James King, A&E Writer
The Phantom Menace is the most boring movie I have ever seen. I don’t feel like it deserves the hate it gets as a bad movie, but I can certainly see where it comes from. The previous Star Wars movies have had their boring parts, but it made up with it with an interesting world and fun dialogue, but this movie doesn’t do either right. The visuals run the gambit between somewhat interesting and completely boring. Its dialogue had me begging for characters to emote and it’s a chore to sit through and watch.
I’ll start with what I liked about the movie, it isn’t much though. All the familiar things I and most people love in the star wars movies are in it. The costume design is on point especially for Queen Padme who wears amazingly elaborate costumes in every scene that she’s in. The world is colorful with almost every piece of tech, and every alien having interesting and fun designs. The callbacks to earlier (or later since this is the prequel trilogy) characters are fun and nostalgic. The pod racing was a lot of fun and the battles at the end are pretty fun.
Though that’s where my positivity ends for this movie. My biggest complaint about this movie is that the acting is extremely wooden. Every flesh and blood character in this movie feels like their reading their lines just off-screen. The CGI characters actually feel like better actors, because they’re allowed to emote, but some of the CGI hasn’t really aged well, particularly some of the Naboo scenes the backgrounds look blank. The characters have no growth in the movie they end pretty much where they begin for the entirety of the movie, it almost feels like filler. The kind of thing studios put out because they need a tax write off or a movie they need to make to fulfil a contract.
This movie gives me nothing interesting to ponder as an audience member. I wasn’t wowed by the visuals. There are no interesting lines for me to mull over. The action isn’t well choreographed or animated depending on the scene. There is little to no growth for any of the characters and worst of all there is nothing I would say even looked all that cool. It is a wasteland of half-baked ideas, poor writing, and acting.
There are many minor things that fans of the franchise tend to be annoyed by, but didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would. Jar Jar Binks was grating, but I never was all that bothered by the character. The retcon of the force being tied to a person’s cells even made some sense within the universe as not everyone is or can be a Jedi. The Jedi did feel a bit overpowered in this movie though compared to the older movies. None of the droids felt like a threat and even the Sith characters felt completely underdeveloped.
This is one of the few Star Wars movies I have actually seen before, and I honestly remember liking this movie more back then, then I do now. I might be spoiled by superhero movies and more modern CGI, but it came out the same year as the Matrix and Galaxy Quest, movies with CGI that has more or less stood the test of time. It’s a real shame that this movie hasn’t considering the movies made in the late 70s have aged better than the one from the late 90s.