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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 4K Blu-ray Review & Comments

Roohster

Distinguished Member
8 out of 10? :O

As a movie it's a 5 at best from me. I can't comment on the 4k visuals as nothing will persuade me to buy this again.

There were a couple of decent things - Darth Maul and the pod race, but the things you said to ignore are impossible to ignore as they occupy such huge chunks of the film:

"...the banking clans, trade disputes, midichlorians, Jake Lloyd, Jar Jar, whatever Natalie Portman was going for in terms of her Queen persona, the bevy of wasted actors (Terrence Stamp!), and Brian Blessed's wobbly Boss Nass ".

It's impossible to watch this film now without thinking of the French & Saunders parody that absolutely nails some of the major flaws.
 

Donnacha

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the review

I prefer this one to Attack of The Clones in terms of a film. There are some very iconic elements to it such as the pod race, Duel of the Fates and Maul. There's lots bad about it too. I remember seeing the Phantom Edit years ago which made it so much better :)

So CGI Yoda is in this one? At least its more consistent with the other 2 prequels because the original puppet looked bad in my opinion. The version they used in The Last Jedi was great !

I'm in two minds about buying this and Clones as I have the 2011 blurays.
 

Dorian

Active Member
8 out of 10?

As a movie it's a 5 at best from me. I can't comment on the 4k visuals as nothing will persuade me to buy this again.
Well the movie was actually rated 7, but yes I completely agree, 5 is about right.

Calling the recent trilogy flawed and saying this is not as bad as people made out is completing rewriting history. It wasn't well received at the time at all, it was a huge letdown to fans of the first trilogy, and people mocked quite a few elements of the film.

The new films are not perfect, but even so, all three of them are in a different league of filmmaking to The Phantom Menace.
 

BOFH_UK

Active Member
Something I think is important to bear in mind is that the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies is a generational story for fans as well as its characters. Really does seem to make a huge difference which one you came in on, especially if you found them as a kid. So for every original trilogy fan that despises the prequels there's a prequel fan who looks at the OG films wondering why everyone's moving in slow motion and the empire can only afford a dozen storm troopers at a time. Hoth can seem very, umm, barren if you're used to the battlefield of Geonosis. And ditto for the latest films.

Now speaking as someone who enjoys all 9 films, albeit to a greater or lesser extent, really been looking forward to this release. As much as I'd love to see every film looking like a 2020 release the prequel set was always likely to cause issues just thanks to the era and tech. So long as they look better than the Blu's then that's fine, realistic expectations and all that.

Got to say though... damn I wish there was a matching box set version of Clone Wars and Rebels to go with them. Possibly not 4K as Clone Wars almost certainly wouldn't benefit at all (though S7 is spectacular and I'd be really curious to see what Rebels aesthetic would look like with a HDR pass). But just a really nice, boxed Blu version of everything to complement this would be really nice. Plus it's such good storytelling and really fleshes out a lot of what happens in the movies not just with details but by making you care much more about certain characters, Anakin in particular.
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
Thanks for the Review, Cas. For the moment (And in the financial atmosphere), I'll hold off on getting this. At least I have the Blu-ray.
:)
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Well the movie was actually rated 7, but yes I completely agree, 5 is about right.

Calling the recent trilogy flawed and saying this is not as bad as people made out is completing rewriting history. It wasn't well received at the time at all, it was a huge letdown to fans of the first trilogy, and people mocked quite a few elements of the film.

The new films are not perfect, but even so, all three of them are in a different league of filmmaking to The Phantom Menace.
Reread the critical response at the time. A snapshot can be seen on wiki. It was pretty well received, considering. I'm not even just talking about crazy reviews like the notorious Empire 5/5 one, but even Ebert gave it a 7.5 back in May '99. I'm not rewriting history, you're ignoring it in favour of the fashionable modern opinion of just hating on it. Someone even called it at the time in one of their reviews "I’m sure in about a week, it’s going to become quite fashionable to bash this flick — hard. But I’d like to go on record as saying I dug it. It’s a good movie with great moments."

