Manda Watches Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for the First Time

Yesterday, I watched The Phantom Menace for the first time.

Good God this movie sucks.

Now, I have heard about how people don’t like the prequel Star Wars trilogy much at all, especially this one.  I thought that chances are a lot of those negative feelings were due to nostalgia and expectation from people.  I can completely get behind that, you don’t want something you love messed with and destroyed.  So when it came to watching The Phantom Menace, I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  That I have little attachment and no sentiment towards Star Wars, and maybe this movie isn’t that bad.

Ahem.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Naboo was under an attack.  And I thought me and Qui-Gon Jinn, could talk the Federation into maybe cutting them a little slack.

And to be quite frank, that’s all I know about what happened in this movie.  It starts with Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn, (who I’ve only learnt that’s his characters name from Googling the spelling in the Weird Al song), a Jedi dude who is training Ewan McGregor who has the stupidest hair do I’ve ever seen.  I think I could forgive the silly plait thing, but its the tiny pony tail in the back that kills me.  I mean, what purpose does it serve?  He has to deliberately let that section grow just a little bit longer so he can then tie it up.  I mean, at least the woman’s hair is that crazy ‘other worldly’ look, his is just plain daft.  I also didn’t like the way he spoke, it just sounded odd.  They are just hanging out, doing stuff.

And then Jar Jar Binks turns up.  I can’t remember how that meeting occurred, but why did Liam Neeson make a deal for his life?  We don’t want him! I thought Yoda was bad, but this thing, what was the point?  Why did he need to exist?  What a terrible character.  The CGI didn’t even look that good.

So there’s a queen who isn’t happy her people are getting killed and I think the plot is to stop that happening.  And we all end up on Tatooine.  So at this point, I’m going to have to refer to Wikipedia, just to jog my memory.  We meet this slave kid called Anakin Skywalker.  Oh no.  The worst thing you can do to your villain is show them as a kid.  It just instantly shows them as non threatening.  Now, I thought he might be one of those whiny kids, but actually he’s one of those upbeat, ‘everything’s going to be okay, mommy’ kids.  Eurgh.  The first time he said YIPPEE I burst out laughing.  Darth Vader just went YIPPEE.  Also, everyone calls him Ani.  This also made me squirm a bit.  I guess they were going for ‘how could this sweet kid turn into a terrible person’ vibe but it just ends up completely destroying Darth Vader’s image.  I can’t take him seriously anymore.  He also made C3PO, which makes me think did Darth Vader (ie Anakin) not recognise the robot he made, or did he never see it in the first 3 films?  In fact, did Obi Wan not recognise both C3PO and R2D2 either?  I don’t know, there might be a valid reason.  Whatever.

Along for the ride is Natalie Portman, who is some slave to the Queen or something.  She seems rather taken with Anakin and he seems to fancy the pants off her.  We also need to fix the space ship so Anakin has to go in a race.  Kinda like Grease, I remember there’s a big race scene but don’t really recall the details as to why this needed to happen.  And it’s quite long as well. I didn’t watch too much of this bit, I assumed he was going to win, and he did.

So eventually we end up in front of some lizard thing pleading for an alliance to fight the bad guys. And here is where I’m confused.  So they plead for help and Natalie Portman comes forward and says she’s the real queen.  Now, I will admit this bit might just be me being an idiot and just not getting it, but I thought she was covering for the real queen by doing this, to protect her in case the lizard thing just stomps on her or something.  But I’m on Wikipedia now, and it turns out Natalie Portman is the actual Queen.  Also apparently, that fake queen is Keira Knightly.  I’m really confused right now, I mean, they look exactly the same, how am I supposed to know that they switched, especially in that make up.  I’m looking at pictures and still don’t know which is which. So anyway, an alliance happens and then there’s a big fight.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned the red and black guy.  I dunno what he is, just that he’s on the bad side, and keeps starting a fight with Liam.  His name is Darth Maul, but when I watched it, I just heard ‘Garth’ so I will continue with that name.  Garth has a kerfuffle with Liam Neeson and stabs him with his lightsaber (he doesn’t disappear, like Obi Wan later does, I’m still hoping for an explanation on that one).  Ewan gets his big NOO and then rather easily kills Garth, and now has been lumbered with the kid cause Liam wants Ewan to train him as a Jedi, despite everyone else saying no don’t do it.  Listen to Samuel L Jackson people, he knows what’s up.

And that’s the plot as I remember it.  This movie sucks.  I remember checking the time thinking it was nearly over, we were 45 minutes in.  It’s really boring, the characters are boring, the plot is boring, the final battle was boring.  I could barely keep my eyes open towards the end.  The movie is kinda from Obi Wan’s point of view, and yet he is just an observer, doing little.  It might have been better if he was the proper protagonist, and we had Young Obi Wan Kenobi Chronicles, or had it from Anakins point of view, maybe have him be a bit older and a bit meaner.  Maybe that will happen in the next one.  I mean, that’s really what everyone wants to know, how did Anakin go from being a normal kid to a evil guy with breathing difficulties?  Maybe the next films will focus on that.  I’d like to think so.

This film isn’t very good.

Next time, Attack of the Clones.

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