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Review

Harry's STAR WARS EPISODE ONE Review

Right now... I’m at a loss of words. But I will try to voice some for you.

Some spoilers may slip out over the course of this review, and I want to give you fair warning because quite frankly, I’m not able to be responsible for what I may type below because.... I currently have so much more to say than I can type in a night or two about this film. Consider yourself warned.

You’ve been reading about my experiences leading up to this night for the last three and a half years. The anticipation, the hopes, the dreams, the terror... Could it live up to the mythology that I created in my mind around the films I grew up with?

What am I going to write about this film now that I’ve seen it?

Today and tonight while I waited in that monstrosity of a line, I had a fear.... A gigantic fear named JAR JAR BINKS. I’ve been terrified of this character since that night in Claridges in London back in August of last year when I read the script. I felt that he was very much an Alien Jerry Lewis clone, and that scared me to death.

After all, what the hell is Jerry Lewis doing as the third main character in a Star Wars movie, right?

When I read Moriarty’s review of THE PHANTOM MENACE, it scared me. You see, among all the people I knew that had read that script, only Moriarty and I agreed on Jar Jar. We liked him.

But when Moriarty ‘had problems’ with him.... Well... ya know, I got scared. I began hedging my bets on whether or not I’d love this movie.

Jar Jar was more evil and scary to me than Jaws, Linda Blair, that evil clown doll from Poltergeist, the carpet from THE SHINING and all of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Jar Jar began representing the Otis (from Superman) of this new Star Wars film.

But.... Guess what?

Mesa Luved Him!

When I first read Jar Jar’s scenes I was terrified because.... well whenever Jar Jar did something, I imagined the solitary focus being upon Jar Jar.

That is not the case. There are other people, creatures, things going on at the same time. Not only that... But, I saw something in Jar Jar today that... well, I didn’t expect to see.

The Gungans are a warrior based community, but ya know what? Jar Jar is a hippie. He doesn’t want to go to war. He doesn’t want to fight. He’s an awkward fella that probably wanted to be an artist or an actor, but was raised to believe he was a warrior. When he realized that... he started subconciously screwing up, trying to call attention to himself... or to be banned from his people so he could... Live the life of an independent soul.

But lo and behold, he ends up being drafted into service by his customs and traditions to be dragged all over the galaxy by a pair of Jedi. This isn’t what he wants to do in life, but it is the path he is set upon. What’s bizarre though is that I saw a parallel between Jar Jar and Much, The Miller’s Son from THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. Herbert Mundin, like Jar Jar, was saved then owed a life debt to Robin Hood. Then he is extremely goofy, not exactly funny, but he’s a goof. At the big fight at the end of the film.... Well, he’s clumsy and a bit stupid, but... he helps save the day, also like Planchet from THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In a way, I was a bit reminded of Jackie Chan’s battlefield antics, but as if it were Buster Keaton trapped out there, who’s dumb luck just manages to save him and make him a hero. Kinda like Chaplin in THE GREAT DICTATOR.

I can’t believe I liked Jar Jar, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe he’s the Best thing in the film.... far from it, but for some ghastly reason... I like the guy.

But ya know... That’s just part of the film, a very small part.

In a lot of ways, my brain is frazzled. I sat in that theater with a goofy smile on my face and my eyes and brain trying as hard as I could not to miss anything.

When I read the script, I told people I know that the movie could go either way. This is the way I wanted that script to go. There was a lot of interesting tidbits cut out like Bail Organa’s supporting of Queen Amidala’s vote of no-confidence, and the moments where General Zod discusses the betrayl with Palpatine. There was the naming of C3PO scene gone. The point where Anakin tells Padme that he will marry her. (a scene that sent chills through me in the script, but that I could see being awful if it wasn’t performed just right.) Originally Jar Jar was to pilot the Bongo, Jar Jar had a scene where his butt caught on fire, and... his hi-jinks were much much more in the 3rd draft.

By the way, I really dug Anakin too. For me, he was just a normal enthusiastic kid, which.... for me is terrifying because... Quite frankly it means any of us could become Darth Vader. This isn’t PECK’S BAD BOY, this is Andy Hardy going to the Dark Side! This kid represents Hitler as a child. Did Hitler run around stomping bugs, kicking dogs, soaking cats in gasoline and setting them ablaze.... Or did he draw and play? Well.... Anakin builds things, races and has a group of friends. He’s.... ultra-normal in a human sense. And I like that.

And... There was always just a taste of Darth Maul. Something that I’m willing to bet disappoints a lot of Star Wars fans. But for me, there is a reason for Darth Maul’s brief time in the Star Wars universe. You see. He’s been training and training and training forever. Being conditioned to kill Jedi, but... he’s never once done it. He’s like a gun that has never been fired, never really having been tested.

When he’s been given the mission to kill these two Jedi, it’s kinda like the first search and kill mission that a Green Beret goes on. He might be so eager for first blood that when he gets it.... He gets a bit too cocky.

Everybody has always invested too much with Darth Maul, for me, he’s there to make Darth Vader look WAY cooler. Maul was a single minded pit bull, Darth Vader was the dark lord of the Sith.... If you build Maul to be waaaay too cool, then you take away from Vader. Maul served his purpose, he’s here to tell us.... “Dude, the clone wars are gonna be cool!” but not much else.

Also, he’s there to make Obi Wan look like an utter badass, eh? I mean, come on... Ewan is like sooooo cool in this movie. I loved him. He is definately my favorite character of the film.

Palpatine was fantastic. Sure, he’s there just a tidbit, but like Vincent Price’s Cardinal Richelieu in the old Gene Kelly THE THREE MUSKETEERS... wow.... He’s played with a thick foam of slyness, the fox, and man.... When he pats ol Anakin on the shoulder and says he’ll be following his career with much interest. Chills man. Total chills.

As for characters like Ric Ollie and Captain Panaka... They are just set dressing. They don’t necessarily add or take away for me. They just exist here. I can’t wait to see this movie with a gaggle of kids some morning.

This film does alot of utterly fantastic things, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Lucas’ characters need a bit more depth, but you know what... I feel a bit like Emperor Joseph II telling Mozart, to take out a few notes and it’ll be perfect. I am so sated by this first viewing that.... I’m pleased as punch. Relieved as can be. I’m a happy camper.

After the film, it was 2:30am. Everyone and their brother filed out into the lobby and everyone began talking about the film. Some people, notably the guys wearing Darth Maul make up seemed let down. While others wore smiles etched into their faces. Others left, working their ways home where they could gather their thoughts and process exactly whatever it was that they had just seen.

Me.... and my friends. We talked about the film till 6a.m. alongside the theater. I was quiet mainly. Listening to what people loved and hated about the film.

People seem split on Anakin, some feel the Gungans are worse than Ewoks, others love them. Everyone wanted Darth Maul to kill 70 people (except for me) and people wanted less goofy stuff.

Most everyone in the group that stuck around had a blast with the film, but had nitpicks here and there.

Some in the group had no idea what they thought. They had steered clear of spoilers, had utterly no idea what to expect, and.... they had sooooo much to process that they were left with statements like, “I loved it when the light saber was stabbed in that door!” and “Ya know... Jar Jar wasn’t as bad as I thought, but he still sucked!”

Where does this film stand against the earlier films. I’ll really be able to answer that in a year. After I’ve seen the film 20 times. And even though I knew just about everything that was going to happen.... I didn’t once the film started. I just let the movie take me. And it did.

Now.... Now I’m left with the thoughts that about the next films. I’m not real sure of the importance of Naboo, but I’m willing to be that we’ll see a lot of damage here. Jar Jar and his people may not be around too long. His life debt has been payed, and he’s no longer tied to anyone. Will Darth Sidious take another apprentice before Vader.... Is Sidious the Emperor? Sure the next film will be romantic, but there is also a war waging.

My god, I’m trapped in this. I’m so utterly love smitten. I was afraid tonight. Instead, I saw a really wonderful adventure. A fairy tale that told of a galaxy far far away. I guess I’m still a kid, because when I came home this morning... I didn’t update, I didn’t even go online. I just played with my toys. Holding them, and trying to figure out what their place in things were.

I don’t know about you, but the whole Jedi Council pan at the end of the film.... Had a lot of forboding attached to it.

And right now, I want to apoligize to the folks that hate this movie. I don’t. I genuinely loved it. Yes, I’m a STAR WARS fan. Yes, I overlooked the hilarity, which while I enjoyed it, I hope that it gets toned down to almost nothing in the coming films.

I could feel the people in the room disliking elements of this movie. Afterwards I heard some people talking about a movie that was just a big fight between Darth Maul and Boba Fett and... I realized how that is what a lot of us have become.

Why waste time with characters like C3PO, JAR JAR, WATTO, etc... Let’s just get to the meat. No veggies please. I want dramatics with the characters that interest ME! I don’t want all this silly stuff, I want three dimensional characters!

That’s why you’re gonna love THE LORD OF THE RINGS that Peter Jackson is working on. Every complaint that STAR WARS fans have with this film, is not in Peter’s film. Peter is a fan, like us, that wants to take things to the next level, and ultimately... George is still at the same level he was at before.

He’s still making popcorn confection like nothing you’ve ever eaten. It’s like the best bowl of Frosted Flakes that you have ever eaten. When you put in the bananas, added some sugar and.... you know what... You ate the whole box while watching your favorite Saturday Morning Cartoons (Scooby Doo, Space Ghost, Dungeons & Dragons, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, Blue Falcon, etc).

Sure he tells us that he’ll bring us a fine wine with an excellent banquet, but this time he just skipped to dessert. Will we get our meat and potatoes? Will we open up a fine Merlot? Will the story deepen? I’m willing to bet it will. I enjoyed this serving of Flintstones Vitamins.

I’m going to see this film alot. But now, more than ever, I’m dying to see LORD OF THE RINGS. And... I’m dying to see this one.... again.

It’s Star Wars. And I love it. No excuses, that’s just the way it is. Go.... Have fun.... be a kid again....

Readers Talkback
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  • May 20, 1999, 5:25 a.m. CST

    I could be FIRST!

    by Mr White

    Right on Harry!

  • May 20, 1999, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Maybe a little more coming later?

    by Sefster

    I was hoping for maybe a little more of an in depth review from you, Harry. But, I guess that will come after most people have seen it. Happy you liked it, though.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Ep1 and Harry

    by Arz

    I posted this on another part of the site, I guess I got my answer. --------------------------------- Listen, when Harry comes out with his review he faces a problem. Is he honest and face being shut out by Lucas and hollywood types? Or does he claim to absolutely love this movie and lose the respect of his readers? (of course there is the chance he did actually like it.) As for me, the Gungans just have to go. Jesus, it was like slapstick watching these morons. Did they speak Reggae? How can anyone possibly like a character that bumbles his way through a battle? Everything he did was by accident. Please, give us some respect. And did anyone hear the battle droid respond to orders by saying "roger roger" ?? Are you kidding? What stormtrooper would say "roger roger" to Darth Vader? It made them even seem comical. Why would you make the battle droids comical? Be honest with yourself guys, you can be disappointed, it's not against the law. Just be honest you know you expected more.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Anticipation

    by Papi at Work

    Very glad you liked it Harry. My family probably won't see it until the 28th. One thing though, as many people have said over and over, no movie could possibly live up to the hype and sustained anticipation that was generated for TPM. And now here we go with LOTR before the first scratch gets on the PM's celluloid. I'm looking forward to LOTR with more excitement than SW. But I'm not going obsess over it for the two years until it comes out. Everyone do yourselves a favor and chill on these highly anticipated movies. Sure keep track of them, but this emotional frenzy wears me out just reading about it.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:43 a.m. CST

    wow

    by ibilith

    Darth Maul carried this movie on his back to the land of coolness. George Lucas better find a way to fuse his two halves back together and get him into Episodes 2 and 3.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:44 a.m. CST

    WOW...The only thing I can say....

    by NJFILM20

    I posted as soon as a I got home on the other article and I said I'd write again. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in America to see EP1 when I saw the 12:01 E.T show. I have to admit. It was fucking phenomanal. Utter disbelief when I try to take in all that was on screen. Like I said in my other posts, it was not perfect, ( Bad dialogue, Queen was wooden, And that fucking Jar Jar, who I liked at first, turned out to be extemely annoying). Other than that, it was one of the best cinematic experience of my 21 yrs. I think seeing it with a bunch of die-hards only enhanced the experience. It was great to be a part of history. It was great to see all my expectations of EP! lived up to. Much credit to Lucas and everyone involved. Can't wait to see it again. I'm still smiling. Until next time. NJFILM20

  • May 20, 1999, 5:48 a.m. CST

    Episode 1 - Maybe Some Spoilers

    by Aggie_Ed

    Harry, I had to agree with you. In today's edition of the Austin-American Statesman, they had a blending of basically all of the negative reviews that have come out in the last week. I went into this movie trying to block all that negativity from my mind as I tried to watch this movie with a totally objective mind. I loved this movie, but the people around me didn't seem to think too much about it. There was a lot of grumbling when Shmi mentions the birth of Anakin, and there were some other things going on in the movie that didn't seem to please some of the audience around me. But I liked it. I read the book when it came out two weeks ago, and I loved it. This is a good, entertaining movie. As I've told my friends over the last two weeks that the negative reviews have been coming out, I go to a movie like Armageddon, Independence Day, Men in Black, etc, for pure entertainment. I don't care about the story necessarily. I go to the movies to have fun!! Episode One is fun, and I only regret that I didn't buy tickets to more than one showing today!!! Go see this movie!! The pod race was extremely intense, and the final lightsaber duel is amazing!! Go see this movie and have fun with it! My only complaint: it wasn't long enough!!!!!! Ed

  • May 20, 1999, 5:50 a.m. CST

    There goes my last hope

    by wainwrig

    Harry, I'm glad you liked it. I really am. But I'm also glad you apologized to those of us that hated it. I held out a slim hope that you would feel as dissapointed, saddened and angry at this film as I did. Then maybe Lucas would take notice, maybe something would change before the next film. I've seen the various films in the SW series about 20-30 times each over my life, but I'm not a fanboy. I just really like the movies. After watching TPM last night I fail to see how any rational person could make a comment comparing ANH to TPM. Sure the original was a popcorn movie, but it had wit, heart and vision. And if nothing else it was an exciting ride. Last night something I never thought could happen happened...I sat through a Star Wars movie bored. Even RotJ has about 15-20 moments in the movie where I think "cool!". TPM had two (Light Saber through door and begining of fight with DM). I can't see how anyone thinks this film resembles the original three in either fun or wonder.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:53 a.m. CST

    WoW

    by Jeffskywalker

    I'd write something, but I'm going to go see it again! I love this movie!!!

  • First, I really liked this film. It was fun, it was well-crafted, and it was worth standing in line and painstakingly avoiding all spoilage. I also think it works well as an establishing movie to start the whole story. The first film in 9 (now 6) should really set things up, and I think this one did. I loved Queen Amidala. George Lucas has finally written a decent female character (I'm not going to get into my Leia issues, though she did get better as the series went on). I didn't like Jar-Jar, but he didn't ruin the film, either (I liked Harry's "Jar-Jar's a hippie" explanation, even if I don't buy it, personally). My biggest problem with the movie was that it was that there was too little character development for the most part. There was good establishment of Anakin. Qui-Gon, Obi-wan and Amidala were developed fairly well, too, but other than that, most characters were there as plot points and not as characters, which is pretty disappointing, but not too surprising where Lucas is concerned. I'm very disappointed by Darth Maul, because I feel he got no character development whatsoever. I think that people who read the script or perhaps the novel (I haven't read it yet) got more, but he just seemed to show up to kick ass and that's about it. I didn't want him to be the central focus, and I didn't want him to even get more screen time, but considering how much he was pushed in the advertising, I would have liked him to at least be a character of some sort. I feel the battle droids got more development. But it's no matter. It was a fun and engaging film that was worth seeing, worth standing in a very long line for a week in advance for a couple of hours when I should have been studying for finals, worth a lot of things. I'm not the biggest SW fan in the world. I like my fairy tales with a lot more substance (Neil Gaiman's *Stardust* for example, or Tolkien and C.S. Lewis). SW is more a generational marker for me. I'm just under a year older than the original film, so, like the rest of the people in my generation, it's an event--something that defines us all in a very strange way. I'm greatly looking forward to the next two films. My biggest worry about the prequels was that in developing Anakin, much of Darth Vader's mystery that makes him such an engaging character would be lost. I still fear that, but I'm willing to wait and see. In 2002, God willing, I'll be in line again. And, oh yeah, the soundtrack was fabulous, and I would be perfectly willing to have Ewan McGregor's children (there was a lot more eye-candy than just the special effects :). Sorry for the long post.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:58 a.m. CST

    WOW!!!!

    by Hobbs3

    I'm still processing what I just saw. Even though I unfortunately knew most of what was going to happen, though the magnatude of the TPM has left me speechless. I did have problems with many parts though they mostly configure with many of what others have to say, to a far lesser degree for me. The best part of this film for me was that it really did make me feel like a kid again. For anyone who has younger siblings, ect take them to this movie!! I saw the TPM with 3 of my 4 younger brothers 15 , 13, and 8 years years old ( my other little bro is at WSU still. Anyways the thrill to see my youngest bros face light up in wonder during the pod race, whenever Maul appeared ( his favorite scene he recounted was when he pulled back his hood ) ect. I know Harry has gone on and on about pretending to be 7, but the just asking what he liked and what he didn't was more fulfilling for me. Also within 10 min of getting home a furious lightsaber battle erupted in our den, which I promply moved outside and joined right in, lets just say that there isn't one intact broomstick to be found.

  • May 20, 1999, 6 a.m. CST

    Star Bores. Harry, you're wrong!

    by bshaw

    I usually don't talk back, but this is annoying me... I was *extremely* excited about this new movie, and had bought tickets early, etc., and ditched school to see it on opening day. What I saw shocked me, and Harry's review shocked me even more. What happened to the intelligent film? What happened to characters! Phantom Menace lacks both of these, and turns out to be a boring two hour eye-candy trip that doesn't have much action, and does a disservice to the previous movies. How can one like Jar Jar? I was sitting next to three 10 year olds (or so it seems), and their reaction was that of confusion. They didn't even crack a laugh. My reaction? What's so funny about a Jamaican accent and stepping in "doo-doo"?! Unlike the other three movies, there are no characters you really root for, and no character that you have compassion for. There's no mock character like Han Solo, and there's no character who shows excitement. And by the way, Jake Lloyd makes this movie even worse. The scenes where he's in the cockpit with R2D2 is a complete mockery of the term "performance": his reactions counter what is going on; instead of excitement/fear we get the impression that he's playing some hokey game and that there's no danger. Not to mention, there's NO RESOLUTION between Anakin and Neeson's character! Not to mention, no emotional diologue! How are we supposed to believe that a plausible relationship exists! The only relationship is between Anakin and his mother, who gets nicely locked away half way through the movie. And my final complaint, the lack of excitement. In my opinion, when you ignore the pod race, the first hour and forty minutes of this movie is a complete bore. The two Jedis move their swords and wield their hands, but that's it. They always win. We know they'll win. Yes, the race is exciting, but there's no real purpose of it to the plot; there's no tension. If he doesn't win, I thought, who cares? The film gets very good at the last ten minutes. But besides that, it's terrible. It's dissapointing. This is the apotheosis, literally, of the technoligization and dedramitization of movies recently. I look at epic masterpieces like Badlands and Dog Day Afternoon, where there are people you care about and situations that makes your blood tighten up, and I have an appreciation of cinema. I look at Star Wars, and I see those films came out 20 years ago. We need a good script, Harry, good acting, good everything. Phantom Menace had some nice eyecandy, but there was no heart.

  • May 20, 1999, 6 a.m. CST

    Reading Novel First A Mistake

    by Zaphod

    I found that knowing a lot of spoilers ahead of time really backfired for me. Having read the screenplay and novel before seeing the movie, I wasn't afraid of having things spoiled. What I didn't expect was a tremendous letdown because of all the cool stuff that had been CUT. This could have been a 3-hour movie, easily. Maybe it should have been. The editing seemed too tight to me.

  • May 20, 1999, 6 a.m. CST

    WOW!!!!

    by Hobbs3

    I'm still processing what I just saw. Even though I unfortunately knew most of what was going to happen, though the magnatude of the TPM has left me speechless. I did have problems with many parts though they mostly configure with many of what others have to say, to a far lesser degree for me. The best part of this film for me was that it really did make me feel like a kid again. For anyone who has younger siblings, ect take them to this movie!! I saw the TPM with 3 of my 4 younger brothers 15 , 13, and 8 years years old ( my other little bro is at WSU still. Anyways the thrill to see my youngest bros face light up in wonder during the pod race, whenever Maul appeared ( his favorite scene he recounted was when he pulled back his hood ) ect. I know Harry has gone on and on about pretending to be 7, but the just asking what he liked and what he didn't was more fulfilling for me. Also within 10 min of getting home a furious lightsaber battle erupted in our den, which I promply moved outside and joined right in, lets just say that there isn't one intact broomstick to be found.

  • Okay, so the guy who says to Amialda: "I think we're going to have to accept federation control for the time being" is part of the sith, and he goes on to be the vile emperor, who dies as a geezer when his apprentice vader throws him down the shaft? If this is true, then who in gods name is Darth Sidious? Was Darth Sidious the dude standing next to Maul in Coruscant? Was Senator Palpatine masquerading in the black cloak thingy during the hologram transmissions? Damn, I'm confused. Anyone who can clear this up will be remembered in my will.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:02 a.m. CST

    WOW!!!!2

    by The DonVito

    Harry, I gotta say I agree with your review. Ep1 was fantastic. The negative reviews did me a great favor, since after hearing from these blowhards about how bad Ep 1 was going to be, my expectations were lowered. Man was I blown away! The last time I felt such ephoria was when I saw TESB. Ep1 made me feel like a kid again. I know I'll see this movie again. I wonder if the critics saw the same movie I did.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:02 a.m. CST

    Confirmation

    by majorhavok

    Yes, you're still a kid.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:04 a.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace

    by AJS

    This is what worries me. Over the last few weeks there has been a huge U turn in the way that TPM has been reported in the press in my country (England). For the last year there has been nothing but positive anticipation in the press about this movie. But over the last few weeks (even before the first reviews came out)the press over here have started to savage the film and George's motives for making it. I can understand a critic not liking a film ...... that's not my problem. What is my problem is the fact that most of the negative reviews I have seen so far have amounted to nothing more than personal attacks on George & Star Wars fans in general. One particular review by a British Critic stated the following "if your the kind of guy who's been following Star Wars since 1977, what your woman wears is usually a purely hypothetical problem." I realise that it is taken out of context, but in that one sentence you get a general idea of the tone of the review. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?? It's not a review, it's a accusation that most Star Wars fans are sad single men with well developed wrist muscles. I for one am sick of this treatment (& so is my girlfriend of 7 years). Why is there this sudden hate for all things Lucas? They just can't stand to see someone do well can they? For God's sake ...... it's just a movie. But they seem to be going in to screenings demanding a work of art. HELLO! This is Star Wars, it may not be art, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. (More ranting may follow .... I won't see the film for another month and a half ..... sigh)

  • May 20, 1999, 6:05 a.m. CST

    WORSE THAN HOWARD THE DUCK

    by Chi-town

    ok...so it's a slight exaggeration but this reminded me of the SIMPSON'S episode when Bart & Lisa write an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon and one of the entries is How to buy the He-man doll...this should be called...EPISODE 1: How to buy Jar Jar...first of all i saw the 3:30am Mann's Village show...great crowd and everyone was psyched...opening was great than it started...jar jar (whose speech pattern was best characterized as ebionics meets rastifareian very annoying) took over...i hated everything about him, his awful underwater world, and his fat, bloated king...only a 3 year old lobotomized will find him amusing...he was worse than the EWOKS all rolled up into one...and what was up with the ...i felt ashamed as i watched a cross eyed YODA sitting next to a neglected Sam Jackson pissing on Anakin...Yoda's become a goof caricature...the only saving grace is that i'm really psyched for episode 2...but this film was overall disappointing...there were no STAND UP AND YELL AND CHEER SECTIONS...Lucas directing was amateur...i yearned to see a visual director like John Woo shoot the battle b/w Maul & Obi-wan...yeh the sword play was great but the film wasn't kinetic enough...even the POD RACE was overkill and what the hell happened to TATOOINE...it was turned into some PIXAR nightmare...goddammit they didn't even go to MOS EISLEY...someone pls stop george lucas from RUINING his trilogy...this is the biggest disappointment EVER...and what was up with those TRADE REPUBLIC baddies speaking like bad Asian chopsocko-karate-dubbed bad guys...oh well...guess i'll go see it again...

  • May 20, 1999, 6:07 a.m. CST

    Very disappointed in TPM!!

    by gerwalk

    I am a huge Star Wars fan, but I have to be honest, I didn't hate this film, but I didn't neccesarily like it either. It is on par with previous summer blockbusters like independence day, maybe a bit better, visually a lot better, storywise a lot better. But, this is not a star wars film, not even close. It may hiave the look, may have the feel of a star wars universe, but it definitely dosen't give you the feelings that the original star wars trilogy does. There is no tension here. Who gives a fuck when Obi Wan is hanging from a thread during his battle with darth maul, not me at least not the way you were concerned for luke at the end of esb. Why not, well who the hell even know who the guy is specnt half the fuckin film analyzing blood samples. Does anyone give a fuck when anakin blows up the trade federation ship. No! Why not? No tension, no established impending doom, no impossible odds like the death star, no final shot that can be fired only from a jedi. Hell you got the feeling that jar jar binks could have tripped and had the same impact on the federation ship that anakin did. Overall I have to say that I am disapponited, for all those who say view it in a child eys. fuck that. I am not sure children could even follow what the hell was going on. i know I and several other adults were basically scratching their heads the entire time. Give kids a bit more credit, I doubt many of them will be willing to sit through this the Phantom bullshit.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:08 a.m. CST

    Darth Maul = directorial restraint!

    by hotbread

    Darth Maul. My god. My freaking god. That's all I had to say. He was SO much scarier and more evil than I thought he would be. Some have complained that he didn't get enough lines, and he didn't get enough screen time. But this is what keeps him mysterious and scary! The glimpses that we do get of Darth Maul are of an unstoppable, uncaring, ruthless EVIL. If he talked a lot, or if we got to follow him around in his daily routine, he wouldn't be scary anymore -- he'd just be some guy with weird shit on his head. Lucas didn't WANT us to see much of Darth Maul. He's the boogeyman that you catch a glimpse of out of the corner of your eye. Maybe we have been spoiled by over-edited, breathless, in-your-face movies like Armageddon and Godzilla, so we expect everything to be portrayed at full force 100% of the time?

  • May 20, 1999, 6:09 a.m. CST

    Jar Jar Jemimah, etc.

    by Alexandra DuPont

    Harry, thanks for a quite well-reasoned review. I must respectfully disagree about Jar Jar, however; for me, it's not that he's annoying, it's that he draws on a racist archetype. Seriously. I know that sounds pathetically PC (and believe me I'm anything but), but let

  • May 20, 1999, 6:10 a.m. CST

    8 changes that would make TPM a great SW movie... (spoilers)

    by Mr EuroSnob

    Let me start by saying that I would give TPM 3/4 stars. It was a very good movie, but being a SW movie, TPM has some critical flaws. Here are eight suggested changes that would improve the movie IMMENSLY, all in my opinion of course... --- 1) Remove all Jar-Jar's scenes involving fumbling, walking in poo, farting, and killing half the droid army by mistake. Ideally Jar Jar should be completely redone, too make him less like a cartoony. --- 2) Replace the Boss Nass character (he is CGI anyway), and take out the idiotic fountain-drooling/laugh. --- 3) Either clear up the Jar-Jar and the other Gungans "jamaican" accent, or make their langauge alien, with subtitles. Hey - if we managed 3 movies with a grunting wookie (WITHOUT subtitles I might add), we should be able to handle a side-kick with sub-titles. --- 4) Dub over the Nimoudians voices, they sound too much like stereotypical asian immigrants, very distracting. Or make their language alien, and use subtitles. --- 5) Remove the scenes dealing Midi-Chlorian crap, no need for such a lame "trek-like" explanation of the force. --- 6) Replace the two-headed pod race announcer, how 90's lame was that? ("That's gotta hurt in any universe!" - BARF) --- 7) Remove the sub ride through the core of Naboo, completely pointless and lame. ("There's always a bigger fish" - Yeeesh, how profound can you get!) --- 8) Have John Williams rescore the movie. "Duel of the Fates" was the ONLY good part of the soundtrack, the rest was barely audible and such a generic score that it could have been attached to ANY movie. Somone please remind Williams that this is supposed to be a STAR WARS score. --- Anyway, here's hoping for an improved secial edition. - EuroSnob

  • May 20, 1999, 6:10 a.m. CST

    S I T H S L A Y E R S E Z:

    by Sithslayer

    RIght on Harry. Now imagine trying to keep quiet about it for TWO WEEKS. I've now seen it four times and counting. When you watch a film more than once, you tend to look elsewhere on the screen and I've already noticed a few tidbits for those of you who want to experience some "Where's Waldo?" kind of stuff. WARNING: READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS. ...............Okay. I want everyone to know that I am the one who is to take credit for SCOOPING this stuff. First of all, in the Senate Chambers, look hard at who's in attendance. I saw a race of Wookies in the upper middle to right on the screen for a split second and I swear that it was Chewbacca himself raising his arms up in the air and yelping, because you can hear his roar!!! Also look to the bottom left of the screen and find that FREAKIN' E.T. The Extra-terrestrial is in there with two buds. Three of the E.T. race are present. How cool is that? In the scene where the battle droids are shut down, look for the one droid that has the number (1138) written across his back!!!! I'm gonna keep searching for the "potato" in the asteroid field when I watch this film more times in the future. I'm out!

  • What did I think?... When I saw it, my opinion was colored by the reviews of the mainstream critics (whom I usually trust), and I had read the script, the comic-adaptation, and listened to the soundtrack... I pretty much knew every line in the movir by heart. What did I think? I COULD NOT LOVE THIS FILM MORE!!! It literally had me on the edge of my seat for the total duration of the movie. Some say that the plot slowed down too much with the Anakin scenes and the Coruscant scenes. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is the action behind the action. It is much more fast and furious than the slowing-down of A New Hope. But, there is something I must say about the pace of this film that I will come to later. PLOT: I've said it before and I'll say it again. It is the least-simplistic plot of all the Star Wars movies. Some people say they were confused? Who are these people? Slack-jawed yocals? I guess these are the same people that would have trouble understanding the plot of Forrest Gump. For, although this the most complex plot of the Star Wars movies, it does not stray THAT far from the simplistic good-guy, bad-guy nature of the Star Wars films. People complained about the Niemoidians' voices. I must admit, at first, it was a bit strange. I didn't like it. But as the movie progressed, I couldn't imagine the Neimoidians with any other voices. Actually, now I love the Neimoidian accents! I think they're just one of the cool things in the Star Wars universe. "the seeenate"... THE ACTING: The acting was dead perfect. Liam, Ewan, and Natalie definitley knew their stuff. I actually expected bad acting, but that's not what I got. ..now, let's talk about Anakin: I didn't like his introduction. Well, I liked it, but it was too quick. It was rushed. They never slowed to let us get a sense of him. And at first, I must admit I was a bit shaky about his acting. But, he came to grow on me. His acting wasn't bad at all. He acted his part just as perfectly as the other actors did. He acted like a nine year old boy. THE SPECIAL EFFECTS: I have an image from nearly every scene in the film. I have every commercial and the two trailers saved on my hard drive. Yet, I think all will agree with me here: I WAS TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR THE SPECIAL EFFECTS. My jaw dropped to the floor in just the opening scene alone. When the Republic Cruiser docks with the Federation Battleship, THAT was incredible enough! From there, the effects elevated to the highest and most realistic standing I have ever witnessed in my life. Jar Jar was 100% real. Watto was 100% real. EVERY effect was 100% real. There wasn't one effect which I good think myself: "Oh, that's bad CG..." WOW. That's all I can say about the effects. WOW. This is definitley a "blow the audience away" movie. Even non-Star Wars fans should see this movie just for the special effects alone. ISSUES THAT PEOPLE HAVE: Midi-Chlorians- I really don't understand the reasoning behind hating this concept. I have known about Midi-Chlorians for half a year, so if you're expecting me to bash them, think again. Some people feel betrayed, some people feel that their own takes on Star Wars have been thrown into the trash. Guess what? YOU WERE LOOKING TO DEEP INTO THE MOVIE! The Star Wars movies are nothing more than modern versions of Flash Gordon. These are ridiculously fun movies in which you root for the good guy and root for the bad guy and just suck in the imagery. That's all. This is how I look at it: Look at Episode I as THE FIRST episode, because THAT IS WHAT IT IS. The Force is an energy field created by Midi-Chlorians. LIVE WITH IT. Does it take away from the mystical nature of the Force? I really don't see how. Honestly. Someone tell me how the whole concept of "The Force" has been changed at all. Because I don't see it. Every word that Yoda said in TESB is still the same. Life creates The Force. Some people, like Alexandra DuPont, believe that Vader can no longer be so strong in the Force if he is half-machine. Why is that? People are looking at Midi-Chlorians the wrong way. They think Anakin's body is filled to the brim with some strange particle. That's wrong. EVERYONE has Midi-Clorians. They are a part of everyone's cells. Now, Anakin has the most concentrated amount of Midi-Chlorians. THE MOST CONCENTRATED. It's not that his body has more cells than anyone else. It's that he has a higher concentration per cell of Midi-Chlorians than any other being. Why would that cpncentration per cell change if he becomes half-machine? Why would it change even if he was ALL machine except for a brain or something? IT IS A CONCENTRATION PER CELL. IT IS NOT THE TOTAL BODY AMOUNT. Because, if it were the total body amount, than I guess someone could lose their Force powers by getting cut and losing blood, right? COME ON. Think about it, people. NEGATIVES: MY one major important negative is this: The movie was just too fast. And I don't mean that in a good way. It is as if Lucas stuff a bunch of things into a cabinet and pushed it shut. It's just BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. It never slows down like the other movies did. It doesn't slow down to get at least a longer camera shot of Anakin when we first see him. It doesn't slow down when it gets sentimental. It just doesn't slow down. It's too much to look at at one time. At first I disagreed with people who said the movie should have been longer. I thought every Star Wars movie should be about two hours in length. I was wrong. This movie should have been longer. It had far too much crammed into a two hour period. I wanted the camera to move slower and not just quickly wipe to the next scene the second the dialogue was done. That is really, the only significant negative feeling I have about this movie. And the whole "Globe of Peace" thing at the end. I didn't like that at all. What the hell was it? Some kind of glowing ball that symbolizes peace??? Lucas shouldn't have put it in the movie. And I didn't like Natalie portman's valley-girl accent as Padme. Why didn't she just keep her regal Amidala accent throughout? I did love her Amidala voice. Very good acting there. WHERE DO I RANK IT WITH THE OTHER FILMS?: I'm sorry to say this, I really am. I feel sad saying it, but.... "The Phantom Menace" is the best of the Star Wars films. And to tell you the truth, I honestly honestly didn't think it would be. The reviews made me think this was a ROTJ-level movie. And I LOVE TESB. I thought there was no way TPM would top TESB. I just didn't think it would. ....but it did. And do you know why? Because, in my honest opinion, TPM was more Star Wars-ish than the other Star Wars movies. There, I said it. Lucas has always siad that Star wars is just Fantasy with technology. Star Wars is not sci-fi. And none of the Star Wars movies prove this better than TPM. A New Hope had this huge, planet-destroying space station. But, TPM has a beautiful planet, a majestic city, and a beautiful palace taken over by the villains. The Jedi Knights are real in this film. They aren't just some "hokey religion with ancient weapons", they are total bad-asses. There isn't ONE BIG image in TPM like the Death Star, and that's what I liked about this film. It was about the plot. It was about the Palace. A planet taken over, a beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Queen who must flee, a slave who must win his freeedom, and a FANTASTIC capital planet (the senate and Jedi Council scenes were AWESOME), and finally the return to the planet and the fight to take back the palace and defeat the armies of the Federation. A wonderful, magical, fantastical story. More endearing to me, than the story of a farm boy who destroys a space station. SCENES I LOVED: The passage through the Planet Core, the Pod Race, the Galactic Senate, the space battle, the Gungans vs. the Battle Droids, and the three-way lightsaber duel..... WOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!! These scenes caused my jaw to drop. I'm kind of sorry, because the three-way lightsaber duel in TPM makes the Vader vs. Obi-Wan fight in ANH seem like two snails trying to outrun each other. I absolutley loved how Maul paced back and forth and stared evilly at Qui-Gon, while Qui-Gon meditated. I ABSOLUTLEY LOVED THAT!! I was smiling. Because Maul KNEW that he was going to kill Qui-Gon. And Qui-Gon meditated and gathered up his energy. Indeed, Qui-Gon was faster than before, and I don't think he knew he would die. But I was totally unprepared for how it look. Maul puts his lightsaber right through Qui-Gon and it comes out the other end, even leaving a burn mark on his outfit where the hole is. True, I don't understand why Qui-Gon didn't disappear, but Lucas said we will come to understand that in Episodes II & III. ....and MAN, I LOVED DARTH MAUL'S DEATH. Very cool. AND FINALLY...: I cannot wait to see it again. When the movie ended, I really really wanted to get back in line and see it again. I am going to go see this movie as often as I can over the weeks to come. Like I said, there is just too much to absorb in two hours. Your eyes cannot digest it all. YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST see this movie more than once to see everything. And that is not necesarilly true with the other films. Sure, I saw the special editions multiple times at the theater, but I did that because I liked the movies so much. This movie DEMANDS that you go see it more than once. You don't really have a choice. If you want to see the whole movie, you must go and see it again. I know I will. Was it worth the wait? Was it worth all the fuss? YES. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES, YES.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:16 a.m. CST

    A Piece of Crap is This

    by Clock

    I resent Harry's comment "I'm a STAR WARS fan." Does that mean if I hated this movie, I'm not? maybe I'm taking it out of context... But yes, I hated this film. And yes, I grew up with all STAR WARS films, watched them all once a week for years, endlessly played with my toys, etc. This movie invites none of that. What am I going to do: "Okay, let's get the Queen out of here before... (gasp!!) she signs a contract!! NOOOO!!! Not the evil contract!!" Is that what this movie is about? Why center your main story around politics about as exciting as your average CNN report. And don't say, "That's not what it's about, it's about Anakin and blah blah.," it's about Trade Routes. The Anakin story, I realized while watching the film, is fairly moot. There's never anything at stake because we already know the outcome of everything. But that's thanks to lousy writing and flat direction. And now let's talk characters and the actors inside them. 1) Obi-Wan - Nothing to do whatsoever. His job is to look at Qui-Gon, nod and say "Uh, yeah, I think that too..." Ewan McGregor, normally so energetic and, well, GOOD, stinks here. I never had interest in his thoughts or actions. 2) Qui-Gon - Boring, thanks to the thudding dialogue and Neeson's constant why-am-I-even-in-this-movie? deliveries and facial expressions. 3) Queen Amidala/Padme - I don't even know what was going on with this nonsense. She emotes about as much as a slap of beefsteak. 4) Anakin - Horrible, easily the worst character in the movie. To disagree with Harry, he is not a normal kid, playing with his friends and whatnot. He's never even convincing as a character, I was constantly, more so than anyone else, aware that this was so godawful a performance that any slight characterizations that Lucas might've thought out are drowned out in this kid's worthless acting. I truly hope I never, ever see him again, ever. 5) - Jar-Jar - He sucked, to be sure, but I was surprised at how little I minded him after a while, so I'm sort of like Harry in that respect. I was dreading him for the longest while, but during the movie, I became immune to him, and realized he could not at all bear the burden of what's so bad about this movie. His master bears that responsibility. His master of course, being Mr. Lucas. 6) - Darth Maul - Well, I really don't know what to say about him. I feel Harry's explanation for his small screentime is hogwash: this is a character who should've BEEN in this movie! What an incredibly wasted oppotunity! There is no villain, yet there are so many of them. The two Trade Federation guys, with their bizarre ethnic undertones, were an abomination. I'm really wanting to see Harry defend these assholes. All they do is talk and slur their speech, is that supposed to be intimidating? Darth Siddious... doesn't even register. He's off the radar, I hardly noticed him. How can there be no bad guys in a movie series about Good Vs. Evil? George Lucas is a terrible, terrible director. Instead of the wit we saw in the previous STAR WARS films, he get silliness and baffonery, quite possibly a result of his trying hard to please his own children. The man can't write dialogue to save his life, tirelessly dishing out exposition in minute-long monologues. I will see this movie again, just to make sure that I think what I think, if you know what I mean. I hope I can appreciate the empty, spirit-deadening preoccupation with filling every single frame with an effect of some kind, all of which is shockingly uneffective after the first half hour. I hope I will find some good things to say about it. I hope.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:18 a.m. CST

    The Kirin Review

    by Kirin

    Note to George Lucas: Awesome CGI. Edit looooong boring scences between the action. Less muppets, more character development. Geez, give the bad guy a few lines. B-

  • May 20, 1999, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Second Thoughts

    by TOMMY TERROR

    Good review Harry, I was peculiarly curious to read your first impressions, and I'm pleased you haven't fallen to the dark side. I'd seen the press screening, but I wanted to see PHANTOM MENACE with fans on opening night - with a cheering crowd - and when friends had an extra ticket for 12:01 I jumped. To tell you the truth the crowd wasn't that different. Almost insanely noisy as we waited for the film to begin, screaming over trailers - I almost thought the world would end right then and there. But once the film started there were only intermittent cheers - usually when a character first appeared, kinda like watching Married With Children. I don't know if they were just awestruck (like I was again) or disappointed, but those 70's feelings of a group herd instinct were sadly no more. Altho now I wanna see it with kids. It was a much easier ride second time around, I knew when to disengage (the serious Anakin scenes on Tattooine) and when to study the scene for clues and details (almost every scene). So many delicious details in the background - creatures and gadgets - it's insane. Anyone else notice when Amidala is first captured and led down the stairs - all of her handmaidens look exactly like her. In fact it almost looked like Natalie Portman played all of them. I wonder if there's some cloning already? Check it out. I had to pee during my first viewing and fuck if I didn't miss 5 entire scenes. This flick is really packed and fast. I've decided my biggest disappointment is Anakin's mother. She has to say some of the worst lines, and it almost seems like she's compensating for Ani's lack of depth with her studied gravity. They don't make a very believable family. I really hope Lucas bones up on his directing actors abilities before attempting a love story.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:23 a.m. CST

    star yores...

    by angel

    whew, was it tough gettin' into this film! i walked up to the box office at 11:30, got two tickets for the 1:00 show and walked past ten people forming a line for the 4:30 show. the theater was hardly packed. but that's cool. everybody is staying away thinking it will be a madhouse...here's where lucas shoots himself in the foot (ala jar jar?)...TOO MUCH HYPE. the movie didn't suck, but it sure lacked hardcore. here's the biggest problem--and i'm right: JAKE LLOYD AND NATALIE PORTMAN ARE TWO OF THE WORST ACTORS TO EVER GRACE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE. you'd think at some point before spending hundreds of millions of dollars lucas might say, "oh shit. those two can't act!" the audience was audibly embarresed whenever jake and natalie had dialogue. atrocious. the visuals were stunning; liam and ewan rocked though forget any character development; jar jar is exactly what people fear it to be (how many times must it squeal? jerry lewis is right...); the aliens were cool; but THE SPACESHIPS SUCKED. compare those awful silver looking things to the ships in star wars. please. where was ron cobb? ralph mcquarrie? sigh. at least the music rocked. the film is not bad, but lucas has lost his sense of direction....this movie will not bring the star wars mythos to the next millenium...i mean, natalie portman was TERRIBLE...get some british kids next time....

  • May 20, 1999, 6:27 a.m. CST

    Can't wait to see this film!!!

    by Kultros

    First of all I'm a Brit so I can't get to see the film yet so I'm going to have to preserve my sanity by talking about EP2 and EP3. A few months ago, someone on AICN said that Obi Wan might have two apprentices and then one of them betrays Obi Wan, big fight scene and this is what turns Anakin. We don't know how the structure of Anakin's fall will turn out but I personally think that for Anakin to turn his back on Obi Wan is going to be the mostimportant betrayal. I've just got this sneeky suspicion that Darth Sidious or Palpatine or whoever will turn him because Obi Wan isn't there to save him when he falls into the lead. One possible idea is that it could be during the clone wars and Obi Wan will make a decision with which Anakin diasagrees. Whatever the way it turns out, I can't wait to see the film and its only just under another two months till we get the film!!! Ah well, at least we get all the good Brit com films before you. P.S. Sorry, I've posted this on the wrong article really. Not really about EP1

  • May 20, 1999, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Right on, Harry

    by fido

    You gotta stop reading my mind, baby! I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis and I'm running off for P.M. viewing number two right now...

  • May 20, 1999, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Bail Antilles??

    by Psifi

    Alright either I'm stone deaf or Palpatine mentioned one of the other candidates for Chancellor as Bail Antilles of Alderaan...not Bail Organa. Harry mentioned that Bail Organa supporting the call for a vote of no confidence didnt make it into the final script. Maybe this means that they didnt want to commit to a given actor in the role which might be greater in later films.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:31 a.m. CST

    STAR WARS IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!

    by JokerRulez

    So the moment finally arrived...I've been dreaming of this since I walked out of that theater 16 years ago. So how was it? It was as good as any other Star Wars movie! Give or take personal preferences (I think Empire is the best of them all). George Lucas has really created a gorgeous universe for us to enjoy, and enjoy it you will. Were there some problems...certainly. How was Jar Jar...I thought he was great, like that goofy friend who is always getting into trouble. Was it as good as we all hyped it to be...impossible. I have been milling over this movie for hours and hours now and have come to a conclussion. We can not give it its proper place until all six episodes are finished. Lucas' genius in these movies is how the whole is greater than the parts. Any one Star Wars movie cannot stack up to the great movies in history, but if you take the trilogy together, that stacks up pretty well. To all you people out there who didn't like this movie, I am sorry, you just didn't get it. One aspect of my life is completely satisfied now, until Episode II gets further along in pre-production. Finally I think my good friend Marcus Martin said it best " this movie is for the kid in all of us." Hope you enjoy it. Joker

  • May 20, 1999, 6:32 a.m. CST

    TPM Bashers - all WHINERS!

    by octosquid

    There's been a lot of negative reviews and TPM is currently being savaged in movie chat rooms and newsgroups everywhere. I was prepared for the absolute worst, but I was actually very, very pleased with this movie. I'm not a rabid Star Wars fan, but I have to admit that I forced my Mom to take me to see A New Hope on opening night way back in 1977 and I got a little choked up during the opening titles of The Phantom Menace. Please don't listen to any hype - good or bad - just watch this movie. Don't compare the acting to the other films, don't compare the "coolness" of the starships or droids to the other films - just immerse yourself in the universe and absorb it all. If you fret over the insignificant details in this movie, you will be depriving yourself of the extremely satisfying gestalt of this movie. All the "Phantom Menace" bashing is composed of nitpicking and complaints about insignificant details which shows that all these people didn't get it. The whole effect is much, much greater than the individual bits and pieces of technology and character.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:35 a.m. CST

    This was not a good movie!

    by The Mad Hatter

    I can't believe I waited 16 years for that God-awful bullshit, and Harry thought it was great!?!? Jesus H Christ!! I'm fucking at a loss!! He's right about one thing though, I'm now more than ever waiting for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. This trio of movies will FUCKING KICK-ASS. And it won't be ruined by "kiddie bullshit" either. I trust Peter Jackson over George Lucas ANY DAY OF THE FUCKING WEEK!!! PJ is NOT a merchandising WHORE. LOTR will show all you deluded SW fans how a trilogy SHOULD be made..... Now, on the subject of "Phantom Menace" - what the hell was George Lucas thinking? This is the kind of flick which makes "Godzilla" seem like the best movie ever made! It was teeming with childish crap from beginning to end, and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when the finale arrived. Lucas deserves a damn good flogging for force-feeding us this shit stew. The flick was nothing but a toy commercial, and I've seen more entertaining adverts than what I witnessed today...Jar Jar was a pain in the butt, Anakin was a stuck-up brat with far too much of the Wesley Crusher syndrome, and the dialogue was some of the worst in living memory. And what about Darth Maul? A true KICK-ASS MOTHERFUCKER, and he was TOTALLY FUCKING WASTED!!! A heinous crime, Mr. shit-for-brains Lucas! I can honestly say that anyone who loved this flick were not looking at it through the eyes of a child, THEY ARE A FUCKING CHILD!! I could feel my intelligence being insulted right from the start...All of you asshole losers who drool that this movie is awesome are deluding yourselves. I just knew that this would be the case, so I prepared for it. You so desperately wanted to love this flick that you're prepared to make ANY excuses in its defense. AND what about the line people?? Yeah, what about 'em?? What a bunch of dumb fucks! Camping out all this time to see a movie which didn't deserve ANY of their devotion! I will say here that I WANTED to love the movie, but I'm NOT gonna try and cover up what I believe to be a multitude of flaws...All you Lucas fanatics who can't look at a movie objectively are in 100% denial. The movie is simply not as good as most of you will make it out to be, and frankly, I don't give a fuck what you think. I didn't like it, and to me that's all that counts... I think Lucas must be LAUGHING at all you dummies, he can direct a mediocre movie and STILL make a fortune... Guys like Lucas are bad for the future of film-making. Taking his example, all you have to do is pack your movie with muppets and CGI and call it "Star Wars" and you're guaranteed a hit! I used to respect Lucas, but now I HATE him - THE GREEDY, WHORING, MERCHANDISING BASTARD!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Loved It

    by gfmcbay

    I agree with Harry here just about 100%. There will be some spoilers in my comments, so skip them if you haven't seen the movie (no, really, skip them!). Just a tiny bit of background on me, so people can put my comments into context: I am a 25 year old male who has been a big fan of Star Wars for as long as I can remember. I didn't wait in the ticket line for days (though I did wait in the to-be-seated line for about 5 hours in the rain in NYC), didn't wait in line to buy toys at 12:00 on May 3rd, etc. I'm a really big fan, but not to the point where Star Wars figures into my life on a daily basis. Ok, now on with the comments.. I liked Jar Jar, quite a lot. The kids are going to go absolutely nuts for him. He's the somewhat-annoying, yet oddly funny comic relief for this movie, just as C3PO was for the others (Threepio is here in this movie, but has very little screen time). My only gripe about Jar Jar is that he may have been given a bit too much screen time, time that might have been better spent developing Obi-Wan..But I guess we wait for 2 & 3 for that. If Jar Jar is around in the future episodes, please cut his screen time, that's all I ask. I loved Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon. I am really sad he was killed.(hey, I told you to skip it if you didn't see the movie, didn't I? Don't blame me!) The whole scene at the end with Obi-Wan and Yoda was difficult to watch, and you couldn't help feeling bad for Qui-Gon because of the unfortunate(?) turn of events he had a place in setting in motion. I also loved Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Ray Park as Darth Maul. The entire lightsaber duel in the final battle sequence was so amazingly kick-ass. The background scenery on spaceship landings and setup shots was so utterly grand and realistic (in a fantastic sort of way). I find it hard to reconcile in my mind that those places dont exist!! The pod-race was amazing too, but you don't need me to tell you that, pretty much everyone agrees on that part. A few of the comedic one-liners were great, though many do not compare with some of Han Solo's comments through the first trilogy. The Queen saying "We'll take the long way" when faced with Darth Maul was classic. I could go on and on...the short version is, I loved this film. Like Harry, I can't really say where it would fit in terms of quality compared to the first three. When I first heard the soundtrack, I thought it didn't really measure up to the rest, but upon listening to it multiple times, I think its right up there, and maybe a bit BETTER than Empire's score (which I consider to be the best of the original trilogy). I think that's a major problem with the acceptance of this movie...We haven't had 20 years to flame-war over whether or not Anakin told the Queen he would marry her or whether Obi-Wan blew out his lightsaber in the swamp (ala didn't Luke talk to Biggs on Tantooie??). When we have, I firmly believe everyone will have a wildly different view of this movie. All of that being said, the one major thing I didn't care for in the movie was how Anakin sort of bumbled (the bumbling success was fine for Jar Jar, but having it for two characters was a bit much!) into destroying the droid control ship at the end. I realize that the explaination is that The Force was using him, but it would have been nice if he had competently flown up to the battle, went into the ship and had the confidence to go in and blow the main reactor, perhaps drawing parallels to the pod-race as Luke drew them from the Darth Star trench to Beggar's Canyon. A few misc comments on the force: Doesn't it seem that despite all of the wise Jedi's lip service to inner peace that they seem to get the job done better when they are ragingly pissed off, one step from the dark side? Obi-Wan seemed pretty upset about Qui-Gon when he whacked Maul, as Luke was when he defeated Vader. It seems like the secret for Jedi is to run with the anger but pull back in time, rather than truly finding some inner peace. With all of the talk of the chosen one, balance of the force, and all of the force-inspired events drawing Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to Anakin..And Yoda's line about the Sith -- the dark side having only two at a time (no more, no less)..it sort of seems like the force wants the jedi to be wiped out? Too many jedi in comparison to the dark siders...thowing the yin and yang out of balance?

  • May 20, 1999, 6:39 a.m. CST

    What Else Would It Be

    by MantelTwins

    Last night it hit me. I was going to see Episode one after sixteen years. I was seven when A NEW HOPE came out. And here I am at 29 eagerly anticipating the Phantom Menace as if I were seeing for the first time someone I idolized and looked up to as a child. I wanted to see this film as a child like Harry and many recommended I do. I tried and to some degree I did, but then again it was Yoda himself who said, "do or do not. There is no try." So as an adult my reaction to the film was paradoxically feeling comforted and yet dissapointed by the reality that you can never quite recapture the romance and innocence of youth. So I had to accept that certain parts were dissappointing (not enough Maul, Kenobi, Yoda, that even as a kid I would not have liked JarJar) and others cool (the foreshadowing, the politics of the imperial senate, etc.) But as a child or an adult I felt that the film lacked any true powerful moment. Whenever I see A NEW HOPE, I still get choked up when Luke is racing down the trenches. Wedge has dropped out, Biggs is dead, and Luke's lost R2. Then he hears Obi Wan's voice. ANd Luke shuts off his targeting computer. The music swells...i didn't get a moment like that in Phantom. Is that too much to ask for?

  • May 20, 1999, 6:40 a.m. CST

    Lucas is a visionary so stop whining!

    by domino

    George Lucas is a genius this much is known. The movie isn't perfect this much is known. The PM is a hook for the next generation this much is known. Jar Jar Binks is annoying this much is known. I have got to the point where the film itself has taken less significance then to the whole experience leading up to it. Think about the first time the name was announced: "The Phantom Menace" what? we inquisitively asked. The first time Fox announced a release date: 5/21/99. Only a couple months to go we gleefully shouted. The first trailer is released: we all stand in line just to see the trailer and abandon "The Seige" in the process. A 2nd trailer is released-Lucas announces to release on Wednesday-Toy stores around the country release the merchandise at midnight-lines start to form a month in advance-and finally we are seated in front of that giant screen with a rowdy crowd who all want the same thing-a vision. The Lucasfilm logo appears-our heats skip a beat, and there it is in a galaxy far far away. Does it really matter if it sucked even a little bit. At least we came for the ride.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Am I the only who reads between the lines of Harry's review?

    by Mr EuroSnob

    Is it just me, or does Harry not seem very excited at all? Compare this review to his initial Matrix impressions... And why does he suddenly switch topic to LOTR? I predict that we will soon see something similar to Harry's Godzilla reversal. (Ironic, since it happened exactly one year ago) - EuroSnob

  • May 20, 1999, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Alien Resurrection Disease

    by A Roman

    Just tell me: was TPM infected by the Alien Resurrection disease? When the hype around the newest addition to a brilliant trilogy slowly built up just to be utterly destroyed after the first screening of the new flick. Of course, there were some people who liked Alien4, but after reading the negative talk back reviews here I was quite reluctant to go to the theater (and I was right. I was speeding away in the city at 80 mph to be as far from the scene of disaster as possible). Did it happen to Star Wars?

  • May 20, 1999, 6:42 a.m. CST

    Definitely made for KIDS

    by anton

    I just came back from seeing TPM. I waited in line this morning for 3 1/2 hrs. Im in Montana and it snows 9 months out of the year so there wasnt any overnight waiters. I have to agree with everyone who says that this movie is made for the kids. No doubts about it. This is the best kids movie i have ever seen with the exception of The Little Princess which was a masterpiece. If you cant handle watching a kids movie then dont go. I went and I was disappointed in how it lacked everything that as an adult I want to see in a movie. If you cant handle dissapointment then dont go. Anyway, right now I have to go watch it again.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Its the end of the world as we know it...

    by AcidGuru

    Does anyone else hear those minichlorians singing that REM song? The minichlorians have also told me that if people actually found this film interesting then they are as easy to manipulate as an obi-wan handwave during a stormtrooper interagation. (acidguru waves his hand in front of their eyes) "this movie is not garbage....it is the type of movie youre looking for." (the sw junkies repeat) "this movie is not garbage.....it is the type of movie we're looking for."

  • May 20, 1999, 6:43 a.m. CST

    tonight,it happens.

    by tkip

    I'm fairly confident that when I see the movie tonight,I'll probably like the movie BUT not love the movie.I suspect the movie's main flaw is the jar jar character.No one seems to like him.I sense some re-editing when Lucas does the special edition.As for the Darth Sidious and Darth Maul.I think its obvious that the senator and Darth Maul are the same person and if people are still crying over Darth Maul's fate, theres always the clone wars.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:44 a.m. CST

    THIS IS STAR WARS FOLKS!!!!!!

    by cruiser

    Well, it's taken me all day to process the piece of work I saw at midnight last night, and all I have got to say folks, I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I mean sure, Jar Jar the jackass was goofy and all that shit, but in some parts I thought he was funny. The foreshadowing of what is to come gave me chills-I'll agree with Harry- when Palpatine tells Anakin he will be following his career- whoooo. I liked what they did with Darth Maul he was mysterious and my god he has got to be the scariest looking character I have ever seen in any of these films. Liam Neeson kicked ass as Qui Gon, as did Ewan as Obi Wan, those fella's could do some serious damage, during every fight scene I was just on the edge of my seat going yeah- get 'em boys. The music and the end battle scene made up for every corny thing in the TPM, except for the two headed sports announcer- that is something they should put in the SPACEBALL'S sequel - but hey nobodies perfect. I thought they did a very good job of laying the groundwork for the next two films. I can't wait to see who they cast as the next Anakin- I read somewhere Ryan Phillipe- I don't know who they should cast- it will be interesting. Oh and Darth Sidious and Palpatine are the same guy I am almost positive. Well onto EPISODE 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! meanwhile I am going back to the theater for my second run at this seriously great film!!!!!!!!!!!! cruiser out...................

