Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace -- Review #JPMN





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Published on Mar 30, 2012

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) "Brilliantly imagined, but poorly executed", 7/10.

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This "Quick Review" is an excerpt from a full episode. Incorporating viewer comments and tweets, your host and film critic Jonathan Paula reviews everything from opening day releases, recent DVDs, and classics from years past. Along with your votes, these films are scored on the "Rate-O-Matic" for a 1-10 ranking. A "Five Word Summary" quickly encapsulates each review while "Factor Facts" highlight the the best and worst features of a movie in each of ten key categories. New episodes every Friday (November through May) on the JPizzle1122 channel.

Born in February 1986, Jonathan Paula is a professional YouTuber and creator of the hit web series, "Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This?". In April 2006 he founded Jogwheel Productions, a new media production company that specializes in web video. He has been reviewing films since 2003, and professionally since 2009. Jon graduated from Emerson College in 2008 with a degree in Television Production / Radio Broadcasting. He currently lives in Rockingham, NH with his wife Rebecca.

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~~ Review Script ~~
Originally released in May of 1999 as the first of three prequels to the iconic Star Wars trilogy from 20 years earlier, this sci-fi fantasy epic is poised to eventually break the 1-billion-dollar box-office mark with its most recent 3D re-release, making it only the 11th film to ever do-so. Liam Neeson stars as a wise and skilled Jedi Knight alongside his eager apprentice Ewan McGregor, on a mission to protect Natalie Portman, the queen of a peaceful utopian planet, and uncover some bloated and confusing trade-dispute / political mess / all-out-war is brewing. Along their adventure, our heroes encounter bizarre creators, swindlers, gangsters, cheats, liars, evil-doers, fat blubbering reptile people, and a small boy on a desert planet who supposedly is magically gifted in retroactively over-explained invisible superpowers known as "The Force". Writer and director George Lucas received critical praise for his accomplishments for the groundbreaking and mind-blowing "Star Wars" released in 1977... and rightly so, I gave the film a "10" here on Movie Night for a reason: it is a true masterpiece of cinema, and expertly delivers all of the fun and adventure we watch movies for. Decades later, and unchained by restrictive studio executives or the limits of modern day visual effects, Lucas set out to create a three-movie backstory to the original film's super-villain, Darth Vader -- that no one asked for. Which is "The Phantom Menance's first misstep: Building an entirely new trilogy around a character that would have honestly been better off left a mystery. It seems as though this prequel was destined to fail, at least in the eyes of die-hard fans of the series: as there was simply no way a story, this involved, this confusing and haphazard, would ever truly live up to the success of its influential predecessor. The one marked-improvement however, is undeniably the visual-effects, which were earth-shattering in 1999, and with few exceptions, hold up very well today. From the lush landscapes of Naboo to the endless city spires of metro-planet Courscant, "The Phantom Menace" is beaming with imaginative and inspiring visuals... it's just unfortunate they're populated with poorly written characters devoid of logical motivation or purpose. Fans of the original or flashy science-fantasy will enjoy this film, if only for the eye-candy, and explosive action sequences, but don't expect anything in the realm of great acting, writing, pacing, or high-art. As for the most recent version of this film, the first of all six films to be retrofitted with post-converted three-dimensions: save your money. The Blu-ray boxset that came out last fall for $90 is a much better value - the image quality is outstanding, the commentary tracks are interesting, and informative, and there's a plethora of great bonus features for long-time fans. "Star Wars Episode : The Phantom Menace", "Brilliantly imagined, but poorly executed."


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