Every generation has
a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning.
Notes: This is what DVD is all about. Lets start out with the
picture. It kicks ass, and it's in anamorphic widescreen with a
2.35:1 aspect ratio. The only way that I think it could be better
is if they had taken it off of a digital source instead of a film
print. Nothing to worry about though it still looks great.
The sound on the other hand is perfection in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
EX. It don't get any betta. Finally there is the extra
materials; commentary with George Lucas and Co., deleted scenes, documentary
for the deleted scenes, "The Beginning" documentary,
multi-angle storyboard to animatic to film, five featurettes, 12 part
web documentary series, Duel of the Fates video, theatrical teaser and
launch trailers, TV spots (tone poems). This baby is packed with
extras and they are good extras too. "The Beginning" documentary
for example is awesome. You get to see George worry about all of
his decisions during the making of The Phantom Menace and the creation
process that he struggles with, and you get to see some of the actors
real life character. For example you see Ewan McGregor do one of
his lightsaber scenes and then get knocked off a ledge by Darth
Maul. He then gets up out of the cushions he fell into turns to
the camera and says, "'Do you wanna do Star Wars?' they said. I said, 'Too fucking right!'"
It's good stuff.
Every time I watch a Star Wars film I get some kind of joy, that comes from the
beginning of my love for film. I have almost a primordial response to Star Wars. I saw Star Wars (A New Hope) in the theater when I was a youngin' and it made an impression on me like no other film before or after has made. Because of this early exposure to Star Wars, I now love anything even remotely related to Star Wars. Cut 20 + years and here comes the prequel to the movie that I worshiped as a young kid and I was in heaven. I got to see a young Obi-Wan, R2-D2, lightsabers! It was great. Life was good.
All the negatives that people talk about usually center around Jar-Jar and Anakin. I agree. They suck. They could have been much better, but if we look at the original Star Wars: ANH we get Mark Hamill and Chewbacca. Lets face the facts. Mark Hamill got better with each movie, and in the first one he sucked. He was a
whining bitch, and Chewbacca while not as bad as Jar Jar is a worthless character, much like
Jar Jar. In the long run though none of that matters.
What matters about Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, like with the other Star Wars movies, is that there is a ton of great imagination in these films. Weird aliens, cool technologies, great sets and FX. The Star Wars world is a very visual world and The Phantom Menace is more of the same. It looks great. Jedi and Sith battle it out in some kind of giant room with columns made of energy. Pod racers speed around with great sound FX. We get to see an underwater city and a planet that is one giant city. It's got to be an graphic artists dream to work on a movie like The Phantom Menace, and I loved watching it.
Also the bad guy, Darth Maul, was kick ass. He needed more screen
time for sure.
In the end what happened with this movie for most people was that they saw the original Star Wars films in their youth, and they built up the films as the greatest films ever. Then they built up their expectations for The Phantom Menace way higher than any film could have lived up to, and when it
finally came it turned into a disappointment for many. People were unrealistic in my opinion. One thing that I do think is interesting, is that all the kids I know thought that The Phantom Menace was great, and that was probably the way it was with the original Star Wars. The critics didn't care for it, but the kids ate it up. I guess I'm just a big kid cause I ate it up.