Grade: D+ (I guess)
As I finished “Star Wars V” and planned ahead for when to watch the subsequent film, I received some advice. “Watch the sixth movie last, get some backstory from the second trilogy and finish the saga with perhaps the best film of them all.”
Because I have no prior knowledge and I’m a sheep, I followed these instructions and jumped into the first film without a clue of what was to come.
With all of that said, I’m so confused.
“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” is a movie designed specifically with children in mind. It follows a basic story structure that is digestible no matter what age. It includes many characters, sounds and elements that could just as easily have been observed in a Looney Tunes cartoon.
Jar Jar Binks, or as fans of the films have told me “the character that never happened” is atrociously insubstantial. He’s the archetypal irresponsible sidekick that falls into good things and somehow survives despite his incompetence. Essentially, he’s the Patrick Star of the “Star Wars” universe.
Furthermore, I was stunned by how mediocre the film was. A bulk of the plot surrounds a pod race that is reminiscent of “Wacky Races” from the late 1960s. That Dick Dastardly, Sebulba in this case, is always up to no good but the protagonist who uses a phone book to see over the steering wheel eventually has his day in the sun.
I wasn’t surprised to see a video game was promptly made of these racing excursions as it seemed to me that the only reason to make it was to sell products and memorabilia.
The plot of the movie moved fast and loosely, and made less and less sense the more it went on. It’s kind of astonishing that a movie of this ilk would follow the original trilogy, as it seems to be a part of a different galaxy — see what I did there?
Now let’s get to the most crucial part of the film. Anakin Skywalker is the Jesus Christ of the “Star Wars” universe. How was I not aware that there was a Virgin Mary in the film? This came out of right field for me and I was assuredly visibly shocked by this revelation. Darth Vader is Christ. George Lucas is really making those biblical references count in these films.
As the final, extremely long, drawn out, bland battle scene finally reached its conclusion and the rapturous music reached its final crescendo, I think I was still in awe.
It wasn’t even that this was a bad movie, in that it wasn’t a movie. It was a way to move collectibles quickly and boy, it worked.
I guess my main question is, what just happened?