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The Phantom Menace
Guest Review by the Mysterious Mr. B.

Face it, no new Star Wars movie could ever live up to our expectations. Most of us geeks saw the original series as kids or young adults and were deeply influenced by it. We’ve had time to see the original films over and over, learn every line, and turn them into our own personal legends. After the long, long wait, and all the hype, it was inevitable that this newcomer to the series would be greeted with a bit of disappointment.

That said, Phantom Menace is great! Does it compare to the originals? Yep, and in some ways is superior. The effects are better, the acting is better, the story, … well the story could have been better, but it was classic Star Wars, delivered in classic Lucas style. Sure, not as good as Empire Strikes Back, but still a remarkable movie and a fine addition to the Star Wars legacy.

Unlike some, I thought the first half-hour really rocked! It was so refreshing to see a couple of trained Jedi in battle… confident, skilled, no hesitations or self-doubts. They just knew what to do to survive, and did it. The scenes of Qui-Gon Jinn cutting through blast doors with his lightsaber were fantastic. Now that’s the kind of thing I’d do if I had a lightsaber!

Surprises? For me, it was that I actually liked Queen Amidala. After seeing snippets in commercials, I was prepared to see a wooden performance. Instead, Natalie Portman pulled off the difficult role of the Queen with style and grace. Ewan McGregor played Obi-Wan perfectly, as did Liam Neeson the Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn. Ray Park’s spectacular martial arts moves as Darth Maul were incredible, and his double-edged lightsaber tricks were awesome. We really needed more of this guy!! R2D2 was spectacular as always, and I thought C3PO was, well... good ol' C3P0.

Jar Jar Binks… what can I say? If you’re looking for a movie spoiler, this annoying creature would be it. Why George, why?

All in all, this is the kind of film you'll perhaps leave the theatre slightly dissappointed with, yet as you think back on it, you'll start to realize more and more what you liked about it. I'll be going back for a second view soon.

My advice for Classic Star Wars fans over 14 years of age, about to embark on their own journey to see the Phantom Menace, is to let yourself be a kid again while watching the movie. You will enjoy it a thousand times more if you just relax, get giddy, and buy some cool merchandise crap. Don’t get too critical, just go with it, have fun, and use the Force. Just like you did 25 years ago ;-)

  • Underwater chase sequence with aquatic monsters … scene was almost spoiled by Jar Jar's presence, but the Jedis’ calmness throughout the dangerous situation was great!
  • Light saber battles… spectacular!
  • Liam Neeson… perfect.
  • Obi-Wan… Great job by Ewan McGregor!
  • Ray Park’s Darth Maul: fabulously evil!
  • The sound. Prepare some Oscars for the sound effects wizards….
  • The battle Droids… I loved those guys! And their voices were perfect ... classic "robot".


  • Way too much boring bureacracy stuff… has George been infected by Star Trek disease?
  • Anakin in the spaceship….why does a competent pod racer turns into a bubblehead in a spacecraft?
  • Not enough Darth Maul. I would have like to hear more from Darth Maul, especially as he was battling it out with the Jedis. Perhaps he could have taunted the two Jedi’s a little, let them in on his own background and evil desires. I wanted to learn more about the Sith Lords waiting a thousand years…

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