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Multimedia => The Prequel Trilogy => Topic started by: Brian on April 11, 2006, 11:01 AM

Title: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Brian on April 11, 2006, 11:01 AM
As we are all well aware, the Phantom Menace has taken quite a drubbing over the years...and continues to today.  It probably (maybe deservedly) gets the majority of the blame for when "Star Wars lost its way" to some people, and seems to be generally looked down upon by both fans and the general public (some of that, prior to ROTS, seemed to be because it was "cool" to rag on Star Wars).  For some reason recently, I got in the mood to give it a watch again.  I don't think I have watched it for at least a couple of years, aside from maybe catching portions when it was on TV.  Although it is probably my least favorite of all the Star Wars movies, and there are things I would have liked to see done differently, it doesn't seem as bad to me now.  Maybe I've just given it enough time, and I'm thinking back a little to the excitement of "a new Star Wars movie" coming out when I first saw it in the theatres, but I think I can appreciate it a little bit more now.

I'm more of an OT-person overall, but I do enjoy all of the movies in the Saga.  Revenge of the Sith in particular is my favorite of the PT, and almost on the level of parts of the OT.  The prequel movies never quite seemed "the same" to me, but they just aren't.  Its a different enviroment that the movies take place in...its not rebels and rogues, its senators and Jedi...and later clones.  Looking at the movies as seperate trilogies, instead of comparing one to the other helps more.  Don't get me wrong, there are some parts of TPM that really bug me.  The Gungans/Jar-Jar is a big one.  I don't necessarily mind the gungans overall, and I think that the character of Jar-Jar could have been better received with a smaller part and maybe a different voice/manner of speaking.  There also gets to be a lot of the political stuff in the movie, and that maybe could have been pulled back a bit too.  And, we all know the complaints of Jake Lloyd as well.  Maybe not as much him as the dialogue, but something could have been improved there.

But, overall there are some things I really like in the movie too.  Qui-Gon Jinn is one of my favorite characters of the PT, and I enjoyed Liam Neeson in the role.  Too bad he didn't last too long, but I thought the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan team was good.  Also, Darth Maul really was a pretty cool villain, even though he sort of ended up being a throw-away character.  Heck, even Watto isn't too bad.  The ending lightsaber battle is arguable one of the best in the Saga, as well as the Duel of the Fates theme that accompanies it.  Anyways, this is getting longer winded than I intended, but basically do you feel that The Phantom Menace is as bad as it is known for?  Obviously its not a perfect movie, and for most people probably ranked "last" as far as the Saga goes, but is it really that terrible?  What changes, subtle or grand, do you think could have been made to improve it?  Story changes, actor/character changes, the designs of the ships/cities, etc.?  Just curious what some of you think.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Reid on April 11, 2006, 11:21 AM
I'm probably one of the few who likes TPM. And really, it isn't all that bad. I didn't mind Jar Jar, I could see why GL wanted to put him in there for comic relief. The end lightsaber duel between Obi, Qui, and Maul was awesome, one of the best lightsaber duels in the saga second to the Luke/Vader duel on the DS2. I liked the podrace a lot, I thought that was pretty cool. I think it may be the most underrated SW movie, if not the most underrated movie of all time. I actually preffered this to AOTC.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Padawan Wagaboodles on April 11, 2006, 03:25 PM
All the Prequels grow on me after seeing them a few times.   They're not bad--they're just really different from the OT and I think that's where most fans were disappointed.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: DarthDooku on April 16, 2006, 11:47 PM
the phantom menace is just different from the others thats all ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Darby on April 17, 2006, 04:31 AM
TPM has flaws, but it actually is pretty entertaining.  It's nowhere near as bad as most people make it out to be.  There's things I would change, but I love the look of the film, some of the ideas, and Liam Neeson.  Plus, that duel is the best in the entire PT.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: JediTray on April 20, 2006, 09:07 PM
Whenever I pop in TPM, which is practically never, I just look at the podrace and the "Duel Of The Fates".

I just see this film as a trailer for better things to come.  I select the podrace and watch it, then the duel and watch it, then put it away.

 :)
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: ruiner on May 17, 2006, 01:38 PM
Right on. 

The movie is good until were are introduced to Jar Jar.  Then I fast forward to the pod race and finally the duel between Maul, Ginn, and Obi Wan.

Is the movie as bad as everyone says it is? 

In a nutshell, yes.

The acting (outside of Ewan and Liam) was horrendous.  Jake Lloyd was NOT the right child for the part (take a look at the "Making of" doc on the DVD to see the right choice).

And yes, there is Jar Jar who is unforgivable as a character.

I always thought the prequels would touch on the Jedi more - kicking ass and taking names later - restoring peace to the galaxy.  Never really happened IMO.

