IMDB Rating: 6,5/10
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: George Lucas
Writer: George Lucas
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman
Since its success in 1977, George Lucas has returned by extending a fantasy action story which never caught up after the three big achievements. 33 years since fans are waiting after they expect this movie to be a sequel but this isn’t a sequel but a prequel where it tells about a birth of an Empire and one of the most phenomenal villain characters ever, Darth Vader. Now, I’ll review all the series from Star Wars trilogy from The Phantom Menace to The Last Jedi. I remember watching the trilogy of Star Wars during school, doing it in a marathon, and watching with friends. If I’m not wrong, the time is fit on the appearance of the trailer from The Force Awakens. I never remember if I’ve seen it as a kid but I know it through video games where I play them from the first series to the end which before watching all the trilogy, I already know the basic story. So, this is a review of The Phantom Menace, the episode one and the first prequel of the Star Wars trilogy.
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” tells about the evil trade federation led by Nute Gunray (Silas Carson) plans to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. The Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are sent to confront the leaders. But it didn’t go as planned. They both escape, among they find a new Gungan friend named Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) who wants to go to Naboo to warn the Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) but droids have started to capture Naboo and the queen isn’t safe there. Meanwhile, they go to Tatooine where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). Qui-Gon Jinn is curious with the boy and sees a spark of future for him. The group should be able to find a way to Coruscant and be able to solve the problem but there is someone hiding behind the shadows.
In this first episode, Star Wars narrates straight to the conflict between the Empire and the rebels alliance who set the background of the main story and the struggles of all the characters, the beginning of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and others. But, there is nothing to compare with the trilogy. The plot is shallow which so many plots holes such as the background characters that never explain. Who is Qui-Gon Jinn? Who is Darth Maul? Why is everything like a coincidence? There is no obvious reason why the rebel army wants to control the Empire. In The Phantom Menace, most of the scenes don’t bear with the fruit and connections between characters and stories which in the trilogy are never discussed in. This film does have a lot of debate since the beginning of its premiere, since the internet hasn’t existed, and the overhyped is outrageous. Critics adored this film even more than the three sequels. Several years have passed since this time, for some reason this film is nothing compared to other films. Just like The Shining or other Stanley Kubrick’s works where it took several decades for the critic and audience to understand his mind. George Lucas seems to wanna show a fresh story despite keeping a lot of nostalgic marks from previous films. The visual is great but another thing that feels weird is there are some visual effects which are not rendered where it feels the visual didn’t exist in there. If it differentiates from the previous trilogy, I think they deserve the best. Sure, the visual effect is able to make viewers who watch at the time feels overwhelming because of the enjoyment. One of them is the pod race scene which I found that the most brilliant but again, the cinematography feels superficial regardless of POV. The Phantom Menace also seems to bring something right because it took a few years to be able to use the technology that existed at the time and George Lucas was able to represent the universe which existed in the Star Wars trilogy.
The Phantom Menace seems to fail in showing the potential of the story and not in accordance with the various expectations. The introduction of the characters which just appear without any backgrounds and such, the conflicts that never explained and didn’t have various connections with the previous trilogy and the scenes that feel repetitive and have no relationship whatsoever. I also don’t know who “is” the main characters in this episode. Most importantly, I also don’t know why many people love Darth Maul and hate Jar Jar Binks. Darth Maul, I admit his character recognition was great without any scripts he got but just like any other character, it just fails at the point. There are so many various fan theories about Jar Jar Binks that he is the Sith Lord and one of the interesting where I find it feels awkward but it’s worth to be analyzed and the actor and the director are rumored that theory is true. But, the theory is just a theory because it’s ridiculous when thinking about it one more time. All of the actors in this movie feel like not having any emotions either when they see the underwater world, are negotiating, or are having a conversation. I watched behind the scene footage showing the set location in one location which is just kinda that way that George Lucas used the blue screen. I just don’t know what the obstacle is when it’s in either Liam Neeson performance as well as the other actors and actresses. The story also seems like a comic or cartoon that feels absurd and not much to enjoy besides the fight between Jedi. The rest of it, it’s just about conversations, conversations, and conversations which some feel like monotonous and dull. Sure, The Phantom Menace has a brilliant visual effect at the time but the movie will never be spelled out good just because of it. It fails at the place and never improves at least until the end of the story.
Overall, The Phantom Menace becomes a point that holds a lot of potentials from the story and a great beginning to tell the background of each character. But, the character is like only filling the role of their story that has no connection at all. The acting from all the actors although some of it feel emotionless without any sympathy or empathy. The goofy storytelling seems like a cartoon style with an antagonist plot that wants to rule the world without any obvious reason. The execution of the story only lies and focuses on the Empire and the rebel forces but it seems that everything is closed with many pointless scenes. Despite the complex visual effects, The Phantom Menace is a failing at the beginning and must be set in the sequel.