Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Once upon a time there was a great movie trilogy that was beloved by all and then the creator decided to make an over-hyped prequel trilogy. This movie would have been great if there was better dialogue, a more cohesive story, and three dimensional characters. Small things, don't mind the heavy dose of sarcasm. With the exception of Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson the cast as a whole is laughable. Natalie Portman is flat out terrible in this movie, I don't care if she went on to become one of the best actresses of her generation, it still doesn't make up for the fact she sleepwalked through this movie. McGregor and Neeson are the two best actors in the movie and to a point their skills are underutilized as they are main relegated to action scenes or terribly written dialogue. I am not a screen writer but I would have tried to make this trilogy a sequel trilogy because there was nothing in the movie that truly added to the Star Wars mythology. Did I ever want to see Darth Vader as a child, the answer is no. I could care less where the character cam from, the only thing that this movie added to the mythology was that I now know that Darth Vader was once a whiny child ad that his baby mama has the emotional range of cardboard. These are all negative statements and I don't want to spend the entire review bashing this movie.

There are also many things to be commended in the movie itself. First of all this movie is beautiful, I can talk badly about Lucas' writing skills all I want but I will never dispute the fact that the man knows how to shoot a movie. He a genius when it comes to developing visual scenes and technology. That is who most movies use THX audio or visual effects engines developed by LucasFilm. When this movie was released in 1999 it set the benchmark for visual F/X and it holds up amazingly well compared to movie studios that use more advanced technology today. The costumes are great and the sets used are pretty exceptional and the computer generated character look pretty lifelike. Everyone can bash Jar Jar all they want he seemed to be just a comedic distraction that didn't take away from the movie at all and he also shows just how advanced Lucas' F/X tech was for the time when it debuted.

Overall, I would have to recommend this movie because it sets the stage for a much better trilogy, you just have to trudge through this mediocre creation in order to get there. Great F/X, superior costume and set design come with the terrible acting and mediocre story. You take the good with the bad when it comes to Star Wars. No matter how bad I say this movie is, most of you have already seen it or will watch it anyway. Just watch it.