GL had a lot of time to work on it and he delivered a POS - granted, expectations were high but that's true with a lot of fan driven movies (see Spider-Man, that delivered as did X-Men).

Hindsight being 20/20, GL should've handed the reigns over to a younger more agressive director to give the entire PT a new feel/look.

Although I will say the movies got better as they came out.  TPM sucked, AOTC was tolerable and ROTS rocked.

Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Ben on May 26, 2006, 03:00 AM
After seeing ROTS, TPM was elevated in my eyes. Not much, but some. It's still hard to fathom that the little towheaded bastard is Darth Vader. It makes it a little more tragic- what if Qui-Gon hadn't walked into Watto's shop? What if Anakin had already gone home that day and didn't set eyes on Padme? If that had happened, we wouldn't have a saga, but it's just a wonder I have.

The only thing that bugs me about TPM anymore is Jar Jar's too-big role. I understand why a little "comic" relief was needed, with that backdrop of political manuvering throughout the film, but he wasn't funny, at all. If GL ever decides to do an SE of TPM, I really hope most of his role is trimmed down.

I think the reason most people didn't like it was because it was so different from the SW movies we knew. No Empire, no Rebellion, no Stormtroopers/dudes in white armor, no Darth Vader. At least it had plenty of aliens and some Jedi at the top of their game. Plus I love the ship designs and costumes in this movie.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Matt_Fury on June 7, 2006, 02:01 PM
I liked all three prequel movies, although they were not as good as they could've been.

I think the biggest problem with all three movies was that George Lucas directed them.  Although I think he came up with a fantastic story arc, he had some tremendous actin talent in all three movies and a more competant director could've produced better performances out of them.

Now some TPM specific gripes:

-Jar Jar's character should've been scaled way back.  I understand having him as an unlikely hero towards the end of the movie, but we didn't need in in virtually every frame of the freakin' film!  He wore thin on me very quickly and it's quite obvious that I'm not alone on that one.

-I really don't think that we needed a scientific explaination of the force.  The whole midi-chlorian idea was just unnecessary.  Anakin's immaculate conception could've jus been "the will of the Frce" and the Force could've been unusually strong in him wihout it being confirmed by a midi-chlorian count of his blood.

One other thing I think made people have a bad reaction to this movie was that it was there just to establish the setting and introduce us to the players where the the story was truly to be moved along in Episodes II and III.  When George Lucas made Star Wars, he never thought it would've been such a culture changing success that it was, hence he tried to sum it all up in one movie.  20+ years later when George Lucas makes The Phantom Menace, he knows he's going to make two more movies, and that's going to change how you write a screenplay...no matter who you are.

Sorry if this was a bit long winded, and thanks for reading this far.  ;D
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Artoo on June 12, 2006, 01:29 AM
I like it more than AOTC,the first part is less boring than AOTC's first part.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Scott on April 7, 2008, 10:49 PM
My son and I watched the first half of TPM this weekend and I probably haven't watched it since right before ROTS came out.  I just can't get over two things:

Jake Lloyd
Jar Jar Binks

Lloyd is awful, really really awful.  He reminds me of the scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure where Pee Wee gets a part in his life story at the end of the movie.  His acting is so bad and he mouths the words of the script as the other actors are saying them.  He's that bad...I know Lucas took a huge leap of faith in writing the story but he really should have been better involved in the casting.  I remember seeing the casting spots of all the rest of the Anakin tryouts and they were all bad.  I get the point of the story, making him to be as innocent and pure as absolutely possible to make his eventual fall to darkness all the more powerful.

However, Jar Jar is even more awful, almost 9 years later the CG work is great, the pidgeon English is awful and having him being the butt of all of the gags in the movie doesn't work on any level.

I still dig the Neimoidians.  The duel at the end is great and so is the Gungan/Droid battle.  I also really like the Pod Race but hate the Racers.  Meh, I don't hate it but it really isn't that good :-\
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: JediJman on April 7, 2008, 11:40 PM
TPM is easily the worst of the SW movies.  Its only redeeming values are as follows:

1.) It sets up the next two movies
2.) Introduces Qui-Gon and Maul
3.) Has one of the best lightsaber fights of all six movies with Maul fighting two Jedi

I don't hate E1, but I do find it really boring through most of the movie.  I'm sure Jar Jar and the pod race are fun for some kids, but I can barely stay awake through the whole race.  I was okay with Jake's performance as a young Anakin, but way too many plot stinkers for my liking (only one TF control ship left to guard the planet? Anakin accidentally launches into space then accidentally blows up the droid control ship by accidentally flying into it and accidentally launching missiles?  That's more ridiculous than Greedo shooting first.   ::)
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Jesse James on April 8, 2008, 01:55 AM
I still maintain that the PT should never have opened with a 10 year old... 

