Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Film

Science fiction

Phantom Menace_Darth Maul2.jpg

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Time Out says

If Lucas's brief '70s directorial career saw him regress further into immaturity at each step, it's hardly surprising that after a 22-year gestation his return to the fray should prove both so inanely childish and so thoroughly unskilled, however saturated with state-of-the-art special effects. What you don't expect is just how dramatically drab and impenetrable it proves: right from the opening title scroll, the film grinds its way from nonsensical plot exposition to anti-climactic finale through vast stretches of intergalactic tedium. The space-set pastichess of old-time childhood favourites - war films, underwater adventures, swashbucklers, Harryhausen-modelled Greek myths (McGregor's performance is straight out of a Gerry Anderson cartoon) - are familiar from the earlier films (as is the spiritual mumbo-jumbo), but the absolute dearth of human reference in Lucas's entirely imaginary universe must be almost unprecedented. With much of the action and most of the intrigue taking place off-screen (where are the baddies?), the menace's phantom nature at least seems clear: this is just a crude curtain-raiser of Episode II. Charmless, sexless, passionless and robot-humoured, it's preposterously uninvolving.
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Release details

UK release:

Fri Feb 10, 2012

Duration:

132 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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1.6 / 5

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LiveReviews|6
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Ian

The review is right to an extent as this is a prettier film than it was in 1999 but the film equivalent of botox and breast implants doesn't hide the empty soul of the film. The plot and script are still poor and there seems little benefit of the 3D. In fact as I got up to leave I felt really quite dizzy. The 3D left me really disorientated.. I am less diasppointed than I was originally by the film but still not really pleased by it.

Alphamail

I saw the film with my 5 year old son. I just realised that George Lucas is brilliant if not genius at desigining inorganic space craft and absolute crap at designing and c creating creatures.

scrumpyjack

The initial shock (for a 29 year old in 1999) WELL over, separating these CGI, kiddy pleasing piece's is far easier now. MUCH enjoyment is to be had viewing them in this mode (far better than ANY Potter!) it does it's franchise stoking job, sadly not anything else for 7 year old's in 1977. bottom in tact though! 6+/10

peter magill

Not even bothering to watch this load of crap in 3D, I turned over when it was on tv last year, now 'Star wars ' empire strikes back ' and 'Return of the jedi' would well be worth watching in 3D on the big screen.

Martin R

Mmmm - the Time Out film guide has harsh things to say about The Star Wars films and George Lucas. The Phantom Menace is not the best of the Star Wars bunch (and I now include "The Clone Wars"). Its tempting and true to say that Episode 1 has lost touch with its roots. But this isn't the films biggest shortcoming. What were the roots of Star Wars anyway? In the 1970's cinema was DEAD.... It really was; the "blockbuster" films immediately before Star Wars - A New Hope were; Carrie and The Battle of Midway. Absolutely dire films and it's no wonder that Leicester Square on a Tuesday night in mid 1977 was virtually empty. Nobody went to the movies. Cinemas were closing down. I was an 18 year old in London in 1977 and I remember. Now, along comes Close Encounters and Star Wars and suddenly the cinemas started filling up again. These films jump started the movie entertainment industry and we have Spielberg and Lucas to thank for this. People might hate them and call them crude and unskilled but because of them the movie industry is still alive and able to make other great films which otherwise might not have been made. Coming back to this film - yes it has all gone too far and I agree that there are some annoying and "preposterous" interludes. I still enjoyed it because, for all the BS of Lucas - I wanted to be told a story. Lucas can still do this visually, even if he is still hopelessly in need of someone to write dialogue for him. (The original Star Wars films had fun dialogue because the actors extemporised on the scripts which they described variously as "horses..t"). The dialogue in this film is hopeless - Liam Neeson could not save it. I say - go and see this film in its own right, as a spectacle it is still worthwhile. Martin R

A. Green

This is the best review I've seen. When this movie premeired I gethered a bunch of friends to see this debacle and was ashamed (ASHAMED, and embarrassed) that Lucas hadn't matured at all in twenty-odd years. His fanbase is in their 30's, and he's making a film for kiddies, something as important as the genesis of Darth Vader. Well, granted, the original series was aimed at littluns, but still. With the latest - Clone Wars- it's obvious that Lord Darth Lucas is only arter the dollar. Putz to Star Wars.