Thoughts & Observations: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Intro: I’ve been wanting to do something like this for some time.

I’m a scifi/fantasy aficionado, but even I haven’t seen a number of integral films and series associated with those genres. Now I’m going to start watching these movies I’d never found the time to watch before….and list my thoughts and observations as I watched the movie.

A juggernaut of a franchise, the Star Wars movies never held too much interest for me. During college I finally watched the original, Episode IV – A New Hope, to learn about the Heroes Journey as used in screenwriting.

Note: I’m watching in chronological order because I’m more interested in seeing the older movies, so I’m making myself watch the prequels.

So, let me dip my toes into Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

(Alternate titles: Anakin’s Wacky Adventures; Jar Jar Binks’ Rise to Power; C3Po’s Gone Wild)


 

  • My puppy Spike and I started watching the movie together. We got halfway through the intro when Spike got bored, stepped on the Playstation controller, and rewound it. I guess he wanted to see that STAR WARS logo splashed across the screen again. He left me to go bother the cat.
  • I have a feeling some people in the movie theater were all TL;DR with them Star Wars intros.

 

  • The infamous Jar Jar Binks makes an appearance. The almost universally hated character I knew about before, and since my friend Kelly defends the poor guy, I figure I’ll give the lovable doofus a chance.
  • Must keep reminding myself that the visual effects were good for the late 90s.
  • The fan theory that Jar Jar Binks is secretly an evil Sith dude is starting to make sense. Send help.
  •  “There’s always a bigger fish.” aka Screenwriting 101: How to get your characters out of a situation when they are hopelessly outmatched.
  • Spike starts growling and barking at R2D2. Wonder if the dog can speak Droid. Also wondering if all these people responding to R2 as if they can understand him are acting like cat owners who respond to cat’s meows with “Yeah, I know!”
  •  
    • Reason #1 for Little Anakin to go Dark Side: Life as a slave under this creepy flying lizard dude.
    • R2D2 tells C3PO that he’s naked. I’m starting to think that little bugger can be a jerk sometimes. I LIKE IT.
    • “There’s something about this boy…” Uh, Yeah, because he’s going to be Darth Vader.
    • “I find that Jar Jar creature to be odd.” Uh, yeah, because he’s secretly an evil Jedi Sith dude.
    • Why did this cute little kid have to go evil?
    • Also, acting coach for Anakin needs a few lessons. Some of his dialogue is so halting and unsure, I’m almost certain he’s being fed lines through an earpiece.
    • Reason #2 for Anakin to go Dark Side: Fricken cheaters during the Pod Race. Seriously, why does Crawfish guy (Sebulba) think he needs to screw up an 8 year old’s racer? Isn’t being 8 years old fact enough that he’s not going to win? (Note: in the movie universe, usually the main character wins anyway, no matter how ridiculous it is).
    • Also, WHERE IS HIS MOTHER–oh in the stands. Good mothering means your mom might not dissuade you from doing a hilariously reckless act, but she will watch you do it. Gotta let the little bird fly, Momma.
    • Kid is obviously on performance enhancing drugs, or using autopilot. CAN YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH ALL THOSE CANYONS WHEN YOU’RE BARELY LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD? That blatant cheating is Evidence of Kid Going Dark Side #1.
    • Points to Jar Jar. If he wasn’t there, messing things up and being hilariously awkward, this movie would be too serious with Mr. Qui-Gon commanding attention in droll tones. Clearly he rebelled against this Jedi lifestyle, because after this movie he turns into Taken Liam Neeson. True story.
    • Anakin leaves the planet without finishing building C3P0, and casually mentions that the droid, once his friend thing, is now going to be sold. What a callous…. Okay, Evidence Of Kid Going Evil #2.
    • Queen Amidala is way too monotone. If she enthused over anything, her makeup would crack.
    • Also, I’m super distracted by her lip makeup. That red dot is so vivid but I feel like I’m supposed to entranced by her fake dimples instead. Wait, what’s happening again?
    • Queen Amidala’s costume changes are sudden and extreme.
    • Reason #3 for Anakin to go Dark Side: Hoighty-Toity Jedi masters won’t let him into their clique. That’s soo high school, you guys.
    • I kinda wish I kept track of Queen Amidala’s costume changes now. There’s another one! Costume designers were kept busy by this little lady.
    •  And another one! Seriously, with all these affairs of state and death-defying odds, you’d think she’d scrimp on the overly decorative hair styles for once. That sh*t’s gotta take a day to style
    • I truly cannot tell the difference between Amidala and her hand maiden (Padme, right?). During that whole switcheroo scene, I’m just thinking, “Nah, you played me. That’s your hand maiden being a boss protecting her Queen.” But uh…yeah so that was confusing. But then I find out that Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley looked so much alike than even Portman’s mother had trouble telling them apart, so I guess I’m not alone on this. (Thanks for the trivia, IMDB!)
    • The Queen in plain clothes talks with a little more personality. WHAT IF THE MONOTONE WAS BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T CRACK HER ROYAL MAKEUP?
    • Darth Maul is sliced and diced. Kinda thought that dude would last through the prequels.Now he doesn’t even last through a classic villain speech. Does he even talk? (3 lines. Thanks IMDB!)
    • Annnnd one more costume change by the Queen and it’s over.

THE END…?

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