The Phantom Menace is really hard to watch now. The green screen stuff has not aged well at all. The dialogue was never good, but almost 20 years of ridicule has rendered almost every line into a joke. Jar Jar gets worse on repeated viewings. The plot is dumb as hell.
I liked Phantom Menace when I saw it opening night and I still do. It was fun seeing kickass Jedi in their prime. Jar Jar was annoying, but I didn’t find him any more annoying than I found C3PO in the original trilogy. The green screen stuff probably ages the poorest, to my eyes.
Exactly, the special effects have aged, but the characters and plot are ok (I do dislike the final battle with the kid pilot, though), and some stuff is really good (the lightsaber duel, most of the opening). And the Jar Jar -> C2PO comparison is fair, I think.
Really? What character, and which part of the plot, is okay? Everything from Jar Jar, immaculate conception, to midichlorians is horrible. It’s also made worse by the fact that, as a prequel, you know that even the supposed best of the jedi (e.g., wise Yoda, zen Qui Gon) are idiots, despite their wisdom and powers.
Obi Wan is probably the only one that comes out looking anywhere near “okay”, but that’s because he’s just along for the ride. Maul, as a concept, is cool, but he isn’t developed in the slightest.
For example, I like the kid and his mother. And i like the overall plot and how it doesn’t try to be too epic yet, focusing on a somewhat unimportant conflict (in which characters who will be important later are involved).
Anyways, I do get why a lot of people dislike the movie. It is childish (which is why I liked it so much, for me Star Wars is best when it’s meant for kids.) and most fans are not kids anymore and want something else (which I think is why a lot of people liked the horror I think Rogue One is). If you don’t get on with the silliness (which I also enjoy in the original trilogy, I LOVE the Ewoks) the movie can fall apart.
What surprises me is that people who hate the movie can’t see how others can think it’s actually decent enough.
Then you have those who like Ep III but dislike Ep I. Those I will never understand.
Episode 1 is also the only one of the prequels that I enjoyed. Quagon Jin and Obi Wan were both serene Jedi with presence and were fun to follow. The action sequences, especially the pod race and the light-saber fights with the bad guy, were really fun. Jar Jar was annoying, yes, but not enough to ruin the movie for me. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it the first time, and I actually went to the theater to see it a second time, and enjoyed my second viewing too.
I also loved the tie-in game, the pod racing game. I loved it on N64, and then the Dreamcast, and then the PC version. I played it through 3 times and it’s still my favorite Wipeout-type racer.
I’m on the same page with you there. Ep. III paved the way for Ep. I and, in hindsight, the progression is evident. Ep. III is, by far, my least favorite of the original trilogy. That said, Ep. I did crank up the worse parts of Ep. III for me.
It is probably the game missing from digital that I most want. It was indeed amazing.
Things can be childish without being dumb, see: Pixar. But Phantom Menace was alternating dumb and poorly done.
But also I reject the notion that a movie whose precipitating event was a trade war threatening to become a full scale war is truly a childish movie. If you want to aim younger, that is a horrible choice. If you want to aim older, flesh it out and drop the nigh indefensible Jar Jar. It was a failure at being either a realistic and believable drama about the fall of a Republic from within, nor was it a grand adventure to inspire the child in all of us.
It wanted to be both, but never really committed to either. Therefore it failed at all.
I will say this, and understand that I think that Ep1 is the worst of the prequels, but there was much there that had the potential to be good. It is one of my strongest points in favor of the Clone Wars TV series, is that it takes the concepts and potential of the prequels, and actually lives up to them, and makes them good. The decadence and weakening of the Jedi, the infiltration and corruption of the Republic, the slow transformation to authoritarianism of a democratic society, the politics that drive the feeding of the conflict, the corruption of Anakin by his forbidden love. All these and more are fleshed out and handled with a depth and seriousness that makes them good. You can feel Anakin slowly being pushed away by the Jedi and their failures. His relationship with Padme is nicely contrasted with the one Obi Wan turned down with Duchess Satine of Mandalore, and how that haunted him. That vision of the road not taken is so thematically rich when placed alongside Anakin and Padme.
Then there is the trial of Ahsoka, and you can see how that frays his trust in the Council. It really earns every moment of it through hard work, and almost redeems the otherwise terrible prequels. Anakin’s turn feels like a realistic outcome in ways it never could have before.
I agree, but really really watch the Clone Wars series. Mail is really well done there, and drives the drama in ways that live up to the inspired design. Plus his relationship with Obi Wan? That arcs into the Rebels series? Brilliant. Their goodbye was perfectly done in every way, and says so much about each.
But see, those things you list, those were good ideas that were squandered in Ep 2 and 3. I liked the idea, but the execution was so poor, I felt just watching Episode 2 and 3 once was a complete waste of my time. I’ll have to track down this clone wars tv series when it comes to streaming sometime. It sounds good.
But none of those ideas were meant to be me in Episode 1. Episode 1 was a lighthearted action movie that introduced us to a few of the characters, races and places, and was a standalone adventure otherwise, and I thought it was well done as a standalone adventure. What impressed me the most was that I had just gotten done playing Jedi Knight, and here it started off with 2 Jedi, and it showed what they could do in their prime, using Force Push, Force Speed, Force Jump, etc. The light saber fights were actually exciting to watch, unlike the original 3 movies. And finally the pod-racing sequence was a visual and aural treat.
It was the job of Episode 2 and 3 to flesh out the decadence and weakening of the Jedi, the slow transformation to authoritanianism, the corruption of Anakin, and all that. And it failed at that at all levels. You could see what Lucas wanted to do, but his execution was almost laughably bad.
No, you have it right @Tim_N, the movie isn’t very good. Watch after a few seasons and so you have a reason to care where Ahsoka comes from, and how Anakin got a Padawan. But it is completely skippable. The characterization is weak, the sets and animation sub par (compared to the series), and the story has less development than most episodes, despite the length.
My kids and I are watching it at the moment and we never saw the Clone Wars film. There was at least one episode in the first season which started with a “previously on Clone Wars” intro which showed scenes from the film which left us thoroughly confused and reviewing past episodes in case we’d missed one.
We’re also using this ‘chronological order’ episode list which directly links to the netflix episode: