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Star Wars - Episode I, The Phantom Menace (Widescreen Edition)
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Product Description

Luke skywalkers father is just a hopeful 9-year-old boy named anakin who knows nothing of his eventual fate as a dark lord in years to come. In this earlier time obi-wan kenobi is a determined young jedi knight. Qui-gon jinn is obi-wans venerable jedi master teaching the jedi way to his apprentice. Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 09/12/2006 Starring: Liam Neeson Natalie Portman Run time: 133 minutes Rating: Pg Director: George Lucas

"I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this is Star Wars, but is it my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breather Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a m¨¦lange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park.

Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics.

Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson

Customer Reviews:

  • JAR JAR BINKS - IT STINKS!
    Showing my age here: when STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE finally appeared in 1979, I was among the first in line; I stood in the snow waiting breathlessly for the second show. When the audience for the premiere emptied out, everyone had blank, bewildered faces. Not good. After watching it I understood why. STTMP put the best characters on the sidelines and rehashed "Where No Man Has Gone Before."

    Fans develop attachments to characters and themes.

    Even the late great Joseph Campbell revered the original STAR WARS trilogy. The original will always remain a classic, and Empire, the immediate sequel, nearly topped it. But by the time we got to Jedi we had cutesy Ewoks running around and a rehash of blow-up-death-star.

    Drunk on profits, Lucas was already dumbing down the franchise.

    Little did we know just how dumb it would get until PHANTOM MENACE.

    We've all seen and suffered through it anyway, so I'm preaching to choirs. But it's still staggering to witness just how childish, simplistic and foolish PHANTOM is - this from a man who could literally film anything he wanted - and he did.

    Nobody wanted to say NO to George Lucas.

    Jar-Jar Binks: easily the most reviled "character" in film history; that took a lot of work to accomplish.

    Darth Vader - a cultural icon - is reduced to a silly child. "Annie! Annie!"

    ANNIE??? That's a girl's name, and a rather famous one.

    There are so many jaw-droppingly stupid scenes, from the underwater "fish" people prancing around to the idiotic "finale" with Annie running amok as a wannabe pilot.

    After suffering through this I have more respect for Mel Brooks' SPACEBALLS. It's about the same - except Lucas was serious.


    ...more info
  • In defense of Jar-Jar
    I think Lucas was right. The more I see this movie, the better I like it. I think, somewhat like Empire did, it will grow with time as it is seen in the larger context.

    1. I think there are a lot of fans whose sense of self-identity is wrapped up in this series, and when a character emerges that challenges who they perceive themselves to be (not a comical child), they get very defensive. When I was a child, I LOVED the Ewoks. I had their tree fort (which would later suspiciously emerge as Robin Hood's). I can see now, as an adult, why so many were frustrated by this choice. But it did its job for me as a little boy. I think people need to back off on Lucas about Jar Jar. The major misstep with Jar-Jar was not having him, but having too much of him. There were certain lines and scenes that detracted from the movie - but there were others that provided a nice comic release for a child watching it.

    2. I enjoyed the storyline - discovering the boy and the slower parts certainly played out a larger mythological beginning. I give Lucas credit for not forcing constant action and allowing the characters and stories to play out. If you watch the original Star Wars, it is REALLY slow to get going.

    Perhaps my biggest gripe with this and all the newer movies is mechanics. Amidst all the Joseph Campbell mythmaking, how many times was Han trying to fix the ship or they were bantering back and forth. These are all much more sterilized - perhaps necessarily so for where the Republic is at the time. Still, I miss the grit....more info
  • Best Movie Ever! Muy Muy I love you!
    Okay, Ja Ja Binks here, and Ima gonna be reviewing dis here movie, Star Wars Episode 1, da Phantom Menace!

    Now first of all, mesa kinda biased with dis one, mmm hhmm! Know why? Cause itsa be starin me! Ja Ja Binks! Dis defintiley be bein da best outta all da Star Wars films. First, da Jedi be fightin the Trade Federation who looka like Chinamen, Den, dy fly to Naboo where dey meet me, Ja Ja Binks! And when dey me in trouble, mesa come along to rescude dem! Deysa about to be sentenced to prison by our maxibig leader, but mesa defend dem and we are all allowed to leave and go on adventures. Uh huh!

