Good seats is one of the few good things I can say about my experience the other night (1:15 a.m. May 19th) watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I, along with others, arrived at the theatre with plenty of time to spare. This is what got us our good seats. The anticipation that built up during the wait, wasn't that powerful for my part. I was looking forward to a new Star Wars movie. I like Star Wars, and I like Empire. Jedi has its moments, but it's a pretty uneven movie. So here I am, sitting in a theatre; not that big a fan, but enough to be interested. I had heard bad things, and I had heard good things, so I wasn't expecting to be blown away. I was sooooo right.
The first thing I was looking forward to was the trailer to The Fight Club, the new David Fincher film with Ed Norton and Brad Pitt. I had heard that it along with the trailers for Anna & The King, and The Beach were attached to all prints. Sadly this wasn't the case. I must have looked like quite the fool, after having, every fifteen minutes or so reminded my peers "The first rule of fight club? You don't talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club? You don't talk about fight club". Damn I want to see that flic!!!! So, bad start. I see the Lucasfilm logo come up and I haven't seen my trailer. I'm pissed. I'm ready to hate this movie!
The music starts, the Star Wars logo comes onto the screen. I'm suddenly hyped!!! THIS IS A NEW STAR WARS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The scroll starts, and I giggle a little bit. Who cares about some trade embargo. I want some Jedi action. The movie delivers some cool Jedi action early on. I'm groovin with it, cuz it's pretty neat (especially one use of a lightsaber to open a door). That sequence is over, now I'm starting to realize that this is gonna be shit.
Everything's CGI, therefore everything looks pretty fake (save those robots from the trailers, they look surprisingly realistic). Backgrounds have been digitally added poorly (you can plainly see that the actor's were shot in front of a bluescreen). Characters are just plain stupid. Yes, Jar Jar is one of those stupid characters. Just not as stupid and annoying as little Ani(kin). Who would have thought that you would have to listen to a little kid yelling "YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!" in a Star Wars movie? A whole lot of this movie relies on attempts to get an audience reaction. One scene that sticks out terribly is one in which R2D2 has just done something brave. The Queen asks what his robot number is. Her guard, slowly walks over, looks at the droid, gets back up, then tells the queen that his number is R2D2.
I'm not going to go into all that's bad about this movie, because A) it would require a lot of spoiler information, and B) it would require me to think back on it, and I really don't want to.
I'll tell you what I did like. I liked the pod racer sequence, and the big fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul. Actually, I liked that fight up until the fake looking end. But to be fair, that fight is easily the best lightsaber fight in all the Star Wars movies. I also liked the few occasions where Ewan McGreggor put on his Alec Guiness impression. Oh, and that cool lightsaber thing I mentioned earlier. But that's all that I liked. Everything else sent me out of the theatre angry. Others must have been left unsatisfied as well, because when the movie started, there was huge applause. When it was over, maybe a third of the theatre clapped.
Once outside the theatre, I started to spit the bad taste out of my mouth. This has since become my way of telling people how the movie is. "Um. Let me find the words. (SPIT) Yeah, that's about it."
I doubt I'll ever watch this movie again, and if I do, it's gonna be a long time from now. And I'm sure as hell not going to see Episode II, unless Lucas doesn't direct, and gives it to someone more capable of making an enjoyable movie.
So, I didn't like it. That's the bottom line I guess. I realize that most people HAVE to see it, and I understand. But for those of you who don't really care if you see it or not, save your money. And if you're really interested in seeing it, here's my script on how to condense the movie down to about 15 minutes. You'll need a VCR, a camcorder, a bootleg copy of the movie, and a dog (a big dog works best).
TITLE: STAR WARSTHE SCROLL: EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE
Blah, blah, blah about the trading, and the Jedis.
CUT TO:Your dog licking his dick in your backyard.
CUT TO: The pod racing scene.
CUT TO:Your dog sniffing the grass in your backyard.
CUT TO:The duel of the fates (fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul).
CUT TO: Your dog, squatting and shitting in your backyard.
CUT TO:A still photograph of George Lucas, and his flabby neck.
CUT TO:A CLOSE UP of your dog's steaming pile.
Edit that baby together, and give it to all your friends. They may not appreciate your attempt to save them money and pain right away, but once the idjits go see the movie, they'll come crawling back to you. They'll thank you, tell you how good a friend you are, and how they'll never doubt you again.