Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedi escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala, but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually, they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the Sith really extinct? Is the Queen really who she says she is? And what's so special about this young boy? Runtime: 136 mins Release Date: 21 Oct 1999
I love the original films, probably ANH most of all. If you saw it on it's original release you had a cinema experience unlike any other. There just weren't films like this being made. Sure, it drew on films and books of the past, but nothing had looked or sounded like this.You have to remember the world we lived in then. Video games were very rudimentary. Even ASTEROIDS was several years in our future. And 2001 was one of the few films to show us convincing views of space travel.STAR WARS was something new with a capital "N". Audiences loved it. And it changed movies.By <more>
1999, we'd seen numerous Science Fiction movies, lots of space battles, lots of special effects. And video games had developed a realism that was shocking compared to what we'd had in 1977.Enter THE PHANTOM MENACE. Not only did this film have to live up to memories of the originals, it also had to compete in an entertainment world that had caught up. Lucas could never create an experience as mind-blowing as he had in the original.But he was going to try. And he was also going to try to do a few other different things. The nexus of this new thought was Jar Jar Binks. A CGI creation that was also a character. And a type of character never before seen in the SW Universe, a comic relief character. But more than that, a slapstick comic relief character.In many of the movies that inspired STAR WARS there are such characters. And Lucas wanted to try one in his films.Well, for most, he failed. Many, or at least the most vocal, hated Jar Jar Binks. And few of these people even credited him for trying something new. They didn't want Lucas' STAR WARS. They wanted their STAR WARS. A STAR WARS, it is important to note, that only exists in their minds.In addition, he decided to make Anakin a small boy. Another new decision. STAR WARS had never featured a boy character. Again, the fans whined. They didn't like it. They didn't want Lucas to try new things.But he also gave them what they came to expect. A truly great action set-piece: The pod race. One of the best action set-pieces in the entire series. And he gave them a lightsaber duel unlike any they'd ever seen. But that wasn't enough.Sadly, had Lucas made a film that was little more than a remake of STAR WARS with Anakin in the Luke role, fans would have been happy. And I think that says more about the limited scope of STAR WARS fans than it does about the talents of George Lucas.THE PHANTOM MENACE, like all the films in the series, has it's own unique tone and flavor. And though these flavors may not be to everyone's taste, I think in the coming years more and more fans will come to appreciate this film for what it is, rather than what they wish it would be.
I know it's fashionable to scorn the "prequel" trilogy, but if one stands back a bit, things tend to snap into perspective. Compare "Phantom Menace" to most any other fantasy/sci-fi film, and it has to rate very high indeed.Plot: this is the more "adult" side of the Star Wars galaxy. The politics are remarkably credible, with the entire plot hinging on the result of a vote of no-confidence! How many adults even know what that is? Hmm... maybe this explains the low ratings. The relationships between the races on Naboo, the role of the Jedi... these things <more>
are established more clearly, and depicted more credibly than in any of the other five films.Technical achievement: Lucas paints on a vast digital canvas, and creates a world of wonders that have simply never been imagined by lesser talents. This is a living, breathing, believable world, that makes the world of the original trilogy seem cartoonish and contrived by comparison. Naboo, from the city, to the underwater kingdom, to the rolling green hills, is one of the great fantasy worlds, up there with those of the Thief of Baghdad both versions , Blade Runner, or 2001. And our first glimpse of Coruscant has got to be one of the most memorable "wow" moments in the history of the movies.Characters: Liam Neeson's Qui Gon is one of the strongest characters in the Star Wars films, and Ewan McGregor's Obi Wan a worthy, more-dashing successor to the older version created by Alec Guinness. And Jar Jar Binks? Annoying? Not compared to the insipid C-3PO, or the insufferably perky R2-D2. Jar Jar is a fully formed character, with surprising depths. His manner is odd, perhaps abrasive, but he offers far more than the single note that Lucas used for his original comic-relief characters. And, of course, the fact that he is one of the first fully digital characters in film