    Da Jedi be goin to da desert land of Tattooine, and here dey meet da young ANakin Skywalker. I thinkin it bein a good idea to brign himin alongin, sos I talk da Jedi into takin him along. While dis is going on, I help da young Anakin win a pod race so we can free all the slaves on da planet.

    Now meesa go back to Naboo and be leadin our army to war against the TRade Fedaeratiobn. And deysa havin all robats, but we having our Gungan bombad genreals, and our sheieldsenm, and our giant lizard things! Deysa can't win against all datin!

    Sos once I save da day dere, mesa become decorated war hero and beocme a maxibig senator for the da people of Naboo. Uh huh!

    dis is bein da best of all da star wars films, and if you a beein seein just one, you be makin sure you be seein dis one.

    Oh yeah, after I retire from bein senator I retire and become inportant journalist and Gungan movie reviewer on Amazon!
    [...]...more info
  • Not Much To See Here....Move Along
    The sad truth dawned on all of us watching Phantom Menace that this movie made Return of the Jedi look like Taxi Driver. With nothing but emotionless dialogue, bad acting from star Jake Lloyd and LONG gaps without any action Phantom pushes your patience. Add to that the tornado of annoyance that is Jar Jar Binks, and you have the weakest Star Wars movie in the saga. The menacing presence of Darth Maul is the only saving grace here, and the lightsaber duel is pretty impressive in it's own right. But the rest of the films flaws are just to much to suffer through. Kids will love it and it's great for introducing real young ones to the franchise, but otherwise just stick with the SW movies with Darth Vader on the cover. ...more info
  • A Disgrace, Anti-Christian Film
    I personally popped the DVD out of the player and threw the whole thing in the garbage. This was due to the part where they said the Anakin Skywalker was of virgin birth by his mother Slmi Skywalker (one of many virgin births that had occurred through recent history, according to the Obiwan). I can't think of a greater slap in the face to a Christian than this, which mocks the birth of Christ Our Lord by the Holy Mother Mary.

    Another thing I despised, was that the Jedi Knights (the good guys) condomed and approved of the practiced of slavery and indentured servants (both Anakin and his mother were slaves). What kind of message does that send to children who watch this? I have since boycotted all Star War products because of this. And I love science fiction.

    I think this is a choice for those of the Christian faith: either stand with God (and boycott Star Wars products, films & books) or join Lucas (who has milked this thing for over 30 years) in his eternal fate. Your choice.


    ...more info
  • Doesn't hold up as well as the Original Trilogy
    I saw this movies in theatres, and at the time I remmeber really enjoying the movie. The special effects were amazing, the lightsaber battles were awesome and Darth Maul was the badest Sith I had ever seen, so very different in his approach than Vader.

    I recently bought this DVD, because I only had this movie on VHS and I no longer own a VHS Cassette player. I had all the other movies on DVD so I figured I would complete my set. I put it in and watched it again, and I found myself getting a bit bored. The storyline was only "OK" and in many cases the acting was seriously bad. Having a very young Anakin Skywalker was a poor choice I feel. The viewing audience would have happily accepted a 12-14 year old Anakin, and maybe, just maybe, they could have found an actor who didn't so precociously force his lines.

    When watching the Original Trilogy, you know that the heroes of that series would most likely die if put into the situations they endure, but each character has a "hero factor" a kinf of charisma that lets you suspend disbelief enough to convice yourself that they could pull off the impossible saves that they do in the film.

    You don't get that same feeling from the characters in this movie. Anakin should have died at least 8 times in situations that is rediculous to expect an 8 year old to handle. Also all the characters seem "invincible" until its time for them to die to promote a plot point. When Vader died it was like "wow, you can feel the pain he has been through and he relief at redemtion" when the Emperor died is was climactic. Qui Gon had an air of calm command about him, but when he died it didn't seem like a tragedy, it seemed more like "Oh well, I guess its time I died." You can only take the Jedi stoicism so far before it seems cheesy. Obi Wan was does not yet have the commanding presence he later will, but we can accept that because of his relative "youth" in the movie. The only character that gave the same kind of awe Yoda originally did, was Mace Windu, and he was only breifly in this movie.

