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

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Theres an edited version of the film thats gotten a lot of acclaim called The Phantom Edit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Edit

It chops down all of jar-jars slapstick and adds a bunch of deleted scenes. The problem is while immensely better it's still just not good. The root of the problem I think for me is the dialog. It's all very stilted and uninteresting. Most of the characters just feel like they're phoning it in. It's all very ho-hum except dialog from Ewan McGregor who seems to be the only thing carrying the trilogy.

I disagree with you, Jim. Jar Jar did ruin the movie. I watched it a second or third time trying to like it, despite his presence, and he's plastered all over the film. Not easy to ignore in the slightest, and just offensive to the ears. Haven't bothered watching it since. Why would I watch this on a Saturday afternoon when there are sooooooo many better things to do in life?

I must be some form of retarded societal outcast, because I don't watch a movie (or... experience a form of entertainment), enjoy it, then nitpick it until I find all it's flaws and decide it sucked all along. I just enjoy the damn thing. Yeah. I said it.

The only thing I can say I don't like about the Star Wars series as a whole is Padme/Queen Amidala. I don't know why, either. I just don't like that character.

Jimothy Sterling:
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Star Wars week happened to fall on a week in which Movie Defense Force was not scheduled. May God have mercy on Jim Sterling's soul, for Star Wars fans have none to spare.

Watch Video

Jimothy, did you ever see the Phantom Edit? kept all the things you said you liked, toned Jar Jar a bit, and it turned out to be a better paced movie

The only thing I have to really disagree with is Jar Jar Binks. He's not just stupid, but obnoxiously stupid and his scenes serve little to no purpose anywhere. Jar Jar's closest equivalent was C3PO, but even C3PO's comic relief schtick occasionally served a purpose (him translating for Jabba, or commenting on the direness of the situation).

For comparison, I'm using Return of the Jedi. Ewoks were silly toy surrogates, it's true. But during the actual battle of Endor, they don't "hilariously" kill half the enemy troop by being total prats. They trap stormtroopers, trip AT-STs with logs, beat men to death with heavy stones and spears. And when they start dying, it's played straight.

The only defense I can offer for the Jar Jar Binks scene is that it's Stupid Prat Droids vs Stupid Prat Binks.
But you know what's REALLY sad? The same thing is mirrored by Anakin Skywalker who accidentally stumbles into blowing up the Droid Control Ship.
Why not? It's stupid Prat Droids vs Inexperienced Starfighter Pilot. If Lucas was trying to reference Anakin's extraordinary piloting skill, all he did was make him look like an idiot savant.

So there you have it: A plausible comparison of skill between Jar Jar Binks and Darth Vader.
All because George Lucas is a hack writer.

Did you seriously just pick this to flame?

There is NO defense for this movie...none, its flaws on top of flaws on top of awful, filled with dung, tied with a few more flaws...then farted upon.

I never hated the prequels honestly. I've always felt that my childhood wasn't so fragile that the films didn't live up to the old ones.

I mean, I'd feel worse if I'd been a Transformers fan lol...

actually the more I think about it, the whole good stuff making the bad stuff more palatable works in AotC for me too
I guess I just as a fan love the Clone Wars era look and feel settings...works amazing in the gaming world that's for sure
Clones, Fett, and Obi-Wan were pretty sweet

So there is defiantly something wrong with me. I actually really liked episode 2 (then again I haven't seen it since March 2006)

On the topic of this movie. I actually felt there was something wrong with it when I first saw it as a kid (9 me thinks). See I was exposed to Star Wars young, but I wouldn't say it ever made me a hardcore fan. But still when it came to episode 1 I really didn't like how most of the aliens and well everything else I was looking at on screen actually wasn't there; I was just so used to practical effects being used in the older movies that the overuse of CGI didn't make sense to me and was actually aggravating.

As the years have rolled on though...honestly...I actually like this movie more and more. If anything it's better than Return of the Jedi which can be thrown in with the later two prequel movies seeing how it shares more of the Lucas tropes that were in those movies than episode 1 did if you ask me. But then again why would you seeing how I have established in the beginning of this post that there is something very wrong with me!

EDIT: I actually liked Jar Jar when they brought him into the animated series...I KNOW! THERE IS SOMETHING VERY VERY WRONG WITH ME!!

Late to the party here, but I agree with the video, though I too am not the hugest Star Wars fan. I've always liked it, but never been that invested in it. I remember loving the first 3 films when I was a kid, but never much beyond that.
I can watch the Phantom Menace and be entertained. Simple as that.

I actually thought the scene used at the very end of this video is one of the most subtle (though that's not saying much) characterizations of Jedi VS Sith. They both fight, but when the fighting dies down, the Jedi sits and begins to meditate to catch a moment while the Sith paces and snarls.

huh how did I miss this? Nice review Jim. I am well over the line towards Red Letter Media's views, but Jim's right - there's a lot of good things about the movie. I just happen to be sensitive to story and logic flaws so it's hard to give it the credit it's actually due.

Just wanted to also mention that there's more "phantom" edits out there. They can be very tough to find, and you should ALWAYS OWN THE AUTHENTIC VERSION before coming into possession of an edited version, but one of them I have seen did something brilliant that's worth mentioning.

In an attempt to make the aliens more believable, the editor replaced their dialogue with alienspeak and subtitled their lines in. This helped a lot, esp. with the japanese-sounding dudes. What helped even more was that he made Jar Jar's speech alienspeak as well, and thus we were all spared the awfulness of listening to that dialogue. Thank you so much, good sir!

But then the editor went farther, and brilliance blossomed. Instead of just subtitling Jar Jar's original lines from the film, he changed them. And the change was from "theoretically lovable idiot to sell merchandise to the kids" to "that guy". You know, THAT guy. The one who a) can't keep his mouth shut when anyone sane would, b) can't for the life of him say the right thing when snark could be said instead, and c) can't keep his friggin hands off of important, breakable stuff.

It was genius. Jar Jar's new dialogue now fit every scene and every reaction to him perfectly. It also explained why his own people wanted him the heck away from their bubble city under the water. They weren't being jerks to him (as it came off in the movie), he'd messed things up for enough people to warrant his "puuunishment".

I bring this up as an example of what can happen when you let other people play with your ideas. I understand that either George Lucas or Steven Spielberg gained interest in directing from editing other people's movies on VCR and showing the changes to their friends and families. Just like these editors are doing with their movies. Too bad these practicing directors are being treated as criminals....

I went into the Phantom Menace cold, which was not an easy thing to do given the marketing push that came with it. I managed to avoid every commercial, every piece of product placement, and every description of what was contained therein. To give you a frame of reference, the biggest spoiler I knew about the film before seeing it was that there was a character with a double ended lightsabre. So, with Jar Jar, at least, nothing about his reputation preceded him. Seeing it for the first time I can recall being largely disgusted with the character. I didn't think he ruined the film, that much I agree with you, but that's mostly because the film was already pretty awful.

Even the good parts were largely soulless. The lightsabre fights, while extremely well choreographed (and Ray Park is always fun to watch), lacked any sort of emotional component. Most of the defenses about the prequel films seem to all revolve around how much better the lightsabre fights were, and I couldn't disagree more.

I didn't hate the podrace, but I felt it drug on for far too long, and really seemed more like Lucas just inserting a masturbatory gag-fest as an excuse to "show more cool stuff"

I don't remember being angry at the film when I first saw it, anger came later when things didn't improve. Mostly I remember a general sense of disappointment. I wasn't bored, precisely, so I guess you could say I was entertained, but I wasn't pleased with my experience.

After hearing the horrors of Jar Jar Binks, I actually did not mind him as much. He was mostly kind of... there, I could ignore him easily enough so I didn't care.

Anakin and his child actor on the other hand, I mostly wanted to murder...

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