Oh, WOW!!! Where do I start? The moment was finally here. The opening credits rolled - we were all screaming with delight. I was nearly in tears. Amazing! To think I was actually seeing a new Star Wars movie!
My reactions to the movie are nearly all good. It was interesting how the Jedi were portrayed. From the original trilogy, we knew that they were once an important part of the galaxy, but we never really knew how. Now we get to see how they used to be, to see what they were before they were destroyed by Darth Vader. Let's examine the characters. First, Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn. He was absolutely fantastic!! I knew he would be. I've always admired his acting ability. I have no complaints at all about him. WOW! His death scene was good, VERY good. I was sobbing all the way through the end credits. Both he and Ewan McGregor did a stupendous job. I had my doubts about Ewan as I went in, I had none as I left. His character was a little underdeveloped, but I say that because I know what his character becomes in Episodes IV-VI. That's the problem with already knowing the end of a story. His character should be developed much more fully in the next two. He did an excellent job of showing his grief for a dying friend who had really been a father to him. Oh, and let's not forget that these two men had nice accents. :)
JarJar. What can I say about him? People I talked to had portrayed him as so utterly despicable that he was beyond all hope of liking. I didn't have a very good opinion of him from the trailers either. He turned out to be less annoying than I had anticipated, though. Still, I think far too much focus was given to him. At times, I felt like his dialogue was inappropriate to the scene, and was just added because they wanted him to be noticed. I feel like, unfortunately, George has resorted to some shallow humor regarding this character. Why must he be a bumbling, clumsy fellow? It's almost a cliche. It was too much.
Anakin was somewhat of a disappointment, mostly because I had expected him to be different. That is the problem with excessive hype about movies - we get our preconceived ideas about characters, plot points, etc., and when the movie is different we don't like it. He was a very believable child, but at the same time I didn't think he carried the seriousness and maturity that a child slave would have. Of course, this could be attributed to the scriptwriters. His outbursts of "Yippee!" bothered me because I wanted him to be different, but if I ignore my preconceived ideas, he did a pretty good job. Plus, he's a cute kid!
I'm eternally jealous of Natalie Portman. She's so beautiful and she's a splendid actress. She did the split role well. Ian McDiarmid did a wonderful job playing a seemingly good senator on the surface with evil intentions underneath. Ray Parks... WOW! He far exceeded my expectations. He was SO GREAT! And let's not forget his menacing facial expressions. The first time he appeared I caught my breath. As a villain, he demanded attention and was very, very effective. Some people have complained that he should have been more like Darth Vader, but I'm proud of George Lucas for being able to create different kinds of villains.
Which brings me to the duel! Can I just say I was completely taken in by this? It was the most breathtaking duel I have EVER seen, Star Wars-wise or otherwise. It was incredible. This was a very fitting end to the movie. This scene alone made the whole thing worth it. Not that the rest wasn't "worth it," but for those who can do nothing but complain about the movie, they need to see it for this scene. Fast-paced, tragic, awe-inspiring all at once.
The pod race was enjoyable in every aspect except one. I hated the announcer. That was an unnecessary character cliche, and I didn't find him funny at all.
I thought the plot point explaining the Force scientifically was interesting. I'm still contemplating my reactions to throwing this in. I'm not sure if it was necessary, but I think I did like it.
I would have liked to have seen more of the Jedi Council. I was looking forward to seeing Yaddle, among others, but we never got to know him at all. Samuel L. Jackson was superb in his role. I do wish he could have had a little more screen time, but again, his character will be more developed in the next episodes.
The costumes were gorgeous! Bravo! The music was astounding. Perfect. Wonderful. John Williams is nothing short of a genius. Duel of the Fates - Mmmm... Truly moving. And finally, the special effects. I was surprisingly impressed. I used to cringe at the mention of computer animated characters. This movie has believable CGI characters. The sets were beautiful as well. It all fit together into a believable galaxy. Naboo was breathtakingly beautiful! It is indeed a breakthrough in movie technology, and once again, George Lucas was the first to do it. I have to add, though, that the real, physical characters are who I ultimately ended up caring for. CGI characters will never be quite as "human" (for the lack of a better term).
As for the story itself, of course it leaves loose ends. It's supposed to. It's comparable to A New Hope. It's overall an exciting, happy movie that promises more to come.
So yes, there were a few things I would like to have been different. I expected that. Overall though, a fabulous movie. One I will see again and again. It is destined to take its place next to its predecessors!
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