20 February 2012

The Phantom Menace: Un-review

I had to submit a review once for a class. It took me a week and four drafts. Yeah, uh...I graduated for a reason.

Going to see this movie was prompted by nostalgia. It's been years since I last watched it, but it afforded me pleasure as a teenager, and I wanted the big-screen experience.

Here are the post-viewing conclusions I've come to:

1. I can't get into the 3D poster. Nothing against Ewan MacGregor, but someone very important has been (purposely—these people know their business, right? So it wasn't by accident) omitted—and his should be the biggest face. He's the one who, unwittingly, set the whole disaster in motion and then mercifully didn't live to see it unfold. It's all about the original:

Probably the reason I liked Episode I in the first place was that it blindsided me; in my adolescent mind the good guy was NOT supposed to die—and stay dead. I had yet to learn the rules of archetypes and that any time a character shows more wisdom than his peers he must go the way of all the earth and leave those more inferior peers to their infinitely superior problems so the audience will have something to entertain them for another hour—or two more movies, as the case may be.

2. Given the material he had to work with, Liam Neeson did a fantastic job as the fated wise old man.


3. 3D and big screen were really good for the pod race—I didn't get why people got so excited about this segment of the movie until tonight. Maybe it's that I have brothers who are really into cars so I enjoyed listening to all the different engines. Maybe I haven't yet lost the childhood fancy of flying and 3D brought it a little closer.

4. Other than that, the 3D version afforded some pleasure but nothing galaxy-blowing. I was waiting for a lightsaber to slice through the air at me and make me jump out of my seat.

5. I stand re-impressed at the brilliance of John Williams.

6. I still want Padmé's hair.

Can you imagine what a messy bun would look like on her?

7. Watching for Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley was quite entertaining.

8. I missed the puppet Yoda. Somehow Yoda looks a little less old and wise and...real?...as a perfectly programmed computer character—not a hair out of place, even. 

9. Ewan MacGregor looks better with a beard.

10. I wouldn't have forked over $8.50 for it (it's hard to enjoy a movie when you have the ENTIRE script memorized and you're exercising more Force power in calling the lines out than the real Jedi are exerting in making them sound good), but I got about 5 pages of archetype notes for future books. $8.50 for a multi-million-dollar investment—sounds good to me.

11. You have no idea how much fun it is to try to take notes in straight lines in a Moleskine with a black pen in a dark theater. Yet I can't help jotting down ideas when I go see a movie—so the theater is still good for entertainment.

12. The Palpatine/Sidious connection is creepy.

13. This movie still has my favorite lightsaber fight and music.

14. Whatever Lucas's other failings, he still knows his archetypes, and the movie still has its moments.

And to round it off, allow me to introduce one of my favorite Star Wars renditions.


Did you see the movie? Do you have an opinion? Submit your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I heartily agree about Obi-Wan and the beard.

  2. Oh my gosh, I want Padme's hair too! And her costumes. And make-up. And while I'm at it, a gaggle of handmaidens to follow me around and make me feel important. And I noticed for the first time (after seeing this movie more times than I care to admit) that Keira Knightley was actually in the end celebration scene, sans Queen Amidala make-up. Who knew?

    I really enjoyed seeing this movie in 3D. It's still cheesy, but I was expecting it to be cheesy, so it was no big loss. The real fun was remembering the very first time I saw it, at midnight, with most of the rest of my high school. This wasn't just a movie, it was an event. Now let's roll out episodes 2 and 3 already!!


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