Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – Re-watch

starwars-phantommenace-wallpaper-700x341

It has been a little over 20 years since the much anticipated Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace hit theaters. I saw it in the theater, although not opening weekend. Maybe I saw it again, when it came to DVD, but I am not sure. I certainly have not watched in the last 10+ years. But! I did recently watch it via Disney+. This was probably because I had just read Master & Apprentice, which takes place just before the events of The Phantom Menace.

Like many were at the original release, I was very much turned off to the character of Jar Jar Binks. In the Star Wars Episode I: The Making of The Phantom Menace Documentary, George Lucas says “Jar Jar is the key to all of this. If we get Jar Jar working. Because he is a funner character than we’ve ever had in any of the movies before.”

When my nieces and nephews first started watching the Star Wars movies, which was a few years ago, I asked them what they thought of Jar Jar. They said he was really funny. I also recall seeing footage of Lucas with his kids on set, and the explanation that this new trilogy was meant for a younger generation. It sounds like maybe he succeeded.

For my re-watch, I found Jar Jar to be significantly less annoying than I originally did. Still annoying, but not to the point of wanting to just shut it off, or even to fast-forward. The acting delivery still leaves a lot to be desired, but if you watch the making of documentary, you can hear the editor gripe about how Lucas was constantly rearranging scenes, so performances were mismatched compared to how they were actually filmed. No doubt this led to at least some of the imbalance in the final version. I think Lucas is on record as being a meddler.

The pod race drags on for me. I think they do three laps, and you are literally there for all three of them. The grand light saber duel is also somewhat long, which still strikes me as looking overly choreographed. Obviously the scenes have to be choreographed, but ideally they would be in a way which didn’t look like it. Particular having watched Clone Wars, and Rebels, the use of the force in the on-screen duels is significantly diminished compared it delivered in the cartoons.

I don’t love this movie, but it is certainly tolerable. Which means my opinion of the movie has significantly improved since it was released in theaters.

The Mandalorian (Pilot)

There are literally at least 5 other websites that have done an article on the new Mandalorian Disney+ series, and I don’t want to repeat what they said. So here are the things all the other websites won’t tell you about the show.

  • If you go into this series expecting to see a mandolin playing Manchurian eating oranges, you will be disappointed.
  • Everyone claims that Pedro Pascal is the Mandalorian, but that could be a lie. We never see the actor’s face, so it literally could be anyone, from Daniel Logan to Jeremy Bullock to Rebel Wilson.
  • One of the bounties collected by said title character says he was hoping to get home in time for Life Day, which means that is either a sick sick joke, or the end of Star Wars.
  • The Mandalorian starts out ba ba ba ba ba ba bad to the bone, but then kind of transitions into a less competent version. This means he is following in the footsteps of Boba Fett.
  • The two most important places to protect your body are your head and your shoulders, based on the placement of the special armor. This is taken from the book of Dredd.
  • It is a contractual requirement of every Star Wars property that there always be a desert planet in it. This is similar to the video game requirement that every Star Wars game must contain a Rancor.
  • The Mandalorian is a derivative work, in that it borrows, copies, or outright steals things from all the previous Star Wars movies.

Recent Star Wars Novels, Reviewed

And by recent, I mean, within the last couple of years.

Star Wars: Tarkin

This novel explains the rise and career of Wilhuff Tarkin, up to his appointment as a Grand Moff. It jumps from period to period (boy, young Judiciary Force commander, Imperial Officer), skipping over his appearances in Clone Wars. If you thought Tarkin just got a bad rep for blowing up an entire planet just to test the Death Star, but was otherwise an okay guy, then this book will correct you of that gross misjudgment of character.

Rating: Decent

Star Wars Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

This novel starts right near the end of the Old Republic, and goes up to a couple of years before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story starts. It is primarily a story about Galen Erso and Orson Krennic, particularly since Jyn isn’t born, and when she, is she is a young child. It explains some of the hardships it took to construct the first Death Star aka, the 20 year project to build a moon-sized space station. (And yet, they built a second functional one like 4 years later which was larger in size). This book doesn’t exactly endear anyone to Galen Erso, either.

Rating: Fine

Read more

Live Chat: Star Wars Holiday Special

Time for that amazing Star Wars Holiday Special Live Chat. A show which Carrie Fisher described as “a punishment from God.” – 8 out of 10 Cats 2016 Christmas Special. Originally recorded live in Mos Eisley, which no longer exists.

Read more

%d bloggers like this: