Hi, everybody. Remember that thing you’ve been trying to forget about for the last twelve years? Well it’s all been for naught as it's back in theatres forcing you to relive every horrific moment that has haunted you’re memory since 1999. May the torture commence!
By the way I am a Star Wars fanatic (I am actually wearing a Star Wars shirt right now); I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a young padawan and have literally, like many of you (assuming anyone actually reads my posts), grown up with it. My friends and I actually get together every New Years Eve and watch the entire saga in one sitting, all 13 hours of it including some extra Star Wars related features. All of this is the reason why I despise this film; Star Wars is such an important thing to me that I hate this movie. George Lucas decided to put out the best film for himself and that’s exactly what we got, a publicity stunt for children.
All of this is done pre-showing by the way; I haven’t seen this episode in numerous years (I’ve missed most of the New Years Eve parties unfortunately) and didn’t really plan on seeing it for another good while. Why did I decide to watch this smoldering piece of bantha fodder? I have absolutely no idea why. I guess I thought it might be fun to see what I’ve been slandering for the last decade (I have a feeling I might be wrong though); mainly I want it to prove a point. That point is that true love is blind for a good reason. If I looked at Star Wars for real and actually weighed the good and the bad some serious rethinking would need to take place; if I took episode I, the lovey dovey parts of episode II (but come on!), the horrific acting of all three prequels, the fact that the Ewoks became the main focus of VI instead of the end of the saga, the Christmas episode, and the Ewok adventure my love would probably be dulled a little. The thing is, I don’t care; my love isn’t perfect but if I look at episode IV, V, and parts of VI it would be. I’ve chosen to blind myself to keep the flame lit and burning bright, God knows that Jar Jar can certainly snuff out a flame. So I’m going to watch this monstrosity (all for you so be grateful) and tell you what I think, but I have a feeling you already have an idea on my thoughts. …
… Wow, that was so much worse then I remembered. I really can’t believe that it was that bad; I mean I remember some really bad stuff but I was not prepared for this. I apologize for any sort of sluggish sounding writing, expect me to stumble on my words and have long gaps to dry heave. There was no excuse for that film whatsoever, to show you how angry I am I don’t even like underlining words in my articles or anything else I type, this film makes me so angry I want to emphasize my words more then I want to keep any writing standards I hold myself to. Be prepared for some real strong words (someone will be called a “nerf herder” by the end of this article). Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
I’ll start with the obvious: Jar Jar Binks. I’ve never liked Jar Jar that much before but there was a line crossed here and my hate has been rekindled. When one of the main characters in a film talks like a four year old Jamaican boy who learned German as a first language I am not happy to say the least. The fact that they created an entire culture that talked like that is just beyond me. In all remotely serious films one of the make it or break it areas is in the realm of comic relief. Sometimes a film can be helped tremendously by the comic relief, imagine how insanely depressing One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest would be if not for the comedy. Unfortunately when your comic relief is neither comical nor relieving you’re in a really dangerous place (which is exactly where I would like to put Jar Jar). They (or should I just say “he”) created a character in a Sci-Fi Adventure film with a trademark line of “How wude.” That would be stretching the cheesy boundaries for a sitcom circa 1986 let alone a SCIENCE FICTION movie in 1999, let alone a STAR WARS movie from 1999, let alone ANY movie from 1999.
My problem is less even with Jar Jar as a character (not even close to being done discussing him in the slightest) but that they built his story more then any other character in the film. I received no history on Qyi-Gon, I wasn’t told about Obi-Wan, I didn’t even find out any real history about Anakin! I know that Jar Jar was forced to leave the city he was born in (I’m sure for the better) and I even know why! I don’t know anything about Obi-Wan from that movie except that he was at one point under Qyi-Gon Jin; thank God they made a movie telling me the origin of the Star Wars franchise! I know exactly how the Gungans live, fight, talk, and everything else I didn’t care about. You know what I learned about Anakin? 1 - He was a slave. 2 - He was a pod-racer. 3 - He was once a child. That is literally the extent I learned about him!
I’m going to try and do both you guys (yes I’m still pretending someone is reading this) and myself a favor by not talking about Jar Jar to the best of my ability, I’m not promising anything but I’m going to make a conscious effort to try. He’s just so stupid; I just can’t take how bad he is! I’ll be right back.
One of the things I decided to do about halfway through the movie is to watch it more as a movie fan and less as a Star Wars fan (guess what came out anyways?). I knew I would hate it as a Star Wars fan, but is there hope for John Q. Smith (from Anytown, USA)? The answer is no, unless John Q. Smith is four years old (Jamaican and leaned German as a first language) and doesn’t like excitement he will hate this movie. To start the plot is really bad; by the end of the race I had forgotten where they were going and what they were doing. The script sounds like it was a rough draft by a B-grade writer who sells ideas in bulk to directors trying to get a start in the industry. The dialogue was so rough and dry that I thought I was watching an idie film or an acted out version of what npr sounds like. It didn’t help that the acting was terrible as well; it’s like they handed out cue cards with one speaking delivery one it and that’s what everyone had to use for the whole film. Qyi-Gon sounded boring and Padme sounded bored. Anakin was acted horribly (is it ok to say a child actor sucked? It is, ok good) and really brought the film down in the few moderately stomach-able parts. I know he’s just a kid so it is kind of mean to judge his acting but he is an ACTOR! I’m sorry but if you don’t think the kid can act that well don’t let him, especially not in a movie like this. It’s not like there aren’t any great child actors, there some great jobs done by kids; Haley-Joel Osment in A.I. was some of the best acting I’ve seen in general. I know that that’s a bit of a harsh comparison but this is not a movie that can have any outstanding mistakes, especially not mistakes that outstanding.
