Star Wars: Episode 1-Phantom Menace

Stars: Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor

Methinks the legend is ailing! If George Lucas had taken the time to introduce the legend, by properly developing the characters and exploring the history of The Force’s Jedi Knights and its opposing forces, he would have made this far more interesting. Instead, Lucas just seemed to be going for the action at the expense of story.

The quality of the film itself was very poor in that everything seemed dark and blurry to me. No, there was nothing wrong with the projector. But, even the outdoor scenes were not crisp and appeared to be underexposed. I don’t know where this came from but it was annoying throughout the film. And I was not the only person who noticed this.

The boy Lucas chose to portray Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) was cute and sure looked the part but as an actor, he really had nothing going for him – stiff line delivery overall. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor appear as the heroic Jedis – with McGregor portraying a young Jedi-in-training Obi Wan Kenobi. No problem with their acting, it’s just that their characters weren’t terribly interesting.

Another vast disappointment was Lucas’ editing technique. He went through all the trouble of creating numerous races of aliens and you couldn’t enjoy them. So fast were his pans and edits that it amounted to a bunch of background aliens that you could hardly get a feel of what they were all about. This is very unlike the first series of films that took great pleasure in introducing us to these magnificent creations.

The blue flying parts-dealer (Watto) was the only one that interested me. I thought the droids, particularly the droid army creations for the final ground battle were quite well done as was the machinery. I absolutely detested the Caribbean-jive talking alien that became the knights’ sidekick (Jar Jar Binks). I didn’t like the fact that he resembled a human, standing upright with similar extremities. The way he spoke was annoying as were his actions. The dialogue was childish with too many bad jokes. I wished I had had some relief from this kind of comic-relief! Additionally, I could hardly understand a word that the leader of his race (the Gungan) spoke. In fact, all the aliens seemed to be muttering in this film.

The only high points were the Ben-Hur styled motorized pod race and the traditional Lightsaber Battle between the Jedis and the evil Darth Maul, apprentice to the Emperor. Great swordsmanship. Oh, yeah and R2D2 – the ever cute fire-plug sized droid.

George Lucas desperately needs someone he can trust who can watch his back. I think he’s too close to the story and film and needs some good feedback so that the rest of the prequel episodes don’t end up like this one.

Lotta says go for the storyline and characters , George, we all know you can do action.