Fans packed in theaters all around the country for the long awaited prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy in 3-D.
by Matt Swanson
“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” first opened in theaters in 1999 and received somewhat mixed reviews. Once the hype surrounding this movie ended, fans decided for themselves if it was really worthwhile. With all that being said, the movie is still visually appealing. Now it is back in theaters, in 3-D.
In case some don’t know the story, this is what happens in “The Phantom Menace”: The Trade Federation is planning to invade the planet of Naboo with their droid army. Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregror) are sent to negotiate with their leaders. Negotiations go awry and they make their way to Tattooine with Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). On Tattooine they meet young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), whose force powers are higher than any other Jedi. During their journey to save Naboo from certain distruction they meet an accident-prone Gungan named Jar Jar and battle it out with a fearsome Sith named Darth Maul (Ray Park).
As far as the movie itself, it’s still the same film that came out in 1999. Aside from McGregor, the acting leaves much to be desired. Neeson delivers a handful of fortune cookie-esque lines that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Queen Amidala is still as monotone as ever and Anakin Skywalker is still whiny as he always has been in the trilogy.
On top of all things wrong with this movie, the introduction of midi-chlorians makes a complete mockery of the force. It over-complicates what was a simple and brilliant idea. The force is downsized to something that can be conveniently measured by taking a blood sample. While they’re at it they can check for cholesterol.
The movie is just plain boring. When you remember “The Phantom Menace,” you really only remember two main parts. Pod racing and the lightsaber battle between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. Aside from the thirty minutes of excitement, this movie features Senate meetings and trade disputes. There was an overcomplicated storyline and no real main character to speak of.
Speaking of characters, the introduction of Jar Jar Binks is enough to make one cringe. This annoyingly done CG character seems out of place in every scene that he is in.
We get to the final battle(s) of the film and there’s four going on at the same time! Although it is visually pleasing, at the same time it is hard to follow. The movie switches between what only can be described as an epic battle between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Won, space battles, gun battles, and an all out war.
All six films are being redone in 3-D. The dialogue and the actual story aren’t changed, but the movie still looks amazing. The audiences love these visual effects, even if they wish the whole thing would be frozen in carbonate and blasted into outer space.