history has to be worth something. But Ian McDiarmid's Senator Palpatine is perhaps the most under-appreciated of all. This is an Oscar-worthy supporting performance, a character who is both frighteningly real and perfectly ambiguous. McDiarmid balances his performance on a knife's edge, managing to be both fatherly and deeply unsettling.Yes, it may be that a certain human dimension is weaker here than in the original Star Wars. We don't have a clear "hero". There's no Luke, no Han. That's a valid point, but it is not inevitably a criticism. Qui Gon and Obi Wan aren't the comic-book heroes of A New Hope, but they are likable, heroic, and rich in characterization. If I had a choice between seeing 10 more episodes of the life of Han Solo or of Qui Gon Jinn, I'd choose the latter without hesitation.Story: The storyline in this film seems more real, more substantial than in the other five. We have the perfect sense of scale, from human drama to global or interstellar conflict. The one quibble might be the pod race. It's certainly entertaining, but does it go on too long? I think perhaps so. This is a structural weakness, but not a huge one. Does Luke spend WAY too long on Dagobah, listening to warmed over Zen platitudes from that rubbery little jerk Yoda? Yes! Yet this is in the film most viewers seem to, unaccountably, pick as the "best" of the six. Clearly, there's some latitude for narrative digressions... And then there's the climactic sword fight. I'd rate the three-way duel in Phantom Menace as the second-best sword fight in the Star Wars series, close after the finale of Return of the Jedi. The latter has a wonderful mythic quality, but this one is more visceral, more scary... partly because Darth Maul is such a cold, merciless villain, and partly because you know from the outset that the outcome is genuinely in doubt, that one of the Good Guys really could die. And the staging, using three master swordsmen, each with very different technique... This is just about as good as action film gets. Only two or three other movie duels come close: Rob Roy, again with Neeson, oddly enough; Scaramouche; Robin Hood... I can't think of a fourth. The closing duel ALONE should raise Phantom Menace into the front ranks of action and fantasy films.Bottom line: there is so much to enjoy in this film, so much to see, so much to feel, that it is amazing how anyone can possibly rate it below a 7 or 8. This is a scale of film making that few have ever attempted, let alone pulled off so beautifully. Perhaps that's the film's biggest fault: Lucas makes it all seem too easy.But, of course, we all know the REAL reason people can't give this film the 10 it richly deserves. That reason lies within themselves. Viewers in 1999 let alone 2007 just couldn't feel as young, as innocent, as optimistic as they did when they saw the very first Star Wars. Especially if they saw it way back in 1977, 30 years ago . Star Wars hasn't changed, George Lucas hasn't changed, nearly so much as the audience has changed. Alas. Moviegoers who are truly so jaded that they can't feel the passion and revel in the breadth of vision of The Phantom Menace have my sincerest sympathy. Yes, you can be ever so-o cool by putting down the prequel trilogy, but missing one of the best movies of all time is a very high price to pay.
Okay, guys, in my opinion... Episode I DID lack heart. Sorta. It is easily my least favorite SW film. It pulled off the entertainment aspects though. It also started to give me that Star Wars vibe I wanted. I admit Jar Jar was bad. I admit Jake Lloyd is a bad actor. I admit TPM lacked true heart and soul. I admit some of the lines were bad. I admit some of the lines were acted bad.But TPM didn't really require anything much, I was so happy that Lucas was going to show me the backstory. Well actually, considering TPM is actually the first Episode, I was going to get background on the <more>
sequels. All I wanted was rousing action and basic plot setup. You know what I got? Rousing action and basic plot setup. I knew that these characters were going to suffer later. I didn't NEED too much emotion. Actually, I didn't want any. I didn't desire any. I wanted the emotion to come in Episode II and Episode III.Anyway, I got my action and my plot setup. I got my Jedi and Sith battle. I got my special effects. I got my cool new worlds like Otoh Gunga and Theed. I got my cool new aliens and species. I got my cool new characters. I got my cool everything. It was Star Wars. Bad acting and dialogue comes with it. And that's okay. Is it Lucas' fault? Sure. But even I knew, when I was a kid watching the original trilogy, well, I was familiar with cheese. And it is that cheese that makes Star Wars, well, Star Wars. TPM wouldn't feel right without some mozzarella.Anyway, TPM satisfied me on a plot setup/entertainment front. The film ended with a fat bullfrog yelling "PEACE!"CLASSIC.It's not THAT bad people...
For me this was an incredible experience. (by Mack-26)
I am a fan of the Star Wars saga. I have always enjoyed the movies and I believe those who were disappointed are not being objective about this movie at all. I'll admit that I was expecting more from this movie in some aspects. The main problem that overall people really have with this movie and many don't even realise it is that one of the major plot elements, the conflict between the Naboo, and Gungans was not brought to the forefront with more of a sense of danger. I think Lucas was caught in a bind presentation wise because he wanted to bring the Jedi's conflict to the <more>
forefront and it cost this movie in the long run. There were specific scenes in the first three films that put the raw dangers of the Empire to the forefront.Examples of these scenes are when Luke returns home in 'A New Hope' to see that his only family in the universe have been killed, Han Solo being frozen in carbonite just after he and Leia realised their love for each other in 'Empire Strikes Back, and when Luke is tested and tempted by the Emperor, the Emperor apparently two steps ahead of Luke in 'Return of the Jedi.'All the while in the movie there were references to an invasion and people dying of catastrophic numbers but this was not for me at least brought to the front page. Qui Gon tells the queen at one point that he can't fight a war for her but with the way the cowardly Neimodians and weak droids are pushed around I don't see why not.The Gungan droid battle should not have been relegated to a mere distraction and even if it were the Gungans had no casualties. Even though I know Lucas wanted to preserve the PG rating I still think he should have brought the grittiness of the conflict equally through the major characters eyes. Just a pinch more of Dramtic punch would have done th trick. He had done that so well in all of the other Episodes and ultimately the dangers of the conflict were not evenly distributed. However this movie still is a remarkable achievment. The imagination and talents of many people still flow through this movie. The realisation of the underwater Gungan city, the podrace sequence, and the Duel of the Fates is visuallly amazing. I don't think the performances are wooden. I like Natalie Portman's portrayal of the young Queen. Jake Lyod's Anakin is very raw and he has an unpolished quality that naturally comes through for me. 'How does this wideeyed boy become so disenchanted with his life that he believes his only recourse is the Dark Side?'These elements are done very well and are typical Star Wars fare. To me this movie is a great opening act introducing the world to the players and eludes to future events. For me this movie sure teases the appetite for more and I know that I will see Attack of the Clones because of the questions left unanswered by The Phantom Menace. As a stand alone film this movie was an incredible movie experience.
A lot Better then People give it Credit for (by wdm1981)
I'll be the first to admit that The Phantom Menace TPM from here on in is not a perfect film, but there is no way it deserves the thrashing it gets in the media. TPM is a very good film, and George Lucas is brilliant man who despite what many have said has not lost his directing skills over the years. He presents the story of Anakin Skywalker Darth Vader in his his youth and how he is discovered by Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and brought to the capital planet of Corruscant to begin his Training. To make the film more exiting and to introduce new characters, the Film also deals with a Trade <more>
dispute involving The planet of Naboo and the Trade Federation, which serves as the final battle in the film.I can't believe how bashed this film gets, yes its not as good as the original trilogy, but TPM is much better than the "over CGI Video-game" looking Attack of the clones AOTC . The performances are very well done, Ewan MacGregor has minimum screen time, but he does fine as does Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd and Liam Neeson who is the star of the film , The CGI is just the right amount for the film, its not fake looking or over used as AOTC showed us and the Story is very interesting, this film takes place before the Empire as taken over in the Original Trilogy and before the clone war conflict of AOTC, so this is the only Star Wars film to show us what the galaxy was like during peaceful times. Also, it should be viewed with an open mind, Don't sit down to watch this film expecting to learn every secret and hidden meaning in the other Star wars films that will be left to AOTC and episode 3 . Enjoy it for what it is, a fun adventure film that sets up the events in the following 5 films.8/10 stars
This scapegoat of a movie definitely needs more appreciation. (by billosaurus)
I loved this movie as a kid. I still love it at age 21. Sure, it can be a bit sloppy at times, and it switches from plot a to plot b constantly.The stereotypes can be jarring at times. But you know what, it is still brilliant. The characters are likable. Even jar jar is not that bad. The acting is OK. Not great, but OK. The hate seems to stem from old trilogy fans, not knowing that this film was merely trying to be something different. Yes, if you want a film that feels like the old trilogy, this is not for you. But if you are looking for a fast-paced, lighthearted sci-fi action movie with <more>
one or two smart scenes, good scenery, and interesting alien designs, then this is for you.