I'm defo not saying it's not massively flawed, just that there's a reason so many enjoyed it at the time.

And I actually think a better follow-up may have left people regarding it a flawed but decent enough start to a prequel saga which had impossibly high expectations to begin with.

Hell, imagine what people would think of Star Wars: A New Hope these days if Empire had been awful. Do you think that things like Mark Hamill's atrociously acted Luke, the bumbling droids, the incompetent stormtroopers etc would have been so easily forgiven?

Unfortunately Attack of the Clones sealed Phantom Menace's - and the prequel trilogy's - fate.
 

DazzaS83

Active Member
I watched Phantom Menace last night. Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson looked very tanned. You could see the actual paint lines on Darth Maul when he lifts off his hood.

For the first time the special effects in this film looked poor. They looked fine in DVD and Blu Ray but now the 4K has overtaken the CGI 2K effects so in future the film will also look like to have poor effects which had not happened to Star Wars before.

On a side note, I remember when people complained about how much CGI were in the prequal trilogy and they had a point. The sequel trilogy had it right using the right mix of both but now we frequently watch films which is CGI intensive such as Marvel, DC etc but no one says it is too much because the effects are decent. George Lucas knew the way films were going and was ahead of his time again just like he was when he first use special effects in the way he did for the original trilogy, it just did not quite catch up sufficiently by 1998 when the effects were being rendered for the Episode I.
 
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Fake Shempz

Active Member
For the first time the special effects in this film looked poor. They looked fine in DVD and Blu Ray but now the 4K has overtaken the CGI 2K effects so in future the film will also look like to have poor effects which had. Ot happened to Star Wars before.
Don't mention that to Lucas...he'll release another effing special edition with updated effects!
 

Dorian

Active Member
Reread the critical response at the time. A snapshot can be seen on wiki. It was pretty well received, considering. I'm not even just talking about crazy reviews like the notorious Empire 5/5 one, but even Ebert gave it a 7.5 back in May '99. I'm not rewriting history, you're ignoring it in favour of the fashionable modern opinion of just hating on it. Someone even called it at the time in one of their reviews "I’m sure in about a week, it’s going to become quite fashionable to bash this flick — hard. But I’d like to go on record as saying I dug it. It’s a good movie with great moments."

I'm defo not saying it's not massively flawed, just that there's a reason so many enjoyed it at the time.

And I actually think a better follow-up may have left people regarding it a flawed but decent enough start to a prequel saga which had impossibly high expectations to begin with.

Hell, imagine what people would think of Star Wars: A New Hope these days if Empire had been awful. Do you think that things like Mark Hamill's atrociously acted Luke, the bumbling droids, the incompetent stormtroopers etc would have been so easily forgiven?

Unfortunately Attack of the Clones sealed Phantom Menace's - and the prequel trilogy's - fate.
Umm, you simply said it was "back in 1999, it was actually lovingly received". I didn't take that to mean critically, I took that to mean by the public, which I disagree with. I believe you if you say critics received it well, but I am also pretty sure that some of those positive critical reviews pulled their punches because of the huge hype and anticipation at the time, and/or they got carried away with the nostalgia of a new Star Wars film after waiting so long. By the time the reviews rolled in for Attack of the Clones, you can see the tone towards Phantom Menace had changed in references to it's prequel, and Attack of the Clones was judged a lot more fairly/harshly. It didn't take long at all for perceptions of the film to change.

I remember Attack of the Clones being a better film than Phantom Menace but haven't rewatched it since the cinema run.
 

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Sorry Cas, but not really seeing your logic here. Just because the new ones are crap, doesn't make this any better. 7 out of 10? I don't see it at all.
Logic is: it's become fashionable to hate on Phantom Menace, but now we know that all of the Star Wars films are flawed - to lesser and greater degrees - why not try enjoying the good bits of Phantom Menace, of which there are some pretty strong highlights, rather than just wasting your energy hating on it.

