Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – The Saga Begins

In this first episode of the prequel, “Star Wars” narrates straight to the conflict between the Empire and the Rebels Alliance. It sets as the background of the main story and the struggle of all the characters. This is the beginning of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and others. Meanwhile, there is nothing to compare with such the trilogy. The plot is shallow; so many plot holes such as the character backstory. It never explains everything. Therefore, such questions arise. Who was Qui-Gon Jinn? Who was Darth Maul? Why was everything like a coincidence? There is no apparent reason why the Rebel Army wants to control the Empire.

Most of the scenes in “The Phantom Menace” don’t bear with the fruit and connections between characters and stories. In the trilogy, they never existed. This movie has a lot of debate since the beginning of its premiere; since the internet existed. The hyped was outrageous. Critics adore this movie so much more than the trilogy. Several years have passed, this movie is nothing compared to other films.

The visual is great but there is something weird about this aspect. For instance, the visual effects weren’t rendered. It feels the visual didn’t exist in the first place. If differentiates it from the trilogy, it just deserves the best. Sure, the visual effect was able to make the audience feel overwhelming. For example, the pod race scene. It’s one of the most brilliant scenes again in this movie. The cinematography feels superficial regardless of perspective. This movie seems to bring something right because it takes a few years to be able to use such technology at the time. George Lucas was able to represent its universe in the “Star Wars” trilogy.

“The Phantom Menace” seems to fail in showing its potential; not in accordance with many various expectations. The characters introduction is just appearing without any backgrounds and such. The conflicts never explained anything. It didn’t have various connections with the trilogy. The scene feels repetitive; have no relationship whatsoever. I also don’t know who the protagonist is in this film. Most importantly, I also don’t know why many people like Darth Maul. On the other hand, everyone hates Jar Jar Binks.

I admit Darth Maul’s character recognition was great without any enough line or screen he got, just like any other character, it just failed at the point. There are so many interesting fan theories about Jar Jar Binks. According to the theory, Jar Jar is the Sith Lord. It’s funny but in so many ways, it’s just weird to be analyzed this most hated or comical character. Yet, it’s worth to analyze. Even the actor and the director rumored the theory was true.

All of the actors in this movie feel like they didn’t have any emotions either when they see the underwater world, negotiating, or even having a conversation. I watched behind the scene footage, showing the set in one location. It’s just kind of the way George Lucas used the blue screen. I don’t know what the obstacle was when either Liam Neeson performance or other reasons. The story seems like a comic or cartoon, feels absurd, and not much to enjoy besides the fight between the Jedi. The rest of the movie is just about monotonous and dull conversations. Sure, “The Phantom Menace” has a brilliant visual effect at the time. But, the movie would never be spelled out good just because of it after “The Last Jedi”.

“The Phantom Menace” has a lot of potential from the story and a great beginning to tell the background of each character yet it just feels stiff and awkward. The characters are just filling their roles and stories in an emotionless way. There is no sympathy or empathy. The goofy storytelling, like watching a cartoon, and the “wants to rule the world” plot antagonist. Without any reasons, this movie is a fail at the beginning and it should be.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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