Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace   3 Disembodied Jet Wolf Heads out of Five
"Kill it! KILL IT NOW!"
Thursday, 20 May 1999
NOTE: Review salvaged from the original HoF. Contents may have shifted during takeoff and landing.

Jet Wolf Says ...
The greatest problem with this that I see is in trying to decide if I felt the movie was medicore in its own right, or due to the actions of others surrounding its release.

Before anyone asks, no, I did NOT wait in line for my tickets. Quite literally, no line at all. I had considered dropping in some time on Tuesday to pick up tickets for sometime over the next two days, but got lazy and decided that I'd just take my chances on Wednesday morning. I needn't have worried. The only reason it took us 10 minutes to pick them up was because we couldn't decide if we'd rather see the 1 or 1:40 showing on Thursday. However, there were enough signs and barricades around the designated Star Wars ticket window to indicate that the night before had been as insane as we'd predicted. That's not really for me, though. I can't quite bring myself to wait in line 15 hours or more for 2 hours of entertainment. That's just not economical.

At any rate, our tickets purchased well ahead of time, we anticipated a great crowd at this 1pm showing, a mere 36 hours or so after the premier. So we got there with plenty of time to spare, wanting to ensure a good seat. Another unnecessary worry, the theater was only about half full when the lights went down. Again, no matter, that meant I had a foot rest throughout the show, we were just a bit surprised. On reflection, though, I feel this might have been a touch of foreshadowing.

When you talk to someone about The Phantom Menace, whether the person says they liked or disliked it, I think all will agree that it wasn't worth the MASSIVE amount of hype surrounding it. I can't say that I feel this is all the fault of the movie. Star Wars fans have been anticipating this movie for decades, and the media and merchendising moguls will, of course, try to make every buck possible. The greatest problem with this that I see, then, is in trying to decide if I felt the movie was medicore in its own right, or due to the actions of others surrounding its release.

Since I figure that by now, everyone in the world who would care to see this movie has already done so, I shan't bore you with a description of the plot. Instead, then, I shall say what I did and did not like about it.

Disliked: Jar Jar. Okay, that was already bleeding obvious, and a sentiment that I am well aware is shared with about 98% of the thinking population. THIS was supposed to be our comic relief throughout the film? THIS was supposed to be a character that wormed its way into our hearts? For crying out loud, I was 30 minutes into the film before I realized that the creature's name wasn't "Meesa." I want the graphics people who worked on Jar Jar black listed. I want Lucas to go through a session of rigorous counciling for thinking up the idea. And I want the voice actor to be executed before a live studeo audience. We're talking a full Jar Jar cull here. Someone must be held responsible for the torment that we all went through. Someone needs to pay for my pain.

<deep breath> There, okay, I feel better. That's been building up for a while.

Liked: Ewan McGregor. Ooo baby. Rrrrrowr.

Disliked: The Force is bacteria? Exqueeze me? This little tidbit of information better have a damn good reason for existing in future movies.

Liked: Darth Maul.

Disliked: The fact that he only had about 9 minutes of screen time in the film. Liked: Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine. Getting the same actor was a really nice touch for me, and acted as a good bridge between the previous three movies and the new triology.

Disliked: 9 year old Anakin the Wonder Boy hitting on Amidala. Ugh. Besides, does anyone really have any question in their mind now about who Luke and Leia's mother is?

Liked: The use of the same old cheesy wipes that punctuated the other Star Wars movies. Back then it was the best they could do. Now, it helps maintain a sense of consistancy that I appreciated.

Okay, that's boring me now. <grin> I've let these back up to where I have three reviews to do, so I'll wrap up here. When all is said and done, I really can't help but feel Episode One is greatly lacking something that Episodes Four-Six had. Whether that's Mark Hamil et al or just that certain je ne sais quoi, I can't say. I remember leaving the theater feeling a little bit robbed of something. It was a good time, true, but not as good as I was expecting. And judging from some others that I've spoken to, I'm inclinded to think that it's not just me.

Not that this feeling will deter me from seeing the other two movies, of course. Which sort of makes me wonder if the blame for lack of quality, ultimately, should be pinned on the fans who tend to be less demanding as their need increases.

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