In more standard complaints the editing was some of the worst I’ve seen in a professional movie; it looks like they (or can I just say “he” again, ok I can stop now) edited the whole movie using Power Point, I’m just waiting for little bumper music and cheesy graphics made in paint to make it seem like I did the editing in my Junior High Computer class. Really, they’re going to use that kind of fading in and out in all its Chemistry project apparel? It’s as if wherever they had a scene end in the script they just faded in a new one. I can just imagine people saying “Well, that scene’s done” every time they decide to cross-fade a new one in. It was used as if it allowed them to just jump randomly to whatever they wanted to do next; as if they could just fade out so they wouldn’t have to write a transition. One scene actually made me rewind; counting from the second the scene had the whole screen to the minute it no longer had the total attention was a whopping… (drum roll please)… 20 SECONDS!!! They wrote a 20 second scene! They decided after (presumably) careful consideration and review, that instead of cutting or actually tying scenes in with each other (like actual movies do), they would just stitch it together like Frankenstein’s monster ready to blow its seams.
“But what about Darth Maul? You got to admit, he was pretty awesome.” No, I don’t have to give this film a single thing. Darth Maul was not a character, he was a stunt man. He did next to nothing and said about a dozen lines in the whole movie; I don’t know what he’s like as a character, but he’s got a cool lightsaber and apparently that’s all the movie thought it needed to tell us (oh yeah and he’s bad too). “But the fight was cool!” no, the chorography was cool; the fight was stupid and pointless. Yes, it was really cool to watch; but that’s not important. The fights in IV, V, and VI aren’t “cool”, they’re meaningful. I barely know who Darth Maul, Qyi-Gon Jin, or even Obi-Wan Kenobi really are at the time. As far as the actual fight it was good guys A & B vs. bad guy C. C killed A and then B killed C. What does that mean? I’m not really sure, but it sounds mathematical and cool so I’m keeping it in the final copy. Let’s face it, watching the technical ability of Darth Vader as a fighter in V or Obi-Wan in IV wasn’t that mind blowing, but the emotion was climaxing in something that can truly be described as great. Darth Maul was used like a level ending boss you have to fight to get to Episode II.
One thing that I don’t complain about in this context at all is the “cool” factor; if anything I judge films for doing things only for the “cool” factor and I normally despise all things that can be described as “awesome”. This however, could’ve really used some awesome in it. A child is driving a pod-racer in an almost street-like race for his freedom and for the rest of the movie to continue with all the odds against him on a planet filled with nothing but gangsters, criminals, and bounty hunters and I was bored to tears (I know some people thought that it was good, in my opinion it was not. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m saying I disagree). It was almost silent the whole race except for the actual sound of the racers. Star Wars is known for its huge sounding amazing music that pack out concert halls when ever it is preformed and they didn’t use a lick of it in the whole race. The only part that they really used the music to their advantage was in the ending (also the only time they didn’t use 6th grade computer skills) which was actually pretty good (until I realized that I don’t really know who anyone is or care what’s really happening) except of course for Jar Jar and Anakin’s acting which really brings the mood back done to painful.
There is, however, a redeeming quality. This is, no matter how hard I try to pretend it’s not, a Star Wars film. It doesn’t matter how much I hate it, I can’t deny the fact that it is still an entry into my favorite saga. The film is pretty well hated among all fans of Star Wars (or film in general) and we normally are forced to make excuses for it so that we can still tolerate it. A friend of mine calls it an “unfortunately necessary evil” just to justify it; but I think this is one of the biggest things making us a Star Wars fans. Being a fan of a perfect thing is easy; saying you loved The Dark Knight isn’t difficult or odd in the slightest, most people fall in the category of ‘fan’ in this case. If people got together to discuss Citizen Kane we wouldn’t be surprised, but if you can love all the Star Wars films you are weird. Star Wars is an imperfect thing that has been continually and consistently battered and beaten; to any nonchalant fan who calmly professes his like for something this is the hint to jump off the bandwagon, but to the real fan it’s almost like a battle wound that you’ve gotten over years ago. It may hurt to the touch but this has become a part of us whether we like it or not, the best thing to do is to learn to accept it for what it is and let it differentiate us from the crowd.
This has been a very hard lesson for me to learn; for a long time I hated George Lucas, and while he finds new things to help me do that I have forgiven him for this. I understand how bad this film is, I get how it totally defaces a legendary piece of cinematic gold that has been worshipped since its first incarnation, but being a fan of something warts and all can be even more rewarding then showing your affection for something squeaky clean. I don’t know any perfect people; I have friends with some really dumb faults that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, I’m the same way. That’s part of the reason I like them though (especially me), perfect friends would be horrible and I don’t think I would be anywhere near the inner circle of friends and it certainly wouldn’t matter to say I like someone who’s perfect. How can we love something so incredibly broken when construed? The same way we love people of the same nature; our love is blind but true, and in my opinion, we’re better off that way.
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In : Movie / TV Reviews
Tags: "star wars" "phantom menace" "george lucas"
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