Skip to comments.The Phantom Menace: was it THAT bad?
Posted on 02/13/2012 8:42:27 PM PST by nickcarraway
In the dock, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace stands accused. Counsel for the prosecution is Neil Smith. Counsel for the defence is Jonathan Crocker. Court is in session!
The Phantom Menace has the dubious honour of being perhaps the most despised film of the last 20 years. With expectations sky-high following everyone's favourite sci-fi trilogy, Part I, for many, failed to deliver the pure thrill the Star Wars universe promised in the 70s and 80s. George Lucas must have instantly regretted the inclusion of infamous alien rasta Jar Jar Binks.
With The Phantom Menace coming to cinemas in a new 3D re-release (The first of all six movies' 3D versions), MSN Movies held a debate. The question: Is The Phantom Menace that bad? Counsels Smith (prosecution) and Crocker (defence) have delivered their statements below. YOU are the judges. Please offer up your verdicts in the comments!
COMPARISONS TO THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
The Prosecution The main difference between the original trilogy and Phantom? There's nothing at stake. Where Star Wars began by plunging us headlong into an intergalactic civil war in which entire planets hung in the balance, Phantom involves a dreary trade dispute in which the only things up for grabs are figures on a spreadsheet. The original trilogy charts a young man's rite of passage from humble farm boy to heroic knight. Phantom, to quote Simon Pegg, is "a veiled whine about having to pay taxes". The first three pictures are fun, fast and epic. Phantom is slow, confusing, meandering and dull.
Choreographed by Brit stuntman/swordmaster Nick Gillard (Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Henry V, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Wanted), the three-way "Duel Of The Fates" isn't just the best sword fight in any Star Wars film, it's one of the best sword
(Excerpt) Read more at movies.uk.msn.com ...
Q(PM) = (Q(Return of the Jedi) - Q(Empire Strikes Back)) / (1983 - 1980) * (1999 - 1983)
or the quality drop from Return of the Jedi to Phantom Menace would be 5.33 times as great as the quality drop from Empire Strikes Back to Return of the Jedi (because of a 16 year gap rather than just 3). That estimate didn't even come close to the black hole of suckage that Phantom Menace turned out to be.
They could have used a second sun.
Proving that a review of a film can be more entertaining than the film itself.
Not gonna argue. Just gonna call it as I saw it in 1999 and especially after 2005: After the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back (and in that order), The Phantom Menace was third-best Star Wars movie. Return of the Jedi remains the worst, followed closely by Attack of the Clones.
How would you rate it against Tuskegee Airmen ?
It was worse than abominable.
Lucas tried to tell 5 concurrent stories and ended up with a meaningless mess. My brother is a Star Wars fanatic. He promptly resaw the movie the next day. I asked why. He said that he thought maybe he missed something and that it would make sense after a second showing. He said the second showing was even worse than the first.
I don’t remember if that movie had Jar Jar binks, but I cringed every time that abysmal character was on the screen.
Just an incomprehensible miss mash.
We saw the 2nd movie and it played like a 2 hour commercial for a videogame.
I never saw the 3rd movie and will likely never see another Lucas made movie.
Lucas and Spielberg both jumped the shark after Indy 3. I don’t believe they have made a movie worth snot between them since Indy 3.
My brother dragged me to see War of the Worlds, and aside from the action when the alien ships were destroying everything, the movie was utter garbage. I was on the edge of my seat every time the action came on with the alien ships, but the parts in between were so bad, a college freshman amateur could have produced a better movie.
Lucas and Spielberg are scum. And I haven’t even begun to discuss them in political terms yet.
I’ve had to work on this 3D project for awhile, dreadful, just dreadful!
It's all right there ~ the age difference makes no difference with those guys.
“Queen Amidala is young and naive.” - Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Why would they prize making someone young and naive the leader of their planet? The reason is George Lucas. He could not write a story where Anakin and Queen Amidala were close enough in age. So he conjures up a story where she is the fourteen year old leader of the planet while Anakin is a nine year old slave.