  • May 20, 1999, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Just got back from SW-EP1.... :(

    by rodh

    Well, it was Star Wars, but... I have been waiting for 16 years like others...and..in my opinion. It was visually stunning at times. Fight scenes were terrific ( JEDI/SITH), pod race was rad. But this film really lacked in the chemistry department. The acting was stail. I really wish i could have come out of the theater saying "MAN THAT WAS AWESOME" but i can't. I just hope that LUCAS does better the next time, and I think that OBI-WAN is gonna rock!!! i'm out.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Star Wars Boring

    by Barrymore

    I saw Episode 1 last night at a midnight showing. To me, it was very boring. There was an hour in the middle where there was nothing happening except senators, etc. talking. The plot about the Trade Federation made no sense. Darth Maul and Ewan were TOTALLY wasted. I love Sam Jackson--but you can't help but laugh when he shows up in the council scenes. Jake Lloyd is totally out of place. Is there any question as to whether Sidious, Senator Palpatine, and the Emporer are all the very same guy? No. Jar Jar Binks was absolutely horrible--I could not understand a thing that he and Boss Nass said. Anakin just happens to shoot the control center of this huge space station...the control center is sitting right there in the ship hangar? Yeah right. I was very disappointed overall.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Two cents worth

    by CaptainWow

    There are so many things to say about this film (and so much that has already been said), but I

  • May 20, 1999, 6:57 a.m. CST

    This movie did NOT suck!

    by MSJanke

    Way to go, Harry! I just saw Star Wars - Episode One: The Phantom Menace last night at 12:15 AM. It's the first of three times that I will be seeing it this week. Now, I don't want to spoil it for any of you so I'll keep my comments limited. But I do want to say: DANG!!! This movie is awesome! I have no idea what those critics were smoking. Same for you fanboys. Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 4, at least. I went into this film as a huge SW fan and with just as big of expectations. And I was NOT disappointed. The Phantom Menace rocks! The visual effects were extraordinary. Best ever visuals in any film, no question. I need to watch it a few more times just to soak in the background images. You know how some films use CGI instead of models and it just looks BAD? Like ST: Insurrection, for example. That is totally not the case here. The computer animation blends seemlessly with the live action almost 100% of the time. The story was simple yet effective, and this film totally set up the next two movies. I can't believe I have to wait three more years for Episode 2!!! The pod race was awesome. Liam Neeson was perfect. And the best part of the movie was the LIGHTSABER DUELS! I loved the saber scenes of the original 3 movies, but the ones in TPM just put them to shame. They were exquisitely choreographed. Absolute intensity. My one complaint is, yes, Jar-Jar. He's actually not horrible. Lots of the crowd loved him, as his antics recieved a lot of laughter. I can stomach the guy. Its just that there's too much of him. If they would've cut his roll in half it would've been perfect. Still, I cant argue with this film. I'm sure the kids will love him, and Lucas has made it clear that this is a movie for the entire family. (One more note, Minor Spoiler here: Our old buddies the Tuskin Raiders [Sand People] make a surprise cameo at one point in the film and its golden! I laughed...) Lucas did it. He actually did it. It was an awesome experience. I was with a good crowd, which was nice. Waiting in line. Everyone was so excited. The lights went down and everyone cheered. The 20th Century Fox logo appeared and people cheered. The Lucasfilm Ltd. logo appeared and people cheered. The Rebel fanfare started playing and people cheered. People cheered at key moments in the film. And people cheered when it ended. The critics can bite me. We all loved it. As we walked out of the theater you could feel the satisfaction of the crowd. There was major good buzz going around. This movie is not a disappointment and I can not wait to see how its box office numbers do this week. I can't wait to see it again. SW-E1:TPM gets 9 out of 10 points from this viewer.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:57 a.m. CST

    tpm: ROCK!

    by blix

    Whoohoo and icam with harry's reaction to jar jar people who slag him are wroood. oh the joy at how absolutly cresent fresh it all was. After 3 years of hanging on spoilers i had my reservations (too much cgi, a name cast). Not only that but my beloved redwings went over to the dark side of the force where there are no stanley cups only 2 short hours before i was to view 'the beginning' episode of the films that were a zeitgeist of my youth. As i watched i felt myself starting to shrink, growing younger by the minute, lucas did what i thought surely would be impossible he made a film that not only lived up to my expectations but had indeed surpassed them. Natalie portman made the film for me though as an actress she is truly sublime she had what was to me the most difficult role and the most difficult scenes how do you convey the beginning of a love affair when one of the participants is 8 years old how do you make it believable that 14yr old padme could not even look twice at that spicy obi wan? some how she found a way and she just nailed the scene and every scene for that matter. Rave on natalie now give that girl a reward in the next film like a yummy ani that can actually act not some namby pampby ryan phillipe. cmon lucas try jonny lee miller on for size.the dark side never looked so good.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:21 a.m. CST

    even the bashers will see it again

    by the boom

    I saw the movie about 6 hours ago. I waited in a long ass line for what seemed like ever (I was first in line for my showing) so that I could get the best seat in the house. My two buddies and I were exhausted from staying up all night and were battling fatigue all the way. I didn't flat out love this movie. I didn't like the kiddie elements very much either. I would have liked more Maul and more Sith in general. I agree that Jake Lloyd was pretty painful in some scenes, but I think Natalie Portman did a great job. In short, my take was that it was a flawed film but I still liked it. My friends did not like the movie, for many of the same reasons that are being thrown out by everyone. Our car ride home started out with these guys listing everything that they didn't like about the movie, but then a strange thing happened. These two guys who just said that they were very disappointed, began discussing all of the elements of the overall story, and how events in Ep 1 will influence the overall story, and then we all launched into a discussion of what we loved about the film. And (to some degree) to our surprise, we found that there was more about the movie that we adored than dispised. We all will see it again. My friends who initially gave it a bad review were already making plans for a second viewing less than a half hour after leaving the film. Come on, it's Star Wars. Of course we'll all see it multiple times. For those of you who haven't seen it, there are plenty of reasons to see this movie. Even if you don't like everything, I promise that you will like much of what you see. And if you see it and are disappointed, wait until the second, third, or fouth veiwing, and see if your opinion has changed. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pop in A New Hope and think about all the implications.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:23 a.m. CST

    C3PO question - spoiler

    by SlashMC

    How could Anakin have built C3PO?? unless C3PO had his memory wiped, in ep4 it clearly indicates he has no knowledge of many things? --- THREEPIO: He says he's the property of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a resident of these parts. And it's a private message for him. Quite frankly, sir I don't know what he's talking about. Our last master was Captain Antilles, but with what we've been through, this little R2 unit has become a bit eccentric. LUKE: Obi-Wan Kenobi? I wonder if he means old Ben Kenobi? THREEPIO: I beg your pardon, sir, but do you know what he's talking about? --- what's going on? in ep4, Obi-Wan obviously knew nothing of R2-D2 or C-3PO. surely he would remember R2-D2 from his 'heroic' foray out onto the wing of the Queen's ship. Obi-Wan never met C-3PO when they were on Tatooine so that one is less heinous. Why wouldn't R2 have told Luke all about Anakin in Ep4? R2-D2 and C-3PO quite obviously knew nothing of Tatooine when they crashed there in Ep4 and if you suggest otherwise you are nuts.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:26 a.m. CST

    this is a great movie (caution - spoilers!)

    by Xott

    I don't usually post here, but I'm a little disheartened by all this TPM backlash. I thought the movie was incredible, a ton of fun, and most importantly, a perfect introduction to everything that lies ahead. No, there wasn't much character development in this movie, because there was a lot of character INTRODUCTION. This movie had to set up a LOT of stuff to get things in motion for all the heavy stuff, the dark stuff, the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT stuff that will happen in the next two episodes. Think about it: The trade dispute/battle of naboo happened as a means of getting Palpatine in charge of the senate, which paves the way for him to take it over and start the Empire. What happened to Qui-Gon had to happen, because otherwise he would have trained Anakin, Anakin would never turn to the dark side. But Obi-Wan has just finished his training, and thus isn't really qualified to train Anakin on his own. They're setting it up for essentially a failure on Obi-Wan's part to guide Anakin away from the dark side. It all makes so much sense, and watching every scene of this movie with the forthcoming events in mind really put a fascinating, thought-provoking spin on it. Episode I is an introduction, a prologue of sorts. It's like the yellow scrolling text before the rest of the series, and it's completely necessary. And hell, it's a lot of fun too! For those of you complaining about Jar Jar and the cheesy stuff, I agree to an extent but Jar Jar didn't really bother me at all after a while. Later in the day I found myself immitating his voice, and I realized that kids are really going to like him. As annoying as Jar Jar may be to a lot of you, just imagine this film without him. You think it's boring now (i totally disagree), but without a little life and humor, the serious regality of the politicians and Jedi Knights would have slowed this movie to a crawl. These are more serious times, more official times. I think a Han Solo type character would feel out of place with these Jedi, but Jar Jar creates an interesting balance. And the way Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan react to Jar Jar throughout the film is fantastic, and seemed to even out the Gungan's sometimes over-the-top goofiness. I loved the scene where Qui-Gon grabbed Jar Jar's tongue, that was hilarious. And has everyone forgotten the podraces? What an INCREDIBLE scene that was -- so good that I barely noticed the goofy two-headed announcer. And what about Coruscant? My god, what an incredible vision that was. Same with the underwater city. I can't believe how much people complain about Jar Jar and how little time they spend addressing some of the breathtaking visuals in this film. Oh, and Anakin... Anakin is the real life in this film, easily the most interesting character. He's the one we're going to want to follow. The seriousness of the Jedi and the politicians form a sort of backdrop for Anakin's charisma and energy. I really want to see more of him, I can't wait for episode II. With most of the groundwork out of the way, and the light-hearted stuff put aside, episode II will be Anakin's time, and god it's going to be good. In the meantime, I'm going to see this movie over and over again, and I'm going to love it. It's strange that a film with such amazing visuals, awesome action scenes, and really wonderful insight into the events to come for Star Wars, could be regarded by anyone as a bad movie. I did have my complaints, but they're really just nitpicks. The Nemoidians really bothered me. I disagree with the complaint that they weren't evil enough, because they weren't suppose to be evil. They're cowards put in a position of power, and they work well as that. It's pretty much their voices that drove me crazy, especially since they're some of the first voices we hear in the movie. Yuck! Other than that, I have only very minor complaints, not even worth mentioning. Oh, and as for the complaints that TPM doesn't have the same magic, the same wit as ANH? Well, here's a secret: NO FILM will EVER be able to capture that magic. At least not for US. But for all those kids seeing their very first Star Wars film this weekend? Well, for them, for the rest of their lives, nothing will EVER be able to top the magic of TPM. Anyway, what a great, FUN film! Can't wait to see it again tomorrow!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:29 a.m. CST

    all i have to say

    by RolloTomasi

    i actually checked my watch several times during the middle, the plot was jerky, the gungan language and behavior was embarrassing, i felt robbed because qui-gon and obi-wan were basically ciphers (their demeanor and fight scenes were wonderful to experience but i felt i DID NOT KNOW WHO THEY WERE - so little emotion, so little personal expression - although I guess they had a lot to do, physically, in a 2:13 period), the battle droids should have been scarier (i still have nightmares about stormtroopers, in comparison), and yet dear God I cannot wait to go see this movie again. whoever posted about the "gestalt" of these movies hit it on the head. the whole point is the overall, utterly convincing immersion into not just an alternate universe or time but an alternate reality. i saw it hours and hours ago and i still cannot focus on anything else.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Just because I want to get it all off my chest

    by Scottie Ferguson

    If anyone cares here's one guy from the midwest who dreams of being a filmmaker's review of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace (by the way, are they posting it as Star Wars everywhere? I mean, I assume they didn't call ESB Star Wars... it's the freakin' Phantom Menace... that's the name of the movie!) anyway... let me do this Harry-style ... after 4 hours in line, around 9:00 the line started moving. Which we found odd since the tickets didn't go on sale until 10:30. Turns out everyone decided to show up and just cut in front of the people who hadn't put their lawn chairs away yet. That means the tried and true fans who'd been there since 7 in the morning now had the risk of not getting to see the movie. So it became a mass huddle with no line etiquette... when tickets went on sale the idiots opened the doors on the other side where the people who'd just shown up were standing, and rioting and mass shoving ensued.... it was a mess... I think I have bruises from trying to get ahead in line to buy five tickets, since when we mass huddled we all decided to just send one trooper in to shove up as far as he could go and buy all five instead of all of us buying our own. The big theater with the awesome sound sold out while i was about three people back. Then they refused to sell tickets to the second screen until everyone was in the theater for the first one. So I stood there another hour... I had been standing for about 2 hours when they opened up ticket sales again. The idiots then decided not to let anyone in until midnight for the second showing, even though the theater was empty (we figure since no one came out of the theater after entrapment ended, which was where the second screen was). After more pushing I ended up in the middle of a mass huddle again, instead of the front like I started. Then the theater people got mad and started yelling at us ... one girl threatened not to let us see the movie unless we straightened up the line... someone made fun of her cause she was like 17 and on a powertrip and she stormed out of the theater and slammed the door... betcha they don't get too many applications any time soon. So anyway I finally sit down and watch a TON of previews, including three 20th century fox films that all looked pretty dull (Ice Planet could be cool but they had nothing to show)... except Tarzan, which is gonna rock, for a Disney cartoon. So the movie opens. And goes. And ends. I tried to sum up all the different feelings I had during the film. Here was the awesome CGI, none of which I didn't believe. Some kickass light saber duels... a cool story which seemed only to serve as a backdrop for the next two. Here also was a character named Jar Jar Binks who annoyed the shit out of me. I'm the clumsiest person I know, and I don't fuck up everything I do. I found him distracting and on top of that the film would have worked just as well without the extreme character that if I was 6 or 10 or whatever I would want to punch in the nose, not play with. Missing was any sort of character development. The jedi's were cool... everyone was cool I guess, but I didn't give a shit about the characters. I didn't care when Kwai Gon died. I didn't care especially about the people of Naboo. They were suffering? Where? I never saw it... i just had to take it for granted. I didn't care if they lived or died. I found the dialouge forced overall, and many performances very uninspired. Methinks George should give up the director's chair like he did for ESB and ROJ. Gone were the warmth and heart of the first three that made them so much better than any star trek movie. That made me enjoy going to a galaxy far far away. I didn't enjoy my time with these people. Anakin was fun - I'm gonna miss him come episode 2, but everyone was so dull. There were good lines here and there... but... But at the same time, it was still Star Wars, and I will see it again if that tells you anything. But it'll be because of the Jedi Council, the pod race, & the light saber duel, which were the only things that were way cooler than the first three. It all looked nice, but it's like all the other movies coming out recently -- lots of eye candy, but nothing to really care about. If anyone's still reading this thank you -- I'll sum up everything I felt in a couple of sentences. The Phantom Menace made me want to run out and watch Trainspotting, Schindler's List, and Pulp Fiction (god I hope Sam Jackson is Boba Fett! That would sooo kick my ass) but not the original trilogy. At the same time I've never been so pumped for episode two in my life... unless of course the love story unfolds like the gazillion speeches everyone but the jedi had to make. No one talked. They just preached... they gave speeches. They recited their lines. The line was fun... but the film was a letdown. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION... signing off, Scottie Ferguson (now i'm gonna go read everyone else's talkback)

  • May 20, 1999, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Jar-Jar is a hippie!

    by Tangent Z

    I'm waiting around at work. late. I surf in here and say, okay, i'm not gonna see the film unti Friday but I just peek at Harry's review. I go to "Jar-Jar is a hippie" and laugh out loud! I love it. I am looking so forward this! But I stopped there. Harry, you may kinda a guy!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Its a sad, sad day

    by Akkala

    Well, TPM is finally out and my only reaction to the movie is sadness. Sad because Lucas didn't learn from ROTJ. Sad because he considers Star Wars to be a kiddie movie. Sad because, with all the money he's going to make with this, there never will be a cool Star Wars movie. Ever. No cool battles with legions of Jedi. No cool scene with Vader cutting down scores of them. If fact, I'm not sure Lucas has the guts to ever have a human enemy again. All thats left is five more movies full of CGI goofballs and "evil" robots. Aaron

  • May 20, 1999, 7:44 a.m. CST

    I am not sure what to say

    by zoziw

    For sixteen years I have waited for this movie. I did not line up for months to get a ticket or to get in. My friend lined up for four hours to get myself and others some tickets. I showed up about at about 10:00 to get a seat. I thought that over the last month that the poor reviews of this movie had brought down my expectations enough for me to enjoy it. The crown jewel of poor reviews was when someone yesterday was quoted as calling it "crap". When my friend and I left the theatre when it was over we both felt like it was missing something that the other movies had. Perhaps it was not, perhaps over the last 20 years of watching the originals and reading about all of the backstory to them we started to view them in a way that originally we had not. Maybe playing with the toys for years when I was a kid (sorry Harry I outgrew that stage years ago) and developing my own adventures with them somehow ingrained them more into my psyche then I realized. For me this just didn't feel much like a Star Wars film, keep in mind I said "much like" not just "didn't". I felt the lightsaber battle at the end was excellent, better then all of the saber battles in the first three put together. Tatooine had a comfortable familiarity to it and that was enjoyable. I was suprised when I felt let down by the pod race. It seemed even the harshest critics liked it, but I felt it was no better then the speeder bike chase on endor (the sfx were better of course), it just seemed to lack the intensity that I was hoping for. The Jedi seemed bored with most of the battle scenes (perhaps this was intentional) they casually deflected the droids laser fire with little or no effort. The character development was almost no existent, so much so that I really didn't care what happened to any of them. The space battle was terrible (worse then the original ANH in my opinion). I did not care or know any of the pilots, the ships were unfamliar, and the battle was just not exciting. This also goes for the ground battle on Naboo, it only got good when the shields collapsed and the tanks rolled in (but that part was way too short). The battle at Hoth in ESB was so much superior to the Naboo one, even the ewok battle on endor had a little more suspense (Leia getting injured, Han and Leia almost getting busted, Chewbacca's take over of the AT-ST, etc). Considering the role Palpatine will play in the series, I thought more attention should have been paid to his becoming Chancellor. Darth Maul, if you've seen the trailer then you've heard his lines (I am not joking). Grossly underdeveloped (I realize he is just a stand in until Vader, but still) I still do not know who this guy is, the movie dosen't tell you anything. Sure, he looks mean, but he doesn't do anything but engage in lightsaber battles (I did enjoy the lightsaber battles very much, but because of awful character development I really didn't care who won). I will see this movie probably two more times (promises to people) but if it wasn't for these commitments I would probably only see it once more to ensure that I had not fallen asleep before the film started and had a rather bad dream.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:47 a.m. CST

    I loved it!

    by Clockwork Taxi

    Sebula(sp) the pod racer, is my new favorite character, he's a pimp!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:51 a.m. CST

    The Phantom Opinion

    by Cthulu

    Glad to hear you loved LOTR. But there was something crucial missing from the TPM review: the position you were writing from. I came away not knowing if you liked or disliked this film. And that disturbs me greatly. What seperates us movie fans from publicity people, sponsors and critics is that we can tell it like it is. We're ordinary joes with honest opinions and have nothing to gain by saying we loved or hated a movie. If the Force is strong with this one, say so. Ditto if the Empire has no clothes.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Armageddon rocks!

    by nelson

    Lucas should've let Michael Bay direct this flick. The Pod race is the *slowest,* and I mean slowest action-sequence made. Lucas: let the new generation of directors make your movies. By the way, the plot in Armageddon was better.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:01 a.m. CST

    It's All Your Fault

    by D'Amour

    I'll be brief. Reading all of the negative comments above, one recurring thing seems to keep happening: people seem to be complaining about the film that TPM wasn't. This makes no sense. What about the film that was up there? Don't criticize a film for not being the film you wanted it to be, but rather criticize it for the problems within itself. No one, no matter how long you have waited, has a right to dump on TPM because it didn't match the film you had waiting in your head. Mr. Lucas doesn't have to share your idea of how the prequels should progress. It was his idea, his films, that have brought you such great joy over the years. Whether or not you feel TPM is a classic, you should be more grateful that you got to see it at all.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Not worth the wait

    by Not Todd

    Sorry, Harry, but if you truly do love this film so much you plan to see it 20 times over the next year you are just as much a fanboy loser as your critics claim. After your praise of that p.o.s. GODZILLA I guess I shouldn't be surprised. If it's got a lot of explosions and big monsters you get such a hard on that no blood is left for your brain to process that film quality which is known as "quality". This film was basically a 30's era serial with a big budget. The dialogue was ridiculously amateurish. Sure, Darth Maul was cool and so was the pod race, but have you ever seen anything as cheezy as that two-headed race announcer? Its commentary could have come out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon---not one of the good ones but one of those cheap made-for-tv ones where they are friends rather than predator and potential prey. Jar Jar wasn't as bad as I feared but he still added nothing but pratfalls. There were also about half a dozen too many of those "I just know the audience is going to react to this because they know what's going to happen in the future" moments. I give this film a 7 because of the good action, and that is probably being overly generous. Anybody who gave it a 10 just wasn't using their brain.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Harrrrry!!!!

    by mercator

    Nice review, Harry. My spirits are officially lifted, and I'm seeing it tomorrow.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:08 a.m. CST

    I Agree with Harry - Episode 1 is Awesome!

    by Cyrus

    To me the wait was well worth it. IMO Phantom Menace lived up to the hype and then some. I saw it for the second time a few hours ago, and I love it. I think so many people come in expecting to hate Jar Jar and the CG, and they do. I came in knowing that I was about to see the new Star Wars movie, and no critic or elitist tightass was going to ruin it. I was going to let the film wash over me, and take me with it. I was not going to let any negativity effect my judgement of the film. The Phantom Menace is every bit as magical as the first 3. Harry is right about those who are dissapointed with Maul's limited screen time... I thought it was done very well. It kept him a mysterious, enigmatic foe. Also, the lighter elements are there to balance out Maul and the darker elements. Maul would not have the same kind of impact if there were no light hearted stuff. I'm still in a daze... It's just too incredible for words.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:09 a.m. CST

    TPM: GOOD Direction: TERRIBLE!

    by Batgar

    I will see TPM 5-6 more times, simply because the pod race, and many other scenes really make this movie for me. I had 9 really good "geek-gasms" in this movie. 1) Opening Crawl: Damn that was nice to see. 2-5) Pod Race: The entire thing, at certain moments, total geek-gasms. 6-9) All 3 Darth Maul appearances. Yes, the acting sucked. Any one who says different is lying! Yes, the characters sucked. Anyone who says different is lying! Yes, there was no urgency, no real establishment of good and evil. There were no really stand out lines like "I find your lack of Faith disturbing." or "It ain't like dusting crops boy...." There was no "fleshing out" of existing plot lines, and there was no closure, or verification of things we thought we knew. The purpose of a "prequel" is supposed to show us what events proceeded to create the end product. TPM didn't satisfy on this level. Oh well. I will see it 5-6 more times, and I will enjoy it. It was alot better than ROTJ, but it comes a distant 3rd when it comes to the characters and advancement of the whole "Star Wars" universe. P.S. George Lucas can't direct to save his life. Did you see those poor lost kids that were in the scene when Anakin was prepping his pod for the race? Those kids had no clue where to be, or what to do!

  • May 20, 1999, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Afterthoughts

    by Meatball

    incerely believe in the ability of the readers (and maintainers) of this site to form intelligent opinions on their own, but I beleive in the bottom of my heart in this instance many have failed. Getting wrapped up in the hype invariably leads to a let down, and then to a need to cover up by pretending that all is grand. Please think about this movie again. I have to believe that in a few years this movie will EASILY be the black sheep of the Star Wars family. It was an utter disappointment. Gone from Star Wars is the very essence that made it great. The Characters. How many lines from the Star Wars trilogy can you recite? Star Wars created a new brand of pop culture, this movie follows pop culture. All visuals, underneath, shallow emptyness. You don't need Harrison Ford in a Han Solo costume to recite funny lines, that comes from situational writing. You're telling me two JEDI KNIGHTS in MAJESTIC ROBES are wallowing around in a swamp and George Lucas can't think of one amusing line? I just saw this movie four hours ago and I can't remember have of the crap that was said. Utterly forgetable. I'm so upset. I didn't even walk in with the high expectancies of many others. The thing is, visually, it is groundbreaking and stunning, just like the first movie. But this one had no flare, no soul. It tried, but it just wasn't there. Ultimately, I feel sorry for the next generation of Star Wars fans out there who have this as their first new big screen Star Wars movie, because frankly, it failed. George, please remember that the story and the people in the story are the most important essence of storytelling.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Flawed? Yes. But it still kicked ass

    by TRINITY

    I loved this film, but it did have a few flaws I'd like to address. 1. Jar Jar: Please, please, PLEASE don't let him be in the next movie! A little comic relief was needed, of course, but why did he have to be so juvenile? Yes, yes, I understand that Star Wars is, first and foremost, for children, but this thing was just plain embarassing. Give kids a little more credit! 2. Obi Won's character was a little underdevolped for me. I think Lucas took it for granted that we are already familiar with him, but this is EPISODE I, afterall, and I would have liked to have seen his character fleshed out a little bit more and given some more screen time. His rebellious nature could have made a more interesting counterpoint to the more stoic Qui-Gon, somewhat rebellious in his own right. And Obi-Won should have interacted with Anakin more, setting up their relationship which will come to fruition in Episode II. 3. Anakin's destruction of the Federation Ship should have been more purposeful. He practically did it by accident, and I think it would have been more effective had he purposely brought it down. And yes, I understand that he's only nine years old, but R2 could have helped him, and it really would have nailed home the fact that he will become the greatest pilot in the galaxy. Also, Anakin displays virtually no character flaws which would indicate that he will eventually become Darth Vader. I'm not saying the kid should have pulled a Damian, but he could have at least cheated in the pod race, or shown some unhealthy pleasure in blowing up the ship. Keep in mind, all of these complaints are merely nitpicks. This film rocks hard. Darth Maul is perfectly used, the effects are amazing, blah, blah, blah, if you're a Star Wars fan, you know what's right with the film, and no amount of silly CGI characters could have brought it down.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Flawed? Yes. But it still kicked ass

    by TRINITY

    I loved this film, but it did have a few flaws I'd like to address. 1. Jar Jar: Please, please, PLEASE don't let him be in the next movie! A little comic relief was needed, of course, but why did he have to be so juvenile? Yes, yes, I understand that Star Wars is, first and foremost, for children, but this thing was just plain embarassing. Give kids a little more credit! 2. Obi Won's character was a little underdevolped for me. I think Lucas took it for granted that we are already familiar with him, but this is EPISODE I, afterall, and I would have liked to have seen his character fleshed out a little bit more and given some more screen time. His rebellious nature could have made a more interesting counterpoint to the more stoic Qui-Gon, somewhat rebellious in his own right. And Obi-Won should have interacted with Anakin more, setting up their relationship which will come to fruition in Episode II. 3. Anakin's destruction of the Federation Ship should have been more purposeful. He practically did it by accident, and I think it would have been more effective had he purposely brought it down. And yes, I understand that he's only nine years old, but R2 could have helped him, and it really would have nailed home the fact that he will become the greatest pilot in the galaxy. Also, Anakin displays virtually no character flaws which would indicate that he will eventually become Darth Vader. I'm not saying the kid should have pulled a Damian, but he could have at least cheated in the pod race, or shown some unhealthy pleasure in blowing up the ship. Keep in mind, all of these complaints are merely nitpicks. This film rocks hard. Darth Maul is perfectly used, the effects are amazing, blah, blah, blah, if you're a Star Wars fan, you know what's right with the film, and no amount of silly CGI characters could have brought it down.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Did anyone else notice the E.T.s in TPM?

    by joey bags

    I don't know about any of you but I saw three E.T.'s sitting in the senate chamber during the vote of no confidence scene. They are hard to see but myself and several people I know saw them. check it out.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:31 a.m. CST

    From a Good Perspective

    by Offal

    This is my first post. Just got my user name and all that. Just came back from seeing episode 1. I saw "A New Hope" when I was a senior in high school. I'm now 40 and saw it with my wife and 4 year old son who fell in love with the "original" trilogy when I received it as a gift a few years ago. We all loved Phantom Menace. It ain't perfect but it is damn good. Lucas has a way of filling a frame like an old Mad comic, meaning there's a LOT to look at. Natalie Portman deserves more credit. She's great. Awesome effects. Great battles, though I fondly thought of "Total Annihilation" when I saw them. See it. What a trip to bring the boy.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:34 a.m. CST

    I damn near shat myself!

    by Bluesman

    I am what the Jewish religion refers to as, "an IDIOT!" mainly because of two things. Number 1, I bought the soundtrack, in case you werent aware, it gives away a spoiler. That didnt really bother me, because I knew it was going to happen walking into the theater. Call it a hunch, or the Force. Number 2, curiousity got the better of me and I watched about 4 minutes of the unauthorized behind the scenes look at TPM on the Sci-Fi channel. I turn on the TV, and I sit down, I cant find the remote anywhere, and the second I get comfortable, TWO ASSHOLES START RAPPING EVERY SINGLE SPOILER IN THE GODDAMN MOVIE!!! But luckily, they were wrong on about half of them, and they didnt tell me anything I didnt already knew. I had a school function to go to before the movie, and once I got to the Zeigfeld, it was total maddness. The movie started, and the only thing I didnt like were the sports announcers during the pod race (that seemes kind of corny) and the fact that the audience applauded during the first line of every major character. Once jar Jar came on, they were applauding for about 15 seconds. It was great and all, but I had a hard enough time understanding what he was saying anyway. all in all, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was the MOST INCREDIBLE SCIENCE FICTION FILM I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!! Later, Bluesman Bluesm2617@aol.com

  • May 20, 1999, 8:40 a.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace is perfect

    by stickler

    The Phantom Menace is not a movie I would have liked in High School. It isn't "edgy", sharp, artsy, clever, challenging, etc. But I am older. After seeing so many souless sci-fi movies, it is refreshing to see something so sincere and genuine. This is fantasy, not sci-fi. If you simply surrender to it and let it in, the rewards are enourmous. I have seen it twice, and after the first time I liked it a lot, but I had a few niggles- the pacing bothered me, the dialog and acting seemed stilted, the middle was kind of boring, the jokes were sort of flat. I loved it, but I had a few "it could have been better if they..." comments. By the second time I had seen it, all those thoughts disapeared. Everything was spot on. This was a new perfect Star Wars movie- the one I had waited 16 years for. The negative reviews I have been reading seem to point to wrong ideas- John Woo should have directed it (I would love John Woo to direct a sci-fi flick- but not Star Wars!), you didn't get enough characterization, the Gungans were lame, etc. Everything Lucas did fit so well into Star Wars. Try looking at Star Wars with virgin eyes, and you will see it is made of all these elements the same way. My girlfriend said Jar-Jar was far less annoying to her than c3-p0, a character she always thought was a negative old lady. I have accepted c3-p0 as a great character, because as a kid he seemd cool. I think Jar Jar will be the same for kids. And he didn't bug me at all, the second time. He fits in. Liam Neeson's character was great- I have never seen a Jedi in his prime, and he was the embodiment of what I always wanted to see. The Phantom Menace was everything it set out to be. It was the first chapter in Star Wars. If I want to see a adult war picture I'll see "Saving Private Ryan". If I want a great Sci-Fi film I'll see "Blade Runner". If I want to see rich characters with sweeping epics I'll see "To Live". If I want to see a film that challeges the way I think and brings me into the deep corners of the human mind I'll see "The Thin Red Line". If I want to see a fantasy movie that takes me to worlds I can't go and see things I will never be able to do and let my imagination run around and play, I'll see the "The Phantom Menace."

  • Darth Maul was not scary. He was visually stunning, but empty like most of this film. The movie is not bad, people. Anyone who says it's bad is just like anyone who says the dialogue was good: a liar. Don't blame the actors for any of their performances, we've seen ALL of these people do good work, it's the lack of competent direction, and they had nothing to work with, script wise. The one-liners that were here were horrible. "...kiss your trade federation goodbye"? Wonder why Portman was stiff? Maybe it was that 30 pound headdress she had on - she couldn't even turn her neck. Beautiful costumes, but bad in their functionality. Sam Jackson looked very uncomfortable reading his lines, and performing that ridiculous test on the kid with his hand mirror. The best scene in the film was watching Obi Wan try to control his anger towards Darth Maul, and their subsequent battle. But Qui-Gon's death could've been much more emotional if Lucas had added some weight by slowing the scene down, and for god's sake, let's see some facial expressions! Jar Jar was annoying, and he and the Gungans should be left out of the two other films. Too much CGI going on, here people. You can create a CGI cast, and you can make them "act" but can they emote? After seeing this film I would have to say no. I lacked human spirit. MY MAIN PROBLEM: the Midochlorians. George, thanks for taking all the "mystery" out of the Force. Hey kids, you don't have to feel the force to control it, you don't need faith, you just need a high midochlorian count. It's a shot at religion, which is fine, just a stupid one. The Force introduced eastern religion to mainstream america in some ways, I think, and maybe George "I am God" Lucas is trying to have a profound effect on society again, or so he may think. He suffers from Cameron-itis, a lack of heart, but a master of digital wizardry. I think if they write Ewan some cool lines, he will just explode all over the screen.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Darth Maul Ressurected

    by DrAsshole

    Think about it here guys...why would George decide to totally back his advertising campaign with a character that is only to be killed off in the first of a three part trilogy? It isn't his style. It doesn't make sense. Besides, if Maul is still alive, then that leads itself to the idea that there is a chance for a Vader/Maul lightsaber battle, which would honestly be the crown achievement of the star wars films. Maul is an alien, and IF he is alive, they may use that to explain why he was seperated and not killed. Actually, I'm just grasping at strands of reasoning, trying to make myself believe that the coolest character in the Star Wars universe wasn't killed off in the FIRST of THREE films. It isn't Darth Maul's time to go. Gimme some opinions on the "Ressurection Theory" Thanks. The Doc

  • May 20, 1999, 8:55 a.m. CST

    This was Lucas' STAR WARS

    by Amthor

    I just saw TPM at a midnight show and LOVED it -- Had a blast(er)! I have been reading much on what was wrong with the tone of the film and I must say - with all respect - I think those comments address a different vision of "Star Wars." Remember, many of us saw Ep.IV as KIDS (at cinemas or on video). I suspect our memories of it are not only the movie's greatness, but the time in our life as well. Could TPM top ANH? About as easily as a 1979 Beatles reunion would have brought people back to 1967 and the days of Sgt. Pepper. You see, to age myself, I am in my mid 30s. I remember witnessing "Star Wars" (then it was not Episode IV) back in 1977. Frankly, it was silly and contained wacky bits too (3PO hitting R2, Chewie scaring off the mouse droid, R2 falling over after being zapped by the Jawas which, by the way, reportedly received groans from trailer audiences in '77), dialoge like "over-weight glob of grease." The acting was at times clunky too (the infamous "Toshi station/power converters delivery). But we didn't have the sophistication of today's movie-going, multi-media barraged youth, inundated by more serious, darker material. We didn't know any better; we thought "Star Wars" was FUN -- THE GREATEST! I also remember reading (and even thinking) upon Empire's release that the film was so dark, so grim; THIS is not "Star Wars" - "Star Wars" is supposed to be B-move fun. In the subsequent years after ROTJ (early 90s) - and arguably much repsonsible for the revitalization of the "Star Wars" universe for a new generation - there appeared a whole slew of new "Star Wars" material (mainly the novels and Dark Horse comics). These additions not only expanded the univers but, I dare say, reshaped the myth and its tone. They were of a new time and reflected its sensibilites. e.g.: Boba Fett was now a sinister anithero when in actuality, his personality is all but non-existant in the actual films (but man, did he LOOK COOL!). The "Star Wars" universe became darker, edgier, more-up-to-date... in a word: "cooler"(?) My point is simply this: Yes, TPM may lay-on the wackness a bit thick, but I dare say if you look at the PREVIOUS FILMS as the ONLY source material you may find that much of the current percieved mytholgy and darker tone which many people were disappointed were absent from TPM are actually absent from the majority of the other movies as well (with the exception of Ep.V, of course). I say we take the new trilogy as the first one and view it as a whole. Who knows, maybe TPM will get its Ep.V counterpart (in Ep. III perhaps?). Until then, I say kudos to Lucas; in a time of cynical, darker films, he brought me right back to 1977 when I was a kid.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:56 a.m. CST

    About Star Wars Bashers........

    by CRAZ4MOOVZ

    Is it just me, or do you wonder why the Star Wars bashers are still posting on a Star Wars talkback??

  • May 20, 1999, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Thanks, guys.

    by Hildago

    Geez, why does everyone seem to think that we are sitting here, breathlessly waiting for their bad reviews? Lord knows if JoeBlow183 didn't like it, there's no way in HELL you're getting me into that film! I understand that Talk Back is for discussion, and you don't have to agree with Harry or anyone else. I'm not asserting anything contrary to this. Just try to understand that NOBODY CARES, that they will see this movie regardless of what you think, and that you are wasting your time.

  • _________________________________ SPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERSSPOILERS!!_________________________________ ...I really liked The Phantom Menace, and I think I'll like it more the second time. Like everybody's saying, it's a lot to absorb. As a longtime nitpicker, I intend to do just that, so read along for my list of rants, complaints, whines, and meddling ideas. Always bearing in mind that I still loved this film... Personally, I think the movie is pretty mediocre until Qui-Gon and Co. get to Tatooine...and then, all of a sudden, it becomes Star Wars. I gotta admit it, I didn't like the "escape" sequence in the beginning. You know the way that every Bond flick has Bond escaping from some certain-death situation in some over-the-top way? (i.e. being dropped overboard in a coffin, parachuting off a mountain, etc) No matter how bad the film is they always put in this Eveil Kneivel routine. Most people I know only go to Bond movies anymore to see that opening. So when we got plunged into this "how will the Jedi escape certain doom?" bit, I was uneasy. I didn't like the Niemoudians' "Oh no! They're a'comin for us! We're doomed!" If they think that Jedi Knights are so all-fired invincible, why try such a lame assassination attempt in the first place? C'mon guys, 'flooding the room with poison gas'? Don't villains ever try anything original? Sigh... All I can say for Jar Jar Binks was that he managed not to ruin the movie for me. I don't mind the 'goofy sidekick' concept (hey, it works for Joxer the Mighty) but a character who does nothing but act silly and never really becomes involved in the story does nothing for me. A lot of the time they spent having Jar Jar get into embarassing situations could have been used for something else - giving Obi-Wan some real character development? Don't mistake me, Ewan MacGregor did a good job, wish we'd seen more of him, but I think he was working to hard on impersonating Sir Alec. We didn't get to see enough of who Obi-Wan Kenobi was back THEN. I don't know why Lucas decided to make Anakin C3P0's creator. It just forced Lucas to keep Obi-Wan on the ship scanning blood samples...after all, in ANH, C3PO insists that he has never even heard of this Obi-Wan person that R2-D2 is dithering about. And yet...with all its flaws, the "Meet the Skywalkers" scene really began the movie for me. When Ani talked about escaping from slavery, I instantly thought of Luke dreaming of leaving the farm. I didn't find Shmi's story of an Immaculate Conception absurd either. Anakin Skywalker wouldn't be the first would-be Messiah to go wrong. (Think of Paul Atreides from the DUNE novels). And I LOVED the pod race, LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!! So what if they shamelessly stole from "Ben Hur"? By now, it's a time-honored tradition. Ani's farewell to his mother was pleasantly ominous, especially his promise that he will come back and set her free. Anyone wanna bet he won't be able to keep that promise? Exactly that feeling of foreboding was missing from the scene where Qui-Gon introduces Anakin and Obi-Wan. It moved too quickly, there should have been a pause for the audience to take it in. A moment where we think, "This is Ben and Vader's first meeting, all those years ago..." Anybody here ever read Asimov's FOUNDATION trilogy? Well, Trantor must have looked exactly like the homeworld. It intrigued me that the Jedi Masters seemed just as stuffy and protocol-laden in their own way as the Senate. Both groups place adherence to rules and regulations over "doing the right thing". Lucas once described the Old Republic as outwardly strong, yet rotting from within. Perhaps the same could be said for the Jedi Council? I would have liked to see the scene on Tatooine that was cut, the one where Ani loses his temper and beats up another kid, only to be lectured about the Dark Side. Obviously there is a streak of fury and pain hidden beneath his 'cute' exterior, something that frightened and repelled the Jedi Masters. Otherwise, their turning him away simply because he is afraid makes them seem extrordinarily petty. Or is that what Lucas intended? By the time the invasion of Naboo began, I was completely enjoying myself. I loved the visuals for Naboo. For some reason, they reminded me of the book DINOTOPIA. For all of you out there who scoff at a puny Trade Federation as compared to the Death Star, remember the title: The PHANTOM Menace. The real source of fear here is not the easily-beaten Federation, but their mysterious allies, the ones who aren't supposed to be there. Did anybody NOT recognize the Emperor-to-be in his black cloak and hood? I know some of you out there were groaning when Anakin 'accidentally' saved the day, but every ten-year-old in the audience will eat it up. The final three-way-duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Maul, was one of the best parts of the movie. I appreciated how the 'lows' of the battle coincided - Ani getting sucked aboard the Federation ship, the Queen and her party captured, the Gungans overwhelmed and surrounded, Qui-Gon fatally wounded. Every epic story has a 'rock bottom' moment; here, all the characters moments were contrasted. A very nice touch. Like that other guy below, I felt embarrassed for the late Qui-Gon when the Council reluctanty agreed to accept Anakin. If the poor man had only know what he had set in motion! The moment at the funeral (are Jedi always cremated? Vader was) when Mace Windu and Yoda observe that Sith always work in pairs, so where is Maul's superior - and the camera pulls away to focus on Palpatine's face...a great moment, another 'best' for TPM. Likewise his jovial meeting with Ani - "I will follw your career with great interest, young Skywalker" made the short hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. All through the theatre I could hear this little ripple of 'oooh' that sank in... And now Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) is running the show. The Republic is in deep trouble... JUST FOR THE RECORD: I LOVED THE PHANTOM MENACE!!! I WILL TAKE ON "JMS POWER" IN A LIGHTSABER DUEL ANYTIME, ANYPLACE! I only nitpick that which I truly love. - Dawn P.S. Quentin...will you marry me? ;-)

  • May 20, 1999, 9:14 a.m. CST

    a non-fan review

    by dashielm

    i'm not a star wars fan, well at least not a fanatic, i dont own the toys, i dont read the comics, i dont know when yoda was born. i did enjoy the first(second?) trilogy and own it on laser disc, i guess i'm a casual ST fan. anyway circumstance led me to a 3am screening of TPM last night and going in i was expecting to be a bit disapointed based on the media. however i found the movie to be a lot of fun not much worse not much better than the originals. i unfortunately think there are two things working against this film a) obssesive star wars fans who could tell you how to buil a lightsabre, their expectations are unreasonable and unatainable. b) bladerunner, dont get me wrong i think this is one of the greatest films ever, but i fear that it has condemed scifi to dystopian futures, conflicted characters and tarantino-esque dialog. just to continue on for a few more rants. after seeing TPM i ache for re-coregraphed sabre duels in Episode IV-VI. and to all these fanatics calling those people who liked the film, liars, idiots and children, my god welcome to the USA where everyone is entitled to their own opionion to acost someone because you dont agree with them is an incredibly selfish frame of mind.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Disappointed

    by sfly

    I could go on for hours, but here are the main points. The whole blood-test thing of Anakin really didn't work. It's not what the Force is all about. The Force is supposed to be a mystical thing that exists in everyone, with all living beings. Now it's a bunch of microbes running around in our blood???????????????? And I can see why Lucas started this whole thing, way back when, with Episode 4. The story, apparently, doesn't start until then. He sure didn't put it in TPM. Sure it's a kid's movie. The first three were, too. But they weren't just for kids. Yeah we enjoyed them that way, but they spoke to everyone. This was a 90 minute cartoon (it sure looked like one)that was in no way equal to the mythology created in the first three movies. The thing with Episode IV is that despite the horrendous effects, it was moving film that touched a generation. It spoke to people. It sparked your imagination. It didn't matter how old you were. My father took me to see it and he loved it. I'm tired of people telling me to get in touch with my inner child and enjoy this movie - it was just lousy.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:17 a.m. CST

    the Key

    by Arch Stanton

    I've been trying to figure this movie out all day. Saw it at 1:00 AM and pretty much liked it. No matter how hard you try, you can't shake the baggage. You just won't get what you wanted from this movie, because it can't live up to the immense expectations that have been put upon it. Does Apocalypse Now ring a bell? Same thing. The other thing that has been bugging me is the wildly mixed reviews this film has been getting. Some die-hard fans have loved it, some have hated it. Some critics have recommended it, and some have not. Many have been down the middle. If you go in wanting to shred up a movie on its weak points, you won't have a problem. If you want to go and have fun, you won't have a problem. Follow the first rule: this story happens long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. So just forget everything else and enjoy. You are paying 8 bucks to have fun, not to have an opinion. The reviewers who toss out bad reviews consider their viewing it a job. They don't pay, they don't stand in line. They could review an oak tree or some clouds in the sky and spew the same crap, as long as they were paid. This film is for someone who wants to enjoy a film, not take notes. Look at the great adventure films. How much character development did they have? Not much because it wasn't necessary. Sure, it's great when they give us the character development! You want to trade that for action, or make a 3.5 hour movie? This film takes you away from this world, and that's all it need do. We get enough of this world in every other movie the critics suggest we see. Here's the Key, by the way: If you aren't a willing passenger, you won't enjoy the ride.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Get over it folks

    by MikeMcC

    You people who feel you're owed something by Lucas are insane and need to face reality. He owes nobody nothing. Also, you people who went to this movie expecting to see Shakespeare or the second coming of Jesus are idiots - were any of the first three movies like that? Hardly. Don't get me wrong, they were great, but not anything brilliant. TPM is a FUN movie - get over your issues and enjoy it. I liked Jar Jar. You lame-o's who can't get over him need to move elsewhere. PS - Has anybody in here seen Pee-Wee's Playhouse? Does anybody else think that one of the Nimoydians (whatevs) has the voice of Globy?

  • May 20, 1999, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Hummm...I guess I'll give my opinion

    by bowlerman

    Before I get started, let me make one statement STAR WARS WAS MADE FOR KIDS!. OK, now that that is out of the way I can now address all of the cynical, nitpicky people who have ripped this movie up one side and down the other. I guess society has become so cynical that a simple movie about good vs. evil doesn't have enough of a plot. GET OVER IT PEOPLE! This is the same story that you loved in episodes 4-6, just different people and more effects. Yes, Jar Jar will get on any grown person's nerves, but let me restate something THIS MOVIE WAS MADE FOR KIDS. To enjoy this movie, just watch it. Don't analyze it, don't ponder on the plot, don't look for deep character development. The driving force of these movies has been the story and special effects. TPM amply supplied both. Safe to say, I'll be doing my part to try to take down that boat movie.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Critique, schmitique.

    by Hamadryad

    I went into this on a weird geek trip. I wasn't going to be able to see it opening night/morning at all, but my friend ChrisGod (his new name, since last night, as far as I'm concerned) showed up at my doorstep last night for the first time in two months, with two extra tickets. COOOOZE-o-rama. (Man, I wish this thing would let me make paragraphs.) I've posted twice in the "Last review before I see..." talkback, but I didn't want to deprive anyone of my words of wisdom here as well. Yeah, ok, I'm an elitist pig. While the movie was actually PLAYING, I wasn't sure what my opinion was...but you're not supposed to form your opinion during the movie. No sweat. Having spent a lot of the day reading reviews and talking to friends about it, I like it more and more and more. (**spoilers, sorry, very hard to avoid**) The point a lot of people seem to be missing is that this whole movie was SET-UP. Because of that, I have to admit that it DID lack as a stand-alone...if one saw it with no knowledge whatsoever of the Star Wars series, it would be very hard to make any sense of the plot. However, knowing in what direction the whole thing is going to move, this movie was INTENSE. Amidala is concerned, and rightly so, not with the welfare of the galaxy, but with the welfare of HER PEOPLE. Because of this, Palpatine can maneuver her into helping him reach a position of considerable authority. He comes across as though he was trying to genuinely help her with a solution to her world's problems, but he's actually an insidious bastard (gee, Darth Sidious, wonder where THAT name came from?) who is using her temporary difficulties to further his own craving for power. He's already Jedi. He, the same as Qui-Gon, can sense that Anakin is a special case, and destined for a very grey future. However, since he is a Sith Lord (well, as DArth Sidious he is), and therefore, unlike the Jedi Knights, doen not have to play within the rules, he underhandedly manipulates from the inside out. I figure he now has control of the Senate (being elected Chancellor and all), and this sets him up perfectly to be able to dismantle its morale using his view from the top, and corrupt it to his evil ends. (Insert wicked Crypt-Keeper cackle here.) His downfall will be (this is all just my own speculation, I'm running on almost pure coffee) that he does NOT see the union of Anakin and Amidala, and he does not figure in the pain the offspring of this union will eventually inflict on his backside. That's aprt of what makes the whole movie for me. I can't WAIT to see how Lucas develops this plot. Someone earlier said that he didn't get the same sort of BoyRush he got from the first one, but that the political stuff was interesting. The thing is, the creatures and interplay will make the kids madly happy, while the adults can actually...gasp...use their BRAINS and enjoy the whole political and emotional "what are they REALLY trying to accomplish" vibe. Two snaps up and a circle, fer sure.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Kick my ass...Phantom Menace, kick my ass!

    by Efihp

    I saw the mignight showing of TPM and the movie absolutely rocked! Hearing how so many critics bashed the movie made me enjoy it even more. Critics be damned. This was a great movie. The pod race and the final battle were alone worth my price of admission. Ben Burtt is a genius. While I found Jar Jar annoying in the beginning, he grew on me and had many funny parts toward the end. Watto is a great character and his scene with QuiGon trying his jedi mind trick was f'in hilarious. This movie rocked and I'm gonna see it again and again.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Naysayers just don't get it...

    by nitzsche

    It's like you're all at the dinner table listening to mommy and daddy discuss the outcome of their saturday afternoon bookclub meeting. You're all trying to sound smart by complaining about "lack of character development." When in IV did they ever give depth to Han and Chewie? Leia? Even Luke was just thrown into the plot. Let the story develop. It is the first episode in a series. You all expect to have your role-playing sourcebooks and character backgrounds all layed out for you. Your desire to know more about a character does not mean the character had no depth. It means you didn't pay attention to the dialogue when the characters all told where they were coming from, who they were, what they were doing, what they wanted to do etc. Character history does not equal character depth, folks. So Jar Jar "annoys" everybody? Didn't he annoy his own people? Didn't he annoy Qui-Gonn? Didn't the droids think he was odd? HELLO!!! HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN ANNOYING CHARACTER!!!!! And for those who find Jar Jar at all fake looking, can you please show me what a real Gungan looks like? Thanks, appreciate it. Why is it people are so upset by the aliens on Tatooine? Have you ever been to a pod race on Tatooine, and know for a fact that the announcer wouldn't talk like that? You guys are so ridiculous. It is supposed to be goofy. That means ON PURPOSE! IT'S NOT A FLAW! If a CGI character disappeared for a few seconds...that would be a flaw. I love the fact that Lucas put the rock song in Jedi, and all the alien-antics in this, because he likes to do it. It makes him laugh. I'm quite glad it pisses you guys off too, because it means he didn't make the movie for you; he made it first for himself, then for kids. "But we don't like kids. Kids are stupid, they are annoying, they can't act, they're goofy, dumb-looking. Anakin should be a nine-year-old Jet Li (or as cool as I thought I was when I was a kid) and he shouldn't show any traits of youth or innocence." For you people I can only say you have no concept of humanity. And for you MTV-Michael Bay-Lucas-can't-direct folks, I am sorry. You have been robbed. Modern directing has warped you. In fact, TPM was so complex--nevermind, this is a waste of my time. I loved the movie and most of you didn't. I am happier than you today and should be grateful. I thought I was a pessimistic, critical guy. I feel hope for myself that I could appreciate the art I saw today. Go on with your negative lives.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Menacing Muppets

    by scarydog

    "The Phantom Menace" was awful. I won't be seeing this embarrassment-of-a-Sesame-Street movie again! Let's face it and stop making excuses for the overwrought kindergarten epic that Lucas has foisted upon an anxious public. When Star Wars fans have gathered their wits and realize how "Menace" missed its great potential, I hope they'll be intellectually honest enough to chew Lucas a new asshole for his latest misdeed. Let's be frank: Lucas has lost the magic touch. Time to pass on the Star Wars torch to another director, one who hasn't forgotten that you can make a movie with an teenage or adult audience in mind, and STILL attract the preschoolers to whom Lucas seems so beholden. "Menace," like "Return of the Jedi," is just an "Ewok Adventure" for the big screen, not a true heir to the Star Wars legacy. So far, I count only two *GENUINE* Star Wars movies: "New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back." If Lucas ever makes a third *GENUINE* Star Wars movie, let me know. And no, "Menace" doesn't qualify.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Freaking awesome!!!!!

    by Polgara

    Oh my gosh..I was as scared as Harry of Jar Jar...and I have to say that I liked him also....as did everyone else in the theater...the majority of whom laughed insanely at all the humorous antics. I would pay another eight dollars just to see the pod race again...and another eight for each fantastic cityscape...Coruscant captured my breath...and Naboo was heartbreakingly beautiful....but the crowning jewel was the last half hour of the movie. I was holding my breath during the duel. When (spoiler) Darth Maul egts cut in half...the whole theater cheered. I felt chills when I watched Jake Lloyd...I have no doubts that he has a very big career in front of him. He was so good! At the end he made me laugh so loud! I could tell that every one around me loved him...and Darth Maul was awesome. I saw that someone wanted to know where was the phantom menace during this episode? (SPOILER) the phantom menace was chancellor valorum! He will be the one who ends up being emporer. but no one knows it...and Amidala ends up placing him in the position that he ends up getting...setting himself up to rule the galaxy. All I can say is that I will see it again and again.....and wait in anticipation of Episode two.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:54 a.m. CST

    The Ways of the Force: Midi-Chlorians and You

    by Vin

    I was driving back to work today when I began to muse about EP1, and I was struck with a bolt of insight and inspration so big I hope that it gave me a peek into what Lucas has in store. For weeks now I've heard that people have been pissed off with the ways of the Force being attributed to the presence of Midi-Chlorians in the blood of a person who is strong with the Force. Some feel gypped because this removes the mysticism of the Force by making it a biological function, thereby rooting it in the physical world. But heres a thought, imagine if you dare. In ANH, we're told that Anakin & OB1 fought together in the CLONE WARS, and that the Jedis were almost extinct. Now this got me thinking as I linked it to another event in EP1. Why would Lucas kill off his major baddie just when his visage and tattoo laden mug is being thrust into our collective minds more than any other character? DARTH MAUL REPRESENTS EP1. No kidding you say, but what if we combine these 2 possibilities into one synopsis. If Midi-chlorians are biological in nature, then they can be REPRODUCED or CLONED! And with the failure of the battle droids due to their weakness, why not clone one of the strongest Sith members we've seen so far? WHY NOT CLONE DARTH MAUL? CAN YOU IMAGINE A WHOLE SQUADRON OF DARTH MAULS DECENDING UPON CORSCANT AND THE JEDI TOWER? I CAN! I can see it now, the planet is besiged with DM dupes, and there is a feverish battle ensuing in the Jedi council chamber as Sidious tries to gain control! The Jedis are slaughtered as Mace Windu, OB1, Anakin and Yoda (I'm sure that he could kick some serious butt with a little CGI help) fight a dozen Mauls to the death to protect everyone. They are defected and Sidious offers Anakin a choice, Join him or watch everything that he love be incinerated! It makes sense! Sidious wants Anakin for his strength, and Anakin submits to save Yoda, OB1, Mace Windu (or maybe he could die in battle too!), Amidala, and moreover, his children. This story arc would exonerate Anakin as a complete villian because he didn't choose to be that way, he was forced (no pun intended)! And all for the want of a tiny biological entity. I hope thats what Lucas has in mind! If not, it still plays well in my head!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:01 a.m. CST

    PLOT MATTERS? (Or how George Lucas brainwashed people into think

    by Dolfanar

    A dissapointed geek, unable to comprehend the mixed feelings he has about TPM confronts George Lucas. He tries to express why he can't like it as much as ANH or Empire... ************************ GEEK: I can't. It's too bad. LUCAS: Quality matters not. Judge me by my plot, do you? Mm? Mmmm. (The geek shakes his head) LUCAS: And well you should not. For my ally is the Hype. And a powerful ally it is. Hollywood creates it, makes it grow. Greedy beings are we... (Lucas slaps the geek in the back of the head)... not this crude matter. You must feel the Hype around you. (gesturing) Here, between you... me... the fanboy... the Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial... everywhere! Yes, even between Leonard Maltin, and Roger Ebert!" GEEK: (discouraged) You want the impossible. (Quietly Lucas turns toward the hoards of fanboys still waiting to see TPM. With his eyes closed and head bowed he points at them. Soon the masses of soiled geeks rise above their filth and move forward, as innocent pedestrians yell out in terror, and scoot away. The entire line moves obediently toward the ticket booth. Lucas, perched on a pedestal, guides the crowd carefully toward the dank theater. The Geek stares in astonishment as the crowd settles abruptly into their seats. He walks toward Lucas. GEEK: I don't... I don't believe it. LUCAS: *They* are why *I* cannot fail.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:05 a.m. CST

    TPM and the loss of Childhood

    by Elendil

    The king is dead.... This message is not trying to step on anyone's toes. Especially the toes that just saw STAR WARS: TPM and liked it. Good going, guys. I'm happy for you. I need to get this off my chest. To me, it was the end of 16 years of waiting. And this poor movie, at its core, shook me to my foundations. As a hobby-professional, there are two things that have shone as inspirations for me: The Lord Of The Rings and Star Wars. And yes, I know, these are the 'stereotypical' ("oh, umph are *you* unsophisticated') inspirations, ... but mine they are. With Star Wars: TPM, something shook me. This could not be right!! Please, let this not be right!! The original SW, though badly acted, had a secret mystic drive, something 'greater than life'. It was *the* groundbreaking trilogy of good vs. evil; a perfect balance of modern romanticism and tongue-in-cheek comedy. An opera set in a universe aside, yet akin to our own. This movie, I fear, was a hodge-podge, trying-to-please, poorly acted, desperate to make you laugh, desperate to make you cry, desperate to have you rushing to Toys-R-Us, kind of movie. There was no sense of foreboding, no sense of mysticism (the Jedi-skills are reduced to mere high 'meta-chlorine' counts in your cells, something you would expect from STAR TREK, but STAR WARS?). There is a plain dumb revelation that Anakin is the 'Force-Christ', born by no father -- but "chosen by Meta Chlorine's" to be 'the chosen one who will bring balance to the force'. Gone is the sense of evil. Darth Maul is hardly seen, speaks about 20 words, and really was hardly even a 'phantom menace'. Why should we care about the lightsaber dual? O.K Liam Neeson is capable Qui-Gon, but we don't know enough about Darth Maul to really root against him (or secretly for him!) The dialogue gave us little chance to explore Qui-Gon's impulsiveness, or his mentor relationship with Obi-Wan. The almost gothic obscurity of the original SW is driven away by boring revelation. In SW we did not see the emperor until the last installment, and we were never revealed the full might of the Empire. Like a true phantom menace it hung in the back of our minds, the knowledge that we were being shown only the tip of the iceberg. How are you going to explain: 'Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me!'. Convenient forgetfulness? Yoda, rather than wise, seemed like a pain-in-the-ass. The Special Effects, IMHO, were O.K, but I was more blown away by A BUGS LIFE. The Ewoks take their full revenge upon long bad-talking fans here, except they're dressed up as long-eared, impossible to comprehend, lake-dwelling 'Gungans'. Where was the sense of power, dread, and coolness when Darth Vader searched for Luke under the bleachers(?), and came up with the ominous revelation ... 'Sister!'. Did anyone cheer when the battle was won? Did we care? In the true sense of Sofokles, this *could* have been the first third of a tragedy, filled with foreboding, character development, and spectacle. Rather, Instead of pleasing everyone, the movie fails in almost everything that it sets out to do. Sure, the movie is probably an O.K science fiction film, but in no way does it live up to the legacy that it must bear. The only bright spot came towards the end, when a spookingly happy Palpatine claps Anakin's (sorry, "Ani's", yuck!) shoulder, and exclaims. "And you young Skywalker, we shall certainly make something of you some-day". I waited 16 years, and I went into this movie *knowing* that it could not live up to the hype. I was braced for failure, just not for failure on this level. I have an education in theater and theater evaluation, and this film has trouble even squeezing by the 'suspension of disbelief' barrier. George Lucas tried too hard to give his landscapes, costumes, and environment a soul. By accomplishing this, he unwittingly robbed the soul from the storyline and acting. 'But Chris, you're not a kid anymore -- it's not going to be the same'. Well, my Dad loved Star Wars, so did millions of Dads. The original STAR WARS was almost a living, breathing thing. SW:TPM is just a movie, a good looking, mediocre, movie. In no way, shape, or form will this movie be remembered 20 years from now, had it not been a SW movie. When I left the Cinema, my fiancee took my hand. The night air was cool to breathe, my heart hurt. It was the end of my childhood and 16 years of shiny-eyed dreams. At least from one point of view. Christian T. Petersen FFG

  • May 20, 1999, 10:12 a.m. CST

    the real Phantom Menance

    by Gungan

    This could be a spolier if i am correct. First of all this movie kicks all ass of all movies. I can't even describe how much i loved it. Anyways, back to my my topic. I read in one of the other posts on this site that Chancellor Vallorum will be the Emperor. Sorry whoever wrote that. The Darth Siduos will be the Emperor. Who is Darth Sidous you say?? Well, see the movie again and you will see that he is actually .... i wont give it away, see the movie again and notice the face and voice. Think "phantom" and think "menance". Who wants control? Who is corrupt? Who will stop at nothing to get what he wants? I'll give you a hint, he's already in the movie. (and its not Vallorum) For all those who haven't seen it, do yourself a favor GET TO A THEATER AND SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:22 a.m. CST

    The Wait is Over but...

    by the k man

    May 19 is here and the wait is over but you can always remember the good times by watching "Waiting for Anakin" at www.toomanynicknames.com/anakin.html Enjoy!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:25 a.m. CST

    fulfilled YEAH!!!!

    by vynil boy

    Thanks Harry, your thoughts are very close to my impression of TPM.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:30 a.m. CST

    my opinions, spoilers and stuff

    by elephantangelboy

    well, i saw the movie three times today. The ifrst time i saw it there was no way this movie could live up to the hype, and it really didn't. well the last battle scenes did but... then i saw it for a second time. it was cool. the first time i saw it seemed like jar jar was there way too much and always there and always being horribly stupid. the second time he is not so annoying he doesn't seem to be there as much, its really nice, hell i even started to enjoy the stupidity of the character. i grew up not being able to remember the first time i saw star wars movies.. they had just always been there for me, i've never made any value judgments on the original trilogy, it was all cool to me, there was never any real suspense in it. i had always known that darth vader was luke's father, luke and leia were brother and sister.. all that crap. and it never took away my enjoyment rom any of the movies. despite my attempts to stay away from any of the spoilers for TPM i walked into the movie knowing everything that was supossed to be surprising, expecting it to kind of suck, hoping that it would be the best movie ever. eh, whatever it was good the first time i saw it.. not wonderful but good. the second time i saw it however it was spectacular, i begin to catch little things that made me laugh, little expressions in the actor's faces that made me think they were developed enough, cheesy things that i was a bit worried about the first time but ended up loving by the third time i saw it. i dont know.. most of the complaints seems silly. jar jar.. sure he's dumb.. if he didnt talk as much i dont think anyone would care. watching the pod race about to start he could of just covered his eyes instead of talking and making everyone watching think, "what an awkward, embarassing line", things like that.other than that jar jar aint bad. the best part of this movie si Obi Wan's expression on his face when he goes to fight Darth maul, and how he is hopping up and down ready to kill Maul... aahh.. thats worth seeing the movie three times. i like his style of fighting before that scene , very technical, just going through the motions, very choreagraphed, very perfect. my other favorite thing is the Queen running around with he Capri style blaster, shooting all those robots.. thats the coolest damn blaster... i also really love the scene where the queen and her party hop out of the window and use graplers to move up to the second floor all t the same time.. that is perfect, so cheese and so perfect.. i like the little greedo dude in the pod race scene.. other than that i think the pod race was fairly boring.. it seemed long and was a blur with explosions. the coolest part of the whole thing was the general decadent feel of the scene. sandpeople= rednecks. oh yeah i really like how Qui-Gon is macking on Anakin's mom... no character development.. Qui-Gon is the central character in this movie and he's plenty developed. argh.. uhm.. see the movie at least twice before you form an opinion.. man the acting in this movie was good.. anankin is the only really weak link i think, as far as major characters go.. hell even jar jar delivered his lines so that they sounded natural... hell.. i love anakin's "Yipees!!".. that shit makes me smile.. my biggest complaint is that there was no cool space battles.. hopefully that will be rectified in episode 2.. blah.. this is my favorite star wars movie of them all.. i think its good as all the other ones.. different but just a good.. the reason that its my favorite is i got to hang out in a theatre for three showings, being a virgin with the rest of the audience for the first showing, and gradually know what to expect and where to expect laughs from the audience etc.. man audiences can be really different... hmm anyways this is my favorite cause i got to see all these pepole stupid excited about, i got to be excited about it, i got to see this little four year old kid run back from the bathriim as fast as his legs would carry him so he wouldn't miss anymore of the movie.. yeah.. sorry for the length and rambly and everytihng else but im just kind of dumping my random thoughts after being up for the last well somewhere over 24 hours.. blah

  • May 20, 1999, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Not exactly how I envisioned...

    by Essemtee

    ... I thought my experience with Episode One was going to be different than what I actually faced. But I strolled up to the booth, got a ticket for the 9:45 am showing without hassle, and saw it with about 25 other people in the theatre! Granted, I would've liked to have whooped it up and cheered with a packed crowd, knowing that the Sobey's Square/Avalon Mall in St. John's, Newfoundland would officially be the first in North America to feast their eyes on it. But going to what seemed like my own private screening humbled my experience somewhat, and made me see the movie as just that... a movie! Not some insanely hyped event. PROBABLE SPOILERS: The Not-so-good first... The comical elements. Too many!! Not just Jar Jar, but those Pit Droids, or the Two-headed announcer. Boss Nass, and his shaking his head, do it once, not over and over! Lines that were in the original, ("I have a bad feeling about this...") Sorry, they didn't work, they felt forced! No emotions. The CGI characters were more emotive than the human ones! Now the Good. *That* opening crawl, something wonderful I'd seen only in my head until now. Natalie Portman, she was lovely! The line "Don't do that again." The climax and the Podrace, they woke me up, but only because I didn't get much sleep the night before! And I finally saw Coruscant! Just not enough of it!! And the final scenes... just beautiful. I can honestly say I'm satisfied. I've seen it on its own merits. Now I'll see it again on Friday evening, and experience the Event.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Anakin, Maul, etc...

    by Veiled Threat

    Someone below mentioned wanting more indications of Anakin's evil potential...<Spoliers><Spoilers><But you've alreadey seen it anyway if you're reading this, right?><Spoilers> At the end, the first thing Anakin says Obi-Wan is "What's going to happen to me?", not "I'm sorry you lost your friend and mentor" or even "You kicked Maul's butt!!". It's a completely self-centered attitude and one motivated by fear, fear of an unknown future and as Yoda said, fear is dangerous..... I expect Anakin will turn to the dark side after he fails to free his mother.... As far as Maul being under used, consider Boba Fett. The guy's got all of, what, maybe 3 minutes in episodes IV and V and doesn't do a helluva lot in Jedi before being offed.... And still the guy's arguably the most popular character of all among fanboys. So, this is not exactly a new trend.... I do agree with the guy below that a biological basis for The Force sure gives new impetus for the Clone Wars. But, I don't think that's quite gonna happen, there's still an awful lot of training involved in Sith Lords/Jedi to put together an army of them (And really, why not 20 or 30 Vaders since he's got more Mediclorians (sp) than anyone else... But there weren't 20 or 30 Vaders in IV to VI), but, it sure would be a way to bring back Maul. Which do you like better, the war droids or Stormtroopers? The droids sure fall apart better... The best thing about Jar Jar is that he's not integral to the plot and there's no need for more than a small appearance (if that) in the next two movies. I realise the comedic sidekick has a long tradition, but it seldom works well and it really doesn't here, I was really afraid he'd wreck the whole movie, but fortunately the movie actually feels more like an ansemble cast and nobody really has to carry it, tho Liam Neelson comes closest... For those hammering the film, remember back to the originals when they first came out and the knocks they took... Hamil couldn't act, Fisher couldn't act, the dialogue was weak, the plot was weak. It was all stolen from Kirosawa, Ewoks, etc.., etc.. So, what? Oh, one last thing.... Jawas... A while back (couple years ago) I was watching a bunch of episodes of The Herculoids, a Hanna Barbara adventure 'toon. One episode features "Sand People" who are the spitting image of Jawas, right down to the beady little glowing eyes. I was quite stunned, but it was MAJORLY cool to know Lucas had watched those 'toons and loved 'em too... (Sorry, I didn't note the episode title, and the tapes were borrowed, but how many episodes can there be? There must be an episode guide somewhere...)

  • May 20, 1999, 10:36 a.m. CST

    to all you STAR WARS freaks,this is it....

    by ILMer

    ok, first of all i am a fan of STAR WARS and practically everything connected to it. i DON'T wear star wars t-shirts and play role playing games and read all the novels based on it. you must admit MR. Lucas had the ULTIMATE weight on his shoulders to produce something ALL OF YOU FREAKS would hold up and pray to for the next twenty years or so. geez, after all, you guys have such HIGH expectations.well the critics trashed it because it is the ultimate commercial hard-sell(so what?) and they just thought george was getting alittle TOO MUCH attention so they had to cut him down to size. who really cares what they say? i don't. all the crazed nut fans don't. i must admit i was EMBARASSED to see so many freaks inline last night sporting they jedi cloaks,stretched-to -the-limit XL t-shirts and maul lightsabers. made me feel ASHAMED to be a STAR WARS fan. i got over it by thinking about REAL and IMPORTANT things in life, ok? saw the film. I LOVED IT! IT WILL BE considered a sci-fi classic in the next five years. i rate it just behind the original and tied with EMPIRE. George couldn't make everyone happy but he really tried to make a STUNNER of a fantasy film. he did. despite the FREAK fans (or most of them) i'm proud to say STAR WARS still counts,alive and well. TITANIC will still be b.o. champ but EPISODE 1 will be second. live with it...

  • May 20, 1999, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Of things to come

    by Guld Korn

    Yeah, SPOILERS: First of all, I liked this movie! I recommend it and I give it a 9, if anyone even cares! There were certain things that, yeah well, maybe I didn't quite like but they were overlookable. I will say that I feel that I have an understanding about what the Clone Wars are all about. I loved the whole Queen/Padme-"decoy/body guard" thing and then I will even presume to suggest that Sidious is a clone of Palpatine. The two are in cahootz and will thus spark the war! Could Amidala's clone be evil? I might like to think so. Furthermore, it would be really cool if they made Shmi Skywalker a Livia-type character from "I, Claudius." Anakin may be "afraid" but his true undoing may be his tie to his mother. Also I will defend Lucas and his idea for Maul. I would've liked to have seen Vader replace him as the Emperor's Sith Apprentice but I was not disappointed and I was pleasantly surprised with his few scenes and with his demise. Maul was all-power, and although it would've been nice to hear him reveal something (which will come anyway...really!), he came across an ultimate, disciplined, scary warrior. I also gotta say, don't dis the characters. They are archaetypes and Lucas didn't dumb down anything. Han Solo is just as cardboard cut as Qui Gon Jinn, but they are to be loved. On a side tangent, I think people were just looking way too hard on this one!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:37 a.m. CST

    In Harry's *OWN* words

    by Dolfanar

    "Gone is the nobility, no longer found on the

  • May 20, 1999, 10:44 a.m. CST

    And in three months?

    by bleutuna

    To everyone who didn't like TPM. You will. Trust me. Oh yeah, it may be a month, two months, hell it may even take until the movie is out on video (DVD? PLEASE GOD! DVD!), but you'll love it. And you'll want to see Ep2. You'll forget all of the problems you had, and you'll be SOOOOOOO happy to see Episode 2, and you'll love it because all of the nitpicky problems that you had with this one will be gone. And hell, even if you DON'T like Ep 2, Ep 3 will get ya'! Cause it will be the dark, ominous ambience that you are wanting this one to be. So, give it some time - you'll love it and you'll forget you hated it. After all, when all of your friends give in to the peer pressure of now LIKING a movie they were told to hate, you'll fall in line to where you should have been last night. Having a DAMN GOOD TIME! WOO-HOO!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Use the *Hype*...

    by Dolfanar

    ...*BUY* the force. (for only 3 easy payments of $7.95, yes that

  • May 20, 1999, 10:47 a.m. CST

    State of Mind

    by Sefster

    I haven't seen the film yet ( see it in a couple of hours ), but all this negative talk has really made me wonder. What would we be saying about the original trilogy (ANH) if it came out today ( with special effects similar to TPM and the same hype ). Would we complain about the plot being superficial? Would we complain about the acting? Those lines that we think are so witty, would they be virtually ignored by us now? Would the moments really be that "magical"? Would we complain about not enough Darth Vader in it? I dunno. I think George Lucas is right, though, we have grown more cynical as a movie-viewing public. Only the children have the real innocence to love this film. ANH definitely has its flaws; yet, as children, we really didn't care ( and I didn't even understand what the hell was going on ). Maybe my thoughts will change after I see the film, but this is something I am truly pondering. I thought ANH was a grand film , but would it really be embraced by today's movie-going public like it was back then.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Midi-chondria

    by thrud

    Allright, first let me say thsi movie kicked SERIOUS ASS!!! I didn't just like the movie, I thought it was instantly better than Jedi, and could even surpass ANH after I see it a couple of more times. Probably not better than Empire though. Now, what bugs me is all of these people bitching about midi-chondria. They are saying that the midi-chondria demystify the force.. DID YOU PEOPLE SEE THE SAME MOVIE AS ME!!! It doesn't take anything away. Lucas (or Qui-Gonn actually) never said that midi-chondria and the force were the same thing. He merely said that midi-chondria give us the ability to communicate with the force. I THINK THAT FUCKING RULES. No longer is it just "This person is strong with the force", and "This person can't see the force". There is now a reason why. But the force isn't a buch of little organisms, those organisms are just the things that help us use it. Now I don't want to get into a scientific debate with anyone on why that is or isn't possible, because frankly, it's not our universe and anything is possible. But, I just wanted to say to all of the "demystify the force" people "Smeg off". The force is still just as mystical, he just gave a more concrete reason as to why some are better than it than others. Anways, isn't that what happens in "our" world, something is magical until it is scientifically explained?

