Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Review
And so the Star Wars saga begins again. 1999 saw George Lucas finally deliver on his promise and release the first of three prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy. After 16 years it was fair to say expectations were unrealistically high, even so, nobody expected such an unfocussed, offensive and dull movie.
Rather than create anything fresh and exciting (apart from Ray Park's superb villain Darth Maul), Lucas trots out a series of sequences familiar to anyone who has seen the original trilogy. You then have to put up with Jar Jar Binks. Apparently a creation for the juvenile audience, Jar Jar is an offensive racial stereotype (not the film's only mistake in this area) who undercuts any moment of tension with his 'amusing' prat falls and slap-stick humour.
Not that the film isn't without its saving graces. The FXs as you'd expect, are top notch and wildly inventive, the acting is fairly strong, and the three way lightsaber duel is just stunning. Still, this is a lacklustre addition. It doesn't bode well for Episodes II and III.