A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
Well, I had to eventually talk about the prequels. Now, of course, there’s going to be a lot of negatives, but you have to remember I watched these as a kid. The thing about Star Wars is that they were intended to be kids films. George Lucas forgot this when he made Revenge of the Sith as that is one of the bleakest films I’ve seen. The Phantom Menace however is a train-wreck of a film, it doesn’t have a clear path of where it wants to go and tries to ride off the nostalgia of the previous generation. A lot of people have a vendetta against this film and I’m one of them. Now lets step back to 1999 and get sad together
First of all, this was the first Star Wars in nearly 20 years which meant there was a lot of expectations.People saw the promotional photo’s of Darth Maul and just got giddy inside. If you look back at people waiting to see the movie for the first time, there was a lot of people wearing Maul masks. While Maul was a pretty cool character in the grand scheme of things, he only says one line and general doesn’t do much besides the last fight. After you have a trilogy with someone like Vader at the helm then you kind of feel a bit shit when maul gets 10 minutes screen time.
In fact, just watching any of the originals before this, feels like getting kicked in the guts and spat on. The characters themselves are a main part of this problem. We’ve come off the insane legacy of Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader, and now we have to watch him be a snotty kid?! A lot of people seem to think that Ewan McGreggor delivers an amazing performance through the prequels, however in this one he’s just as tragic as the rest of them. Now this isn’t really down to him, but he’s written as someone who just sits around and moans the whole time. Qui-gon is something similar but just comes across as an emotionless robot, giving his death the same effect on the audience.
Jar-Jar is also a big gungan in the room when talking about episode 1. While yes he is created for children and at least makes them laugh a bit. He’s no where near as subtle as the Ewoks where in what they set out to do. The Ewoks were just cute and didn’t really do much to distract from the fact you were watching Star Wars. Jar Jar however feels like he slaps the fans every time he opens his mouth. His level of humour is comparable to something you would watch on CBBC back in the day. That and his voice just took away any seriousness this journey of Anakin would have on the audience.
One big thing I did not like was how they tried to make everything political and ignore the characters personal journeys. Luke was a farmer kid who was brought into the action and everything that happened to him from that point was him making his hero’s journey to become a Jedi. In Episode 1, we don’t really know anything about Qui-gon and even with Anakin and Obi all we know is where they are meant to eventually turn up. We still don’t know much about the characters journey. They try to mirror Anakin with Luke with Tatooine and the call to the force however Anakin feels forced and uneventful for two more movies.
There was so much they could have explored with the idea of the Jedi being a great force as we learned in the originals. The prequels as a whole present them as clueless idiots who make all the wrong decisions. Some people even like to defend the lightsaber fights in all of these films as some sort of masterpiece. However they are nothing more than effect junkies getting excited about moving around and doing flips. That’s why I hate this fight so much, every single swing and block feels rehearsed, you can see it and feel it when you see the camera move around.
There’s a moment at the end where Qui-Gon gets stabbed and you can see Obi-Wan hyping himself up in anger, he wants to kick Mauls ass real bad. Then he jumps out of the door and just goes back to a routine fight that feels no different to what we were just watching. To compare, if you remember Return of the Jedi where Luke is hiding from Vader at the end duel. Vader begins to taunt Luke with the idea of turning Leia evil and this makes Luke snap. Instead of just conveying no emotion his his fight, he begins to relentlessly bash at Vader with his saber. His strikes aren’t slow and calculated but instead bring out pure anger and rage. Obi-Wan just doesn’t care that his master just got murdered and goes back to doing sick 180 flips.
I have nothing to say about the pod-race either, it’s severely over-hyped and drones on for way too long. It makes the first hour and half of the entire movie just feel so slow and out of place. At least A New Hope made fighting on the Death Star for an hour an interesting segment with different areas to showcase. I understand a lot of kids will love this movie and that’s great you know? If you got enjoyment out of a movie then I’m glad you did, don’t let my words of hate change your opinion on something. However I feel like I’m speaking for the majority when I say these things.
At the end of the day I don’t like this Star Wars and it’s really sad, mainly for what it could have been. I was watching people lining up for the premier on YouTube and they went in with such high hopes. They were saying things like “It’s impossible that this movie will suck.” and I wish I was in that state before seeing this movie. They go in multiple times to see the movie thinking “Maybe there’s something we’re missing or it gets better each time.” After a good few weeks everyone realised that this film was awful and there was no way of saving it.
For me however it’s not even the worst one, that right is saved for Attack of the Clones, which I will be taking apart and crying about next Friday. I’ll see you then because I’m really not looking forward to watching this again.