The Phantom Menace at 20: A Defense

Discussion in 'Star Wars' started by cooleddie74, May 19, 2019.

  1. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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  2. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  3. Spot's Meow

    Spot's Meow Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I can't believe it's already been 20 years. I still feel as torn about this movie now as I did back then. I wasn't as big of a Star Wars fan then, so I didn't come in with a lot of preconceived notions or expectations, yet there was still some disappointment. I think the biggest issue for me has always been the dialogue. It's just not realistic at all, and sounds like it was written by an amateur. I remember the film feeling nearly emotionless, even in scenes that should have been impactful. If not for the amazing music, it would have been even worse. I could get over the annoying Jar Jar, I could get over whatever inconsistencies existed, or boring parts, but I can't get over horrible dialogue.

    Also, that podrace. That effing podrace that felt like it would never end. Took me right out of the movie. I hate that part.
     
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  4. ichab

    ichab Commodore Commodore

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    For me this film has only gotten worse with time. A film with Natalie Portman, Samuel L Jackson, Liam Neisan and Ewan McGregor shouldn't have as many dull, lifeless scenes as it does. Jake Loyd doesn't work as the young Anakin,and Jar jar is too over the top, but I put the blame for all this on Lucas. Without a good collaborator, his films are poorly written and can't be saved by even the best actors. The only parts that work are the score, the beautiful landscapes and the fight sequences.

    ROTS is the prequal movie I rewatch because that was the only part of the past I was interested in, but even that suffers (order 66 especially) due to the lack of character development in the previous films. Imagine going to Endgame and not caring as much about the characters who were offed. That's the difference between good and bad writing.
     
  5. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

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    TPM is The Last Jedi without the identity-politics. In other words, it's just bad, but both movies ARE pretty to look at (and have John Williams Music).

    TPM was really the straw that broke the camel's back of SW fandom after the warning sign of Ewoks in 1983 and the 2nd big warning sign in how Lucas handled the special edition. The reason the Force Awakens made so much money is because alienated fans went into it with a lot of wishful thinking given the change in creative stewardship. Now many of us are wanting Lucas back, seemingly having forgotten his own unique set of limitations.

    I think the worst part about TPM is how it opens. I was there on opening day and I can't tell you how much of a letdown it was to see that opening scene with the Jackie Chan aliens. It was SOOOOO anticlimactic. B-movie grade schlock of an opener compared to the Star Destroyer scene in ANH. I didn't wait all those years to be sort of dumped into a Jedi "procedural" of them dealing with routine trade federation conflicts. I wanted David Lean style epic sweep right from the first frame. That set the tone throughout the film and no amount of Gungan bodies on the battlefield would change that.
     
  6. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That would have been funny if they started doing martial arts.
     
  7. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Phantom Menace is, for me, the best of the prequels and the third best of the Lucasian Star Wars films. There's a sensawunder and inventiveness to it that I didn't feel the following two films ever recaptured.
     
  8. Koric

    Koric Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ahh The Phantom Menace...what to say? Terry Brooks did a decent novelization. The book was better than the film with the canon addition of the Sith Legend of Darth Bane. As for the film. I think Lucas should have ditched the Episode number in the title just call it Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Its not like fans dont know what episode we are watching.

    The sad thing was its Lucas vs his ID on the title and probably throughout the creation of the film. He wanted to tell us of Darth Sidious but not ruin the film in the title. I love the film, but could it have been better? Absolutely. This is not trashing Lucas at all. For me the way I overlook the weaknesses is to say its a Jedi vs Sith conflict FIRST peppered with personal stories and conflicts that are secondary.

    I think the prequels in general should be seen as a Jedi vs Sith conflict PRIMARILY.

    But the best parts, not enough Darth Sidious in the story, not enough Darth Maul in the story, and Qui-Gon Jinny Jinn too.

    Both Darth Maul and Qui-Gon shouldnt have been killed in this film. If Lucas said the prequels and the original trilogy were symmetrical then the biggest missed opportunity is having Qui-Gon in the prequels more like Obi-Wan's ghost in the original trilogy too.

