So I’m using the summer and the shortened to Game Of Thrones year plus the end of The Skywalker Saga in December to Rewatch Star Wars, (Or in the case of parts of Rebels and all of Resistance, watch for the first time!)
Since the New Triology, (referred to as NT from now on,) I’ve had the distinct pleasure of really diving into this world. I’ve loved Star Wars for as long as I can remember and it’s probably my favorite topic of conversation.
So, you’re going to be treated to weekly updates, sometimes a movie, sometimes a season of one of the shows. (Or, an episode of one of the shows, when The Mandolorian hits our streaming plans.)
This week we’ll start at the begining, mostly because release order is messy and frankly, I’d rather knock out The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones, you know?
So, last night I watched The Phantom Menace, and…I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I swing so wildly on this movie. I don’t think it’s good. Not even in a fun so bad it’s good way. It’s a deeply misguided movie, with story choices that seem to come out of left field, many of which could be better with slight tweaks. (Aging Anakin a few years and removing the slavery subplots, for example would do wonders for the movie’s clunkier stuff.)
The performances are stilted, something that gets marginally better as the Prequel Trilogy (PT) goes on. Liam Neeson is great from jump, and it’s a shame they never found a way to work Qui-Gon back into things. Obviously Ewan McGregor shows promise, and he’s definitely the most lively here, though Natalie Portman comes to life when she’s allowed to. The raid on the throne room in Naboo is probably her best moment in the whole PT.
There’s just not a lot to engage with here, which is a real shame. I want to engage as positively as I can in these reviews, even with the movies I don’t care for. I’ve had a enough of toxic whining and nit picking in fandom for a lifetime in the past two weeks. (Haven’t we all? How do we feel about Khalessi’s turn to madness? King Bran? Is the show sexist? God I’m tired…)
So, what are the things I like in The Phantom Menace. I actually think it starts and ends strong, it’s the middle that’s wonky. Pretty much any time there’s action, it’s really really good. It’s my favorite of the John William’s scores. (They’re all wonderful, but “Duel Of Fates” is so fricking good, it puts it over the top for me.) Darth Maul is great. The cast is superb and the movie looks much much better than I remembered.
And it is a good starting point for the saga is the thing, just, some odd and clunky choices were made, so we’re stuck with them now. Such a shame, to be truthful.
Anyway, next week we gear up with Attack of The Clones, which is just awful, but again, very pretty and does have my favorite performance for Ewan McGregor. I’m trying to get these done and on the schedule a few weeks ahead so I don’t find myself struggling like I did with some of the Marvel stuff.