By: Julio De Francisco (Three Beers) –
Originally released in 1999, The Phantom Menace was a major disappointment to Star Wars fans everywhere. As Adam Carolla might say, a lot of “Nerd Rage” was unleashed on the production of this film and most of all its creator, George Lucas. However, these same haters, many of them dressed up as Star Wars characters, made The Phantom Menace a box-office success, raking in $64 million dollars its first weekend. The film is about a Trade Federation wanting to take over a planet called Naboo. Two Jedi’s, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kanobi, peaceful knights who can manipulate The Force, are sent as ambassadors to see what’s going on. They have neon colored colored swords called light sabers and enjoy waving them around to deflect lasers beams firing slower than a speeding bullet. They eventually escape the attempt on their lives and run into… well, just watch the film if for some reason you don’t know all of this already.
If it isn’t obvious – I was not a fan of Star Wars prior to the release of The Phantom Menace. In 1999, I was a Junior in high school. I didn’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek and to be honest, did not care. However, I got caught up in the hype surrounding the film and decided to go check out the midnight showing with all the freaks and geeks. I heard no complaints coming out of the movie. The fans I had gone to see the movie with seemed pleased. I do, however, remember one comment that was said upon exiting the cinema by a man who could have been mistaken for Jabba the Hutt with a Poney-tail and goatee, “Exqueeze me… what the fuck was that?”
Now, some 13 years later, the movie has been re-released in 3D. Prior to going into the movie (a rare treat for me living where I do now) I thought about all the scenes I was expecting to be blown-away by in 3D such as the pod-race. My expectations were never met and made me continue to wonder why anyone would pay extra to see any movie in 3D.
Jedi 3D Glasses
I was impressed by the world created by George Lucas in Star Wars. The vast array of creatures, robots, pets, food, infrastructure, buildings, communities and the culture and the way they interacted made this and all other Star Wars movies I subsequently caught up with worth watching again and again. When a filmmaker can create a world that gives a movie such replay value, it really makes it worth getting on home video. Also, looking back on the film, it starred Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and brought Natalie Portman to a much wider audience.
The consequences of one man’s imagination and two folks void of any.
Jar Jar Binks. Some will say Jar Jar sabotaged the film in an attempt to bring in a younger crowd. I found him entertainingly retarded. I didn’t take the movie as serious as Star Wars fans did and I had no expectations. However, watching the movie 13 years later in 3D, I just wanted him to have a Nice Cup of STFU. I might as well throw in the Viceroys’ horrible Asian accents being a little annoying.
He’s climing through your windows, snatching your baby’s up!
Shmi Skywalker’s (Pernilla August) accent being different from Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). I thought this was a terrible flaw in casting of the movie. She claims that Anakin was a virgin birth, but I think she snatched him from a nursery as an infant and claimed him as her child.
From the perspective of someone who wasn’t a fan, I thought the movie was entertaining. I didn’t let one thing like Jar Jar Binks ruin an otherwise good film. Though the next films seemed lazy and the dialogue was cheesy, this film, for what it was, was definitely worth watching. You do not have to be drunk to enjoy this movie. But if you want to be, play the drinking game.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Sip: everytime Jar Jar Binks, Boss Nass or any Gungan mispronounces a word.
Take a Drink: every time The Force or Midi-Chlorian’s are mentioned or used.
Take a Drink: every time a pod-racer crashes.
Take a Shot: whenever Boss Nass slobbers.
Take a Drink: whenever Queen Amidala switches to Padme and back.