Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
directed by George Lucas
starring Ewan MacGregor, Liam Neeson, Jake Lloyd, and Natalie Portman
Without a doubt Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is the most visually spectacular film I have ever seen. It was also one of the hardest tickets to get all year.
The film opens with the familiar words "A long time ago..." and the audience cheers and applauds. What follows was a masterpiece of special effects. The story begins with a dispute between the Republic and Trade Federation. With the planet Naboo in peril, Jedi knights are called in to help settle the situation.
In what I felt was the be best performance of the film, Liam Neeson plays Qui-Gon Jinn, an experienced Jedi master. His student-the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, is played by Ewan McGregor. Natalie Portman plays the Queen of Naboo, Queen Amidala.
The Queen must come with the Jedis to save her planet. Forced to make a stop on Tatoonie the group meets the gifted child Anikin Skywalker played by Jake Lloyd. After Anikin shows that he has the talent to be a Jedi, he joins the group as they struggle against the Trade Federation. The dark side of the force is also represented by Darth Maul, who is trained in the ways of the Jedi and looks like a cross between the guy from Prodigy and Marilyn Manson(who could very well be on the dark side of the force himself).
On the day before I went to see Phantom Menace, I had been hearing some unflattering reviews. Mostly about the plot. The original Star Wars series was not loved by most critics so I wasn't terribly worried. They still went on to be some of the most popular movies of all time. Much like Star Wars four, five and six the plot was somewhat standard good vs. evil, but could it work any other way?
The Phantom menace is filled with amazing visuals of different environments and intense chase scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat. The aliens were very realistic looking and you find yourself being drawn into the film. The images from the film stayed with me days after seeing it. This is a film that needs to be seen on the big screen, with the THX sound it's an experience that most people won't forget.