Episode 2 should've been Episode 1, and Anakin should've been introduced as a Teen.  It would've tied into the "too old to begin the training" line from Empire Strikes back...

You keep Qui-Gon with Obi-Wan (albeit an older Obi-Wan...  Make QGJ a council member maybe?)...  They find Anakin while protecting a Senator (the Padme storyline)...  etc. etc.  Dooku's QGJ's old master, and kills QGJ...  it adds a dynamic to the Dooku character and things I think.  Obi-Wan takes Anakin as his apprentice despite a "hesitant" Jedi Council on the matter...

Episode 2 comes around now as a movie based on the war years, completely built from scratch, and it focuses on Anakin's budding romance for the Senator, his inability to let go in his life, etc.  He's a good Jedi, but he's doing things secretly that aren't good...  Lots of warrin' and whorin' which is what everyone likes about Star Wars (well, not the latter maybe), and it expands Anakin/Obi-Wan's relationship as friends and brothers despite Anakin's rowdy behavior at times...  He's still turning out to maybe be the chosen one and all that crap.

E3 then concludes it all pretty much just as it was...

I simply think Episode 1 is a very pointless movie.  The only things that film did was set up that Anakin was once a child...  Pointless.  That the galactic Republic is screwed up...  Pointless.  That the Sith returned...  Pointless.

You could accompllish all that in the Episode 2 setting/timeframe, and to me it makes more sense to start Anakin's journey as a young adult rather than a little boy. 

E1's animated is nice...  I think it's really underrated as far as effects go, but beyond that it's not a good movie.  I watch it and like it for the good parts of it (the race, the duel, the battle, some characters like Watto, etc.), but at the end of the day it's a very pointless movie, and the era that needed the detail of a film (Clone Wars) is largely glossed over by Lucas and left to cartoons.  That's dumb to me.

Plus...  I think the way I was laying things out would add to Count Dooku, Qui-Gon, the Sith overall, Anakin's character, Padme's character, Obi-Wan's character...  I'm no film expert, I just found that all very boring as a fan was all.  Very "out of place" it seemed.  :-\
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Brian on April 8, 2008, 10:10 AM
My son and I watched the first half of TPM this weekend and I probably haven't watched it since right before ROTS came out.  I just can't get over two things:

Jake Lloyd
Jar Jar Binks

Lloyd is awful, really really awful.  He reminds me of the scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure where Pee Wee gets a part in his life story at the end of the movie.  His acting is so bad and he mouths the words of the script as the other actors are saying them.  He's that bad...I know Lucas took a huge leap of faith in writing the story but he really should have been better involved in the casting.  I remember seeing the casting spots of all the rest of the Anakin tryouts and they were all bad.  I get the point of the story, making him to be as innocent and pure as absolutely possible to make his eventual fall to darkness all the more powerful.

However, Jar Jar is even more awful, almost 9 years later the CG work is great, the pidgeon English is awful and having him being the butt of all of the gags in the movie doesn't work on any level.

I still dig the Neimoidians.  The duel at the end is great and so is the Gungan/Droid battle.  I also really like the Pod Race but hate the Racers.  Meh, I don't hate it but it really isn't that good :-\

We caught the prequels on Spike over the weekend as well, and I think Scott really hits on my problems with TPM as well.  I've actually gotten to where I appreciate this movie a little more now that the whole Saga is complete, but it still has parts that really bother me.  Like Scott, I don't think I had sat down to watch this really since prior to ROTS (or maybe once since then, I'm not sure).  Watching it this weekend, Jake Lloyd really stood out to me as well.  I hate to criticize a child (or, when he was a child), and usually try to avoid critizing the actors too much in general - but he really is kind of bad.  Some of the lines I'm surprised they actually used the take, as it seemed incredibly forced and "read".  It just didn't seem natural at all.  The Jar Jar issue is a big one too.  I don't necessarily hate the character, but if they would have went a different route with his speech (and toned his role back a bit), I think he would have been ok.  The "comedy relief" just comes off as lame to me, and if he would have been a little more of a supporting role (instead of main character essentially) - sort of like Chewie in the OT - he might have been ok.

There are some things I really like about TPM too though, mainly the ones that have been mentioned here.  I could watch and re-watch the Duel (with Duel of the Fates playing) over and over.  I think Darth Maul really was a cool concept for a character, and although he wasn't exactly "deep" in the movie, he really was underused.  Its too bad he couldn't have been in the movie more, or even stuck around for the sequel.  Although I did enjoy all the "bad guys" in the prequels for the most part, it sometimes felt that those movie lacked the "central villain" that the OT had.  Sure, Palps was always working in the background, but it didn't seem as cut and dry as it did when I was a kid.  Darth Vader=Bad Dude.  There's the redemption in ROTJ and everything, but you pretty much knew bad stuff was going to happen when Vader and his Stormies came on screen.  With the prequels, there's a new baddie each movie (sometimes several).  I also liked the Pod Race overall, and I thought Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan were great characters too.  There's good stuff there, but overall, its one where I think you could fast forward through quite a bit of it - similar to AOTC for me.  Oh, and the Pee Wee's Big Adventure example relating to Lloyd's acting was perfect Scott :).

