Review: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

While `Phantom’ is a rather reasonable Hollywood Blockbuster and a good film in its own right, as an episode in the Star Wars Saga it really does not live up to the reputation.

What makes a Star Wars movie great? It is nothing less than its characters and ideas! Darth Vadar, Han Solo and Yoda are all household names and the average person is easily captivated by their presence on screen, and the concept of the force could almost be considered a real-life cult. The parallels to be drawn between a world war 2 bombing run and the trench run on the Death Star made the fantastical world seem so real. The original trilogy was the be all and end all of great Saturday night entertainment.

So why does `Phantom’ fail? To begin with, Darth Maul has nowhere near the presence of Darth Vadar and the young emperor seems less foreboding. The hero is an annoying ten-year-old boy and the dialogue seems rather out of place in many situations. The love angle between Amidala and Anakin is amateur in comparison to the tension between Han and Lea and it is also rather abrupt and unbelievable. The standout point would have to be Jar Jar who is no Chewbacca. It appears the creation of Jar Jar was motivated more towards a cheap laugh and appeal to small children rather than a valuable asset in the story.

It just doesn’t have the aura of the first films, plain and simple. The Characters are far too life-less and cheap, the situations are far more one-dimensional and forced and the dialogue takes itself way too seriously. Oh and on a side note, the ‘massive’ battle between toward the end of the film is a big let down.

However to be fair `Phantom’ does have a few moments when the Star Wars thrill comes out to shine. Namely the Pod Race, which like the trench run on the Death Star can be paralleled to a real world phenomenon. The Jedi battle at the end is also another highlight and one of the better sword fights to grace the silver screen.

Overall however the film lets the Star Wars reputation down, without being totally wiped out. It is a certainly not a bad film, it just had too much to live up to. I did enjoy it, I just wish wish wish… My suggestion is to make up your own mind, Star Wars fan or not.

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Film Reviews, Sci-Fi

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