555. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

555-star-wars-phantom-menaceBackground info

Title: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Director: George Lucas
Year: 1999
Run time: 2hrs 16m

“See the first fateful steps in the journey of Anakin Skywalker. Stranded on the desert planet Tatooine after rescuing young Queen Amidala from the impending invasion of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn discover nine-year-old Anakin, a young slave unusually strong in the Force. Anakin wins a thrilling Podrace and with it his freedom as he leaves his home to be trained as a Jedi. The heroes return to Naboo where Anakin and the Queen face massive invasion forces while the two Jedi contend with a deadly foe named Darth Maul. Only then do they realise the invasion is merely the first step in a sinister scheme by the re-emergent forces of darkness known as the Sith.”

Live blog

0:30 – It should say “An even longer time ago…” really.
3:13 – Neeson! Jedi’s have specialist sets of skills, don’t they?
6:27 – Ooh, never thought of using the lightsaber to get through doors like that.
9:38 – It’s so hard to hear the word Ambassadors these day. Are they having a reception?
16:00 – Um bongo?
18:26 – That’s like Jurassic Park. T-Rex to the rescue.
25:19 – It’s a lovely shiny spaceship they have there. Wouldn’t want to be the one who has to clean it.
28:36 – Yay R2!
34:22 – “Mind tricks don’t work on me, only money.”
38:45 – R2 and 3PO meet for the first time!
47:35 – Wait, so Darth Vader is also Jesus?
56:52 – It’s nice that they don’t have grid girls. C-3PO doing the duty for Annie.
1:00:27 – That was actually Warwick Davis, not being an Ewok!
1:13:36 – “You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.”
1:24:42 – Yoda!
1:31:02 – The traffic in the sky is beautiful at night. We need that in our lives.
1:35:33 – “Your focus determines your destiny.”
1:49:28 – God, look at that army! Terrifying.
1:52:26 – Double ended lightsaber is epic. I would do myself so much damage with one of those.
1:58:12 – Jar Jar reminds me so much of Mr Bean.

Conclusions

When discussing the order to watch the Star Wars films in, many people suggested leaving out the prequels altogether. That was hardly likely to happen, not least because I bought the digital box set and didn’t want to waste my pennies. So many people don’t like these three films though, I don’t think my expectations could have been any lower.

Which made it even more of a surprise that I really quite enjoyed it. It was nowhere near as good as the first three, obviously, but as a film it worked and it set up the origins of the story really neatly.

There were weird things to get used to, Amidala’s bizarre voice, and of course Jar Jar Binks. I can totally understand why people dislike Binks so much, his accent and way of constructing sentences made it particularly hard work to follow his scenes. But once they escaped from the water and he didn’t say so much, and instead just proved a foil falling over every which way, I thought he was quite funny.

The Podrace was a little bit wacky races, and at first I couldn’t believe we’d have to sit through all of the laps, but then that sort of grew on me too, and I was invested.

So overall, it was much better than I expected given all the negative talk about it, and I’m quite keen to get on and watch the next two, see how this thing all pans out.

Rating: 3/5.

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