Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review

A long time ago in a galaxy blah… blah blah… blah blah…

Yeah I know, you get it. We all get it. We have all been dealing with it’s existence for 13 years. It has been this ugly cold sore on the mouth of cinema. I, of course, am talking about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Thousands of dollars in therapy have been spent. Millions of childhoods have been raped in the face and left for dead in that dingy back alley behind Stinky’s Bar & Grill. So how is that after all this time, and after all of this negativity devoted to it, we are still being forced to talk about it? For myself and my comrades on this site, there are several reasons:

1. We are clearly gluttons for punishment

2. The film’s ambiguously stupid title is responsible for our fucking namesake (a play on words that combines our love for puns as well as showcasing our distaste for mediocrity)

3. Because George Lucas has managed to squeeze the life out of this franchise by re-releasing it every few years, each time attaching to it a personal “Fuck You” to the thirty years worth of fans that love it just the way it was. We can’t forget about it if it’s consistently shoved down our throats, right Georgie?

4. Despite all of the awful things done to it… we still love Star Wars. And we are still attempting to figure out what happened, and more importantly, why it happened.

So let us all sit down in the center of the room Indian-style, form a large circle and share our feelings. Come, hold my hand and together we will try and get through this. Here is my review of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace… now in 3D!!!!

I have a bad feeling about this...

The over-complicated plot of Episode I is just as confusing now as it was when I first saw it. I have no shame in admitting that, because it is common opinion in most circles. Why is a group known as the Trade Federation attempting to blockade trade? Who is the Trade Federation? Why are they in cahoots with Darth Sidious? What do they get out of this deal? Why does the Senate send in two Jedi Knights to handle the negotiations between the Naboo and the Trade Federation? Why was there no other members of the Senate present for such a necessary negotiation? Does George Lucas regularly consume paint chips? Why execute the Jedi knights when that could only lead to more raised eyebrows and further investigation into your devious goings-on? This can go on forever (believe me, it’s been going continuously for 13 years) and I am only referring to the first 10 minutes of the movie. All of this confusion and ridiculousness only further begs the question: How can you fuck up a concept as simple as laser blasters and light swords in space!?

What makes great cinema (in most cases) is the idea of captivating the audience without alienating them. Just because we have watched these movies for over 30 years does not give you an excuse to give us an extremely detailed plot with this large array of unfamiliar characters and expect us to just roll with it. Not only can you insult your audience by making them feel stupid.

Now how did this get here!?

But consequently, you can insult them by assuming that they know everything without being given explanations.

The thing that has insulted me personally, and I’m sure I’m not the only one here, is to be constantly told that Star Wars is for children. I’m not supposed to like the prequel trilogy because I am no longer a child and they aren’t directed at me. Okay, I can understand that. But, why do I still love the original trilogy? I know it isn’t due to some nostalgic attachment that I have for it. And quite frankly, the original trilogy doesn’t appear to be designed for children at all. People are losing limbs, people are committing mass genocide, heroes are being tortured. Yeah, doesn’t seem too much like a kids film to me. And the prequel trilogy is no different. They include decapitations, the slaughter of many women and children, implied rape, and spousal abuse.


And furthermore, if it was just some silly film for children, why do the films that make up the original trilogy routinely end up on many “Top Films of All Time” lists? Sure, go ahead and advertise it as such, but none of us are being tricked into thinking that these films are geared towards children. This should no longer be offered as a scapegoat for why these movies are so embarrassing, let it go.

I will admit, I was like so many others at this time. Praying that we would be getting this epic tale of adventure, suspense, romance, betrayal, and hope. We wanted to see the rise and fall of a hero; Not the whiny grumblings of a child. We wanted to see him become one with the Force; Not to be given a science lecture on micro-organisms by Space-Mr. Wizard. We wanted to see the love story that contributed to the births of our favorite sci-fi twinsies; Not the odd pedophilic “romance” that we were given between Padme and Anakin. But we were repeatedly disappointed at every turn. But is George Lucas really to blame? Yes and no. Yes, because he clearly lacks an understanding for his own creation.

