||As seen in Entertainment Weekly! No really!
Written by: Chefelf
Edited by: Jacques
The Phantom Menace is not a good title at all. The first bout of disappointment I had to deal with was about six months before the movie came out when they made the announcement that it would be called The Phantom Menace. Originally I remember hearing that it would be titled Disturbance in the Force. That title wasn't great either but still a great deal more satisfying than The Phantom Menace. It sounds too much like the title of one of those Sci-Fi or Fantasy novels you laugh about because you're too busy reading Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams.
The Trade Federation
This yawner hits you early on while the classic introductory text is still scrolling up.
Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.
Huh? Trade routes? What kinda plot is that? This sounds more like some boring course in American History than the plot for a Science Fiction movie. Isn't this what started the War of 1812? Is Andrew Jackson going to be in this movie? The trade Federation is never fully explained either. If they are indeed a Trade Federation then why do they have an army? And why do they have a seat in the senate? And why do they have a "Viceroy"? This leads me to my next problem...
The Viceroy's Accent
The Viceroy and his assistant seem to be doing poor French accents. Remember that show on Comedy Central several years ago called Viva Variety? No? It was the same premise only executed much more brilliantly.
"I have a bad feeling about this."
I have seen the original Star Wars Trilogy somewhere approaching 1,000 times. I don't feel this to be an over-exaggeration but, more accurately, a pretty darn close estimate. It is sort of an inside joke among Star Wars fans that this needs to be said in every movie. Having it be one of the first lines of the movie was, I felt, a poor idea. It is Obi-Wan's first line. We don't even know what the hell is going on and already he has a bad feeling. Although I disagree with the placement of the line I was feeling much the same as Obi-Wan while sitting in my theater seat.
"Check it out, Corporal."
An army entirely made of droids I will accept (for the current moment). The fact that they have ranks I will not! How can an army of mechanical objects have ranks? Why are they giving commands through audible microphones? A military droid should not communicate via sound waves nor should one outrank another. They should simply draw weapons and fire. Not only would this make them a scarier foe but they would also probably spend a lot less time drawing comic attention to themselves and falling apart in a humorous manner.
Qui-Gon's Gross Negligence of the Force
There is a scene where Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are blocked from entering the bridge of the ship by blast doors. The Viceroy sees them coming and orders someone to press a button which closes the blast doors. Qui-Gon acts quickly by using his lightsaber to begin cutting away a hole in the door. This goes on for some time and is ultimately unsuccessful. My question is this: Why doesn't he use the force to press the button that would open the doors? Much the same way Luke throws a rock to try to hit a button in Return of the Jedi, Qui-Gon seems to have a brief memory lapse that prevents him from remembering that the Force could easily solve his immediate problems.
The Viceroy's Lips
The Viceroy and his ridiculous assistant man's lips never match up with their dialogue. This is not something you expect from a film with a budget in excess of $120 million. You would think that in a movie which was 80% computer generated something as simple as lip-synching would be strived for. Instead we spend every Viceroy scene squirming in our seats and trying use the Force to make it end as quickly as possible. This has proven to have limited success.
I love the show Xena: Warrior Princess. Back when that show first premiered, I would squeal with delight when it came on every Saturday night. One of the highlights for me was when Aphrodite (played by Alexandra Tydings) would make an appearance. The best part was that she talked like a bodacious dudette straight out of an eighties movie. She should say things like: "Gnarly dudes!" and "Exsqueeze me?" Having said this, I do not wish to have this type of thing pollute the Star Wars universe. It's like that part in the Star Wars novel where Lando makes hot chocolate. In writing in the Star Wars universe the author should be responsible enough to remember that he/she is not on present day Earth. Sadly George Lucas no longer possesses this type of discipline.
Jar Jar Binks
I'm not really a "hit 'em when they're down" kinda guy. I usually like defending people who get picked on by EVERYONE. When everyone makes a cheap joke about President Clinton being fat, Jennifer Lopez having a giant ass, or John Tesh being a crappy music maker, I like to try and defend that person. There are two exceptions I have to this rule. I will agree with anyone that Michael Jackson is a disgusting space-alien freak and I will agree with the world that Jar Jar Binks is horrible. A lot of people blame Jar Jar for ruining the ENTIRE movie. While I don't agree with this school of thought I certainly feel that he brought an already sketchy movie to an even lower level. He was just a ridiculous cartoony character that didn't belong in a live action movie. No matter how good the effects on him were he kept reminding you that he wasn't real by doing silly things like extending his tongue and walking like a fool. His first appearance in the movie is the point when you realize you're going to be seeing a film a lot less like Episodes IV-VI and a lot more like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Back to Chefelf's Main Star Wars Page
At one point Jar Jar informs the Jedi that his city is underwater. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan immediately whip out these dandy little Jedi Underwater Breathing Apparatuses and dive in. Why is it that every time a ship has a damaged hyperdrive (happens in almost every film) they never have the tools to repair it... on a GIANT starship? Yet anytime there's any obstacle in a single character's way they always seem to have a grappling hook, a set of binoculars or a mysterious underwater breathing device no bigger than a ham sandwich. While we're on the subject, where the hell did Obi-Wan get that training droid in Episode IV? Did Han Solo have one on board the Millennium Falcon? I find that doubtful.
Reasons to Hate Star Wars
Episode I (78 Reasons to Hate!)
Episode II (64+ Reasons to Hate!)
Episode III (91 Reasons to Hate!)
The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Wars
Episode IV: Special Edition (12 Nitpicks!)
Episode V: Special Edition (8 Nitpicks!)
Episode VI: Special Edition (17 Nitpicks!)