I wish they had never written the prequels. Each one is worse than the next. The one thing I wanted to know was why Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Simple question. So I expected a satisfying answer.
I know how Anakin became Darth, but to this day I don’t see a compelling reason why he became Vader. After waiting nearly 30 years, Revenge of the Sith was one big disappointment.
TPM was bad enough to make me rush home and watch “Hardware Wars”, with its tagline “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye.”...
PM was the first SW film seen by my daughter at about age 5. Her eyes were wide with amazement, and she loved Anakin and Queen Amadala.
I was disappointed but over the years I’ve come to revere the film. I refuse to watch the next two anymore, except the finale of Attack of the Clones. Lucas had the most successful film of all time in PM and then listened to all his critics.
In addition to Darth Maul and the great light sabre battle, PM succesfully introduced a ton of interesting new characters. Also the story is rather poignant, and the climactic battle scene is well done. I think it’s a fantastic story world for kids.
Attack of the Clones is unwatchable, and the “third” film missed so many opportunities at great scenes I think the average fan could have told Lucas how to improve the script.
No one said Obi Wan didn’t know Luke had a sister, just that when OW says “that boy was our last hope” Yoda says “No, there is another”. More of a reminder. I think OW may be the one who tells Luke.
Major beef w Episode 3, all the biggest scenes were poorly done you sit there rewriting them BUT
The absolute worst is, why the heck does Yoda stop fighting Palpatine and give up the whole war and galaxy for that matter? They fight to an absolute draw and after Yoda falls from a height, he hops in an escape vehicle and announces “Into exile I will go”.
Meanwhile, Obi Wan outright DEFEATS Anakin, yet he and Yoda go into full retreat and hiding. Makes no sense.
I don't know. I kept falling asleep.
The republic fell because of Jar Jar Binks - he was responsible for making the motion which first granted Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers and formed the Army of the Republic, triggering the clone wars, the decimation of the Jedi and weakening the republic to the point where the sith just walked right in.
4. There are only two can be. Only TWO evil Sith Lords!? What? Really!? What fun is that? What is the point of a whole buncha Jedi, and why cant a whole buncha Jedi find two Sith, take them down, what have you? (and dont give me that clouded b.s.)
9. Oh, yeah, lets make said Sith look like... the DEVIL! Gee, do you think hes evil? Im not sure. Never sure what his motivation was. He never did much, only looked menacing. What revenge is he talking about...
Actually, a whole epic backstory extending 4,000 years before the Battle of Yavin has been developed by the fanbase and the gaming community, which is pretty cool, much better than Lucas' drivel.
Just before Christmas, Bioware released a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game similar to the World of Warcraft called Star Wars: The Old Republic which tells that story, or at least a critical part of it. You've probably seen the ads all over the web for it.
The result: after you get over the original sense of disappointment, the movies aren't that bad, although the part of Anakin in all three is just painful, and Amidala isn't much better. So, while the movies aren't all that bad, they're not great, either. The focus is all wrong in them as well, spending too much time on the character details of Anakin and Amidala, and not enough on how the war affects Anakin so strongly that he is susceptible to Palpatine's lure.
To that end, the animated Clone Wars series they're running on Cartoon Network is, in my opinion, easily the best Star Wars anything that's been made since Empire.
You are only using extraneous sources to fill out the story for you. I did not need to use a extra sources of material to enjoy the first three original movies. The cross-media BS from Lucas is over rated.
“Rule of Two” is BORING! Does not make good sci-fi storytelling.
If it takes a fanbase to tell the story better than George Lucas, creator of the series, that’s pretty sad.
I'll take "too cute" over "too dark" any day. And "too cute" is not even in the same league of badness as "what where you thinking" that led to STV and BE.
And when a huge chunk of your audience is smallish children, "too cute" is good business. Rent a half dozen "Barbie" movies and watch them. If you survive the sugar coma, it will put PM in perspective.
I wasn’t familiar with it - I had to Google it. That one came out in the mid-90’s, when our kids were very young and we never made it to the movies, rarely rented, and didn’t even have cable that would allow us to hear about them.