  • May 20, 1999, 10:59 a.m. CST

    A WARM PERSONAL NOTE FROM GEORGE LUCAS

    by tristan

    Dear Star Wars Fans, There have been many significant events during the past century which have changed the way we live: the invention of the airplane at Kitty Hawk, the stock market crash in 1929, the world wars, Hiroshima, Man's walk on the moon, but none of these can compare with what happened last night across this country, an outpouring of the human spirit which I personally feel I must thank you for in my own words. thanks to all of you who held tickets to the 12:01 show, the 2:32 show, the 5:12 and especially those of you who could only score lame tickets at 7:59. I value you each and every one, but especially those of you who were at all the shows, all night long. Sleep well, my hearties, thanks for a job well done. Those on the lines: there are no words! if you add up all your hours waiting for tickets, multiply the total by the minimum wage, $3.50 or whatever it is now and it probably comes to a few million dollars! My heart is full. In 2002 I plan to reward you with volunteer appointments as line monitors for SWll, and in 2004, Senior monitorships! so, you see, while you were enduring the catcalls "get a life" you were actually finding a Life Substitute. That'll show 'em. And for Harry, well, words fail. I know it must have been hard to resist the free preview passes that were offered, in order to pass as just another slacker/junkie, and I appreciate it. It was you who revealed to the mockery of the world the true nature of the star wars fan, you risked your reputation and those of your cohorts to stand up proudly in the glare of media derision, so that I could tend to People, Time, 60 Minutes. The check is in the mail.(joke!) and so my friends, until I need you again, May the force be with you. I'll send it over as soon as i'm finished with it. (joke, c'mon!) George

  • May 20, 1999, 11:01 a.m. CST

    The REAL Menace

    by Veiled Threat

    Vallorum? What are you talking about???<More Spoilers Below><Spoilers> As we left the theatre, I turned to my girlfriend and said, "One of the best things about that movie is that the 'good guys' just got their butts kicked and don't even know it!" Here's your clue. In the original trilogy, the master behind the scenes, the one pulling Vader's strings is Emperer Palpatine. Yeah, maybe Vallorum later MARRIES the senator, now chancellor, from Naboo and therefore changes his name. Yeah, right.... Amidala wins this round and saves Naboo, but at a huge cost which will not becomes clear until later as it has placed Palpatine only a step away from disbanding the Senate and assuming the role of Emperer as chronicled at the begining of A New Hope... Hell, when the Jedi masters are musing aboout the other Sith Lord, we cut to a shot of Palpatine. how much more obvious does Lucas have to be?

  • May 20, 1999, 11:08 a.m. CST

    other stuff(spoilers)

    by elephantangelboy

    lets see i also liked the little things taht seemed to reference the other films from obi wan "i have a bad feeling about this", to when anakin is twirling around in the spaceship just like darth at the end of ANH. i like the fact when darth maul's ship is looked at from the back or from the front it looks like a tie fighter. i like that obi wan kills darth maul the same way that he got/would-have-got killed by darth vader had obi wan not dissapeared. i like how when the spaceship is about to land on Tatoiene(?) that you can see the two suns in space, but on the surface they are not shown, only referenced. i like that Qui-Gon's main character flaw was his cockiness, which allowed him to get defeated by Darth Maul, and that cockiness also contributed to the death of Darth Maul( that and inexperience battling Jedis apparently). i like the fac that there is only one queen, that padme and the true Queen are one person and that you have to look really close at the one in costume to determine if it is the real queen or not. of course if Padme is there then the queen is obviously the decoy. i like that the decoy is already the queen at a very early point in the movie(right after they are captured and when they escape). I like that the decoy queen comands the real queen to go clean a droid! what the hell! thats funny.. that handmaid was on some powertrip.. damn. i love the Queen's lipstick. yeah thats it for now i guess

  • May 20, 1999, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Oh Come all Ye TPM Bashers...

    by ErictheViking

    There is one inescapable fact that is obvious but which has not been reported in the media like the so-called fanatics in line; there has also been a "line" (at least figuratively) of people "Countingdown" to the release of TPM, waiting for the opportunity to bash it into pieces no matter what it turned out to be. While I'm fighting the dark urge to match profantiy with profanity and tell all the (insert your own disgusting insults - there are enough to go around here) who simply don't seem to get it where to stick their "I wish Fassbinder had done this Star Wars" attitudes. I'm afraid I will not always have such restraint......but I will try. Harry - you are 100% correct when you talk about people that are disappointed because they wanted a two-hour video with Darth Maul fighting Boba Fett and Maul lopping off someone's head every 30 seconds. IMHO - all of the idiots who pulled out their stopwatches when Maul showed up on the screen deserve their goddam disappointment. We have people saying that they wanted John Woo to direct the fights - and to have more of them, we have people saying they wanted Anakin to be an evil little bastard - never thinking that perhaps his redemption at the end of Return of Jedi might have something to do with who he was before he became Vader. I guess George should have had little Anakin running around Mos Espa painting Graffitti on buildings and skimming the till at Watto's shop to buy clove cigarettes to smoke with that Greedo-type kid played by Warwick Davis. Idiots. Does anyone think that it might be more tragic to know that a basically good person, even a generous one, has the capacity for evil? Why doesn't anyone have any goddam patience for a story anymore? For you fools wishing that Maul was the main character in the movie-let me ask you this: how cool is this supposedly bad-ass character going to remain if he shows up every 30 seconds and gets his ass kicked (by necessity so there are characters left alive to move the story along)? Maybe the movie should only be 10 minutes long. George should have just made a short with Maul riding through Mos Espa on his speeder lopping off heads set to the "Duel of the Fates" played continuously throughout. He could have just made the short available on the internet because that is all that counts in the world anyway... Yeah - instead of using Maul sparingly to great effect and making his every appearance pulse-quickening, outrageously dangerous and menacing, we could have instead had Maul rape Shmi and pull out two pistols and shoot up the joint in balleic slow motion while shell casings hit the dirt! You fanboy wannabes who think you know what makes a movie tick should try putting together a script, any script - even a short one - and astonish us with your storytelling abilities! My guess is that you couldn't do anything but a riff on Star Wars, Blade Runner, and the flavor of the month - THE MATRIX. I suppose you'd show your edginess by throwing in a masturabtion scene (undoubtedly a Hitchcokian inspired appearance by the self-proclaimed auteur)and more blood and carnage the uncut version of RoboCop. Boy - now that's a Star Wars movie I'd like to see! Get working and show George how it's done! The problem that many people seem to have (and one of the things I LOVE about TPM) is that all the Jay and Silent Bob look-alike fanboys are no longer the Star Wars "experts" they thought they were. You probably thought you knew everything there was to know about Star Wars but now you have things like Midi-Chlorians, Gungans, only two Sith Lords, planets that don't look like Tatooine, Endor, Yavin, Hoth, etc., a SW society decades older than the one you know, an entirely new and basically unfamiliar (to the un-observant ear) soundtrack, and the fact that Vader was once a generous, precocious kid to think about - and unfortunately it didn't match your little fantasy script you wrote for yourself in your head. You people know who you are - you're the one's who sit in bed at night and say, "Boba Fett didn't die! That Sarlacc belch was actually Fett killing the monster and escaping through its ass on the other side of the planet! Yay!" Repeat after me: Maul is dead - he was cut in two. That scene (the two halves tumbling down the shaft) was put in there specifically for you jerks - the guy is DEAD! Remember when it was fun to root for the good guys? Maybe not - my guess is you aren't old enough to. My other favorite thing thus far is when the complainers finish their rants about EP1 and then say "I can't wait for EP2 now so we can get to the Clone Wars!" Guess what you assholes - you're gonna be let down again! I personally hope that the crawl of EP2 explains how the Jedi bravely won the "Clone Wars" and that the new movie picks up as they end...It would be equally satisfying to discover that the so-called "Mandalores" are actually persecuted gypsy-types and that Boba Fett is nothing more than a wanderer who pieced his armor together from items in trash cans his family rummaged through and now collects bounties so he (or even better - she) can pay for hookers at Jabbas palace. If TPM and the upcoming films can finally put an end to the "Trekization" of Star Wars and the legion of "fans" who think they can tell George Lucas what is and what isn't "a Star Wars movie" or John Williams what is or isn't a "Star Wars soundtrack" is then I welcome it. I'm certain that not a single person who has voiced their strong dislikes for this movie watched it without some preconcieved idea about how it should unfold. I guess I like to go to the movies to be told a story - not have my ego stroked and my fantasies affirmed so I can feel soooo smart and sooo hip. For chrissakes, major critics are bitching that there is an opening crawl in a Star Wars movie! I even read a review today calling TPM overtly racist because Samuel Jackson had a "bit part" and because one of Anakin's little buddies was a "dark-skinned subservient type" Losers. I've never seen so many so-called intellectuals go collectively brain-dead at the same time in an effort to be more negative than the next guy. I guess we poor deluded peasants will happily snatch up action figures while you naysayers eagerly anticipate purchasing the newest Will Smith summer movie rap CD to show your admiration for whatever it is you think constitutes a good movie. This movie was sooo hyped they say. The same assholes bitching about overexposure in the media have been putting the movie on their magazine and newspaper covers and at the front of their newscasts for the past 3-6 months, selling issues by the thousands, etc. Hypocritic bastards. I hope there is not a single pre-release photo or even a trailer for EP2 after seeing the way this has gone. It would serve everyone right and probably make seeing the next movie more enjoyable. That's enough plundering for now. ErictheViking

  • May 20, 1999, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Dadada......dadadidila

    by Wong Kar Wai

    People who complain about this movie are not Star Wars fans but just movie fans. They may have liked the original trilogy because they were all just good movies but Ep.1 is not a good movie. It's a Star Wars movie. True Star Wars fans love this movie. Most movie lovers won't because it doesn't follow conventional filmmaking guidelines. Fuck character depth, plot, and meaning. Star Wars isn't great because of these things. It's great because it entertains. Plain and simple. Reviews suck anyways. Who honestly gives a shit what anybody else says about a movie besides marketing execs? See it, believe it and experience it for yourself. Don't deny yourself one of the greatest moviegoing experiences just because some lamer whom you never met finds Jar Jar annoying or finds the pacing terribly slow. It's Star Wars brother/sister! Enjoy it while you can. There are only two more left. Ever. SPOILER ALERT: The ABSOLUTE Best part in Phantom Menace is right after Qui-Gon bites it and Ewan is psyching himself up behind the red force field. Then BAM! Field drops and Ewan goes to work! Fuckin still giving me goosebumps and it's been hours since I saw it!

  • May 20, 1999, 11:22 a.m. CST

    TPM percolated my midichlorians...

    by Sunfell

    Hoo- boy! Now that was a trip- sorta like taking a sip of what was SUPPOSED to be grape juice and finding out it was 20/20! I liked it. And I am going to have to see it several more times just to pick out some 'I tot I saws' in the course of the film. Games have 'easter eggs', and it is obvious that TPM does, too. Like Jar Jar's 'Wayne's World' line when we first meet him: "Exqueeze me?" I was hoping he'd say 'Baking powder?'- maybe he did- the accent almost needed subtitles. Yes, Jar Jar was silly- but I liked him. Annikin was a Real Kid- but did they HAVE to keep calling him 'Ani'? Any second I expected the poor little fella to show up in a curly red wig singing "Tomorrow"! And what the heck did Naboo have that frosted the Feds enough to send their Rock-em-Sock-em Robots to plunder? Batteries? Cool clothes for rich royalty? Marble palaces? Neve DID find that out... OK, ok- enough nit-pickin. I liked the film, and enough that I'll drop another $4.50 (Sorry coasters- us folks in Fly-Over land get the Cheap Seats!) to go see it again, and maybe again. Lucas and his words...midi-chlorians? Hee, hee- sounds like a downloadable mouthwash to me...! Later!

  • May 20, 1999, 11:26 a.m. CST

    George Lucas is Harry's GOD, and I quote:

    by Dolfanar

    "Tonight... God took a piss on us, and my lord it was magnificient!" - Harry Knowles

  • May 20, 1999, 11:30 a.m. CST

    The BEST Movie Experience of my life!!!!!!!!!!!

    by knute123

    The evening started off w/ only a 2 hour wait...i live in Scottsdale, AZ which has more old people than you can imagine, most of which don't go to see star wars movies... Anyway, the theater filled up and we were all sitting there for 2 hours w/ nothing to do. Two guys got a beach ball and the ENTIRE Theater had a volleyball game. The theater employees were joining in...well it was great. Then we all settled down to watch the movie. The movie kicked my ass! I loved it all. Even the bullshit scenes that had nothing to do with the larger plot. They were fun and I liked them. It was great...fantastic! Now I just need to wait for lines to die down and I'll see it again. An earlier show this time though...12:01 is tiring.

  • O Lord, please don't burn us. Don't grill or toast Your flock. Don't put us on the barbecue Or simmer us in stock. Don't braise or bake or boil us Or stir-fry us in a wok. Oh, please don't lightly poach us Or baste us with hot fat. Don't fricassee or roast us Or boil us in a vat, And please don't stick Thy servants, Lord, In a Rotissomat.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Don't worry -- there's always Besieged, the story of a forlorn V

    by TheMalcontent

    I didn't see The Phantom Menace so I don't know why I'm posting here. All I know is that I haven't been this afraid to leave my house since the L.A. riots. Lucas should enroll in the Witness Protection Program and move to Port-au-Prince. Right now people are bewildered, stunned, like a buck seeing the flash of a hunter's rifle. But when they wake up in the morning, sore all over, and realize that they've been swindled -- and not just out of eight dollars, out of their hopes and dreams for sixteen years -- they'll become the hunters, and Lucas the buck. Lucas reminds me of that first baseman in the World Series a few years ago who let an easy ground ball slip through his fingers. What's really amazing about all this is that the studios didn't compromise or betray Star Wars -- Lucas did it all himself. HE is Anakin Skywalker, selling himself down the river, handing himself over to the dark side. This fiasco was all his money, his conception, his realization. He had one of the greatest fairy tales / myths / legends of all time at his fingertips, like willing clay, just waiting to be molded into a Donatello statue. Instead, he gives us a Hasbro toy figurine. He is a lazy, enfeebled, corrupt old plutocrat, and if he wants to save his franchise after this death blow he's going to have to abdicate repsonsibilty and pass the digital scepter to some real talent tout de suite. I'm not talking about guys like Spielberg or Ron Howard, either -- I'm thinking more along the lines of Peter Jackson. Oops.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:37 a.m. CST

    My Head is SPINNING!

    by Zappa

    I am at a complete loss for words. It's been five hours since I walked out of the 4:00 showing of TPM at our local theater, and I'm still not sure what I think of the film. I think that I liked it for the most part, but I'm afraid that I got very caught up in the hype surrounding this film, so much so that I forgot something. It's only a movie. I think that I entered the theater expecting to see the second coming, and with expectations like that, how can you not be let down. I need to see it a few more times and let the hype melt away so I can really give the movie a chance. I think that for so many of us, Star Wars is a very essencial (sorry about spelling) part of who we are. Fuck all this generation X crap, we are the Star Wars generation. The origional films have grown so far beyond the celluloid that they are printed on. When I walked into the theater this afternoon, I practically expected to become a kid again. That's what I wanted. I didn't want to be the 22yr old who goes by the handle "Zappa", I wanted for the years to fall away. I wanted, just for a mere 2hrs, to be a kid again. These films have become sacred to some of us, and I think that The Phantom Menace is a humble reminder from George "Jesus" Lucas that these are just movies. I plan to see this film many more times, and hopefully, when all the great expectations and the hype are stripped away, I'll find that this really is a wonderfull new adition to the series.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:38 a.m. CST

    WORTHY OF THE NAME STAR WARS

    by jvoorhees

    I will agree with Harry. Although I didn't LOVE jar jar, he was fine. He is NO different than C3PO (god knows how annoying he could be). I thought there was a bit too much humor. But as Harry said, there is always something else going on to look at. Jar Jar is background noise....and so is alot of the other humor. I would have taken out the two headed race announcer. But hey, this is George's ride and he's driving. But the movie is a great BEGINNING. It's not a middle or an end. If your life depends on this movie, then yes you'll be disappointed. But if you want to have a good time, then this is it. No Star Wars movie is flawless (neither is this) but who cares? We met so many new characters that we will meet again. And they will be developed more. And this movie will mean so much more then. Out of the ten people I saw it with, all ten gave it a very good review. Some people will not like it. But if your life depends on one thing, then that thing better be perfect, and this is not. But it is Star Wars. If you don't like it, too bad for you. You've learned your lesson and can stay home in 3 years when the next one comes out.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:39 a.m. CST

    And now, a hymn, from our Lord God, George Lucas, on exactly WHY

    by Dolfanar

    *** I've got ninety thousand pounds in my pyjamas, I've got forty thousand french francs in my fridge. *** I've got lots of lovely lire, Now the Deutschemark's getting dearer, And my dollar bills would buy the Brooklyn Bridge. *** Chorus: There is nothing quite as wonderful as money, There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash. *** Some people say it's folly, But I'd rather have the lolly, With money you can ma-ake a splash. *** Finale: There is nothing quite wonderful as money, *** (money,money,money,money) *** There is nothing like a newly minted pound, *** (money,money,money,money) *** All: Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker, *** It's accountancy that makes the world go round. *** (round,round,round) *** You can keep your Marxist ways For it's only just a phase. For it's money money money makes the world go round. *** (money,money,money,money *** money,money,money,money *** moneeeeeeeeeeeyyyy)

  • May 20, 1999, 11:44 a.m. CST

    *** DISAPPOINTMENT CITY ***

    by phobus

    I can't believe all the people who dismiss the negative reviews so easily. None of us could be SW fans could we? Well I waited for hours to buy tickets last week and waited for hours again last night to see the midnight show. I had seen some of the negative reviews before, but I didn't want to believe it. I was hopeful since Ebert gave it a really good review and it seemed like everyone who saw the premier on Sunday enjoyed it. I couldn't believe I didn't like TPM. I couldn't. I was in denial for a while and had to see it again this afternoon. But there it is, I am very disappointed with this movie. The acting was CARDBOARD which I attribute to the shitty script. Anakin basically showed NO EMOTION at being pinned down in the control ship. My main complaint with the movie is that it is boring. No suspense (oh, whos going to win the pod race I wonder? you mean padme and the queen....no way!), no character relationships. And thats ignoring the over the top kiddy stuff that was NEVER in the original trilogy. Jar Jar accidentaly shooting enemies EVERY time he fell over? Here are a few points which bug the shit out of me (SPOILERS): 1. The Trade Federation guys trying to kill the Jedi at the start of the movie. WTF? They are part of the Republic, don't they know the droids don't stand a chance? 2. Why the hell do the droids need to talk to each other? If they are controlled by a central computer, what possible need is there for there to be audible *speech* between them? Roger Roger 3. What EVIL is in the movie? I know Darth Maul and Darth Sidious are the bad guys but really, what have they actually DONE that shows they are evil? Invade Naboo? The US media does a better job with Slobodan Milosevic!!!! 4. WHY IN THE WORLD would R2D2 be tagging along when they go back to the palace????? He JUST SO HAPPENS to get in the same ship as Anakin? 5. It was really cool, but what are the force fields during the Darth Maul battle? Just there without any reason? 6. HOW THE HECK did Anakin get his ship into the Hanger? They just let any ships fly in there? And then the Generators are located in the Hanger???? Whos braindead Mr. Lucas? 7. Why are Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan, etc able to feel that other Jedi are close but nobody in the ENTIRE FUCKING JEDI COUNCIL can tell Palpatine is Darth Sidious when they are in the same room? 8. Why do all the aliens speak English? Did they just lose that ability in ANH? 9. Kid with Braces. Even if braces exist in this world these are slave kids. Hmmmmmmmm. Whos braindead? DO NOT DISMISS this talkback as some Star Wars hater. I truly wanted to love this movie.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:47 a.m. CST

    AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT "EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE" Although

    by ZeroCool

    Let me first say that I LOVED THE PHANTOM MENACE!!!! I love this film without any reserve or second guessing, it will rank #3 on my list so far. I was enraptured watching this film, because never before has there ever been something so beautiful to look at on film before. I loved the story, the action sequences and the characters. I loved it all and will defend this film to my last breath. I did not, as Harry suggested, "De-evolve" or "Put on my 7-year old goggles" I watched it as a 24 year old guy who has watched more movies than anyone he knows. I carried the baggage of the first three films into the theater with me and I TRIED TO HATE THIS FILM! I had read the book, nothing special. I read the screenplay, nothing special. BUT THE FILM! MY GOD! WHAT A MASSIVE SPECTACLE OF AWE AND WONDER OF VISUAL SPECTACLE LIKE I'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE! That said, it had some problems. Strangely, Harry is right, Jar Jar wasn't one of them. I liked him and hope he's back in the sequel. The Midichlorian thing I hated so much? Worked fine. The "Immaculate Conception"? Worked fine. Anakin by way of Jake Lloyd was a little troubled, but he came across as a kid and I kind of liked that they didn't force him to pull a Wesley Crusher. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi WERE THIS FILM! They were so good, so amazing, so incredibly JEDI, that I am forever going to love these characters. Amidala was perfect, Regal and respectable without resorting to cheap tough chick heroine activity that made Leia seem less like Royalty and more like a run of the mill action chick. (Not that I hold anything against Leia, I still have that gold bikini fantasy!) I liked that she remained distant, but still managed to appear sweet and capable of feeling for Anakin. R2-D2 was given A PERFECT INTRODUCTION! Having the droids roll out onto the ship and do repairs was BRILLIANT! C-3P0 was a little forced, and it was very, very good to see him again, but I could've done without him. Then, there was the space battle, which was thrown in for fun and seemed kind of meaningless, but still worked very, very well. The lightsaber duels were outright AMAZING! The Pod Race BLEW ME AWAY! The planets, the conception of the production design was executed so well and so incredibly beautiful that Lucas deserves an Academy Award for that alone. The only real problem I had with the film was Darth Maul. For all the hype that everyone has given him, he was a rather lame villian. Sure, he could fight and kill Jedis, but Vader would eat him for breakfast without even igniting his lightsaber. The guy was weak and I hope there isn't a Boba Fett style crusade to ressurect him simply because he "looks cool" and trust me, that is all he did. I never developed any respect or fear for him, because Lucas formulated him as a throw away character and that's all. Also, I think a little more effort could've been put into making Darth Sideous look a little less like Senator Palpatine. That was lame. The Nimoudians were ridiculous, but that was what they were supposed to be. The Snivling worms of the galaxy, so I saw them for what they were and Japanese stereotypes they may be, it worked. All in all I loved this film as much I could have. I was never bored, for even one second and was constantly in awe of everything. This was STAR WARS! I cannot wait until Episode 2 to get that feeling all over again. Now excuse me, I've got tickets to the ten o'clock feature.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:54 a.m. CST

    My theory about Maul and why I ENJOYED THE HELL out of TPM

    by Peteski

    <SPOILERS!!! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER UNLESS YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT SPECIFIC EVENTS IN TPM!!!!> First off, TPM ROCKED! Anyone who is breaking it down and analyzing it to death is TRYING to waste their money. Just chill out, enjoy it for the price it cost to get in - it's a fantasy and has no real rules that it breaks. (Sure, I hated the midichlorian stuff too, but I hated the Ewoks, too!) Okay, second, IMHO, Maul won't be back as a clone, I think they'll just cyborg him. Ben's saber sliced him neatly in two. We know that when sabers cut into flesh, they corterize (sp?) the wound they create. So basically, all Maul needs is a new set of legs and lower intestines. Can anyone say "VADER"? It's been floating around for a long time that Ben shoves Anakin in a lava pit and then Emperor Palpatine comes along and rebuilds (little orphan) Annie as a cyborg. My guess is the same thing will happen with Maul. Thirdly, to anyone who doesn't understand the Palpatine/Sidious/Emperor dynamic, here's how it works: Palpatine is disguising himself as a Darth and working this deal with the Trade Fed. Meanwhile, Palpatine works the legal side of things to make it easier for his Sidious personna to get away with stuff. Eventually, Sidious will "die" and Palpatine will declare himself Emperor. And Finally, I'd like to add that I loved TPM because it was the least self-aware movie out of Hollywood in the longest time. The movie was just that - a movie. It only got "cute" on a few occassions and wasn't obnoxious in the least. Well, I've said my piece. Thanks for reading. Email me directly if you want to tell me off or share your own opinions on mine. Read ya! -Darth Peteskious

  • May 20, 1999, 11:57 a.m. CST

    JAR JAR WAS GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Scum Punch

    Star Wars was a good Star Wars movie ... it was everything the the franchise has always been, from the uber-cool production design to the occasional descent into lameness to the occasional brain fart of the actors. Despite the use of Muppet-like characters, it was still entertaining, because lame Muppets are a Star Wars trademark. JAR JAR BINKS WAS GOOD. I actually liked him, simply because his characterization was entirely unique. Its hard to imagine any other movie characters that resemble JAR JAR. HE WAS FRESH, DISTINCT, AND I BELIEVED HE WAS ALIEN, unlike so much other sci-fi which uses human actors with prosthetic noses and tries to pass them off as aliens without even a thought to characterization. Think about it -- IF LUCAS DEVOTED HALF THE TIME HE USED TO DEVELOP JAR JAR TO PREPARING THE ACTORS, THE MOVIE WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MUCH BETTER.

  • May 20, 1999, noon CST

    Star Wars

    by Dliver

    I just got back from seeing the new Star Wars movie. It was awesome! Yes it is just part 1 of a 3 part mini-series, but it lives up to the hype. It reminds me when the 1st Star Wars film came out. It also got reviews like this one. Such as "Plenty of eye candy but no depth". And that movie went on to become an icon. This movie will break all the records and it will further expand the Star Wars legend. I rate this movie a Multiple See Full Priced Movie!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 12:05 p.m. CST

    See this one up close and repeatly before you judge

    by sicarius

    I just returned from a 5pm showing of The Phantom Menace and wanted to give you my views. First off, I have a life so I did not camp out or wait in line for tickets. I am a fan of the trilogy and was intensely eager to see this film. So I managed to get to tickets for my best friend (more a fan than I) and I to see it at the first show at 12am via advance internet ticketing. The screen was one of the smaller types found in cineplexes throughout the USA and we sat about 1/3 way back. I enjoyed the first showing but could see some of the flaws pointed out by the critics and others. Felt the pace of it too slow, wooden dialog and acting, no Hans Solo type charasmatic character and childish humor. So I went to sleep last night with a heavy heart feeling that the film was good but still disappointing. I also had procured tickets for todays afternoon screening and saw it in the same exact theater 15 hours earlier. But I and my friend moved several rows closer and finally were close enough to be immersed in the screen. THIS time I loved it! Thought it a worthy successor to the trilogy, noticing nuances in acting, humor and details I missed previously. Also being relaxed and not tense made a huge difference. I heard Roger Ebert saw that many critics saw the film at NYC's Lowe theater in less than ideal climatic conditions and some of that rubbed off on the reviews. SO my conclusions: must see this film close up, video game close. This film is not designed to be watched from the back row, picked apart. Its individual flaws then appear but if you are ready to let go and feel the force, you will not be disappointed. So the reviews and negative posts are bogus. This film is for the fans not critics. AND I agree with the majority of Harry's views. Loved Darth Maul, but my deepest emotion was the relationship between Qui-Gon Jinn and Ani, one cut short by Maul.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Pondering the virginal conception...

    by TEd_BROWn

    Pulling back a bit from all of the opinions on characterization, story, etc, I would actually like to know what other people thought of Lucas' use of "virginal conception" to explain the way Anakin came into existence. I honestly can not remember, in all of my literary perusings and film screenings, of a writer using this ... event, especially when it is held so dear by Christians and their idea of the Immaculate Conception of good ol' J.C. I know that there are several essays on the Biblical allusions/parallel development in Ep. IV-VI, but time and time again I hear Lucas talk about how he wants his movies to encourage exploration of spirituality and religion, not replace them. So what do y'all think it means? Is Lucas suggesting exploration of Christianity? Perhaps the exploration of Buddhism, which says all [living?] things contain the essence of God? [a reference to the midichlorians (sic)] Although I'm not losing sleep over the matter, I curious if anyone has heard anything about this.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Mita-chloridians

    by Eos

    Was anybody here thinking of the "Farandolae" in A WIND IN THE DOOR when they heard that?

  • May 20, 1999, 12:11 p.m. CST

    What i loved about Ep.I

    by Nihilon

    Instead of talking about the problems i had with the film, and there were a few, i thought it was a good film, i'll be seeing it again, and i figured i'd just add to the lovefest. So here's a few things about TPM i loved. 1) The Title 'The Phantom Menace': i thought it sucked at first, but it's really grown on me and now i think it's the second most kickass SW title (2nd to Return of the Jedi, which I always interpreted not as the return of Luke, but as the return of Anakin). 2) The Battle Droids: another thing i hated at first, i thought they looked goofy, like giant storks, but i loved them in the movie, especially the mechanical way they moved, and i loved it everytime one of them said "roger roger" that just killed me. 3) The Sand People taking pot-shots at the pod racers. This drew the biggest laugh of the whole film in the audience i saw it with. 4) Palpatine: the guy is slick and knows just what he's doing. 5) Obi-Wan as played by Ewan: he definitely had the toughest role to pull off, playing such a beloved character, but he made it work, and even managed to sound like Alec Guinness without doing a straight out impersonation of him. And when he finally gets to unleash at the end, it rocks, can't wait to see more Kenobi ass-kickin in Ep.II. 6) "There's always a bigger fish." 7) Jar Jar wasn't too bad. 8) Darth Maul. need i say more. and yes of course i wish we'd seen more of him. 9) The way the holographic images of Darth Sidious, and the view through Maul's binoculars, is still just as fuzzy looking as it was in the original movies. 10) The opening and closing titles. Just the way they're supposed to be. "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." a hush in the audience. "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" everyone cheers. 11) That whole Padme/Amidala thing. it will take me some while to figure out exactly where the queen is the queen and where she's a decoy. 12) C3PO who used to annoy me was actually funny here. "My parts are showing???" 13) Baby Greedo. Okay i think i'll stop at 13.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Little Things (SPOILERS)

    by Big Old Banh

    I must say it shocked me when the wave of negative press came in about Episode One. Despite the massive hype (and that god awful KFC Pizza Hut Taco Bell commercial-- you know the one) i hoped the movie could hold its own, and suprise suprise, it did. Going in to the movie knowing basically everything, i was nevertheless suprised by little stuff left out of the script. (SPOILERS AHEAD, but they're gonna be mixed with stuff that isn't) I'll admit, the Padme/Amidala plot twist brings questions about who was who before they got to Tatooine, but it really didn't bother me so much. I think it's very obvious Darth Sidious IS Senator Palpatine, not a clone but the real deal holyfield. Check out scenes of Sidious that look at him head on, not profile shots. It's impossible not to be him, the chin, neck and nose are identical. The way Lucas toys with the audience (letting the Jedi Council be confused about a Sith Lord while he's right there on Coruscant/ the look that Palpatine gives Anakin when he says "we will watch your career with great interest") oh, speaking of which, the primary offenders of people talking about themselves in the third person are Palpatine and Padme. Both lead double lives. I was suprised Lucas had the tact to cut out the Maul/Sidious conversation after the Queen's Ship takes off. Sidious said something along the lines of "i will deal with them personally" as he learns they're heading to Coruscant. That's way to obvious and i'm glad it didn't make it. Still, much of the audience i was in caught all of the references to the future Emperor. While i'm on the senate, most people thought it was stupid, but i didn't mind having ET tucked in at the corner of the screen (times 3) check out the lower left corner during the senate discussions. In terms of what i didn't like: Well, first off, who the hell is Bail ANTILLES of Alderaan?! Was that intentional, or did george fuck up with his names? While i didn't loathe the 2 headed announcer (don't get me wrong, he was VERY unnecessary) i found it interesting, albeit distracting that he looked like he'd been dropped from the animation department in ANTZ. check out his skin texture. And while i'm on that, most of the aliens who were CG looked authentic (sure Jar Jar had moments when he looked CG, but on the whole he looked good) why then did someone decide that if they had someone who looked like an ANTZ reject, they ought to have a BUG'S LIFE reject too???? Check out the four engine alien who never gets started, he looks a little too cartoony, and it realy distracted me from the Pod Race. not to mention anakin's Rodian friend, whose head was so big it couldn't help but look like a mask, and equally distracting. At least Jabba looked better, and a LOT better at that. Watto was a nice touch, giving the movie an actual character, someone with a real set of emotions. Speaking of characters, i liked Jar Jar a lot. I don't know how you had trouble understanding what he said; i went in with a vague recollection of what he said and understood every word. I don't think he took too much away, and his interaction with Qui Gon and Obi Wan in their first couple of scenes was very amusing. I know i shouldn't have, but i really did laugh a bit when he got the Battledroid stuck on his leg and swung it around shooting other droids. I thought it was actually funny for the character. And he's not a clown the whole movie, which i appreciate. Jar Jar isn't always out for the laugh. When Obi Wan dumps him in the room with all the R2 units, well the script had some horrible scene where he opens one of the heads and stupid things happen. Instead, Lucas simply had Jar Jar say hello, let the droids reply and cut away. Believe me, Jar Jar is nowhere near as annoying as he could have been. And the gungan/battledroid battle is nowhere as stupid as the Ewok/Stormtrooper battle on Endor. I actually cared when the Gungans were being torn apart. on the subject of battledroids and destroyer droids, i like them. In ANH, stormtroopers had personalities (check out the scene where Obi Wan is disabling the tractor beam for a very amusing conversation between 2 bored troopers) but in empire and jedi they were mindless drones. it felt very uneven. the battledroids were easy not to relate to and even easier to mow down. (at least battledroids can HIT their targets with some accuracy) I find it hard pressed to see Luke and Han blow away as many stormtroopers as Obi Wan and Qui Gon in the course of TPM. Their total lack of emotion made them even more fun when compared to C3PO (who had some nice jokes) and R2D2, who doesn't even remotely look humanoid but has a range of emotions. Compared to some people, i don't feel it's unecessary to have R2D2 and C3PO in the film. The fact that they interact is even better, and adds some dimension to the world weary travelers they become, and the fact that neither of them in ANH realize they've both been on Tatooine before. TPM is introducing us to characters we thought we knew, but only know partially. The fact that Obi Wan doesn't acknowledge R2D2 in ANH is more ironic to us when we know he damn well know who he does. Taking it as far as flying the Millenium Falcon isn't really necessary (although with 2 more episodes to go, who knows) but i really really liked episode one because of the sense of perspective we get into the WHOLE picture of episode one. More things that bugged me: Trade Federation voices. Dear God that was so unnecessary to voice them like stereotypes. Ok, i didn't mind that they sounded asian, it was the fact that they were stupid and spoke a slowed down dumb-asian-guy-trying-to-speak-american. give me a break! Jar Jar was tolerable; it's nice to know people in space can speak with Jamaican accents and not sound like idiots, but the Neimoidans just sounded wrong. (Speaking of which, was that JAMES TAYLOR James Taylor who voiced Rune Haako? i saw the name in the credits and wondered.) Now, Darth Maul. I love the fact he only had 4 lines. He's a man of action, not words. He never utters one word to the Jedi, no villain gloating, no taunts; he just fights. It was the most furious lightsaber battle i think ever graced Star Wars, not to mention the fastest. I disagree though with whoever though Qui Gon was too arrogant. Rather i think Maul was, despite his lack of words. The look of hatred to Qui Gon as he's pacing back and forth was genuinely creepy, but as soon as he killed him, Maul got sloppy. Watch his face as Obi Wan waits for the energy field to drop; he can't wait to kill of the apprentice. What he suceeded with on Qui Gon is what he lost to with Obi Wan: first he loses half his sabre ( a truly sweet weapon) and then he too gets split in half (virtually guaranteeing he WON'T be coming back, regardless of the clone wars) and plunges. Good show Obi Wan, a woefully underused character. Qui Gon rules this movie, overshadowing even Yoda, but Episode II is Obi Wan's show. I for one can't wait. If only he'd fought Vader with the vigor he fought Maul with (yes yes i know, he was busy being a martyr, but it would have rocked to see them fight that fast... oh yeah, episode 3.. duh, nevermind) oh, and as i wrap this up, i think this answers a few questions about the Jedi- YOU CAN NOT HAVE MORE THAN ONE APPRENTICE. Yoda flat out says it violates the code. Last time i posted wayyyy back when someone jumped on me because i said there could only be a master and apprentice, because in the books and dark horse comics luke had more than one. Well, there you go. One apprentice. Oh, and i was really suprised to see the thing about slaves trying to escape would be blown up WAS actually part of the movie. I thought it was either a) Bullshit, or B)going to be cut, but there it was. I liked TPM a lot, i feel bad for those of you who hate it or think it's boring (because ***BLASPHEMY ALERT*** i find parts of empire slow) i didn't find it dull in the least and i can't wait to see it again and again after that.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Episode One...fantastic!

    by Mommyfrog

    Holy cow was this an awesome ride! There was alot of fantastic creative talent that went into this film. My only complaint is that the viceroys had asian accents, why? I feel a completely alien tongue was needed, and subtitleswould have been cooler! Also what was the deal with the pod race commentators? Did this not happen a long time ago in a galaxy far far away? I seriously don't think E!TV exists on Tatooine! George won't listen to me, and by the way who am i to judge, but gosh the effects were staggering almost too much so! Part of the beauty of the other episodes was that han leah and luke became so real to us! They were bound by undying friendship, and we were really pulling for them! I didn't connect with the new charachters, but maybe I did'nt want to. Annikan reminds me of my son. I don't want such a sweet child to turn into such a monster! Ah such fantasy! Thanks George! Hey did anybody catch Warwick Davis (a previous Ewok) in the pod scene?

  • May 20, 1999, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Yes.

    by Buck Turgidson

    Today at 11:20am, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, I, along with about 30 battle-hardened friends, I saw Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I went in to it with low expectations, having heard that it was intended mainly for younger audiences and knowing full well that it couldn't live up to the advance hype. I'm happy to say that the film has exceeded my expectations. Jar Jar and Annakin were somewhat distracting but, as a whole, I enjoyed it immensely. For me, it recaptured that Star Wars "feeling" I originally experienced over twenty years ago and more, much more. Congratulations to Lucasfilm, ILM, and everyone involved in the production. It all came together, George. Jawas: "Ooo-tee-dee!"

  • May 20, 1999, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Regarding the Sidious/Palp theory

    by Kreator

    First off,straight up i LOVED the movie.Admittedly,Lucas coulda shown a porn flick with the SW's logo on it and i would've been mesmerized,and raved its glories.Still,Harry's definately in the "Lucasfilm's PR" mode in his review.Trying to defend every internet/reviewers nitpick with a postive spin from the Lucas POV.The movie did have its flaws...and Jar..eh,forget Jar Jar.To the heart of the matter,2 discrepencies in the story which might conflict with possible future events.1)Sidious as Palpatine.I believe this is indeed what Lucas will deem fact,yet in the TPM after the Senate meeting,Queen Amedela tells Sen. Palpatine that she is returning to her homeworld.A few scenes later we have the viceroy telling Sidious on Holo that the queen has returned.Sidious shows geniune SURPRISE at this and utters the line "This is unlike her".If indeed SId=Palpatine no theory ive heard here can explain that.Clone theory??Well if a clone were used by the real Palp/Sid it naturally would be used for nefarious,advantageous reasons.Hence=Sidious would KNOW of the queens arival to Naboo,because Sen. Palp would tell him.Double life theory??Obviously not unless u state that Sidious was just pretending to not know..what purpose would that serve though??Lying to the pansy ass Viceroy??Implausible...SO whats left??Is it a slip up...or will Sidious NOT end up being Palpatine and just a devious tease by Lucas??ALso C3P0 being in this movie is rather silly and quite a Jedi mindf%%k if ya ask me.Him being CREATED by Anakin himself creates so many continuation problems u cant imagine.Cheap way to get him in the flick.So thats it..conspiracy 101.REjoice in Geekdom my fellow people...for we can discuss crap like this and not feel like a scmuck on this site.Later all...and anyone got anything to add to my Sidious/Palp discussion??

  • May 20, 1999, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Worth seeing again and again and....

    by SWfan

    Harry, I personally agree with you 100%. George Lucas has finally did it again! The Phantom Menace is awesome! It is everything I expected of a SW movie and much more. To all naysayers, I suggest watch Episode 4 to 6 again and TPM evokes the same flow of story, acting, dialogue, and originality in sound and special effects. I can't understand why some people are upset about the acting, this is my answer: most of the scenes doesn't really call for a first rate acting in the first place! If you want real good acting, scour your rental store and look for movies that each one of the main characters is on it and you will certainly find professionalism in all of them. I don't want to get into specific but everybody, I mean EVERYBODY, did their parts very well even Jar-Jar. Natalie Portman is stunningly beautiful! She's really an angel. About somebody asking who Darth Sidious is, the answer is obviously Palpatine. Remember the scene right after Yoda says something like "but we don't know who was killed, the master or the apprentice" the camera was focused right away to Palpatine meaning Lucas is telling us that he is the master of Darth Maul, the phantom menace. Anyways, I can't wait to see Episode 2 but at the moment I will bask in delight in the thought that I have finally seen the beginning of the SW saga after 16 years of waiting. I don't care about the negative feedbacks/comments that is being posted here. As far as I know, the universe that Lucas created is still intact within me and I'm ejoying every bit of it.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:29 p.m. CST

    The Immaculate Conception

    by Eos

    Ted, Often erroneously thought to refer to the conception of Christ, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception actually was invented to absolve the Virgin Mary of original sin from the moment of Her own conception. Early Church Fathers said that Mary couldn't be "Theotokos" (God-bearer) if She were human, and therefore tainted with the sin of Eve; it was heresy to worship Her as divine. Nevertheless, people insisted on worshipping Her. By the 12th century, 'Mariolatry' overshadowed the worship of Christ; so the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was invented to make Her uniquely holy. Many churchmen opposed the doctrine, which was heatedly argued for the next 700 years. Finally it was adopted as an article of faith by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Every Catholic was commanded to believe henceforth that Mary "at the first instant of her conception, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, by the singular grace and privilege granted to her by Almighty God." - Dawn (Feminist Historian at Large)

  • May 20, 1999, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Harry and george kissing in a tree.

    by Clock

  • May 20, 1999, 12:31 p.m. CST

    It's a Flash Gordon Movie.

    by Robert K S

    In 1974 George Lucas set out to make a Flash Gordon movie. In 1994 he got around to making it. The Phantom Menace is the most purely Flash Gordon-derivative STAR WARS film yet, from its often pointless exposition between characters and its dizzying meandering from planet to planet. It's not a bad thing, it's just less STAR WARS than it ever was before. Pay attention even to the Neimoidians' viewscreen as it the Queen fades away; the screen's bubble transition is stolen straight from the palace viewscreens of Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. My biggest problem with the film is that it knows that it's a film. Lucas's "it's just a movie" mentality pervades The Phantom Menace like no other installment in the STAR WARS saga; a disastrous turn that's been increasingly present in Lucas's work since the mid eighties. Thanks to Kershner's ponderous direction, The Empire Strikes Back didn't know it was a movie, it believed it was real, and that's what makes it the best in the saga (still the reigning champion). To be honest, The Phantom Menace is exactly what I expected, although perhaps not entirely what I would have created. It's not epochal, it's not a saga, but maybe it's a nascent one, and I like that. The kid was awful, the sideline actors needed to be sent home, but feel of the film was Flash Gordon at last. In a way, then, the STAR WARS universe has come home, and in a way it's just setting out. It's not a funny movie (all its jokes fall flat), it's not a dangerous movie (any sense of tension is quickly marred by Qui-Gon's senseless disquisition, Jar Jar Binks's annoying hijinks, or Annie's lame Lucasian one-liners (George lost all sense of smart humor after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I guess?)), and it's not an exciting movie (even a credible lightsaber duel is defeated by intercuts with an uninspired space battle and an embarrassing slapstick excercise on land). But it's a start. It begins a story. It gives us some characters to play with in all their Lego incarnations. It's Episode I. I can deal. Robert K S PS Episode II better be a fucking Gone With the Wind, though.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:32 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace rules!

    by D-Man

    What an excellent movie! I saw the original Star Wars when I was six years old and grew up on Empire and Jedi. Menace has something for everyone and is an awesome new chapter in the Star Wars mythos. Darth Maul was used perfectly--not too much, not too little. The lightsaber duels kicked much ass. I like the idea of a biological basis for strength with the Force. Could make for some interesting plot development in Episode Two (Darth Maul clones anyone?). My head is still swimming--I must...return....to a theater....need more MENACE! Until next time, start the clocks--only three years to go until Episode Two arrives! Can't wait!

  • May 20, 1999, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Hey..My six year old really dug it!

    by BigKid38

    Saw TPM this afternoon at the best movie theater in Long Island (The Syosset) and overall really enjoyed the experience. My six-year old son thought it was the best movie he's ever seen so it works for him. The fx in this movie is the STAR of the show, the characters are second unlike the original but thats to be expected as the movie medium increasingly relies on special effects and whiz-bang visuals to get crowds excited, plot/dialogue/scripts? Nah, not at these types of films. But overall I would give this film 3 1/2 stars and its certainlly worth the price of a movie ticket. GO OUT AND ENJOY THE MOVIES!

  • May 20, 1999, 12:38 p.m. CST

    I am still in tears...

    by QuiGonJinn

    This was the best film I have seen in years. Ironically since the last inclination of Star Wars and the trilogy. I am not totally sure what it is, I believe it to be the mythology and story behind the films that moves me so much. I really can identify with characters and their stories. I feel that Star Wars and it's universe, while fictional, is a part of me and it always will be. I have left this movie, having seen it twice now, with no mixed emotions, no confusion, only clarity. This is, the movie I have been waiting for since Jedi. I feel complete. Of course now I am as anxious as ever for the next 2, but I am still very euphoric over this one. This movie was so beautifully stunning for me. The characters, the colors, the speed, the costumes, the story, everything was done better than I could ever have imagined. The Queen was beautiful as she wsa powerful and strong. Qui Gon was compassionate and very wise, as well as at peace. Obi Wan was young, hard headed and yet full of such presence, he will become a wonderful character. Anakin was perfect, he is as I was as a child, as many of us were. Playful, sad at times, hopeful and loving. His compassion for others and his selfishness made him a very amazing character. Jar Jar was wonderful as well. Full of fright from being thrown into a world, a universe he knows nothing about, with strangers he must trust with his life. People he grows to care about and fight for selflessly. While he is clumbsy and awkward, he is innocent and adorable at the same time. R2 D2. His roots are incredible to me. To see that him, 3P0 and Anakin were all friends and related, it fills me with such emotion. To think that Darth Vader, the master of evil, will someday lose their friendship and his son, Luke will gain it. It is a circle. Shmi, a very warm and loving mother who cares more for her son than for her ownself. She selflessly gives him to the Jedi so that he made lead a life that was not chosen for him, to be free. The characters all had a very large impact on me, and I loved them all. To see that Sideous and Palpatine are one in the same, is such an exciting moment. Palpatine's last words to Anakin sent chills through me. The Queen's smile to her future lover and husband. Obi Wan's pain and anger for his lost "father", or master if you prefer. I am afraid I already see the second movie unfolding in front of me, or at least the story of Anakin. I see Othello. I see Amaidala bearing Anakin and her children, yet Anakin being led to believe it is Obi Wan who is the father. I see that from Vader's absolute hatred for Obi Wan. I see it in that would drive Anakin over the edge, it would give birth to his hatred for the Jedi. I think that is what will be the driving force behind Anakin's decention to the Dark Side. The loss of his mother, the woman he loves, and his teacher Obi Wan. The loss of the way of life he has come to embrace and know. These things will drive him to hatred, to evil. Obi Wan will face him eventually and will win a victory giving rise to Darth Vader. Obi Wan and Yoda will then flee, being the last of their kind. I think Obi Wan will defeat Anakin by using Anakin's hatred and impatience against him. Much the sanme as with Darth Maul. Maul was too impatient and anxious to win, he was as Harry said, a new gun, not yet used. So, mistakes he made. Anyway, I just wanted to share my beliefs on the film, my 2 cents worth. Actually prolly more like $5.00 worth! =) My thoughts and feelings are my own and I hope that each of you will see the film and have thoughts and feelings of your own as well. Share this movie with your children, family, and friends. Remember yourself as that child you once were when you sat in those reddish brown seats many years before. Remember the look your parents gave you when you told them about the movie time and time again, even tho they sat there with you watching it. Remember when they bought you those toys that made you the happiest child on earth. Now do the same for your children, feel what your parents felt, the magic these movies can bring into your lives. The stories they will tell you, the smiles they will give you, the tears they will shed at not finding any Darth Mauls. Those memories and moments are priceless and may never come again so cherish them, and thank Mr. Lucas for making this possible. I know these films have brought me closer to my family and friends, total strangers, and people I have yet to meet. These films are truely magical, and they always will be. May the Force be with you.

  • May 20, 1999, 12:38 p.m. CST

    What IS "The Phantom Menace?"

    by sloopydrew2

    "It isn't your VCR's Star Wars. This is the new, computer-generated, ass-kicking, digitally-enhanced, millenium-ready, don't blink or you'll miss something Star Wars of the next generation!" I loved it! I wish I could post my entire review here, but I went pretty ballistic, like Harry, and ended up writing a four page review! If you want to read it check out www.juicycerebellum.com/19995.htm if you don't, just let me tell you, once again, THIS MOVIE IS CLASSIC!

  • May 20, 1999, 12:59 p.m. CST

    EVERYBODY, YOU HAVE TO SEE THE MOVIE AT LEAST TWICE.

    by Lloyd Dobler

    I was fortunate enough to get tickets for not only the midnight show on the biggest screen in Arizona, but also for a five o'clock showing later in the day. When I first saw it, I really enjoyed it, but there was something bothering me. I couldn't quite place it. I liked it, but it just didn't feel the same as the original trilogy did. When I saw it the second time I figured out what it was. Familiarity. Everything was so new the first time, I was concentrating on so many things, it was hard just to let the movie take me away. This was not a problem the second time. THIS IS A STAR WARS FILM. knowing what was coming, somehow, made the film better. I will never tire of watching this movie. Also the second time around a lot of problems I had with the film the were erased by noticing new things. Did you know that in the big senate chamber there are three E.T. the extra terrestrials? It is so cool. Also the emmaculate conception, that isn't exactly true. Qui Gon Jinn explains to the Jedi Council that the little organisms (I forget there name) that are abundant in those you are strong with the force. He says that those things created Anakin, because the chosen one needed to be created. Of course we all know that it is not Anakin, it is Luke, and that's were I think the Balance of the force comes in. There always have to be two. That's why Anakin was created, so he could have Luke, and therefore having two Jedi. I LOVED THIS MOVIE, AND I AM SEEING IT AGAIN NEXT WEEK!!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 1:06 p.m. CST

    TO THE CRITICS

    by core9918

    After reading some of the whines regarding Ep.1, it became apparent that there is no correlation between physical age and youth. There are 60 year-olds who are still kids at heart and there are 25 year-olds that are old farts. LIGHTEN UP!!! This film was a departure from the Star Wars we're used to, but in a great way. YES, IF YOU WERE EXPECTING SEE EP.4-6 AGAIN, OF COURSE YOU WERE FREAKING DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE THIS WAS VERY DIFFERENT! Lucas could have EASILY re-hashed the old formula by having Anakin be 16-years old (ala Luke) instead of 9, by having a swashbuckling scoundrel-like character (ala Han Solo). Instead Lucas had the guts to shake up the Star Wars formula we've become accustomed to, just like Star Trek The Next Generation shook up the Star Trek formula we were used to. But people love their comfort zone, and viciously fight ANY change to it. In fact, had Lucas re-used the old formula, these same critics would be calling him out for re-doing the same thing over! There's no winning with people like you! This is a new Star Wars for a new generation. Get over it and enjoy the change! Yes the dialogue was as cheezy as in the other 3 films, but was Star Wars ever Shakespeare? You guys talk about the lack of character depth in Ep.1, but how much depth did Han Solo or Leia really have? You guys talk about Neeson, McGregors, and Portman's wooden performance. LOOK AT WHO THEY WERE PLAYING, YOU GENIUSES! TWO JEDI KNIGHTS AND A QUEEN. THE PARTS WERE PERFECTLY ACTED! Royalty is supposed to be stiff and auhoritative and Jedi Knights are trained to be reserved and not to get excited. Did you expect Obi-Wan to crack jokes or the queen to throw angry tantrums? Forget it. You critics just don't get it. But that's okay. Live in the past. We don't want you. We don't need you.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:07 p.m. CST

    Exactly it. Be a kid again.

    by luthien

    Exactly, Be a kid again. I was really torn, after reading the published screenplay and knowing what was coming, the first 20 minutes moved way too fast onscreen, it needed more pauses, more exposition, more on how they suddenly appeared in Naboo Palace, Jar Jar is kinda the Steve Urkel of Star Wars. You HAVE to hate the guy, but your right.. ya gotta love jar jar. Then comes Tatooine.. and from then on, I became 12 years old. I was giggling and smilin up a storm... plus I had to piss soooo bad I was turning purple... but by the end I fell in love with the movie. I was twelve again. I did miss a few of the scenes that I read, and that didn't make it.. like the squabble with Greedo... PS I would love to get a hold of that third draft...

  • May 20, 1999, 1:07 p.m. CST

    Suck shit naysayer scum!!!!

    by howsannie

    'Cos I have to wait another two weeks to see this flick, and I trust Harry's opinion a gazillion times more than yours... Why? Because all the people dissin' this movie have for some reason expected Star Wars to grow up with them... that was never gonna happen guys, you need to walk into that movie theatre and turn yourself into a 10-year-old again...

  • May 20, 1999, 1:15 p.m. CST

    DWD: My Opinion Of This Movie Is...

    by DwDunphy

    ...That I got what I paid for. I enjoyed the movie I was given. Everyone can say what they will about it, praise or criticize, but you know what? Means nothing to me at all. Thanks, DWD.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:21 p.m. CST

    IT ROCKED!

    by splat

    I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! I would have seen it again tonight if there was another showing. It was worth every penny of the $8.50 I paid. Jar Jar was great, so was Anakin, it made my day. :) -Dan

  • May 20, 1999, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Episode 1

    by MechCommander

    Before I start reading all the reviews, I am going to post my own. I have seen Episode 1 twice these last 24 hours..and my reaction? OH MY GOD!!! Yes there are small flaws, and things I would have like to seen more of, or done differently..but this is Star Wars! I loved the humor, the action, and my favorite part of the entire movie was the Coruscant part..watching Palpatine play Amidala was worth the price of admission..twice. My biggest gripe of all is with Sony...after hearing the depth of music in this movie, I am waiting with baited breath for the second cd.... Now to start reading....

  • May 20, 1999, 1:31 p.m. CST

    How can you not like this movie?

    by Goatman

    I would like to tip my hat to Eric the Viking for his 'subtle' retaliation against the naysayers, it saves me the trouble of attacking them myself creatively. I guess the bottom line for me is, if you didn't like TPM I feel more pity for you than angered by you. I got so much entertainment out of George's little indie film that to begin to try to form it into words on this page would only cheapen it. It surprised me in some parts, dissapointed me almost rarely, but all in all it made me remember why I am a Star Wars fan, and why that part of me will never grow up.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Donde estas, Episodio Uno?

    by El-Jipi

    You guys are makin' me cry. I should be in my home town of Austin waiting in lines and seeing the thing three times in a row or something, but instead I am only reading about it on my computer in Cost Rica. Well, one thing that I can say about Costa Rica is that it has a whole lot of monkeys (which are kind of like Jawas without the little robes) but what Costa Rica does not have (until July 2) is a new Star Wars movie. Its gonna be a long month and a half. Thanks to Harry and the rest of you positive folks for getting me excited, and thanks to all of you evil negative folks for lowering my expectations so that the flick we be extra-groovy when I finally see it. All I know is that I will not be in some tropical monkey-land for Episodio Dos. Que la fuerza vaya con ustedes.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:35 p.m. CST

    THIS MOVIE IS 2+HRS. OF IMMACULATE SETUP...

    by JJB

  • May 20, 1999, 1:42 p.m. CST

    I don't get you people

    by Dr Evil

    How any Star Wars fan couldn't like this movie blows me away. This was a GREAT way to set up the next 5 movies. But alas, there are those who always have to hate what is popular and mainstream instead of just taking the poles out of their asses and going along with everyone else for the ride. The negative comments I've heard that absolutely shit on this film are preposterous to me. People complain about lack of plot. Um, this movie TOTALLY sets up how the Emperor gains power in the senate. IF that isn't crucial to the story that is Star Wars than I don't know what is. As for lack of character, watch the original star wars and be numbed to death by Luke and Ben who are so one dimensional its laughable. Its not until Empire that we learn more about these characters. (wait till episode 2 for character development). The ONLY thing I'll give the naysayers something to work with is Jar Jar. His buffoonery during the final battle was misplaced and took away from the seriousness of it. People were dying and he was trying to make me laugh?!?!?! Other than that he was a riot. Basically, I think Lucas is trying to make a classic story of a man who grows up and takes a REALLY bad turn in life, and then we get to watch his son go though the exact same life, and face the same choices, but in the end, makes the right decision. These first threee movies are gonna be parrallels of the last three...and thats just classic story telling.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:42 p.m. CST

    those who fuck nuns will later join the church ...

    by guffman

    'nuff said.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:44 p.m. CST

    I agree with Big Old Banh

    by Polgara

    i agree with him. i think we may be the only two people who think that empire is slow.i personally like ANH best...but my mother loves ROJ better because Han and Leia finally get to be together and she loves the Ewoks. I have a soft spot for it because the Endore forest showed in the film is close to where I live here in California. I have already posted my review earlier...but I must say that while this is the best movie I have seen so far this year, it is not exactly better than the first trilogy. but i must say that this is a movie that you have to see a few times to really get the full effect. i was just so breathless from all the special effects that i didn't really pay attention to the rest of the movie. but i loved it...and i doubt that will ever change. everyone here is right...you have to be a kid again..and that's a feeling i needed to feel again. and again. if you do not want to feel carefree and happy...then don't see it. that's all. don't sit here and trash the movie...just let all us kids at heart enjoy it.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:51 p.m. CST

    second best good guy death ever ...

    by guffman

    Qui Jon (sp?) getting offed by Darth Maul freaked me out. Not as bad as Sean Connery getting waxed in Highlander (and then having the woman get raped) but nearly. There's something unsettling about seeing a stud warrior get slain by the forces of evil.

  • May 20, 1999, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Worth the wait & Part II plot?

    by elkabong

    I thought the movie was great. Incredible special effects. The acting wasn't as bad as people are saying. Look how wooden Alec Guiness was in the others. All the characters in this movie are serious people & aren't going to be mugging for the camera like Jim Carrey. As for Jar Jar, his accent was only slightly annoying, but after a while I was just laughing at him (in a good way), plus the kids will love him. The worse effect, sadly, was Yoda. He looked too rubbery & fake (& so did Samuel Jackson- was he in it for any reason? maybe part 2). The old puppet looked better. But overall it was incredibly satisfying & entertaining. I was hooked & transported back to 1977 a few minutes in when Ewan & Liam lit up their lightsabers. Concerning the next movie: Don't read further if you haven't seen the movie. One thing that confused me a little was when Palpatine was talking to the Viceroy & seemed to be on his side, then all of a sudden he's at the Senate meeting alone. I definitely think he's Darth Sidious. The clone theory may be correct-therefore the Clone Wars. Also after the jedis wondered if they got the master or the apprentice they moved to a shot of Palpatine. Not to mention his being named Chancellor suspiciously. Did Natalie Portman play both roles or was there someone else playing the queen in some scenes? It always looked like her except sometimes she talked different(very wooden- I couldn't believe they didn't fix some of her dialogue better). I think in part II Annakin will return to Tatooine to free the slaves(besides, they have to go back for C3PO). Speaking of C3PO if he's from Tatooine & was made by Annakin, don't you think he or R2D2 would have said something when they met Luke? How many Skywalkers are there on Tatooine?

  • May 20, 1999, 1:57 p.m. CST

    C'mon - it's great

    by Woz

    C'mon people! How can you say this is a bad movie?? It is exactly what it was intended to be: a fun, family movie, with a few great scenes and great fun to look at. You say there is no plot?? At the risk of offending Star Wars fans...well, Star Wars has never been about plot. It has always been space opera. It is big epic fun that takes you to strange new worlds and whisks you away for a couple hours. That's all. If you want more, you don't want Star Wars. If you wanna go and have fun and enjoy yourself, go see this movie. If you wanna whine and nitpick about minor little points, stay home and chill out.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:04 p.m. CST

    TPM wasn't too bad.

    by MRE

    I had low expectations about this film going in and I was pleasantly surprised. One of the main things I was worried about was Jar Jar. He was annoying and not funny, but I got used to him near the end of the film. There were some small chuckles toward the end. I still hope he is quickly killed off early in Episode II. It can be a noble sacrifice but he must die. Why in the hell did Lucas have to Kill off DARTH MAUL??? This guy had a lot of potential. I envisioned a future battle between evil anakin and this character in Episode 2. I think it would have been great if Qui-Gon 'sacrificed' himself to protect Obi-Wan. It would have been a full circle kind o' thing. But in the movie it just looks like Qui-Gon got his ass kicked. That is not a noble death for a Jedi Master.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:04 p.m. CST

    JAR JAR oh for god sakes killem already

    by Snoogans

    how long has it been?a month or longer since the weirdos got in line for this thing?(by the way i walked up to the box office at 11:45pm on tuesday and got a ticket)and for what ?for a pathetic attempt at regaining the love of what many consider their fonest childhood memory?oh gimmie a break ,this movie sucked,dont get me wrong sarth maul was too cool but the whole jar jar thing was gay.now back to all those guys that waited oh so long to get tickets.remember the celebrity deathmatch with mark hamil on it?remember the litle alien that split his skull?well to quoate that guy"ya buncha suckas" hehe

  • May 20, 1999, 2:04 p.m. CST

    To all you whiners that cry about Darth Maul being underused. (S

    by Lloyd Dobler

    He is not the main villian people. He is not even the villian who has the most screen time. Palpatine man. Palpatine is the main bad guy. you know THE PHANTOM MENACE. Maul is his lackey. He is like Obi-wan to Qui Gon, not the front runner, the apprentace. I love the plot line with Palpatine, he is so Evil, and if you think about it what is more evil than smiling in the face of the people you have just ordered dead. That Asshole!!! And you know he is already looking for his next young apprentice (We'll be watching your carreer very closely) Damn that's evil. He's a ten year old kid. Who says this movie is aimed at kids.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:07 p.m. CST

    TPM: Rocked!!!

    by wedsny

    Well worth the wait. I thouroughly enjoyed this movie. Did it have some holes? Sure. It lacked any real character developement. This is it's main negative. Some might say that this fact alone makes it a bad movie, but I disagree. The characters were all very interesting and in each their own way did develope throughout the film. Effects were incredible!, Music was great, but I miss the powerful Vader theme. The acting was very good. I really liked Anakin, Jake was very good. Was his acting bad? It was a little flat, but never bad. Finally Jar Jar. I guess he's good for the kids. I never had a problem with him beacause the film never focused on him too much. And I did laugh a few times. As for another post that said George Lucas can't direct. I completely disagree. Many of the shots were incredible. The acting as stated was very good. And most important for me, The battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi was extremely well filmed. If there is one thing I can't stand is to go to an action film and then when a fight scene comes up you can't tell what is going on because it is so poorly shot with the camera in too close, or no emotional reactions from the actors who are fighting or the editing is very poor. None of this could be said about this movie. It was so well shot and executed I could honestly say that the battles were absolutley some of the best I've ever seen far outdoing even the ones between Vader and Luke. On a scale of 1-10 I easily give it a nine.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:14 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace

    by Pjotr

    Wipe them out... All of them ! Did Lucas mean the other summer blockbusters by any chance ???

  • May 20, 1999, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Loved it - at this moment it's the 2nd best of the series

    by Omega

  • May 20, 1999, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Bitter Envy

    by Bad_Lieutenant

    I'm happy for all of you. You got to see what is probably the most eagerly awaited cinematic event in motion picture history. Over the course of the last three years, I was hoping Lucas would push for a worldwide premiere. Sadly he didn't. I have the comic, but didn't read it. I have the sountrack, but didn't look at the chapter index. I've read the reviews but skipped the spoiler parts. And all this effort will have to continue because it opens here on september 30th. I felt a strong disturbance in the force at 12:01 a.m. today. Europe sucks, and especially Holland. I just had to vent my frustrations. Be happy, you're the chosen ones.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Palpatine/Sidious/Emperor

    by Mr.Michael

    After seeing the movie, I think Sidious and Palpatine HAVE to be the same person. The face of Sidious as a hologram (at least the lower 1/2) looked dead on for Ian McDirmid (SP?) and the voice was DEFINITELY the same. Anyway, I think Palpatine is Sidious because that is what conveys the whole idea of a *PHANTOM* menace. Sidious doesn't really exist- instead he is just a hidden side of Palpatine. Think about that, it just makes too much sense to not be true. It'll be very cool in the next installment that Sidious is the head of the Senate.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    THIS MOVIE IS 2+HRS. OF IMMACULATE SETUP...

    by JJB

    What I have witnessed is miraculous, important, and beyond words. I have found that with this 6 film story arc we have already been to the mountaintop with Jedi, being the culmination of the story. This is the bedrock. These are the seeds of what is to come, some of which we know, some we can only guess at. Yes it is too silly for a "STAR WARS" movie. Yes it is too superficial for a "STAR WARS" movie. But the reason for that is the path we all will trace with the next two movies, each being progressively darker. Pay close attention and you will see that there is so much setup for the rest of the saga that it boggles the mind. Suffice it to say that no dialouge on this or any STAR WARS movie will count for anything until the circle is truly complete with Episode III. I'm sorry. I've been up for 24 hrs. and am complete jello. Will continue when phisically able. P.S. I defy anyone, I mean anyone, to complain about any SFX shot in this movie as not being up to snuff. If you think so you're on crack. Quit now please. ALSO: If they're reading here now... FUCK DAVID ANSEN, GENE SHALIT, OWEN GLEIBERMAN, PETER TRAVERS, AND ALL THOSE OTHER CRITIC COCK-SMOKERS OUT THERE. YOU'RE OLD, DELUITED, ELITIST, & ENVIOUS OF SOMETHING THAT'S OUTRAGEOUSLY POPULAR AND SUCESSFUL WITHOUT YOUR STAMP OF APPROVAL. ALL OF YOU SHOULD GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND KISS TGEI'S FEET. YOU DON'T GET IT, YOU NEVER WILL, SO ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR NON-PLUSED LIVES .

