this film in particular recieved i was a bit surprised, especially about the whole midiclorian thing which i didn't deem important at all and quickly forget about.

Anakin is a character i find to be completely unlikable and not deserving of being Darth Vader but in this movie i found him to be allight. He's not all that good and by no means steals the show but i got no reason to hate him as much as teenage Anakin who comes off as a whiny kid desperately looking for reasons to believe all the mean jedi's are out to get him. Ugh, fuck him! i was glad when he was cutt in half and fell into lava!

Also, we've all missed comfortably the best thing about The Phantom Menace.

I saw the original trilogy when I was a kid. I liked the first movie (I still do, without the awful new special effects), but the other 2 felt unnecessary and I was not impressed. I sometimes see them on TV, but I usually skip to the next channel. The third movie (VI) is the worst offender, because it features those damn Ewoks. To this date, I feel that the Star Wars games (X-Wing and Tie series, Jedi Knight 1 and Outcast) did a much better job than the original movies did, and most of my mental images of Star Wars actually come from those games. I doubt that we will see another X-Wing Alliance anytime soon.

As for the prequels... Phantom Menace wins by default, because Anakin... ups, Hayden Christensen is not present. I don't dislike the guy and I don't blame him for ruining Vader. I blame the script and the director for that. I once forced myself to rewatch the entire series, but I had to stop about 20 minutes into the third movie. Once in a lifetime is one time too many.

Anyway, if Star Wars fans think they have it bad, they should stop and say a small prayer for us Star TREK fans. We can all agree that the SW prequels were bad movies for one reason or another. But all I can say bad about the new Star Trek movies is the bloody lens flare. And even that isn't bad by default. However, once you meet someone who says "I love Star Trek!" "Which series?" "Frack, the series, I love the movie. Those old bastards are too boring".... then and only then do you really feel the Dark Side growing in you, blow up a planet and strangle someone with mind control alone.

I actually agree 100% with this. Attack Of The Clones was a 100 times worse then Phantom.

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