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The Reel review with John:

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Bore

By John Reese
On February 22, 2012

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away… (Actually it was 1999) George Lucas released Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and it was met with mixed reactions.

Some people praised the amazing special effects, but some complained that the plot and character development was sorely lacking in substance. I was about 10 years old when The Phantom Menace came out in theaters and what I remember most about it wasn't the movie itself, but the hype that came with it. It was the first Star Wars movie in

16 years and the hype was insane. Some Star Wars fans camped out weeks in advance to get tickets. Some fans bought tickets to a movie they didn't want to see just

because the Star Wars preview was attached to the movie and many fans missed work to see the film on opening day.

It was arguably the biggest movie event of all time. It can

also be said it was probably one the biggest disappointments of all time in terms of critical reaction.

The film received a massive backlash from fans that grew up with the original trilogy. The other two prequels fared better with the fans, but The Phantom Menace still stands out as a big disappointment. It has been 12 years since

the release of the film and now it's being re-released in 3-D? So, is The Phantom Menace worth seeing again on the big screen in 3-D? No, it isn't. The film follows two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), who escort and protect Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) when traveling from the planet Naboo to the planet Coruscant in the hope of finding a peaceful end to

a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. Along the way the Jedi encounter a young boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a.k.a. the future Darth Vader, and must also deal with the mysterious return of the Sith. The movie starts slowly with a boring exposition about how, because of tax disputes, the Republic is now against the Trade Federation, and some other events that aren't that interesting. Things finally start to pick up when the two Jedi meet Anakin Skywalker, but that's almost 40 minutes into the film. Even then Skywalker isn't the most interesting

character. In fact, after a while the kid got on my nerves.

Just like with Skywalker, none of the characters are remotely

interesting or memorable. The wooden dialogue didn't help the film either. You can argue that the memorable character is Jar Jar Binks, but that's only because he's probably the most irritating character who has ever existed on the

big screen. My main problem with 3-D is that it's unnecessary. Unless the movie is partially or wholly shot

in 3-D, it's not worth your time. Most of the time live - action

movies are converted into 3-D in post-production and the film will gain nothing from it. I will admit that a couple of

scenes like the Pod racing scene work well, but most of the time you can just watch the film without your glasses. Nevertheless, all the visual enhancements in the world could never make The Phantom Menace a better film.

Don't waste your money on this missed opportunity. However, if you are still interested in The Phantom Menace, rent it. You will probably be underwhelmed, but at least you didn't spend $15 to watch it.


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