  • May 20, 1999, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Loved it - at this moment it's the 2nd best of the series

    by Omega

    I just got back from TPM and I love that fact that everybody harshed this film. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Every negative word, every spiteful comment, every bit of hate directed at this film set me up for thinking it would be a horrid piece of trash. Thank you, all you hateful people. You convinced me to expect the worst. I did. But I emerged delighted. The happiest I've been after a movie in . . . years? I don't know. I haven't been this elated after a movie in longer than I can remember. Was it a perfect movie? No. Compared to the glaring flaws of the others, this was a masterpiece. Compared to some of my faves, it was still a great ride. I expected the worst and I got a blast of two hours of fun. The action was non-stop, I laughed often, and my eyes soaked up frames filled with eye-candy. I didn't mind Jake and liked the fact he was a sweet, good kid with a heart of gold. In fact after seeing how the Jedi council harshed him to his face I can see why he'd come back and kill every last one of them. Too bad he didn't get to that muppet Yoda. I like the set up of him as a good kid. Jar Jar made me laugh and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Natalie was just fine. The sets were fabulous. The space battles entertaining. The pod race okay. The lightsaber battles breathtaking. Great time. I loved it and I must see it a few more times to decide if it's better than TESB because it blows away the other films by a long shot. Sorry, but the story was 1000x more interesting to me. Add in the fights and the laughs and Natalie and Ewan and Ray and Liam and you got me hooked.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:39 p.m. CST

    It's a great film if you let it be... the choice is yours.

    by dagger

    IMO the idea that this film is bad because it isn't more "mature" is, paradoxically, rather juvenile. To whine and complain endlessly that it didn't fulfill some kind of mythical, self-interested expectationc is the most adolescent reaction imaginable. Go back and look at the original trilogy and then tell me, honestly, that these are "sophisticated", "adult" films. Any idiot could have told you this movie was never going to subscribe to any such expectations. In actual fact, this is the *most* sophisticated, mature Star Wars film to grace the screen thus far. Anyone who has a problem with it needs to keep a few things in mind: A) This isn't the bible, this isn't the movie to end all movies, nor was it ever going to be. This is a *specific* movie that tells a *specific* story, with *specific* characters (i.e. IT'S JUST A F***IN' MOVIE!!!). You can bitch and moan because Lucas didn't have time or inclination to make the movie you've had playing in your head the last sixteen years (at least *he* has a life) or you can at least try to appreciate his vision and the story he's trying to tell here; B) getting used to a Star Wars film with almost no familiar characters is difficult, but as one person pointed out, "at least Mark Hamill's not in it". There may not be romance (yet), there may not be Han Solo (and who really could replace Harrison Ford anyways?) but the acting is 100 times better than in any prior SW film, and the characters *do* have their own unique qualities to offer (yes, even Jar Jar); C) true, it has flaws (I agree with most that Darth Maul should have been in it more) but then so do most films. This is not just a film for kids, this is a film for the kid in everyone. I feel really, really sorry for anyone who has lost that part of themselves to the extent that they just can't see how wonderful this movie truly is. Nothing could be sadder. if you go looking for revelation in everything (especially common entertainment) you're just going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you quit expecting the moon when no such thing has ever been promised and open yourself up to what life, and movies, and this movie in and of itself have to offer, you will be richly rewarded. Having said that, I have just one more thing to add: MUBY TOBUNGUE!! MUBY TOBUNGUE ITH NUBUMB!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 2:39 p.m. CST

    re: Palpatine/Sidious/Emperor-duh

    by MRE

    C'mon I would take that as a given. Lucas hammered the point home when he called Anakin 'Young Skywalker'. Where have we heard that before? Hey BTW, I think Anakin and Queen Amidala will have a romatic relationship in episode II. I know it is a stretch but I think that they could actually turn out to be Luke and Princess Leia's parents.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Pandering bullshit.

    by PoisonSkin23

    Fuck this movie, never want to see it again. Thought Fight Club looked good.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:48 p.m. CST

    10 points about Episode 1

    by Darth Taun Taun

    1) I want to be Darth Maul. 2) The Jawa who said, "Utini!" during the podrace was freakin' cool. 3) The Tusken Raiders seemed like hillbillies at a Nascar race shooting at the racers. Damn that was funny. 4) Jar Jar blows. 5) Natalie Portman will be drop dead gorgeous in the next two films. 6) Sidious is NOT a clone of Palpatine. They are one in the same. If ANYBODY should be cloned, it should be Maul. 7) Darth Maul went down kind of easily to Obi-Wan, don't you think? 8) When Maul was pacing behind the energy screens, that was unspeakably cool. 9) Note to Panaka and Olie: I've seen rubber masks emote better than you. 10) Did I mention Jar Jar blows?

  • May 20, 1999, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Next 2 Star Wars titles

    by hiphats

    OK, so I haven't seen the new movie yet. But I have a good prediction for Episode 2 & 3. Episode 2 will be "Seeds Of War", and Episode 3 will be called "Collapse Of The Republic". Any one want to challenge my titles?

  • May 20, 1999, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Storyline is the key.

    by Goldfinger

    WARNING.....SPOILERS! Just saw Episode One....Where should I start? First of all, I REALLY enjoyed this film. I had been starting to get extremely nervous due to all the critics' comments, but I was hanging my hopes on a few points that I feel were touched on by two honest critics in pre-release reviews, Ebert and Maltin. 1.) Lucas has a very VISUAL imagination, (don't ask me, ask Carrie Fisher on the special edition tapes)I certainly expected to be enthralled with the sets and special effects even if everything else sucked. 2.) This is an INTRO and a PREQUEL! Characters needed to be introduced and story foundations laid, a great deal harder in a prequel when you've boxed yourself in with the previous trilogy. For those of you asking about the lack of sexual tension in the film, here is a clue. Anakin is to marry Amidala. Anakin is 8. Anakin has not reached the age of consent. Period. By the way, I thought there was pretty good chemistry between Amidala and Anakin as just GOOD FRIENDS. 3.) Lack of a happy ending and the "big picture". Again, this is a prequel problem. How do you get people interested in a film when the series ends with Vader's ascension? Make the first film with Anakin 8 years old and a bit juvenile. No problem. Keep in mind this is a SERIES, not only this one film and Lucas is interested in telling the whole story. He's certainly not wondering if this will be the last film as he was with the original. The best thing about the film was the foreshadowing, plain and simple. How about that resemblence between Sidious and the Emperor and Palpatine??? HMMMM....How about Shmi's big paternal secret (I KNOW she's lying.)...How about Anakin and Amidala being friends???? How about the need for a new Sith apprentice??? How about Mace Windu going out in a blaze of glory??? Hmmmmmm. All of these have me dying for Episode II. As for the "wooden" Jedi performances. I thought Obi-Wan emerged from the apprentice shell fairly well. It was late in the film, but we've got 2 episodes to go. Be patient. Liam Neeson is always a tad unemotional, but more stoic than wooden. Basically a caring dad figure. Do teachers and professors act like maniacs when teaching??? No! True, Anakin and Amidala flubbed a few lines, but it was forgivable (and the mom goodbye more than made up for it). (Anyone remember Luke's need for power convertors in the first film??? Try that for bad acting!) The midi-chlorians was a bit Trekkish and the dreaded Jar Jar was a bit over the top, but was endearing, fairly sweet, and will certainly draw the extreme young set in to enjoy the next two movies. Also the pod race was a bit too Ben-Hurish, especially with the pods locking together at the end. These were my only big concerns and amounted to mere nit-picking of a really good film. A STAR WARS film. Now I have to go and get tickets to see it again and again and again...at least until Brazil opens at the Alamo and Bruce Campbell shows up! May the Force be with you, Harry!

  • May 20, 1999, 3:12 p.m. CST

    one other thing: Palpatine/Sidious, etc. (SPOILERS)

    by dagger

    Here is what is obvious to me: Yes, Palpatine is obviously Darth Sidious (if it walks like an emperor and quacks like an emperor, it's a (future) emperor). It appears to me that what Lucas is very subtly trying to get across is that here is a man who is despicable because he uses people who trust him to get what he wants. Not just *some* people, *all* of them. I even felt kind of sorry for the Nimoudians at the end, as they were so obviously used and manipulated to their own detriment and Palpatine's benefit. The Trade Federation was a convenient, disposable, ready-made army that Palpatine (as Sidious) tricked into invading Naboo simply to create a good excuse to force Valorum out of the chancellor's seat and create enough sympathy in the senate to manoeuver himself into the slot. Similarly, he used his own homeworld and people - the people who trusted him - as bait, virtually holding them hostage to serve his own selfish ambitions. Arguably, even Darth Maul, that ever faithful pit-barracuda, was ultimately thrown away once his usefulness had expired (what other logical reason could Palpatine have had for sending Maul right into the heart of the melee once his own ultimate goals had been accomplished and the Queen returned to Naboo?). It's a lesson in betrayal, in the intoxicating effect of power and it's effect on people that seek it. IMO WHAT THIS FILM IS *REALLY* ABOUT AT IT'S CORE IS JUST VERY SIMPLY PALPATINE'S RISE TO POWER - AS WITNESSED THROUGH THE EYES OF CERTAIN KEY CHARACTERS IN THE SAGA. I still believe ardently that the whole business with the senate and a republic that in Amidala's apt words "no longer functions" is actually Lucas' statement on our own government and country. The theme of the movie, as I see it, boils down to the age-old Ulterior Motive (even Qui-Gon is guilty of that, in a sense - using Anakin as a way of proving something to a Jedi council that saw him essentially as a flake. This failing may well be the first and most important mistake of all those leading to Anakin's ultimate downfall).

  • May 20, 1999, 3:22 p.m. CST

    TPM = Orgasmic

    by Mulch

    I loved this movie! I loved it all! I loved the opening crawl! I was giggling uncontrollably during that. I loved the way the lightsabers lit up in the gased up room! I loved how the destroyer droids rolled into action! I loved Jar Jar! Yes, I turn 21 in less than 24 hours, and I loved Jar Jar! I loved the underwater city! I didn't love when Boss Nass shook his head and drooled. That was sick. But...I loved the sub ride, and the cool, calm Jedis. A great constant to the panicing Jar Jar. There's always a bigger fish. I love how the Jedis kicked the crap out of the Battle Droids. I loved Artoo's introduction. I loved how Shmi and Anakin interacted. I LOVED how Anakin and Padme (actually the Queen) interacted. I loved Palpatine's attempt to rise to power. The Queen is wise and bold, but yes, she is naive. I loved...aww hell, this will take forever. I loved the Phantom Menace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best parts: The Pod Race. Wow. You knew that Anakin was gonna win, but when he flew over Sebula to take the lead, you figured that was how he was going to win it. And you were wrong. Nice beard, Ani. Again, the interaction between Padme/the Queen and Anakin. There was somethig there. I thought about how they will marry one day, and based on their interaction, it just made perfect sense to me. I turned to me friends and said "One day, they are going to have sex." The Appearance of Darth Maul in Naboo. I was bust thinking "Say goodbye to Qui-Gon, Ani" when BOOM, there's Maul. So sudden. Harry is right on the money. A pitbull. Maul was underused? Any more and he would of been so goddamn dull. He's a trained assassin. That's all he is. Unlike Vader, he was not there to communicate with the others. Sidious did that on his own. Maul was just an assassin. Speaking of Sidious, his name was never mentioned once in the movie. Not even in the credits. See the end credits? JABBA THE HUTT AS HIMSELF. That was cool. Jar Jar. I was afraid at first, but he quickly became one of my favorite characters. Granted, I'd prefer he not be used in Episode II or III, at least not as much as in TPM. That would be a little overkill. Anyway, what didn't I like? The battle droids had generic robots voices. I would have preferred a generic robot personality. No "Coruscant? Um...you're under arrest!" No. Boss Nass and weird shaking/drooling of the head. Eww... the shot of Darth Maul falling into the pit. Obvious dummy. And what teh hell was that globe they gave Boss nass at the end? So after two viewings in 8 hours...I wanna see it again!!!!!! 3.5 of 4 stars!!!!!!!!!! "Hello R2-D2, I am C3PO, human cyborg relations."

  • May 20, 1999, 3:26 p.m. CST

    San Jose Review

    by andywo

    Harry - thanks for maintaining this cool resource. Folks, no one needs another review, but I couldn't resist. A long time ago in a state far, far away - I sat in a darkened theater with my mother. At nine years old, I was slow to grasp the unfolding of the plot. Forty minutes in, Mom was explaining, "that's Obi Wan. He's going to train Luke Skywalker. They're going to rescue the Princess." It took a while to sink in, but by the time Luke, Han, and the rest reached the Death Star, I was hooked. Walking out - stunned at the power, the humor, the vision of Star Wars - I knew the force was with me. Twenty-two years later, my daughter - also nine - sat with Jenny and I and saw Episode One, The Phantom Menace. Was it worth the wait, the lines in front of the theater, the hype? Someone once said that George Lucas could do his next movie with sock puppets and outgross Titanic, but I was a bit skeptical. Surely the rumors of a wayward plot, excessive exposition, and annoying computer generated characters would plunge the Star Wars saga into the dark side. Well, the rumors are true but the movie still rocks. The plot - a somewhat byzantine introduction to the galaxy before the Empire - introduces us to evil trade associations, underwater aliens, dwellers of a planet-sized city, and the peaceful inhabitants of the planet Naboo. Jedi Knights, Qui-Gonn Ginn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), are dispatched by the Jedi Council to rescue the Queen of Naboo from the Trade Federation. Before long, they learn that a darker threat has emerged in the face of Darth Maul and his unknown master, the "phantom menace" referenced in the title. It doesn't take long to figure out the details - George Lucus doesn't challenge his viewers with conceptual sophistication - but who cares? The Phantom Menace, like Star Wars, works at a more visceral level. The effects are generally astounding. The glint of sun against a statue in the Renaissance-inspired capital city of Naboo. The dizzying pod-race on Tatooine that reminds you of the Chariot Race from Ben Hur. The climactic light sabre battle that resembles a cross between ballet and kick-boxing. There is simply too much on the screen to drink in at once. Multiple viewings? I'm ready to get back in line. Of course, the dialogue is strained, sometimes laughably stilted. When young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) is told he will leave his mother to learn the ways of the force, his response of "Yippee!" made me want to reach for my light sabre. The menagerie of alien characters occasionally pushed too hard against my patience in their constant depictions of "cute" behavior. Then, there's Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best). The film, running at 130 minutes, would have hit into the stratosphere of quality had every minute of that computer generated annoyance been left on the Lucas hard drive of very bad ideas. To say that Jar Jar is troubling - even offensive - requires little explanation. Most folks who noticed his presence on the Menace trailers probably felt the same thing: in the words of every major Star Wars character: "I have a very bad feeling about this." Nonetheless, we left Episode One excitedly recalling the sights and sounds and experiences of a kinetic and visionary film. Freed from the constraints of traditional plastic and wire, the effects wrought by George Lucas' Industrial Lights and Magic operation are stunning. He pushes the edge of what directors can do with this medium. More importantly, we were truly awed by the scope of a story that promises to explain the fall of the Old Republic and the rise of Darth Vader. The movie was breath taking. It was fun. It was Star Wars. So Jenny and I were dazzled. But what about Vienna, our nine year old Jedi Apprentice? Her response says it all: "I want a light sabre." andy http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda

  • May 20, 1999, 3:26 p.m. CST

    move along, move along

    by AIKI

    Holy Shit! It seems that the concept of entertainment is lost on the naysayers! 1) Jar Jar didn't suck nearly half the ass that the two headed announcer did. 2) Darth Maul is an assassin. Do we really need to see 2 hours of him? His evil came from his mysterious nature and willingness (and ability) to fight his prey to the death. Don't get me wrong, he's the best of all the villains thus far, but developing him would be pointless. 3) Is it just me or did the pod race seem cooler at Target on the N64 demo? I saw the yellow car in American Graffiti plenty of times thanks. 4) I think that this film will wear better after repeat viewings. After all, how many of the dipshits that are complaining about Jar Jar have his action figure at home just so they'll have the full set. This was not the movie I expected, nor was it the best of the series. It was however 2 hours of entertaining film that seems like it will generate years of pissed off geeks that will not stop bitching until Lucas makes a new trilogy about that faggot Boba Fett. At least Jar Jar was smart enough to avoid the sarlaac, unlike that Mandelorian retard.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:29 p.m. CST

    star wars.

    by perrin_aybara

    semmed a bit to comical. check out this site some kids at rose-hulman institute of technology made. www.ihatestarwars.com be aware that those are not my views. check out the speeder bike section.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:32 p.m. CST

    conflicted as hell about this film!

    by landbote

    I'm not entirely certain whether I just flat-out adored this movie or was vaguely dissatisfied with it. There were so many things to love about it: all the visuals -- Coruscant, the Gungan City, the capital of Naboo, the pod race, Amidala's costumes, I could really go on. Yes, Jar Jar was kind of annoying, but at times I actually liked him. And maybe I'm a little too Beavis and Butthead for my own good, but I thought the camel fart was kinda funny. And god damn -- I'm surprised Luke didn't step in Bantha shit in Episode IV, as many of those things were wandering around. The Gungans themselves... I don't know. I rather liked Brian Blessed as Boss Nass. The midochlorians (sp?) -- I didn't have as much of a problem with it as some people seemed to. The immaculate conception of Anakin? Well.. why not? The whole ruckus about the midochlorians kinda bothers me, because let's face it -- in Eps IV-VI the Jedi were, as Obi-Wan put it, all but extinct. Why even bother explaining it to Luke, because that would lead to having to tell him who his father was, etc. God... I was really upset by the scene between Obi-Wan and Yoda after Qui-Gon's funeral... to know that by training Anakin he's fulfilling a promise to his master, only to see him turn to the Dark Side -- and become one of the same people who killed his master... damn. Performances -- I was a little disappointed that Obi-Wan was so underused. Oh well, I'll get over it. Liam Neeson -- superb. Natalie Portman -- good, not superb, but good. Cute, too. Jake Lloyd -- did as well as can be expected, he's eight years old, after all. Terence Stamp -- underused!!! I was a little pissed. Ian McDarmid -- really good. Ray Parks -- HOLY SHIT HE WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!! DARTH MAUL WAS SCARY AS FUCK!!! And I'm sorry, I have to agree with Tommy Terror -- what's UP with the Jedi and the lesbian haircuts? I have to say that my enjoyment of the film was hampered by the fact that the sound at Gateway was crappy -- possibly a couple of the speakers were blown, I don't know, also the fact that we had to sit in the second row and my neck still hurts an hour and a half after getting out. I feel like I have to see it again before I can have a real opinion on it... like Harry, I had a big ass goofy smile on my face through a lot of it. But I didn't make myself be an 8-year old for it, either, 'cause that's just lowering oneself for mediocrity... but I don't think this film was mediocre. It could have been better at times, I think, but I don't think this film was Star Wars heresy. I can see how a lot of people would be annoyed with it, though... like my post said, I am pretty conflicted about this film. Where would I rank it? Better than "Jedi," definitely. Better than "A New Hope"? I don't know about that. Better than "Empire"? Hell no.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:01 p.m. CST

    MAUL STILL ALIVE???????

    by MythMaker

    Can someone tell me: Is Maul in Episode 2? He better be! He rules! And what about those rumors that certain prints show him falling without being "halved"? PLLEEEEAASSSEEE, George, bring Maul back.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:03 p.m. CST

    so how many times does somebody have to see this film...

    by Cthulu

    ... before they actually start to like it?

  • May 20, 1999, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Still disappointed...

    by Caligari

    I'm one of the many who read all those negative reviews on AICN prior to seeing the movie: "You have to be a child to see this movie," "I don't want to be a child, I want to enjoy it as an adult, " etc. etc. etc. Well, I'm glad I read so many bad reviews, because it punched a hole in my over inflated 15 years worth of expectations. I was 12 when "Star Wars" came out and it changed my life like so many others of that age group. Here's what I thought: Yes, I must admit, I was disappointed. Of course watching the movie at 3:30am with 1,000 screaming fans (I was one of them) helps boost the enjoyment of this movie. But as I was walking home, I found the movie didn't stay with me, like the other three movie did. 1.The plot was convuluted and hard to follow at times.. (trade commission invading Naboo, then there's a republic senate, then there's a viceroy that has to be captured... huh?) 2.The acting was generally wooden. I like Liam Neesosn, but he was way to solemn for this movie. Alec Guiness was more charming ("In my profession there's no such thing as luck") Natalie was cute, but not given much to do (She proved how much Carrie Fisher was integral to the original movies success). However, Obi Wan was good and revealed a rascally smile now and again. Perhaps in the next movie Lucas will allow him to open up (I know Jedis are suppose to be serious, but c'mon... how about just a little smile, huh?) Jake did a solid job, only fumbled a few scenes. I like the tact Lucas is taking, by introducing us to a charming, innocent boy, knowing full well he's going to grow up to become a monster. Very cool. 3.The movie lacked warmth. It lacked the heart and spirit, the first three movies had. However, I must admit I grew teary eyed when Anakin said goodbye to his Mom. 4.The movie lacked humor. Everyone was soooo serious. Jar Jar was a complete misfire, pure and simple. He was a cartoon. Give me Chewbacca, Threepio and R2D2 anyday (I understand he was aimed for the youngsters, but there's a difference in being "childish" and "childlike"). What worked? Of course, the visuals were fantastic. The opening with Liam and Ewan kicking ass was great. The final sword fight with Darth Maul was edge of your seat. (Why or why!? Did they kill off Darth Maul!!!) The climatic battle on Naboo was exciting. Now, as a Star Wars film, I'd give this a generally good review...although I'd have to put it under the dreaded "ROTJ." You have to look at this film as a chapter in a book... this is the set-up, so the plot, I suppose, has to be convuluted (although not plodding, as is the case). Will I stand in land 4+ hours to see the next film, damn straight I will. I just hope there's more warmth and hummor (and better acting) in the next one, like in the first three. And I'm disappointed to say that, after seeing this movie once, I really have no desire to see it again (and no, I'm not some dried up all fart who hates science fiction. I owned every star wars toy imaginable when the first film came out. I stood in line for hours when ESB came out and skipped school with my friends to see ROTJ. I love Star Wars.)

  • May 20, 1999, 4:12 p.m. CST

    ErictheViking - amen

    by Omega

    Eric- you da man. 'Nuff said. If you haven't read Eric's piece - way the hell down there, please do so. He hits all the right buttons.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:24 p.m. CST

    sidious/palpatine

    by xsntrk

    sidious and palpatine are one and the same. in addition to all the other facts everyone has pointed out below, no casting credit was given for sidious. also, who stayed until the VERY END of the credits? those who did should know what i'm talking about and for those who didn't, make sure you stay until after the final note of the last song is played to hearing something very, very cool.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:30 p.m. CST

    did everyone see the same film I did?

    by rhodes scholar

    Having just seen TPM I am at a loss as to how anyone could think it was in any way a good film-at the very least I would think serious fans would be severely dissapointed- It is both disheartening and amusing to "hear" so many fans try to talk themselves into liking the film TPM was poorly scripted, badly acted (by some first rate actors I might add) and sluggishly paced-(as was episode IV-probably the worst "great" movie in the history of US cinema) The real problem, however, is there was no emotional pull in the film and no mystery ("the force" as a peculiarity of the bloodstream?) and, dare I say, no magic - (the only two things that salvage episode IV from being dated junk) The original trilogy had momements of greatness and ESB is a genuine work of dark art. Lucas may redeem himself in the end, but right now I have less hope for the fans

  • May 20, 1999, 4:32 p.m. CST

    sidiou/palpatine

    by darth-sillious

    has anyone thought that sidious could be a clone of palpatine(or vice versa)? that could be the start of the clone wars.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:41 p.m. CST

    TPM - storyline was GREAT and other points

    by Omega

    what always strikes me is how some people can say a movie has NO plot and then others call it hard to follow. Both sides scare me. I am NOT a Star Wars freak. I have never purchased a Star Wars book or comic or screenplay. I had the toys when I was a kid but I moved on and I never reflected on the fruedian implications or Vietnam allusions. Sue me, but they're just movies. I guess that's why TPM surprised me. The story had a lot going on at once - FAR more than the other movies. To make it easy on those of you who couldn't follow the film, it's a complex story but not that hard to follow if you pay CLOSE attention - guess giving a film your undivided attention is tough though. Palpantine wants control of the Republic via the chancellorship so he convinces the Trade Federation to go after Naboo. The Senate does nothing to help Naboo. Palpantine planted in the Queen an idea of ousting the current Chancellor. She moves for a vote and with the pity created by Naboo's situation v. the Nems (Trade Fed dudes), Palpantine is made chancellor. He pushed the Nems - a bunch of greedy fools - into attacking Naboo for no other reason than to gain control of the Senate. Now at the same time we've got Anakin being discovered at the same time his future master - and the man he eventually destroys - is coming to power. Plus we get a reason for the Jedi being weary of Ani - he's filled with fear and fear is great fuel for the darkside, as Yoda points out it leads to suffering. Hell, remember Luke's fear for his friends in TESB? That fear almost got Luke killed! Plus we get to see Ani and his future woman hooking up and clicking. Good heavens you'd have to be blind. That little dude was smitten with her instantly. We also find out Ani is the product of a virgin birth - the chosen one. Think about it, Ani DOES destroy the Empire. His kids screw things up and more importantly Ani kills the Emporer. Want more? Obi-wan had a bad feeling about Ani but due to his allegiance to Qui he promises to train the kid he's afraid of - rightly so, as Ani does kill him. What about Ani creating C3PO and being in contact with R2-D2 - even destroying the enemy and saving the day with R2, just like another Skywalker who longed to go on to do greater things. How about Ani initialy being turned down by the Jedi Council? There's a source of some serious bitterness - how would a kid like to be told, get outa here, you suck? How about Ani's reaction to Qui's death? He was fearful for his own future. Qui is an outsider with the Jedi and it's HIS decsion to train Ani, and his deathbed request is that Obi-wan take on that task. So for all of you that say there is no story, I wonder if you paid much attention in the film. There are SEVERAL plotlines going on. Everything ties together. People who said it was boring. . . I wonder what more you want? We had lightsabers slashing through things within five minutes of the start. Qui and Obi do some serious butt-whupping for the first 30 minutes. Lasers blast, lightsabers slice. We get a trip and underwater trip with some interesting foreshadowing and serious revelations about Qui - the dude's one cool cucumber. a giant fish is eating the sub and he's just chillin'. Where do you think Obi got it in Ep. IV? And beyond all the story lines, I think many of you missed that NOBODY liked Jar Jar. The Gungans didn't like him. Qui tolerated him. Obi had dislike for him. The droids made fun of him! Jar Jar was designed to be a good-hearted, cowardly, comic character. You all say toys. Fine. But his character did not exist in a bubble and everyone reacted to his antics. So bag on Jar Jar all you want because I would bet everyone else in that world would too. As for complaints about no story, I wonder what's wrong with all of you. There are STORIES galore in TPM. Not only that but there are many in-jokes for the audience - like Qui's attempts at the Jedi mind trick on Watto. That was hilarious. In fact Qui had several, dry, sardonic, very funny lines. You point to kiss your trade federation good bye as a one-liner? Bah, that was a line, not a joke. There were jokes, many of you just want the jokes to be handed to you on a silver platter with Bruce Willis smirking. I know my points will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes but I felt it was necessary to at least point out the stories in TPM far outshined the previous, tried and true tales we got in the originals. Have a good day.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:53 p.m. CST

    I've waited along time to say this - I LOVE BIG JUGS!!!

    by reni

    Sorry can't think of anything else to say really...

  • May 20, 1999, 4:54 p.m. CST

    ET

    by table26

    In the senate scene after the vote one of the alien parties in the lower lefthand corner looked like ET. Is it his people?

  • May 20, 1999, 5:17 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace

    by wheelchair

    Saw TPM at 1415 on 19 May and enjoyed it, but not without reservation. There will be spoilers in this as I ramble along, so beware!!! First off, though, let me establish my interest in SW. Interest in the sense that I consider myself a fan, but do not and will not accept as perfect everything that comes down from Lucas' Sinai. I've wanted to see the next SW movie ever since the end of the last one in 1980, Empire Strikes Back! No, I didn't forget Return of the Jedi, but I only saw that one once in the theater. There's a reason that, assigning ROTJ as the acronym for Jedi, the first three letters are ROT, but this reply is about TPM so I'll not not dwell on my almost total dislike of that one. In November of last year when the vacation schedule at my job came around for 1999, I earmarked the 20th and 21st of May so I could see TPM first day, if not first show. When Lucas moved it back to the 19th, I scheduled the rest of the week so I would be covered if he later moved it back another day or two. When he banned all advance ticket sales, he almost had me because of otherwise irrelevant transportation problems (I couldn't get in line to wait for tickets and then return later for the show. One line must accomplish all. When ticket sales were allowed a week in advance, the theater where I was likely to attend almost did me in by telling me they were not selling tickets by phone. This was untrue, but by that time I had gone to a movie Monday of this week and had no trouble getting my single ticket to TPM on Wednesday. I put all this in only to indicate that I was willing and do not regret in the slightest making whatever arrangements I can to see this on first day--and the Force must have been with me. With that as a background, let me say that I will see this movie at least once more and maybe twice but no more. It's a stunner in places but not as great as we could have seen. Lucas has taken great pains to say that he makes movies for kids and I sure don't doubt that. You can't go anywhere in a mall or almost anywhere else without seeing something about TPM, most all of it geared to the younger customer. My brother went into a grocery store and saw a standup of young Kenobi complete with ligtsaber plugging Mountain Dew! But, since many of their parents will be buying TPM merchandise for themselves, this is hardly a problem. Nor am I immune. I have the soundtrack and the novelization (one cover only, though) and will probably buy the unabridged novelization on compact disc because it's fun to listen to someone reading or performing a story for you. You usually see things differently than when you read it. There are other things George could tempt me with, but so far they haven't appeared. But the problem I have with all of this is that most Star Wars fans are older than that and we might have expected more. Lucas responds that he's afraid that many fans have expectations that are too high, but I just wanted a good Star Wars movie. Instead, I was distracted from a good effort by Jar Jar Stinks (not a typo there). I genuinely enjoyed all of the stuff with Amidala/Padme, I thought Liam Neeson acquitted himself well, though I immediately recognised him as an idealistic asshole who would come to no good end. Interesting that on the CD his end is referred to as noble. He got run through because either Darth Maul was better than he was or he simply miscalculated. That end may be tragic but it's not necessarily noble. Obi-Wan's end in Star Wars is noble; he chose to die that others might live. Qui Jon Gon simply lost. But we deserved far less of the admittedly necessary Anakin. One of the other posters here said that he/she didn't need a character their own age to identify with; that he had no trouble identifying with young Luke or Han Solo or whoever. I agree with that and I predict that more kids will identify with Obi-Wan, Qui Jon Jinn, or even Darth Maul when they play than they will with young Anakin. If we can't have less of him because of who he is, at least have R2D2 help him more as he accomplishes all these wonderful things. Heck, R2 can't even get his ship off autopilot for a long time and that should've been simple. But the most disastrous thing about TPM was that midway into this exciting space sequence, something snapped and I realized that we'd been there before not once but twice. Look at it like this: Okay half us gotta attack the Death Star while the other half disables the shield generator. er. . . let's make that half us gotta disable the shield generator while the other half disables the Mother Ship outside the atmosphere which is supplying the power for the massive ships which are in geosynchronous orbit over all our cities and which are channeling power to all the fighters which are strafing the Resistance forces below. No, wait, that's not quite right either. How about: half us have to disable the ship supplying power to the battle droids on the planet's surface who are coldly mopping up the cuddly Ewoks. . . er, Gungans while the rest of us capture the invasion's leaders in the imperial throne room. That's it! And maybe nobody'll notice that we stole from another movie ans well as from one of our earlier installments. And someone else here has already noted the tremendous debt the Pod race owes to an oft filmed chariot race. This being a Star Wars film, perhaps we should examine the spectators closely. Perhaps we'd see Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Ramon Navarro and Francis X. Bushman surrounded by an ethereal glow smiling and waving frantically at the camera ala Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies. Now this sounds I don't like TPM and that's not true. But if I was really lost in it I wouldn't be seeing this stuff and it's there. Now it would be easy for others to say that the problem is with me, that I didn't become a kid again, as Harry and others have urged and claimed that they did. But I wasn't a kid when I saw Star Wars--I was 29--and I loved it anyway. And a lot of Star Wars fans must also be in this shape. Yet Lucas wants to play to the kids at least with this movie. Nothing necessarily wrong with that--it's his franchise, but there are already a few on this site who are worried about the depth of characterization and plot needed to carry the next two installments forward first to mounting tragedy and then to a new hope. Like them, I don't feel that Lucas can provide this alone. There's a reason why ESB is the densest, most involving of the four movies. Leigh Brackett, a wonderful science fiction writer with much experience with space opera--and never forget that that is what Star Wars is, not science fiction--turned in her draft days before she died and, though Lucas rewrote it, many elements reportedly survived so that she got a screenwriting credit. And of course, ESB was directed not by Lucas but by Irwin Kirshner. Let Lucas maintain his vision--no one, least of all me, would want any less but let others execute at least one of the next two movies within his parameters. Because Lucas, you see, is not and never will be, a great director. What he is--and none of this is to be minimized--is a master storyteller who can synthesize many elements of primal themes and make them relevant to his audience. He is also a merchandiser par excellence on the order of a P. T. Barnum, considering some of the junk that's out there with the Star Wars logo on it. And he's no fool, either, since he's always reserved the merchandising rights to himself. But let me be perfectly clear: he doesn't short on the movie, i. e., it's not secondary to the toys, though some might think it so. It's a good movie, it just has flaws and these can and should be addressed in the later films. Originally, Lucas said he would only direct the first one and was talking to others about directing the forthcoming, darker, chapters. May he return to that plan. Perhaps now that he's saved Pvt. Ryan, Spielberg could have a go. And if you want a dark view of the universe, call Lucas's other peer John Milius. He's good at that. But whoever it is, it must not be Lucas. He can't give the last two chapters what they need in terms of characterization. There's no question that he has the FX down. Jar Jar Stinks as a character but as a perfectly realized CG, he's a wonder. But to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts, the next two movies will need much more. Well, I've taken enough of Harry's room and there may be few in fact who read this far. But if you have, you can either answer here or reach me at phmooney@freewwweb.com Just don't flame me. I'll discuss but I won't respond to idiocy.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:18 p.m. CST

    i mourn

    by xavier masterson

    i ranted a tad bit last night after seeing episode one.then i got drunk and ranted a bit more. something other than my original complaints kept nagging at me and i couldn't put my finger on it. i knew something was missing from this movie besides decent acting ,a well paced script,an exciting ending or characters that were truly memorable,and after i shook of the hangover i woke up woth i realized what it was. now before anyone gets the chance to scream at me i know the queens ships hyperdrive was out for most of the movie but i don't remember one hyperspace jump in this whole film. how can you have a star wars movie without a HYPERSPACE JUMP! YA KNOW I'M STILL PISSED OFF AND ITS BEEN OVER 24 HOURS SINCE I SAW THE MOVIE! and harry is just in denial for the time being like a few of the people that exited the theatre with me last night.or then again maybe he did enjoy it,which lowers my opinion of him as a movie reviewer. i'm sorry about that last line harry maybe i'm just jealous that you were able to find so many redeeming qualitys in this film and i wasn't.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:29 p.m. CST

    nick dudman

    by xavier masterson

    nick dudman was the creature effects supervisor on episode one.and in my opinion should be dragged out in the woods and pistol whipped for some of the god awful creations in this movie. stuart freeborn took a great deal of time in sculpting the original yoda puppet making sure the face and eyes of this creature resonated true wisdom and authority. nick dudman has shit upon the legacy of creature design that freeborn originated in the original trilogy.his yoda puppet has got to be the most horrible creation i have seen in a movie MUNCHIE STRIKES BACK!!

  • May 20, 1999, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Hmmmmm........

    by GTech

    I just saw TPM this morning. And I'm frankly unsure of what I'm feeling. I have to admit, something was missing that the original trilogy had. I watched my copies of the Special Edition Trilogy a few days before, and something felt like it was missing. I'm seeing it again in a couple of days to see if I can put my finger on it more solidly. I loved the movie....but I wasn't IN LOVE with the movie...if you can catch my drift. Jake Lloyd was no where near as bad as all the naysayers seemed to say he was. But the acting was kind of flat. More of a problem with a directing than the actors themselves I believe. I gotta side with the majority on Darth Maul. He was a total kick-ass-screw-the-questions kinda badass. Oh and is it just me, or is Natalie Portman just damn good lookin'? :)

  • May 20, 1999, 5:38 p.m. CST

    Jar Jar Stinks vs. Munch from Robin Hood

    by wheelchair

    Harry: This is just for you, though I'm posting publicly because it's quickest at 4:00 in the morning. You say Jar Jar reminds you of Munch the Miller from Adventures of Robin Hood You should be ashamed. Munch had far less screen time than Jar Jar and was at no time portrayed as foolishly. You complain about his performance in the final battle but in the context of the film that was not his shining moment. How about the fact that he had just finished killing Dicken, the knight sent by King John and Sir Guy to assassinate Richard, in a pitched hand-to-hand battle which left him at least exhausted and possibly wounded, so much so that he had to be carried to Robin's camp after being found by Will Scarlet. When Robin orders men to intercept Dicken, Munch simply says, "No need, Master Robin. Dicken won't bother nobody no more." The simple mention of Jar Jar Stinks (I've done that twice; it's no typo) in the same breath as Dicken is appalling and I hope Father Geek was suitably incensed. Watch Adventures of Robin Hood again sometime if you can find time between performances of TPM. The two movies are apples and oranges, but if I have to pick the better of the two, it won't have Jar Jar Stinks in support of the heroes.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Saberfight

    by Doright

    I loved this movie!!! I do not know how a true starwars fan could not of liked it. (I think the people who didn't are just mad cuz Lucas didn't use their script.) and to those who complain about the acting I say ha. what did you think. Mark Hamill Sucked in Starwars. have you seen him in anything other than cheep B movies? If you are looking for great acting see the Shakespear movie that is out. Did any one else think the whole seen in the saber fight,with the force shields pausing the action, was brilliant! The way Darth Maul paced, staring at Qui-Gon, and Qui-Gun just calmly sat and meditated during the pause. That was wonderful movie making! also look at Kenobi in the back round. that was a man who wanted into the fight. (bad acting? directing? I don't think so!!!) well enough for now.... thanks Doug. p.s. sorry about my english skills. Lucas is a GOD.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Star Wars - About the acting and other stuff

    by Brian A Thomas

    *Warning: May contain spoilers* Okay, I personally loved the movie. In regard to people complaints about the acting, name one Star Wars movie where there is lots of good acting. In reality, I would have to say this one has the best acting out of all of them. The Senator/Sedious was great, he carried out the part perfectly. The mother of Anikan, also turned in a great performance. Natalie Portman, talanted as she pretty. The rest of the acting was typical Star Wars fair. In the end, I am wondering, is this a series about the rise, fall and redemption of Darth Vader, or about the rise to power and death of the Emporer? Heck, I am wanting prequals to the prequals to get more back story on the Senator. I have to say, I am surprised that the Senator wasn't the father of Anikan as I expected. I thought that would bring the story full circle in the final end. A nice father-son-father-son relationship. The tribute to E.T. was great. To the whole Senator/Sidious relationship, they are the same, not clones. Sidious wasn't surprised that the Queen went back to Naboo, but surprised she went to Jar Jar's people. He was the impression she was going back to "suffer the same fate as my people." The only potential clone I can think of in this movie is the Queens bodyguard. We know that part two is a love story, and three is about betrayal. Almost everyone seems to be expecting the betrayal to be between Anikan and the Queen. Here is a theory for you. I say the betrayal will involve the mother somehow. Anikan is so hung up on his mother, and thoughts of returning to free her... and the Jedi councile turned their backs to him, turning him over to Obi to train him, rather then training him properly themselves. Yes Jar Jar sucks at the start, though he is good in the final battle and the end. He is there to appeal to kids. In the end, this is a movie about a certain Senator setting things up so all will go according to his plan... God, please, have Lucas get an Official story out on the Senator's early days, his rise in Sith power, etc...

  • May 20, 1999, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Xavier.....

    by BadWisdom

    ..give the movie another try. According to loads of people, the first viewing doesnt really do the movie justice. Just give it another whirl, and if you still dont like it, ....then no worries. In a couple of years, u can have another go at Episode II.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Im gonna wait til i see it again..

    by Orctoe

    I saw the show last night at at a 12:01 showing, waited in line for hours and hours. And when it was all said and done I came out of the theatre with a mixture of emotions. part of me was awestruck at the spectacle of what I had just seen. The other part of me was wondering if this was a Star Wars movie at all. Jar Jar annoyed the hell out of me, I hope the Sith wipe that annoying race out in the next movie. There wasnt enough Darth Maul for my taste. I dont mind that he was wasted in the end but Lucas could have given the focus of the whole marketing campaign more than 10 minutes of screen time and two lines of dialogue. Other than those two points this is a fun and good movie that made me feel like a kid again. I really wish i didnt have to be a kid to enjoy this movie but hopefully that will change. I'm gonna see it again saturday with my friends two little kids see what i think of the movie after viewing it a second time.

  • May 20, 1999, 5:55 p.m. CST

    A few comments (some spoilers)

    by bdshort

    First off I want to say that I really enjoyed the movie... I only read a small portion of the talkback so far and had a question and a comment. First, what exactly happened at the very end of the credits? Are we talking about the end of Anakin's theme, or something else? Unfortunately the dumbasses at the theater here shut off the credits, but put them back on when the people who stayed for them go a bit irate... but there was no sound, so I missed whatever happened. Also, I saw at least one person mention the midi-chloridians. What I gathered from what was said about these was not that they caused the force, but they provided a link between the force and those that used it, which wasnt as bad as I was afraid (someone mentioned them to me before I saw them)... still, this part was a bit Star Trekish I didnt mind Jar jar that much... the fact he was very hard to understand in parts was more annoying than his actual character. As far as the other characters go, I enjoyed most of the acting, though Anakins "Yippee!!" shouts were out of place. I'm glad they kept him completely innocent in this one, as it should make episodes 2 and 3 very interesting to see this innocent boy turn to the dark side. Ok it's late... thats all for now

  • May 20, 1999, 5:56 p.m. CST

    one more thing

    by Doright

    why are some people so picky? Go injoy..have fun in life. otherwise take some prozac or something. I feel sorry for those that could not have fun at this movie. I really do. I saw it with my 7 year old and he was soo thrilled. It was way cool!! he was a little sad when Maul got cut in two, but MAN!! what a cool seen!! if you have kids that are into starwars take them, then you will see how great of a movie this film was..

  • May 20, 1999, 6:11 p.m. CST

    i guess its up to kubrick to restore my faith

    by xavier masterson

    why should anyone have to convince themselves this was a good movie.you don't learn to love a movie,a true film fanatic knows when he has just witnessed magic onscreen. noone should have to lower there expectations ,get in the mindset of a child or watch a movie 20 times to know if they loved it or not. this was a visually stunning peice of rat shit.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:25 p.m. CST

    YOU PEOPLE ARE...

    by Tubby Red Ass

  • May 20, 1999, 6:27 p.m. CST

    ET in Episode One!

    by YellerDog

    I saw it! There were 3 "E.T."'s in the "No Confidence in Viceroy" council scene! Check the pods to the right of Viceroy! (Perhaps I was hallucinating)

  • May 20, 1999, 6:38 p.m. CST

    YOU PEOPLE ARE...

    by Tubby Red Ass

    ...A MARKETING PERSON'S WET DREAM! Judging from the majority of the comments posted here, you people wouldn't know a solid plot, interesting characters or competent direction from the the bright brown abyss that is Harry's ass. I mean, I expected Harry to like it. He's a fucking chump. He can justify the Holocaust to a room full of jews with a broad smile on his oversized, retarded face. But anyone that TRULY enjoyed the first STAR WARS movies, not in the way in which you enjoy such hackfests as GODZILLA and Armageddon and The Mummy, could not possibly say with a straight face, without a hint of rationalization, that THE PHANTOM MENACE was a good film. It fails on SO many levels that to like this film for any reason marks you as an ignorant and a rube. Believe me, I WANTED TO LIKE THIS FILM...EVEN AFTER READING THE SCRIPT. But nothing could have prepared me for the shameless excuse for a film that George Lucas chose to release upon us. I have never been jaded about Star Wars, never felt silly about buying into the whole thing, even with the multiple flaws of Jedi. Hell, I even found merit in the HOLIDAY SPECIAL. But the Pahntom Menace shows such blatent disregard for story and characterization and pacing and subtext that ultimately, it serves as nothing more than a slap in the face to those who recognized that the Star Wars films were not just good entertainment, but were solid films, on every level. It's late, I'm rambling, but...you people should feel cheated. I do. You people should pray that someone intervenes and has the balls to say NO to George Lucas when he comes up with bad ideas. Star Wars and Empire, the best of the series, were born of compromise and strife. George Lucas has gotten his wish of no interference with his "vision" and look what it's gotten us? A reprehensible piece of shit masquerading as a sociological event. George Lucas is clinically INSANE. I think it is us, the paying audience, to DEMAND that he seek help. Otherwise, STAR WARS IS DEAD...

  • May 20, 1999, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Plot Does Matter!!!

    by Jonte

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:05 p.m. CST

    It's called constructive criticism

    by Elan Vitale

    I agree that Lucas should have had a producer other than that rabid yes-man Rick McCallum. Other than that, to quote David Gilmour "you've got to let a chap have his vision." (he was talking about Roger Waters and "the wall") Now that Lucas has had his chance , please bring in Paul Verhoeven for EPISODE II: THE CLONE WARS!!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:15 p.m. CST

    plot DOES matter!!!!

    by Tubby Red Ass

    AHHHHHHHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!! I had forgotten all about how Lucasfilm railed against Godzilla last summer! Gee, it's with much sadness that I must report that my feelings upon exiting THE PHALLUS MENACE mirrored my feelings upon exiting Godzilla a year ago: I expected something less than good but was APPALLED by just how bad a film could be!

  • May 20, 1999, 7:32 p.m. CST

    TPM better the 2nd time....same with "The Matrix"

    by cookiepuss

    I walked out of The Matrix halfway through at the Warner Bros. screening - right at the scene with the Oracle. It seemed a bit trite and I didn't want to see any more FX from Gap commercials. But, you know what? I saw it a second time and LOVED it. I've since seen it eight more times in the theater and I think it's GREAT - everything makes sense and there's not a wasted moment. Saw TPM last night and I had mixed feelings afterwards: the "tone" was strange, the story seemed too simple, and it seemed "different" than the other trilogy. Well, I'm happy to report that the second viewing is MUCH more enjoyable! There is a LOT going on than is apparent in the first viewing. All the duel identities and hidden personalities; ("There's always a bigger fish", INDEED); the hints of nasty Anakin (watch his face when Windu says "No" to his training; Palpatine emerging (watch his smug look when Amidala leaves for Naboo right before the pan/cut and how he calls Anakin "Young Skywalker" like in ROTJ, etc., etc. I could go on and on, but there is a LOT there in this seemingly simple movie. I really LOVED it the second time! Now, if Jar Jar would just shut the fuck up and Lucas would remove that midichlorian nonsense from "TPM Special Edition". I'd be totally happy. (And, the fart joke - what was he thinking?) Also, read the Terry Brooks novelization of the screenplay: Lucas cut a LOT of stuff that explains a LOT os supposed plot holes in this movie. Just started reading it, but it is really eye-opening. Anyway - give it a second chance if you're feeling numb after the first viewing. You'll be glad you did; (same for all you Matrix bashers).

  • May 20, 1999, 7:33 p.m. CST

    i can't believe i'm about to say this

    by xavier masterson

  • May 20, 1999, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Episode 2 Info from the IMDb

    by TOMMY TERROR

    This will probably get buried, but I was just killing time on the IMDb and found some interesting stuff that you might know already, but I didn't. They already have the filming locations up for Episode 2 - Australia's new studio headquarters, Italy and Tunisia! So it looks like Coruscant and Tattooine will figure prominently - of course Anakin will have to woo the Queen in Coruscant - tho I wonder what will bring them together again, but it's pretty interesting he'll be returning home so soon - I wonder if his Mom will bite it, I wonder how Tattooine will become the rugged near ghost town in ANH. And isn't it kinda weird that Obi-Wan hides Anakin's kid on Anakin's own home planet, and with the same last name? I wonder whose brother Uncle Owen is? Yeah, yeah, we'll see.... Also on the IMDb - A different actor dubbed Darth Maul's voice, so maybe that's one reason he doesn't have more lines.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:39 p.m. CST

    i can't believe i'm about to say this

    by xavier masterson

    i can't believe i'm about to say this,i know devlin and emmerich should be spirited away to the darkest levels of celluloid hell,but the end battle of independence day packed more of a punch and was much more exciting than the bullshit final battle in episode one.yeah,independence day may have ripped off the original star wars at every turn and ended up being a peice of crap all of its own,but at least there was some tension in the battle.and randy quaid wasn't as annoying as jar jar binks was. wow.i still can't believe i just said that.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:51 p.m. CST

    ET and review...

    by soulxside

    Yes people... ET was in the movie during the counsil meeting... I almost threw up. This movie sucked a big fat one... I can't explain why people say they like it, but it goes to show that Lucas is a better marketing genuis than a film-maker... the fact that the american public is willing to continue to suckle the teet of this cash cow despite the sour milk illustrates this. Computer graphics are at a point where they can make us believe a space ship, an explosion, or a robot... but we're a long way off from making us believe a living creature. I couldn't help but be distracted by the piss-poor computer animated characters like Jar-Jar. The acting was stiff and didn't do anyting for me. Harry must've seen a different movie because the one I saw sucked in a big way. Some people say they like it and excuse the flaws by saying that "it's just a set-up for episode 2 and 3"... well so what?? That's no excuse for a bad movie... what if the next two suck as well?? will you say "well, the first 3 are just set up for Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back"? The Matrix kicked it's ass. Starship Troopers kicked it's ass too. I don't know - I don't even feel like doing a review here. Bah.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Kosovo

    by WalkHome

    If you haven't got anything good to say then don't bother saying it

  • May 20, 1999, 8:18 p.m. CST

    We Wanted Han Solo to Shoot First, He Gave Us Greedo Shooting Fi

    by smilin'jackruby

    I know no one will read this post as this is the longest talkback session ever with people ranting and ranting, but as I live at AICN, I'm writing as well. As much as I'd like to agree with everybody who wrote in, I can't. I don't feel as blithely disappointed as David Ansen in Newsweek, I just didn't get into it. The ending looked like a video game and much of the movie played the same way. Ian McDiarmid played remarkably and I thought he was one of the best actors in the bunch right next to Ewan McGregor who WAS Obi-Wan Kenobi. He never fell out of character or accent, proving what a badass he is. I saw "Little Voice" the day before and understand why McGregor probably felt bored shooting "The Phantom Menace." In "Little Voice," he plays an actual character, Billy, who impacts the play when it was on stage as "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" and just as much in a movie. In a play, all characters are pretty much necessary as the theater can only afford so many actors a night (yes, that's a horrible way to look at playwriting, but as an MFA playwright at Indiana University, I recommend you ask any playwright). So, McGregor shines in "Little Voice," but is pretty much just a set piece in "The Phantom Menace" that gets activated every once in awhile and told to wait in the ship or whatever. I now can't wait for Episode II as, of course, his role will be expanded. The lightsaber fight was great, but after having seen "The Matrix" the day before, I can say that science fiction as a genre was advanced more by that piece (truly a fine work of sci-fi that's up there with any book and again proves the idea of people writing the great American screenplay instead of the great American novel these days) than by "The Phantom Menace." As for Jar Jar Binks, I had no problem with his character. I didn't care about him any more than I cared about Watto, Boss Nass, or just about any other character. Palpatine and Obi-Wan were great, though. I also want to get a recording of Samuel L. Jackson saying, "May the Force Be With You" to use as a soundbyte on my computer. -Smilin' Jack Ruby

  • May 20, 1999, 8:20 p.m. CST

    darth sidious and darth maul

    by tpm_fan

    The movie was great. I think it fits right in with the other three movies. We see that it lays the ground for the other episodes. The only negative I can say is that in some portions of the film dialogues were too long and it was hard to follow the jargon about politics of the senate and the republic. I have two questions though: (1) I wonder about the possibility that DARTH SIDIOUS IS ACTUALLY SENATOR PALPATINE; and (2) DARTH MAUL'S FAITH IS UNKNOWN, WE DON'T ACTUALLY SEE HIM DIE, HE COULD BE BACK IN THE NEXT EPISODE.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Phantom Menace.... sucked.

    by arkiver

    Having read the reviews and even some spoilers, I went in to this movie expecting something around the caliber of RotJ... not great, but entertaining and still a good Star Wars romp. I thought it was terrible. I would rate it even below the Ewok Adventure. It's apparent to me that George Lucas no longer is capable of telling compelling and interesting stories. He's writing now as a parent who thinks they'll tell a "cool" story to their kids. The original series was mostly written before Lucas was a parent and I personally attribute the dip in quality of Jedi now to his becoming a father. The original had a certain edge to it, that this new "family friendly" Lucas seems to have forgotten. There was about 1/8 of this movie that was cool as hell, that reminded me of everything that was great about the original trilogy. But the remaining 7/8 was so incredibly bad. The directing was terrible. Now that Lucas is financing his movies himself, it seems there is no one to take him aside and say, "Hey, George, this is really not very good... why don't you go back to the typewriter and come up with something else??" NEone that says people who don't like this film aren't Star Wars fans needs to get a little bit more critical in their thinking. I loved the original trilogy as a child... I was 4 when I saw Star Wars, 7 when I saw Empire, and 10 when I saw Jedi. Although jedi no longer holds up as well as it did when I was 10, the original trilogy is still one of my favorite movies of all time. I can watch them now and still enjoy them. I don't think I'll ever watch Phantom Menace again. And if I do, I'll only be skipping around to the 1/8 of it that was good. I am a Star Wars fan, but the new film is Star Wars brought down to the level even below the Ewok Adventure, the lowest point in the Star Wars mythos. It's just plain not good, even with all the "gee whiz" effects. Effects can not make up for a lousy story and lousy directing.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Fart and Poop jokes?

    by Ronin

    Was anyone else offended by Lucas' use of fart and poop jokes in TPM? I mean come one George, have you been sitting around watching Beavis and Butthead and South Park for the last 16 years? I really don't want to see this stuff in a Star Wars film! I mean I did enjoy the film overall, although I thought the pacing was a bit slow at times. I guess we know now why Lucas did Ep. IV-VI first. Since TPM sets up the whole story, it lacked the epic proportions of the originals. If he had made TPM first, I don't think the interest would have been there that A NEW HOPE brought. Not that it was a bad story, but a trade dispute isn't nearly as epic as the Death Star on the loose. I guess we'll see stories on a grander scale once the next two come out. At least I hope so.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Much darker film than you think (spoilers)

    by ZombieFodder

    (spoilers ahead - unavoidable) OK, I am surprised by how many fans are distracted by some of the lighter elements, like JarJar, and are missing the darker story that is actually taking place in Ep I. Remember, the title is "The Phantom Menace." The key to understanding the movie is remembering that the Emporer is named Emporer Palpatine. So, keep an eye on Senator Palpatine. He is one slimy bastard. Here are some points to ponder: 1) Phantom Menace 1 - the apparent menace in the movie, the invasion by the Trade Federation, is a phantom, because it is not the real menace. It is simply a "crisis" orchestrated by Sideous/Palpatine (one in the same, unless one is the clone of the other) to force a no confidence vote against Valorum ?sp?, paving the way for Palpatine's election the position of Chancellor. 2) Phantom Menace 2 - Darth Maul, while cool and menacing, is not the real menace. He is, lest we forget, the apprentice. The real menace is Sideous/Palpatine . One of the reasons Maul has such an obviously satanic look is to distract attention from the bigger bastard, Sideous/Palpatine, who looks like everyone else. 3) Phantom Menace 3 - Sideous/Palpatine - not that he is not the real menace; he is. "Phantom," in this case, can refer to the fact that, like a phantom, the real menace is all but invisible and not noticed by anyone. I thought the whole Palpatine plot (the meatier part of the plot) was rather obvious for Star Wars fans, but I guess not. I saw this with several big Star Wars fans, and they completely missed it. When talking w/ them the next day, they slapped their foreheads and went, "Oh, yeah. I completely missed that." It completely changes the film. For those who do not know/realize that Palpatine will become the Emporer and has engineered this entire thing, the movie has a happy ending where the Good Guys beat the Bad Guys. For those of us who catch the Palpatine thing, it is a whole different story. HE WINS! The Bad Guy gets just what he wants! He even gets to be in the closing shot. In fact, in the closing shot, he has the biggest shit-eatting grin on his face because he got exactly what he wanted and nobody is the wiser about it. It is the beginning of the Empire. It is a dark, dark ending, if you know what to look for.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:53 p.m. CST

    ME again, celebrate, cheer, pay homage.

    by Hamadryad

    MAN, I wish I could have paragraph breaks. Lemme mention a few things. And yes, this contains spoilers, but I'm not sure there's anything I could reveal that hasn't been revealed. A: The mere fact that almost every review in here...good and bad...contains spoilers; well, that should tell you something. The plot must have been somewhat intricate if you can't discuss it without giving at least something away. B: People keep complaining about the lack of a "Han Solo" type of character. The thing is, they found Han so he could get them off-planet. They needed him because....THE EMPIRE WAS IN CONTROL. You just don't NEED a seedy disreputable character to help the good guys unless there is a good reason for the good guys to need a seedy disreputable character. In this first one, the mean nasty evil vicious Empire is not in control, so the Jedi can still be up-front and work WITH the lawmakers to accomplish their goals. C: I'm glad not too many people are arguing with the portrayal of Anakin as a loving, caring little boy. Luke: "There's still good in him...I can FEEL it." He started off SO good and SO caring, even the Dark Side and the manipulations of the Emperor couldn't wipe it completely away. As evil carries the seeds of its own destruction so, in this case, does it carry the seeds of its own redemption. D: the whole Palpatine/Sidious thing. Well, I thought it was evil and mean and underhanded and, therefore, perfect. Just because someone has Jedi training does not necessarily mean people can sense them immediately. Get real. E: People complaining that Darth Maul should have had more screen time because of all of the publicity surrounding him. Uhm, folks...the ones who gave him all of that publicity were the FANS. They saw a cool-looking character in the trailers, they thought he was just butch as hell, his makeup's a cakewalk to recreate. The FANS gave him all of that publicity. Lucas wrote him to move the plot along, not to make him the main mean bad guy; don't blame him because you got taken in by the hype that your fellow FANS generated. F: Obviously, I enjoyed this movie. The more I have talked about it with friends and in chat rooms, the more I have enjoyed it, because there is just SO MUCH set-up in it. think about it: if you saw a movie about Germany invading Poland, you wouldn't think, "God, this is lame, it's just two little countries fighting." You'd think, "Wow, and just that smallish invasion spawned the Holocaust, us bombing Japan and everything else? WOW!" Same deal here. Of course a trade dispute is a small matter. It's what happens as a result of the RESOLUTION of the trade dispute that's going to matter, and that's why II and III are going to be fantastic, and that's why, for what it's SUPPOSED to be, Phantom Menace is so good.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:57 p.m. CST

    The "Immaculate Conception" and assorted comments.

    by Genseric

    I've actually seen several people refer to Anakin's "Immaculate Conception". The proper comparison would be to Christ's "Virgin Birth". The Immaculate Conception, is the Catholic doctrine that Mary was conceived of man and woman, without sin, and lived without sin her entire life. The Virgin Birth is the doctrine that Christ was born of a virgin mother. Not that I'm a Catholic or religious or anything, or even that I give a shit, but what the hell, if you're going to nitpick, at least do it right. Really liked the movie, by the way. I'm sure any doubts we true fans have will be answered by the end of the third movie. I personally am worried about the Anakin/Threepio/Artoo/Obi-wan thing. Gotta be a memory flush I guess. I can't remember, does Darth Vader ever really come into contact with Threepio? Nothing springs immediately to mind. Of course if you pay attention in ANH, Threepio seems to strangely forget who Princess Leia is. On the ship, he is obviously familiar with her "There'll be no escape for the Princess this time", then just a vague sense that she is a person of some importance, when explaining the hologram to Luke, so maybe Ani didn't do too good a job putting his memory system together. I'm just wondering if we'll be able to watch all six movies in a row, in 2005 or whenever, without kinda going "huh?" when we get to IV, V, and VI. Another thing, if Owen Lars is Obi-Wan Kenobi's brother, then who has the real last name? Just some stuff to make you think...

