A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a horrible prequel was made.
If you haven’t read it, in my previous blog post – “Top 10 Horrible Movie Sequels” I listed Phantom Menace as #7. I wish that I re-saw this film before writing that list, cause I forgot how truly horrible and boring this movie truly is; might of ranked it in top 3 looking back on it.
IT IS THAT BAD.
I have a feeling back in 1999, when this film originally come out in it’s old school 2-D glory, there was a big wave of Star Wars nostalgia running across the world. The original trilogy was re-released only a few years prior in the theaters and all three did a killing in the box office. Lucas was on record about saying he was working over the new trilogy again and again to get it perfect. We had a young Obi-Wan, a new crop of Jedi’s and a Darth Sith villain that was not Vader, but just as scary in the devil like Darth Maul. This was going to be the start of the downfall of Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader. That was the hype of the movie. If I rated this movie on its hype, it’s a solid 9 out of 10…but then the fateful day it came out and all that hype went down in a fiery wreck…just like a Pod-Racer.
Now most people will just go to Jar-Jar Binks as the main blame for Phantom Menace…and they will be right, but it goes beyond Jar-Jar. But lets be honest, Jar-Jar is horrible. We could talk about how its nothing more than racist stereotype on black people, a new age way of doing black face sans the makeup, but what just makes it worse than being a stereotype is how far George Lucas just pandered to children to sell this film, like nobody else besides kids from ages 2 to 8 wanted to see a Star Wars movie. The one thing I guess I repressed in my memory that stood out to me was that about a half hour into the film there was a fart joke. A fart joke in a Star Wars film. What. The. Fuck.
Now like I said, there is more going against this film than Jar-Jar…for one, the plot? Red Letter Media (check him out, he is amazing: http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/) in his review of the film pointed out that there was no plot…at least nothing that anyone could care about. The closest you come to caring about what happens in this film is not until the pod race because for the first time in the running length of this absurd creature, you finally are given stakes. Lil’ Vader is going to race his pod as Qui-Gon is gambling on the race to get new parts and Anakin freed from slavery if he wins. After that? More talk about intergalactic-trade-federation-government bullshit that is not for the kids and definitely not for any grown adult besides Lucas, cause who can understand anything they are droning on about?
If I have ANY positive notes about Phantom Menace it is this… Darth Maul. For a Sith Lord he has pretty sparing screen time, but I think it works for him. We are not oversaturated with Maul through the first 2 hours of the film, so when we finally get a full on sequence with him, it means something to the people, since they know shit is going down. And he also has the moment in Phantom Menace. Just like when Vader made his first apperance in New Hope; when Luke learned who his father was in Empire; and when we see the face off of Luke and Vader in Jedi…Phantom Menace has the one moment that stands out, claiming pure badassery (it’s word, look it up), when Darth Maul ready for a 2 on 1 lightsaber battle pops out a …a…a…
From there though, Star Wars Episode 1 is the biggest mistake in the franchises history from movies to books to comics to videogames. It is the red headed step child amongst the Star Wars family and it is treated as such…as it should be. Sadly, from the moment Episode I was released, the idea and aura of Star Wars was forever diminished and probably will never regain that nostaltic glory again.
I give Phantom Menace a THREE out of TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.
But I give it an even bigger Jar-Jar Binks out of TEN, on the scale of please carve my fuckin eyes out with a lightsaber.
P.S. What the fuck is a Phantom Menace, anyway?