The path of one person: the pool of fear (by BiiivAL)
"Episode I: The Hidden Menace" is perhaps the most ambiguous film in George W. Lucas's "Star Wars" series. Met by the rather coldly stern gaze of critics, the first film of the new trilogy can cause some confusion in the viewer. There are not many action scenes in it, there are many dialogues and just a leisurely development of actions, which sometimes may seem like a forced filler with a connecting function between fights and races. But this is only at first glance, because if you look closely ...Young Obi-Wan Kenobi Ewan McGregor and his teacher, Qui-Gon Jin Liam <more>
Neeson , go to negotiations with the Trade Federation, which threatens to blockade the peaceful little planet of Naboo. In Obi-Wan's eyes, his mind and vision are already visible, his movements are already full of courage and confidence. Confidence and powerful, unquestioning dedication are seen in the young queen Amidala Natalie Portman that she is ready to do anything to help her people, the inhabitants of the occupied world federation. It is in "The Phantom Menace" most accurately and correctly disclose the nature and fragile at the same time in BOGATYRSKY solid Padme: it is able to stand alone against the decision of the Senate, venturing recklessly brave adventures and combine intuitive dictates of the heart with equanimity of mind.Qui-Gon Jin is unshakable and calm, in whatever situation he was. His eyes radiate wisdom and strength, a smile condescendingly reasonable, and the movements are smooth and weighed. But the main feature of Obi-Wan's teacher is not in these, of course, the most important qualities. Qui-Gon, first of all, is a man of exceptional faith. Some of his actions seem too risky and thoughtless, but somewhere in general they can be mistaken for a desperate bluff. But for him, extremely sensitive to everything around him, holding in an unsurpassed harmony the awareness of his own forces and the sense of difficulty of the tasks set, for him, who knows how to feel the situation on many, many forward steps, faith is the main tool. With her help, he stands unshakably on his feet, seeking his own, by all means.Once having set a goal - to certainly train quite a young Anakin Skywalker - Qui-Gon will go to her persistently and steadily. He alone believes in the Prophecy of the great destiny of the boy, as if he did not hear the fears of the Jedi Council that Anakin's uncertain future could pose great troubles to the Galaxy. But the foresight and the unique sense of Qui-Gon's world allow him to see far further than to his eminent like-minded people and mentors, like Master Yoda and Master Windu. In addition, an extraordinary faith allows Qui-Gon to destroy any of his fears and doubts that can obscure his clear eyes. The moment of the film is very important, in which the wise Jedi tells Anakin about the medichlorians, micro-organisms existing in symbiosis with the cells of any living organism. Perhaps, in these mysterious media chlorians lies the human soul, elusive to the eye and non-existent for touch. Then the wise counsel of Qui-Gon Jinn and unselfish greed deprived the boy Anakin Skywalker, wanted to visit every planet in the universe, it seems quite clear and sharp, Go up to the call of the heart, and you go on the right path. And even though this road is lost in the darkness of the gathering clouds, there will always be someone who sees a little farther than everyone else, and builds on this sagacity its most powerful faith. Qui-Gon believed in Anakin from the first second and believed in him to the end; most likely he understood the suffering and upheavals that promised further training of the boy for the Galaxy and for himself, but in one thing he was certain that in the final analysis Skywalker would return the Force to equilibrium ...Finishing on the major note of universal jubilation and festivities, "Episode I: The Hidden Menace" at first glance does not justify its mysterious and menacing title. But, having looked a little closer, we see that the holiday is just a calm before the storm, and a sweet truce is a tricky tactical ploy. It also becomes clear with horror that all the actions of all the heroes are quite comparable with the freedom to choose the actions of puppets tied to strong threads, for which someone is confidently pulling, able to control the