The Force is Strong With This Motherf*ckah!
Let me begin by saying I have no idea what the hell they were talking about. That movie was so goddamn amazing that I’m seriously considering slapping down another six bucks just to see it again today. That may have something to do with the fact that I still haven’t slept but…
Okay, here’s my review, and no I didn’t check it for spoilers so if you object to that sort of thing be warned, my sleep deprived mind has turned off it’s internal editor (as if it were ever on.)
From beginning to end, George Lucas’s The Phantom Menace is a visual delight, and if you look hard enough, with eyes of the right age, it moves beyond that to reveal to us the genesis of America’s one truly great modern myth.
The moment I saw those familiar words, “A Long Time Ago…” I couldn’t contain the grin. The music erupted from all sides, the crawl slowly fading away into infinity, and at that point, Lucas could have served up Spice World 2 and I still would have been hooked. I felt like I was five, totally drawn into this film. It is a film meant for the children, and the child within all of us, and if only you let that child, that more innocent spirit out, you will be amazed as I was.
There is a lot going on in this film, perhaps too much for one two hour show, but we must keep in mind that these two hours have to set up what, for us, has become as powerful a myth in our society as perhaps any other set before us. Critics have complained that the film is too simple. Well, perhaps it appears that way, in order to draw us all in, that child in us, but if you look hard enough, you can find the details, the intrigue. If you remember the other three movies, and apply what you learned in those to this film you start to see all sorts of interesting things.
Lucas, while pressed for time trying to get his entire story in, does manage to drop us some very interesting characters. Jar-Jar is an amusing sidekick, very Saturday Morning cartoon, but great nonetheless. Jake Lloyd is amazing as Anakin, and is totally undeserving of the Mannequin Skywalker beating he’s been taking in the press. Natalie Portman… if words could describe… This girl is an amazing actress, and I hope beyond hope that she could pull off the proper age for the next flick… She was simply astonishing. And the relationship between Anakin and Padme, while subtle, really began to dig its roots. The seeds were planted for the romance that will be Episode 2. Liam and Ewan both do marvelous jobs at capturing the image of the old jedi knights put forth to us by Obi-Wan in A New Hope. Palpatine is great as well, played with a great subtletly that really makes you wonder how this guy becomes emperor. The seeds are there. You can’t help but wonder how they will grow.
And really that’s what this film is all about. Seeds. Maybe Lucas was trying to do too much with one film. He is still, at that ripe old age, trying to master the art of showing instead of telling, and is stumbling occasionally (midi-chlorions, for example, I think really try to explain the Force too much). His love of computer graphics is apparent, and inappropriate in places. But Lucas is a great storyteller, perhaps the best of this medium. And every storyteller stumbles.
Thank God he didn’t stumble as much as Kevin Smith in Mallrats.
Great f*cking flick. Can’t wait to see it again. CAN’T WAIT.