Every saga has a beginning, and with Star Wars there is such a beginning as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Lets set back the main story. We all know the story of Darth Vader, the Empire and the force (that is if you watched Episode 4, 5 and 6). This is the story of young Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) and how a small boy, carefree and loving becomes the most powerful Jedi and the evilest Sith Lord of all time. Set thirty years before Episode 4, we begin the story of how it all went down.
We begin the film with two Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn played by Liam Neeson and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi played by Ewan McGregor are on their way to planet Naboo in order to settle a trade problem, it turns out that the Trade Federation is under the control of a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious. After the Trade Federation invasion Naboo, the Jeti, along with Jar Jar Binks escaped the planet only to be set back by and forced to land on a nearby planet. Their the Master Qui-Gon Jinn found what he believed to be the chosen one, Anakin Skywalker played by Jake Lloyd.
One of the best fights I think is between the two Jeti’s and the sith lord Darth Maul played by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz. We are got to see the beginning of the love between Anakin and Queen Amidala/Padmé played by Natalie Portman. The first episode had a good overall set of characters and the crew did a good job on the voice over’s and casting.
All the star wars movies have been known for the great special effects. This one is no different, but in fact, it is. As it’s the 2nd time they have used computers graphics. The first time was in the special edition versions of Episode 4,5 and 6. The way the sets, painting and blue screen effect blend together to create a world beyond anything we could ever believe. One of the best visible effects I have ever seen in a movie was the pod race. The rate of the speeders and the angles combined with the close-up shots of the actors and CGI characters was just fantastic.
The lightsabers are another classic star wars effect, and they didn’t miss a beat in this one either. They are perfect and you can really tell the different’s from the first scene with the lightsabers in Episode 4. By far the best shot was when Darth Maul pulled out his bo like or as its been known as the “Double-Sided Light Saber” was just cool and outright, puts wow’s on your face. The CGI and Human actors working together were done perfectly and it almost makes you believe they were really there in the shot. A perfect battle in space, as what would a star wars movie be without a big space battle? This makes the movie just that more likable and great for any star wars fan.
For most star war fans, the story starts slow. Not too much is going on until the middle of the film when Anakin comes into the cast and things pick up. There are a lot of easter eggs in the script. If you have watched Episode 4,5 and 6 or at least know the basic story of Darth Vader, the Empire and the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the force, you will be able to pick up little things here and there. I know most people knew who the Emperor is after the first scene with Palpatine played by Ian McDiarmid.
Many people thought that Yoda voiced by Frank Oz was the one who trains Obi-Wan Kenobi, and now we see that it was Qui-Gon Jinn. Another hidden fact, that is not shown fully until Episode 2, that all Jedi are first trained by Yoda when they are young and then become an apprentice to another Jedi-Master as they get older. For the most part, the story was very good and I think it did a good job for setting up the next movie, which will go deeper into Anakin and the empire, this movie was only a set up to show how it started to break down. Some fans think this is the worst of the Star Wars films, I say no. Look a little deeper and look at it as a whole, not as a part and it will make a lot more sense and will come together.
The cuts and way the film comes together were done very well. Not as fast going as say the first 3 films. But overall was a good way of getting the job done. The pod race in the middle of the film really picked up things and was very good at all fronts. The big battle at the end, with the Droid and the space battle and the battle in the tower, was a nice touch. What would a star wars movie be without a light Saber fight? We got a small preview near the middle with Qui-Gon Jinn vs Darth Maul.
It was a short, yet good fight between them. The later bigger fight which leads to Darth Maul killing Qui-Gon Jinn only to be killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi was nice. The first time we get to see that Obi-Wan Kenobi is not just an old man but a dam good Jedi. This scene with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the dying Qui-Gon Jinn was perfect with setting up Obi-Wan Kenobi to train Anakin, who is the chosen one. As early in the film, Yoda and the rest feared danger in this training and was not going to have him be trained. As we all know what the danger is. If you don’t know by now. Please read the review over and you will get it. The overall movie was good and one of my favorite star wars movies.
This was by far the hardest rating, as for me I would have given this a 5, but that’s not this section is for. How did the overall fan’s response to the film? Not very well. Many people thought it was weak, with too much CGI a weak story and weak actors that couldn’t do anything more than what George Lucas told them to do. Since these characters were younger versions of the future ones, which has already been played by different actors, many felt that they were not able to make the characters their own.
I think they did a great job. Anakin’s character is by far the hardest as you have to make people believe you are good, but with the right events in place, you can turn evil. Which I think Jake Lloyd did a good job in showing that. Besides what the fans think, most are missing the bigger picture. This is the first episode that takes place 30 years before episode 4. All the events that are happening make the characters who they are in the first movies, and I believe they did a great job with it. As for the rest of the film, well it was just fantastic and good job on George Lucas part.
My final thought about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was that even know this was the first episode in a 6 part movie where 3 of them had already been made. That fact a lot of CGI effects were used for things I thought they could have not used them. The cast of actors picked, the way fans reacted to the film. I believe that this was just as good as Episode 4 and was a great way to opening the world back up to the galaxy was all know and love, a galaxy far, far away…