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The Phantom Menace Review (2009)

 -  Comedy  -  10 December 2009 (USA)
9.1
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A serial killer decides to dissect the critically panned Star Wars prequels to determine their TRUE flaws.

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A serial killer decides to dissect the critically panned Star Wars prequels to determine their TRUE flaws.

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10 December 2009 (USA)  »

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Plinkett: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is the most disappointing thing since my son. I mean, how much more could you possibly fuck up the entire back story of Star Wars? While my son eventually hanged himself in the bathroom of the gas station, the unfortunate reality is that the Star Wars prequels is that they'll be around. Forever. They will never go away. It can never be undone.
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A near perfect analysis of the one of the most disappointing films in history
26 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

All things considered, 1999 was indeed one of the best years for film in recent memory. The Matrix shot into the vocabulary of pop culture like a bullet. M Nyt Shamalon's The Sixth Sense delivered one of the most famous endings in history. David Finch's Fight Club quickly obtained cult status. American beauty went on to sweep the Academy, and the sorely missed Stanley Kuberick delivered his final work with Eyes Wide Shut.

In hindsight, it can be seen that all of the goodwill for movie-making on display that year was undone by a film, considered so disappointing that it permanently turned one of the most powerful men in the world into a publichate figure.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, is one of those films that really showed a lot of promise in the years leading up to its release. All three films in the Original Trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi) were landmark films that forever changed the filmmaking landscape when it came to blending storytelling and special effects. Between ROTJ and TPM, were monumental leaps in CGI, courtesey of films like Toy Story, Jurassic Park, and Terminator 2. With CGI rapidly advancing, taking it back to the series that rapidly spearheaded the development of special effects- seemed like a natural idea. In the years following TPM, fans have constantly argued about its racist characterisations, the ever-so annoying jar jar binks and the ruining of the Force with scientific explanations.

But few have ever been able to look at it through a filmmakers eye, and that is where the beauty of Mr Plinkett's The Phantom Menace review begins. Mr Plinkett is actually a character written and portrayed by Mike Stoklasa who was a film school graduate and boy does it show. Right off the bat when you watch the reviews opening segment when Plinkett describes just how disappointing The Phantom Menace is , you'll know you're in for something special.

Let it be reiterated here that Stoklasa is from film school, and uses the character of Plinkett to voice his expertise on filmmaking with horrifying spades of dark humor. During the first 10 minute segment, Plinkett deals swift blows to the films narrative structure, revealing the Phantom Menace's lack of relatable characters, and more importantly the lack of a protagonist who can act as a bridge between the audience and the films political plot. This is only the beginning of the review which lasts for 70 minutes in length. Combined with Plinket's reviews for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, makes for a 4 hour undertaking. Rest assured though, not a minute is wasted. Ever wanted to know what was wrong with the films plot. Plinket quickly points out that it is never revealed to the audience why The Trade Federation is following Palpatines orders. More to the point though, he argues that Palpatines entire plan constantly foils itself- to the point where his eventual success in overthrowing the republic is just one gigantic fluke made out of flukes- not his own cleverness.

Perhaps the bizarre aspect of this review is how Stoklasa creates a narrative within Plinket's reviews and ever so cleverly, Plinket's development reflects his own critiques on TPM's narrative. I now know its possible to have more sympathy for a schizophrenic murderer then any of the characters in the Star Wars prequels. Plinket himself is a joke on the length of the reviews. To analyse and understand Star Wars enough to do three feature length videos of film criticism, you must be a psychopath. One Star wars fan missed the joke and sadly wrote a 108 page rebuttal over the course of six months, defending the films internal logic but completely ignoring its narrative problems.

When Plinket discusses the film's climatic sequence wherein Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi fight off Darth Maul, he shows just how forgettable the fight is, and compares it against the iconic duels featured in the Original Star Wars trilogy. This is actually a very moving moment, when you realise that the best fights in films are not about the fighting but the internalisation of the characters. ITs points like that make Plinkets reviews special, they absolutely transcend being reviews of the Star Wars prequels and make for an eye opening lesson in film criticism and movie making.

A must watch for any film fan.


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