  • May 20, 1999, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Harrys review

    by nickarcel

    This is my first talk back - I've been laughing my ass off at how you Americans get so worked up over each others comments that the talk back section gets reduced to blabbering bullshit. (I'm from Europe myself) I just want to say to Harry, that I'm sad. Upon reading his review, I could honestly feel the emotions going through him. he really doesn't like the film. No, really! He just can't get himself to say it. It pops up once in a while: "We Don't want.." or "what we Really want".. But I guess you can't blame him. After all the one main attraction about the AICN-site has been TPM. Now, it's over. He has to jump aboard the hype for Episode 2 to keep the interest going. Somehow, I hope he succeeds. But then again, I wish he would be honest with us. Keep Smiling.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Its still just a Movie

    by IAM~CastorTroy

    I went to see a movie. I've seen it twice now. It was good. Not as good as Empire but as good as the other two. In comparison with non-starwars movies...Matrix was a great movie and I loved it. The Phantom Menace was a good movie. Jar Jar was not as annoying as I thought he'd be. He was even enjoyable at times. Jake Lloyds acting was nothing great but I was able to overlook that. He is just a kid. There are not to many kids I know of who I would call good actors. Ewen was great, Natalie was pretty good for the most part. Sam Jacksons only good thing was saying May the Force be with you. For Sam Jackson it was a sub par performance (and I know he didnt really have a huge role but still...) The Empero...err the Senetor was pretty cool. My major complaint was the pacing. The movie seemed like it was 3.5 hrs. Regardless of this I found the movie to be very enjoyable. I love the original trilogy but I dont consider myself a starwars fanatic. I am definitely a Sci-Fi fan and found this movie to be a good continuation (pretinuation?)of the story of the Star Wars universe. Like my subject heading says Its still just a movie. Its not the wheel, or the Atom Bomb. If you thought it would change the world then you need to get a life. And I'm not talking as a person who looks down on Movie geeks cause I am one. Movies are entertainment first and for most and if it didnt entertain you then fine say so. But give it a chance as a form of entertainment first and for most. Some people act like their life is ruined because they put so much stock in this movie making their life so much better. I just cant believe how angry some people sound when they tear this movie apart. Anyways...if you want something to complain about rent the Avengers...I dislike very, very few movies...I can usually find something good in them all but I couldnt even finish watching that snoozer. I probably would have been looking for the nearest shower rod if I had forced my self to finish it. LOL. Good thing I didnt cause I would have missed a great movie (Matrix) and a good movie (ST:TPM)...oh yeah and I'd be dead if I took movies that seriously. Geez! Now go, I'm out

  • May 20, 1999, 9:39 p.m. CST

    I woke up this morning...

    by Epsilon3

    I woke up this morning loving this film. Yeah I had problems with it, but who cares. I am officially no longer just slightly above luke-warm. I will go on the record saying this film is just fabulous set-up for the rest of the series. I've been thinking about the hints dropped for what's to come all morning. Though I still think he has character problems, George Lucas has gotten a lot better at plotting. And Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson--DROOL! They're beautiful and they can act. Wonderful! I still have some nitpicky issues (about Lucas' cultural and gender portrayals) but who gives a shit. I'm not writing a paper about these films, I'm going to have fun, and I did.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Ian McDiarmid

    by Bob X

    am i the only one who noticed that ian mcdiarmid is actally the actor who played emperor palpatine in rotj? clone, schmone - palpatine IS sidious.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:12 p.m. CST

    ***My Whoppin' 2 Cents Worth On TPM***

    by misterWINKIE

    ***SPOILERS***as i attempt to jump into this moshe pit talk back of TPM.....i will most likely be tossed and drowned in a sea of other TB's ....but what i have to say is this movie...unlike any other movie..is a turning point in history...whether the film is good or bad......does any other film create such a hype as the SW's films?...even after 20 some odd yrs.......even when it was re-released...it surprised us all....and showed us...that we will always."have the FORCE with us".......well...to me...TPM is a film...to give our kids...to give a new generation...something to grow up on...as SW did for us in OUR time(era)...sure it is heavy on FX ...but necessarily...that isnt a bad thing...if a good story could be delievered........look what happened to Godzilla?......as for the characters.....Ewan....to me...could be the best person to play obi...EVER....that was the best and how he and Liam...clicked...and were a TEAM....that was the best for me in the movie.....and yes..we all know jar jar...was a bit annoying here and there...and i wish they hadn't turned him into a damn walking muppet...cuz for me....i almost forgot i was watching SW....i thought i was watching a Saturday Morning cartoon....but ...in all....it wasnt too bothersome.and about the whole Lyod/Portman affair....i hope anakin get s the Queen.....cuz dammit...she is one hot babe....hmmmmm....lets see....i also agree with every one else on certain nit picks here and there...ut i just let them go...knowing that this movie...is something we wanted and waited for....i know...i wish things were different...in certain parts....but history is already wrote.... and for darth maul...they sure can spray his face in all the ads and tv spots...and get you all psyched up for one hella of a character...to just find out......he is in the movie for 10 minutes...and then dies..(supposebly)....but hey ...his action figures are sellin'...so who cares.....now i guess will have to pull out the electric kitchen knife...and recreate that scene...(BTW...which i liked...and the whole pace...anxiously waiting to fight)....and can some one answer me this...(lame question)......Why does Qui squat in the final scene...while he is waiting for the red energy field to lower?.....i have several ideas why....but i will hold them in...and as i wrap this up....i also ask...is Jar Jar some what related to Roger Rabbit...they both are equally...ummmmmm......screw ups....so to all....who have managed to read this...i have to say...TPM...is a good movie...it just tells a Part of A WHOLE story....in a galaxy far far away..... and you need to know......all stories......start off slow....and soon.....get better (Unfortunatly....that wont be for a few yrs till ep II).........:).......p.s....i missed the E.T's dammit...now i have to see it again to SEE IT....and the end credits....ugh..i always leve right at the credits......fuck...i knew i should have stayed....maybe this will teach me a lesson......did i miss anything important???!!!???.....F STAR TREK

  • May 20, 1999, 10:20 p.m. CST

    The Magic is gone folks.

    by AtariJawa

    Here are my ratings folks. As a regular movie I give the Phantom Menace a 6 out of 10. As A Star Wars Movie I give it a 2. I think I finally figured out bothered me the most about this movie. The colors. This movie was too damn BRIGHT. Every scene was like something out of the Transformers BEAST WARS show. I'm not gonna say I loved or hated this movie till I see it a couple of more times. I will say that as of now I feel my intelligence has been insulted and that I feel very dissapointed. I have spent $17,241 dollars on Star Wars Merchandise in the last 5 years (I'm 22 btw and that roughly equals most of a whole years pay) and I feel Lucas made this movie knowing the older fans will see this no matter what so he basically disregarded our feelings and expectations. I feel like I saw two movies last night. One was a kick ass Jedi movie, the other was a sappy,corny, Don Bluth animated film. I attended the screening with 40 people and only 3 really, really loved. About 10 of us really hated it and most of us walked out dazed and very confused. There were a lot of inconsistancies that don't measure up. First, It has always been stated in every Star Wars Sourcebook, encyclopedia, guide, etc.. that C-3po was activated one hundred years before a new hope. To the people who say the books don't matter remember that every novel and guide has to be cleared with Lucasfilms Sue Rostoni in order to maintain congruency with the movies. To me this just makes Lucas look like an idiot. Second, Aren't Jedi Masters &/or Knights supposed to become one with force when they die. I expected Qui-Gon to dissappear and he didn't. People say Darth Vader didn't dissolve and I have two things to say to that 1) They burned just his armor and 2) He's a Sith and they just fuck everyhing up anyway. Third, Stupid Kenner. They released an action figure of Qui Gon with a harpoon along with that Fish thing so I thought he was gonna fight it in the movie. Articulated ankles for swimming this, BITCH! There are so many more things to complain about ( I'm not even gonna get started about Jar Jar as all my gripes have been completely covered by just about everyone else in Talkback.) Sorry for jumping around so much I just kind of burst. If you wish to join my Union of Jar-Jar Haters <UJHH> e-mail me and I'll sell you a shirt. It has a heart felt message to George printed on the front and a picture of Jar-Jar that is crossed out on the back. later kids

  • May 20, 1999, 10:27 p.m. CST

    Bad movie? You need to take a closer look...

    by gatekeeper

    I have read most of the thoughts about this being a bad movie, and to those who think so I would like to offer the following. We are all watching the movie from the standpoint of having watched the last 3. We can't help it. Put yourself into the state of mind of tabula rosa and follow me for a moment here. It has been said that there is little to no character development. There's not supposed to be. This was film simply to set the stage, to introduce the characters. Development comes later. I think those who were gravely disspointed with this aspect were expecting all three movies to be wrapped into one. And about Jar Jar, yes he was a little too slapstick. By his people were a nessecary part of the plot. There were an indigenous culture to Naboo and they were needed in the final battle. Anakins flight at the end of the movie was not supposed to be about the rigid skill or daring courage. It was supposed to show his simple luck and how strongly the force flowed through him. How else would he have lived through such foolishness? Another nessecary example. For Darth Maul, I was not expecting him to live through this movie. He couldn't, Anakins seduction will begin sometime during the next movie, even if it is only hinted. When Kenobi did finish him, there was tumultuous applause and cheers from the audience in my theatre. No big loss there, though he was an intriguing character. Others have said that the film was sluggish and boring in the begining. Of course it was! I would have expected nothing less from the first movie of a trilogy! The climax doesn't occur until the second movie! If you must compare it to a New Hope, then you have no reason to complain. The begining part of a New Hope DRAGGED. It takes forever for anything interesting to happen until the end of the film! Character development is not too dissimilar either. We know NOTHING of Vader, other than Obi tought him. Same with the other characters, you only scratch the surface, just like in Episode one. So, for all you nay-sayers, yes the movie had problems, but what movie didn't? but it wasn't a bad movie. Perhaps you were just expecting too much.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:27 p.m. CST

    What was George Thinking?

    by JamesD351

    I was sorely disappointed,and I agree with MVision1's 100 unforgivable things in Phantom Menace. It's like George had some other kind of motive: Making us all look like fools? Either he really sucks as a storyteller, was asleep at the wheel, was so obsessed about "teaching" kids that he forgot the golden rule of film-making "show don't tell", or wanted to make us all look like idiots. The racist stereotypes in this film were very obvious, and Ugly. I was 6 yrs old when I saw Star Wars, and If he thinks that this movie appealed to children, he is wrong. What an idiot, "teach" children? I learned more from the Original Star Wars, I was affected by the "STORY" as well as the light sabers. If I saw the Phantom Menace when I was 6, I wouldnt have felt the magic, I wouldnt have been interested in the "force", that there was "something" else in life. I can't believe how kids or anyone could have gotten the same good feelings from this movie. My impression of Mr. Lucas has changed. Then again, maybe he knew that most of the audience are idiots and that "eye candy" is the only way to make it successful? May the "Farce" be with you. Thank you, James

  • May 20, 1999, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Anikan Casting Rumor in Epsiode II

    by Mike D

    Cinescape has reported that Ricky Schroeder is in SERIOUS contention to play the future Darth Vader in Episode II. I, for one, think he'd be a MUCH, MUCH better choice than those other hacks (Ryan Phillepe, Brad Renfro, and that awful Dawson's Creek duo). But I still think the part should go to an unknown. And I truly believe it will.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:30 p.m. CST

    the more you think about it

    by DRUMMER

    forgive my typing and spelling, i saw the film last night and i've got to discuss this, only prob is i'm at work... so this will be brief... maybe THIS IS FILLED WITH SPOILERS i liked the flic alot. alot. i was concerned that this new film wouldnt have the old magic that the old ones had. i was worried i'd grown up. i'm happy to say that it's still got that magic. it's changed a bit, but it's definatly still there. during the climax at the end, my heart was racing, and i though to myself "this is star wars, i'm in life is good" mission acomplished. here's my take on the whole thing. the movie is flawed, but this is only one part of the 3 part whole. when stuff would pop up, i found myself saying "we've got to come back to this later" for example, qui gon's belief that anakin is the one to bring balance to the force. What problem with the force? what prohecy is that? virgin birth??? wha? there's just so little time spent with these huge isssues that you really hope these questions will be answered. during the ride though, i was so wrapped up in the magic, i didnt hold it against the movie. if this was the first movie to be released, it would have died. the only thing that carries these flaws is our past knowledge of the universe and the hope that the questions will be answered later. the characters were alright. not enough maul or obi wan. i can see lucas not wanting to dwarf vader, but give the guy alittle more substance, we're trying (and so is the jedi council) to understand what the sith is, and unfortunalty it's just not there. quon is sterotypical cardboard master, the queen is at least semi multidimential, anakin is alittle to young. "gee i'm going to have the fastest pod ever" again though there's been worse, and there's two more movies to expand. jar jar. not as bad as expected, but bad none the less. harry does a good job classifying him, his in alot, but there's always somthing else to distract from him. the accent is fairly annoying, but the worse thing about is the roger rabbit sounds (and you'll know it when you hear it) luckly he only does it 3 times. is accent sound ruffly jamaican. if you've heard a really thick jamacian accent it's him just goofy. the mother scenes's were way annoying. no emotion from mom at all, she doesnt even cry. COME ON! also not enough from anakin, the jedi's say he's suffering missing his mom and he's filled with fear, but you dont see it at all!!!! the immaculate conception thing too was really strained, but mom played it off like it happens all the time!!!!! bad bad bad can't forgive that one. mom should be protecting him like you would any virginal born kid, he's super special!! thats it for the bad stuff is suppose, it's almost easier dicussing the flaw than all the stuff that's right with the film. we geeks live for the details, these are the few gripes for those detials. the big picture is this is great, star wars is here in it's whole engulfing glory. the effects are groundbreaking, the images are full of imagination and the whole adventure is mythology at it's finest. go see it twice let it sink in, then lets revisit this again.. oh, and by the way, thanks for spoiling the force george. instead of a mystic thing that we all have inside of us to reach for it's been reduced to a level of little symbiotic life forms to measure the force. what crap! the whole thing is built on mysticism, now its little creatures. REALLY DISSAPOINTING!!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:31 p.m. CST

    OK...1 more cent worth

    by misterWINKIE

    my theory on why jar jar is annoying......cuz he speaks....if he was like CHEWIE...he would be more tolerable......i wish jar jar and sebulba would have switched places...i thought sebulba kicked ass....and for the announcer of the pod race...and the alien who couldnt start his pod....i am GOING TO HAVE NIGHTMARES...those aliens were fuckin creepy.....nuff said

  • May 20, 1999, 10:32 p.m. CST

    "Jabba the Hutt as Himself"

    by Jimmer72

    Anyone catch that in the character credits? That alone was an hysterical stroke of quiet genius. The filmmakers didn't take it too seriously and neither should you. It was 10 times better than I thought it was going to be. There really wasn't anything I hated in this movie. LOVED IT!!! Fanboys, get a clue.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Here's what I'm hearing

    by quiscustodiet

    A lot of so called fans saying Lucas owes them something, he owes you sweet fuck all! Deal with it! He's out there to make a movie and if there happens to be anciliary deals for toys and fast food products then he would be stupid not to take them and so would you. He doesn't owe you the movie you see in your head he owes you the movie he sees in his head just like you got with the first three movies. Whining that he owes you something or that he's a toy whore is just a reflection of the imbecillic mentality of a lot of you on this site. Find me one quote from Lucas where he says I'm only in it for the money, or I don't give a shit about the fans. You won't find it because it doesn't exist, you are reflecting your disappointment on to Lucas and turning it into hatred because of your own feelings, and that is about the most disgusting thing I have ever heard!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:47 p.m. CST

    The Plot and The Big Picture

    by Veiled Threat

    I don't get it, the same critics who complained The Matrix was TOO COMPLICATED (bullshit!) are now complaining TPM doesn't have enough plot. What?!?! TPM has tonnes of plot! Sure, it's no freakin' Raymond Chandler or Alfred Hitchcock, but compared to say A New Hope which is pretty simply plot-wise and particularly ROTJ which is really thin TPM compares well.... Sure, this movie has flaws. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT MOVIE!!! Bladerunner has Daryl Hannah (bleh), Citizen Kane is ultimately cheapened once you know Rosebud is just a meanspirited in-joke, etc., etc.,... If you go into this movie expecting to hate it, if you choose to focus on the negatives (Jar Jar, Mediclorians) you WILL hate it. However, you could easily do the same thing with ANY of the triology, they all have their problems. Jar Jar and his people are not nearly as intrusive as the Ewoks which take over Jedi completely. Even Empire has some pacing problems, particularly on Dagoba (and I remember the groans about a Jedi Muppet before Empire was released!) Why you would expect this movie to be one big battle royale between Obi-Wan, Que Gon, Maul and Fett is beyond me when none of the previous movies have been anything like that. There IS an awful lot to like here, if you will let yourself. Ewan is great and I really look foreward to Obi-Wan coming into his own in the next two movies. Liam is excellent. Maul rocks! Portman is solid. Jake could have been awful, could have been Wesley or Short Round but wasn't that bad (child actors are ALWAYS problamatic). The FX and settings are amazing and a couple of scenes are true classics (the pod race and the lightsaber duel for two, the journey beneath the sea is also pretty cool) If you were expecting The Greatest Movie Ever Made then obviously you'll be disappointed. It's not. But it IS easily one of my 20 favorites, and possibly one of my top 10 (time will tell...) One question I do have for anyone who's read this for... Why the cremation at the end of the film? Don't Jedi masters become one with the force and just disappear like Obi-Wan, Yoda and Aniken (In Jedi, Luke burns Vader's outfit, there is no body...) So what's up with that?

  • May 20, 1999, 10:52 p.m. CST

    accents

    by vamos

    More annoying that Jar-Jar's accent were the Trade Federation people's accents. Why was it necessary to give the "greedy trade federation" people oriental accents? They sounded like Japanese businessman. What's Lucas saying? That greedy, corrupt people sound more greedy and corrupt if they sound like Japanese businessman? Why didn't he just make them have American accents, that would have been more fair (and more accurate). BTW, the real star of the film, for me, was Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine/future emperor/Darth Sidious. He portrayed that character really well - as he did in ROTJ. I also liked Obi-Wan. Did you see him jump up and down of excitement to fight Maul? This portrayed him as over-eager and imaptient.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Critics=Bantha Fodder!

    by JediFunk

    Critics=Bantha Fodder! Well I saw TPM twice opening day...and it's obvious that the bad reviews are anti-Lucas...if this movie was really great in their eyes, they'd still give it a bad review. Cause I LOVED it!! I'm 32, and OK SOME of the Binks stuff was annoying, but no so much to think this was all a kiddie movie...I laughed at some of his stuff. The obvious asian accent on the Federation guys was annoying too, but these were minor items of the whole. Liam, Ewan & Natalie were great! Jake was really good in most scenes, and the scenes you may think he's not, is just as Harry said, isn't any different than most kids that age...I know teenagers who can barely form complete sentences. So Jake was fine! Pod race...what can I say...I didn't want to blink or breathe, same for the end battle & saber fight. Obi Wan Kicks ASS!!! Any story inconsistancies, most will probably work out in the next two.."depending on your point of view" (well I hope so...one of the things I noticed revolves around ObiWan's lightsaber at the end of the movie compared to Ep4 ;)...) So go to this movie....see it many, many times to see all the great stuff going on...ignore those dickweed critics and naysayers and enjoy George's introduction to his world, the worlds we didn't get to see in the middle trilogy.. cause now, when we watch those movies, we'll have the visions of those worlds dancing in our heads when they are mentioned!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:55 p.m. CST

    This is comedy.

    by AcidGuru

    Remember those sw junkies that loved this film are just there to test those of us that find this film boring, without a soul, and without any real insight. These people are like the humans used as batteries in the matrix. They are not free, so just laugh at them and let them carry on in thier virtually fictional world.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:55 p.m. CST

    and another small thing.

    by AtariJawa

    I think that Bib Fortuna looked 6 million times better than the twi'lek in Phantom. The new aide to Jabba looked like a combination of plaster, spray paint & chalk. I'm now gonna post a few things that i actually liked about the movie. 1) The Tusken raiders. I thought this and the Jawas were hilarious. 2) Watto. I actually thought he was very well done. 3) Qui-Gonn was the only actor that I felt did an Academy Award winning job. He was really good. 4) Actually that's all I can think of. I think that's a bad thing. Union of Jar-Jar haters unite. --AtariJawa

  • May 20, 1999, 11:04 p.m. CST

    A note of support to those bitterly disappointed...

    by hope4all

    "The books and music where we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things -- the beauty, the memory of own post -- are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not visited." --C.S. Lewis Those of you who are bitterly disappointed in this film should think about the essence of things you loved about Star Wars - and then start looking for them in real life. You have not wasted your life if you found something noble and worthwhile in Star Wars. However, there comes a time when you have to stop relying on films, books and TV sagas to satisfy your desires for these things. Movies are a good start for some people, but you are not intended to sit around getting your spiritual sustenance from a fictional universe for the rest of your lives. George Lucas has unwittingly done you a favor. Don't pass up this opportunity to take what you've learned from Star Wars and use it, instead of sitting around waiting for someone in Hollywood to spoon-feed you stuff. Don't just go run off to the next sci-fi book or movie world to be a fan of... the door is open! Start living the stuff you love about Star Wars instead of watching it on a screen, buying toys, and waiting for the next installment! May the Force be with you all...

  • May 20, 1999, 11:08 p.m. CST

    My review

    by wonder

    Well, I just got back. Here's my impressions. These are criticisms of the movie. If you don't want to know anything that happens in this movie don't read this.I'll keep it as spoiler free as I can. I liked this movie. Having read some negative reviews online, I knew I should lower my expectations and just try to enjoy myself. It is afterall Star Wars, not Shindlers List. This is a movie to enjoy. And it was a fun enjoyable movie. After thinking about it, I'd rank it on the same level as Return of the Jedi, which I feel was the lesser of 3 Star Wars movies. That being said, here's a few thoughts I have. 1.) I felt that the character development was weak except for Annakin. I felt that we should have met the Jedi before they went to the diplomatic session. Part of me says their introduction was cool. Yet the other part of me says that it was too early. If we had met them earlier, maybe we would have felt closer to them. 2.) Jar Jar was not the disaster fans were saying he was going to be. In fact, I liked him. (Maybe the kid in me is too playful, I don't know) 3.) Darth Maul was very evil, and probably should have played a bigger part in this movie. I guess the danger in that is we may have become to attached to him, thus when the end comes, that would not be good. (Those who have seen the movie will understand what I mean) 4.) I loved the twist with Padme and the Queen. Had me fooled. 5.)I wished 3P0 had stuck around, but I guess he'll play a bigger part with the freedom of ------ in the next movie. 6.)I liked Annakin. I liked Obi-Wan. I loved Qui Gon. 7.) I hated the announcer with two heads during the pod race. 8.) The evil attack droids were wimps. 9.) Boss Nas needs to go on a diet. 10) The pod race was a rip off from Ben-Hur. Even the intro music was the same. Oh, and I hated the kid greedo creature. 11.) The shot of Senator Palpaptine at the end was very ominous. 12) The blood? Jedi blood? 13) Does anyone know why Obi-Wan disappears in Star Wars when he dies? just curious... 14) The music was kind of blah until the end when Duel of the fates was played. I really liked this movie. I wasn't disappointed because I knew before hand not to expect too much. It wasn't a classic. But that's fine. I'll see it again sometime within a week to get a better feel for it. That's my take. -Vern

  • May 20, 1999, 11:24 p.m. CST

    My little comment *spoilers*

    by JLF175

    Personally, I found the movie entertaining, but after reading Ebert's review online and having seen the first three movies, I was not expecting academy award winning performances so didn't even worry about it. What I found rather amusing was that to fully appreciate some of the on-sight gags (such as the Sand People) or lines (such as Liam Neeson's character trying to trick the junk dealer into taking Republic credits) you probably should have seen the other episodes.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Phantom Menace ROCKED (spoilers)

    by Jack Burton

    I'm sorry, but the movie kicked serious ass folks. I saw it with about 10 people that I knew and we all loved it. We are all in our mid-20's too. Yes, it was kinda juvenile in parts and the jokes fell flat a couple times. Jake Lloyd was lacking emotion in a few key scenes, and Jar-Jar was hard to understand. But you know what? None of that mattered when Qui Gon and Obi Wan pulled out their lightsabers and knocked the Federation Droids on their ass. The fear in the Viceroy when he discovers 2 Jedi are on board. This is what we have been waiting for: 2 or more fully trained Jedi kicking ass like we haven't seen before. The battles with Maul are absolutely incredible and are the best in the series beyond a doubt. This movie was a fun ride from beginning to end: McGregor was good, Neeson was good, Portman was good, the fore shadowing was cool, it was all there. Yes, it could have been more serious but Lucas still has a Republic to disolve and main characters to kill so I'm betting the next films will get darker. I fail to see how Episode 3 could possibly end with a celebration. It was fun guys. Go along with it and have a blast.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Watch it for the 2nd time

    by Eos

    I gotta see this movie again! Reading all your posts, you describe little tidbits that I was too dazzled to notice the first time through. I need to see it again so that I can really pay attention.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Darth Sidious/Palpatine

    by Jade Falcon

    How much more obvious could it be? 1. Sidious is on Coruscant with Darth Maul in the only scene we actually see him live. 2. "I will make it legal" and other such comments about Sidious' power in the Senate. 3. Someone as ruthless and evil as Palpatine, who also happens to be the most powerful Dark Jedi in the galaxy by ROTJ, would definately be controlling both sides of the equation. 4. DARTH SIDIOUS WAS NOT LISTED IN THE CREDITS AS EITHER AN ACTOR OR A VOICE! Either I completely missed it twice (possible but unlikely; I was watching for it the second time), it was an uncredited performance (I doubt this very much), or he was ALREADY LISTED IN THE CAST...

  • May 20, 1999, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Critics Eat It

    by sourmilk

    I like this film is a good example of why we should ignore critics altogether. Joel Sigel on "GMA" said this was a complicated film. Complicated? Maybe for a two-year old. Anyway, I liked the film. Flaws to be sure, like much of Portman's acting, although she looked beautiful at the end. I thought the Pod Race was a great sequence, those Tusken Raiders kicked ass! I liked how R2-D2 was introduced. The Senate was amazing. Jake Lloyd's acting was good, not terrible like some "insiders" said. Qui-Gon trying to use the Jedi mind trick on Watto was a nice touch. Palpatine is Sidious, that's for sure. The best compliment I could give is that after the first fifteen minutes, the CGI characters looked real, including Jar Jar. Some flaws are not enough Darth Maul! The Trade Federation characters were too goofy and their dialouge was bad. Jar Jar was unecessary. Only 3 Jedi talked, what about the others? On the whole, I give the film a solid 7 out of 10. P.S. Why didn't Qui-Gon's body disappear when Maul stabbed him?

  • May 20, 1999, 11:39 p.m. CST

    The 2nd time...

    by SlaveOne

    I could start at many, or any, point, but I will start here: I agree with Harry that worry and doubt had begun to crawl into the mind about certain aspects of the movie...Jar Jar, for one...but none of my fears came through. Jar Jar was fine. Anakin was fine...how is a nine year old boy suppose to act when finding out he will be a Jedi?. Indeed, it will be a long time before I can rank this film with the others, because let's face it, the last new SW film I saw 16 years ago...where has Luke, Leia, and Han gone? But I was ready! I knew some spoilers and I have debated back-history for 16 years...I was ready. I have now seen this movie 3 times in a 24 hour period from 12:01AM EST through 9:00PM EST, and to ALL you "fans" and "critics" out there...some words of advice: SEE IT A SECOND TIME!!! The second time is far better than the first. I was dazed after the first showing...I didn't even know if I liked it, or was I going to sell everything Star Wars that I owned? After, the second time, I realized that this was Star Wars...different, obviously...it had to be; it was another time with new faces. But the second time around, TPM started to find a place in my heart. And THERE were things that will have to grow on me...For God's sake, I still can't get over the fact that Han Solo did't fly the Falcon in ROTJ! That was the dissappointment there, not the Ewoks! This movie IS just what Harry, and others, have said it is: a beginning, and only that...more to come...later But it was an exciting beginning! Ewan was great! And only will get better and more of a badass!!! Liem was great! A true Jedi! Natalie was great( and beautiful)! A queen is always a little stiff...no big deal. Ian was great! The Jedi Council's arrogance was cool, and opened the door for their downfall. And to all the Darth Maul fans out there...the Sith is mysterious, and only returning after a long absence from the galaxy...we are NOT suppose to see them every second of the movie! They are part of the Phantom Menace! So many more things to say...but only this for now...bring on those Episode 2 rumors NOW!

  • May 20, 1999, 11:39 p.m. CST

    willow?!

    by landbote

    There was so much to love about this film... and so much to be vaguely annoyed with. The more I think about the movie the more I like it. But was I the only person who noticed FUCKING *WILLOW* in the audience during the pod race?

  • May 20, 1999, 11:47 p.m. CST

    For the disappointed...and the emotionally damaged...

    by CaptEgo

    It occurs to me that ya'll who are bitching about the film have several *themes* running through your complaints. 1) I hate Jar Jar and any or all cuteness 2) There was only a couple of minutes of Darth Maul 3) It wasn't what I *expected* 4) I'm so f**king cool and jaded nothing could meet my overblown expectations. Does the term "Arrested Development* have any meaning to you? Did you actually notice when it was that you simply locked up in the mindset of your 17 year old selves? Are you so full of Piss and Vinegar and frustrated by the fact that you've strangled your innocence to death that you have nothing but vitriol for someone who has the gall to offer a simple childlike wonder to the world? tPM *is* that kind of film. Sitting in that theatre for those 2 hours the world outside *did not matter*. If you sat in that theatre gnawing at you own failures and frustrations you have my pity. And one piece of advice...as your childhood is in fact dead and gone, grow the fuck up! Get past that teenage wasteleand and do something productive with your life because wasting our time bitching and moaning is *utterly* useless. How bout this admission as a consolation prize? "You are soooo coool! Obviously we are all just sheep, hoodwinked by the hype, and suckered into George's nefarious schemes...we feel so bad." That make you feel better? Could you now piss off and go fondle your 'precious' in the dark? P.S. I cannot for one second imagine how anyone with more than half a functioning braincell couldn't see the 'duel of the fates' sequence as anything other that *absolutely brilliant* filmmaking. That Harry old buddy was one groovy flick.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:49 p.m. CST

    communists

    by twist13

  • May 20, 1999, 11:55 p.m. CST

    communists

    by twist13

    It was reported on CNN this morning that the United States Government released an official report stating that anyone who did not like the Phantom Menace was either 1) watching the movie with their eyes closed or 2) 'a communist piece of shit' (those were their exact words.) Clinton then went on to say that certain qovernment funded science experiments have revealed that almost 90 % of Americans who did not like the Phantom Menace have a learning disorder of some kind. That, or as Clinton said "they're just stupid people."

  • May 21, 1999, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Darth Maul's *RETURN*

    by gatekeeper

    Clone Wars, Darth Maul.... Lucas makes us think Maul is dead, but Palpatine simply clones him! Anyone esle seet this as plausable?

  • May 21, 1999, 12:14 a.m. CST

    TPM is AWESOME!!!

    by SWfan

    I was blown away with this movie, it's very entertaining and the sound and special effects are incredible. I'm a computer animation student in college right now and as far as I know ILM has done some groundbreaking effects in terms of animation. A few question to all who hate or feeling disappointed with TPM: what are your guys really expecting? Please watch the original trilogy and tell me if all of them somehow evoke the same flow of story, dialogue, and acting? For heaven's sake, this is STAR WARS!!! I didn't come to see the movie expecting to see the best movie in the world (personally, "The Godfather" is my all time number 1)because that's not was Lucas is trying to do eventhough he exceeded my expectations. Mind you all, go and watch TPM a second time and you will certainly love it. Natalie Portman is stunningly beautiful! Just like what Anakin thought of her the first time he saw her, an angel. Everybody did their parts very well even Jar-Jar. Again, to all naysayers, tell me what you hate about this movie? As far as I know, the amazing universe that Lucas created is still intact in me and I will continue to bask in delight that I have finally seen the beginning of the saga after waiting for it in 16 years. Can't wait to see EPISODE 2!

  • May 21, 1999, 12:20 a.m. CST

    A different persepctive

    by deity

    I had the unique experience of viewing this film at 11:45 am with just myself and my girlfriend and then at 8:15pm with a group of friends and, more importantly, my girlfriend's 6 year old son. My girlfriend and I are both in our mid-twenties and so Star Wars is a n extremely important part of our youth. Wakling out of the AM screening my thoughts were quite similar to what everyone had been posting on here. Things changed however when, at the PM showing, my girlfriend's 6 year old son got really excited when Jar Jar Binks showed up on the screen and did not come down till the last explosion of the film (he did drop off a few times when there was nothing but exposition between HUMANS on screen - add Jar Jar or any other talking alien and he was right there). Walking out of that screening really put it all into prespective. It has been said many times before, but this film is not for us. I think the anger and disappointment has come without a full understanding of the source. I beleive the true problem is that we, as adults, can see what The Phantom Menace COULD have been. It could have been an epic with a fully developed Darth Maul. We could have had a serious, epic space, land and light sabre battle at the end (sort of a Star War's space battle with an Empire light sabre duel and a Jedi land war all rolled into one). We could have had no Jar Jar Binks (or a less annoying one) and aliens that did not sound like stereotypical Asians / Jewish people. Most of all, we could have down without the two-head announcer at the pod race. The film gave us so much - it just gave it in a fashion that was more suited to it's target audience - children. I remember my reactions when I first saw R2-D2 and C3PO. I was in awe at the "aliens" in the cantina, and I am confident that just about everyone else my age was as well. The thing that jogged those memories of course was the look on the face of my girlfriend's son for almost the entire movie. Lucas has totally succeeded in what he set out to do - create a Star Wars for a whole new generation of children. My girfriend's son has seen all the Star Wars films up to this one - multiple times - and yet this is by far his favorite. It comes as no surprise. So while we adult fans of Star Wars are busy being upset over what this film could have been, Lucas can sleep tight knowning that he accomplished what he set out to do and even though Greorge has said he would not make them, I am sure that 20 years from now when whoever owns the rights to the idea makes episode 7, my girlfriend's 6 year old son will probably be going crazy that the new Star Wars could have been so much more but was aimed at children and, at that time when we are grandparents, we will be able to look back on this and laugh for quite some time.

  • May 21, 1999, 12:21 a.m. CST

    :(

    by jeannie

    Han Solo: "There ain't no amoebas controlling MY destiny." Meddling Phantom Parameciums?!?! They have GOT to be kidding!

  • May 21, 1999, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Eh?

    by Dennis10

    The movie is very pretty to look at -- although even here there are problems. Other than the pod race, the imagery and pacing of the big action set-pieces struck me as murky and uninvolving. This was particularly true of the underwater submarine flight, but also of the attack on the Death Sta -- uh, Federation Droid Control Ship. The CGI battle between the flop-ears and the Federation droids was a yawn. I was accutely aware that absolutely nothing on screen was real, and none of it beyond one or two sight-gags was emotionally engaging. The computer imagery is 100% successful only at the creation of scenery, but in that application it's breathtaking and wonderful. Beyond that, most of the criticism that's been repeated in the mainstream press is dead-on. The film is nicely cast, but the actors are far better than their roles. As a director, Lucas has no idea what to do with actors beyond telling them where to stand. Samuel L. Jackson is especially wasted as a solemnly vacuous Jedi mucky-muck. It's terribly sad that the actors have to compete for screen-time with Lucas' CGI puppets. It is not overstating the case to say that every moment devoted to "Jar-Jar Binks" is a waste of film and human patience. To the degree that "Phantom Menace" has a story worth trying to follow, it's that of Anakin Skywalker, his mother, and Queen Amidaliah. I found this true to such an extent that the only set-up scene for future "Star Wars" episodes that I look forward to with any sense of anticipation is Anakin's likely return to Tatooine to free his mother from slavery. The actress who plays Anakin's mother is one of those who stands out in this film. The much-maligned Jake Lloyd is just what he should be, as Anakin. Lloyd occasionally manages to suggest a loneliness in Anakin that only coincidentally derives from his High Jedi-ness, instead suggesting something universal about childhood, and there's something knowing beyond his years in his interaction with Amidaliah (Mom, be careful about leaving Jake alone with the babysitter). Does Lloyd have shortcomings as an actor in this film? Yes -- but he's nine years old, for chrissakes, and is pretty much left to his own devices to find his way through this film by a director more interested in pyrotechnics. Natalie Portman's performance is the core of the film. She brings an ingenious lack of affectation to a character who's potentially ALL affectation. Her scenes with Lloyd have a sweet charm about them. No Carrie Fisher, thank god, Portman is most likely to be the Harrison Ford of this trilogy -- in ten years, if she chooses wisely, "Star Wars" will just be the movies that first brought her celebrity. There's a lot of intrigue and promise to the relationships of Anakin, Amidaliah, and Obi-Wan. "The Phantom Menace" holds out no reason to hope that any of it will be realized in future films; outside of "Babylon 5" I can't think of another property whose auteur-creator has sacriiced and continues to squander so much dramatic potential in the service of a straitjacketed "vision".

  • May 21, 1999, 12:34 a.m. CST

    THE PHANTOM MENACE

    by dastinson

    <SPOILERS> The whole key to the title is the situation. The return of the Sith Lords, from the Lord Sidious (who is mentioned by name early on by the Viceroy of the Trade Federation). The Invasion orchestrated by someone playing both sides (as Sidious, he orchestrated the Naboo invasion - as Palpatine, he took advantage of it to get his Queen to instigate a vote of no confidence). The "Phantom Menace" was the attack. He had organized it to win in either case, because it would be a win for himself. The Viceroy, if they had won, would have kept him as the Senator for Naboo (which is his stated title). This was all the manuvuerings of a Phantom to increase his position.

  • May 21, 1999, 12:50 a.m. CST

    I just saw it! Good Movie. I want more!

    by PORKY

    I had all kinds of expectations going into the movie, but I forgot about those when that "STAR WARS" title and fanfare came up. I soon started expecting things WHILE I was watching the movie. Here are the main ones: 1)I was so hoping that Natalie Portman would come alive at some point in the movie - she didn't :( 2)I was so hoping Ewan would come alive at some point in the movie - he did! 3)I was so hoping for a chance to capture a glimpse of that magic that makes Star Wars special - I DID! - with the final fight between Qui-Gon, Obi, and Darth Maul. I'd say 2 out of 3 ain't bad! Quick notes: Jake Loyd was fine, Jar-Jar wasn't bad, and those rolling battle droids were cooooooooool!

  • May 21, 1999, 12:51 a.m. CST

    My Opinion (long)

    by Better By Design

    "So how was it?" After being asked that question in various forms about 20 times yesterday, I have decided to attempt to compose something of an answer. For those who aren't patient enough to read this, all I have to say is: "It was not bad. It's Star Wars. You'll go see it anyways, so stop bugging me." Now then, onwards. Did it suck? Nope. Was it Star Wars? Yep. Was it the greatest movie ever? Not on its own merits. Was it better than the other Star Wars films? Probably not, but then again, I'm not a kid like I was then, and I haven't watched it on video 50 times either. Did it live up to the hype? No... could anything? Was it exactly what I had hoped for? Absolutely not... as if anything I didn't create ever could be. Would I have done things differently? Absolutely. Was Jar Jar annoying? Yes, but kids will love him. He was however, also nearly incomprehensible. Will I go see it again? Absolutely. The big thing is that as a film, as a piece of art, there is tons to rip this movie apart on. The visuals are so overwhelming and just BUSY with the multiplicative powers of CGI that it makes the humans look almost out of place. The story is good, but is paced pretty poorly, with the pod race scene setup plodding along in the middle of the film. There is a weird very Star Trekkie-techie bit which de-mystifies the Force, the most appallingly dumb and myth destroying thing Lucas could have done. I am attempting to ignore what will become easily the most talked about section of the film by fans. The dialogue was very Star Wars-ish, but lacked the style and coolness in the first films and seemed more forced ad self-conscious. The actors did a god job considering half the characters weren't there, but this doesn't help them appear real. And a lot more. But... This is STAR WARS. When I heard Lucas was actually going to make new movies, I was excited. When I heard he was using full on digital technology, I was excited but a little scared. When I heard he was using all CGI aliens, and saw the Special Edition Jabba, I feared. When I heard the wacky plot of this I worried. When I heard the character names (like Qui-Gon Jinn) I was puzzled. When I heard the title, the Phantom Menace, I was distressed. When I saw the first trailer, I relaxed... it looked like Star Wars, it sounded like Star Wars, I was calm. And a little excited. I bought some action figures. That was goofy and childlike. I bought the soundtrack. I love it. I heard mediocre reviews. I was unsurprised. But, it looked like Star Wars, it sounded like Star Wars, I was calm. And a little excited. The movie people lined up for days to see. The movie I waited nearly 5 hours to see at midnight on a work night. The movie I've been wanting to see since I was 8 and had figured out that Return of the Jedi wasn't really the last one. Was it worth it? Yep. I got to see people who hadn't known each other 8 days earlier re-bonding after their line experiences, from different walks of life coming together with a common purpose. People who would have mocked each other before this were all excited about the same thing. A crowd that was exceptionally well behaved, not whining at all, but playing games, chatting, and generally trying to have a good time. A crowd that cheered their way through the Austin Powers and Big Daddy trailers, got excited about the THX Cows, cheered for the FOX logo, went nuts for the Lucasfilm logo, nearly lost it for the Star Wars title, worshipped the EPISODE 1 monicer, then fell silent for the rest of the film, save for laughs and gasps at appropriate moments. This was a crowd, that for all the hype and event it became, were purely there to see a movie. I also got to see theatre managers and employees breaking with protocol and rules to let us have more fun, turning on lights and music to help make the wait more bearable, who cleared out their biggest theatre for a whole evening for us to wait out of the rain in, and who were still smiling at midnight. And then finally to walk out, stunned, into a drizzly night at 2:30 am to see a huge line of people waiting for the 3 and 4 and 5 am shows. Walking out surprised at this, after being in there for so long, after being taken away to another galaxy, that yes, there are WAY more people who want to see this, and no, it wasn't just that one theatre of movie fans. So, yes, as a film you could take it apart and trash it. As an overhyped piece of pop culture you could take it apart and trash it. As a fantasy film meant for kids, you have to listen to some kids. As a big kid myself, I found some stuff annoying; others will find it endearing. I found the music to be good but too quiet; others will say it was too loud in some portions. You could spend, and in fact a great number of people will spend, years debating and deconstructing each little detail, both visual, auditory, and cultural, used in this movie. In the end though, this isn't a really productive exercise, since each of us brings a different set of expectations into the theatre, shaped by different experiences. To try to figure out why it wasn't perfect in your view is only productive if that can be used to perfect your own creative pursuit. At the end of the film, after a climax that made Jar Jar's presence appropriate penance, the greatest thing of all was sitting back going, "I can't wait for the next one!" and knowing that if all goes as planned, it will be in only three years, not 16 this time. And hoping it does all go well. And that Lucas will listen to some of the criticism. And that Lucas will ignore most of it and deliver his own movie and not something developed by a hellish committee of press, fanboys, and liscensees. better_by_design@hotmail.com

  • May 21, 1999, 1 a.m. CST

    Something to think about

    by Rocketman 2

    After reading talkback comments and seeing the TPM twice yesterday I really think I need to say something. It seems to me that all the people that hated the movie elude to the idea that "this was my least favorite", "I liked ESB better" or "Matrix ruled". There is a common theme there .. you naysayers are comparing this movie to other Star Wars flicks or other movies in general. Come on you losers!!! This movie was fantastic in itself. Something else to think about .. LUCAS NEVER HAD A CHANCE WITH SOME OF THESE NAYSAYER LOSERS!The original trilogy was cheesy in many ways. So many people have built the original trilogy to such a great level in thier minds that Lucas never would have met some peoples bloated expectations. I wonder what would happen if people took the same gripes and perspective and applied it to the original movies .. "Waa waa I wanted to go to Tashi station to pick up some power convertersssss waa waa" ... Luke was sometimes a whiny little bitch and Threepio was annoying too. As a stand alone movie I really enjoyed TPM. The submarine/fish thing could have been cut a bit. Jar Jar served a purpose the same way Han did. Luke and Gui Gonn were the straight men and you need a slapstick man to lighten things up. TPM without Jar Jar or another "funny character" would surly make this movie one dimensional. There is a tremendous amount of material craftly placed in this movie I cannot simply say this "movie sucked" and move on. I can however agree with points about the sub/fish escape. It seems to me the people that hated this movie either had a grudge against Lucas or were not being very realistic about the film. IT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY. IT IS A NEW STORY WITH A NEW FRAME OF REFERENCE. The entire idea is that everything is new in TPM. Lucas is setting essentially 5 future movies up with this one. Episodes 2-6. People who say that they hated this movie because it wasnt as good as Eps 4,5, or 6 totally missed the F****** point!

  • May 21, 1999, 1:02 a.m. CST

    PRETEND you haven't seen the trilogy...

    by nurfherder

    First a few words about Harry's review, and then my own points... FIRST: when I read in Harry's review "Mesa luved him!", my first reaction was "Oh, no! Harry sold out." But as I read on & saw Harry make some very valid points, I began to believe. I began to believe that Harry truly DID love this movie. And that made me happy, because, well, hey, I really admire his points of view, and have come to agree with many (not all!) of his reviews. Okay, SECOND: my initial reaction to the movie was one of awe... although at the beginning when Liam/Ewan enter the conference room, it seemed stilted and poorly acted. But in my mind, that problem went away very soon. I soon found myself whisked away, yes, to the very same universe I had previously experienced. Which brings me to the subject of this post: "PRETEND you haven't seen the trilogy." What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that as part of this storyline, ANH simply has not happened yet. Which seems obvious, but yet everyone keeps comparing ANH and TPM, and find TPM comes up wanting. What I did, and what I suggest many reviewers/TPM haters cannot do, is put everything I knew of the Trilogy completely out of my mind. Gone. Kaput. Goodbye. Finito. Yes, I realize that it is totally impossible to do. It's a form of "suspension of disbelief"; since we must suspend disbelief before entering the Star Wars universe, so must the viewer "suspend suspension of disbelief" in ANH, ESB, and RotJ. In my mind, TPM worked completely after I said, "How would I feel if I had seen TPM FIRST, with NO preconceived notions about the universe in which it is set?" The answer to that question brought joy, selective amnesia to all I had learned about it, and a total immersion in the story, characters, and plot. I was ten years old again, seeing the SW universe for the first time. SUMMARY: So, if you can put ANH, ESB, and RotJ out of your mind (hard, I know...), then it all works. Just remember that we have seen the chapters all mixed up and out of order; the whole thing makes literary, symbolic, and mythical sense. FOR EXAMPLE: I did not like the concept of "midi-chlorians" either at first. But I thought, what if I did not "know what I know". Or, what if midi-chlorians had been established from the word Go? Or, even better, imagine that Lucas knew all along, he just did not feel it necessary to detail it like that the first time around (and I see the whole prior Trilogy as one complete story arc). I hope that helps the faithful to dismiss the rampant negativity, and love the movie for what it is: Just a movie, but a darn good one with a darn good story.

  • May 21, 1999, 1:09 a.m. CST

    I saw it, and it was.....good.

    by Vin

    I've just tortured myself by going to see TPM at a 3am show in one of those massive Silver City theatres. I'm now sitting at work in a zombified state (3am + 2hour movie + 1/2 hour drive home + 45 min drive to work = dead dog tired)and trying to extrapolate what I really felt about the film. I've managed to distill my feelings down to this. I liked it...I didn't love it. And I've managed to find out why: 1) James Bond vs. Star Wars : I have always had a fundamental problem with Bond flicks being 80% verbal political intrigue, with major characters discussing what's happening ad nausem, with the last 20 minutes of the film being action packed. There is to me a fundamental difference between exposition and dramatic tension, or rather SAYING & DOING. Trade embargos and blockades are rather dry subjects for tension, as the stakes on both sides don't seem very high. There is no black and white in this type of situation because we seem to be dealing with shades of greed rather than the black and white of good vs. evil. I suspect that even Lucas felt this way because it seems to me that Jar Jar is sometimes forced into the duller scenes to distract the kiddies from the fact that the political situation is unclear and bland. 2) The continuous planet jumping. In ANH, we went from Tatooine to the Death Star to Yavin in a linear order. In PM, we go from Fed Station to Naboo to the Gungan City to Naboos liquid center to the Naboo palace to Tatooine to Coruscant and back to Naboo. Oy. This wouldn't be so bad, but Lucas seems unable to allow the audience to absorb one place for more than an MTV video bite. Remember the long shot of Luke looking at the 2 suns of Tatooine in ANH? No such stablizing shots in TPM that allow the audience to absorb the beauty of the alien worlds. A shame. 3) THERE IS ONE PRIME INGREDIENT MISSING: THE DEVIL-MAY-CARE SCOUNDREL! The Jedis (all of them) are stiff, unbending, and extremely pious. All of the Naboo citizens are the same, serious and single minded (except for the lightest touch by Amidala). The Gungans? Generic goofballs (all of 'em). Where was the scoundrel? WHERE WAS OUR NEW HAN SOLO? C'mon, when we were kids, who wanted to play Luke? Everyone wanted to be HAN! His character archetype provided a much needed rebellious heart-of-gold perpective which the audience could identify with. We loved him because he didn't care for rules but always did the right thing. After watching last night, I realized that Harrison Ford truly brought a little magic to the original that seemed to slip past Lucas on this one. That's it in a nutshell. No for some minor reality checks for the story. Minor, but irksome: 1)Why would there be air onboard transport ships that are carrying only robots? What would be the point other than to give our Jedis an easy plot device to get down to the planet? 2) Why would Qui Gon say he wanted Jar Jar as a navigator (without any indication that he could do the job), and then proceed never to ask him where they're going, instead saying that the Force would guide them (Jedis never need roadmaps)? 3) WHAT EXACTLY DID NABOO EXPORT THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT? In Dune it was easy because everyone wanted the spice melange and it only came from one place. But what did Naboo have to offer that made it so valuable and strategically important? An unlimited supply of fashion designers? Veins of pure chrome? Puzzling. 4) WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH ALL OF THE FANCY WALKING ITEMS IN THE FILM? Rolling/walking robots, a walking throne, a walking holo viewer. I hate to sound like a nag, but I think that it was just the CGI guys showing how fancy they could get. All of the robots and devices in ANH to ROTJ were on ROLLERS, why all of a sudden do we have all of this wandering stuff? Anybody remember the Death Star droid? 5) WHAT PURPOSE EXACTLY DID THE SHIELDS SERVE IN THE FINAL LIGHTSABER BATTLE? I'LL TELL YOU : PLOT DEVICE. Period. I felt that there was no justification for the shields and that they made no sense. Well, there it is. Not a bad film, but I would rate it as No. 3 out of the four existing films. You do the math. May the Force be wit' ch'all.

  • May 21, 1999, 1:20 a.m. CST

    Sidious/Palpatine

    by Tim W

    Were most of you dazed from camping out for the past couple of weeks? Sidious/Palpatine being one in the same is OBVIOUS 1. Ian McDiarmid played EMPORER PALPATINE in Return of the Jedi 2. The shot on him at Qui-Jon's funeral after Mace and Yoda are talking about how there are always 2 sith; and now one is dead..

  • May 21, 1999, 1:22 a.m. CST

    Yoda and Ben vanished because...

    by acamp

    ...they died in a state of peace and acceptance. Qui-Gon and Darth/Anakin did not.

  • May 21, 1999, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Any chance Darth Maul's a Mandalorian?

    by acamp

    Just a thought. Wondering what Boba looks like under that helmet and how Lucas could bring Maul (or a surrogate) back for II or III.

  • I've just tortured myself by going to see TPM at a 3am show in one of those massive Silver City theatres. I'm now sitting at work in a zombified state (3am + 2hour movie + 1/2 hour drive home + 45 min drive to work = dead dog tired)and trying to extrapolate what I really felt about the film. I've managed to distill my feelings down to this. I liked it...I didn't love it. And I've managed to find out why: 1) James Bond vs. Star Wars : I have always had a fundamental problem with Bond flicks being 80% verbal political intrigue, with major characters discussing what's happening ad nausem, with the last 20 minutes of the film being action packed. There is to me a fundamental difference between exposition and dramatic tension, or rather SAYING & DOING. Trade embargos and blockades are rather dry subjects for tension, as the stakes on both sides don't seem very high. There is no black and white in this type of situation because we seem to be dealing with shades of greed rather than the black and white of good vs. evil. I suspect that even Lucas felt this way because it seems to me that Jar Jar is sometimes forced into the duller scenes to distract the kiddies from the fact that the political situation is unclear and bland. 2) The continuous planet jumping. In ANH, we went from Tatooine to the Death Star to Yavin in a linear order. In PM, we go from Fed Station to Naboo to the Gungan City to Naboos liquid center to the Naboo palace to Tatooine to Coruscant and back to Naboo. Oy. This wouldn't be so bad, but Lucas seems unable to allow the audience to absorb one place for more than an MTV video bite. Remember the long shot of Luke looking at the 2 suns of Tatooine in ANH? No such stablizing shots in TPM that allow the audience to absorb the beauty of the alien worlds. A shame. 3) THERE IS ONE PRIME INGREDIENT MISSING: THE DEVIL-MAY-CARE SCOUNDREL! The Jedis (all of them) are stiff, unbending, and extremely pious. All of the Naboo citizens are the same, serious and single minded (except for the lightest touch by Amidala). The Gungans? Generic goofballs (all of 'em). Where was the scoundrel? WHERE WAS OUR NEW HAN SOLO? C'mon, when we were kids, who wanted to play Luke? Everyone wanted to be HAN! His character archetype provided a much needed rebellious heart-of-gold perpective which the audience could identify with. We loved him because he didn't care for rules but always did the right thing. After watching last night, I realized that Harrison Ford truly brought a little magic to the original that seemed to slip past Lucas on this one. That's it in a nutshell. No for some minor reality checks for the story. Minor, but irksome: 1)Why would there be air onboard transport ships that are carrying only robots? What would be the point other than to give our Jedis an easy plot device to get down to the planet? 2) Why would Qui Gon say he wanted Jar Jar as a navigator (without any indication that he could do the job), and then proceed never to ask him where they're going, instead saying that the Force would guide them (Jedis never need roadmaps)? 3) WHAT EXACTLY DID NABOO EXPORT THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT? In Dune it was easy because everyone wanted the spice melange and it only came from one place. But what did Naboo have to offer that made it so valuable and strategically important? An unlimited supply of fashion designers? Veins of pure chrome? Puzzling. 4) WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH ALL OF THE FANCY WALKING ITEMS IN THE FILM? Rolling/walking robots, a walking throne, a walking holo viewer. I hate to sound like a nag, but I think that it was just the CGI guys showing how fancy they could get. All of the robots and devices in ANH to ROTJ were on ROLLERS, why all of a sudden do we have all of this wandering stuff? Anybody remember the Death Star droid? 5) WHAT PURPOSE EXACTLY DID THE SHIELDS SERVE IN THE FINAL LIGHTSABER BATTLE? I'LL TELL YOU : PLOT DEVICE. Period. I felt that there was no justification for the shields and that they made no sense. Well, there it is. Not a bad film, but I would rate it as No. 3 out of the four existing films. You do the math. May the Force be wit' ch'all.

  • May 21, 1999, 1:32 a.m. CST

    It's not OUR movie

    by Tiger Ninestein

    I can't believe that people are getting so upset about this movie. Lucas may have been wrong when he said this was "just a movie", even HE knows it's more than that. But at the same time a lot of people are acting like Lucas has let down, as though he owes them something. No one's being forced at gun point to see this movie. No one's being forced to buy the merchandise. And I don't recall there being any contract at the end of ROTJ that stated we must see TPM. If you don't like TPM then that's too bad. Get used to it. THIS IS THE WAY IT IS! This is what Lucas has decided happens at the beginning of his the story (emphasis on HIS not) and it's not going to change.

  • May 21, 1999, 1:33 a.m. CST

    A Darth Maul vs the Sandpeople Scene Needed

    by Norm3

    Lucas should of had Darth Maul fight a savage scene with some Sand People on Tatooine at least!!!!!!

  • May 21, 1999, 1:45 a.m. CST

    DARTH SIDIOUS' REAL IDENTITY

    by Vin

    I was looking at the Internet Movie Database 2 weeks ago, and I was looking at the cast for TPM. In there, they had Ian McDiarmid listed as playing Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious. They must have been alerted by Lucasfilm to change the listing in order to keep the secrecy. Besides, how could anyone mistake that chin?

  • May 21, 1999, 2:35 a.m. CST

    "TPM" -- the ultimate boy's movie

    by krjam

    Before I walked into the theater to watch "TPM", my expectations were as follows: it'll have great production design, great effects, and a weak script. My expectations were perfectly fulfilled. The film was jam-packed with "stuff", neat action set-pieces, and the throwaway details we all enjoy in the "Star Wars" films. But Lucas forgot perhaps THE number one rule of good scriptwriting: that a story must be carried forward by characters' EMOTIONS -- their tensions, conflicts, wants, and needs. In "TPM", plot is carried forward purely by moves and countermoves by the good guys and bad guys. There's a lot of running around, shooting, strategizing, and blowing things up, but throughout, I kept asking myself, "Who ARE these people? What makes them tick?" Most crucially, there is no well-defined chemistry between Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan: we have no sense of their interiors, of what is at stake for them personally as master and apprentice. They just come across as anonymous guys who do neat tricks. One result of this is that the climactic lightsaber duel, cool as it might look, has no emotional resonance, no emotional intensity -- it hasn't been built up to the way the Luke/Vader duel was in "TESB". Instead, it feels kind of arbitrary. In a similar way, much of the humor in the film -- Jar Jar et cetera, feels forced. Humor REALLY works when it arises out of recognizable feelings and motivations. But since we don't really come to know anyone in the film, the comedy feels like it has been "wedged in". So when I say "TPM" is the ultimate boy's film, I mean that it feels like a film a boy would write: lots of scrambling around, but very little attention paid to emotions. (By the way, I'm male, so I know whereof I speak.) The outcome is that the film feels emotionally flat. We don't respond to it viscerally. A few things in the film's favor: It doesn't try to be more than it is. It's light adventure, Lucas knows it's light adventure, and I give him credit for that. Also, the film works hard to show us lots of "new stuff", thereby avoiding the "Return of the Jedi" syndrome. The production design is, of course, wonderful -- the costume design especially. And there's a visual unity to the whole film which I found impressive. But the story still lacks emotional unity. It doesn't grab you by the gut. It doesn't give you anyone whose problems you can relate to. Luke may have lived on a desert planet orbiting a binary star system, but he was also, fundamentally, a frustrated teenaged farm boy. We simply cannot relate to Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan in the same way -- and the script doesn't even try to reach us on that level. I think this film had plenty of neat stuff in it, and I appreciate that. But the lack of emotional investment in the characters makes the film nothing MORE than a boy's film. Perhaps the next film will give us a little more to hold onto.

  • May 21, 1999, 2:37 a.m. CST

    The trouble with Harry('s review).

    by 7859

    Harry makes this event his reason for living over the past few years, we endure countless pages of speculation and anticipation, we FINALLY log on to read his review, and -- he's not sure how he feels yet? He's going to have to see it 20 more times? NO movie critic worth their salt has to see ANY film 20 times to know how they feel about it. It doesn't take much to read between Harry's lines: he's devastated, numbed into shock that something he placed so much faith and hope in could be so appallingly inconsequential and poorly executed. Believe it, he is DYING inside. He knows EXACTLY how he feels, and I for one am sorry that he doesn't see fit to do a gonad-check and just SHOUT IT OUT. This kind of tepid wishi-washiness from the Grand Prince of Geek means only one thing: THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES! The only honorable thing for Lucas to do is to grab a competent story editor and re-edit this crushingly disappointing, glorified CGI highlights reel for video release, taking into account the grand majority consensus of negative opinions from across the country (and soon to be around the world). Lucas obviously loves the technology, and it's the only right thing to do. Maybe in time we'll forget the disastrous theatrical version ever existed.

  • May 21, 1999, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Re: "...30's era serial, blah-blah-blah..."

    by acamp

    >This film was basically a 30's era serial with a big budget. || Well... duh. That was the idea.

  • May 21, 1999, 3:33 a.m. CST

    YES!!!!

    by Julilla

    This movie rocked! For all you geek boys who hated it..wow, you must have serious ADD. I didn't feel this movie talked down to me at all. Yeah, there were moments for kids, so what? I was engrossed in the political manoeuvering, and the sheer spectacle of it! Lloyd did fine, he was a 9 year old kid and acted like one. Jar Jar was annoying, but not so much that he took away from the film. And my gods, what a cinematic moment...one I will always remember...Darth Maul pacing back and forth like a wild beast eyeing his prey, looking for any weakness. Gotta say, I loved it! I'm going to see it again tonight...I can't wait! BTW, Dolfanar...guy, lay off on the Monty Python song lyrics, okay? Thanks.

  • May 21, 1999, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Camper X - Obi Wan was Pissed!

    by Jade Falcon

    You noted how Obi-Wan was royally pissed off when he finally attacked Darth Maul at the end. That was actually one of the issues I had wished was more directly addressed in the movie - (*SPOILERS*) - If you watch Obi-Wan after Jinn's death, you see him vying for self-control over his anger and his hatred of Maul. He fails. He lights his sabre and aggressively prepares for the battle (unlike Qui-Gon who passively meditats), his "hate makes him strong" as he launches a devastating attack on Maul. And he loses. He is thrown over the edge of the pit. It is only when he conquers his fear, hate and aggression that he can actually win. SIGNIFICANCE - Can a Jedi who can not yet truly control his own anger and aggression train Anakin away from the Dark side? I think we all know the answer to that question...

  • May 21, 1999, 3:56 a.m. CST

    Boba Fett in Menace?

    by Pilcrow

    It's entirely possible that I'm wrong here, OK, so please no flaming, BUT... Pay careful attention to the scene where Anakin's Naboo fighter flies out of the hangar and into the sky. The ship get's shot at by another ship parked outside the hangar, just to the right of the entrance. This ship bears an uncanny resemblance to the Slave-1. Anyone else care to verify this? Tell me I'm full of crap? Overall, I was impressed. Yes, it has its faults. Did we really need all those cameos? Why doesn't Lucas understand that references to the Star Wars trilogy are not a substitute for story? Why do the Gungans all look like Janis Joplin? I'm forced into the realization that I don't know if I like it or not. It mesmerized me at times, it also annoyed me at times. PM lacked the galloping wonderment of the earlier films...too much of it looks calculated. But it's still wondrous, and it manages to instill the feelings the original films evoked, which is no small accomplishment considering how much older the original fans are. To those who condemn the movie, what else has made you feel like that? And I'm not apologizing for Lucas here...he did some things that simply didn't work. It's still Star Wars, tho, and I'm glad to have it back, even if it isn't everything it could be.

  • May 21, 1999, 4:13 a.m. CST

    YOU PEOPLE SLAY ME!

    by Shelly

    What cracks me up is to read all of your negative reviews of this movie. Yet, in three years you're all going to line up a month early to see Episode 2 just to bash the shit out of it and say George Lucas sucks (yet again). Of course three years from that time, you'll once again line up to see Episode 3 and bash the shit out of that one. Once thats all over with you'll stand around complaining as to why George won't make Episodes 7, 8, and 9. Hmmm. Did any of you like Star Wars, Empire, Jedi? I was just wondering. In fact the real question might be this, after reading so much negative shit about every movie that ever comes out, is there a movie any of you DO like? As for my .02: I loved the entire film. Thought it was for kids and for adults who are still a kid at heart (maybe thats your problem...The English Patient is at Blockbuster).

  • May 21, 1999, 4:25 a.m. CST

    Too many years of analyzing

    by Samantha

    I'm beginning to wonder about all of you who are so completely upset about this movie because it was, in fact, a pretty good film. If you had never seen a Star Wars film before, this movie would probably have blown you away as it will the new generation of Star Wars watchers. For those of you who are complaning so much about the lack of development of characters and bad acting, have you considered what the first three films were like? To say that Jake Lloyd was dull and acted like too much of a kid is silly. Remember just how bad Mark Hamill was, all of his extreme whining? And character development? There really wasn't much character development in A New Hope. We know that Obi Wan is a Jedi who knew Luke's father. We know that Luke is a whiney teenager who lives with his Aunt & Uncle and never knew his father. We know Princess Leia is a Princess, but that's it. We never even see her planet because it gets blown up. And Han Solo? We know he's a smuggler. Period. And other characters? We really don't find out anything AT ALL about Boba Fett in any of the movies. The only reason everyone knows so much about the characters in the first three movies was because there were, in fact, THREE movies and then 20 years of watching them over and over and over. Also in that 20 years was the studying Star Wars books, manuals, philosophies,etc. Plenty of time to analyze everything to death. So consider how you'll feel about this film after seeing it more than once and deciding that you absolutely hate it because you were dissapointed and thought it was just stupid and you didn't get complete biographies of every character. Some things have to be left up to your imagination anyway. Some things were left open to interpretation. Give it time. I bet even Jar Jar has at least SOME decent qualities once you learn his past. Maybe something is really wrong with him and we should all feel compassion for his incoherent nonsense.

  • May 21, 1999, 4:37 a.m. CST

    LUCAS is right,"get a life" you NERDS

    by zillo

    I have seen this movie twice. Once with friends and once with my father. I liked the movie even better the second time. First time was with the hardcore fans (costumes, sabre battles in the aisles, and so on). The hardcore fans were very critical and applauded lightly at the end. bitched and complained as we walked out. The regular people who I saw it with the second time (middle aged and older) clapped and whooped and hollered at the end. What does that tell you? It means that you NERDS are so critical of every little detail that you lossed something. It is a very entertaining movie as a whole. My father who is 62 and hates everything thought it was very good and I even heard him chuckle a few times. It seems to me that Joe Average loves this film. Also my niece (who is 6) who saw it asked right away after her viewing when she can go again. She told me thats all anybody in her school is talking about. Its obvious LUCAS wanted to do this. Get a whole new generation of fans. He is very shrewd in my opinion. Come on people "LIGHTEN UP". The magic is not lossed, its just lossed on you people. It is just a movie and it is a hell of alot better then anything out there.

  • May 21, 1999, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Character Developement?

    by MUVEEFAN

    In 1977 I was 7 years old. The first thing I did after seeing Star Wars was run home, log onto the internet and bitch about bad character developement. Then I constantly nagged my parents into buying me every star wars toy, curtain, poster, sheet and pillowcase set and action figure I could get. While I was watching the movie yesterday I didn't have to tap into my inner child. I was simply a seven year old boy rooting for Anakin and having fun. I have made a nice life for myself since '77. I have a good job, nice house, wonderful wife and a child who is excited to see the movie. I didn't have anything at stake when I watched the movie but a $4.75 ticket. I feel I got my moneys worth and some. It was good fun and I'm looking forward to the final two movies of the first trilogy.

  • May 21, 1999, 5:09 a.m. CST

    Vanity Fair Photo Spread

    by Jack Burton

    Does anyone know why there is a shot of Ben fighting Maul on Tattoine in the Star Wars Vanity Fair issue from a few months back? Was it a promotional thing or edited out of the completed film? By the way (Jar-Jar haters will love this) I was talking to a buddy that said he wished Qui Gon had just cut Jar Jar in half when he ran into him in the forest. Of course he also had many other scenes that he wanted Jar Jar to be killed via lightsaber or blaster, and then eaten.

  • 14. You can stick your well-laid Death Star plans up your well-laid ass. 13. You must go to Dagobah, where you will be taught by Yoda, the sly, sweet motherfucker who taught me this shit. 12. Thats no moon, asshole - thats a fucking space station! 11. I don't care how good you say they are. I ain't fightin' alongside no fuck-ass teddy bears. 10. You don't need to see my goddamn identification, 'cause these ain't the motherfuckin' droids you're looking for. 9. Womp rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know, 'cause even if it did I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. 8. This is your father's lightsaber. When you absolutely, positively, have to kill every motherfuckin' stormtrooper in the room, accept no substitutes. 7. If Obi-wan ain't home then I don't know what the fuck we're gonna do. I ain't got no other connections on Tattooine. 6. Feel the Force, motherfucker. 5. "What!?" ain't no planet I've ever heard of! Do they speak Bocce on... What? 4. You sendin' the Fett? Shit, Hutt, that's all you had to say! 3. Yeah Chewie Rocky Horror's got a hair problem. What the brother gonna do? He's a wookie. 2. Does Jabba the Hutt look like a bitch? 1. Hand me my lightsaber ... it's the one that says, 'Bad Mother Fucker.'

  • May 20, 1999, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Thank You

    by Malafar

    Thank you for seeing the movie for what is suppose to be! A sit down, (on the edge of your seat) relaxing, trip through the cosmos of entertainment!!!! By the way I liked it also.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Reflections on the Menace

    by Agent13013

    I knew deep down while I waited in line last night at Manns Chinese that nothing, no movie, no matter how amazing, could possibly live up to all the hype, hopes and expectations that had been placed on The Phantom Menace. So, with that thought in my head, I approached the movie with an open mind, expecting nothing. So, I sat, I watched, I listened. I heard and added to the crowd's screams at the sight of "A long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far away," and I kept silent at the end, except for a few claps. I left the theatre confused. I didn't hate the movie, I honestly didn't know what I thought about it. (for anyone who cares, spoilers are going to start popping up now) The film was nothing at all like any of the other films. We all expected a War, a grand battle with amazing space fights, huge ground battles, and a figth at the end between two enemies who have been at each other's throats for years. We wanted to jump into the middle of things, to learn the back story of this saga as we went. Here's the problem. This IS the back story. There is no empire, no rebellion, no giant conflict, no battles. Instead, we have a trade dispute. On the surface, nothing much really happens in this movie. If it were released as a seperate entity, it would be a gigantic failure. But here's where this gets interesting. The best parts of the film, are the things that don't happen. People have complained that this film is a childish piece of Monkey Dung. I disagree. This is a Dark film. It's about evil, plain and simple. Screw Darth Maul, he's neat to look at, but he isn't the enemy. He's a glorified Storm Trooper. This is a film about the twisted, evil political manuverings of a power hungry Senator. Everything the "good guys" did in this film was all actually exactly what Palpantine wanted. Our Heros were inadvertantly agents of evil. Everyone saw the smile on the soon to be emporer's face at the end. He won. And what was great about this movie, is that nobody knew it, except us. The heros were completely oblivious. And while they cheered at the end, we sat there stunned. Because Evil had Triumphed. That is what is great about this film. It's a look at the power of evil. It's a look at how a boy who wants nothing but to help others can be turned into the most evil being ever. The childish stuff was thrown in to please the kids, because all of this is above them. This film, is sinister. And guess what? It's gonna get worse. Sure the battles will get cooler, but remember, there's no happy ending here. You want to see the ending, watch Jedi. The reason people keep complaing about this film is simple, they can't deal with a story about heros who are, no doubt about it, going to fail. People walked in expecting John Wayne fighting good old WW II, and ended up seeing Saving Private Ryan. Go Watch the film again, pay attention. It's much deeper than you think, sit back, and appreciate it for what it is.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Aw Geez - "eh?" is right...

    by jeannie

    I just came back and saw that the first half of my earlier post somehow got "lost." I have no idea what I did wrong, but would it be alright if I just said, "The Midichlorians Made Me Do It" and leave it at that? :) My post was supposed to read: I can't believe the Force is generated (and manipulated?) by microscopic critters. Does this mean that if GL releases a 'Super Duper 30th Anniversary Special Edition of ANH' that that scene in the Falcon will be redubbed this way? -- Han Solo: 'There ain't no amoebas controlling MY destiny ...'" etc. etc. Ah - never mind. It was just my goofy attempt to try to keep my sense of humour about a plotline that feels like some weird Star Trekkian Nanitemare...

  • May 20, 1999, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Communists suffering from ADD.

    by AcidGuru

    Now this is funny. Anyone that didnt find the film interesting is a communist with ADD? Damn! Since we are stereotyping I guess one could psycho-analyze fanboys as artistically illiterate jabbas that cant get their peckers wet.

  • May 20, 1999, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Remember.....

    by BigChris

    Keep this is mind when you read the reviews of fans and critics. Myself, along with others, thought TPM was a GREAT Star Wars movie. If you check out some of the polls on the net about TPM, almost all of then state at least 60% or more of the fans thought TPM was great, giving TPM their highest rating. Bravo George Lucas for bringing us a very exciting and entertaining piece of movie magic and history. To all those that didn't like it, thought it sucked, etc. Remember, Lucas can't please everyone with TPM. I'm sorry it didn't please you guys. Big Chris

  • May 20, 1999, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Origins

    by Foster Zygote

    It's too bad that more people didn't pay attention to their history professors. I kept expecting Palpatine to say that he had von Hindenburg's blessing to become chancellor. And after all that abuse from bitter little toads shouting "You'll see. It'll be the worst film of all time. You'll all come crawling back to me and say I was right. You'll see" for months, it's such justice to see their sad attempts to make their sqweeky little voices heard over the overwhelming enthusiasm for this movie. To those who simply didn't like it: OK, sorry you didn't like it. But to the arrogant jerks who called anyone with any hope a fool: "THPPTHPPPTTHPT" And you can quote me on that.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Whew!

    by JGenie

    I saw the film last night at 9pm. The theater was packed. Everyone had a bitchin good time and applauded loudly when it was over. I went with 6 people (all adults, btw) and every single one of us loved it. For those naysayers and people who whine that there was "no plot", I would like to know what film *they* saw since this movie had more of a complex plot than all three original movies combined! I was scared about Jar Jar too having read so many damned negative things about him prior to seeing the movie -- guess what, he was great. He was funny, and as Harry pointed out, he was never really the focus of attention so all this other stuff was always going on around him. Anyone else notice that esp. in the battle, whenever he did something klutzy, it wound up with the right effect? Almost like the Force was working with him anyway. :-) Also, for everyone bitching and moaning about the whole virgin birth concept, here's a clue for you. Jesus was NOT the only one in mythology ever to be concieved of in this manner. It's called parthenogenesis and it's a mainstay of many different myths. It's part of the dying god cycle -- the god/hero is born to his mother who raises him, he falls in love with her, impregnates her, is sacrificed to keep the land going and then dies, only to be reborn again. While I don't think Lucas will do this literally, you can see the mythic elements already falling into place. There are so many levels to this story and so many neat little things falling into place -- if you hated the film, it's your choice, but it sounds like you just psyched yourself up into hating this film before it even started. Why? Cuz it's not YOUR own vision of what should happen. Guess what? Get a clue. It's Lucas's own universe and he can do whatever he damn pleases. Don't like it? Don't go see it...

