Updated: Jan 11, 2020
There is no need for prefacing, all of you bastards know what this is.
Just a disclaimer, this is my personal rankings of the Star Wars Saga. I am not the Chosen One of the reviews, but I love debate. Please comment below or add to the forum to keep the conversation going.
Basically, the Trade Federation blocks imports and exports to a planet called Naboo. Leaving the people of the planet starving. The republic is not down for this. The Chancellor sends a Jedi Knight (Qui-Gon Jinn) and his Padawan (Obi-Wan Kenobi) to broker a deal. Shit hits the fan, they are ambushed, call to adventure begins. They return back to Naboo in time to save the queen and her helper (Padme) and get them the hell out of there. Their ship crashes and needs repairs on a planet called Tatooine.
This is where you meet the slave boy Anakin Skywalker. Our boy Qui-Gon is like "holy shit this dude has so much force in him." He gives him a creepy blood test and shows he has over 20,000 midi-chlorians. Essentially how in touch you can be with the force. This is more than Yoda. Qui-Gon would probably bet all of his belongings, his life, and the council that this kid is the Chosen One to bring balance to the force. To be fair, the kid is not a sociopath yet and has all the cheesy characteristics of being a hero. Qui-Gon strikes up a deal with his slave owner, and Anakin leaves his home to begin training as a Jedi. Yoda and Mace Windu along with the others on the Jedi Council are like "no this kid is too old, and he has a lot of fear, and we all know fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering" — yada yada. Qui-Gon is like "no fuck you, this is my number one draft pick. You can't let Lebron James fall in the draft." To top it all off, Qui Gon and Obi were like "Some evil red and black dude attacked us and he knew the force... seemed like a Sith.." and the council was like "False. It cannot be true. Lets not even think about it at all." The republic is in safe hands with these assholes at the mantle.
While all of this is going on Naboo's Senator Palpatine (the main villain of the saga) wants to have a vote of no confidence with the Chancellor, so he can be placed in that position. It indeed works. This motherfucker is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. As he is becoming the leader of the republic, he is also mentoring the poster boy villain Darth Maul.
To fast forward, Padme reveals she is the actual queen to convince others to join in on the fight against the Trade Federation. Your typical rallying and battle crying ensue. The fight against the evil droids and aliens wages on!!
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon duel Darth Maul. Obi-Wan gets trapped behind a shield. Darth Maul wounds Qui-Gon, which will be the death of him. Obi-Wan finally shows off his skills. He cuts Darth Maul in half and falls to his supposed death. I would equate this to Pat Mahomes coming out party against the Patriots in 2018. Throwing for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns, but still losing 43 to 40. Yeah, he beat Darth Maul, but his mentor is dead. That is in the loss column for me.
Qui-Gon begs Obi-Wan to train Anakin, even though he believes something is a little off about him too. He reluctantly promises to do so, and the council finally agrees.
Anakin is ready to embark on his epic journey to become a Sith lord!!!!
Short Plot Review-
You know there is nothing sexier than starting a Star Wars plot discussing trade regulations. Starting with the OG trilogy, viewers do not even know what Jedi Knights are really about. Han Solo talking shit says he has traveled all along the galaxy, and hasn't seen a trace of this hogwash religion. The people were waiting for this moment!!!! Only to come to find out they are just mediators? Bureaucratic henchman for the not be trusted Republic. Yeah, I get it. The Jedi are about peace... what does that have to do with politics?
Moving forward with the story it is clear that our investment in this journey will have nothing to do with the actual conflict of this movie. It just is not interesting, and that is okay when you have an ace in the hole in Anakin Skywalker. There is a reason why I chose that poster as the image of this movie. It is the emotional anchor of the film. The best portion of the movie is when Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Anakin are interacting with one another in any combination. Giving insights on future behaviors and the path the proceeding movies will follow. For any Star Wars fan, this is hard not be attracted to.
Fuck Jar Jar Binks. Obvious cash grab by George Lucas to sell toys.. similar to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. He immediately takes me out of the movie. I want to beat the shit out of the 5-year-old version of me for finding this guy funny. That is all I will say about it.
Previously alluded to, Senator Palpatine has some intriguing scenes in this film. This is the real villain of the Star Wars Saga, not Vadar. Showing that he believes he can manipulate Queen Amidala to seize control is telling for his plan for Anakin. He is the Phantom Menace and the demise of the republic — GOAT.
Another pitfall of this movie is the year it came out, 1999. George Lucas was cracked out on CGI. He had already made changes to his original trilogy in 1997 to further his vision ...and.... to make more money. This movie is CGI vomit. 1999 had capabilities the OG movies did not have, but it stripped imagination and welcomed more distractions, leaving the wonder of the old films behind. This did not age well. It was progressive for its time, the cameras in Hollywood were not even capable of filming the movie with this much CGI. It was literally created for the film. Being the first movie to open the door to this type of cinematic experience .. it took its lumps and did not age well.
Okay, the fight scene is amazing, the opera score in the background. Darth Maul's badass double-sided lightsaber. It all works. It is the one time you have pure joy while viewing the film.