We know this because every time he opens his mouth, shit like this comes out.

And no, because I don’t think that we as fans could of ever been truly satisfied with anything labeled as a prequel to the Star Wars trilogy we all grew up with. Anybody with an internet connection can tell you that the world of fandom is a dark and sometimes evil world. We yell, we bitch, we complain, we are a mass collection of hermits never completely satisfied with anything. Now does that give Mr. Lucas an excuse for doing what he did? Not a fucking chance. But that just leaves me to conclude that these movies should of never been made at all. So why were they? It’s quite simple really…

Well... that's a possible reason. But that is neither confirmed, nor denied.

Yes, money. Money, money, and more money. That is why George keeps altering his vision and shelling it out to the masses every decade. That is why we see Darth Maul’s image stamped on to every piece of merchandise ever created. George Lucas’ merchandising exploits has embarrassed the legacy of Star Wars more than Gene Simmons has embarrassed the legacy of KISS. And that is saying a lot. And as much shit as this prequel trilogy has received in the last 10+ years, the movie theater was packed this weekend. George had managed to reach into our pocket and steal our hard earned cash once again. How did he do it this time?

You wish.

3D. Give the man some credit, he sure knows how to pack the seats. He recognized the success of 3D blockbusters like Avatar, devoted all of his time and energy into converting these movies so they would look like a whole new experience, and VIOLA! Profits! And for fuck’s sake, it worked. But after all of the hoopla that was generated by the announcement that Star Wars was now going to be presented to us in “glorious” 3D, how was it?


That’s all I have really. It wasn’t a beautiful 3D experience like Avatar or How to Train your Dragon was. Hell, it wasn’t even as impressive as the recently re-released 3D version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It was what it was. I honestly had no interest in seeing it in 3D, I had no expectations going into it about what the 3D would contribute to the movie, and I have no real complaints or praises either way. Literally, it was “meh.”

So taking that into consideration, I am left only with my initial perception of this film, combined with my newest opinion of it now attached to a gimmick that I don’t give two shits about. And I feel just the same now as I have for most of my adult life… This movie is terrible. The characters are boring and/or ball- numbingly annoying. The plot is insultingly and unnecessarily over-complicated. The acting and dialogue is at times on par with a Tommy Wiseau film. The settings and story are void of any shred of humanity. The pacing is slower than a comatose sloth. And that’s being as nice as I possibly can. Sure, I can yell and scream until I’m blue in the face (and believe me, I have many times) but you already know what I’m going to say. I am sure that at some point you yourself have had these inner conflicts when trying to pick this movie apart in your head. That is my whole point; the only reason we keep complaining is because George keeps throwing it at us. It’s forever frustrating, it’s here to stay, and we can never escape it. We have to accept the idea that this movie, as well as the two movies that come after it, do exist. For the next several years we will be reminded of this fact when they once again make their presence felt in theaters nationwide.

Our thoughts exactly.

All we can truly do is try and remember Star Wars as the amazing, ground-breaking experience that it was, is, and always will be; and not for its more recent missteps. They are truly visionary works of cinematic art that transcend the realm of science fiction and have become embedded into the hearts and minds of all who have been lucky enough to experience it.

If you hate Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, then I can tell you now that seeing it in 3D isn’t going to change anything for you. If you love Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, then by all means, post your name and address on the comments section of this article and I will gladly come over to your house and hit you repeatedly in the head with a tack hammer.

Oh... and thanks again, George.

RATING: 2/10

~ by Brandon Gnuschke on February 12, 2012.

2 Responses to “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review”

  1. Amen, brother. THIS is exactly why I wanted you to do the review. When you get angry, you get funny and poignant where I just turn into a ball of white hot fury. Well done.

  2. Too true dude!!! We gotta get you out to the theater more so you can do more reviews!!!

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