  • May 20, 1999, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Is this the religion of TOMACE?

    by nick kinski

    George Lucas should just make animated movies. The acting in TPM is dull, lifeless and just plain bad. Fart and poop jokes for the 9 year olds? George, you are now a conservitive capitalist pandering to the LCD. Boy, wasn't the new score memorable???? Oh boy, by 2005 I'll get to see that Anakin becomes Darth Vader!! HEY GEORGE THROW US A NEW BONE TO CHEW ON, You know like Radioland Murders. That's right I'm upset. I can't see the exciting pod race or dual light sabre battle anymore, just the things that bother me. Well, I guess you shouldn't wait 16 years to continue telling a story. Painters paint, actors act, FILMMAKERS MAKE FILMS!! I'm out.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:10 p.m. CST

    It was terrible. Simply terrible

    by Funmazer

    I wanted this movie to be good. I drove to the theatre with my friend screaming THE PHAAAAATOM MEEEEEEENACE! the entire way. I was grinning ear-to-ear during the opening crawl... But then, as soon as a Nimedian talked, it started downhill. How can we take those guys seriously as 'bad' when their accents are terrible? Not to mention the lip-sync of their lips, awful!, it CAN be done right, can you say 'Babe?' I think the biggest problem with this movie was the terrible directing/editing. It seemed they tried to fit a 4 hour movie into 2 hours. Didn't it seem like every scene coulda used an extra minute at the beginning and end? The transistions were just terrible. When the Jedi have to get down to Naboo... One second, they are in space, next, running through a swamp! SHOW how they got there! What if they hadn't shown Han Solo & Co. emerging from the smuggling compartments in EP4? I think Lucas wrote himself into a corner with that scene, and cheated out of it. Jar Jar was terrible. Terrible. TERRIBLE. Probably the most annoying THING every in a motion picture. He wasn't even funny. The kid behind me said 'Mommy, what time is it?' Not once did a joke get more than 20 people or so to laugh. No cheers, no applause. No "Dodge This"'s. Of course, that was a line from a GOOD movie. Jake Lylod was an abomination. Terrible. Just terrible. I thought they had banned that 'type' of kid-talk, you know, the Old Yeller/Shane/Every movie from the 50's way of boys talking. The scene where he blows up the ship - embarassing. ID4 was better, people. The Pod Race... I didn't care. If I cared about Anakin, rather than wanted him dead, I might have liked it. No, I wouldn't have, it ripped of Ben Hur SO badly at the end it was EMBARRASING. I put my head into my hands when I saw that. Willam Wyler's estate should sue. Please, geeks, explain HOW it was OK to rip off that 'win race by snagging side of pod by accident' from Ben Hur. The editing was boring, give me Matrix! Heck, the Fifth Element was better than this! At least we knew what was going on with that movie. Qui-Gon talking to Obi Wan with that walkie-talky for most of Act 2. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? I bet those crappy scene were part of the Summer '98 reshoots where they tried fixing things up. Oh, by the when, every Star Wars geek must submit their lives to the Trekkies now. He analyzes the blood sample by hooking it up to his "Tri-corder!" And, of course, it's OFF THE CHARTS. The midi-cholrian idea undermines the whole thought of the Force being a religion, thereby making many points in the Trilogy null and void. Fake double queen. Do something COOL with that! Shoot the queen, make us shocked, and THEN reveal the secret double! No, she just stands in a hallway, then hold up the Vice Roy with the Pistol-Equiped Chair. The end battle with the droids/Gungans - LAME! Fake people, fighting fake people, on a fake background = FAKE! Crap, the battles in A Bug's Life were better, heck that FILM was better! Now, I am not some 'dumb-bell' fun-ride lover. I consider myself to be quite knowledged with film. But this movie failed on every level. No excitment, no characters, no nothing. People, we deserve better! There ARE perfect movies! We just don't get them anymore. You don't HAVE to like this movie. It's OK to say it sucks. There is no law (yet). Something else this year will be bigger than Phantom Menace, mark my words. MARK THEM NOW.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Use Your Head

    by MUVEEFAN

    First I loved it. Really did. Next consider this. If Lucas had thought The Phantom Menace was going to be better than A New Hope he would have filmed it first. There was a reason he started with the second trilogy.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Go back to your cribs babies! GOO GOO GA GA!

    by HAL9000

    The Phantom Menace could've been the greatest movie of all time and people still would've bashed it as if it was the 1999 equivalent of Crapzilla. No one can appreciate anything anymore, plain and simple. If Lucas did the trilogy in numerical order, and A New Hope was released last Wednesday 90's style, people still would've trashed it? Why you might ask, because these zealots get off on their own sense of audacity by bashing a mainstream film that will be embraced by a staggering amount of people. I predict that in twenty years, people will look back on TPM and the upcoming installments with the same amount of admiration as the old school trilogy. TPM was a blast, anyone who didn't have fun watching it needs to check their pulse. TPM will mostly appeal to the kiddies, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of it. Bear in mind that I went into the movie expecting to loathe it, suffice it to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Let's lighten up a little; give credit where credit is due, and realize that George Lucas has more talent in a fingernail than you have in your entire body.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:21 p.m. CST

    menace was....not that good.

    by tkip

    After seeing the movie last night(and the theatre wasn't sold out)theres no getting away from some simple truths.The good news?The movie wasn't a diasaster.The bad news??It was not that good either.I found as a whole the movie was somewhat slow and boring.It definitely dragged on in some spaces(namely the middle segment)and those performances of some of the actors were really flat.In fact the only characters to show any real emotion were Jar Jar and anakin.And Yoda looked wrong.And who thought the accents of those aliens would be okay??They were horribly irritating.In fact,the only real exiciting parts were the podrace and the light sabre duel.That sabre fight was simply incrediable,by far the best in the series.Too bad it was short.And people are right about Darth Maul was completely wasted.He shows up fpr like,10 minutes in the movie,says maybe a couple of lines then bites the big one.Its my feeling that Lucas is really out of practice and if he makes the same mistakes with the next movie,hes in big trouble.So I give it a passing grade but barely.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Give it another chance *spoilers*

    by Elan Vitale

    First of all, let me launch a pre-emptive strike and announce that I do not have Mr. Lucas' private parts in my mouth. And I love The Phantom Menace. I think most people were like huh? and a little dazed after they saw it, but go back and give it another chance. Here's some things to watch for: Annikin's mother - she is clearly lying to Qui-Gonn when they talk about his "father". Also at the pyre scene the framing of Palpatine, Amidila, Obi-Wan, and Annikin is so eerie, it makes you wonder who the father really is? Let's enjoy the mystery until Episode II comes out.

  • May 20, 1999, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Trade Federation

    by Apple-Jack

    If you watch the Cantina scene in A New Hope, You can clearly see two of the Trade Ferdation dudes talking. ...It's quite interesting to see the other movies after seeing this one - lots of questions arise BTW - The movie was great despite a few reservations - go see it AGAIN! Apple Jack

  • 24 hours later and I'm still bothered. Actually, I'm bothered more. 10 a.m. I go to the BEAUTIFUL new Cinerama here in Coffeetown U.S.A., and by the end of the evening I had already dissected the movie to pieces. Ultimately, I don't think it was a bad movie, but ask yourself honestly, does it deserve to be a Star Wars movie? Changes I would have made. 1. The Trade Federation Aliens in the beginning, yeah, they needed subtitles. In fact, most all alien characters needed them. Think about it, all this time the human characters could interact with the alien characters despite linguistical differences, yet suddenly everybody in this galaxy is speakin freakin' English? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Okay, next. Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan need to be attacked on their way to the ship. Obi-Wan becomes angry, Qui-Gonn tells him to remain calm. They're shot down onto Naboo. No need for them to have to even arrive at the ship, Sidious orders them to be attacked. Down on Naboo, they're wading through the swamp. Have a moment of interaction between Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan. "Obi-Wan, you still have something to learn. You training is near complete, but the force tells me not yet." "Master Qui-Gonn, I'm trying." Blah-blah. Now you have interaction between the characters, something that was WOEFULLY missing in the entire movie. Qui-Gonn says "You are still in training, use the Force to guide us from this swamp" Obi-Wan "Okay" they take two steps and fall flat into the mud. Now they look foolish, and HUMAN. Don't get me started on Jar-Jar. But, since he's necessary to the story, at least keep him in. The story progresses. Now they're on Tantooine. First, when Qui-Gonn met the boy, Anakin needed to be shy. He needed to be introverted. The kid is a technical genius. Present him like a shy, fascinated child with an amazing gift for engineering and flying. He needs to see everything with speculative wonder. Qui-Gonn takes the boy home and meets his mother. The bulk of the devolpment of Anakin as a character needed to be the Mother telling Qui-Gonn about his abilities. Anakin needed to be in another room, watching and listening silently with curiosity that would be the nature of a child, particularly a gifted child. None of this ridiculous bravura and cockiness the kid portrayed. It left me disliking the character, and Lucas needs us to love his character and then have the rug pulled out from us. Of the people I saw the movie with, not a single one liked his character, even the fanatics. You need to feel sorry because you want the boy to succeed but knowing what his success will mean in the future makes that difficult. Some of the people I was with actually wanted him to LOSE the podrace. That's a bad sign. The midi-chlorian shit and the immaculate conception garble, just plain BAD. The best part of the Force is that it is unexplained to the viewer. It's the magical ability characters like Darth, Luke and Yoda had that the others didn't that made Star Wars so wonderful. Now it's all microscopic organisms. That has permanently tainted the series. From now on, when I watch Star Wars and Vader says "The force is strong in this one", I know he means, "He's got a high midi-chlorian count" Wow. Lucas really fucked up that one. Next up, when Anakin meets Obi-Wan, that was fine, but there needed to be more of a connection between Anakin and Obi-wan later, and here's how. The light-saber. What boyhood fantasy didn't eventually involve having a light saber? Have a moment where Anakin, remember he's got a knack for mechanics and engineering, is looking at Obi-Wan's light-saber, so Obi-Wan takes fires it up and lets the boy look at it. Says "Don't let Qui-Gonn" see you with this, he'll kill me". Could you imagine the wonder and spectacle to a little child holding a freakin' light-saber. There a bond is formed that would pave the way for the future movies, far more so than TPM actually achieved. So much more could have been worked out, but ultimately my biggest frustration lied in the ending. I didn't even have a huge problem with Anakin flying the ship out into battle...but I sure didn't need his running cowboy gunner commentary. That was stupid and uninspiring. No, it has to do with the battle and death sequences. Now, if you go along with this concept of the movie I've presented, instead of just a battle royal between a pair of Jedi and a Sith, you've got a Jedi master and a Jedi in training who has anger issues to resolve. Or problems making hasty decisions. Who knows, at least it's something that you hope he resolves by the end, thus providing you with some interest in the character, instead of having the amazing Ewan McGregor following around Qui-Gonn for the whole movie. Now, in the cargo bay at the end, D.Maul appears, Obi-Wan looks at Qui-Gonn and says "Who is this one?" Qui-Gonn, "Do you wish to go ask?" He then steps forward. Obi-Wan follows, Qui-Gonn turns and yells "Obi-Wan, protect the Queen." Obi-Wan steps forward to protest but Qui-Gonn insists "Protect the Queen." Qui-Gonn continues into his battle with Darth Maul. It is ferocious. Obi-Wan leads the Queen and the troops on towards the chamber, this should be the first time those transforming robots are seen. Now you have a four stage battle sequence. The Gungans versus the Droids, Anakin in the Ship, Obi-Wan versus Transforming droids, Maul versus Qui-Gonn. After defeating the transformers, Obi-Wan senses Qui-Gonn in danger. He leaves the Queen and her guard to find Qui-Gonn. As he approaches the chamber where the two are fighting, he witnesses Qui-Gonn being slain. He screams. He is wrought with anger and fury and attacks Darth Maul. Their fierce battle continues on until Darth Maul gets the upper hand and knocks Obi-Wan over the edge. Obi-Wan leaps out of the huge 'well' and runs from Maul. Remember in ESB when Vader 'threw' objects at Luke using the force? Obi-Wan tries this. Maul blocks them easily and continues chasing. Cut to Qui-Gonn lying on the ground, mortally wounded. He appears to be looking at something. Cut back to Obi-Wan, he attempts to continue running from Maul but it is futile. Maul has him trapped. Obi-Wan is furious and devastated and upset but has a moment of composure. He thinks hard, cut to Qui-Gonn looking and mouthing something unheard. We see what he's looking at, the light-saber. Cut Obi-Wan's eyes. He 'sees' this. Just as D.Maul approaches to finish him off, Obi-Wan raises his hand and summons the saber. In a blur it comes to him, Obi-Wan lunges and slices the Sith, sending him to his death. Similar to the movie, but perhaps more satisfying, since it shows Obi-Wan appearing to have learned a 'final' lesson. Obi-Wan approaches Qui-Gonn whereby he announces his training is complete, and then orders him to train the boy. Now, perhaps, we learn more about Obi-Wan, the Jedi apprentice, rather than Obi-Wan, Qui-Gonn's go-fer. Finally, the funeral scene needed major improvements. Did you honestly sense loss from these characters? For Yoda and Mace Windu, this is a fallen commerade. For Obi-Wan, this is his MASTER for Christ-sakes. But most of all, for Anakin. This man both released him from slavery and took him from his mother. What emotions should a child, capable of understanding the intricacies of machinery but still young in the concept of human relation, be feeling? He's been told he will be trained, but against their wishes. So much more could have been done with this, rather than just having the boy stand there. "oh, well, he's dead." Whatever. Plus, in the end, Anakin should have been given Qui-Gonn's light-saber, by Obi-Wan. This would send the series toward the cyclical path that Lucas obviously intend for it to go. He's trying to use irony as a tool, and the plot dictates it to a point, but the characters could have been used as an even more effective tool. In fact, name one line from this movie that fans will be uttering for generations to come. I'm sorry, but in Mr. Lucas' haste to make a movie himself, i.e. write, and direct, he forgot the most important element he always had, the humans. Ultimately, we don't care about the beautiful universe he creates if the characters that inhabit it are boring. If you made it to the end of this, I thank you profusely.

  • May 20, 1999, 4:26 p.m. CST

    JMS, you jerk

    by Eos

    JMS, if you hate this movie so much, why the heck do you come to Talkback? Does sneering at people turn you on or something?

  • May 20, 1999, 4:29 p.m. CST

    My View on Episode 1

    by Stax Funk

    Well Harry, you bring up some good points and some bad ones but that's what STAR WARS is all about, right. Some people love certain aspects of the films (the Hoth battle, Jabba the Hutt) while others hate certain aspects (whiney Luke, the Ewoks) but the fact that EVERYONE is talking about it makes it good in my books. I've seen it twice and it got better, even though I loved it the first time, I also wrote a review to share with you all, enjoy... ***NO SPOILERS*** When I was five years old, a bartender named Terry who worked at my dad's pub was baby-sitting me and took me to the movies. We saw a film called STAR WARS. I laughed, I cried, I got excited, I got scared and I remember it like it was yesterday. In 1980, for Mike Arnold's birthday party, his dad took us to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the same rollercoaster of emotions took a hold of me and I remember it like it was yesterday. Then in 1983 my dad, uncle, cousin and I went to see RETURN OF THE JEDI, again I was amazed and I remember it like it was yesterday. I collected the figures, traded the movie cards, played with the toys, slept in the pajamas, lay on the blankets, camped in the sleeping bag, wore the shirts, had the Underoos, drank from the McDonald's promotional cups and ate the cereal, as a kid I lived, breathed and ate Star Wars. A couple years ago when they re-released the Special Edition Trilogy, my group of friends and I lined up for hours for all three films and enjoyed them again for the first time, I remember it like it was yesterday. A few days ago, my buddies lined up at 3:00 in the morning to get tickets for the first showing of STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE. All of us had been fans since childhood and all of us were eagerly wanting to be one of the first to see the new film. At noon when the tickets went on sale, my buddies were one of the first to get tickets, we were set, on Wednesday at 12:01 in the morning we would be witnessing the latest chapter of the STAR WARS saga unfold. Yesterday, I left work early to go stand in line with all my friends for hours to be one of the first inside the theater and guarantee ourselves a good seat. The excitement in the line-up was incredible, everyone was talking trivia, singing, laughing, listening to stories, it was something you don't see for other movies, it was pretty incredible. Finally, we were allowed in and the entire line-up raced for the seats, forget popcorn, forget the washrooms, this mob wanted THE PHANTOM MENACE and nothing as trivial as food or bodily relief was going to get in the way. After what seemed like days, the lights dimmed, the cheers started and then those familiar words splayed across the screen; "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away". I was five years old again. I'm not gonna give away plot points, I'm not gonna tell you the story, see it for yourself. But I will tell you that I spent the entire movie on the edge of my seat with a big smile plastered on my face. The Special Effects are fantastic, the costumes and environments are breathtaking, geez I want to tell you all so much but you have to experience it for yourselves. I will share two things though, it doesn't spoil the film in anyway but I really want to say them: One, the Pod Race sequence is out of this world, it was fantastic, my favorite scene in the film. And two, Jar Jar Binks has the most annoying voice in the history of cinema, I'd rather listen to people chewing tin-foil any day of the week, although it wasn't as bad the second time around. I'm not going to kid you, as a movie, THE PHANTOM MENACE has it's share of problems, cheesy dialogue, some awkward pacing etc. But as another chapter in the ongoing STAR WARS Saga, it is everything you want it to be. I had so much fun watching this movie, I was extremely pleased and yes, I will be seeing it again and again. Unlike STAR TREK, the STAR WARS franchise is alive and well, thank-you. If you have seen the film and wish to discuss it, drop me a line and we'll chat. If you haven't seen it, go out and enjoy it... hey, it's STAR WARS!!!

  • May 20, 1999, 4:42 p.m. CST

    It WAS Star Wars! It rocked!

    by PaleRider

    I saw two showings in a row and the entire crowd was totally into the movie in BOTH showings. HUGE cheers at the beginning. HUGE cheers when Maul was cut in half. HUGE cheer at the end. EVERYONE I've talked to loved the movie. Seems to me almost everyone thought it wasn't "ratshit". Even those who aren't huge fans totally loved it. And It lost no magic for me the second time. I had my problems and so did others, but all in all it was a good movie. Lucas put some useless/dumb stuff in it like fart jokes and the two headed announcer. Though Jar-Jar stepping in poop wasn't near as bad as many have made it out to be. I don't go out and buy every product that is made for the movies, in fact I plan to buy only a few products and I don't mindlessly follow and love everything George makes. He's a decent director and one of the most imaginative people of our time. I'm not trying to kid my self in to liking it because I want to. Oh, and a note to you people who didn't like the movie. That's fine, everyone is intitled to their opinion. No one should attack you for your opinion. But, when you get all hostile, swear, and get all mad at Lucas for stooping to the level of Godzilla and Armageddon (I saw those movies and don't recall any cheering, ever)you, look like losers and need to get your head out of your bum. Just leave everyone alone if your going to act like that. If this is the movie he wants to make then let him. It needed to be the way it was. What did you want it to be, honestly. That's what i want to know. Well, just anticipating my third viewing(hopefully soon) it's all i could think about today. Later!

  • May 20, 1999, 4:50 p.m. CST

    It WAS Star Wars! It rocked!

    by PaleRider

    I saw two showings in a row and the entire crowd was totally into the movie in BOTH showings. HUGE cheers at the beginning. HUGE cheers when Maul was cut in half. HUGE cheer at the end. EVERYONE I've talked to loved the movie. Seems to me almost everyone thought it wasn't "ratshit". Even those who aren't huge fans totally loved it. And It lost no magic for me the second time. I had my problems and so did others, but all in all it was a good movie. Lucas put some useless/dumb stuff in it like fart jokes and the two headed announcer. Though Jar-Jar stepping in poop wasn't near as bad as many have made it out to be. I don't go out and buy every product that is made for the movies, in fact I plan to buy only a few products and I don't mindlessly follow and love everything George makes. He's a decent director and one of the most imaginative people of our time. I'm not trying to kid my self in to liking it because I want to. Oh, and a note to you people who didn't like the movie. That's fine, everyone is intitled to their opinion. No one should attack you for your opinion. But, when you get all hostile, swear, and get all mad at Lucas for stooping to the level of Godzilla and Armageddon (I saw those movies and don't recall any cheering, ever)you, look like losers and need to get your head out of your bum. Just leave everyone alone if your going to act like that. If this is the movie he wants to make then let him. It needed to be the way it was. What did you want it to be, honestly. That's what i want to know. Well, just anticipating my third viewing(hopefully soon) it's all i could think about today. Later!

  • May 20, 1999, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Darth Vader's Breath

    by SLOBrain

    Anyone stay for all of the credits? There is quite a surprise at the end! Darth Vader is breathing in the credits at the very end when the music stops!! Way cool!

  • May 20, 1999, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Episode VII-IX

    by dashielm

    i know that lucas said that these will never happen, but i had a quick thought on their possible premise. Sam Jackson says (im sure the line is ingrained in our collective uncocious by now) You speak of the prophecy, the one who will bring balance to the force. Epsiodes IV-VI dont show a balance in the force, it shows a hunting down and attempted extermination of the jedi. maybe anakin/vaders death is what brings about the balance of the force (maybe also thats why lucas didnt call this film BOF). im not going to insult everyone, including myself in trying to theorize about plots etc... but it kinda makes sense doesnt it. anakin is more akin to moses than jesus, leads everyone to the promised land but never gets there himself.

  • May 20, 1999, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Lucas

    by Santos L. Halper

    Although the plot is slightly stronger than a 'Threes Company' episode

  • May 20, 1999, 7:16 p.m. CST

    American malaise

    by darthmulder

    Anyone posting any kind of comment here should be required to read DarkHawke's comment. It's easy, living in this ego-centricized country (U.S.A.), to get quite indulgent (especially in this forum) in one's opinion of the stated subject. Lucas has made the observation on numerous recent occasions that our (United States) culture has increasingly made it hip to be as virulent and aggressive with our opinions -- expecially in regards to people -- as we can find the audacity to be. What's unfortunate and astounding is that it's as rampant in the more "intelligent" forums like political debate as it is in the circles one immediately suspects with this behavior, namely, those darn rebellious teens. Yes, there's a problem with it in the younger generations (I'm 28), but for the love of all that is sacred, or at the very least civil, we're supposed to be adults! (TPM review IS forthcoming) I cannot stomach watching any kind of televised debate or discussion forum (e.g. "Politically Incorrect," "Crossfire" on CNN)because of the unbelievable rudeness of the adults. Surely my parents weren't the only people to raise their kids not to interrupt someone, or talk over someone, or ridicule someone or treat them rudely ESPECIALLY in fromt of other people, friends, peers, and A TELEVISION AUDIENCE. Sadly, this malady has also infected the arena of film reviews. Most professional reviewers should be that, but regard themselves as film critics (which should not exist in any arena, but I won't get into that here). They (specifically American reviewers) are only interested in promoting their own opinions. There's nothing wrong with promoting your opinion, but to do that solely and without regard to your audience (which could very well include the people your criticizing) and to do it rudely is irresponsible. Chill out. Lucas had no obligation to his fans, his friends, or anyone in regard to the kind of movie he made. His only obligation was to his taste and his conscience. It's apparent that not alot of people (professional reviewers included) were able to view the movie objectively. AND THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE! Holy Yoda, I mean we were sittin' around in 1976 not expecting much to really happen and this visual and audio (how many people even recognize the name of the inventive Ben Burtt?) quantam leap resounds across the global movie-going population like a cinematic alarm clock, setting a pace for special effects that has not yet been wrested from Lucas even marginally close to the way he wrested it from the entire world of cinema in '77. Such a feat ONCE in a lifetime is gargantuan, and because some of us expect him to do it not just twice in a lifetime but as if it were a bodily function, and to be LIVID when, in our estimation, he doesn't do it is outlandish! and is a clear symptom of the malaise of ego-centricity that is putting much of this country's residents to sleep intellectually. The friends I have I love. Guess what: they do things I don't like, that sometimes annoy and even offend me! But I get over those things, or settle those things with them, or just dismiss them. I loved The Phantom Menace. Were there things I didn't like about it? Yes. Were there things that annoyed me about it? Yes. But, like I would treat a friend, I only repeat to the general public the things I love about that friend, the things that I enjoy. If I thought Darth Maul "sucked," (which I will not clarify one way or the other here) I'm not going to tell just anybody that, because if the person I'm saying that to loved Maul...surely the pointless insensitivity of such a comment is apparent. Show a little respect for an opinion that's held by someone other than yourself. I loved The Phantom Menace. There are those who I think would not love it, who would be disappointed in it. There are also some people who have had those reactions who I think have cheated themselves. Certainly, it has weaknesses. Does anybody remember that Lucas admitted to foregoing suggested changes by Spielberg, Scorsese, and Howard? Lucas made the movie he wanted to make. You don't have to like it. I don't expect everyone to feel about the movie the way I did. I loved it, but not as much as I was hoping to and probably not as much as many others do, but I'm going to see it again probably numerous times. You don't have to love it. You can even point out ways Lucas might have improved it or why certain things didn't work. But if you can't be civil, be silent.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:18 p.m. CST

    American malaise

    by darthmulder

    Anyone posting any kind of comment here should be required to read DarkHawke's comment. It's easy, living in this ego-centricized country (U.S.A.), to get quite indulgent (especially in this forum) in one's opinion of the stated subject. Lucas has made the observation on numerous recent occasions that our (United States) culture has increasingly made it hip to be as virulent and aggressive with our opinions -- expecially in regards to people -- as we can find the audacity to be. What's unfortunate and astounding is that it's as rampant in the more "intelligent" forums like political debate as it is in the circles one immediately suspects with this behavior, namely, those darn rebellious teens. Yes, there's a problem with it in the younger generations (I'm 28), but for the love of all that is sacred, or at the very least civil, we're supposed to be adults! (TPM review IS forthcoming) I cannot stomach watching any kind of televised debate or discussion forum (e.g. "Politically Incorrect," "Crossfire" on CNN)because of the unbelievable rudeness of the adults. Surely my parents weren't the only people to raise their kids not to interrupt someone, or talk over someone, or ridicule someone or treat them rudely ESPECIALLY in fromt of other people, friends, peers, and A TELEVISION AUDIENCE. Sadly, this malady has also infected the arena of film reviews. Most professional reviewers should be that, but regard themselves as film critics (which should not exist in any arena, but I won't get into that here). They (specifically American reviewers) are only interested in promoting their own opinions. There's nothing wrong with promoting your opinion, but to do that solely and without regard to your audience (which could very well include the people your criticizing) and to do it rudely is irresponsible. Chill out. Lucas had no obligation to his fans, his friends, or anyone in regard to the kind of movie he made. His only obligation was to his taste and his conscience. It's apparent that not alot of people (professional reviewers included) were able to view the movie objectively. AND THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE! Holy Yoda, I mean we were sittin' around in 1976 not expecting much to really happen and this visual and audio (how many people even recognize the name of the inventive Ben Burtt?) quantam leap resounds across the global movie-going population like a cinematic alarm clock, setting a pace for special effects that has not yet been wrested from Lucas even marginally close to the way he wrested it from the entire world of cinema in '77. Such a feat ONCE in a lifetime is gargantuan, and because some of us expect him to do it not just twice in a lifetime but as if it were a bodily function, and to be LIVID when, in our estimation, he doesn't do it is outlandish! and is a clear symptom of the malaise of ego-centricity that is putting much of this country's residents to sleep intellectually. The friends I have I love. Guess what: they do things I don't like, that sometimes annoy and even offend me! But I get over those things, or settle those things with them, or just dismiss them. I loved The Phantom Menace. Were there things I didn't like about it? Yes. Were there things that annoyed me about it? Yes. But, like I would treat a friend, I only repeat to the general public the things I love about that friend, the things that I enjoy. If I thought Darth Maul "sucked," (which I will not clarify one way or the other here) I'm not going to tell just anybody that, because if the person I'm saying that to loved Maul...surely the pointless insensitivity of such a comment is apparent. Show a little respect for an opinion that's held by someone other than yourself. I loved The Phantom Menace. There are those who I think would not love it, who would be disappointed in it. There are also some people who have had those reactions who I think have cheated themselves. Certainly, it has weaknesses. Does anybody remember that Lucas admitted to foregoing suggested changes by Spielberg, Scorsese, and Howard? Lucas made the movie he wanted to make. You don't have to like it. I don't expect everyone to feel about the movie the way I did. I loved it, but not as much as I was hoping to and probably not as much as many others do, but I'm going to see it again probably numerous times. You don't have to love it. You can even point out ways Lucas might have improved it or why certain things didn't work. But if you can't be civil, be silent.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:21 p.m. CST

    My thoughts

    by URoRRuR'R'R

    I love this film. It's Star wars, I was going to love it no matter what. But being partial to Tusken Raiders (my name up there is the leader of the clan that attacked Luke in the first Trilogy) I thought they should've had a bigger role...that wasn't important tho'. What's important is Qui-GOn died for a good reason- so as not to have Jar-Jar in 2 and 3. I thought Qui-GOn was a wicked bad-ass and all but Jar-Jar sucked. His schitck didn't work. Also there are TWO different endings. THe difference is that Maul falls down the pit in one piece in the alternate- that's the only change I know of. DIfferent cities had diff versions. BTW, You have to love that Obi-Wan's first line is "I have a bad feeling about this"

  • May 20, 1999, 7:23 p.m. CST

    The Truth About Phantom Menace from an Old Pro

    by cinematt

    The first part of this post is for all you buzz cut, baggy pants wearing, yoo hoo guzzling,chains in your pockets and rings through your nose showing, Marilyn Manson or MTV band of the week loving generation blecch boys, you know who you are, hanging out at the malls, clogging up the flow of traffic and hogging the payphones to call some little bitch who you just want to get into their pants anyways... More then a few of you have mumbled on this talkback something about the "Matrix" being Better than Phantom Menace???? To that, let me say from the bottom of my heart... BWAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!! Now, having addressed generation "baggy", (check back with me when you're old enough to drink alcohol, children,)I would like to bestow the highest praise in the universe to George Lucas and the cosmic perfection he has achieved with the Phantom Menace. It's a safe bet that I have been a Star Wars fan for more years then many of the persons who post on this page have been alive! So I know whereof I speak. Liam Neeson would get an Oscar for his brilliant portrayol of Qui-Gon if the Acadamy didn't have a bias against science fiction. Kudos to Ewan McGregor for his dead on performance as Obi Wan, and Natalie Portman, mmm mmm, I'd genuflect to you any day of the week and twice on Sundays, pretty lady! Brilliant story, awesome effects, well done origin of Anakin Skywalker, can't wait to see more in Episode 2. Thank you, George Lucas, He who makes all that is Right and Good in the world of sci fi/fantasy, for making me eager to go to the movies again. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To all the guttersnipe critics who lambasted this beautiful film: Choke on your damn latte when you go see your next crappy art house flick. And one more for generation baggy: Live and learn, boys, live and learn. Jedi Cinematt has spoken....

  • May 20, 1999, 7:34 p.m. CST

    One Word - BadAss

    by Ape_X

    Look people, believe the hype, the movie was smooth as hell. I have to agree with everybody that said see it twice. The human brain just can't compute it all. When I first came out of the theatre, it was 2:30, I was tired, I had to be to work in 2 hours, and I hadn't slept for two days. So my initial response was one of mixed feelings. But the next day after the picture had time to process I really loved it. Not to mention talking to all of my friends, and reading all of these posts, the need to see it again is inevitable. I have to look again at Ani's "evil eye" at mace, and my friend swore he heard wookies in the "senate" meeting after the vote of unconfidnece(or whatever) Another thing that makes this so great is that you can't stop talkign about it, its only then do you realize how deep this movie is. It left me hungry for more (something titanic could never do) I'm already trying to talk about clone wars, jedi's dying, ani's turn, there's just so much. LOOK! The jedi fighting and swordsmanship was BAD ASS! As was the pod race. C'mon, the sand people and jawas tripped me out. Whats this about obi wan's brother. Also (psuedo spoiler) when the two jedi's in the beginning evaded the droids and darted off, though simple, it was cool as hell. Portman is gorgeous. For all who said the characters seemed lost and emotionless, I have to disagree. And to those who said the ending was flat and left nothing need to be shot. Of course the movies not perfect, and I can find bad thigns, but no movie as EVER been perfect, and I can always find something thats a little off. The movie kiced ass, see it once, then a few days later after talkign and reading see it again. 2 view minimum here people! Believe the hype.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Jar Jar, Jedi duel

    by Aseternal

    I thought the movie was great. I think it's stupid to compare the Star Wars movies to each other so I won't. The movie did a great job of setting up the events to come. As for Jar Jar, I liked him. Some people need to lighten up. Also, about the Jedi duel, after seeing them fight in the movie trailer, I don't understand how people could be so shocked or disappointed about Maul's death. I'm glad Lucas didn't write it so that Maul some how escaped the fight with Jinn and Kenobi. Kenobi's was the real bad ass in the movie not Maul. I can't wait to see the relationship between Kenobi and Anakin develope in the next two movies and Anakin's courtship of Queen Amidala of course.

  • May 20, 1999, 7:45 p.m. CST

    Too Much Digital Work?

    by Marauders

    I've seen TPM twice now, and I liked it. I only have one observation. A lot has been made about all the digital work that was done on TPM. Does anybody else feel that maybe there was too much digital work done? It's something I cannot quite put my finger on, but I will try to convey it. This past weekend I watched Empire again. As I watched the Millenium Falcon play the part of Intergalactic Getaway Vehicle, I was convinced it actually existed. It had a certain "look and feel" about it that seemed to give it an air of realism. I could not watch a single ship in TPM without a little voice in my head that reminded me the ships I was watching were digital creations. They just did not "feel" right. Don't get me wrong, they looked great! They just did not convince me they were real. Anybody else feel the same?

  • May 20, 1999, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Best Part

    by Simon Grim

    All I could think about after seeing it was how awesome "The Fight Club" trailer looked.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:06 p.m. CST

    You TPM haters ever consider that maybe it's YOU that's lying to

    by KillerBOB

    My guess is a lot of you will come crawling back within the next couple of weeks... begging for forgiveness. You've gotta love this movie for what it IS, not for what you wanted it to be.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Jar Jar

    by obelix

    ...was the most painfully, embarrassingly unfunny non-comic relief I've maybe ever seen--no one in the sold-out theatre I was in, not kids, not anyone, laughed at his "antics," and his voice was just Jesus Christ! awful. It s hard to watch a movie and be physically embarrassed that a filmmaker would try so incompetently for laughs, and to be insulted that he would think a paying audience would be so stupid and infantile as to be charmed by Jar Jar's virtual muggery. George needs to a) pull all the SW prints and do an emergency overnight voice redub on Jar Jar, and b)for God's sake get someone who can write characters and dialogue to give him a hand next time. All the great effects are, well, great, but the final shot--a recreation of the first movie's awards ceremony--summed up this movie for me: incredible CG, cast of thousands, pomp and glory, all directed not toward a Han or Luke, but toward some bit special effect character--the king of the fish-guys, I think--that we don't care about. At this rate, the SW franchise is going to go the way of the Star Trek movie series: formulaic to the point of driving away all but the most rabid hard core of no-lifers. My gripe here isn't about holding TPM up to some exalted standard, but about starting with a decent script and some adult supervision of the special effects-created characters, for God's sake. The first movie was full of corny lines and bad acting, but it worked on sheer exuberance. The new movie has great effects and actors, but it isn't exuberant, it's pompous. Okay, I'm done.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:26 p.m. CST

    forecast:very heavy dropoff

    by scarydog

    A friend of mine had no problem getting into a screening of 'Phantom Menace' tonight; he said the auditorium was only about 10% full. Get this: when he left, NO ONE was waiting to get in the next screening around 8 p.m.(CST)!! Talk about audience dropoff! Can anyone here spell D-U-D??? Or should I say... T-H-U-D!!! I bet some tie-in merchandisers are going to eat a huge loss, considering the apparent poor reception of the general audiences out there. Now that the Star Wars groupies have had their moment in the sun, we'll see if the movie has legs with the rest of public. Remember, most of the public is FAR less enamored than sci-fi fans by movies that are held together solely by their dazzling special effects. 'Menace' is all gloss and no brain. Personally, I hope it has the largest audience dropoff in movie history for such an epic; that sharp decline might teach George Lucas a thing or two about playing to an audience of 6-year-olds at the expense of teens and adults.

  • May 20, 1999, 8:27 p.m. CST

    one reason to see this movie again and again and again and again

    by rufsaysoli

    do you really want titanic to go down as the most successful movie (money wise at least) of all time? think about the generations that will come after us.. don't let titanic be our legacy..

  • May 20, 1999, 8:45 p.m. CST

    don't bother seeing again

    by scarydog

    I've got a better suggestion than seeing the goofy "Phantom Menace" over and over: See it once, try to forget how bad it was, then don't buy a single "Menace"-related toy or music CD or any other merchandising tie-in. Most of all, don't go see the movie again. If enough people stay away in droves from "Menace," maybe Lucas will get the message that he has to make movies that appeal to audiences other than preschoolers. As for Star Wars fanatics, I'm convinced they'd be happy with a stinking dogpile if Lucas happened to bless the sacred brown pie with the "Star Wars" logo; as a matter of fact, that's what he's done!! heh heh

  • May 20, 1999, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Immaculate Conception - quite questionable

    by The Garthim

    Uh... It may be just me, but I can not accept the fact that Lucas wants this element to be a bold-faced religious thing. The meaning I came up with was a possible dark secret that Shmi didn't want to be known. Look at her face when she says, "There is no father." Be it a rape or someone that was dangerous, it would have been someone with great power and an evil disposition. This could open up the whole area of Palpatine being Anikin's Father. What do you all think?

  • May 20, 1999, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Here I Go--The Phantom Menace

    by DarkHelmet

    I will now reveal the secret of the Phantom Menace. What is the Phantom Menace?? Bad Dialogue. Plain and Simple. This movie was excellent, I have no doubts about it. When I voted on it I gave it an 8. However, I was dismayed at the sheer disregard to the dialogue, more importantly, the humor, in this movie. The comedy came from a 6 and a half foot muppet. Wrong move. Han Solo delivered the best lines in all three of the first movies, and today he is considered the trilogy's best character. Jar Jar? I would imagine most of us older fans would just rather forget him. Anyway, other faults with the script and plotting: The ending. Raise your hands if you agree with this: The last half hour jumped around waaaay two much. THE PHANTOM MENACE WENT THROUGH 4 GODDAMNED PLOT POINTS IN THE CLIMAX!! How much cooler would it have been if the Viceroy capture and Gungan battle been cut shorter? Alot if you ask me. This movie was aimed at kids, not us grown up fans, and with good reason. We've had our movies, let the next generation treasure this one, and I'm sure they will. Jar Jar did have his moments, and Darth Maul was incredibly menacing, and just plain BADASS. I enjoyed the movie, but like most SW and film fans, there were things that didn't live up to our expectations, but that was to be expected. Don't feel so bad if the movie didn't live up to what you thought it would. There was no way it could. THIS IS NOT THE MOVIE TO END ALL MOVIES, YOU GEEKS!! Lighten up. It was never supposed to be. With luck, Lucas will listen to the true fans a bit more and do better with the next two. I'm sure he will. May the Force be with all of You.

  • May 20, 1999, 9 p.m. CST

    Here I Go--The Phantom Menace

    by DarkHelmet

    I will now reveal the secret of the Phantom Menace. What is the Phantom Menace?? Bad Dialogue. Plain and Simple. This movie was excellent, I have no doubts about it. When I voted on it I gave it an 8. However, I was dismayed at the sheer disregard to the dialogue, more importantly, the humor, in this movie. The comedy came from a 6 and a half foot muppet. Wrong move. Han Solo delivered the best lines in all three of the first movies, and today he is considered the trilogy's best character. Jar Jar? I would imagine most of us older fans would just rather forget him. Anyway, other faults with the script and plotting: The ending. Raise your hands if you agree with this: The last half hour jumped around waaaay two much. THE PHANTOM MENACE WENT THROUGH 4 GODDAMNED PLOT POINTS IN THE CLIMAX!! How much cooler would it have been if the Viceroy capture and Gungan battle been cut shorter? Alot if you ask me. This movie was aimed at kids, not us grown up fans, and with good reason. We've had our movies, let the next generation treasure this one, and I'm sure they will. Jar Jar did have his moments, and Darth Maul was incredibly menacing, and just plain BADASS. I enjoyed the movie, but like most SW and film fans, there were things that didn't live up to our expectations, but that was to be expected. Don't feel so bad if the movie didn't live up to what you thought it would. There was no way it could. THIS IS NOT THE MOVIE TO END ALL MOVIES, YOU GEEKS!! Lighten up. It was never supposed to be. With luck, Lucas will listen to the true fans a bit more and do better with the next two. I'm sure he will. May the Force be with all of You.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:03 p.m. CST

    See it again . . . PLEASE.

    by Coswald

    I IMPLORE YOU- if you disliked the movie- SEE IT AGAIN. I spent the first 1/3 of the movie saying to myself, "Oh GOD... what just happened... I don't know if I like this movie... the pacing is all off... etc...." Then, like a moment of clarity, it dawned on me that I sould stop trying to be so damn critical, just take the ride and judge it when it was over. This was very freeing for me, because the few times that I subconsciously checked, I WAS enjoying myself. Of course, I went home thinking, "but that first 40 minutes, or so...," so I went to see it again the following afternoon, and contrary to my own belief, the movie started out just fine. No problems. Similar to the pacing in A New Hope, but different enough so it wasn't the same movie. Which brings me to my next point- this movie is very much NOT Episodes 4-6. To that I must say, "THANK GOD." I mean, how boring would it have been to see the same thing again after 16 years? These three new movies are to LEAD UP TO Episode 4, not PANDER TO what we've seen. A story can't have a life of its own if it has to conform to expectations. No, it shouldn't contradict what has been mentioned in the Holy Trilogy, but I saw none of that anyway. Remember- all we knew about what transpired prior to Ep.4 was BRIEFLY mentioned in the trilogy. It's up to Lucas to paint the full picture now. The problem, of course, is that we've all been painting our own over a period of 16 years(well, 22, since Star Wars came out in '77). Hell, this movie was NOTHING like I pictured it would be. But whose vision is of higher importance? I say the guy who created the whole damn thing in the first place. No, that doesn't mean we all have to accept what we've been given, but I think everyone owes it to themselves to give it another go. I really think you'll like it a lot more if you go see this movie a second time without the expectations, which WILL be magically gone since you've seen it once already.

  • May 20, 1999, 9:04 p.m. CST

    3 Eurekas from TPM...

    by enum

    1. George Lucas hasn't directed a film in 22 years because he hasn't been interested in the act of telling a story, but more in refining the processes... 2. Harrison Ford really DID carry those other 3 films... 3. You can never go home. I guess a lot of us wanted to have that childhood promise fulfilled (George promised it 16 years ago, but after leaving the film I realized that that promise is forever lost in time...

  • May 20, 1999, 9:19 p.m. CST

    I.... can't believe how utterly terrible this film was...

    by Funmazer

    OK! Something I forgot in my last post. Besides the beginning and end, did they EVER play the Star Wars theme during the movie? All I heard was lame 'filler' music, the kind you hear in a TV drama. Actually, this movie seemed like a TV movie to me, anyway. Kinda like RANSOM. Hm... the naysayers all have good explanation of why they didn't like it.... do they GOOD-SAYERS every express why it was... well... GOOD? Let's here it, guys. Let's hear WHY it was GOOD for Lucas to steal something from Roland Emmerich and have a 'central brain!' control the droids, which Anakin accidently blows up. God, that scene was terrible. It reminded of 'Jewel of the Nile' when Douglas controls that jet and shoots up things. Blah. Everything in that movie happened by accident. EVERYTHING! I read a post, where they said "it was embarrasing that a filmmaker would think we would find Jar Jar funny" I AGREE! Kinda the way I felt when i saw the baby Godzillas, I felt EMBARASSED FOR this movie. I felt bad for the movie. I went and watched Star Wars today after work. Oh.... why couldn't they do that again? And please, don't say "it's a different movie!" I watched it, trying to enjoy it as a movie, and I couldn't. Oh, you say I'll like Phantom Menace in 6 years after I see it 26 times? Guess what, I liked Star Wars on the first try! I didn't have to think of reasons WHY I liked it, 12 years later. For the record, Tthe Matrix was better than Phantom Menace in every way. Every single way. Did anyone in 'Menace' even APPROACH Hugo Weaving's Agent Smith? Did Liam Neeson do better than Laurence Fishbourne? As I leave, I think the new 'anti-Matrix' movement stems from the fact that you all know in your hearts that it was better than Phantom Menace. Just like how Titanic is better. Ten thousand Billy Zanes could not approach the Horror that was Jar Jar Binks, or Anakin. I don't see how anyone could disagree with a straight face. In real life, men can be vicious, non-thinking, jealous creatures, like Billy! Besides, Billy spoke perfect English and didn't say "Yippee!" or "Take that!" at any time...

  • May 20, 1999, 10:05 p.m. CST

    kenobi training

    by jorange

    In Empire Ben Kenobi tells Luke to go see Yoda "the jedi master who trained me" What about Liam Neeson?

  • May 20, 1999, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Godfather3

    by PoisonSkin23

    There was no SuperHighWay back then, but I think that if GodFather3 was released in the age of Internet the same die hards would be yelling that 'No you idiot! That's the point of the Godfather3 to show blah blah blah...' Shit movie. At least there was no George Hamilton in TPM. Maybe he can be a Jedi in Part2. HopeHope.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Oh How Foolish and Jaded Some People Have Become

    by Cyrus

    I just got back from my third viewing of TPM, and I still love it. I think the naysayers are on crack. The first act is perfect, the Pod Racing scene is amazing, the foreshadowing to the next 2 episodes, which WILL be absolutely fantastic when you think about the incredible set up TPM serves up, the final sabre battle... it is all so unreal. It truly is a classic and is every bit as magical as the original 3. The more familiar it becomes, the cooler it becomes, as with the originals. Episode II and III will be the ultimate in awesome fantasy space opera films, I have foreseen it. The light overture has concluded, now, in 3 years we get to see things grow more and more intense and dark. It is an awesome time to be alive. Oh and I like Jar Jar! I agree with Harry.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Saw It Again

    by LED

    I liked the film the first time I saw it (I particularly liked seeing two full fledged Jedi's working together). However, I was not overly impressed and blown away by it and had many of the same criticisms and many of you. I went to see it again at the spur of the moment today and fell in LOVE with it. To all of you who did not like it, please, try to put all of your negative opinions aside for a couple of hours and go see it again. I (almost) guanantee, you will not be sorry. I still have things that I wish were different (a couple of more scenes to develop Darth Maul more for example) but nit picking aside, this is a great, FUN movie (Jar Jar is less annoying the second time around). Please do yourselves a favor, go see it again.

  • May 20, 1999, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Tonight Show

    by James99th

    I hope some of the bizarros writing in response to Harry's review saw the Jay Leno's piece this evening on Star Wars Collectables. The ones that come to mind are the Star Wars "Nerd" Action Figure complete with Mann's Chinese Theater Diorama and "Get A Life" Cereal. Some of you people are taking this movie way too seriously. Maybe some of you had expectations that were just a little too high, and maybe others of you don't think George Lucas has the right to make the movie he wants to make-or at least without your permission. Many of you consider TESB to be the gold standard by which all other Star Wars movies should be measured and judged. I agree it is a great film. But when I first saw it, I thought it really dragged in the middle, and I still think it does. The Phantom Menace definitely does not drag in the middle or at any other time. TPM is a rip-roariously fast and entertaining couple of hours with performances that are considerably better than those in ANH and ROTJ (with the exception of Alec Guiness and Harrison Ford). Some of you now dishing out all the sharp criticism will change your view over time. Think of it this way: when you get your DVD Star Wars Six-Pack in 2005, TPM may well be the first episode you pull out to show to your friends (or kids) on your new HDTV-just because its the coolest!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:45 p.m. CST

    Harry's being a pussy

    by sloopydrew2

    Come to a site where a webmaster dares to put up a REAL "Phantom Menace" review and has the balls to tell you all what he HONESTLY thinks. Beating around the bush is bullshit, and that's what Harry's doing. Scared to say it's bad, but too frightened to say it's great. Find out what the new STAR WARS really is at: www.juicycerebellum.com A REAL movie site that knows there's more to this world than just stupid movies!

  • May 20, 1999, 10:52 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace

    by yodas_ghost

    The more I think about it the more I see the flaws. Jar Jar should have been used less (especially the toilet humor), and Maul should have been used more. Throughout the film I never heard the names Shmi, Otoh Gunga, Marie Celeste, Ric Olie, Rune Haako, Nute Gunray, Gasgano, Opee, Kaadu, Fode-Beed, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, or any of the other Jedi. Other than Mace, Ki-Adi, and Yoda, we only see brief 2 or 3 second shots of the other Jedi Council Members. In the original trilogy they mentioned everything that went on outside our frame of reference. That's what gave it a 3-Dimensional quality. This one hardly talks about the big characters. It is however laced with foreshadowing and forboding lines and images. Palpatine stands to be watched. I personally don't think he and Sidious are the same person, but who knows? Speaking of which, who knows the story of how C-3PO got named? I read where it would be in the movie but then got cut. HELP! And remember, only 1065 days left till Episode II (please god not DiCrapio as older Anakin, Please!)

  • May 20, 1999, 11:04 p.m. CST

    JESUS VADER!!!

    by Ophidiann

    I loved this movie, first and foremost. The lightsaber duels were beyond anything I have ever seen before. And whether it had an integral part to the plot or not, I loved the pod racing scene! The theatre rumbling, my mind went numb from the sheer visual enjoyment I got from it. The few quirks I had with it were the leaders of the Trade Federation and their damn accents... and Jar Jar Binks could have been a much better character if he could be understood and his voice wasn't quite so annoying. I loved Obi-Wan and Qui Gon Jinn... Darth Maul was perfectly balanced in the film... not too much seen of him, but when he was there... you were thinking, "Wow." The funniest thing that I thought Lucas did with this film is bring out the fact that Darth Vader is Jesus!!! No longer will he be Skywalker or Darth Vader... he will be remembered in my head as Jesus Vader!! Lucas and religion... you have to love it. Well, I guess those of you who were expecting the second coming of Jesus with this film... in a sense you got it!! Jesus Vader will save us all! Anyway, those of you who have negative reviews of this movie... I think you are just not able to cope with the fact that Amidala wasn't wearing titanium bikini's or Jar Jar didn't look like Cousin It. The acting is on the same scale as of the other movies, Jar Jar's annoyance is reminscent of the Ewoks in ROTJ, the special effects were VERY good... but I don't believe they got in the way, and I think character development is being set at the same pace as the other three movies. I mean... to tell you the truth... without the other two movies... Star Wars alone wouldn't be that memorable to me... it's the trilogy that really brings life to it... and same thing with this. This is part of a bigger picture... you can't expect the power of the first trilogy in one film. Wait till the other two episodes come, and then you'll see the power behind Lucas's vision. Until then, shut your trap. Anyway, I will probably go see this in the theatre a few more times... just for the dueling scenes and pod racing scene alone would I go.. but I loved everything about the movie.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:15 p.m. CST

    A Positive Review

    by Homer Wells

    I just caught a 9:30 showing of TPM at Gateway in Austin. And I'm puzzled by all the negative reviews...by critics, but moreso by folks on this site. I loved this movie. It was like going home, and although home has changed a bit, it still felt good. I'll spare you a personal history of my Star Wars experience, but I'm not a rapid SW fan. Still, it was thrilling. Ewan doing Alec Guiness (perfectly), the brilliant lightsaber duel at the end, seeing the Sand People again (and a Jawa), the pod race, etc. etc. I had a great time. The dialogue was probably unwieldy and awkward, but you know what? It felt right...it was Star Wars and that's the way people talk in that world. As I watched TPM, I realized that I would've accepted nothing else...although many claim the movie is slow, it didn't feel that way to me because I LIKE to hear these people talk. Too much needless exposition? Maybe, but I enjoyed every second of it. I even liked Natalie Portman's weird accent after a while because it seemed to fit. I was with Liam every step of the way, and when Anakin blunders into saving the day...well, it was Han shooting that tentacle pit-monster thing while blind. It fits. I could have done without the virgin-birth thing and the midichloideans (or whatever) and most of Jar Jar...but they didn't come close to tainting the experience. How did it compare to the other 3? Who cares? It brought back the same sense of wonder I had at 8 years old. We're back, things look a little different (often better), but it's the same place and I'm glad. So we have all these negative reviews, and I wonder what they're about. Is it cynicism for cynicism's sake? Sometimes probably, but not always. Some people weren't transported back to that world...some had expectations too high to meet...some had watched too much Scorsese, taken a few film classes maybe. And that's a shame because I'm happy tonight. I had a great time.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:24 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace - more thoughts

    by yodas_ghost

    After reading through some more of the talk backs, I got to wondering, what about "Boba Fett and the Kooky Clones" for Episode II title and "Vader kicks Jedi Butt" for Episode III. I don't know, maybe not (everybody's going to jump on me for that Sidious/Palpatine thing anyway). Threepio should not have been left on Tatooine. He and Artoo are two hemispheres of the same brain (R2=superego, 3PO=id ... it's Freudian). They act, throughout the original trilogy as the "narrators", the eyes and ears that relay the happenings of the story to us, the viewers. Dumping Threepio on the desert planet wasn't right. By the way, who said Artoo didn't remember being on Tatooine? Check back in ANH - Threepio: "What makes you think there are settlements in that direction?" Answer: Artoo's been there! Maybe that's why 3PO got left behind. He represents the present and R2 is the past. R2 remembers everything and threepio is lost (memory wipe?). Another one left out - Nimoudians. I liked this one, but the originals hold more value for me ... at least untill 2002 that is. It'll rock.

  • May 20, 1999, 11:44 p.m. CST

    So after the 10th time....

    by Ayii

    So after the 10th time somebody said to Lucas,"What the hell did Jar Jar just say?", you'd think he'd clue in. Half the time your couldn't understand what he was saying, and I saw TPM in a brand new theatre with the EX sound system. Everyone I talked to had a hard time understanding him. Jar Jar sounds like somebody threw Mario64 in a blender with a teletubby. The story was good, the set up for the next movie was good, the movie itself however was lacking. Weak dialogue. No charm. No emotions. Even Anakin's tearful good-bye to his mom was terrible. But it sure sounded like Lucas tried to compensate by having the orchestra swell up there. Didn't pull it off though. Lightsabre's were cool as hell though...hehee...Plot holes? Oh yeah, how about this one: "Hi, we're Gungans..we've made an underwater city where we live. We use force fields to enter our city. We've even developed mechanical submarines to navigate the waters. However when faced with a mortal enemy, the best we've come up with to protect ourselves is sling shots with magic puddy in them." At least the Ewoks were consistant, AND you weren't supposed to understand them. - Ayii

  • May 21, 1999, 12:22 a.m. CST

    IAN MCDIRMANDisPALPATINEisSIDIOUS=DUHHHH! This does NOT rule out

    by GrouchLord

    I have seen Phantom Menace twice, and I'll see it again! From the start it was, as some have noticed, strictly a homage to the serials of the past, Flash Gordon. IMHO, the battle droids saying ROGER, ROGER was hilarious! I was sad when ANAKIN left home, angry when Qui-gon bit it, and cheered when OBI sliced Maul into. I think some are confusing the non-aggression thing with KUNG-FU the series, Jedi's carry lightsabers for a reason or why else did OBI slice off poor Ponda Baba's arm? LOL. Don't get me wrong, the film has problems, but hell, it's Lucas' first film in HOW long? 22 yrs? Actually, for me, the ending of the movie was the worst part, it seemed flat... We should have ended with something unusual, the Jedi called to the scene of another disaster or something. Palpatine is the phantom menace, but George has a lot of leeway, and in fact, I hope he comes of with some seroius plot twists or mindfucks in the future. Myself, I'd rather be surprised by the new films than feel like it was a rote fill-in-the-blanks.:-)

  • May 21, 1999, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Feeling a bit numb

    by Buenemus

    I've had 24 hours to relflect on TPM and I've come to a few conclusions. The first is that Epsiode 1 is a rather forgettable, hollow, and emotion-less movie. At first I thought it was because it's been over 20 years since I experienced the wonder and awe at watching the original Star Wars for the first movie through naive and uncynical eyes. I then considered that I had raised my expectations far beyond what any movie could ever deliver. I even considered that I should keep in mind that TPM(like Episodes 4,5,6,) are meant for a younger audience and not aimed at adults. I had read all the reviews and feedback from pre-screenings so I was prepared for a possible letdown and I had no illusions that I was about to have a life-changing experience. My expetations were quite low although I must confess my inner hope was that TPM would let me relive at least some of that same magic that I had as a child. But that wasn't it. It just wasn't a "good" movie. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a stinker. The FX and ovrall design were stunning. The Pod Race, Gungan Battle, and Light Sabre Duel were thrilling moments but I soon began to realize the movie had no soul. I couldn't care less what happens to these characters. I felt like I spent 2 hours and 20 minutes waiting to cheer, scream, and gasp but wasn't given the oppurtunity. Where was the FUN? Where was the SUSPENSE? Why the hell does an incoherent, babbling, nerve-jarring Disney character get more screentime and character development than all the other human characters combined(don't get me started)? With such an amazing group of first-rate marquee name actors it's odd that the most heartfelt performances and are the small roles of Shmi and Palapatine. I found myself dissecting every line of dialogue and frame trying to see what went wrong. I found myself turning on the very same franchise that had enriched my childhood and sounding like the very same film critics that days before I had labeled as "out-of-touch" and "over-analytical". What is happening to me? I don't feel alone though, many of my friends and other moviegoers around me had the same thoughts. The thing is, I REALLY wanted to love this movie. I was willing to forgo a cohesive plot, strong acting , and banal dialogue in exchange for an effects effexts extravaganza and a good old fashioned good time. Sure, I got the cool effects, but I'll go se Godzilla or The Matrix for that. But the magic was utterly gone. Taken as a simple no-brainer adventure aimed at 12 year olds, it's a decent movie. When taken as a film on it's own merit(let alone a Star Wars film), it is 2:20 minutes of dazzling CGI and clumsy plot that weaves together a few key action scenes. I did feel a bit "cheated" as a fan. I am totally shocked that Harry was so forgiving. I'm wondering if we didn't see two different movies. Anyway, I'm done ranting. I'm sure I'll see it a few more times. Maybe my opinion will change over time(maybe Harry's will too). But for now I'm going to take some time away from the Star Wars bandwagon and hope that George can redeem himself with Episode 2. Good luck George, "May the Force(or whatever the heck is the organism in our bloodstream) be with you!".

  • May 21, 1999, 1:52 a.m. CST

    I am Disapointed!

    by Darth Nopey-Dog

    I can't believe it..... STAR WARS is now dead and buried. I thought this movie would put the trilogy back on top after ROTJ crippled it. And I was about to forgive "The Flanel One" for turning ass-warped-kiddy-happy-liberal-gonanda-mind frame by altering the Greedo scene in SWSE! Shit. He really did it now! Jar-Jar singlehanded destroyed this serious trilogy and George (MR. FUCKING -OUT-OF-TOUCH-WITH-FAN-JERK!!!) Turned to the kiddy-side again, competing with Sesame Street and Walt Disney! ASSHOLE!@! I AM MAD I have been cheated, I feel we all older fan had been use as fodders and senselessly betrayed for his stupid furtune.

  • May 21, 1999, 5:03 a.m. CST

    THE EMPIRE'S NEW CLOTHES

    by mooninred

    I just saw the premiere of TPM at the Mann Village in Westwood and I have to express my profound disappointment: Like any good Star Wars fan, I sat in slackjawed boylust once the lights dimmed and the 20th Century Fox Fanfare drum roll pounded. But the magic just wasn't there for me this time either folks. I mean many of the elements were in place but they just didn't add up to even a Return of the Jedi experience which is very hard for some of us true fans to come to grips with. Now bear with me as I briefly address a few of the major problems I have with the film: The opening crawl: It's a jumble of words -- way complicated and lacking the poetry of the previous chapters and thus set an uneasy tone for me going in. That whole Nimoudian business could have been trimmed, or even done away with completely. Where is the breathtaking grandeur of a Star Wars opening shot? C'mon Mr. Lucas, use your imagination! You've used it before, or "are you brain dead?" Remember the openings of ANH and ESB where the action merely set the stage and an escape pod or a probe droid fell like a leaf from a tree that floated randomly downstream to reveal the real story in progress. But instead you open with your vintage cornball "I have a bad feeling about this." line which made a few in the audience laugh compulsively, as if they were expected to, but mostly fell so flat I could hear crickets in the theater. Next, the underwater sequence, though visually striking, seemed rushed. It felt more like second or third act material and thus felt misplaced or even expendable. Dare I even say; if the underwater diversion were cut entirely, the Tattooine sequence, which is the strongest part of the film, might be more enjoyable, as I felt it came too late and diminished some of it's impact. Now Two other gripes that I will point out and I'm done squawking. Firstly, remember that magnificent light saber duel near the end of the film? Notice as Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan engage one another there was NOT A WORD of dialogue. Now think Vader's duel with Obi-wan. Think Vader's two duels with Luke. They were duels of words as well as swords. The lack of verbage coming from Darth Maul's mouth is precisely what made fans and critics alike feel he was under used. I mean, he looks badass and fights badass, but without a badass attitude he's just an action figure. I think even the most die hard SW fan would have to agree with me on this one. And that land battle? YAWN! The CG looked so good that it was all just a big bore. It was just CG character fighting CG character. Where's the suspense? Where's the HUMANITY? To paraphrase Obi-Wan in ROTJ: "This film is more machine now than man. Twisted and..." But just to let you know my review is not a complete pan, I loved the Coruscant scenes: Drool material, all of it -- though the Jedi council scenes were all too brief -- almost a throw away! I'm sure Sir Lucas is saving more tidbits for the next installments but this IS our introduction to the Jedi, am I right?! My last major quibble is with the space scenes or lack thereof. With the exception of the queen's ship, there were no signature designs that I could say just by first glance were the good guys or the bad guys. Where are the menacingly memorable lines of a Star Destroyer or a TIE fighter when you need them? I could go on picking this film apart but I feel at least I've articulated a few of the shortcomings which so many of the disappointed could not or dared not put their finger on. But just to be fair, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I am too attached to my idea of what the Star Wars experience should be and I'm shell-shocked by the new visions Mr. Lucas has dished for us. But something deep in my gut tells me Sir Lucas may have become so intoxicated by the total control of his billion dollar empire, and the absolute power of state of his art CG machinery to create anything dares to imagine that he's become the very thing he's been preaching against in his films. Maybe the fall of Anakin Skywalker is a story of the fall of George Lucas, a once bright star in the galaxy who was strong with the force, a former slave to the studio system who, once he attained his freedom, helped hunt down and destroy the very thing he strove to honor -- that old republic called Hollywood -- and erected in it's stead an Empire of merchandising and brand name saturation, with Colonel Sanders weilding old Obi-Wan's lightsaber, and the pizza hut girl and the Taco Bell Chihuahua his side, as they shovel bantha poodoo into the hearts and minds of millions.

  • May 21, 1999, 5:51 a.m. CST

    4 Trenchcoats & 7 school shootings ago...

    by Haystacks Jones

    I want to write a talk back that all my fellow amercians can understand, so I am going to use bad spelling and lots of poor grammer. Harry isnt a sell out. I think what a lot of U mean by that is Harry goes to a movie and the snack bar sells out. Harry has a passion for film that most of you only pretend to have. Maybe Lucas hasnt lost his way, maybe Harry isnt sell out, maybe what a lot of U fail to understand is that, this movie was made for KIDS. And from the looks of it the KID died in many of u years ago. Your seeing STAR WARS alright...Just through jaded eyes.

  • May 21, 1999, 6:41 a.m. CST

    10 Undeniable Truths We Learned From TPM

    by s raW ratS

    Love it, hate it but the following can not be denied: 1. The Star Wars Universe in no place for kids: I have nothing against the IDEA of children characters with prominent roles, it's just that so few child actors can act. Couple that with Lucas' seeming inability to direct children and the results fall short. It felt like I was watching a sixth grade school play in a couple of scenes. 2. God is in the details; Lucas is not God: Example 1 - when a ship comes down to land in a jungle/forest the trees should probably sway and move. Ex. 2 - Children wore braces a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? Ex. 3 - The Gungans can build a city underwater, create force fields, but can't build a weapon that fires any sort of ammo? Ex. 4 - In the Star Wars Universe, characters should not be using terms such as "brain dead," "doo - doo," and "kiss your trade treaty goodbye." 3. Leave the one actor/two roles stuff to TV - Just make Queen Amidala's handmaidens cover their faces like Moslem women. Wouldn't Qui-Gon or someone have commented that Padme and Amidala were EXACT TWINS?! What is this, the Brady Bunch Halloween episode where Peter has two dates? 4. It's a small universe after all: I can't walk around NY City and find people who speak the same language, yet EVERYONE is the Star Wars Universe speaks at least some english? 5. Movies have been ruined by Arnold/Cameron: Ever since, "I'll be back," action/adventures movies have to have catch phrases. Why? I don't need to hear Jar Jar say "How Wude!" five times. 6. Movies have been ruined by Spielberg: ET, God love him, ushered in the cute alien. Moderation George, moderation. 7. Movies were ruined by Disney: Must every movie that kids want to see have a funny, animal sidekick? Jar Jar was a one trick pony that added little to the story. The two-headed race announcer sounded like a sportscaster parody -- and was so intentionally. Took me right out of the Star Wars Universe. 8. Hong Kong action films have changed action movies, and us: The frenetic pace of the final light saber duel was incredible. Compare it to the slow motion ballet of Obi Wan v. Darth in Ep. 4. Movie goers want that sort of thing a Lucas somehow figured that one out. 9. The Star Wars Universe does not exist in the same Sci-Fi realm as other movies: Clearly, this film cannot be compared to Alien, Terminator, Blade Runner, Matrix, etc. Lucas is making movies based on his experiences growing up, not ours. In his world, it's funny when animals fart, kids say "Yippee!" and comic heroes "accidently" save the day. Always has been, always will. 10. Lucas, you've got some

  • May 21, 1999, 6:48 a.m. CST

    All this "Reading between the lines of Harry's review" bullshit.

    by KillerBOB

    Are you TPM knockers so convinced in your views that you feel you have the right to insult Harry's intelligence - and your own - by claiming that you can "read between the lines" of his review and conclude that it was a sham? That is just BEYOND pathetic. Face it guys, HE LIKES IT. Sure, his review was not a rave, but are you saying that just because it wasn't, he actually HATES the movie? Come on... you're just reading what you want to see, not what's actually there.

  • May 21, 1999, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Commenting on the Comments

    by Sarlacc

    Hey, first post here. Hi folks. First off, my biases. I loved this flick. It was great. I'm not sure where it's going to place in comparison to the other flicks, but on its own, it was amazing. I just wanted to say, look at the comments of those who hated it, and look at the comments of those who liked it. What do you see? Those who enjoyed the film are having measured, well-thought-out, well-written and justified reactions to it. The haters are the screaming, slobbery types. They don't provide any backup for what they're saying. They're just ranting. If the movie isn't the movie you would write . . GOOD. It shouldn't be. And you're not allowed to be pissed off because it didn't play out how you want it. gnore the marketing campagin, ignore the toys, ignore the older books, ignore everything but what's on the screen in front of you when you're watching the film, and look deeper than just the surface. Quit beinga fucking fanboy, whining that there weren't enough Kewl Villains, that there was too much cutenes. What the /fuck/ is wrong with cuteness? And do you forget how cuteness-sufffused R2, Chewie and Yoda himself were? Hating 'cuteness' doesn't prove you're an adult. It proves that you're insecure or childish. Get the fuck over it. It's a damned good film. BTW, I want to congradulate the guy who did the extensive phantom menace analysis (the different ways in which this was a Phantom Menae. He truly showed the tdepth of this film, and pointed o ut things to me I'd've never noticed. Thanks.