    But did anyone notice that Darth Maul ended up like Boba Fett in the trilogy in more ways than one? In both cases in the story and the creation of the characters were exactly the same. Both had a different actor acting the film. Both had a voice actor changing the voice. Both were hugely popular and had a huge impact on the story. Both had punk deaths almost like Mace Windu who fell out the winduu. LOL. Just kidding.

    But, the Sith Rule of Two should have started when Sidious took power with the Jedi Purge, and prior should have had the Sith in the shadows everywhere to show how blind and weak the Jedi were. But also to have like a group of Sith, like a coven to use their powers and abilities in the Dark Side to create and resurrect the armored Darth Vader. Then have Vader and Sidious kill the Jedi and the Sith to institute rule.

    Sorry for the long post. But long story short Lucas had awesome ideas that he should have and could have taken to new and better places, in some missed opportunity. But I love the book and the film and I truly feel as with all Star Wars films, watch the film and read the novelizations. Each definitely should go hand in hand.
    -Koric
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  9. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's a problem. In the OT, ghost Obi-Wan had arguably legitimate ( though not, er, universally accepted ) reasons for not telling Luke everything.

    In the prequels, for the love of Waru, why doesn't ghost Qui-Gon tell the Jedi about Palpatine?
     
  10. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Plot and storyline convenience. :p
     
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  11. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Because what happened was what HAD to happen. It was the will of the Force, and no Jedi was more respectful of that than Qui-Gon.
     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Completely agree. I think the closest we got was Qui-Gon's voice in AOTC but that required just a touch more explanation as to why Yoda could hear Qui-Gon but no other Jedi could.
     
  13. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But it didn't have to happen... things could have turned out differently.

    Yoda has more experience than any other living Jedi and is implied to have a higher midichlorian count than anyone except Anakin, for whatever that's worth.
     
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  14. HugeLobes

    HugeLobes Captain Captain

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    It's both the best and the most boring. Look at TPM compared to AOTC or ROTS and it really feels like Lucas put in a lot more work. I think he genuinely tried and was then genuinely shocked when the film wasn't loved like the originals. It's a hell of a fall from 'the genius behind Star Wars and Indiana Jones' to 'the man who gave us Jar Jar and RUINED MY CHILDHOOD'. AOTC and ROTS are easier to watch, but I'd say they rely more on spectacle to win people over. In terms of plot and character, TPM is by far the richest movie.

    This is true, but there's a big difference between the two. Boba Fett was a relatively minor character who just happened to catch on, kinda like Admiral Piett. Darth Maul was more purposely designed to appeal to viewers in quite a shallow way, and he was far more important to the plot. I've said this before, but I kinda consider him the worst character in TPM.

    I'd nominate Qui Gon as the best character. He makes a lot of fairly stupid decisions, but he's the only Jedi in the prequels who actually feels like a Jedi.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  15. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No doubt -- but of course there had already been prior signs of trouble in the Ewoks and later the SEs including the "Greedo shot first" fuckery. It's just that the issues people had had with ROTJ got swept under the rug when the OT became regarded as monolithic over the years.
     
  16. HugeLobes

    HugeLobes Captain Captain

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    I don't think that's true. People still dislike the Ewoks and find ROTJ the weakest of the OT. Nothing swept under the rug.
     
  17. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm talking about context in which the OT is treated effectively as a unit. For example, you used the phrase "loved like the originals". I'm just saying the dramatic fall from "the genius behind Star Wars" to "ruined my childhood" becomes a little more complicated when "the genius behind Star Wars" is also "the guy who gave us Ewoks" and "the man behind Greedo shooting first". :techman:
     
  18. HugeLobes

    HugeLobes Captain Captain

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    Ah, fair enough. I would say the Ewoks tend to be more negatively regarded now than they were before the prequels hit.
     
  19. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to admit that it's different with internet. I can hardly say that I had my finger on the pulse of popular opinion back in 1983.
     
  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Not from my experience. Ewoks were not regarded as well, and I definitely have had older fans that I know who consider Ewoks negatively from the word go.