STAR WARS: Episode 1- The Phantom
(Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd; directed by George Lucas)
by Ger-Wa Chmon
It's here. It's finally here. I've been waiting for this for the past 16 years (since
RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983). I have to admit I was kinda scared to watch it. It was so
freakin hyped up that my expectations were enormous. Then the critics universally bash it
and I'm hoping I won't be devastated. Everyone was complaining about the same things: Jake
Lloyd can't act, there are too many special fx, there are too many aliens, there's some
bad directing, Darth Maul's only in it for 9 minutes, Jar Jar Binks is THE travesty of the
entire Star Wars franchise, this movie is too much for kiddies..... blah blah.... (I'll
address each of the critics' complaints). So you could see why I'd be apprehensive. What
if the movie that has even permeated my dreams turns out to be a total dud?
_____ Well, last Saturday I finally got to see STAR WARS: EPISODE 1- THE PHANTOM
MENACE, on a 60-foot screen, which left me in a state of total flabbergastedment when I
left the theater. My pants were soiled, as usual when I watch awesome movies, but this
time the load I deposited was extra steamy. The drool coming out out of my mouth was extra
frothy. My eyes were bugged out an extra couple inches. This is because THE PHANTOM MENACE
is an extraordinary movie. It is unlike anything I've ever seen before as a mortal. It's a
movie alright, but it's a movie that seems to have its own dimension, it's own plane of
reality........ It's like a surreal out of body experience. This is very difficult to
_____ You see, the Star Wars franchise has been a part of my soul, my very being,
ever since I was born. My mom would put the movie on and I'd shut up and watch it for the
next couple hours. Then when it was over she'd rewind it and let me watch it again. I'm
not kidding here. Pretty soon I was able to rewind it myself. I remember how much I
identified w/ Luke Skywalker. He was the hero, the one who whupped Darth Vader's ass. I
remember how I had a macabre fascination with Darth Vader's cold evilness. It was the
eyes. When you stared at those eyes, it was all black, all blank. Like a great white
shark's eyes. Both are efficient killing machines.
_____ I didn't pay much attention to the dialogue and mythological aspects of the
Star Wars saga back then. What dazzled me was the special effects and action. My brain
wasn't too developed. It wasn't until I was a little older that I began to realize the
metaphysical themes of Star Wars. The notion that the Force binds the universe together,
and is in all living things. To understand the Force, you must be one w/ the Force. Very
Zen, very Eastern philosophied. It is what us Chinese bastards would call....... qi
(pronounced "chi" with the fourth tone, the stressed one).
_____ The essential conflict of Star Wars has always been Good vs Evil. Luke vs
Darth Vader. The Rebellion vs The Empire. These epic themes had a resounding effect on me.
I was transported to another universe. Luke, Han Solo, Leia, Obi-Wan all became my friends
and neighbors. I joined them on their quest to end oppression. When Obi-Wan was smited
(what is the past tense of "smite" anyways), I yelled "NOOOOO" along
with Luke. I lost my Uncle Ben. When Luke trained to be one w/ the Force on Dagobah, I
trained alongside him. I was able to rid myself of all inhibitions and unite myself w/ the
Force. When Luke had the climactic battle w/ his father, I felt his despair. When my dad,
I mean Luke's dad, threw the Emperor over the railing and I knew he was Anakin again, I
felt this remarkable sense of utter triumph, then overwhelming grief as my dad, I mean
Luke's dad, breathed his last breath.
_____ The point of this overly long exposition is that Star Wars means a great
deal to me, and it is because of how dear it is to my heart that you may think that I am
biased towards THE PHANTOM MENACE. Hell, even I think my unbreakable faith in George Lucas
will never allow me to think a Star Wars movie is bad. But, I promise, that this review
I'm writing for you now will be as objective as possible.
_____ THE PHANTOM MENACE has its flaws, although very trivial and insignificant
ones. Hell, every movie has flaws. TITANIC's script was horseshit but I still loved it.
You see, a movie can rise above its flaws and be great. It draws you in and has a
deathgrip on you and you can't help but go back and watch it again and again and again and
again and again. Simply because it profoundly affects you, and you come out of the theater
with a dopey grin on your face each time.
_____ Now, onto the review. There will be spoilers, I warn you. Hell, Rice
already gave away the ending so you don't need to bitch me. But if you object to me doing
an in depth analysis, thereby revealing other key plot points then please leave within 10