  • May 21, 1999, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Heroic critic survives assassination attempt

    by Eos

    Yesterday afternoon, as Dawn (Devoted defender of TPM and College Film Critic Extrordinaire) was walking to the Cinerama, she was knocked down and nearly killed by a rusty Edsel with the logo 'Star Whores Sucks!' spray-painted on the side. Fortunately, she only sustained minor injuries (if you can call a wrenched ankle and a broken hand minor). Thanks to this cowardly and treacherous attempt on her life, it may be a month before she will once more be able to grace Talkback with her gems of wisdom! Fellow geeks, we must prepare for a long war...

  • May 21, 1999, 9:02 a.m. CST

    what pisses me off

    by Mean Ween

    why is it that people who say they didn't like this movie are labeled "naysayers" or "nitpickers"? just because they didn't like it and have REASONS they didn't like it. this is not holy ground. "we've lost our sense of wonder", "we're jaded", "we went in determined to hate it", "we're naysayers", "we're nitpickers". Who are you people trying to convince? anyone who thinks a contrary opinion is invalid just because it is contrary is not worth arguing with. I understand why people love this film, but I didn't, and no one is going to change my opinion with ad hominem attacks or speculations about how jaded I am. Grow the fuck up.

  • May 21, 1999, 9:19 a.m. CST

    A question from my 8-year-old...

    by jeannie

    My little boy asked me a question that I didn't have the answer to, so perhaps you all can help me. His question was: "Mom, was the power generator of that ship REALLY located in the main hangar bay?"

  • May 21, 1999, 9:44 a.m. CST

    THE FANDOM MESS

    by HO-HUMMER

    Oh, my. It is so sad to see someone in such utter denial. This movie is a LOG. I guess as far as Harry is concerned, all Lucas has to do is launch a shameless merchandising BLITZ in conjunction with the theatrical release of a 2hr10min. "Next Generation" episode which also happens to include that famous "Star Wars" logo slapped onto the beginning, an opening title crawl vaguely reminiscent of a particularly forgettable day in social studies class, a John Williams score he seems to have composed in his sleep while having night terrors about Temple of Doom, characters about as vibrant and interesting as the action figures and lifesize cardboard cutouts menacing 7-11s, Taco Bells, KFCs, Pizza Huts and Pepsi cans all over the planet, perfunctory lightsaber duels whenever things get too droll for even Lucas and co., mindless orgies of overdone and self-amused CGI, and acting so nerve-janglingly bad or flat and uninspired that it rivals MANOS, HANDS OF FATE as potential MST3K fodder. George has lost the touch. Why anyone thought he still had it in him after Howard the Duck, Willow, Last Crusade, Radioland Murders, Young Indy, and so on and so forth, is beyond me. George is a businessman now, a holder of licences, an influential motive force in the technology of film, a father, a billionaire. He is no filmmaker. STAR WARS: edgy, raw, aggressive, revolutionary, stunning, inspired, defiant, exhilarating. THE PHANTOM MENACE: bloated, lazy, derivative, self-absorbed, in-name-only, groggy, cartoony, stereotypical, overlit, miscalculated, insulting. Harry, stop lying to yourself. This movie SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED. I am not afraid to admit it, now why don't you.

  • May 21, 1999, 9:49 a.m. CST

    THE FANDOM MESS

    by HO-HUMMER

    Oh, my. It is so sad to see someone in such utter denial. This movie is a LOG. I guess as far as Harry is concerned, all Lucas has to do is launch a shameless merchandising BLITZ in conjunction with the theatrical release of a 2hr10min. "Next Generation" episode which also happens to include that famous "Star Wars" logo slapped onto the beginning, an opening title crawl vaguely reminiscent of a particularly forgettable day in social studies class, a John Williams score he seems to have composed in his sleep while having night terrors about Temple of Doom, characters about as vibrant and interesting as the action figures and lifesize cardboard cutouts menacing 7-11s, Taco Bells, KFCs, Pizza Huts and Pepsi cans all over the planet, perfunctory lightsaber duels whenever things get too droll for even Lucas and co., mindless orgies of overdone and self-amused CGI, and acting so nerve-janglingly bad or flat and uninspired that it rivals MANOS, HANDS OF FATE as potential MST3K fodder. George has lost the touch. Why anyone thought he still had it in him after Howard the Duck, Willow, Last Crusade, Radioland Murders, Young Indy, and so on and so forth, is beyond me. George is a businessman now, a holder of licences, an influential motive force in the technology of film, a father, a billionaire. He is no filmmaker. STAR WARS: edgy, raw, aggressive, revolutionary, stunning, inspired, defiant, exhilarating. THE PHANTOM MENACE: bloated, lazy, derivative, self-absorbed, in-name-only, groggy, cartoony, stereotypical, overlit, miscalculated, insulting. Harry, stop lying to yourself. This movie SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED. I am not afraid to admit it, now why don't you.

  • May 21, 1999, 9:55 a.m. CST

    10 Undeniable things?

    by CaptEgo

    Good to see someone with issues who actually *thought* about them unlike so many of the Gen-X/Gangsta/Angry-young-man twits on the AICN talkback. Sadly I do not concur. A few counter points: 1 The kid did a fair to middling job and sweeping remarks about Lucas not knowing *how to direct kids* are absurd. I was particularly keyed in on that due to a few complaints that I

  • May 21, 1999, 10 a.m. CST

    Quit your b*tching and moaning!!

    by Titus Livy

    Listen folks, if you want a religious experience, then go to CHURCH. We're talking about a movie here!! It's first and foremost ENTERTAINMENT. Why compare it at all to the first three? Did you actually think that after two hours of brand new Star Wars material that you would feel like you were 7, or 10, or 15 years old again? I suspect that all of you that hated it are just peeved that 1) you dumped TONS of money into the SW franchise and you feel cheated, or 2) you expected it to be the best movie EVER. How could it be? After 5 years of hype and SO much press, there is no way that TPM could even come close to being THAT good. We adults are too critical- my suggestion is to take along a 7, or 10, or 15 year old kid and look at them as they watch TPM on the big screen. They will see and feel the same magic we all did when we saw Star Wars at that age back in 1977. It's too bad that most of you that have complained seemed to have already had your mind made up before you sat down. Hopefully you won't see it again- that'll leave more room for the kids and people who still have an imagination.

  • May 21, 1999, 3:58 p.m. CST

    As good as original trilogy!! (Spoilers)

    by mercator

    I just saw this movie, and I was completely blown away!! Of course the sounds/visuals were completely spectacular, but folks: the STORY is more interesting than ANH and ROTJ put together! In fact, I'd put TPM on par with ANH, although ESB was a masterpiece and in my mind, the ultimate Star Wars movie. Anybody who criticizes the "boring" trade war theme obviously isn't understanding the full implications of what Palpitine is trying to do. The story is much deeper, much more intricate and subtle (yes, subtle) than anything I've seen in Sci Fi on the big screen. I was engrossed, sucked in, intrigued, and TOTALLY ENTERTAINED!! There is a lot of gothic evil at work in this story, the trade dispute is just a screen for the real power play. Am I the only one who appreciated that grim subtlety? And the acting... it was definetely as good or better on a whole than I expected. Liam is a great Jedi, he played the part with due respect and it was easy to care about him. His screen presence was something on the order of a, well, dare I say... Harrison Ford magnitude. Ewan McGregor played Obi Wan very well- I liked watching him and his lines were just fine- very typical of the whole SW series. His Alec Guiness vocal delivery was absolutely spot-on, and his lightsaber-weilding was far beyond anything from the original trilogies. These jedis kicked some major ass, the way we always wanted them too. No problems with these too at all. I won't comment on Portman or Lloyd except to say that they were very good, they handled some potentially awkward age-gap moments with aplomb. No, Jake was NOT a bad actor, he did just fine, for a nine-year-old or for anybody. I really am amazed that people had such a problem with these two!! Ultimately, I admit that I really wanted to like this movie. But I found that the grin on my face at the start of the movie was even wider at the end, and I was relieved that I could recommend and enjoy this movie without any self-consciousness or caveats. I consider myself to be a VERY picky movie watcher, and I tend to over-criticize. For once I feel like I was not swindled by hollywood. TPM is the goods, kids. Lucas made one hell of a movie here, and I really think it deserves way more praise than it's been getting. But, hey, if it's not your cup of tea, fine with me. I'm just really glad that I had the opportunity to see this gem of a movie, and will see it again. I haven't said that about a movie since "The Last Days of Disco."

  • May 21, 1999, 4:30 p.m. CST

    TPM

    by Sabin

    What is wrong with all of you?!?! All you guys do is nit pick this movie! You should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie for what it is: Another masterpiece from George Lucas! Everything in that movie- underdeveloping some of the characters, having Darth Maul get slaughtered by Obi-EVERYTHING- had a purpose. We will see it all unfold in episodes 2 and 3. Thats all this movie was for, setting up the next 2 films. IN TIME WE WILL KNOW EVERYTHING!

  • May 21, 1999, 5 p.m. CST

    my thoughts

    by Captian Culture

    I saw the phantom menace on wensday and I thought it was great, it was the worst of the movies but still very good. But theres few things nagging me. 1. what was george lucas on when he made Jar-Jar? I mean he copuld have put I nice fun character but Jar-Jar wasn't fun he was annoying and distracting. 2. Did anyone else think that the end ceromony was tacked one? They should have ended it with the close up on palpatine's face(but it might have been to subtle for people to understand) 3.Why is it that they have robots as soldgers but then 40 years later they resort to humans in white armor? anyonw it these were just monor problems and the film is still great

  • May 21, 1999, 5:51 p.m. CST

    i have lost my faith in film

    by xavier masterson

    so a newly elected fourteen year old queen from the small planet of naboo calls for a vote of no-confidence and the spreme galactic chancellor is ousted in 24 hours.now thats a government that doesn't like to waste time! george lucas has lost his mind.and rick mccallum needs to stop sucking lucas' cock before he polishes it off to a microscopic midi-chlorian nub.because he's still got some going down time before episodes II and III are completed.

  • May 21, 1999, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Epsisode 1 = Dorky

    by bloodp

    Let me just preface this by saying that I am a Star Wars fanatic. Now let me cut to the chase, no matter how bad you want to like this movie, the movie sucks. Period. There are some really cool scenes including the pod race, the action sequence at the end, the awesome saber fight, the weapons, the creatures.... But the movie is crap. Your worst fears about Jar Jar were right Harry, he turns the movie into one big dorkfest. "Silly" sums up the movie. The second that Jar Jar said "exsqueeze me" is the second I realized Lucas had not evolved at all, in fact, he went backwards, into the land of infantile giggly humor and zero substance. It took him 16 years to make that? I guess those special effects just take a long time to do, because I could write a better story and better lines overnight. Sorry fellow fanatics, it's over. Bring on Lord of the Rings. I can't wait until someone actually uses all of these effects for something worth a damn.

  • May 21, 1999, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Empty Darkness of Phantom Menace

    by Saivan

    Thank God this was not the first produced picture in the series or the legend would have never existed. Is Menace a bad picture? No. Is it boring? Mostly not. But is it in a different league from other good science fiction movies? No. Menace has several serious problems: -We know too much about the future, we know who makes it alive to episodes IV,V, VI. When we see Jedis fight we know who is going to make it. Pretty anti-climactic. -Visually the movie does little more than recreate some of the Jetssons cartons, earth wilderness and Middle East scenarios. What happened with Lucas imagination? Before he had the excuse of the limitation of special effects, now, what's his excuse? -Did anyone saw any androids do any real damage. They are the most incompetent force imaginable. Why would anyone, much less an advance civilization use them for anything? -No Dark Side. Apparently, the origin of the darkside is just some creatures with Jedi capabilities decide to become overambitious and take over. So the darkside has nothing to do with the evil side of the universe, it has all to do with a little gang or mafia that wants control (all we have to fear is just corruption, pretty pathetic antagonist). The magic, the wonderment, the sensation of weakness when confronted with the dark-side that we experienced before is revealed as unfounded, evil will not take over, it's just smart criminals. Lame. -It's pretty clear the ultimate intent of the movie: The destruction of the idea of evil. It embraces the Buddhist notion that evil doesn't exist. Only ignorance. People who do bad things (evil) do them out of ignorance, nothing more. If they knew, if the were enlightened they would not be evil. It denies our choice for evil. Of course this idea plays beautifully with liberal Hollywood. Too bad Lucas has resigned the opportunity to explore the largely unknown notion of evil for such a plebeian explanation. And the legend of Star Wars dies.

  • May 21, 1999, 7:39 p.m. CST

    You LIKED Jar Jar?? Are you nuts??

    by jawsteeler

    Harry - dude, I dig your site and all, but are you on crack or something?? Jar Jar Binks is the one and only reason I didn't enjoy this movie as much as the first 3. I tried to be objective, but every time I started getting into what was happening, this CGI MENACE (the REAL Phantom Menace, in my opinion) popped up and said something non-sensical and stupid just to piss me off once again (and most of the audience I saw it with, BTW). If Lucas is smart (and I think he is), Jar Jar will be dead and on display in a damn jar in Episode 2.

  • May 21, 1999, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Episode I: The Phantom Fans

    by David Lopan

    Saw the movie last night. Still excited about it, and want to see it again. So many things about this movie were great. The best thing about it is that it weeds out people who were not really Star Wars fans. If you did not think this belongs in the Star Wars family, then you really were not a true Star Wars fan. I went into this movie not knowing what to expect, and what I got was a fantastic Star Wars movie. I think that many people went into this movie with a reconception of what the story would be, what characters would be important and what roles these characters would play. If you took Anakin to be the main Luke-style character, you were wrong. OB1 is that role. Darth Maul is not Vader, there was no Vader role. Qui-Gonn is the Han Solo character, without the wisecracks. (he doesn't always take orders) Most of all, the Jar Jar question. I had no problem with Jar Jar. Did anyone really laugh hard when C3PO did clumsy stuff or was having his eye pulled out? No. But Jar Jar fulfilled the same role C3PO did in IV, V and VI. I am definitely not the most fanatical Star Wars fan out there, but I did enjoy reading the many books that have come out after ROJ. They are good because they follow the same premise as the movies; there is a big galaxy out there with many different stories and races and planets, etc. They moved out into this expanded universe, but used characters that are familiar to us to do so. Episode One cannot use all of these characters, so it must create new, unfamiliar ones to populate. But the essence of the movie is that it starts to unravel some of the mysteries of the first trilogy, while expanding the universe. Is there anyone who liked the first movies who didn't wonder what it was like when the Jedi roamed the galaxy keeping the peace, like the way OB1 describes it to Luke. In Episode I, we get to see that first-hand. Nobody wants to mess with the Jedi, because they are the sheriffs and can kick ass if need be. The reactions of the characters to hearing the Jedi were involved were perfect; the bad guys shuddered, the good guys were excited. Why did OB1 decide to train Anakin? We now get to see the circumstances that led up to that. SO many things happened in this movie that answered questions from the first trilogy. I think that people who talk negatively about this movie have forgotten the things they had wondered about while watching the original movies. There are still many more things to answer (clone wars?). The negative press can be expected. The bottom line is that anytime an institution does something that is not exactly the same as what made it an institution, people criticize it. Many musical acts (Bowie, U2, Springsteen) and other entertainment institutions (Star Trek) have brought out new material that didn't carbon-copy their old stuff, and many immediate reactions were negative. But I think the people that liked the artist/creative force behind the project, not just the product; are the ones who keep themselves open to anything new and are the ones who will love the Phantom Menace as much as the original Star Wars Trilogy. Indeed. Lopan

  • May 21, 1999, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Uh, Xavier

    by Foster Zygote

    Ever heard of Tut Ahnk Ahmun? And you've obviously no knowledge of parlaimentary government. In the thirties the French govt. turned over like every six months. That's why they were so unprepared for Hitler. Do you want a strange alien world with unique customs and societies or one where everything is just like late twentieth century Earth?

  • May 21, 1999, 9:02 p.m. CST

    by stitch

    This forum is unreadable. What a mess. Ain't it cool news has lost complete credibility.

  • May 21, 1999, 9:36 p.m. CST

    SW EP1 has its moments but is, well....boring.

    by majorhavok

    Three reasons to see Episode One.... 1. The lightsabre duel choreographed by Nick Gilliard ("The Mask of Zorro" sword fight choreographer). The lightsabre fight with Darth Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui Gon is excruciatingly intense, and one of the best swordfights you will ever see. You will get your money's worth there. 2. The Pod race - but sound effects only. While the pod race has some really amazing camera angles...it looks too synthetic to take seriously. However, Ben Burtt's sound work is ASTOUNDING in this sequence. You will get your money's worth there. 3. Coruscant and Otoh Gunga - shimmering, iridescent...Fritz Lang or Georges M

  • May 21, 1999, 10:13 p.m. CST

    lotr and star wars

    by valwen

    i must agree with harry that tpm has tested the waters for lotr which will rock 1000 times more if pj and evryone takes heed of what not to do as demonstrated by this film. a glory haleluia for pj's sensitive and keen statement that lord-of-the-rings is "an epic grounded in character and relationship"!! hint hint. mythic themes are cool, believable fantasy is cool, and star wars had these, but the difference between tpm and the earlier trilogy was mainly in the lack of lovable characters (jedis and a young queen may be realistically restricted in expression, but that doesnt give us much to relate to) and dynamic, dramatic relationships between them, to really invest our feelings in what happens to them; and also the lack of any revealing illustration of how the characters relate personally to the experience of the force, so enabling us also to relate to that kind of abstract power by sympathy. i felt like tpm made all the archetypal, symbolic and spiritual themes i love about star wars less personal (this is what people are complaining about with the scientification of the midichlorons and the simplisticness of maul) and that made it more comicbookish than i would have hoped for. lotr, with the theme of how the ring affects its bearer and the company and all the world, is going to bring out the relationships between personal nature and power and spirituality the way empire and jedi did and hopefully the following two episodes will do-- provided the script is true and more sensitive than tpm (which is a given) and the RIGHT ACTORS are chosen. in other words, superficial characterisitcs like looks and even symbolic stature will not cover for an undeveloped character. (neeson had the look, the eyes, the walk, the outfit, perhaps not the lines, but did he really strike you deep down as your dream of a jedi?)

  • May 21, 1999, 10:28 p.m. CST

    Embarrassingly Awful!

    by Chumley

    It's hard to believe that such a movie could go so far wrong. Slow, uninvolving, muppets everywhere, monotonous computer graphics, uncharasmatic actors and Jar Jar Binks has got to be the worst character in film history...simply stupefying. I didn't expect Phantom Menace to live up to the hype, but I was never prepared for this atrocity! My disappointment is boundless.

  • May 21, 1999, 11:06 p.m. CST

    HARRY!!! TALK BACK NEEDS TECH WORK!!!

    by Coswald

    To the point- "Talk Back" is almost unreadable in its present form. Break it up into seperate pages (with like 15 responses per page), or something. It's getting hard to pinpoint any postings. That's all.

  • May 22, 1999, 12:13 a.m. CST

    TPM:What else? I loved it!

    by JeTmAn

    Okay, kids, I think the most important element in the viewing of a Star Wars movie is the willingness to let yourself be immersed and simply believe everything. It is IMPOSSIBLE to enjoy Star Wars if you nitpick everything....believe me, I know from personal experience. You simply need to let all the coolness flow over you. With that in mind, TPM ruled, except for some minor points that bothered me but I will try not to think about when I see it the third time(and thereafter). These minor points were the acting of Jake LLoyd and Natalie Portman. Did it seem to anyone else as if a lot of their lines seemed forced and without emotion? Even when Natalie was playing Padme, she still didn't show much emotion (pretty cute though). I didn't really get this...how hard is it to put more emotion into your acting? I thought Darth Maul's position in the movie was very well done. Basically, he just kicked butt and that's about it. In any other movie, that character would suck. But this is Star Wars. The lightsaber battle between Maul and the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were the best I have ever seen. Talk about pure adrenaline! Everything just went so FAST it blew the mind. Excellent choreography, and the fight ended in a really cool way too. OF COURSE I have to talk about Jar Jar.....that's a sticking point for just about everybody. Yeah, yeah, at first he was annoying. But then I noticed, that, throughout the film, the guy grew on me! Maybe his lines were just better in the rest of the movie, but I actually thought he was funny and <gasp> cute! I wonder if there's something wrong with me, but I liked his little sheepish grin that showed of his Gungan teeth. Y'know what else? I didn't think the CG stuff integrated that well (except for the Battle Droids. Were those things even CG? I could barely tell), but I really didn't care, either. Everything was lush and interesting. Alright, now that we're past all the popcorn movie points, we'll talk about the real heart of the movie;the plot. WAY COOL!!!!! I don't know HOW anyone could not like the plot (unless, of course, a person hadn't seen the other three films, and especially ROTJ). Everytime I saw Palpatine, I kept thinking "That's the Emperor!!! That's the Emperor!!! AAAH!!!!". His presence was much more wrenching than Anakin's, because Anakin (in this film) is truly good. Palpatine is already evil, as you could tell if you really looked at his actions. Really, the entire movie was about Palpatine's efforts to take over the Republic and become Emperor. Think about it.....Darth Sidious (who I am almost CERTAIN is Palpatine, and mentioned he would take care of things in the Senate) engineered the Trade Federation's attack on Naboo, which then led to Queen Amidala's seeking of support from Chancellor Valorum, whom was controlled by bureaucrats. When the Queen's pleas for help were deflected, Senator Palpatine, all too helpfully, suggested she call a vote of no confidence in the Chancellor. When she did this, the Chancellor was voted down, and new candidates were picked. Surprise, surprise, Senator Palpatine was nominated! Surprise, surprise, Senator Palpatine was elected Chancellor the Republic, gaining leadership of the entire galaxy. It was all Palpatine's plan for power!!! Every single thing that went on (including Darth Maul's assassination crusade) was totally controlled by Palpatine, who truly was a phantom menace (as Darth Sidious). GREAT storyline, and I can't wait to see how Palpatine becomes Emperor and corrupts Anakin (and the other plot points, such as the Clone Wars and Anakin and Amidala's romance). BRING ON EPISODES II AND III!!!!! LONG LIVE STAR WARS!!!!!

  • May 22, 1999, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Re: Episode 1 review

    by Rakfist

    Wasn't it even better and more starwars-like the second and third time you watched it. And did you hear the darth Vader breathing at the end of the credits? Cool huh.

  • May 22, 1999, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Interesting facts

    by Ape_X

    Went and saw PM today for the second time, I was there for the midnight screening. And a few things were brought up, a friend of mine was the first to mention to me that anakin is due for a brother (the uncle that raises luke) I also did notice and can verify that wookies and e.t.s are in the movie. And lastly, did anyone notice that anakin wanted to be the first to see all of the stars, yet he's the one who creates the star destroyer later on. i'm done for now.

  • May 22, 1999, 7:11 a.m. CST

    TPM

    by emorr

    Lighten up, it was spectacular. You're not going to see Shakespeare, you know.

  • May 22, 1999, 7:24 a.m. CST

    tpm

    by bookworm42

    Hey out there. My brother got us 2 tickets for tonight's showing of TPM. Is it worth going to see? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • May 22, 1999, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Needless ethnic stereotyping in PM and other issues?

    by SmellyCat

    First off, I'm not a kneejerk reactionary -- however, I would like to redirect people to an ongoing thread on the Rotten Tomatoes Message Board (http://www.gamers.com/messages/overview.asp?board_id=22) concerning the ethnic stereotyping throughout the movie. Whether it was intentional or not, I think it actually is detrimental to the effect of the film -- by localizing these dialects, you "remove" the audience temporarily from the Star Wars universe. Also, as a 'critic's basis for comparison', it's interesting to note the comparison in criticism between PM and the original trilogy. Take a look at the comparison at the Rotten Tomatoes summaries for PM(http://www.rotten-tomatoes.com/phantom_menace.asp).

  • May 22, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    What version of TPM did the nay-sayers see?

    by bedvant

    What version of TPM did the nay-sayers see? That's the question I asked myself as I slipped out the fire exit door as the credits rolled on TPM. I'm not a Star Wars freak, I wouldn't go to a convention, I can barely name more that 10 characters, you wouldn't catch me dead dressed in costume to see the flix, I didn't line up for advanced tickets, in fact I found that all a little bizarre. I did see Star Wars over a 100 times as a kid, I didn't like Empire Strikes Back as much, but I loved Return Of The Jedi on the big screen. And I've got a pretty good grasp on the story line. On I was very happy to see this movie finally get made. I

  • May 22, 1999, 3:36 p.m. CST

    TPM adds another entertaining chapter to the saga.

    by Loomis

    I loved TPM! It was great for many reasons, but mainly because of the last thirty minutes when the jedis, annie, and the Queen return to Naboo. Anyway, I don't want this to be too much of a spoiler, but the last guy that just said his two cents worth was evidently watching something else. The show(s) I've seen thus far have all got great responses from the crowds, and very few seemed to be dissapointed as they left the theatre. I will admit that there are things that I question, things that I may have done differently, but that is easy to say since we haven't seen Episodes II or III, yet. If we took Episode IV by itself without knowing what else happens, we all would have been bummed a little too. (Not enough Vader! Obi Wan dead! Luke is a wuss!) I can hear the arguments now, but back then there was no WWW and cable, so everyone saw it for what it was worth. . . I THINK WE WILL ALL APPRECIATE EPISODE I MORE AFTER WE CAN SET DOWN AND WATCH ALL SIX EPISODES AS ONE COMPLETE SAGA. YOU CAN'T TEAR APART UNTIL ITS FINISHED. BUT, I DON'T CARE ANYWAY. . . BECAUSE I LOVED "EPISODE I" LONG LIVE LUCAS!

  • May 22, 1999, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Menace from the Orient!

    by Crazy Old Wizard

    I think I'm the first person who has noticed this...at least I haven't YET read anything by any fan or film critic echoing my thoughts. The point is, I think the trade federation aliens are supposed to resemble the Japanese. Stay with me. Think about it: These aliens have obviously dubbed-in voices, just like the Japanese in the American versions of old Godzilla movies. If you've missed this, go see the film again. The dubbing is horrible--JUST LIKE THE DUBBING IN THOSE OLD GODZILLA FILMS! Plus, this race is at the center of an enourmous trade empire bent on imperialist conquest--just like you know who! Of course, Japan has fallen on hard economic times these days, but remember how we felt about them just a few years ago? We were a joke and they practically owned us! Third, there's been a lot of criticism regarding the battle droids. But what would Japanese aliens be more famous for? Electronics! Japan rules the gadget world, just like Lucas' trade federation. What this all boils down to is that Lucas' silly alien race is actually one of the most intriguing parts of the film. One of Lucas' favorite points seems to be that primitives can conquer technologically advanced empires because primitives value something more powerful than greed: brotherhood. Absolute technology corrupts absolutely, it seems. The trade federation seems to be a sly attempt by Lucas at Japan-bashing. Think of those annoying aliens in this respect, and they might not seem so annoying anymore. Oh, and Natalie Portman is an absolute babe! --Ryan...

  • May 22, 1999, 3:52 p.m. CST

    My honest thoughts on TPM

    by LanceM

    When I left the theater after seeing The Phantom Menace, I was both excited and puzzled. I knew as I left that this movie didn't knock me on my ass to the degree that IV-VI always have. And I'm not sure if this movie is of the caliber of the other films, at least ANH and ESB. But then, I can only imagine walking out of ESB in 1980 thinking what a rip-off the ending was. And I still can't help but be aware of the fact I'm not 8 or 10 or 12. When I was 8 I thought ROTJ was the greatest Star Wars film ever made. And I imagine that most kids now think the same of TPM. Nevertheless, depending on Episodes II and III, TPM might become the (comparatively) weak link in the the prequel trilogy, just as ROTJ is considered to be 16 years after its release. It would be odd to have the first and the final episodes be the weakest ones in the saga, but life ain't perfect, is it? Anyway, after a second viewing, I've decided that while TPM is definitely not the best Star Wars movie, it is still a good Star Wars movie, and it is right at home in the Star Wars canon, as it were. This is not the rough-and-tumble Star Wars of Episodes IV-VI, all you Gen-Xers. I think the key thing to remember about Episode I is that not only are we opening an older chapter in the Star Wars saga, but that chapter (I-III) will have a different tone and style than the Star Wars movies made in 1977-1983. I-III take place at the very center of a civilization that is at the height of its social and artistic refinement, even if that civilization is rotting away from the inside. The characters are fully-trained Jedis, Queens, high-ranking government officials, and the like. They will be stuffier. By contrast, Lucas has described Episodes IV-VI as the "cut to the chase" part of the story-and really, when you think about it, IV-VI are basically one long chase scene with a few breathers. My point is, while I'm not trying to bolster TPM up above the other films, we need to realize that in a way I-III will defy comparison with IV-VI. The stories will be more political, the characters more classical than romantic. Just dig that Beowulf-type warrior's pyre for Qui-Gon at the end. Damn, Lucas draws from some cool sources. As for the plot itself

  • May 22, 1999, 6:23 p.m. CST

    TPM SPECIAL EDITION

    by STRONTY

    When's Lucas going to release the phantom menace special edition where he fixes all the poor crappy computer generated characters? Seriously, I thought the special editions of the original trilogy took away something. Just because you can make armies of computer generated characters doesn't mean you should. That cgi jabba looked like crap in ep 4, and the cgi characters in ep 1 still look like crap and re-inforce that your watching something fake. The original trilogy sucked you in taking you to a new world, with it's beleivable technology. I felt that the effects were a let down, there were too many bad effects which really made the film feel like an intro to a playstation game. When I left the theatre on the premiere night, It felt like I had just attended a funeral, the entire audience was silent, no cheers, just sad faces.

  • May 24, 1999, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Can anyone top this?

    by Tiger Ninestein

    Went with my wife to see TPM yesterday evening, one of many sold out shows at this particular multiplex and never have I had to put up with so many fucking disturbances/distractions in my life. Some people have absolutely no respect for other peoples enjoyment of the movie. First off there was the family who decided to bring their BABY into the theatre. Barely a few months old, I would guess. She proceeded to cry and squeal throughout most of the performance. (I have to say this was just as much the responsibilty of the dick head security guards, who were checking peoples tickets as they entered the theatre, as much as it was the baby's parents.) Then, to the immediate left of my wife there was a threesome of young boys who couldn't stop pointing out and commenting on "cool" things that were blindingly obvious to anyone who had their eyes open. Oh, and mid-way through the movie, the kid closest to my wife had his fucking cell phone go off for all to hear. Nice one, idiot. To my immediate right I had this 20-something guy who couldn't stop shifting around in his seat and picking his nose. (The speed of this activity would vary dependant on the speed of the action taking place in the film.) To his right, his girlfriend/fiance/wife/whatever, constantly, and quite audibly, grumbled and groaned every time a child actor appeared on the screen. (Honey, if you have a problem with kids appearing in movies, why the fuck did you come to this one? Did you not SEE the trailers? Are you blind as well as stupid?) Finally, to top it all off, directly behind us we had 2 pre- pubescent hard core Star Wars geek wannabies who must have been in their twenties at least. Their particular talent involved cheering, clapping and "hooting" at the screen every time Darth Maul appeared, and chanting, get this: "VADER! VADER! VADER" and "SITH! SITH! SITH!" I jest yee not. They also found themselves cheering uncontrollably when Qui-Gonn Jinn croaked and then booing when Darth Maul was killed. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Now, I'm all for cheering during a movie that everyones seen a million times ie: the release of the special editions but please, this is a little much. Somewhere amongst all this there was a movie to be watched. Thankfully, we'd both seen the film the day before at an earlier and quieter time but I'm still pissed off that I paid 18 fucking bucks to put up with this shit. Good movie though.

  • May 24, 1999, 1:41 p.m. CST

    I walked into it last night not knowing a thing..

    by Lizzybeth

    .. and I walked out one hell of a happy camper. I went with a bunch of friends, Star Wars freaks alike, and none of us had read ANYTHING on what happened in the movie. I didn't even know the bare bones of the plot. I don't know how I managed to go in and out of this site without reading spoilers, but I managed it.. 8). How did that make it different? I don't know. I can only say that, I was riding a roller coaster with my eyes closed, not knowing what was around the bend. And I like it that way. When the very bad thing at the end happens, my best friend and I screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO because we had NO IDEA that was coming. None. I was so caught up in everything, feeling the music. Thinking at the screen really hard - "GET HIM OBI-WAN!!!!!!!! KILL THE BASTARD!!!!!!" I was WILLING Anakin across the finish line. Little Jake was terrific, a real little kid and I loved him. Ewan WAS Obi-wan Kenobi, and I can't wait to see where he takes it. Qui-Gon was a true Jedi master, and his relationship with Obi-Wan was believable and true. Queen Amadala wasn't just a coat hanger for neat costumes, I really believed her royalness and that people would be willing to lay down their lives for this 15 year old. When I was a kid I didn't play with Barbies, I played with my Star Wars action figures, and if I was still a kid I'd be playing with my Queen Amadala doll right now. Hell, I will anyway. She's right up there with Princess Leia. And the obvious subtext about Tibet/Navoo was interesting (deliberately oriental design for the Queen, the appearance before the quarreling council/UN after fleeing the planet/country.. if the Dalai Lama went back to Tibet and kicked ass it would be the same thing..lol) I haven't read what people have to say about the movie yet, but I'm sure the whiners are out in full force. I feel sorry for you, because I had a great time and you didn't. I grew up on these movies and for 2 hours I was a kid again. The only problem is that I have to wait 2+ years for the next one!!

  • May 24, 1999, 3:18 p.m. CST

    It's not Jar Jar its the entire Gungans...

    by Grimjack

    What grated me about the gungans is their speech pattern. The fact that Jar Jar is clumsy is funny at times and like the ewok provides a cute loveable character. However, you have to concentrate everytime he opens his mouth it detracts from the movie and reminds you you are in a theater trying to understand this. Why does a race have to be speaking pigdin english I will never understand. If it was just Jar Jar that would have been ok, but we see the grand Poobaa, and in the entire battle scene it is hard to understand the banter between Jar Jar and the gungan officer. If the gungans had a cute but subtitled speech like the Hutts and the Rodians, I would have spent less energy decoding them and let the movie take me away... well maybe when I see it for a second time.

  • May 24, 1999, 6:05 p.m. CST

    It's the Music

    by Bones69

    Saw TPM last nite (after trying to avoid all information about it -- although I heard the reviews were not great). Anyway, thought it was pretty good, except for the SUPER LAME Jar Jar (what a joke). There are two things that I think were missing that made this feel less Star Wars-like. 1. The familiar music. Yeah, there were some of the old tunes, but the Luke Theme and other familar tunes were not in here and I think that made it feel less familiar. 2. Same thing for characters. You got a few of the old ones (Yoda, Obi-Wan) etc. but the other characters are new to us, so you don't have that same feeling of visiting old friends when you see this. I think the next two installments will have more of this. Lastly, thought Ewan's Obi accent was amazing.

  • May 24, 1999, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Jar Jar Binks is a freak..

    by Miss Lavendar

    Jar Jar Binks totally ruined this movie for me. I give Lucas credit the little kids loved "it"...and I am happy for them. But r2d2/c3po..Jar Jar is not. The pod race/underwater images were outstanding..everything else..bleh,blah,bleek.

  • May 24, 1999, 10:07 p.m. CST

    'tsokay

    by rfiertek

    Just saw The Phantom Menace (not a fanatic, but I do like good sci-fi). Expecting disaster, I was rather pleased. Nonetheless, the film seemed attenuated. Moviemaking has come far in ten years, but Lucasfilm has acted to match rather than trying to outdo everyone else. The original succeeded because it was so far ahead of its peers (I mean ugh! "Smokey and the Bandit"). After Matrix (which blew me away), this film seems like a baby boomer generated flick. Lucas should hire the guys from Matrix and let 'em loose. Give us three times everything exotic and enchanting and wondrous: all the interlocking levels of misery and glory and the multiple viewpoints. Exploding planets was right. Awe us with mind-popping ideas. Lucas missed a real opportunity with the thru planet scene, which I really think can exist (read Richard Sauder's books on present day tunnelling capabilities). Give us solar-system-sized constructions (ala Dyson). Delve far beyond the naive politics (there are many more dimensions to deceit and politicking in the real world). Drop some of the silliest creatures with the improbable physiques (even the weirdest ones should be enchanting, not repulsive). Fix the CGI skin, dammit! (real skin has depth and glows and is fuzzy and subtler in shading and nuance of movement). Enough with the achilles heel endings! And enough of fights near deep trenches (what, no rails??). Be more consistent in the reach and spread of certain technologies, nothing should be beyond the pale on some worlds (rampant microbots, eyes & ears everywhere, T2 style liquid matter, mind-control technologies) This is crucial: drop the battle cliche where the bad lasers keep missing the good guys (become more strict in how scenes unfold). Make the CGI characters less antsy, they seem to over-move all the time (good actors are masters of understatement). The final battle seemed cartoony not because of the visuals but because of the way the premise unfolded (and the scale was too localized). The positives: Jake Lloyd was very good as were both Ewan and Liam. Natalie Portman was very princess-like (I want her bad). Jar Jar was not as jarring and incomprehensible as I'd been led to believe (oh, fix the walking and get the gravity down. His ears seemed to float down on pillows of air). [Why am I beginning to sound like a Jewish mother?] All the stray robots everywhere were great! The pod race scene was believable and benefited from the extra attention spent on it. Overall a good film considering it has been sixteen years. Is it in my top seven? No. What is (in no particular order): Blade Runner, Total Recall, Matrix, Fifth Element (I know, but Chris Tucker AND Milla Jovovich..), Return of the Jedi (slight lead over Empire), Aliens, and Terminator. After that: 2001 for audaciousness, 12 Monkeys for cool, Starship Troopers for the effects, Independence Day for thrills, Dark City for its plot, and War of the Worlds cause it scared the crap out of me when I was four! Overall, I'm happy and will go several more times to gawk at the CGI. -Robert Austin not a city...a religion.

  • May 25, 1999, 2:35 a.m. CST

    4th time at Mann's Chinese

    by Coswald

    Saw TPM for the fourth time, this time at Mann's Chinese Theatre. The seats were, surprisingly, 3/4 full (if you haven't been there- it's a BIG theatre)on a Monday night at 10:30 (school/work night), and the audience LOVED it. You wouldn't believe the cheering, clapping, laughing, etc. Much more responsive than opening night (12:01 AM tends to drain the will a little). Audience is crucial. There are nuances that you may not have noticed before, but when people have an audible reaction, you see them. Great stuff. I'm just glad I'm still enjoying it.

  • May 25, 1999, 5 a.m. CST

    10 Things I HATED about TPM/10 THINGS I LOVED ABOUT TPM

    by ashersam

    Ten Things I HATED about TPM. 10.) The opening crawl: THE FIRST SENTENCE IN ITSELF IS A STAR WARS CLICHE; A REHASH. "TURMOIL HAS ENGULFED THE GALACTIC REPUBLIC." SOUND ANYTHING LIKE THE FIRST LINE IN EPISODE IV?: "IT IS A PERIOD OF CIVIL WAR." I GUESS THE OLD SAYING APPLIES: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME. "THE TAXATION OF TRADE ROUTES TO OUTLYING STAR SYSTEMS IS IN DISPUTE.": COULD LUCAS HAVE POSSIBLY CHOSEN A MORE BANAL SUBJECT THAN "THE TAXATION OF TRADE ROUTES" TO SERVE AS THE CHAOTIC BACKDROP IN FRONT OF WHICH ALL THE ACTION MUST TAKE PLACE? WHERE WAS THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE JEDI AND THEIR PLACE IN THE REPUBLIC? WHERE DO OUR HEROES, QUI-GON AND OBI-WAN, FIGURE IN THE RANKS OF THE JEDI? ARE THEY BISHOPS OR ARE THEY PAWNS? WHY IS NABOO SO SALIENT IN THE SCHEME OF THE GALAXY???? WE'LL NEVER KNOW..... 9.)The dialogue. With the exception of Palpatine's already oft-praised line about "watching your (Anakin's) career with great interest....", I didn't hear so much as a peep of wry or poignant dialogue. I did hear Qui-gon rehash a number of Obi-Wan's musings about using the force, which, in all fairness, would make some sense considering that he is Obi-wan's mentor; still it's a flimsy excuse for absence of fresh dialogue. 8.) The Gungans, as they pertain to the plot. The Gungans themselves were great. Unlike anything we've ever seen in a Star Wars movie. Beautifully sculpted, CGI creations that interact flawlessly the live action. The grand view of their city is the film's first "ohhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh" shot: gorgeous. I wasn't even particularly perturbed by their accents. My problem was again an issue of rehash. We're watching the Ewoks save the rebels all over again. Wouldn't it have been an interesting twist to see them allign themselves with the Trade Federation instead? Which brings me to...... 7.) The Trade Federation. A technocratic race of profit seekers. They just aren't terribly threatening. We never see them wreak any serious havok on Naboo. Let's see what those massive contingents of droids, tanks, and fighters can really do. Where is the great jeopardy? 6.) The Jedi Counsel. Talk about missed opportunities! Come on, this is the Jedi: guardians of peace and justice in the universe. We hear and see so little of them. The best the movie can hack up is yet another redundant line spoken by Yoda himself: "Anger leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering." Been there, seen that, done it already in ESB. 5.) Yoda: He just doesn't look quite right. Here we are nineteen years after ESB, and the puppet used in TPM seems inferior, less life-like, than the original. By the way, was it just me or was Yoda's right eye crossed? Maybe CGI was the way to go. 4.) The backdrop for the lightsabre duel at the film's end. It all looks way too much like Bespin's gantry on which Luke and Vader had it out. Even Obi-wans fall from the catwalk mirrors Luke's in ESB. Also, Obi-Wan's eventual victory over Darth Maul seems to come way too easy: super Jedi-leap, a flip, summons the lightsaber. Seen it, been there, done that. 3.) The droids are left on the back burner. R2D2 and 3PO are merely cameos in TPM. They've always played pivotal roles in the Star Wars movies. Sure, R2 saves the day at the film's intro, and ultimately he acts as Anakin's co-pilot, but he's barely allowed a moment to interact with any of the film's characters. And yes, watch the original trilogy, he DOES interact with others even if he does speak with beeps, blips, and screams. Was I the only one disapointed to see 3PO left behind on Tatooine? Interaction between him and Jar Jar probably would've lended some much-needed comic-relief to TPM. I guess we'll meet up with him in Episode 2. 2.) Obi-Wan's character. Ewan McGregor was BORN to play this part. He is Alec Guiness as a young man. He's also left completely in the background of this story. Where was the hot-headed, reckless apprentice spoken of in ESB. I suppose we're seeing him in his post-rebellion, enlightened stage. TPM producer Rick McCullum (did I spell that right?) described Mcgregor's character as something of a conglomeration of Luke and Han's personalities. Wouldn't that've been cool. But no such luck. Obi-Wan's character's as flat as a pre-surgurey Brittany Spears. 1.) Annakin Skywalker. Jake Lloyd seemed to me like a kid playing Star Wars IN a Star Wars movie. This is probably more the fault of the director than of Lloyd himself being just nine years old. Annakin's a slave. He's lived an arduous existence. Shouldn't there at least be a hint of bitterness, fear, or anger in the future bane of the galaxy. Perhaps had he been an outcast among his peers, as child prodigys often are, Annakin might have been a character the audience could get behind and root for. He epitomizes the plight of nearly every character in TPM: there's just nothing to him. Ten things I loved about TPM. 10.) Visual Imagery. The bustling cityscapes of Coruscant. The aquatic abode of the Gungans, glowing like a giant Halmark Christmas Ornament. The lush utopian palace of Naboo. All like an orgasm for the eyes. The way Jar Jar interacts flawlessly with the live actors. Hundreds of battle droids being deployed from their APCs. No complaints here. For sure, next years Academy award winner for Special Effects. 9.) Darth Maul. Yes he doesn't say enough, and yes, he's seen way too briefly, but he's also TPM's finest addition to the Star Wars pantheon. The way he grits his rotting teeth as he crosses his saber with Obi-Wan's: perfect. His skills seem to be just slightly greater than those of Obi-wan and Qui-Gon. Unlike the Trade Federation, he's truly menacing. Love that double-edged lightsaber. 8.) Musical Score. The music accompanying the climactic lightsaber duel is nothing short of awesome. It lends to the sense that something very pivotal concerning the destinies of Annakin, Obi-wan, and Palpatine is taking place during this battle. The parade's tune is also of note, even if it does smack a bit of the music from ROTJ's revamped SE ending. 7.) Liam Neeson. Like Mcgreggor he was BORN to play this role. When I read he was cast I knew he could do no wrong for Episode 1. His dealings with Watto are unequivocally his finest moments.The fact that he cheats, using the force to turn Watto's fate cube in his favor tells us he's less than the honerable, level headed Jedi he apears to be. In short, he seems human in a sea of wooden human characters. 6.) Sebulba. You've gotta' love the way he walks on his hands. The smug manner in which he waves to the crowd after completing his first lap of the pod race is stuck in my head: can't wait to see this part again. Its scary to think that in the scenes featuring both Sebulba and Annakin, the CGI character comes off far more convincing than the live actor. 5.) Pernilia August as Shmi Skywalker. Again one of the scarce few actors in TPM able to squeeze some humanity into the story. Though its never spelled out, we get the sense that, like her son, she has gifts of clairvoyance. She seems to know that her son's destiny is momentously intertwined with the fate of the galaxy. 4.) The three way lightsaber duel. A first for a Star Wars movie. The coreography's flawless. It all seemed so spontaneous. Its impressive to stage a convincing duel between two players; but between three, that's amazing. The way the three of them are forced by the energyfields to take a pause in the battle: too cool. 3.) The Naboo-1 Starfighters. Hands down TPM's finest addition to the Star Wars universe as far as spacecraft go. Supersleek with something of a Flash Gordenesque-look to them. Just wish the space battle was little more novel. 2.) Watto. Dig that five-oclock shadow. Completely original creature deign. The italian accent is an absolute hoot. He never spends a moment of the film walking; he just perpetually hovers here and about. He's not swayed by Qui-gon's mind trick: Watto is no weak-minded fool. 1.) The Pod Race. This is Star Wars fillet mingion. Perfect. Tusken Raiders taking shots at speeding pod-racers is exactly the type of imagery I had dreamed of when I heard there was a new Star Wars movie in the works. The concept in itself (two reigned jet engines pulling a tiny pod with a rider) is an instant Sci-Fi classic. Did you hear the overpowering, bullying drone of Sebulba's engines?!!!! Can't wait to own TPM on tape so I can watch this part over and over untill its permanently etched into my brain. I could name twenty other things about TPM that either pleased or disapointed me. These were the ones that came to me off the top of my head. The latest Star Wars movie is a mixed bag, at best.

  • May 25, 1999, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Are You pulling another GODZILLA Harry?

    by Fairlane

  • May 25, 1999, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Figures by kenner?

    by AndyO

    I`ll keep this short (unlike the rest of you:O)) Wasn`t the TPM figures produced by Hasbro and not kenner as you stated Harry?

  • May 25, 1999, 8:20 a.m. CST

    SW:TPM climax apes "JEDI"

    by skimn

    Okay first off I liked the movie..oh, how I wanted to love it..but...I'm suprised that I haven't seen anyone catch Lucas ripping off the entire climix of TPM from "Jedi". In both films Lucas crosscuts between three stages of action. lightsaber duel between Jedi knights inTPM / Luke vs Darth Vader in JEDI...ground battle between Gunguin and (technologically advanced) battle droids in TPM / Ewoks vs (the same) Empire forces in JEDI...and Anakin destroys space station in TPM / Lando destroys Death Star in JEDI. Then Lucas caps it off with a practical re-staging of the victory presentation from Star Wars. After all this time one would think Lucas could come up with an ending staged more original..Yes I know that sequels (and prequels) acknowledge scenes and motifs from previous films in the series, but this seemed like lazy thinking on Lucas' part. What is trying to do...become the next De Palma?

  • May 25, 1999, 9:32 a.m. CST

    phantom menace

    by evansh10

    OK, so I flew all the way to New York last wednesday (from London, England) in order to see this movie. I guess you could say I am a huge fan. No, I wasn't disappointed. Though the pacing of the first half an hour was beginning to frustrate me while I was in the theatre, in retrospect I think it will stand the test of time better because of the patient build up. BUT I was having an arugment with my friend, and given I can't get clarification from anyone over here because they've not yet seen the movie and don't want to spoil it for them, I need to discuss this with someone who I know has seen the film. Senator Palpatine (who becomes Emperor - right) is also Darth Sidous - which is why we never see his face. Am I right? Please settle this one for me. Many, many thanks. Hannah

  • May 25, 1999, 11:14 a.m. CST

    anything

    by Sethj88

    d

  • May 25, 1999, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Star Wars Episode I

    by DarthVader57

    I liked the movie. Sure there were parts that I didn't like, but overall I really enjoyed the movie. I had tingles throughout my body for the whole two and a quarter hours. I have to admit that I didn't like Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker. (I never liked him since I saw him in Jingle All the Way. If you saw the movie, you understand my dislike for the kid. He just reminds me of a single male Olsen Twin). Jar Jar Binks was okay, I just wish they ahd subtitles when he spoke because I didn't understand a single word he said. The lightsabre duel was awesome. could've used more of Darth Maul, but the character had PRESENCE. Anyway I have a word to say for that one guy who Loathed the movie. If you are sick and tired of movies made today, why don't you make one and stop bitchin' and whinning.

  • May 25, 1999, 6:14 p.m. CST

    menacing alright

    by scarydog

    Is it true that in the next 'Star Wars' episode, Obi-Wan's sidekicks will be Roger Rabbit and Yosemite Sam?? I mean, Jar Jar was a cartoon, why can't we have some Looney Toons thrown in for good measure?? The 'Phantom Menace' apologists would no doubt defend the inclusion of cartoon characters - and anything else George Lucas brainlessly throws in, Lucas being "beyond reproach" - in the next movie. Maybe Lucas could just animate the next movie, put in all the cartoon characters he wants (Jar Jar included) and leave out the humans altogether. How would THAT be??

  • May 25, 1999, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Jar-Jar = Scooby-Doo

    by JSA

    (I'll get to the subject-line topic in a little bit. Sit tight.) Lighten up, disbelievers: "Hate leads to suffering." TPM is a great ride. Despite flaws (including a few real cringers), it was a great couple of hours' entertainment and wayyy more enjoyable than most recent summer "event" movies. I'll admit to skimming through many of the posts here; I didn't want to browse until I'd seen the movie, and the sheer volume of opinion already is overwhelming. A few things, then, that seem under-noticed following my admittedly un-thorough perusal: 1.) Those spherical destroyer droids, the ones with the shields, were extremely cool. 2.) CG is finally being used to deliver nifty non-humanoid body geometries -- witness the trader who owned Anikin (the most amazing CG face ever -- with the best humorous line in the flick: "What do you think you are, a Jedi knight, waving your hand like that?!); the creature who was Ani's chief opponent in the pod race(despite his "Gremlins"-like face); and the restaurant patron who took offense at Jar-Jar's idiocy (as did so many of the rest of us <g>). 3.) The scenes on the infield at the start of the race, when the air shimmered in the heat from the engines and the pods were shown in all their rustbucket glory, was literally breathtaking; I could practically taste the exhaust fumes! 4.) Darth Maul looks great, but he never manifested a fraction of the fearsomeness that made Vader so cool; he's just a minion, and Sidious' warmup act. That light bo-stick was spiffy, though. Makes me wish for laser nunchucks... 5.) Palpatine/Sidious was the best thing about the movie because he was the only character who seemed to be having fun. (Remember Han's smirky satisfaction? Luke's gee-whiz exhilaration? Leia's haughty sarcasm? Even the pod race didn't muster much in the way of flat-out, earnest thrills for Ani or his friends.) Palpatine, by contrast, reveled in his machinations (fairly subtly, at least for a comic book-type bad guy), and managed to make even his pleasantries sound chilling. 6.) Hanna-Barbera should get royalties from LucasArts: Jar-Jar is Scooby-Doo in different anatomy. Really. Think about it: Both are craven-but-"lovable" comic-relief mascots whose antics attract trouble. Both continually save the day in spite of themselves. And both are surrounded by otherwise cognizant people who can't see that their "courage" is an accidental result of trying to avoid danger. Zoinks! And that's not the only H-B influence: The Queen's starship is Space Ghost's Phantom Cruiser crossed with an SR-71 Blackbird, and the pod race was a (sometimes lethal) Wacky Races episode. Maybe they should have called this picture the FUNKY Phantom Menace <g>. 7.) What's the deal with the Gungan energy shield? It repels missiles and bombs, but droids can just walk through it? Makes almost as much sense as building force-field technology into Masai shields <g>. 8.) Whose kids ARE those urchins that were admiring Ani's pod racer? I half expected one of 'em to challenge Ani to a race for Darla's affections <g>. 9.)The Trade Federation appear to be members of a single race, one that's modeled on Hollywood's version of WWII-Japanese POW camp commanders. So why do they refer to themselves in terms of commerce? (They obviously existed as a people before they could trade with others.) And what exactly DO they trade, anyway? Dilithium crystals? <g> 10.)Finally, battle Droids provide positive proof that client-server is a bad approach to systems architecture.

  • May 26, 1999, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Phantom Menace review (A-)

    by sheridw2

    Star Wars: Episode I "The Phantom Menace" Rating: A- It's said that a picture paints a thousand words, but a single frame from any of the existing Star Wars films could easily inspire enough overstated scrutiny to fill the Library of Congress. It's kind of silly when you think about it. George Lucas has thankfully never asked his audience to take the original trilogy too seriously and with his latest installment, "Star Wars: Episode I 'The Phantom Menace'", he's still not asking. That's a good thing too, because like the others in the series, the strongest element of this film is that its serious moments are overshadowed by dreamlike escapism, astonishing discovery and, most importantly, lighthearted fun. All of which are sadly missing from most modern films. And believe me, this film is VERY FUN! From beginning till the scroll of the ending credits, so well placed and marvelous are the computer generated images, that at times you might forget to breath. Even during sedated scenes, like when Queen Amidala takes her plight to the senate committee, the audience is treated to such goodies as floating podiums and cameras that move about a large hollow senate hall where every spoken word is punctuated with echoed mystique. In fact, almost every computer enhanced scene amounts to some pretty dramatic stuff by nailing down the importance of what you're hearing. Nevertheless it's bound to be distracting for some. There have been complaints that the script diminishes itself by centering on a rather trivial trade dispute. In actuality, the dispute is only part of a grander scheme, created as leverage by a greedy politician, to manipulate his way into higher power. But, who'd want to do without these marvelous little distractions that make Star Wars films so enchanting? My only advice is that you'd better pay attention or the story will seem a bit flat. The characters are, simply put, wonderful. The most intriguing of which is Qui-Gon Jinn, a Jedi master, played by Liam Neeson, whose role is to keep order in universe. That's a lofty job and the way he handles adversity, without ever loosing the kindness in his eyes, also made him the most endearing. He travels with a familiar apprentice named Obi-Wan Kenobi, played as a young Alec Guiness, by Ewan McGregor. As the two begin their mission, unexpected turns and potluck present themselves in clever ways that help introduce us to the rest of the cast. They meet a clumsy, double-jointed, amphibian named Jar Jar Binks who's hard at times to understand, but gets his laughs through physical comedy. They also meet the strong willed, but kind hearted, Queen Amidala of Naboo, played royally by the beautiful Natalie Portman and later Anakin Skywalker, an ardent techno-wonder played by 9 year old Jake Lloyd, who in sequential episodes we'll all enjoy hating. For now, there's nothing about young Anakin to hate. He's just a happy little kid. The only flaw evident in his character is fear and as Yoda puts it, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." His goofy "Yippee" enthusiasm may annoy some, but it conjured warm memories of Luke from "A New Hope" for me. I'm sure I'll feel quite saddened when he inevitably turns to the dark side. When the Queen meets up with Anakin, who also happens to be a slave, the obvious contrast in background is ignored and we are treated to a sugary friendship instead of a conflict. Some might have preferred it if their dialogue had mimicked the playful bickering between princess Leia and Han Solo, but hey-this isn't a remake! Besides, if the Jedi's are to believe that Anakin is "The Chosen One" then he'd better be on his best behavior and the Queen should give him the respect he deserves, right? Well, it might not have mattered, but I still think having to listen to a Queen or an intelligent and gifted child make smart ass remarks may have ruined some of the myth for me. Now, while this movie is fairly impeccable, it doesn't complete without subjecting us to a couple of short, but unpleasantly absurd moments. The greatest example of which is when Anakin had to leave his mother behind, not knowing whether he'd see her again. I can understand why George Lucas would want to keep things upbeat up until this point, but you'd swear that Anakin was bummed about having to go away to summer camp. Maybe George wanted Anakin to look brave, but instead he made Jake Lloyd look unprofessional, which is unfortunate since he does such an outstanding acting job in this movie. The only other part of the film that even came close to being as embarrassing had to be the two-headed announcer at the pod race. Lucky for us he's MCing the coolest race of the millenium. This scene is 100% pure adrenaline, but it is hardly the exception. The fact is, most of this film is so intense that it'll leave you paralyzed in you seat. The battles are far superior to the previous installments and you'll get especially juiced while watching the final light saber duel. Not since "Rocky" has a fight scene had so much heart. You can be sure that there were a lot of shouting and cheering going on at the screening I attended. Darth Maul is really only here for scenes like this. His presence is similar to that of Bobba Fett and his vile stare more than replaces any need for evil dialogue. You may enjoy booing at him when he makes an appearance, but you'll probably be too busy rooting for the good guys. If The Phantom Menace doesn't lift your spirits it's not likely any film will. Sure it's cheesy, but cheese is as welcome to a Star Wars movie as it is to a hamburger, and if at times it seems to get a bit carried away, remember

  • May 26, 1999, 7:05 a.m. CST

    star wars is for losers

    by niggapleeze

    any fool who'd spend $15,000 on star wars crap or even a dollar is a grade A retard. i dont understand how anyone can enjoy a weak storyline with gayass actors. the effects are ok, but not so amazing that assholes should go out and quit their jobs to pray to yoda and fuck up their lives. all that money going towards useless crap. its a damn shame

  • May 26, 1999, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Some thoughts...

    by justabill

    My god, there sure are a lot of replies here. So many, that I am sure I will repeat some of what has been said earlier. As a writer/producer in the entertainment industry, my first reaction was to view this film with the skeptic and jaded eye of someone in "the business." When I sat down in the theater, however, I had a change of heart - I decided to turn off that section of my brain that is devoted to picking films and television shows apart, and just have a - dare I say - virginal experience. So all in all here's what I think (for anyone who cares!): It was a good movie. Was it great? No. Did it stand on the level of the other 2 & 1/2 (I say 1/2 because about half of Jedi is really great...) No. But it was still good. There were things that I enjoyed, and things that I could have done without, but there was no one thing that either totally amazed me or totally detracted from my viewing experience. Sure, Jar Jar Binks was annoying at times. He's like the little brother that won't shut up, but is still good for a few things. Would I have liked to see him act a bit less child-like, yes. Do I wish death upon him and his creators, no. The effects were great, the foreshadowing (slipping back into my writer's brain for a moment) was neat. And to quote someone else here...it was definitely a chilling moment when Palpatine lays his hand on Ani's shoulder and talks about "watching" him in the future... On another subject I was thinking that there are some interesting things ahead. There are a number of things that we can look forward to seeing (since we know that they happen...) Things like the marriage of Ani and Amidala. The birth of Luke and Leia. The growth and training of Ani and his turn to the Dark Side. There are a few moments that I am definitely waiting for...the duel between Obi Wan and Aniken (Anikan?)...and his evolution into Vader. On the other hand, there are some things that will occur that I'd love to see - that we definitely won't see... Darth Vader picking out his mask..."I'd like something scary please...size large. Do you have anything other than black?" The poor Empire design engineer that comes up with the brilliant idea for a round battle station and the poor construction foreman that says "Ah, it's just a exhaust port. There's no reason to cover it." Yoda picking out Dagobah for his new home. "Hmmm...muddy this place is...cleaning staff I must hire." Palpatine getting his craggy face that we see in Jedi. "Agh...look what you've done to me...this is the worst facial I've ever had!" Things like that...but my mind wanders. Anyway...just adding my 2 cents...

  • May 26, 1999, 7:59 a.m. CST

    title rumors

    by gernblanston67

    Can someone please confirm the following title rumor for the next Star Wars movie? I hear it is going to be called "Star Wars, Episode 2, the Death of Jar Jar Binks." Also being batted around is, "Star Wars, Episode 2, the Death of Jar Jar Binks and the annhilation of his entire race." Can anyone confirm?

  • May 26, 1999, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Does George Lucas look like a bitch?!?

    by washedupjedi

    People, you're not giving the man nearly enough credit. He's only being tweaking this project for the better part of two decades. If this movie seems a little hokey and child-oriented, there's a reason for it. There is a whole new generation out there now that only has a tiny vision of what Star Wars is. They may have been taken to the theatres for the Special editions, but only at the prompting of their parents and/or friends. It was OUR Star Wars from back then. But now, over 20 years later, it's THEIR Star Wars. it's their opportunity to experience a whole new film and fall in love with it the way we did. How many of the "older folks" way back when brushed us off when we went on and on about all the ships, the planets, the effects, and VADER?!? Thats what I thought. Lucas is covering his bases. He knows he has us all right where he wants us- in the theatres. Lets be honest here. To us diehards, a bad Star Wars movie is still light years better than a good Bruckenheimer film any day of the week. We'll be back again and again. If he can capture the imaginations and minds of the young ones today like he did to me 22 years ago, he has guaranteed ticket sales for years to come. And I'll be seeing them many times as well. That's what I think....

  • May 26, 1999, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Questionable Motives

    by Lucarus

    I continue to confounded by the logic illustrated in this forum (or the lack thereof). I am left wondering why you people who seem to absolutely HATE this movie continue to post here. I personally loved this movie and am planning to go see it for the fifth time today. Whatever your opinion is won't affect my personal enjoyment of the movie. If you don't like the movie, then why do you continue to dwell on it? It is my opinion that you are in a feeble attempt to capture the attention of others and start an argument. Anyways, I'm going to continue supporting George Lucas as long as he continues releasing movies like this that battle pop-culture. (And as much as you "counter-culture" people don't like to admit it, you have been assimilated by pop culture.) The only true "counter-culture" nowadays is religion (that Lucas conveys so strongly in the movie most of you hate).

  • May 26, 1999, 12:58 p.m. CST

    I'm outa here

    by Dsmith1868

    Any respect for Harry as a critic that was left has now been lost. I quit reading the review after the "I liked Jar Jar" bit. Those characters were worse than the ewoks. Major script rewrites were required. I just sank in my seat as one said to Jar Jar that he stepped in "deep do do". What??? Is this a part of the mythic series that I once loved? This installment also destroys the Force mythology. "May the Force be with you" is now a laughable line. You have it or you don't. I could go on and on and on. I won't. I'm just deleting this site from my list of favorites. Bye. -D.

  • May 26, 1999, 5 p.m. CST

    PALPATINE to the rescue

    by 69

    Thank god Palpatine comes along and gives us a lot of stuff to mull over till EP2. he is SIDIOUS, no question here/ his smile is GOLD! midichoridian bugs ya? lemme give ya something to mull over. midichoridian is in the blood, meaning it can be duplicated, CLONED! hence the CLONE WAR! (and maybe welcome back Maul) another thing is anakin and the Queen. I agree with someone who said that there will be a romance between the two but anakin will be lead to believe that obiwan is the father , or the lover, hence HATRED! Great of palpatine to screw everyone over, finally some menacing presence in the near future.... May I suggest that his first target is all the gungans, jarjar included? LONH LIVE PALPATINE! GIVE US EVIL! and turn that young anakin to the dark aside ASAP! HI Azakite ps... ive read things about leo caprio as anakin, all i have to say to george on that one is: "Are you braindead?" keep it a no name, please!!

  • May 27, 1999, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Obi-Wan Wears A Wig

    by JediSmash

    Has this been brought up before...? I loved the film but I did notice one inconsistency that really bugged the hell out of me. Several times throughout TPM Ewan McGregor's hairstyle changes from natural, spiky brown to orange wig w/wave. Anybody else notice this? Take another look. The first scene where the wig is spotted is during the scene where he and Liam meet Jar Jar in the forest. Ewan starts off with brown, spiky hair then when Jar Jar spins around and Ewan has to duck to dodge the creature's ears, he's wearing a pathetic orange wig. The next time the wig pops up is when he, Liam and Jar Jar are jumping off the bridge onto the unsuspecting battle droids. Once he lands however and starts slicing droids with his lightsaber, his hair is back to spiky, brown. This occurs several times throughout the movie and it's not a stunt double. We see the wig during close-ups! I realize this is the result of re-shoots but this is a horrible editing job, It's unprofessional and frankly I find it unacceptable. Lucas has been in the business for over 30 years. He should have a sharper eye for this kind of stuff. It bugs me because every time I see the wig, it takes me out of the realm of fantasy and a little voice in my head tells me "hey wake up, it's a movie!" Grrrrrr!

  • May 27, 1999, 11:49 a.m. CST

    RE: Obi Wan wig

    by Tiger Ninestein

    I noticed it too. I think Ewan must have turned up at the film set having attended some Scotland soccer game where Scottish supporters have been known to sport garishly orange wigs for some reason. Thankfully he appears to have remembered to remove his tam o' shanter and kilt otherwise that karate kick he performs on the battle droids could've revealed more than his Jedi jumping talents.

  • May 27, 1999, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Quit telling me...

    by Chrisedge

    All this crap about how to "watch" a movie. No one should have to... # 1 View this or ANY movie "though the eyes of a child" View it as YOURSELF! # 2 Forget about the first trilogy/Don't compare. Why shouldn't you compare it to not only 4-6 but other movies as well. # 3 That I can't/can like it because (INSERT YOUR BELIEF) BTW, I thought the movie was great! #1 ANH #2 TPM #3 TESB #4 ROTJ Later...

  • May 27, 1999, 12:26 p.m. CST

    A Review of Harry

    by denali

    If you want an intelligent review of the the movie, go to film.com. No offense, but Harry's reviews tend to be infantile and chockingly full of fey statements that don't amount to much regarding serious critical commentary. What I do know as was made clear ad nauseum is that perhaps Harry and Jar Jar should hook up for a date. What a waste of time. Time to grow up dude.

  • May 27, 1999, 12:50 p.m. CST

    "In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."

    by Fokker

    **SPOILER** I guess old Obi-Wan forgot about Anakin's seemingly insignicant torpedo shots. I didn't mind Jar Jar the character--just his incredibly unintelligible voice (I personally would have written him to be mad at himself for being so clumsy, thus giving him an edgy feel)--but when "The Chosen One" blows up a Trade Federation battleship while basically punching buttons in the cockpit, my reverence for the movie sunk. All Lucas had to do was indicate that young Ani possessed the ability to use the Force--even if he didn't understand it, which would have opened a great story line--and the scene would have been fine. But alas, we get "Jurassic Park" syndrome.

  • May 27, 1999, 2:41 p.m. CST

    harry

    by Chest Rockwell

    Harry knowles has lost my respect.

  • May 27, 1999, 2:48 p.m. CST

    harry

    by Chest Rockwell

    Harry knowles has lost my respect. First it was the Godzilla thing where he loved the movie then turned around and said he hated it. Now its his review of StarWars where he's afraid to say that he didnt like the movie. Look at it through a childs eyes he says. Go fuck your fat self harry. Have balls to say that u didnt like the movie we'll respect u more. I think you've sold out. When reviewing that piece of shit Robert Rodriquez made of course u loved it u were in the fucking movie. Harry u r a sell out its time to step down.

