Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999)

star-wars-1

IMDb

Darth Lucas

I must say i was much more satisfied with this now than when i first saw it, at the time of its release. That’s probably because i was then still enough naive to believe there could be something as thrilling as the original films that coloured part of my childhood dreams. Also because the gap between the old ones and this i was seeing was so huge that the disappointment wouldn’t allow me to put this in its place.

About Star Wars: it’s impossible for me to look at the old films as coldly as i would look at a film without that charge of nostalgia. Thinking about it, i think this is a complement to the old series. Looking back, seeing this and thinking about the old features, i think George Lucas is not a good director, he is quite ordinary and he understood that when he chose not to direct episodes 5 and 6. He doesn’t have any special angle, he does everything like anyone else would do; he watched the masters but couldn’t extract what they were really aiming that. But he is a great storyteller, and was absolutely masterful in the way he created this franchising.

He created a new cosmology and fed the dry minds of a mythless society with stories that placed superior forces (Force) beyond the control of ordinary beings, something that ‘surrounds’ them (here he killed the mystique with the useless midclorian explanation). The way audiences evolved to appreciate such stories based on supernatural and the idea of finding forces and events that exceed us proved Lucas right, and at the same time underline the role the original Star Wars had in molding pop thinking for the last 30 years. Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings (refished for cinema), Harry Potter, and a number of equivalent series. People have a tendency to look for religion, and wanting to rely on it. That’s what positive ’cause effect’ thinking wouldn’t consider, and the extreme marxist societies would help hide. To me that’s the key to the success of all this.

A decade ago Lucas felt it was the time to come back. He had a lot of story blanks to fill, a lot of promises from the old movies, a whole galaxy of untold events. That’s rich, he created the universe, and he wanted to explore it. But the problem is, he wasn’t competent to do that. Here he doesn’t have the angle and the innovation quality he ha in 1977, when his effects were breathtaking, they would still amaze me when i first saw the films, in the late 80′. Here the special effects are just of medium quality in the middle of what’s been done lately (to which his exploration post Star Wars contributed a lot). So, because we don’t have that innovative side, and the story is already known (who knows the old films knows what to expect from this one), the magic is partially gone, and the flaws of Lucas-director show up, vivid as never. Of course there are the hard-core fans who won’t abandon the boat and will blindly vote negative on this comment because it ‘insults’ their beliefs, but even those penalized these new films (6.4 rating in IMDb as i write).

It’s a beautiful story, that of Star Wars, but Lucas, either burnt out and with no new approaches to use, or influenced by money fetchers around him (or both previous), messed up with this. It’s as if Lucas had become Anakin: he was a curious intelligent brilliant little boy, protected by the Force and who was supposed to bring peace and prosperity to the Republic, but in the end turned to the dark side.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb

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