I think Jesse makes a good point about starting Anakin out too young.  Its been discussed before, but starting him as a teenager would have probably worked better - and maybe changed a lot about the prequels.  Have essentially AOTC-type movie for the first one - with a few changes - a second movie focusing on the Clone Wars time period, and the ROTS is pretty good as is.  That might have gone a long ways towards "fixing" many of the things people had a problem with in the PT.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Scott on April 8, 2008, 10:22 AM
Or...Start with Episode II, Make II into a III Clone Wars/The Fall hybrid and Make III delve more in to the Jedi Purge w/ more of Vader and the birth of the Empire.

As I said, I understand why George did it the way he did, he had to make the fall of Anakin all the more tragic and wanted to show why good people go bad, the casting of a kid who couldn't act pretty much ruined it, for me
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Brian on April 8, 2008, 10:34 AM
Quote
Or...Start with Episode II, Make II into a III Clone Wars/The Fall hybrid and Make III delve more in to the Jedi Purge w/ more of Vader and the birth of the Empire.

Another great idea.  It would have been cool to see the purge with Vader and the Empire hunting down the Jedi and taking control.  Plus, you could see the beginnings of the Rebellion and maybe touch on some of the OT supporting characters to see how things got started.  I guess the upcoming television shows (toon and live action) are going to delve into the eras we'd like to see on film (Clone Wars and Rise of the Empire), but as much as I'm looking forward to them - it would have been nice to see it in movie-form.

I too can see why Lucas did things the way he did, at least as far as Anakin's story goes, but it just didn't quite work for me either.  I do enjoy all of the movies in the Saga enough to watch them somewhat regularly, but sometimes - particular with TPM and AOTC - I have in the back of my head "these could have been better".
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Diddly on April 10, 2008, 01:26 PM
I'm one of the VERY few who actually likes TPM. I like it so much that I think it's the best of the prequels. (ROTS ranking second and AOTC in dead last, for those interested) Why I think this way, I'm still not sure, and it probably has something to do with the fact that I was 10 when it came out so I saw a lot of myself in Anakin and didn't think of Jar Jar as annoying.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Phrubruh on April 14, 2008, 01:37 PM
I've got to agree with what was said about Jake Lloyd. I remember watching the screen tests for his part and though that they picked the worst one. That first kid should have gotten it. Either choice would have nailed the part much better than Lloyd could have possibly done.

As for the death of Qui-gon, I though they made a terrible mistake killing Qui-gon off. They could have easily turned Qui-gon into the Count Dooku character for the second movie. That would have made the duels between Dooku and Obiwan great forshadowing for the Obiwan/Anakin duel in ROTS. It would have been great to see Anakin kill the guy that freed him from bondage and got him on the road to be a Jedi. That would have been more great foreshadowing for when Vader kills Obiwan in ANH. Otherwise it just marginalizes Qui-gon.

Finally Jar Jar's voice and manner shouldn't have been the way it was. If he just had the personality of Boss Ness it would have worked alot better. I would have loved to see Boss Ness be the senator in ATOC. Palpy could have used a mind trick on Boss Ness just like Quigon did in order to get him to give Palpy emergency powers.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Keonobi on May 5, 2008, 08:58 PM
Watched TPM last night and I have to say that I like the music in it second only to ESB.  I'm not just talking about Duel of the Fates, the whole sound track just seemed richer.  I'm not a music producer or a music-phile (I don't remember what the real term for that is..), but the music just seemed to reinforce the feeling I had when I first watched it in the theater, how struck I was by the wealth and refinement of parts of the Star Wars Universe.  I mean, who here hasn't marveled at the size and scope of the Trade Federation and their ships.  The music seemed to really capture that lush and rich side of things.  Its not that the music was terrible in the others, they just didn't capture the tone the same way, for me that is.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Scott on July 8, 2008, 03:19 PM
My son and I watched the first half of TPM this weekend and I probably haven't watched it since right before ROTS came out.  I just can't get over two things:

Jake Lloyd
Jar Jar Binks

Lloyd is awful, really really awful.  He reminds me of the scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure where Pee Wee gets a part in his life story at the end of the movie.  His acting is so bad and he mouths the words of the script as the other actors are saying them.  He's that bad...I know Lucas took a huge leap of faith in writing the story but he really should have been better involved in the casting.  I remember seeing the casting spots of all the rest of the Anakin tryouts and they were all bad.  I get the point of the story, making him to be as innocent and pure as absolutely possible to make his eventual fall to darkness all the more powerful.