    And then we get to Jar Jar and Padme. Jar Jar was just incredibly annoying, and he served no purpose in the movie. In fact the movie would have been improved and would have flowed much better had the whole Gungan species not been present in it. "Oh lets escape from these droids by going to an underwater cuty for 5 minutes." and then "Oh lets rescue the princess by traveling through the planet's water filled core (which doesn't makes sense according to 'Physics')." I know the Gungans were only in the movie for Comic Relief, but unfortunately (and this is true for all incidental Aliens in the new trilogy) they just made the movie seem cartoonish. Whereas the aliens in the original trilogy seemed a bit sinister and unknown, I strongly feel that I have seen the aliens from the new trilogy before.. on Cartoon Network.

    While I can watch the Original Trilogy and it still seems as fresh today as it did when I was a little kid, watching the new trilogy after a few years just reminds me of how dated they feel, and how poor the new trilogy it compared to the Original. Yes the special effects are better, Yes the lightsaber battles are amazing, but they lack the moral core that the original trilogy had and the motivations for the way the characters act all seem contrived.

    While I would suggest anyone who is a StarWars fan keep a copy of this movie, and it is certainly cheap enough, it really doesn't live up to its own legacy.
    ...more info
  • A great story told in a captivating manner
    This first episode of the Star Wars saga is a magnificant achievement. The pace is brisk, the detailed imagining of alien worlds and peoples is incredible. Special effects are the best that exist. And it includes homages/allusions to many other science fiction/fantasy classics. This is moviemaking at its best....more info
  • Many Flaws, But TWO That I Just Couldn't Ignore.... & Still Can't
    What I want to say is that I really, really tried to love this movie, OK? I made a real effort. LOL.

    Now, I watched Episode 1 more than once, so I didn't hate it. Each time, as with viewing any film multiple times, certain things would stick out or grab me more than others. Some aspects of the story, certain special effects or visuals, the music, dialog, specific characters, etc.,whatever, would be more prevalent, more on my mind, more in focus.

    Anyway. Alright, the two things that I could not accept, that just to me are virtually impossible to ignore are:

    1. Jar Jar appearing in the movie __as MUCH as he does__.
    2. Darth Maul appearing in the movie __as LITTLE as he does__.

    Also --and maybe this is #3-- would definitely be the way Darth Maul dies. Nope, sorry do NOT, can not buy that. Look, he just stands there. Go back and watch it if you'd like -- Darth Maul stares at Obi Wan with a frown on his face, sees Obi Wan looking over to the side staring at a light saber, and then watches as the young Jedi flies up from the shaft -right in front of him- and then comes down on his(Maul's) other side. OK, watch it again if you feel this is nit picking at all. It's absurd, __especially since Darth Maul is portrayed, in the few scenes he is in, as a total bad a**!__ What was Maul doing? He literally just stands there and then after Obi Wan lands he slowly turns around and doesn't even make a move.


    Back to #1 and #2: I know, I understand Jar Jar is for the children. Fine, I got it. But, man, we all could have done with a bit less of that character. Also, they coulda toned it down a couple of times -- as for example when they are at the dinner table. You know the scene.. I thought, OMG, "he's actually ruining the movie". But I would have been fine with Jar Jar if he had a smaller role. #2 What the *****? Remember those AWESOME PREVIEWS with Maul in them looking so freaking bad? He was barely in the movie and instead a retarded children's comic relief imbecile was the star.

    Now, look, I am familiar with the tendency, ESPECIALLY for fans, or what would be better described as SUPER-FANS to rationalize away the flaws, ample flaws, of these films. I am also aware of the common tendency to be overly critical of the movies. So, I hope that I am not simply coming across as overly critical here. All I wanted to bring up is that in watching this movie a bunch of times I could let slide a lot of stuff, but not everything.

    Hope you enjoyed my two cents and let's hope future Star Wars stories are better, and are told better as well. Lucas created something special, something that I think grew larger and is greater than his ability to handle. God I wish he'd let Spielberg direct....more info
  • great sword fights, historical background
    Four stars for the 1st of a tragic swashbuckling film. This is the first film I saw in over a decade, literally, emerging from a self-imposed culture fast. My techno, pop culture, modern movie-making technics lack allowed me to see this film, not only as a connector to the original Star Wars (which blew my socks off seeing it in a first run theater so many eons ago) but as an incredible advance in movie making. Since this film I've had the pleasure of seeing a few more incredible movies that draw on the Marin people and Pixar.