It looks like it might be worth a rental.
Three feature length chances and we never got to see what we should have seen, at least in the third movie—a huge guy in a shiny black suit and helmet breathing heavy, killing hordes of jedi warriors. At least a scene or two. Instead we recieved a whiner killing toddlers and moaning about it. We have a fight or two with Yoda, but not Vader kicking butt. And Yoda looked like Carol O’Connor. They should have made Yoda 200 feet tall like Godzilla and say his race shrinks as they age.
The Jedi were revealed to be a bunch of dim bulbs.
Harry S. Plinkett sure thinks it was THAT bad. It was the most disappointing thing since his son...
The Jedi Council is “The View” - in bathrobes.
STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE
Domestic Lifetime Gross (original release + 3D re-release): $453,558,227 (as of 12 February 2012)
Nope, I'd say he didn't regret one bit of it.
Yes, Yes it was.
Lucas should have farmed out the dialogue, not only for this, but for all of this trilogy, it is painful to watch at all levels.. The dialogue is among some of the cheesiest and dumbest on any movie with such a budget.
Star Trek 5 was better than Phantom Menace. Battlefield Earth was definitely worse.
Don't get out much, huh?
I think it's pretty clear he doesn't give a damn about the fans.
Look at what BioWare did in a few cinematics to preview "The Old Republic." Compare that obvious love of the universe and epic scale to what Lucas has done....there's no contest.
Perhaps she promised them "Hope" and "Change."
I have to admit to having Red Letter Media as one of my guilty pleasures.
I've only half-seen a couple of episodes so far, but they were pretty good. You get to see the clones as a bit more human and less as an organic counterpart to the droid army, as they deal with the conflicts between following orders and doing what they think is the right thing.
Yes, the Midichlorians absolutely ruined the mystical connotations of the Force.
It was no longer “Do or do not, there is no try”, where belief in your abilities and a strong connection to the Force was all anybody needed to move a rock, or an entire spaceship.
Now it was “sorry, your midichlorian count just isn’t sufficient to move an object of that mass.”
Oh yeah. I’ve seen all of the Plinkett reviews. When I first saw the Phantom Menace review, I was astounded at how well he nailed exactly what I’d been thinking.
And that bit he does with the background Star Trek officer asking questions about the logical flaws in everyone’s plans never ceases to send me into hysterics. I don’t even know why, it’s just damned funny.
I can only imagine! Meesa gonna have nightmares.
It is amazing to me how much that review has shaped my view of storytelling.
Stories should usually follow a classic narrative pattern with an protagonist people can identify with.
Characters should have defining characteristics above and beyond what they do and what they look like.
Action sequences should have an element of danger to them for dramatic tension - otherwise it is just guys dancing around with light swords knocking down special effects.
I’d be interested to know what some of the common innacuracies are. I can’t say I know enough of the details to respond to them.
The Red Tails movie was definitely historical fiction, not documentary. The plot was about a specific group of fictional flyers who happened to be Tuskegee Airmen, but but the Tuskegee Airmen as a whole were secondary.
The aerial combat scenes were spectaculaer to watch, but they were very sanitized. The Captain starts losing it over a couple of KIAs. A few bombers are shot down, but in historical accounts we normally hear about massive attrition rates for bomber uinits. The Red Tail kill to loss rates were unrealistice.
Despite the flaws, and I don’t know that they were really flaws, the movie was very good.
I know this rthread is supposed to be about Phantom Menace, but I’d rather talk about anything else.
The whole Anakin Skywalker plot was stupid, and full of holes. They end the movie with Anakin's mom still being held by the slave owner, which turns into an issue in the next episode. An organization like the Jedi couldn't be bothered to send somebody back to get Anakin's mom after they get off the planet?
To be fair, the Jedi were portrayed (intentionally or not) as arrogant and short-sighted. In fact, they fairly well deserved what they got in the end.
You owe an apology to every Basset Hound that ever lived.
I took “No, there is another” as Yoda only knew.
And OW does tell Luke after this, once he was told by Yoda. That was my take.
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