However, Jar Jar is even more awful, almost 9 years later the CG work is great, the pidgeon English is awful and having him being the butt of all of the gags in the movie doesn't work on any level.

I still dig the Neimoidians.  The duel at the end is great and so is the Gungan/Droid battle.  I also really like the Pod Race but hate the Racers.  Meh, I don't hate it but it really isn't that good :-\
We finally caught the second half of the movie last night.  My son really enjoyed the last half (while I knew he was bored with the first).  The whole middle act (minus the podrace) is sooooooo slow that I think this is another large problem.  The duel and battle still are a lot of fun and whoever said the music was great is spot on, it is phenomenal. 
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Darth_Anton on July 9, 2008, 10:10 AM
The Phantom Menace is actually the most solid of all the prequels. It's got a very concise, self contained story that's told very well. I put it on par with Return of the Jedi. Sure it's got flaws, most notable is that the Jar-Jar character didn't grow, but compared to the very sloppy story telling of the other prequels, it's a masterpiece.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: EpicGon on July 11, 2008, 04:32 PM
EpI has the merit of introducing battle droids to the saga, then these droids became updated in the next ep 2 and ep 3
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: CookieeMonster on January 10, 2009, 03:17 PM
One word "YES".
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: David on January 13, 2009, 06:50 PM
I got bored and watched this last night.

I think this movie is the best of the three prequels, and I may even go as far as saying I like it better than ROTJ. The story is actually pretty solid, and the battles and music are amazing. I don't actually mind Jar Jar too much, but it might help that I really like him in the cartoon so far. I think the only huge problem I have with this movie is Jake Lloyd. He is by far the worst actor in the Star Wars films, and the parts with him can be EXTREMELY painful to watch.  :P

Other than that, this movie is really not that bad, and I really like Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and their relationship, Darth Maul and his pure evilness, and Sidious/Palpatine and the Trade Federation. Yoda's also great in this movie, I think he kinda sucked in AOTC and ROTS because he simply lacked his OT mannerisms. This could very well be because he was still a puppet in TPM, but I really think something happened with his transition to CGI that changed his character for the worse. :-\

Overall I think a lot of the bashing TPM gets is really unwarranted, it's a pretty enjoyable movie, especially compared to its PT counterparts. :)
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Brian on May 19, 2009, 10:34 AM
Just thought I'd bump this topic up again, since today is the 10th Anniversary of The Phantom Menace.  Although it has generally gotten bad mouthed pretty consistently since then, I think many of us were pretty excited in the lead up to this movie - and maybe initially coming out of the movie as well.  Personally, I've kind of had ups and downs with this movie.  When I first saw it in the theatre, I really enjoyed it a lot.  After awhile, I sort of started to find it boring (aside from the lightsaber duel/ending), and didn't find myself watching the DVD very often at all.

Now, I've grown to appreciate it more again - and don't mind it all that much.  It does seem like, with a few smallish changes, it could be a much better movie.  It might still be my least favorite of the Saga overall, but I do still enjoy it for what it is - and I'll always remember the hype building up to this day ten years ago.  It was a good time to be a Star Wars fan.  I still think that Darth Maul - while underused - was one of the niftiest concepts from the prequels, and the lightsaber battle and "Duel of the Fates" track are two of the best of the saga.  I can still remember the chills of seeing the first trailer(s) as well.  The Official Site (http://www.starwars.com/episode-i/bts/production/f19990501/index.html) has a lengthy feature up today of the "production notes" of TPM.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: JesseVader08 on May 19, 2009, 06:07 PM
I can actually tolerate Jar Jar, the part I dislike the most is the ending.  The movie builds up to the big battle at the end and Anakin destroys the Control Ship, thereby winning the space and ground battles simultaeously.  Neat idea, but the whole problem is he does it all completely by fluke.  He destroys the ship without actually knowing what he's doing, so the entire battle is won by accident??!!  I can't imagine a more empty victory or disappointing ending.  :-\
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Brian on May 20, 2009, 10:34 AM
I can actually tolerate Jar Jar, the part I dislike the most is the ending.  The movie builds up to the big battle at the end and Anakin destroys the Control Ship, thereby winning the space and ground battles simultaeously.  Neat idea, but the whole problem is he does it all completely by fluke.  He destroys the ship without actually knowing what he's doing, so the entire battle is won by accident??!!  I can't imagine a more empty victory or disappointing ending.  :-\