    As for the story, it dragged in places and I wanted to see Liam Neelson do more acting.

    Who was the masked bad guy? Incredible technic. I would like to see him in action.

    Finally, Obiwan - it becomes clear from this snap shot that the faults of the teacher propagate and intensify as they pass through to the pupil. Fringe teacher (Gauwan) to rebellious student (Obiwan) to a break with law (Anakin).

    Thanks for a good movie....more info
  • Good Company
    This movie was sold as 'used-very good condition' I recieved a movie in 'like new-excellent' condition. At a great price. Shipping was fast, it did suprise me that it was shipped FedEx but arrived by US Postal. I would and will do business with this company again. BTW, my 6 year old is a star wars nut and he has watched this movie over and over, with no issues with the dvd....more info
  • Wow. That's all I can say...wow.
    Just watched this again on TV the other day. The acting is simply astounding. I can feel for the actors, as the dialogue is so atrocious that it's almost beyond belief, but still. Were they physically prevented from doing the thing that we normally think of when the word "acting" is mentioned? I mean, blurting out some dialogue, or reciting it as if you're making an emotionless statement, that's not acting. Seriously, this is what I expect from fifth graders appearing in their very first school play. It's just astonishes me every time one of the characters says something. It's like a big, dumb, obvious summary of what's going on at the moment. "Mom, I'm not a slave any more!" Mom: "All your dreams have come true." Said with all the emotion of "Oh, you remembered to pick up the potato chips from the store." Probably 80% of the dialogue in this movie is like this. Most first-time script readthroughs on a soap opera must be far superior to this. Seriously, Scooby Doo has better acting - much, much better. I honestly can't remember ever seeing anything like this, except maybe in the worst of the worst of Sci-Fi Originals. And even then, it's not every member of the entire cast like it is here.

    Then of course there's Jar Jar, the baby talking donkey. I guess Lucas was really reaching out for the 2 and under audience. And the big battle at the end, with a villain we hardly know, so there's really no drama there (except what can be created with CGI), and he looks downright silly in that Halloween face paint. Oh, let's not forget the story, as Annakin's fighter gets hit, causing him to go out of control. He ACCIDENTALLY flies into the space station, then while shooting at some droids, ACCIDENTALLY hits the main reactor, which nicely waits for him to get to a safe distance before exploding. Good grief, it's too stupid and pathetic to even bother criticizing.

    Overall, this is an astonishingly bad movie, with dialogue that keeps one in a constant state of "What the **** did I just see?". I mean, constantly,. throughout the whole film. The action is much the same, dumb, silly, dopey. the tone of the movie goes from "epic drama" to dopey silliness, back and forth, pretty much every thirty seconds. Dopey droids are vwooshed in half by the increasingly boring sounds of light sabers, which now look more like a fluorescent tube than any sort of weapon. And then they chop another two dozen in half, then another three dozen, then another dozen. Then another two dozen....more info
  • Crazy Pod Race Scene
    The movie The Phantom Menace was fantastic especially the pod race. Annakin Skywalker's pod racer had a critical stall at the beginning of the race, and after what seemed to be a long time, he found the thrusters and pushed, causing the engines to come to life. Then, when one of the other pod racers tried to hit Annakin, Annakin did a flip over the other pod racer. Later one of his lines that powers the engine separated from the pod; he started to spin out of control, but he reconnected his engine by using a magnet to pull the cord to him. He attached it to his pod again which stabilized his pod. During the second lap he flew off course, when Sebulba pushed him onto the service ramp. It was amazing to see him get ahead of Sebulba, and get back on course at the same time. During the final lap he has a power problem, one of his engine's had caught fire so he was forced to turn off the engine which was slowing him down. He pressed on the yellow button, and it jump started the engine. Next, he caught up to Selbulba and they started ramming each other with their pods. When Ani moved away from Selbulba because a rock was in their path, Selbulba lost control of his pod and crashed his engine causing a explosive blast. Then with no one in front of Ani, Ani put on full speed and won the race. ...more info