movements of dolls by the easy fingering.And the violent protest of Padme Amidaly at the Senate meeting, and the murder of the mighty Darth Moule, and the fiasco of the Trade Federation, and the heroic death of Qui-Gon Gin, are all foggings in the plan of the mysterious strategist who is still hiding far from the battlefields, its galactic war. And Anakin Skywalker's aching lead heart, which is filled with a burning, drying fear after the death of a Jedi so much loved by him, also lies in a small coin, albeit of a larger value than the rest, on a comprehensive battle map of the devilish clever and cunning puppeteer. The beginning of the saga is laid, the heroes are represented, the plot knots are tied. Star Wars Beginning
recently rewatched and it's a pretty decent story (by laura_brady_au)
I recently rewatched everything Star Wars including this, the Clone Wars cartoons etc. In preparation for seeing The Force Awakens.Well for someone who wasn't a huge fan of this initially I made a few discoveries and in light of the Force Awakens this movie is a cinematic masterpiece.The story is really quite original except for that main reactor bit . I really quite liked it and the politics is easier to follow after a few viewings. I remember being quite shocked when I found out the 'queen' wasn't always who we thought.The sets and costumes are really beautiful.JarJar <more>
isn't really that bad, let's face it he's there to keep kids happy and that's OK isn't it? Obi-Wan is great, I really liked seeing him younger.I did feel quite sorry for Anakin this time around and I think the actor did quite well with the material he had.Yes this movie has it's issues, it can be slow at times and the bit about Midichlorians still makes me cringe but at least it's original and had a story to tell. It does remind me that Star Wars was really Anakin's story told in 6 parts. The newest 7th 'instalment' is reductive and undoes a lot of the history.Star Wars finished with return of the Jedi and most certainly after George Lucas left. the new Disney stuff has no heart.Please come back George.
Generally Enjoyable, Highlighted By Pod Race; A Tip - Use Subtitles (by ccthemovieman-1)
I believe George Lucas said he was inspired by the chariot race in the 1959 epic Ben-Hur, and thought of it often when he staged the big pod race scene in this movie.So, when I watched the film again the other day, the third or fourth time I've seen it, I kept looking for comparisons. Well, suffice to say nothing will surpass that chariot race, which had no benefit of any special-effects while this was almost all computer-generated. Nevertheless, the pod race in here was a lot of fun to watch, had excellent surround sound, was exciting and the highlight of the film. Oddly, in this movie <more>
instead of a man you have a small boy as the good guy- driver, so to speak. Young Jake Lloyd who plays "Anakin Skywalker." He's the key character in this Star Wars saga, the boy who later becomes the father to Luke Skywalker and winds up being revealed as Darth Vader. But....this is long before thatThis movie, the first Star Wars movie after a long hiatus 16-years disappointed a lot of fans but I thought it was entertaining overall. My main complaint was trying to understand "Jar Jar Binks," but on the DVD I can use English subtitles and thus understand all the strange things he says with his Caribbean accent. It makes the movie more enjoyable and I strongly recommend doing that.As usual, there is a ton of astounding visuals in here, all kinds of strange characters and excellent "effects." Yes, the action gets hokey in spots, especially near the end, but what modern-day action film doesn't?Liam Neeson makes for a solid male hero and Natalie Portman is a appealing as Queen Padme Amidala. Lloyd is no Haley Joel Osment, but what can you do? At least his character wasn't some brat, and he's tolerable. He has acted in much since then, although I saw him in a nice movie called "Madison," with Jim Caviezel.People who are really "into" this Star Wars saga, and take it seriously, were, as mentioned generally let down with this movie. I guess they expected a lot more after waiting so long for the next installment. I just watch it for the enjoyment of an escapist film and as someone who usually enjoys good visuals. I repeat: put on the "English subtitles." That helped a lot, believe me.