Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace-Jar-Jaring
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace...oh the pain. Okay, lets face it, IF this was just another release of another movie, I would probably write a review saying it was a visually stunning film and technical marvel for its incorporation of high-definition cameras (in one or two shots I believe, but it was still a milestone) and blue screen. However, this is not just another film. I, like most of us, even if we don’t want to admit it, have longed for the day that more Star Wars would drop from the heavens. What do we get? A 8 or 9 year old race car driver, a 8 or 9 year old airplane pilot, shall I go on. Okay, that’s one problem. But the kid can’t act on top of it. This is freakin Star Wars, find a freaking kid that can freaking act. No excuse, not on this one. Then, then there is Jar-Jar. What the hell? Yes, its all been said before but you simply can not talk about this film and not say something about Jar-Jar. Seriously did Lucas loose his mind? Seriously. But I guess we should have seen it coming with the whole Ewok thing at the end of Return of the Jedi. He tipped us off that the tank was almost empty.
Visually, yes it is stunning, a beautiful film, but after all these years people expected so much more. How much so? This film, which is a shell of what it should have been, cost around $110-$120 million and grossed about $900 million. People wanted this movie. Okay, that is my rant.
The plot is pretty straight forward two Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi find a boy who is unusually strong with the Force. That boy is Anakin Skywalker who is a slave on the planet Tatooine. Later we learn that the Sith are on the march and that dark forces are up to no good. There are some great lightsaber battles between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, but too much of the film seems out of focus, chaotic.
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi do fine jobs, but seem, much like the movie, a little confused and out of focus at times, perhaps it was all the blue screen work, perhaps not. Natalie Portman is solid and capable but does not leave a lasting impression. Nor, in many ways does the film leave a lasting impression. Which is incredibly odd considering the scope of the project, the striking nature of the visuals. Star Wars Episode I was not “full of sight and sound and signifying nothing”, but it came closer than George Lucas might ever suspect.
Acting C+ (Much of the acting is very good, but the kid brings down the entire show, so to speak.)
Originality/Innovation B+ (This grade is almost exclusively due to the films technical innovation.)
Enjoyability Grade C+
Overall Grade C+ (The visuals elevate the silly script but fans everywhere will be legitimately disappointed.)