  • May 27, 1999, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Grow up, or more appropriately grow down.

    by MikeMayket

    The thing so many people my age (27) seem to be forgetting is that the Star Wars films are childrens movies. The difference between Episode I and the first three isn't that the magic is gone, it's that we've grown up. Episode I featured everything I'm looking for in a Star Wars movie. (and when the music and text crawl started, for just a minute, I felt like I was five again) I did not enjoy the character of Jar Jar, but then I'm not 7 years old. All of the kids at the screening I was at seemed to find Jar Jar hilarious and more power to them. So many people seem to be of the impression that they've grown up so the movies should have grown up with them. George has always had a bad, childish sense of humour, but it wouldn't be Star Wars without it. If you really thought Episode I was that bad, then you're looking at it with the wrong eyes. Remember what it was like to be a kid and try to tell me that if you were one today that Episode I wouldn't have been the most amazing, magical thing you've ever seen.

  • May 27, 1999, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Inconsistent

    by DickBones

    Inconsistent. Other than "disappointment" this is the best word to describe Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. That's inconsistent within itself, and inconsistent in tone and content with the other Star Wars films. I'm a pretty rabid Star Wars fan. I grew up playing with the toys, inventing my own back stories and creating my own scenarios with my brother and friends--always in the very same spirit with which the films were imbued. I can remember having more fun as a six year-old, playing with action figures than I did watching this brand new Lucas-helmed project Thursday night. A great deal of the appeal of this new effort is in its nostalgic pull on those old enough to have been influenced by more than the recent video, cable, and theatrical re-releases. This movie was a piece of my childhood, and a piece, which in its current incarnation aimed at a Barney and Teletubbie-weaned demographic, betrays some of those memories. And that's the biggest disappointment, and the harshest criticism I can offer. Star Wars was always envisioned as child-inspired entertainment, but it never condescended to its audience. This new movie is filled with so many goofy little touches and outlandish stabs at comedy, it feels more like a well-drawn Saturday morning cartoon than the great human and alien space opera it once was. At times, I felt like I was watching the product of a little child who got into his mother's Industrial Light & Magic drawer and started playing $120 Million dress-up. Other times, I was amazed, with a giddiness and joy grounded in the fact I was seeing some things I'd never seen before and that this was, indeed Star Wars. I mean, here are Jedi Knights with light sabers doing Jedi shit and talking like Jedi should. There were times my pot-clouded mind couldn't contain the joy of witnessing unbridled enthusiasm explode on the screen--the hallmark of all Lucas' film legacy. But I couldn't stop thinking that something was missing. It looks great, moves fast, but at the expense of story-telling and character-building. And even if the original movie succeeded in telling only the simplest of stories and building cheesy archetypes for characters--it was a simple, time-honored and time-tested story and the characters were archetypes for a reason. They were easily and quickly identifiable, and they spurred the imagination. There is no such craftsmanship in these "new" characters, even though many are earlier versions of those same once-successful archetypes. The characters still have mythic resonance, but now lack emotional resonance. This is the fault of writing, and not acting--since these people just have nothing important or meaningful to say to each other. And Mark Hammill couldn't act, either. One of the key relationships in the film is between Liam Neeson's Jedi Master and Ewen McGregor's Obi Wan. Neeson does what he can to inject his character with the solemn grace and commanding presence he deserves, and succeeds in creating an inspirational image. But in his interactions with Kenobi, neither character has anything to go on. There is just no real connection between the two, and other than a litany of 'Yes, Masters,' there is little of the emotional bond and endearing dynamic that exists between Luke and Ben in the other films. It's like for these guys, they've just got a job to do. La-di-da. But you know your film has severe problems when your central character is fundamentally flawed. In this story, we are supposed to witness the formative years of the child who will become the most menacingly evil presence in the galaxy--the Adolph Hitler of a long time ago and far, far away. And in Lucas' movie this amounts to a carefree, starry-eyed giddy little tike with the world's most cushy enslavement by a lovably comic rascal of a slavemaster and a loving, if not reticent and slightly moronic virgin mother. Their slave quarters on Tattoine is bigger than my apartment and half of my neighbor's apartment together. Young Anakin has plenty of free time for friends and to build and race his pod-racer. If Hitler were reared in such an emotionally stable and supportive environment, he'd have grown up to be a fastidious haberdasher or a singing telegram. So what is Lucas telling us, by focusing on a child so gosh-darn wholesome that he trots offscreen belting out an ecstatic "Yipee!" when told he is going to be taken away for Jedi training? [Yeah. Like I ever pictured Darth Vader saying 'Yipee.' No dark lord of the Sith should ever be the kind of person to say 'Yipee.' Ever. That's just fact.] He is telling us that in the great tradition of Lando Calrissean, any character can be swung 180 degrees in the opposite direction at the toss of a hat with absolutely no foreshadowing, rhyme or reason. Whatever provides a weak surprise, whatever serves the plot will do. That kind of stuff might be fine for a secondary character like Lando, but if one sets out to make three films describing the seduction and corruption of a great villain, one would hope that progression doesn't turn on a dime. And since there is no evidence of his evil potential in this first film, why even make it at all? Why not start the story when it starts to get interesting? When it feels as though something is at stake, as opposed to making a glorified kids' film without any hint of the obvious. My mom (never a huge fan of these movies) left the theater and called to tell me she didn't know until someone told her afterwards, that the kid grew up to be Darth Vader. That is exactly what's wrong here. If someone can somehow be as uninformed on this matter as my mom and walk away from the film without any sense as to that crucial, inevitable fate, then the film has failed to do anything except pass the time. Which it does in tremendously entertaining fashion, but the obviously belabored point is that it could have, like its predecessors, been so much more. All of this could be excused as an innocent setup for what will be the great payoff in the next two movies. Fine. I can accept that. But since we already know where this story is taking us, there is no great surprise that the kid turns evil. The whole point of these movies is that we want to know why and how, and we strain through every upbeat scene of this movie to find some little shallow hint in this kid's character, some tiny shred of evidence that he is destined for darker things than his sunny disposition would suggest. And other than the opinions and designs of other characters, there is no behavioral or personality flaw in this kid other than over-exhuberance and moppet-headed googliness. Anger, fear, aggression, a garsh-darn, can-do attitude: the dark side are they? So we're left cheering for this kid who will grow up to be one of the galaxy's greatest villains. Doesn't anyone find that a little peculiar? There is just no consistency between the ultra-positive tone of this film and the ones that preceded it (in actuality, not fictional chronology). These current characters don't bond, bleed, have any emotional stake in any bit of the action or (other than one death-induced battle cry) each other. And except for C-3PO and R2-D2, we don't get any real insight into their origins, and they don't resemble in personality, their later selves. Speaking of C-3PO, in this movie, we get to meet his creator on Tattoine. How come if he was built on Tattoine, does he seem so out of place and curious when his escape pod lands back home at the beginning of Episode IV? And why is he so negative about his home planet in the beginning of Jedi--with no indication he'd ever spent a great deal of time there? This wink at the later chance encounter between the droids and Luke is creative, but it violates story continuity by ignoring what we already know about the future. This movie is filled with these Star Wars universe anachronisms and drastic inter-movie mood swings. Like, why is the technology in this movie--supposedly 40 years before the action of the original--so much more advanced and trouble-free than it appeared in 1977? Luke's land-speeder looked like a broken-down flattened Camaro with the funky Trans Am spoiler shaped into a triple-tiered engine foil. Part of the appeal, was the everyday nature and overused imperfection of the fantastic technology we saw then. I know computers can make cooler devices, weapons, and spacecraft than the pre-ILM techies could 22 years ago, but that doesn't excuse them for abandoning the films' uniform style and accuracy. Anakin, as a slave, built himself a souped-up flying monster truck funny car and 40 years later, Luke is slumming around in a beat-up old pace car for a soapbox derby. All the spaceships in this film are far more advanced and provide a smoother, less mechanical ride than anything seen before-which is of course many years after the events have taken place. As for the much-maligned Jar Jar Binks, let it merely be said that, while occasionally entertaining, Mush Mouth from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids does not belong in a Star Wars movie. There was plenty I liked about this movie, but there is nothing I feel as strongly about as I do the shortcomings. The art direction and imagination that went into the look and feel of this picture is unprecedented, but I couldn't help but wish it was all used to stage a better, more character-driven story. Even Darth Maul isn't nearly as menacing as he could be. He just kind of shows up and wreaks havoc for a little while. No big deal. They never show him doing anything really bad--doesn't strangle his coworkers, doesn't torture princesses, doesn't speak or breath cool. He's got cool face paint, a double-edged light saber, and an acrobatic fighting style, but no real personality or evil charisma. He's got too much to live up to, and Jake Lloyd armed with Lucas' bland script doesn't muster any of the Vader villainy we crave. Judging by tone alone, this movie could just as easily been the first chapter in the Greedo story. I'm not sure what more I can say. Most writers know that severe character changes need to be foreshadowed if they want their audience to buy into it. Without the proper preparation, major shifts in motivation and morality of a character we thought we knew can be jarring because audiences will suspend disbelief indefinitely for fantastic premises and alien worlds, but there is no patience for random, unsupported personality transplants out of the clear blue sky. If everything we know about a character in Act 1 says that he is X, but then in Act 2 or 3 something happens and he bang turns into Y, we feel cheated. The writer needs to show a little Y before the change so we can believe it when it happens even if we already know the outcome. Especially if we already know the outcome. Maybe Lucas is hoping that by the time his second movie comes out, we will have forgotten most of this one. And Y we felt cheated. Of course I will go and see this movie again. I will see this movie again so that I can look at it with less critical and less stoned eyes and maybe allow myself to appreciate it for what it is, and not what it could and should have been. With any luck, I'll be lulled into a drastic mood shift and come away loving it.

  • May 27, 1999, 5:37 p.m. CST

    HONKYS SUCK MY BLACK PENIS LIKE IT WAS THE FORCE -

    by negroenforcer

    You white muthafuckers need to get on with your lives. THis man Lucas has stolen your souls- you respond with such emotions to the creation of another man- you are weak minded fools - who have been defeated with Lucus's Jedi Mind tricks. To the honky muthafucker who spent $17,000 on star wars merchandise over the past few years and his dissapointed with the new movie- Suck me uncircumcised negro dick and eat some bananas- you honky muthafuckers don't got a damn clue- brothers dyin' in my post everyday- and you low down bastards all up in rage over this here movie- and it's not the most profitable movie ever either- I know a dude who made a porno called "White bitches get the black dick" that shit cost $95 - made in 1985 on a full sized vhs camcorder stolen from monkeywards and the actors worked for free- the $95 went towards some burritos and rubbers and shit like that- made for $95- shit grossed $123,000 on the underground circuit. You'all wana watch a real movie load "Black P.I (jack smooth) into your VCR tonight- and always mastrubate with some lubricate- that shit can burn off your skin- ya dig- p.s my prediction on the final domestic gross of this here star wars episode I $ 436

  • May 27, 1999, 5:59 p.m. CST

    NOT inconsistent

    by Eos

    TECHNOLOGY: Of course the technology in this story will be better - this is BEFORE the overthrow of the Republic, the rise of the corrupt Empire, and the Rebellion wreaking havoc on everybody. We're seeing the Golden Age of the galaxy here. DARTH MAUL: As practically everybody on this Talkback has observed, he's not the real villain in TPM. Palpatine is the man behind the curtain, the 'phantom menace'. (IMHO, Palpatine gets the scariest scene in TPM - "I shall be following your career with great interest, young Skywalker." Brrr.)Maul is a decoy, to distract attention away from Palpatine/Sidious' felonious little plans. Maybe he did his job too well. ANAKIN: What can I say? Harry already said it. Ani reminds us that any one of us can become a monster, no matter how warm, eager or generous our spirit. The Dark Side lies within us all. Even Hitler painted roses...

  • May 27, 1999, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Luke's Real Parents

    by EMRFish

    How's this for a plot twist. Anakin marries Natalie, and she has a child (Luke). Everything's going great until Anakin discovers that the child's father is really none other than his best friend Obi-Wan. This, of course, drives him bananas, and he gets in a big fight with Obi and eventually succumbs to the Dark Side. Sort of like the betrayal of King Arthur by his best friend Lancelot. Afterall, what could possibly make a man more mad than utter jealously and betrayal by the two people he loves and trusts the most? Sex is the root of all evil. BTW, Leia is actually Anakin's daughter and not twins with Luke.

  • May 28, 1999, 12:01 a.m. CST

    harry's integrity

    by realitycheck

    Jesus, Harry, how many truckloads of Twinkies did it take for Lucas to extract such a sycophantic review from you? It's clear you've sold out and become a vassal of the hype merchants; when it comes to delivering objective, level-headed film reviews you're like an (exceptionally fat) Thalidomide child - you haven't got a leg to stand on!

  • May 28, 1999, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Theme of Star Wars & a rant

    by JediSmash

    Has anybody considered that maybe the reason TPM is such a cuddly movie is to emphasize the contrast between the golden age of the Republic and the tyranny of the Empire? When the Republic falls, this "playful" galaxy may be in for a serious change. Lucas has always been conscious of the color of his movies, the tones. Tatooine is bland, Endor is earth tone, the Death Star is all black & white. TPM is very colorful. There's a reason for this. Don't underestimate George. Does anybody really believe the man doesn't know what he's doing? A lot of you are really looking at this through negative lenses. Have a little faith. If you don't like the movie...you don't like the movie. Noone can argue with you there. But anybody who says "George let us down" or thinks he's only interested in taking our money, is really showing signs of immaturity. First of all, the guy owes us nothing. Second of all, if anybody is vaguely familiar with George, you know he's not a man who's main objective is profit. Why would anyone who's interested in making money attempt to make it big in the film industry? Do you know what the odds are at being successful? George is one of us. He made it to the "big time" and now so many of you can do nothing but knock him. You concentrate on the negative instead of looking at the good points of the film. If you enjoyed any part of the film, then you should thank him because that's enjoyment that didn't exist in your life before TPM came out. I'm really embarrassed to be considered a peer by some of you. Ever hear of loyalty? Nah, you're probably more acquainted with "ungrateful".

  • May 28, 1999, 10:14 a.m. CST

    SAME PATTERN EVERYWHERE: DISAPPOINTMENT AND THEN APPLAUDS

    by Jedi3167a

    This whole thread proves my point. If you go down the list you will notice that the titles of each post roughly reflect the same pattern. People are at first dissapointed and then they see the movie a few more times and realize that they were wrong the first time. I have seen the movie 10 times. It is BETTER than Empire. You must realize folks that your opinions on Star Wars, your expectations were beggotten by repeat viewings of the trilogy at home. Therefore it can only follow that for you to appreciate TPM you have to go see it a thousand times.

  • May 28, 1999, 10:50 a.m. CST

    A few points

    by Figurehead

    I just saw the movie yesterday folks. Although I read many of your "......oh is sucked so bad....how could George make this.....Jar Jar is the anti-christ....." I went into the movie totally un-biased and just remembered the feeling of when I saw the last two movies. In 1977, all I remember of Star Wars was the Death Star blowing up. Ya know though, I had the same feeling when the "Lucas Films" heading came up, and the music and the moving synopsis rolled. I was 8 years old again. The reason that I wrote this was because: 1. I firmly believe that I will never believe critics opinions....that's why we have brains...so we can think for ourselves. 2. Was it just me or was that Gungan leader retarded? What the hell was that with his shaking his head whenever he finished saying something and crap flying everywhere? 3. I loved the plot..... you could sense the underpinnings of evil in Palpatine....brilliant. 4. I LOVED THE MOVIE. Take that you TFM bashers. Can't wait until the next movies. Even if Leonardo is Anikin, it will still be great.

  • May 28, 1999, 11:06 a.m. CST

    TPM movie...and everyones bitching....

    by QuiGonRick

    OK, here goes....Here's my opinion of TPM: Not one of us deserved this movie! All we are are a bunch of bickering, hateful, spiteful MORONS who seem to put way too much of their lives into this movie (can anyone say Trekkies?). This is absolutely rediculous. As my family and friends know, if something is even slightly annoying (see Backdoor Boys, N Sync, any other annoying crap), it will annoy me to no end. I saw TPM 3 times in 2 days, and Jar Jar was not annoying! I knew going into that theatre that I wasn't going to have the same experience that I did at 6 and seeing the opeing sequence to ANH. That experience changed my life, seeing ROTJ at 13 didn't. So why would TPM be any different? I have three kids, and my two oldest like the original trilogy, but they kind of see it as an old persons movie (like the movies my parents liked as a kid). My youngest daughter, however, has become as big a SW fan as me, and it almost brings tears to my eyes when the words she's learning (she's 2 and learning to talk) are Maul, Jar Jar, and Boba Fett (she can say his whole name:) )...Anyway, the only problems I had with the movie were these: the pacing was slow in some parts (but what did you expect here? We're being set up for what is really the meat and potatoes of this whole new trilogy, EP 2 and 3), that it was odd that there was so little emotion bewteen AS and his mother when they were parting, not enough DM (although what did you expect? They're not going to introduce a villain that would overshadow DV)...When watching Jar Jar, I did not see any racial stereotypes, although those TF guys were (*in badly dubbed kung fu movie english*"Ah, Queen Amidala, I would like to order some sweet and sour pork, and some fried rice. Oh, and you killed my brother chan, damn you!"). Sure, there are some inconsistencies, but there were some in the original trilogy (ewoks anyone?). And complaining about how bad the movie is? Please. Every single movie that comes out of Hollywood would be as bad as everyone claims TPM is if they applied the same kind of mentality and energy they have for ripping apart TPM. WAKE UP CALL, EVERYBODY!!

  • May 28, 1999, 11:23 a.m. CST

    TPM movie...and everyones bitching....

    by QuiGonRick

    OK, here goes....Here's my opinion of TPM: Not one of us deserved this movie! All we are are a bunch of bickering, hateful, spiteful MORONS who seem to put way too much of their lives into this movie (can anyone say Trekkies?). This is absolutely rediculous. As my family and friends know, if something is even slightly annoying (see Backdoor Boys, N Sync, any other annoying crap), it will annoy me to no end. I saw TPM 3 times in 2 days, and Jar Jar was not annoying! I knew going into that theatre that I wasn't going to have the same experience that I did at 6 and seeing the opeing sequence to ANH. That experience changed my life, seeing ROTJ at 13 didn't. So why would TPM be any different? I have three kids, and my two oldest like the original trilogy, but they kind of see it as an old persons movie (like the movies my parents liked as a kid). My youngest daughter, however, has become as big a SW fan as me, and it almost brings tears to my eyes when the words she's learning (she's 2 and learning to talk) are Maul, Jar Jar, and Boba Fett (she can say his whole name:) )...Anyway, the only problems I had with the movie were these: the pacing was slow in some parts (but what did you expect here? We're being set up for what is really the meat and potatoes of this whole new trilogy, EP 2 and 3), that it was odd that there was so little emotion bewteen AS and his mother when they were parting, not enough DM (although what did you expect? They're not going to introduce a villain that would overshadow DV)...When watching Jar Jar, I did not see any racial stereotypes, although those TF guys were (*in badly dubbed kung fu movie english*"Ah, Queen Amidala, I would like to order some sweet and sour pork, and some fried rice. Oh, and you killed my brother chan, damn you!"). Sure, there are some inconsistencies, but there were some in the original trilogy (ewoks anyone?). And complaining about how bad the movie is? Please. Every single movie that comes out of Hollywood would be as bad as everyone claims TPM is if they applied the same kind of mentality and energy they have for ripping apart TPM. WAKE UP CALL, EVERYBODY!! Lucas knows he has three movies to tell this story arc, unlike ANH, when he assumed he'd only be making the one. If GL knew he had 3 movies to tell the original trilogy's story, believe me, ANH would have been a lot different. All you idiots ripping apart TPM will be singing it's praises after EP2 and kissing TPM butt after EP3 (although IMHO, TPM will be the ROTJ of this trilogy). Give it a rest people. And in Jar Jar's case, the galaxy is filled with different races and types, not all of them are going to be kick ass Jedi's, wookiees, or smugglers. I bet if you thought real hard, you'd find a Jar Jar at your work, your school, wherever (hell, all of us are Jar Jar's at some point, as I'm sure there are people who find YOU annoying. Alot of people like me, but there are some people I know that find ME annoying. Not everyone is going to be pleasing to everyone's palate). And in the end, PLEASE give me a whole movie of Jar Jar Bink's, just not those stupid Ewoks!!! At least Gungans can be believable in warrior roles. Oh, and as far as inconsitencies with what it written and in the movies, GL has a group of people whose job it is to keep everything consistent, and there are bound to be mistakes. At least the inconsistencies are minor (unlike, say ST), and in the end, it's GL creation and baby, and if he wants to change it, it's his call. Also, alot of what was written had the gag order of not being able to touch the period before ANH, now we see why. So, in the end, I'm going back to see it a fourth time, and a fifth time, and probably more than that. I rejoice at being able to return to that galaxy far, far away, and especially the return of one of my favorite characters: Darth Vader! So should everyone else, especially since, unlike Trekkies, we don't get a SW movie every two or three years. But what we do get beats what they get any day! So I will close this, thanks for reading if you got this far, and no, I don't have anything against Trekkies (I like Klingons, that's about it, and I think SW kicks ST's butt any day), and it the words of my man Dennis Miller...Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • May 28, 1999, 1:55 p.m. CST

    PHANTOM -- COOL, FUN FLICK, NOW SHUT UP!

    by Hale1

    Harry -- I met you when you came to speak at The Smithsonian. I worked there, at the time, with Julia Pelosi. I agree with most of your points about TPM. Here's my review: I am tired of reading about the spate of whininess surrounding The Phantom Menace. The amount of flack that this single film has received proves that in this fickle, smug, instant gratification society, even the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would be hailed as a "total bummer." (Not that I'm saying that Star Wars is bigger than Jesus -- O.K., I am, but then so were the Beatles back in the mid-60s.) Could The Phantom Menace have been better? Sure -- everything has room for improvement. Just look at the original Star Wars, or as it is now known, Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope. Lucas "improved" it two years ago and it still wasn't any better than it was back in 1977. Lucas updated the special effects, but left the character and story flaws intact. So why not just take The Phantom Menace for what it is -- an entertaining introduction to an already flawed but totally engrossing story that we all know and love. First of all, some cranks seem to be under the impression that the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) and its sequels are masterpieces of narrative filmmaking, when in fact, they are not. Of the original (2nd) trilogy, only Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back comes close to offering anything great in terms of narrative structure, character development, dialogue, etc. In the end, the three films need to be enjoyed as pieces of grand entertainment, which, they are. In this aspect, so is The Phantom Menace. Secondly, many of the "disappointed" reviews seem to be totally oblivious to the fact, though it is clearly labeled as such, that The Phantom Menace is EPISODE I! Of course things seem disjointed because we are jumping backwards from Episode VI. Suddenly we are thrust into a world/galaxy whose existence and grandeur we all have only been able to imagine for almost two decades. Every fan of the original film has his/her own idea of what the Old Republic was all about and how Anakin, Obi-Wan, et.al., came to be. And just like in the comparison of a good book to a film, that personal, mental image is always more powerful than what winds up presented on screen. So Lucas already has that against him. Another point lost on the chronic gripers: the original Star Wars, in 1977, came out of NOWHERE. With its straightforward characterizations, and clearly defined line between good and evil, it literally took a post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, dazed and confused America, and world, by surprise. Unfortunately, for The Phantom Menace, it opened under complete opposite circumstances -- a world is that just as cynical and fucked up as it was twenty-two years ago, but now, people are hungry, like a pack of ravenous hyenas, for not only more Star Wars, but for anything new. We ARE like the decadent society of Huxley's Brave New World -- we need our soma to constantly distract ourselves from the fact that existence is actually dull and meaningless. This fact has always been true but today, with the establishment of the Internet, mass transit, mass communications, mass everything, the world is a much smaller and unexciting place that it was in 1977. We are, in effect, the complacent, overextended, corrupt and tapped-out society that Lucas has presented in The Phantom Menace as the Old Republic. And perhaps that ultimately is what some do not like about the film -- Lucas holds a mirror to our own times, rather than a superficial escape from it. And of course, we all know what will become of the frail Old Republic. Of course, all this wouldn't matter if the original Star Wars was some sort of Citizen Kane-type masterpiece, which it is not. The original film was and still is an example of old fashioned storytelling on film, as is The Phantom Menace. And guess what?! The all-holy original had its fair share of narrative and character flaws as well. For example, at the beginning of Episode IV: A New Hope, shouldn't Vader have sensed the very presence of his long-lost son on the planet below and simply gone down to Tatooine to take care of the entire situation then and there? And furthermore, shouldn't Vader have also caught onto the fact the bitch-queen Princess prisoner of his was in reality, his own daughter? Yes, of course he should have, but, faster than you can say "plot contrivance," he doesn't and from the very start, the course is set for "The Rest of the Film (and Trilogy)." Also, was not Mark Hamill extremely irritating as the whining and wide-eyed Luke Skywalker? Yes, but we accepted it because his character belonged in the galaxy Lucas presented us. In The Phantom Menace, Lucas avoids the "irritation factor" by making Anakin a more assertive and aware young boy. Contrary to popular opinion, this is a good thing. Introducing Anakin as a smart and wholesome kid with whom the audience identifies and cares, give's Lucas the opportunity to make his ultimate downfall as an older man in EPISODE III much more tragic and poignant. Isn't the idea of a seemingly good and precocious kid turning to evil later more frightening than that of a kid who does so long after exhibiting "bad seed" signs? Isn't that what makes the recent tragedy in Littleton, CO so disturbing? And for all of his "YIPEE!-I'm-going-on-a-long-journey-instead-of-staying-on-Tatooine-and-being-a-damn-slave-with-my-Mother" simplicity, Anakin in The Phantom Menace is FAR less annoying than Luke "But I was going ta' go into Tashi Station to pick up some power converters," is in A New Hope. Another point to take in to consideration is that The Phantom Menace simply is NOT the original film! It is is own film -- different in every detail, both in its narrative structure and characters. Complaints about Anakin's participation in the final battle against the Trade Federation as being nothing more than a plot contrivance are completely misguided. Of course this is a plot contrivance -- but so is Luke's participation in the final battle against the Death Star in the original. The difference in Anakin's situation, however, is that he has no reason to fight -- for it is not his battle. Luke, on the other hand, is very much part of the Rebellion at the point of his entry into the battle -- he makes a conscious choice to fight, rather to than selfishly traipse off with Han Solo and smuggle crap throughout the galaxy. For this choice he wins and is ultimately rewarded. The situation in The Phantom Menace is more dubious, and that is the point. The fact that Anakin accidentally joins the fray comes as a complete surprise to everyone, except Darth Sidious, a.k.a. Senator/Chancellor Palpatine who, like a grand Chessmaster, initiated all sequence of events that transpire in The Phantom Menace, including the Naboo fight against the Trade Federation. In this scenario, Anakin is the little pawn that makes it's way to the end of the chessboard to become something more. He doesn't make a choice because his path has already been chosen for him. And that brings me to the complaint about the lack of villains in The Phantom Menace. For those who need everything explained to them, the villains are SUPPOSED to be hidden. That's the point. We all know that Darth Sidious and Senator Palpatine are one in the same. But none of the other characters on screen know that. Darth Sidious remains the rarely seen puppetmaster that the Emperor was in the original trilogy until Jedi. Darth Maul is nothing more than a Macguffin, a diversionary pawn disguised as a knight (a Sith Knight) for with Palpatine to play his hand. This film lacks the omnipresent figure of evil, constant in the original trilogy in the guise of Darth Vader, because, in the beginning, the evil is not yet apparent. That is why Lucas called this chapter The Phantom Menace instead of Palpatine Becomes the Emperor, or something more obvious. At the saga's start, the true evil remains to be seen. As for complaints about the overly CGI-heavy look, I would much rather gaze at the stunning vistas and visions, digital they may be, of The Phantom Menace, rather than gawk the awkwardly matted and, Muppetized ones in Return of the Jedi. The entire Coruscant sequence is one of the most visually stunning that I have ever seen put on celluloid. Complaints about Queen Amidala's "Doublemint-fun" masquerade are also premature. Yes, I too initially thought that the bad-assed Jedi, via Force-brand ESP, should have boarded the clueship earlier on to the fact that the handmaiden Padme was in fact the geshaless Queen. If you watch the film closely, Liam Neeson's Jedi character IS aware of the Queen's little charade and has fun with it, and at her expense, of course. Furthermore, what if Amidala is able to unwittingly use the Force, much like Leia later learned she could in The Empire Strikes Back, and successfully clouded their (and Palpatine's) minds to this fact? Of course I have no proof of this unless this is further developed in either Episodes II and III. As for the dialogue in Phantom, it is certainly no worse that the "Hey what's that flashing," talk of the original. And that is not a good thing. I have always thought that Lucas could have taken the same amount of care in his choice of words throughout the entire saga, as he does his care of visual effects. Only Empire, screenplay co-written by Hollywood veteran Leigh Brackett, has dialogue that excels beyond the trite and banal. In short, Lucas, with a few exceptions, has never been one for words. Which brings me to The Phantom Menace's flaws and it does have its share of them. For example, the first half-hour is rather erratic, mostly because Lucas opts to throw the audience into the action, rather than introduce them to the characters. While this has worked in the past, more specifically, in A New Hope, Lucas doesn't stay with Qui-Jonn and Obi-Wan they way he used C-3PO and R2D2 as focal points in the original film. Instead he jumps around from place to place -- suddenly we go from the outer-space starships of the Trade Federation to the inner-space city of the Gungan. It isn't until the film gets to Tatooine, about a quarter-way through, that it begins to take shape. Yes, Jar Jar Binks, the totally digital Gungan is annoying at times. But I'm sure our parents found Chewbacca and C-3P0 completely irritating back in '77. I know mine did, but in time, after the fifth or sixth viewing, they became hip to them. And once you get past the obvious toy factor -- so will most to Jar Jar. Finally, in the end, I refuse to truly judge The Phantom Menace, until I have seen Episode II and Episode III. Without those essential parts, Menace, flaws and all, is nothing more than an entertaining and visually dazzling piece of a much larger puzzle. As are the previous three films.

  • May 28, 1999, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Do I understand this correctly

    by ds1

    Lets see if I understand this correctly. Anakin Skywalker is a slave. Yet he has enough free time and money to build Pod Racers and Protocol Droids. I'm not sure about a galaxy far far away, but on Earth the position of slave is unpaid.

  • May 28, 1999, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You

    by CaptainBerryman

    Let's all settle down and remember that this is the FIRST PART OF THREE FILMS. Guess what? We're not gonna get the whole story in this one picture. So everyone relax your sphincters. This is STAR WARS for cyring out loud! You don't go to see it for acting...it isn't the freaking GODFATHER. It's a thrill ride with a great story. Be happy you have that, unless you like mindless crap, in which case you can go and watch Jurassic Park and Lost World and sit and COMPARE the two and how eerily alike they are! Lay off Jar Jar, he isn't that annoying. I thought I would hate him and by the end I liked him...and I've seen the damn movie 6 times already. Yes the Tatooine segment is a bit too long. Yes some of the character development is rushed. GET FREAKING OVER IT AND YOURSELVES. I think some of you liked it deep down but since it's hip to say "Saw it, hated it" you go and jump on that band wagon. If you didn't like it fine. Don't go back and see it...save the seats for the loyal fans who knew what they were getting into and then go AND WATCH THE FREAKING MUMMY TWENTY TIMES IN A ROW. Yeah there's a REAL WINNER for all you sticklers for PLOT. Go forcefeed the Mummy to yourself and then lets see how quick you come back to Episode One. Or maybe Phantom Menace is too high brow for some of you because the characters don't constantly communicate in a complex and self indulgent in a series OF WORTHLESS HOLLYWOOD ONELINERS. I have to go now and lay down...I feel ill. End Transmission.

  • May 28, 1999, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Star Worries

    by Goodgulf

    I 've seen Episode One twice now, and I still can't decide if I really like it or not. That being said, I'm inclined to think that I DIDN'T like it, because when I REALLY like a film, I KNOW it! I had been warned that Jar Jar was irritating, and he was, but not quite as bad as I had imagined. The kid was cute, but sometimes reminded me of Wesley Crusher: The Early Years. Too smart for his own damn good. Maybe that's what Lucas wanted. Or maybe he was trying to tell us that even Adolf Hitler was a kid once, and look how he turned out...Who knows. As far as the critics who find racial stereotypes in the some of the outlandish characters, I think they're reading too much into it. Though I suggest that George try playing against type the next time to confuse the bigot hunters. The critics who make these racial connections merely stir an all ready boiling pot, intimating that they have a pipeline into Lucas' soul. I had no bigoted thoughts when I saw the film, and still don't, and don't need anyone else to tell me what to think I saw. So there! I caught the small homage to Forbidden Planet with the Light Sabre melting the Blast Doors scene. Straight out of the climax of ol' F.P. If there were references to other films, I missed them because I was too busy enjoying the film both times. Now getting back to my contradiction about not really liking this film: (I know, I just said I enjoyed it) There were things to like, and yet it lacked something. Like maybe it didn't break any new ground. Another group of heroes battling against the odds against another group of bad guys, but without the passion and fun of Episode 4. Actually that last sentence is more a question than a statement. I'm not sure I can put my cliche finger on "it". Was the Queen wooden. Yup. But that's how royalty is usually played. Had no problem with that. And the costumes were GREAT. Liam Neeson was a bit too calm. Even Jesus got mad and thrashed the money changers out of the temple, despite the oft portrayed loving and almost effeminate caricatures that we see. Neeson needed a fire lit under his butt. How about showing a human emotion once? But the fight scenes were among the best I've seen since Bruce Lee died (and for me that's saying a lot). But I can forgive Lucas this time for any faults with the film. It is after all merely an introduction into the story, busily introducing us to the characters in between battles sequences. The pod race (by the way) was cool, but not as exciting as the chariot race in Ben Hur. Although I think tethering two huge jet engines (they looked VERY similar to the engines I've seen in F-14 Tomcats), to a pod and letting them drag you ANYWHERE at phenomenal speeds is CRAZY and unrealistic. And then letting an 8 year old drive one...well that stretches credulity to the breaking point (Force or no Force). But kids will like it. They like stories about power, since they have none. So on the reality level I'd have to say it Too Much. On a child's level, I'd have to say...WAY COOL. So those of us who grew up between episodes, tough shit. George made this one (as Harry has said) for the kids. And if Harry is right, we'll see a bit more maturity in the next episode. Goodgulf The music fit, and was wonderful in the film, but there certainly wasn't any tunes you'd recall, or even if you did, you couldn't even hum them to your friends to give them an idea of what you heard.

  • May 28, 1999, 8:01 p.m. CST

    This makes me SAD!

    by kesudduth

    This is my first trip to this forum, and I have to say that the lack of maturity by some of you is overwhelming! If you happen to not like TPM, then fine, it is just a movie and you can be disappointed if it did not measure up to what you wanted it to. Yet, many of the comments that are made here, such as, "Harry, you like sucking Lucas's cock don't you." are just rediculous! People have a rite to their opinion. I have a question to those of you who are acting like this, how do you even expect anyone to take you seriously? You obviously do not have any intellect at all, if these comment are your only recourse to the fact that you did not like TPM. Personaly, I really enjoyed TPM, to those of you who didn't, then it was not your cup of tea, oh well. This movie does have alot of plot movement to it. Despite what seems to be going on, on the surfice of the this film, there is alot going on behind the seens, if you will. This Movie is entitled the Phantom Menace, simply because, the majority of the character haven't got a clue as to the fact that they ahve been completely dupped by Palpatine. I loved watching his political monouvering. Remember, these film are setting up what we already know to be true in ANH, ESB, ROTJ. Now, we will see, not only Anakin's fall, but the rise of the Empire and exactly how Palpatine gained control. Also, remember that when ANH was made, Lucas didn't know if it would be successful. So, he gave it a kind of conclusion of sorts, but left enouph open for another movie, ie, Vader flying off in the distance at the end. With these film, there is no doubt that the other two are going to be made, so Lucas can leave alot open for the next two instalments. Remember people, Lucas is makeing a serial here, and is doing it like an old Saturday morning TV show. "Come back next week to see, who really died, the mastor or the apprentice? Is Palpatine friend or foe? Will Anakin become a Jedi? What of his interest in Amidala? You must come back next week, same time and same channel." And most importantly, IT IS JUST A MOVIE PEOPLE! It is unreal the things some of you are saying to others, just because they do not agree with you. those of you that are acting like this seem very insacure to me to have to use attacks to justify your position. Aren't you secure enouph to accept others view points, it doesn't seem like it.

  • May 29, 1999, 9:59 a.m. CST

    what?

    by ds1

    Let me see if I have this straight. Anakin Skywalker is a slave, and he has enough free time and money to build robots and pod racers? Does this make any sense at all? I don't know about a galaxy far far away, but on earth slaves are not paid.

  • May 29, 1999, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Slave Money?

    by Goodgulf

    Who said Anakin "bought" any parts to make C3PO or a pod racer. Who was he working for? A used parts dealer at a junk yard, that's who. So if Anakin asked for a few parts to mess around with in his spare time, it's very possible the owner would say okay. Even slaves had some time off, and depending on the owner the children may have worked fewer hours than the adults. So it doesn't seem to be too much of a stretch to figure out how and where Anakin could have gotten the parts to build an android or a racing pod without any money. Besides, how many 8 year old kids do you know that AREN'T slaves that have the money to buy the parts to build an android?

  • May 29, 1999, 9:56 p.m. CST

    Just saw TPM for the 2nd time . . .

    by Eos

    To quote a certain greatest-pilot-in-the-galaxy to-be... YIPPEE!!!

  • May 29, 1999, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Wouldn't it be cool if Darth Maul were a clone?

    by jethro

    Might be a genuinely cool way of working him back into the story, seeing as he seems to be far and away the most popular character. From the generally negative tone of the talkback here, I think Mr Lucas might like to indulge the people a little.

  • May 30, 1999, 10:05 a.m. CST

    the person known as thx1138

    by black88

    to the person known as thx1138, who the bloody hell do you think you are? You are most certainly entitled to an opinion either way regarding this film, but to start the personal attacks? for example: Harry sucks cock? Sorry, thx, but your mother is better, and, yes, she swallows! Look like a stupid fat white male? IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHITE PEOPLE, GO FUCK YOURSELF, AS IT IS A FACT THAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TEH TECHNOLOGY THAT WE ARE USING AT THE MOMENT, INCLUDING THE PHANTOM MENACE MOVIE!! I, personally am a WHITE MALE, and, oh no, HETEROSEXUAL, but I don't spend my time trying to tear people down for their ethnic background(except jews french and italians, but they are filthy JOKE!! IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY THIS JOKE IM SORRY, BUT, HEY, REMEMBER JACKIE MASON AND DON RICKLES?) ANYWAY, I love Jar Jar, the movie itself, and all of you, except for THX 1138, YOU CAN KINDLY GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU WANKER LITTLE SON OF A BITCH!!!!!

  • May 30, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    GET A CLUE!!!

    by Dee

    I was inspired to write this by many of the negative comments in here by people who "claim" to be STAR WARS fans. First of all, the complaints about the script are ridiculous! You know what? If you could forget you ever saw the other three before and watch them again, you'd say the same thing about them. STAR WARS dialogue has always been mediocre. Lucas has never wanted dialogue to be more than a filler and for occasional jokes and necessity in understanding something. The only reason you don't notice this about the other three is that your love for them was ingrained when you were a kid, and you're biased in that respect. STAR WARS has always been intended on bein basically a big classical music video, using visuals to tell the story, not the dialogue. The story complaints...same thing. The Naboo/Trade Federation thing was just a tool to set up Obi-Wan as a full Jedi, find Anakin, see the beginning of the Emperor's rise, and see the return of the Sith. Episode 4 wouldn't stand alone as a story either. It really only set up Empire. You complainers are bitching about so-called "problems" that existed in the other trilogy too. You're just wearing blinders. Directing? Where'd that complaint come from? You try it! No one else could direct a movie of this magnatude so well except maybe Lucas' buddy Spielberg. Complaints about the story not fitting the books? "Lucasfilm" did not work with authors on all the books, thank you. I know this because I have a friend who works for the publisher of most of the more recent books. Only the Thrawn trilogy was done in this manner because Lucas wanted those books done so he wouldn't have to make 7-9 when he's 90. The rest of the books are individual pieces. Yes, thay are authorized, but contrary to popular belief, the first three movies were only an outline until '94, and the scripts were just recently written, so Lucas can do what he wants. Only a f*cking MORON would ask him to read these books and base his own creation on someone else's word. Well, that's it for now. I'll have more to write later, I'm sure.

  • May 30, 1999, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Phantom Menace - Average Sci-fi AT BEST

    by Ulysses

    There are fans. And then there are fanatics. I am fan of the original triology, not of the Phantom Menace. People, George Lucas was NOT all that responsible for SW in the fist place. Sir Alec and Antony Daniels largely rewrote their respective characters. Many many other outstanding people made George's plans possible. I avoided using the word "vision," since a great debt is owed to R. McQuarrie's vision for much of the visual side of SW. When George reduced the force from its mystical aura in the original trilogy to some pseudo technie-bio babble, I know that the force was lost. George is surrounded by yes-men. Listen to the major players in their interviews. All of them talked about being in utter awe. Who wouldn't be? But in the original film the actors and crew were not blinded by this awe. They suggested changes that made SW a great film. Not this time around. And concerning the dialogue in Phantom Menace, I do believe the critics have been overly harsh. After all, it's OBVIOUS that some little people contributed to the screenplay. I lost count at the number of times Anakin said "Yipee." And what about the droid who offered the inane line, "That does not compute." I can't believe a grown man could have written such dribble. The opening words in P.M. were, in a word, lame. Why all the talk about taxes? It makes the film too contemporary. It will age faster than Dollie, the Cloned Sheep. Darth Maul and the Emperor were hollow, pathetic excuses for characters. The magic is gone. P.M. doesn't compare to S.W. The Matrix was certainly a better sci-fi film. Next time, will people line up for the sequel? I doubt it.

  • May 30, 1999, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Such sad denial...

    by wemdog1

    Harry, face it, you were let down like the rest of us. Admit it! You know that this thing doesn't light a candle to any of the other SW films. This doesn't even deserved to be called a SW film! BTW, since when the hell have Star Wars film been "kiddie film?" The last time I checked, those movies were rated "PG". Most kiddie fodder is definitely "G". There is a difference between being young at heart, which is who the SW films were targeted for, and dumbing it down to the banal kiddie level, like most Disney films these days and all that other dumb stuff, and what TPM unfortunately is as well. MISTAKE NUMBER ONE: George even did a better job back in '77 because there was a system of checks and balances back then, and other writers, producers, even actors would get up in his face and help make changes. The people on the set of TPM were either "yes men" and/or in such awe of Lucas's mystique. MISTAKE NUMBER TWO: The fact that Lucasfilm and everyone says that the intention of this film was directed towards the brats, and the fact that abominations like Jar Jar were made exclusively for that reason. The other Star Wars films were not made with that mentality; I gurantee it. Go ahead and look it up. Oh, and BTW everyone: Now that you have seen this thing x number of times, I invite you to watch your tapes of the real Star Wars movies. Even you people who adamantly defend this film will have to agree that there is no comparison. Anyway, back to you Harry: I loved your Freudian slip when presenting Joe Hallenbeck's tome of truth about this movie. Allow me to quote directly: "...I have seen people fall in love with this film, be disappointed by it, and loathe it with every fibre of MY BEING." (Emphasis mine) HUH? Harry, I am sorry you wasted a month of your life in front of that theater. I hope at least you made some new friends, and you seem to have found that experience in and of itself to be rewarding, for which I say "More power to you", but beyond that, admit it, Joe was right and he was talking about you. Man, Trekkies are starting to look cool...

  • May 30, 1999, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Still, it's amazing.

    by bakerstreet

    I'll agree with one thing: the movie WAS too bright. For starters, computer generated characters have always looked slightly faded and bright. Since this movie was jam-packed with CG creatures and vehicles, the movie as a whole was pretty bright. But also the fact that a major part of the film took place in sunny Tatooine and beautiful Naboo, the sun was constantly shining down on the action. Kinda sucks if you compare it to the classy darkness of Empire. Another complaint of mine is that there was too much English in the film. The first characters we see should not be speaking English, much less the Asian-accented English they speak. Also, Jar Jar would be less annoying if he didn't speak English. English would've taken the coolness out of Chewie in the original three, agreed? Overall, though, if you ignore minor details (which I'm sure we'd all find in the first three if we weren't such big SW fans) I thought Phantom was a great movie, and a great addition to the SW saga. Although slow at times and a little too childish, it did a great job of telling the story and explaining certain things that appear in episodes 4,5 and 6. Like Harry said, it also foreshadowed some intense seens that we can look forwad to in the next two episodes. Let's see...what else can I say? Darth Maul was incredible, as were the fighting scenes. Jake Lloyd wasn't great, but his acting was enough for the role. The less attention he attracts the better, as it will only add to the amazement as he turns to the dark side. I'm not quite clear what the "Phantom Menace" really is. I think it might be the reappearance of the Sith, who the Jedi believed to have disappeared. Oh, and how could you not love that Pod race? True, off on a tangent as far as the plot and all goes, but it was plenty exciting...oh yeah, anothe complaint: what was up with Annakin's "Greedo Jr." friend? Could that costume be any cheaper? And since when is Mos Espa, as notorious as Mos Eisly, a family town? The kids were all over the place! Again, though, just minor details. The best is yet to come, that's for sure. Look for the next two to be a lot darker, both visually and plot-wise. Can't wait.

  • May 31, 1999, 2:51 a.m. CST

    More Blinders

    by Dee

    Sorry, but Han Solo's lines in ANH were as bad as or worse than the worst dialogue in TPM. I think Harrison Ford is one of the best actors in the world, but I still cringe when I watch ANH and hear him say, "...no match for a blaster at your side, kid." I'm not knocking ANH. It's one of my favorite 4 movies, but George is not and never has been a vocal poet. He does however have the greatest creative imagination in existance. Ford used to complain about his lines, and did get to change a couple. It's true that Kasdan assisted George with his dialogue in the second and third installments, but we all still accepted the fact that SW was never about dialogue. It was envisioned as visuals and music by its creator. Anyone with a brain can see why the "techno-bio" was added to the series this time. How else could the fact that Anakin is so powerful, Yoda even hides from him later on be shown. They needed a reference for comparison. That was George's way of covering a question left by the other three...and if it hadn't been explained in some way, people would have complained about that too. Oh, as someone who used to live in Japan, those Trade Federation reps did NOT have Japanese accents...not Chinese or any other asian accent. It was the accent for their language, which was based on several Asian lingos. The Ewoks spoke a variation of Chinese. Hutts speak a derivative of Arabic. The linguistic professors who design alien languages use real languages as their base. It's done in all Sci-Fi. Goerge just cares enough that they have accents when speaking English instead of the Klingons in Star Trek who speak English in their English accents instead of a Klingon one. I agree that they should have spoken a little less English though. I also agree with the person who said that the child Greedo looked fake (haha). Darth Maul was intended to be a distraction and a way to open a plotline. Now Sideous/Emperor needs a new apprentice (hint, hint). Last thing, this movie is no more childish than any other. Jar Jar is no more childish a character than Salacious Crumb or an Ewok. In fact, the whole political thing is way beyond any of the intrigue from the other three. Some are complaining about that too, but anyone who pays attention to the others knew this was coming...the rise of Palpatine. On the other end, PG DOES mean "for kids" nowadays. G is so very rare. The Lion King was almost given a PG rating. They rated The Matrix R even though the violence was kept nearly bloodless, there was no sex, and "f*ck" was never said. PG-13 is given to anything pretty much now. Batman movies are PG-13 for God's sake. PG is assumed as children's viewing now, and I'm actually surprised they didn't screw TPM up like everything else and make it PG-13. The brightness of the movie was also to represent the brighter times before the Empire. HELLO! The Galaxy became dark when the Empire came about! This is PRE-EMPIRE...you know, HAPPY REPUBLIC about to fall. Happiness = brightness. We'll see the SW universe get darker gradually through the next two movies. The magic was not lost. People simply can't accept the fact that the SW universe was different 40 years before ANH. If it wasn't, why fight to restore it later on? Okay, I'm done for now.

  • May 31, 1999, 2:51 a.m. CST

    More Blinders

    by Dee

    Sorry, but Han Solo's lines in ANH were as bad as or worse than the worst dialogue in TPM. I think Harrison Ford is one of the best actors in the world, but I still cringe when I watch ANH and hear him say, "...no match for a blaster at your side, kid." I'm not knocking ANH. It's one of my favorite 4 movies, but George is not and never has been a vocal poet. He does however have the greatest creative imagination in existance. Ford used to complain about his lines, and did get to change a couple. It's true that Kasdan assisted George with his dialogue in the second and third installments, but we all still accepted the fact that SW was never about dialogue. It was envisioned as visuals and music by its creator. Anyone with a brain can see why the "techno-bio" was added to the series this time. How else could the fact that Anakin is so powerful, Yoda even hides from him later on be shown. They needed a reference for comparison. That was George's way of covering a question left by the other three...and if it hadn't been explained in some way, people would have complained about that too. Oh, as someone who used to live in Japan, those Trade Federation reps did NOT have Japanese accents...not Chinese or any other asian accent. It was the accent for their language, which was based on several Asian lingos. The Ewoks spoke a variation of Chinese. Hutts speak a derivative of Arabic. The linguistic professors who design alien languages use real languages as their base. It's done in all Sci-Fi. Goerge just cares enough that they have accents when speaking English instead of the Klingons in Star Trek who speak English in their English accents instead of a Klingon one. I agree that they should have spoken a little less English though. I also agree with the person who said that the child Greedo looked fake (haha). Darth Maul was intended to be a distraction and a way to open a plotline. Now Sideous/Emperor needs a new apprentice (hint, hint). Last thing, this movie is no more childish than any other. Jar Jar is no more childish a character than Salacious Crumb or an Ewok. In fact, the whole political thing is way beyond any of the intrigue from the other three. Some are complaining about that too, but anyone who pays attention to the others knew this was coming...the rise of Palpatine. On the other end, PG DOES mean "for kids" nowadays. G is so very rare. The Lion King was almost given a PG rating. They rated The Matrix R even though the violence was kept nearly bloodless, there was no sex, and "f*ck" was never said. PG-13 is given to anything pretty much now. Batman movies are PG-13 for God's sake. PG is assumed as children's viewing now, and I'm actually surprised they didn't screw TPM up like everything else and make it PG-13. The brightness of the movie was also to represent the brighter times before the Empire. HELLO! The Galaxy became dark when the Empire came about! This is PRE-EMPIRE...you know, HAPPY REPUBLIC about to fall. Happiness = brightness. We'll see the SW universe get darker gradually through the next two movies. The magic was not lost. People simply can't accept the fact that the SW universe was different 40 years before ANH. If it wasn't, why fight to restore it later on? Okay, I'm done for now.

  • May 31, 1999, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Darth Maul/connection.

    by tkip

    My friend pointed out an interesting observation.He says that Anakin's mother AND Darth Maul are both wearing the same brace/arm band?!!! Did anyone else see this??

  • May 31, 1999, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Same sights, different reaction

    by The Traveller

    I know the same move hit my eyes, with the same characters, same effects and same plot, but my reactions were the opposite at every turn. I tried to prepare myself to go in blind. I tried to think like someone who's 7, not one who was 7 in 77, but it just didn't work for me. What I remember most was that there seemed to be too many moments when the dialogue narrated the action on the screen as if the script was written for the reader, not the viewer. There were also too many characters that only seemed to be there as nods and winks to the future (such as C3PO who had no role in the story but was too _present_ during his cameo to be background padding). The line that ran through my mind as I left was "Plot does matter, but this movie only had size". I guess I've just gotten old - or maybe the theater needed to be hit by lightning like when I first saw Star Wars in a drive-in during a thunderstorm :)

  • May 31, 1999, 10:42 p.m. CST

    To be honest...

    by Dee

    I did have trouble the first time I saw it because I was so desperate for new STAR WARS, and I couldn't get used to all the "new". I don't know why, but I had no trouble understanding Jar Jar. Anyway, I agree with all that's said about the dialogue, but I came to accept George's juvenile lines long ago because it's all part of STAR WARS...and actually a piece of its character which is so loved. I still quote the lines I love from the movies endlessly even though someone else probably would have written something more stylish. George's style is in atmosphere and visuals...like an opera. George tried so hard to pack alot of info into this one, but when I saw it the second time, I didn't have to take in as much, and the movie was much better...and even better the third time. There WAS a bit of excessive narration, but that happened in the Matrix too, and no one seems to be complaining about that. Not everyone understands things as easy as some, and George still has to appeal to the younger crowd his movies attract. As far as Obi- Wan's smaller role. Ewan wasn't signed to just this movie. He was signed to all three as if it were one. His role in this film was to be prepared for the main character in the next two. It was like him getting going in the second hour of a six hour movie.

  • June 1, 1999, 12:13 p.m. CST

    !!Sweet holy Christ!!

    by Phr33k0uT

    A few points: 1) Lucas needs to remove his head from his ass to listen to himself once in a while. "I want to make a movie with a story" my ass! 2)Maul isn't dead? Were you watching the fucking film!? He was sliced in half, you slackass! 3) Anyone with half a brain could deduce Sidious is Palpatine. 4)show Jar-Jar's dumbass battle antics -BEFORE- the lightsaber fight. Intercutting that took away from the suspence in it. 5) Wathing this film was like watching 30 minutes in a 2 hour film. Of course it'll suck. The only way to properly review it is as a whole (all 3 together), otherwise review it as a stnd alone film. Unrelated to anything StarWars. With that in mind ... Nute Gunray should have been replaced with Maul. He'd have been even more bad ass. I went to see that film with 3 expectations: 1) The CGI - for all it's goddamn hype - had better look real. And most of it did. Most. 2) The arrival theme for Darth Maul. Everyone knows the villians get the bad ass theme, but where the fuck was it! Laced with some goddamn droid music crap! 3) The lightsaber fights. They rocked, but as bad as hell as Maul was, his ending sucked to shit. What kind of pissy-assed death was that! Be creative. My ass fell asleep 3 times while watching that movie, and the only thing that made me sit up in anticipation was seeing Maul emerge from the opening double doors. Then, to my amazement, they intercut that kick ass fight with Jar-Jar's idiocy. Leaving no emotional impact when Qui-Gon died. As a stand alone film, it turned out to be nothing more than typical summer box office crap. P.S. ZeroCool: See any lame as shit, stereotypical, pissy movies? Get a life, you lamer hax0r wannabe. Trinity, you too.

  • June 1, 1999, 6:15 p.m. CST

    Could you PLEASE stop whining... SHUT UP!

    by DrBest

    Ok guys. I saw the movie on 5/15 (hehehhehehehe) at 9:30AM in a really cool movie theatre with a good seat (Yeah I came at 9:20 hehe). It was amazing, the soundwork was great, the movie was great. I mean, seriously, what do you guys expect??? Ask yourself... man... Nobody claimed this movie would be the best movie ever or better than the old ones. I didnt hear George say that anywhere. I really enjoyed the movie and dumb people like you just make me so mad. Watch the movie, like it or not, and shut up. Yes, I did NOT like Jar Jar, but well... Maybe other people did. So I don't tell other people to hate Jar Jar just because I didnt like it. Do you get my point? Fortunately we are not the same and everybody has an unique point of view. Wow. Thank the lord. That's all I wanted to say for now. If you have any comments about that, please e-mail me at mailto:drbest@terrorkom.com . Sincerely, Frank Erzfeld

  • June 1, 1999, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Aw, mesa hawny, mesa luv you long time!

    by Cthulu

    Uhh, Harry? What was going through your head just before you typed the senctence "Mesa luvved him!" about Jar Jar Binks? Any Star Wars fanatic worth his salt would have an epic battle of conscience on the cusp of committing such heresy. Did you get heartburn? Did you need a drink? Was the Duel of the Fates playing in your head just before you succumbed to the dark side? And tell me, once you posted this review, how were you able to sleep at night?

  • June 1, 1999, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Virgin Birth??

    by bitterchik

    I loved the movie, believe me, but the whole idea of Darth Vader being the product of midi-chlorians is a total rip-off to me. As a fan, I feel so CHEATED out of this mystery of Anakin. This was such an easy way out. I know that some fans think that Shmi's statement was just a cover-up, and that Palpatine is really the father, but I totally think that this is the way the story is going; and I don't like it one bit!!

  • June 2, 1999, 7:48 a.m. CST

    Friends of JJ

    by JediSmash

    For the record...I'm more than pleased with the character of Jar Jar. I have to admit, when I first saw the Lucas interview on "60 Minutes" and they previewed the Gungan, I thought "Uh-Oh". But after seeing the movie I fell for his charm. I don't understand what all the negative comments are based upon but hey, this is my opinion. If I had to delete one character from the film it certainly wouldn't be Jar Jar. I'd probably toss Sam Jackson. I don't see a purpose for his character and quite frankly, I thought his performance was not up to his usual standard of excellence.

  • June 3, 1999, 12:12 a.m. CST

    just opened in australia

    by rasputin

    Just for the record, myself and two friends were at our local theatre for the first normal session, 9AM today, June 3rd, after skipping the sold out midnight session last night. I got there at 7AM and... there was one other guy. The cinemax had 340 seats, and we counted sixty people just before the film started. You can make of that as you're inclined. We DID get the best seats, though. My response to the film: oh my God, I can't believe that I'm going to have to watch that kid's amateur performance for the rest of my life! Did anyone else see him look out of the corner of his eye, presumably for Mr Lucas, after almost EVERY LINE? His performance was so bad they couldn't even edit that out! Jake Lloyd is shockingly bad for such an important role in such a major movie! In a film that looks as though every performance shot is the first take (remember Lucas is paying for every re-take) it's okay with seasoned performers like Neeson. This is not primarily an actor's film after all. ... but surely someone must have known? Someone must have seen? The kid should have been re-cast. His non-performance is never, at any point, remotely passable. It's worse than Winona's performance in A4. The rest of the movie is flawed, for sure. The pacing's off, waywayWAY off in the second act, the dialogue is lacklustre in the extreme, Darth Maul is underused, and the scene where he is killed just doesn't work, (editing problems aside). Ewen is also underused (but that's okay, we know he'll be back). The triple climax isn't long enough to sustain the tension is deserves, which is all to do, at least to some degree, with the fact that the script is terrible. Okay, it holds together. But did it have to JUST hold together? But, and a but bigger than Jabba's, it's still Star Wars, and there lies it's redemption. It's not updated, is not a revisionist take, it's not rethought in any way other than budgetary. But it is also this - is is NOT A MOVIE. Not in the traditional sense. It is now well and truly an episode of a SERIAL. A serial with great effects, cheesy dialogue, an overblown sense of it's own classical influences and origins. But also a tremendously enjoyable guilty pleasure, at times genuinely riveting and always, despite the odd truly shocking performance or over the top moment, very entertaining. And endlessly tak-aboutable. Sounds not unlike a certain recently ended space opera tv series. So, an EPISODE it is, nevertheless. And one last thing for the record: I liked Jar- Jar. He's vintage Star Wars!

  • June 3, 1999, 9:01 a.m. CST

    I fell asleep

    by Toodles

    I just saw PM yesterday and the theatre was sooooooooooooo air conditioned and comfy that I fell asleep. Found out today all I missed was the Queen asking some dude for peace. Jar Jar didn't annoy me a whole lot. Know why? Because I had spoken to about a dozen people who had seen PM already and they bitched and moaned so much about Jar Jar that he didn't bother me except in the battle scenes. Look, I didn't read all the posts before mine and the regulars here are pretty astute so forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's ideas. Lucas had a weak, serious, and dry script. He tried to bring in some comedy relief with Jar Jar and failed for the adults and won with the kids. Episodes 4-6 had some fun, flirty, witty, engaging dialogue between the characters. Plus the story kicked ass, albeit a mythical one. *sigh* Lucas, I am certain, will kick ass with the next two films and hopefully will be able to entertain the people, like myself, who saw the Star Wars trilogy in theatres originally. *******************oxoxoxo TO ALL

  • June 3, 1999, 12:09 p.m. CST

    George Lucas and YOU

    by JEREMIAH

    I debated whether or not to even post this message. Because it is a reaction to more crap than anything and not worth my time to indulge in. But, someone needs to say something. You can have your opinions. I hope you do. It would be a pretty boring world if you didn't have your own likes, dislikes, and ideas of how your world should be. I'm sure most of you like myself grew up with Star Wars and dreamt of it more than Santa Clause and often deemed an alterego in our childhood fantasies from the Star Wars Universe. But, people need to realize that Star Wars (the movies - not video games) are NOT catalog movies. They are independent films that are only distributed by 21st Century Fox. What makes Star Wars what it is is George Lucas. I'm not just talking about his money, direction, or company. It's HIS mind and HIS imagination and HIS dreams. Not YOURS. Not MINE. He has created a situation that is allowing him to express a fantastic reality that exists in his mind and soul. Statements like "I hope George Lucas realizes how much people dislike..." is IGNORANT. Why would you hope such a thing. To make him feel good? Bad? Or so that he MIGHT not express the next story to be representative of what is really Star Wars (which again for those that are only thinking of how to respond to me and not really listening... what is really Star Wars IS GEORGE LUCAS). Do you think he really cares about pleasing YOU? Or pleasing a specific percentage of people? Many of you (those that I am talking about) probably feel this way for different reasons. Perhaps the movie doesn't portray how you would tell the story. Concentrate on your own lives. Why would you waste your time bantering about what you don't like? It's a waste of your time and makes you look like an idiot to those that actually GET IT. Maybe your jealous or envious because you didn't like Jar-jar (just an example) and thought others were dumb to like it. It is YOU people that actually cause the subtle unrest in the world that causes larger scale problems such as anger and hatred among the rest of us. I'm not saying I am perfect; but get a clue. When you saw episodes IV-VI your brain is smaller than it is now. You liked the story and movies. As you grew up, you probably comprehended the abstract concepts much more. Now, you have your own ideas and they aren't being expressed exactly as you would like. Don't take it personal. George doesn't dislike you personally, but I certainly wouldn't sacrifice my life (whether it be making Star Wars or my lunch) for yours if it wasn't going to hurt you. Like I said before it is good that we all feel differently about virtually everything. Of course this is only my opinion.

  • June 3, 1999, 12:19 p.m. CST

    PALPATINE - no question

    by JEREMIAH

    The emperor's name in episodes IV-VI was Emperor PALPATINE. He was played by Ian McDiarmid in Return of the Jedi AND in the Phantom Menace.

  • June 3, 1999, 3:28 p.m. CST

    relax

    by mrmarino

    unlike most of the people commenting on TPM i had the unique advantage of viewing the film without having it spoiled for me by someone else's opinion. so if you haven't seen the film yet i urge you to go see the film and draw your own opinions before listening to the bickering and arguing of others. as if that were possible at this late stage. just for the record i liked it. no the film wasn't what i expected, and it wasn't the strongest film in the SW saga. still i probably enjoyed it more than any of the first three because everywhere you turned there were classic star wars connections.(tuskin raiders, the path to the dark side being explained to anikin was awesome! wookies in the council, our first look at a sith an his amazing resembelance to the devilish character in episode iv cantena scene, i could go on for ever!) maybe i am just ignorant when it comes to film making but i had no problem with the live characters. i do have problems computer animated characters. i just can't convince my mind they look real. but i didn't go to the film to study it as a film critic i went to forget all of the obsticals and preassures of the real world and once again let myself become consumed by the imagination of george lucas!... yes i am a star wars fan; and in being such i could watch the film twenty times just to appreciate the depth and detail in the star wars universe. for all of you out there who critisize the film for being too child like and trying to compare it to episode iv, you are missing the big picture. i look back at my first viewing of SW at a drive in theater at the age of 5. i am ashamed to admit it but i fell asleep. i just didn't understand all the old guys in grey suits sitting around a big table discussing polotics!!! yes TPM has it's share of political sub-plot but the discussion no longer takes place in a dull grey board room, but rather in a visually entertaining spehre with floating pods. that is how george imagined things happening in the origional film he just didn't have the time or the money. furthermore george isn't trying to sell us on the star wars saga. we're already hooked! most of you who wrote about how much you hated TPM will dish out another $6 to see episode ii. george is setting up a whole new generation of star wars fanatics, OUR CHILDREN!!! and i for one can not think of a better or more responsible story teller to entrust my child's entertainment to than the same one i grew up with. so for all you naysayers out there who say the film lacks depth of chatacter i say, look at the characters who will be in the next film and hold them up to luke, the princess, and han; i think they are every bit as good as the original was in episode iv. did anyone else take note of the floppy eared character with the scared eye who was hainging around yoda in the final scene and in the jedi conuncil? is it supposed to be another of yoda's species? i thought yoda was one of a kind, origin unkown.

  • June 3, 1999, 3:31 p.m. CST

    relax

    by mrmarino

    unlike most of the people commenting on TPM i had the unique advantage of viewing the film without having it spoiled for me by someone else's opinion. so if you haven't seen the film yet i urge you to go see the film and draw your own opinions before listening to the bickering and arguing of others. as if that were possible at this late stage. just for the record i liked it. no the film wasn't what i expected, and it wasn't the strongest film in the SW saga. still i probably enjoyed it more than any of the first three because everywhere you turned there were classic star wars connections.(tuskin raiders, the path to the dark side being explained to anikin was awesome! wookies in the council, our first look at a sith an his amazing resembelance to the devilish character in episode iv cantena scene, i could go on for ever!) maybe i am just ignorant when it comes to film making but i had no problem with the live characters. i do have problems computer animated characters. i just can't convince my mind they look real. but i didn't go to the film to study it as a film critic i went to forget all of the obsticals and preassures of the real world and once again let myself become consumed by the imagination of george lucas!... yes i am a star wars fan; and in being such i could watch the film twenty times just to appreciate the depth and detail in the star wars universe. for all of you out there who critisize the film for being too child like and trying to compare it to episode iv, you are missing the big picture. i look back at my first viewing of SW at a drive in theater at the age of 5. i am ashamed to admit it but i fell asleep. i just didn't understand all the old guys in grey suits sitting around a big table discussing polotics!!! yes TPM has it's share of political sub-plot but the discussion no longer takes place in a dull grey board room, but rather in a visually entertaining spehre with floating pods. that is how george imagined things happening in the origional film he just didn't have the time or the money. furthermore george isn't trying to sell us on the star wars saga. we're already hooked! most of you who wrote about how much you hated TPM will dish out another $6 to see episode ii. george is setting up a whole new generation of star wars fanatics, OUR CHILDREN!!! and i for one can not think of a better or more responsible story teller to entrust my child's entertainment to than the same one i grew up with. so for all you naysayers out there who say the film lacks depth of chatacter i say, look at the characters who will be in the next film and hold them up to luke, the princess, and han; i think they are every bit as good as the original was in episode iv. did anyone else take note of the floppy eared character with the scared eye who was hainging around yoda in the final scene and in the jedi conuncil? is it supposed to be another of yoda's species? i thought yoda was one of a kind, origin unkown.

  • June 3, 1999, 3:39 p.m. CST

    one more thing

    by mrmarino

    natalie portman kicks ass even if i