Yeah, I have a bit of a problem with that ending as well.  It has been discussed on the forums here before, but TPM probably could have been better served to have Anakin be a bit older.  You'd have to change the story around a bit, but it might have improved a number of areas - and changed that ending so everything wasn't so "accidental".
Title: Happy 10 anneversiery to episode 1
Post by: THE STAR WARS NERD on May 27, 2009, 07:20 PM
happy 10 annevershery to episode 1 [ my fav. movie] did anyone pick up the speacial star wars insider issue? It had darth maul on the cover [ for all u maul fans]
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: A.J. on June 26, 2009, 01:20 AM
Actually, I like all the movies and I even like Jar Jar. I've discovered that I'm more of fond of the prequels than the OT.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: I Am Sith on July 4, 2009, 12:20 PM
My sons love watching this movie and considering they are 4 & 5 years old, I guess you would say that Lucas found his target audience.  It's entertaining for them and there is enough action to keep them interested (that is until they get to Coruscant and it becomes the 'talking part' that we need to advance past). This was also the way I introduced them to Star Wars a few years ago and it managed to hook them.  They are now totally into The Clone Wars and have watched all of the other movies with the exception of ROTS.

Looking back on it, I was disappointed in the movie when it first came out only because I was expecting so much.  Now having watched it a couple dozen times with my kids, like others have mentioned, the only things I don't like are Jake Lloyd and Jar Jar.  Natalie Portman's fake English accent also drives me nuts at times but thankfully she doesn't use it often.

I really love the ideas that others had about finding Anakin as a teen and starting the movie there.  That would have been a great way to start the film and would have paved the way for a live-action Clone Wars movie, however, I think that The Clone Wars cartoon is doing a good job.  All in all, TPM isn't my favorite, but it did a good job setting the stage for what we've been experiencing for the last 10 years.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Matt_Fury on July 4, 2009, 02:18 PM
I can actually tolerate Jar Jar, the part I dislike the most is the ending.  The movie builds up to the big battle at the end and Anakin destroys the Control Ship, thereby winning the space and ground battles simultaeously.  Neat idea, but the whole problem is he does it all completely by fluke.  He destroys the ship without actually knowing what he's doing, so the entire battle is won by accident??!!  I can't imagine a more empty victory or disappointing ending.  :-\

Yeah, I have a bit of a problem with that ending as well.  It has been discussed on the forums here before, but TPM probably could have been better served to have Anakin be a bit older.  You'd have to change the story around a bit, but it might have improved a number of areas - and changed that ending so everything wasn't so "accidental".

In the book, the council (with the objection of Yoda) decided to train Anakin because the force guided his actions into winning the battle.  I thought that was a great plotpoint for it.

My only gripe with the prequels is that George Lucas was too involved.  I think the movies would've been much better if he came up with the overall plot, and hired a great director and a team of script writers.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Jabba the Slug on August 11, 2009, 05:18 PM
When you think about it, Ep. 1 wasn't that bad. Lucas has stated that the Star Wars Saga is about Anakin/Vader. Ep. 1 did a good job of showing us Anakin's first step, and why he's afraid of losing his loved ones. Also, we are introduced to the story of the Sith ... and we see the first phase of Palpatine's plans for the galaxy! And, you, got to admit, Darth Maul was a pretty darn cool character....
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Tracy on August 26, 2009, 04:52 PM
yes.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: GrandMoffNick on August 27, 2009, 12:17 PM
There was some bad acting and bad dialog. Did this particular story make for a great script for a movie? No, but to me the overall idea of setting up Anakin's fall and seeing how Palpatine duped everyone was interesting.

There is a humorous episode of the Simpsons that makes fun of all the bickering at the senate and the political aspects where an AT-AT looking being breaks through the wall and then is told to take his turn and he puts on his spectacles blah blah blah, but I think it summed up some of the points of why this movie wasn't great as a film.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Diddly on December 11, 2015, 05:49 PM
I watched TPM the other night as preparation for TFA, and something hit me when Amidala is leaving Coruscant. She tells Palpatine that the Senate no longer functions properly, and I realized that one of the main problems of TPM is that it tries to explain TOO much. Like actually showing that the Senate is useless with those long, boring scenes. And then there's Lloyd and Jar Jar.

I don't think TPM is a bad movie, but I can't honestly see how anyone new to Star Wars could watch it without having the buildup of the entire OT.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Dave on December 14, 2015, 12:14 PM
Read some commentary the other day about the "machete version" of Star Wars and really liked the thought process.  The guy stated you should watch  the movies in the following order - Episodes 4, 5, 2, 3, 6.  He stated Episode 1 was completely irrelevant, which I agree.  Its not so much a "bad" movie as it is completely lacking in important plot points. 
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: McMetal on December 14, 2015, 12:19 PM
I honestly think the PT will look ten times worse after this week when everyone sees how incredible the new film is and how it hit all the right notes that were so disastrously ignored the previous go round. (far less CGI, better actors, etc)
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Matt_Fury on December 14, 2015, 02:40 PM
With actors like Natalie Portman (Oscar Winner for best actress), Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor in the PT line-up, I would say it's not better actors but better directing.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: McMetal on December 14, 2015, 11:25 PM
Yeah, good point...I was thinking more of Anakin, in any of those movies. Just horrible. And Samuel Jackson was terrible too. IMHO.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: I Am Sith on December 15, 2015, 07:54 AM
And Samuel Jackson was terrible too. IMHO.

+1

I joke around with BrentS all the time about SLJ's lines during the Jedi Council scenes.  Awful...
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Nicklab on December 15, 2015, 02:46 PM
I think there was some shoe-horning that was just over the top.  One thing that REALLY got me on that front?  The fact that Anakin built C-3PO.  It's one of those moments that really took me out of the film.  I get that the droids are central to the overall arc of the story.  But I think there would have been a very viable way to incorporate C-3PO into the story without this ham-handed way of making Anakin the person who built C-3PO.

This is one story point where I think a re-write might have been in order.  My own take?  Bring C-3PO in at the beginning of the film accompanying the Jedi ambassadors.  Threepio is a protocol droid, who is designed for diplomatic translation.  If Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had been accompanied by a protocol droid on their diplomatic mission to open discussions with the Trade Federation and the Naboo, it would make sense from a story standpoint.  And since it's Threepio?  You've got the potential for some comic relief which was a large part of the role of Jar Jar Binks.  I think that the Gungans could have played out alright if Jar Jar had been played more seriously and with a significantly different voice.

All of this being said, I think that the end of the film is still an issue.  I saw a YouTube video recently that examined some of the Behind The Scenes material from the EPISODE I DVD release.  And the commentary from the YouTube poster who was gauging the reactions of George Lucas, Rick McCallum and even Ben Burtt is pretty revealing that THEY weren't totally on board with how the finale was split into four different settings (Padme - Palace; Jedi - Generator duel; Gungans - Land battle; Anakin - Space battle).

I still think that this film was the victim of the need to do a LOT of place setting for the rest of the PT as well as setting up the OT.  And I really have to wonder what this movie would have been like if Spielberg, Zemeckis or Howard had directed it like the recent rumors have revealed.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Dave on December 15, 2015, 05:26 PM
I think there was some shoe-horning that was just over the top.  One thing that REALLY got me on that front?  The fact that Anakin built C-3PO.  It's one of those moments that really took me out of the film.  I get that the droids are central to the overall arc of the story.  But I think there would have been a very viable way to incorporate C-3PO into the story without this ham-handed way of making Anakin the person who built C-3PO.

I never understood this either.  If Anakin is going to build a droid, you would think he would have something custom like his pod racer.  Why would he build a protocol droid that looks like every other one out there?

Has there been some cosmic explanation on why Anakin had to build C-3PO?

I like the way R2 was introduced to the story.  Just some random droid on some random ship that ended up getting pulled in to the story.  3PO could have been the exact same way as you described, just some random protocol droid that got pulled along.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Jesse James on December 15, 2015, 05:36 PM
Gungan should've had no understandable dialogue.  Chewbacca didn't and was an effective 1A type main character.  Throw in subtitles and context/reaction and the Gungans overall become more tolerable.

That said, making them a known species would've been interesting and perhaps more effective as well.  Sure it'd likely have pissed on some EU but so be it.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: P-Siddy on December 15, 2015, 10:48 PM
I didn't understand why Boss Nass looked like a completely different species of Gungan.  No eye stalks or floppy ears.  Just so he stood out?  Hate the journey through the core.  Could care less about the fart jokes or blowing raspberries, but in the end I enjoy watching it.

Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Phrubruh on December 16, 2015, 09:28 AM
I agree with Nick about c-3po. If he just came along with the jedi at the beginning they wouldn't need that silver droid. They also wouldn't need Jar Jar. A better quality of jokes could have been there.  They could have met the Gungans on land and taken a Bongo to the city. Boss Ness could have been introduced as a minor character that will go with Padme to represent Naboo in the Senate in AOTC. He also should have looked like a Gungan. They could have skipped the entire planet core thing. C-3PO could have went with the gang to meet Watto and translate for them. Qui-Gon should not have died in TPM but instead became the Count Dooku character in AOTC.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Scott on December 16, 2015, 10:27 AM
I stand by what I said 9 years ago...TPM was ruined by Jake Lloyd, not that it was his fault but the sheer stupidity of casting some unknown kid as Darth Freaking Vader was dumb beyond dumb.  Couple that with a kid who could not act nor was mentally prepared for what was about to happen him was ultimately tragic.

They should make a movie about Jake Lloyd's life
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Nicklab on December 16, 2015, 11:37 AM
I agree with Nike about c-3po. If he just came along with the jedi at the beginning they wouldn't need that silver droid. They also wouldn't need Jar Jar. A better quality of jokes could have been there.  They could have met the Gungans on land and taken a Bongo to the city. Boss Ness could have been introduced as a minor character that will go with Padme to represent Naboo in the Senate in AOTC. He also should have looked like a Gungan. They could have skipped the entire planet core thing. C-3PO could have went with the gang to meet Watto and translate for them. Qui-Gon should not have died in TPM but instead became the Count Dooku character in AOTC.

I think that C-3PO could have co-existed with TC-14 in those opening scenes on the Trade Federation ship.  Protocol droids are this widely accepted diplomatic tool, and showing them in that capacity with some brief negotiations between the Jedi and Trade Federation could get some of the initial exposition moving along.  And a great way to get C-3PO out of that situation?  An escape pod, which would give you an echo back to ANH.

I think one very big missed opportunity would have been the inclusion of Count Dooku as a member of the Jedi Council during Episode I.  Some measure of dissent among the leading Jedi on the Council about whether or not to intervene on Naboo, as well as on the training of Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi would have set the stage for the rest of the PT in an interesting way.  It could have shown the flaws of the Jedi Order and further expand on the different schools of thought regarding the Living Force and the Cosmic Force, as well as explore the concept of the Jedi as peacekeepers and not as a military force.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Phrubruh on December 16, 2015, 12:15 PM
Qui-Gon being Count Dooku and falling to the dark side would have been good foreshadowing for Anakin doing the same thing. Both Obi-wan's Master and his Apprentice turns to the dark side. How tragic could that have been for Obi-wan and he was unable to stop it.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: P-Siddy on December 16, 2015, 12:59 PM
Both Obi-wan's [Master] and his Apprentice turns to the dark side. How tragic could that have been for Obi-wan and he was unable to stop it.

Except that I would have had Obi-Wan's master be Yoda as was mentioned in Empire.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Nicklab on December 16, 2015, 02:43 PM
Then from a story standpoint you lose a few things.

The death of Qui-Gon serves as device for several things:  motivating Obi-Wan to step up and become a fully fledged Jedi Knight.  And Obi-Wan then promises a dying Qui-Gon that he will train Anakin Skywalker in defiance of the Jedi Council.  Plus you would also lose the device of Qui-Gon's spirit surviving in The Force and how that translates to the OT deaths of Obi-Wan and Yoda.

The traitor aspect of Dooku's character is significant.  He illustrated deep divisions in the Jedi Order, even among it's most honored Jedi Masters.  And he also had this noble status on his home planet that made him appropriate as the face of the Seperatist movement.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: P-Siddy on December 16, 2015, 03:50 PM
True.  But the master/apprentice relationship between Ben and Yoda had already been established.  What if Yoda was the defiant one?  Perhaps he feels guilty about something he did.  Obviously not sure what as Yoda is the great teacher and Ben thought he could do better.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Muftak on December 16, 2015, 06:27 PM
I've been a TPM apologist for years.

I like it the most of the three prequels. To my eye, they just get more and more unfocused as the trilogy goes on. TPM, at least, is the most cohesive film by going after kids in a way the other five films (so far) did not. It was more or less told from a 10-year old's perspective, and is a ten year old's version of a good story. The political stuff doesn't make any sense because politics elude the juvenile mind. When the Clone Wars movie came out I liked it better than AOTC and ROTS for exactly the same reason. They tried too hard and failed. TPM does not strain to be more than a fun kids movie.

JarJar's speech to me was always a fun little bit...I was studying linguistics at the time and appreciated a periphery species speaking a pidgin form of the common language, it rung true for me (at least until JarJar said "Exsqueeze me." Yeah, some of it was rough to take.)

I think what "ruined" the prequels for me was comparing them to the Lord of the Rings trilogy that came out along with the latter two. Star Wars paled in every form of comparison. TPM squeaked out of that comparison a little because it really stood by itself as a kid's film. (And I guess I never warmed up to the Hobbit movies like I could've because I always felt that should have been handled more as a kids movie than trying to out-epic LOTR...but that's a discussion for elsewhere.)

All that being said, I would love a new version of the prequels with all the things mentioned above to tweak the story and tie the overall storyline together better. Or, you know, just to watch this new trilogy and see where the story goes.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: 77Skywalker on January 21, 2016, 08:11 PM
I think this one honestly here was awesome.  The Podrace, The Battle of Naboo, The Lightsaber duel, and showing the saga began.
Title: Re: The Phantom Menace: Was it That Bad?
Post by: Matt_Fury on May 25, 2019, 11:56 AM
Hard to believe that this movie was released 20 years ago.