A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

May 4, 2010

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

May the Fourth be with you. The date dictates that today is the start of Star Wars week for us. Which we embark upon with mixed feelings. Clearly Star Wars was a great movie (the first one – later to be known as Episode IV) and I look forward to watching it and Empire Strikes Back again. But I do not look forward to this movie. I would rather have put it off a little while longer. But the internets have spoken, and we must review Episode I today.

Amanda and I debated long and hard about whether we were going to tag our reviews for this movie with the much-dreaded and almost never-used “It Stinks” tag. Ultimately we decided not to… but it was a close thing. Her argument is that we should reserve that tag for movies that are irredeemably bad and offer no entertainment whatsoever. And by the narrowest of margins I agreed that this movie is not ALL bad. It’s only mostly bad.

A lot of the problem with the movie for me lies in that sense of betrayal from when I went to see it in the theater. After about fifteen years and more hype than you can imagine here was a chance to see a new Star Wars movie in the theater and I had unbelievably high expectations. Unattainable expectations. I saw it twice in the theaters, and I maintain to this day that the second viewing was simply because I couldn’t believe how awful the movie was. I wanted to see if it grew on me with a second viewing. It did not. Indeed I would say that with every viewing I like it less.

Much has already been written about why this movie is such a profound disappointment. The racism involved in the accents given to the aliens. The use of excessive comic relief during battle scenes. (Between Jar Jar and Anakin there is more slapstick in the final battle than in the first three movies combined.) And of course Jar Jar Binks himself: one of the most universally hated characters ever created. But although I do hate all those things, what I hate most is how this movie single-handedly destroyed the Star Wars franchise. It took a series of movies I quite enjoyed full of swashbuckling space action and made them into a laughing stock.

I’ll never again have that joyous anticipation for a new Star Wars movie. Instead if there ever were a new movie it would stir in my gut a kind of dread. What more from my childhood can Lucas destroy?

At least there’s still A New Hope to look forward to. I just have to get through the next two of these prequels.

May 4, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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