Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Phantom Menace

The rest of this week is dedicated to my review of the Star Wars prequels, then the Force Awakens on Friday, and finally Rogue One on Saturday.  See my reviews for A New Hope and Empire as well as Return of the Jedi.  Let's jump in right away with The Phantom Menace!

Going into Phantom Menace, I knew that it wasn't going to be as good as the original trilogy.  I had heard the title muttered a few times and it was always met with disapproving head-shakes or mocking chuckles.  I didn't necessarily think I was going to hate it since there are some movies that a lot of people I know hate but I like and movies that I hate but lots of people love (*cough cough* Hobbit movies *cough cough* Phantom of the Opera 2004).

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Wikipedia

I can safely say, however, that I share the mainstream opinion when it comes to Phantom Menace.

Ay yai yai, this movie is terrible!  I will try not to hate too much on it because I know there are some people who do like the prequels and are probably sick of people constantly ripping on them.

But honestly, here are some of the things that I found wrong with the film.

Characters


It wasn't the lack of Leia, Luke, and Han that disappointed me necessarily (I knew that it was going to happen).  It was the lack of any character that I even remotely cared about.  This problem got better in the second two prequels, and was mainly a Phantom Menace issue.

Chris Stuckmann, a movie reviewer I really look up to, challenged his viewers to identify the main character of the movie.  It's basically impossible, when you consider it!

Is it Qui-Gon?  He's only in this film and has really zero character arc, so why would the filmmakers do that?  Was it Obi-wan?  He basically acts as Qui-Gon's sidekick the entire time (which makes sense since he is his apprentice).  It can't be Anakin, who doesn't come in until forty-five minutes in and who has basically zero control over things happening to him.

WHO IS IT, THEN???

Can you figure it out?

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Quickmeme

Not only is there no identifiable protagonist, but the existing characters have little to no personality and therefore they get "one-quarter portion" of my sympathy.  

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Pinterest

The problem I grappled with as I watched was: all these actors are great, yet there characters have no personality and practically no emotion!  Why??

Acting


Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Liam Neeson are all pretty good actors.  But in this movie all of the performances fall completely flat.  Everyone seems kind of expressionless and disinterested.  Why though?  I think it was because a lot of the filming was actually just done in front of green or blue screens and without actual sets.  I blame this on the filmmakers and not the actors since they did not provide their employees with a reasonable way to actually express emotion.

Additionally, since green and blue screen weren't usually used so extensively at the time, many actors would be caught off guard by the strange method and consequently the performances struggled.

The other reason the performances are not great is because of the horrible, horrible dialogue.  

Things like Anakin's "are you an angel?" to Padme is just weird and...like really, who on earth would say that in real life?  No one!  What kind of shady screenwriting is that?  *calms down because she promised she wouldn't hate on the movie*


Can anyone deliver that line convincingly?

I mean, could Yoda even believe in any of the dialogue being said??  I think I'm with Luke on this one.

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Fly With Me Productions

Plot


This movie was duller than a sphere.

An hour and a half of squabbling over trade agreements and peace treaties?

Hmm, that's what I call entertainment.

Jar Jar Binks


Words can't describe.  I...just...no.

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Imgflip

Darth Maul


I think Darth Maul was a pretty interesting character.  He had a great look and seemed really powerful.  He seems way cooler than Count Dooku and it's really too bad that he got out of the trilogy so early on.

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Den of Geek

Music


The music at the ending was really great, and Duel of Fates is a fantastic track.  Another plus about the movie is that the light saber battles look great.  However, because there is no emotional stakes (unlike Luke and Vader's battle in Jedi) they fall flat.

-__-

What else can I even say?  Not even the number of action figures sold off this movie is greater than the times this movie has been picked apart and prodded.  

So what did you think of Phantom Menace?  Is it really as horrible as people say, in your opinion?

6 comments:

  1. "Now this is Podracing!"

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  2. Jar Jar was actually the only redeeming factor of the prequels for me... *dodges*

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  3. I loathe the entire prequel trilogy, so I agree with everything you said.

    Speaking of the horrendous dialogue, this 30 second video is priceless:). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZQflQiN7H0

    And that "What does your heart tell you?" cliché... drives me crazy.

    - Ellen

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