Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé, while Obi-Wan investigates an assassination attempt on the Senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.
The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedi escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala, but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually, they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the Sith really extinct? Is the Queen really who she says she is? And what's so special about this young boy? Written by
I have been a 'Star Wars' fan since first seeing it back in 1977 at the age of thirteen. I've seen 'A New Hope' at least twenty times, 'The Empire Strikes Back' about a dozen, and 'Return of the Jedi' more than once. I've read many of the novels and to this day still collect toys and action figures. I spent eight hours in line for tickets and a seat, finally seeing 'The Phantom Menace' on the first day at 3:00 AM. I desperately wanted to like it, and made every attempt to make allowances and keep an open mind.
But I couldn't do it. It was just too pathetic.
Had this movie been made by someone else, I might not be so critical. But George Lucas has always insisted that cutting-edge effects are secondary to a good story. Too bad someone close to him doesn't remind him of this. I've heard Lucas say he hates to write. Well, it shows. Most scenes are just tedious, obligatory filler material between spectacular effects sequences. Rather than illustrate character through action and behavior, the script delegates that task to other characters to say aloud.
Even though the first movies appealed to both children and adults, many defend 'The Phantom Menace' by saying it was made just for kids. But I find it hard to imagine children caring about trade disputes. And the level of violence is more suitable for teens and adults. Besides, how will these children in the audience react in a few years when their hero 'Ani' grows up, turns evil and kills everyone?
Perhaps George Lucas' biggest crime is his attempt to explain the Force in scientific terms. This not only contradicted what had been established in the other films, but it eliminated the one thing that distinguished 'Star Wars' from standard science fictions films - an element of fantasy.
Although all the archetypes of the original are here: a wide-eyed youth, a wise mentor, an alien sidekick and a royal damsel in distress, this time it doesn't work. Keen characters and witty dialog have been replaced by potty humor and pratfalls. This will be the last 'Star Wars' film I ever see.
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