Hosted by Remi Lavictoire, Ian Fults and Jonathan Colbon
This week on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, Rem, Ian and Jonathan welcome Doug Ferguson from ‘The Music A to Z Podcast and Checking The Gate Podcast to help us discuss “Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” from 1999 and directed by George Lucas.
Doug enjoyed seeing familiar characters such as R2D2, Yoda and a somewhat incomplete C-3PO, which added an anchor point to the story. Great costumes and outstanding sound design, but that’s about it!
While the problems with The Phantom Menace are too long to list completely, we highlighted a weak and non engaging storyline with wooden and uninteresting characters. As Roger says in the comments, this is a movie that just didn’t need to be made.
If by some wonder happenstance you’ve not seen The Phantom Menace or the two movies that followed, good for you. Do yourself a favor and avoid this prequel series at all costs.
Is this being reviewed this weekend? If so, here’s my comment: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is the perfect example of what happens when a producer becomes so powerful that no one around him is willing to say “Hey, that’s not such a great idea.”. I guess the same could be said for Episodes 2 & 3. I believe, in my heart, that Empire Strikes Back Lucas would have talked Phantom Menace Lucas out of Jar Jar Binks.
What could have saved this movie and made it better? Forget saving. I don’t think it was required at all! We didn’t need a Darth Vader origin story. But if the itch to make a prequel was something George Lucas absolutely needed to scratch, then may I suggest he could have taken the way-way back machine at ludicrous speed and made a wholly original movie set a long, long time ago in the past. For instance, I could have gone for a crazy origin story about the Jedi Order. Cheers!
WHERE DID IT GO WRONG: Right in development. the first question we should ask ourselves is “Do we need this movie?” And I mean, why not start at the story shown in Episode II, or mix I & II? I know the real reason is “because that way we’d sell less”, but the biggest fault in Episode I is a lack of protagonist (if we have Obi Wan, why do we need Qui Gon?) that we like, with a goal that we care about.
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Forgetting about this and Episode II and starting at the story in Episode III, which is where the real important events happen. Everything before could be referenced briefly. I know, George, that you want to sell those toys, but think about your body of work.
We asked how Phantom Menace could have been made better?
Bonnie suggested fire
All of the visual effects just looked so sterile and fake, even when it was first released. The music was good, though.
I just watched this again recently. It was worse than I remembered! Sterile acting, boring, confusing, contrived plotting. Horrible jokes. But yeah, the lightsaber battle with Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Darth Maul was fantastic. And Ian McDiarmid is a great villain. And the pod race was pretty fun, too. BTW, my 4-year-old son sat through all three original movies in the days prior. He was transfixed. But with the prequels, he got bored and lost interest. For ROTS he just said “Can we skip to the part where Anakin turns into Dark Vader?”
Ton de Witte
The big problem with prequels in a franchise as big as star wars is the expectations they generate and the impossibility to fulfill those expectations. Now Jar Jar Banks should have stuck his tongue in the race pod the whole movie, and a better young actor to play Anakin would both have been a big improvement. Having said this the light sabre battles and the pod race were good as was McDiarmid. To conclude I don’t care which universe you came from, some parts of the movie had to hurt.
Poo-doo jokes have no place in my SW universe.
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