The movie poses the question of free will vs fate. Just like any good fantasy epic. Are the choices we make really ours? Was Anakin really meant to be found that day? Like his mother said "It is his choice alone" but he was conceived without a father. It is disappointing that this might be the centerpiece theme of the tale, but is bogged down by useless characters, CGI, and disappointing plot points.
Allen Iverson Award
A brief explanation of the Allen Iverson Award. In 2001, Allen Iverson in a blaze of glory carried the Sixers to the NBA Finals. With no other All-Star on the team, this bad man even gave an L to Shaq and Kobe. This is not the MVP or best character. This is the actor who carried the scenes and the team!
The Allen Iverson Award goes to.....
Liam Neeson, I cannot emphasize enough what this man did for this film. He was the only one that was easy to take seriously. He had to interact with the awful Jar Jar Binks, the mediocre child actor for Anakin, carry the weight of the terrible plot. I have this feeling, Liam Neeson was in his head thinking "What the actual fuck is going on" Using green screens and a lot of CGI, which was not common for this time. Neeson gave a convincing performance working with nothing. Easy to compare him to Sean Bean (Ned Stark) in GOT as he was taken from us too early. He was the anchor of the film. One of the scarce positives. RIP Qui-Gon Jinn.
Biggest Missed Opportunity
Darth Maul just the most badass looking dude. Killing one of the coolest characters, and then being bested by one of the legends. Probably under 10 minutes on screen. This guy is mysterious, powerful, and is ready to fuck your day up. He is in the Clone Wars and Rebels and even Solo. This is all great, but the viewership and importance of the story are the Skywalker Saga. People were so interested in Darth Maul. He had the makings of becoming a legend in the canon comparable to Vadar. We are stripped from an act of more emotional revenge for Qui-Gon instead of a quick 1-minute battle and immediate gratification of him being cut in half. I can see why it maybe would be convoluted in the next movie to have him, but I mean geez. Think if you subbed him in for General Grievous? A character who did not have enough time to fully develop in episode 3. Obi-Wan battling him, before his fate with Anakin would have been a full-circle story for the prequel trilogy paying its own respects instead of just focusing on the OG. I guess always leave the people wanting more? I see how it shows how Palpatine will use pawns on the board, replacing one Sith with another. *cough Like Luke for Vadar. All in all this guy is Derrick Rose of the Star Wars canon, one MVP year, then due to injury never seen again.
The Big What-If
The what-if of Episode 1 is.....
What if Qui-Gon Jinn survived? He was the one who raised and trained Anakin. The one teaching moment he has with young Anakin was before his big race. "Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think." Anakin did not need a mentor like Obi-Wan or others from the council. These guys were played by the rules, straight edge mother fuckers. Qui-Gon challenged the council, he did not see them as the end all be all of the force. He would have been more equipped to handle the ups and downs of dealing with Anakin has later he would grow into a piss ant, but perhaps he never would have grown into one. Anakin was someone who needed freedom and autonomy. The repressive nature of the council inadvertently helped blossom the negative traits that created Vadar.
Search Your Feelings for the Hottest Take
The Jedi are push over suckas. These guys are being used as muscle for politicians. The idea of them using potential violence as a negotiation strategy is stupid. These guys have the force, but cannot sense all the bullshit surrounding them. While this is going on the leader of the movie says this shit..
The slave he does manage to free is for his own interest. Jedi's were self-indulging fucking puppets. If attempting to keep the status quo makes you a hero, welp... that is not saying much. Also, Anakin is too old to be trained? More like too old to be brainwashed by a cult. He will think for himself which is something they clearly do not desire unless it falls in line with their views.
I am ready for the haters. Bring it on! I will defend this take. Check out our forum here!
“The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda
"Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other."-Anakin
"I'm a person and my name is Anakin." - Anakin
“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn
“And you, young Skywalker. We will watch your career with great interest.” – Palpatine
“Always two, there are. No more, no less. A master and an apprentice.” – Yoda
MVP Character Episode 1
The reason why the prequels exist is because of this little buddy. No, the acting was not top-notch, but you cannot take your eyes off the screen. I love the choice of him being selfless. George Lucas said that he did not want to show any evidence that he would become one of the evilest beings on the planet. He wanted him to go through a pure transformation. I admire this idea. There are still nuances that he could turn to the dark side, the questioning of the council and the love for his mother. Showing the reason he might turn to the dark side is passion over pure hatred is fascinating. This kid was just a little badass. He built C-3PO, he was a pod racer, he would have sacrificed himself for the greater good.
I love the parallels between Luke in New Hope, having R2D2 as his copilot while he destroys the droid ship, it is chilling. He builds, problem solves and thinks for himself.
This kid was the Chosen One. The universal theme people can resonate with is the desire for more. He was stuck on a planet being a slave for someone else's economic gain. He was born to be obedient. He showed all the potential in the world and he could have been stuck there living the same useless life.. but he followed this philosophy.
"When life gives you lemons.. You say fuck the lemons.. and bail" and became the most powerful fucking person on the planet.
I recommend to re-watch Phantom Menace. If you want to hate-watch it that is fine. If you love the movie and want to find points to disagree with me, I am all for it. Seriously don't regret re-examining the tale. With the final chapter coming soon.. one more trip around the two suns with the Skywalker's is necessary.