Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

1999 | PG | 136 Minutes

Action | Adventure | Science Fiction

The evil Trade Federation 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 t...

Overall Rating

5 / 10
Verdict: So-So

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: Despite its many flaws, George Lucas' 'The Phantom Menace,' does genuinely work at times, as there is some engaging character stuff here, and some interesting extensions to the lore and the world too. Yes on the one hand we get to see the beginnings of Anakin and Obi-Wan's journey and their training by the brilliant Qui-Gon Jin (awesomely played by Liam Neeson) which is all rather engaging, and we also get to witness a lavish Star Wars world before the Empire in which the Republic are powerful, the Jedi are arrogant, and the lines between good and bad are smudged to the extreme. All of that is also of course overshadowed by what we know to be the inevitable demise into darkness which actually serves to make us care a little more (something which also in fact rather makes much of this prequel trilogy), and in the end what you've got is a movie that isn't without merit, and one that certainly appeals in some respect to many of the fans such as myself.
    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: In the same breath however, all of that is wrapped up by a script that's chock-full of terrible dialogue that spends much of its time exploring dull trade disputes and politics. Why Lucas decided all of that was important is quite beyond comprehension - as was his inclusion of the horrible Jar Jar Binks - but it all adds to a sense that everything is well below par and nothing is remotely grounded. That's not helped either by the horrible visuals, which - whilst advanced for their time - look like a low-rate video game by today's standards as Lucas relied far too heavily on under-developed CGI rather than the practical effects and world-building that made the originals so tangible.
    VERDICT: A film with some interesting lore and character stuff in it but where the execution is pretty damn awful, 'The Phantom Menace,' has its moments, but mostly it's a huge, huge let-down after a trilogy of such wonderful original movies.