Hell, it worked for the OT. Or do we now think it's cool to rip off Kurosawa without crediting him, that OT Luke was a masterclass in acting dumb, the epic Ewok setpiece a stroke of satirical genius, and the saber battles the height of OAP gladiator combat? It's much cooler to hate on The Irishman's de-aged geriatric De Niro beat-down than to possibly criticise the original Obi/Vader clash.

I personally would have preferred something like this, across the board, but we have to live with what we have if we want to enjoy this universe. At least until fans get the rights to do what they like with the saga.

 

the hoff

Active Member
Thanks for the balanced review Cas, As a near-50 year old Star Wars fan, I have been torn for months about whether to pick up this set. I have actually never bought Star Wars since my laserdisc set last century and was always waiting for a properly remastered version of the films to land. Sounds like this is the best they will look, even if it's not the best I can hope for.

In respect of the original reception, I remember it well (although I think the 5 star Empire review was for AOTC (!) rather than this) and you are right to say that it was largely positive on release but quickly this good feeling slipped away and AOTC did indeed seal it's fate as a dud. There are parts of AOTC that I still remember fondly but the love scenes with Anakin and Padme....wow that was some bad acting and writing

I haven't seen TPM for maybe 15 years or more (rented on DVD from Blockbuster last time I watched it) and am thinking it will probably not have aged well. I've not looked at more than a couple of minutes of the Disney+ version and that didn't fill me with hope. Maybe Atmos is the clincher?

I have £150 in Amazon vouchers I can put towards this, so doesn't seem too bad a deal (if you apply this flawed logic!)
 

dms

Active Member
Cas said:
Often derided as the worst entry, the latest flawed sequels might afford this a reassessment
I'm with you completely on this. I was also full on pouring hate on the prequels with banter between mates and cried along with the start of Spaced Series 2, though I had nothing to burn.... BUT having seen the utter atrocity which is the new sequels I've suddenly started to feel a lot warmer to the prequels.

I've also had to watch the prequels relatively recently with my 6 year old (she saw Phantom Menance as a 5th birthday present and only just saw Revenge of the Sith) which gave me another chance to think them over.

Those prequels had a coherent story ark, and a new decent story to boot. They also felt like a genuinely fair story of who Darth Vader was and why he was conflicted in #6. The new sequels are rehashes, fall back on old tropes and if they'd never have been made the ending of Jedi would have been a fair place to leave the universe. Ok, the acting isn't always great and the effect work is a let down in places... how many films get free rides through that?

Oh, and my kid loved 1,2,3 loved Amidala being so active and laughed every time JaJa was on screen.... it's hard to hate them anymore when the give others so much joy... and frankly the originals weren't high art either with slapstick humour with two droids!

I'm not buying the 1-9 4k set now at full price but I will read all these reviews and if I can get them separately in the future (I'd dearly like New Hope and Empire Strikes Back in 4k) I may pick this up![/quote]
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
Logic is: it's become fashionable to hate on Phantom Menace, but now we know that all of the Star Wars films are flawed - to lesser and greater degrees - why not try enjoying the good bits of Phantom Menace, of which there are some pretty strong highlights, rather than just wasting your energy hating on it.
There are parts of AOTC that I still remember fondly but the love scenes with Anakin and Padme....wow that was some bad acting and writing
For both of these Movies, skipping is exactly what I do to avoid various annoying bits in TPM & anything approaching a Love Scene in AOTC. Doing that makes both Movies very enjoyable to me.
@ Cas, I am REALLY looking forward to your Reviews of the Re-done original trilogy, especially IV & V.
In my current economic situation, I cannot think of buying this set, but maybe a film individually here & there will work.
(My May treat is Rogue One 4K. Here in Germany the release date is April 30th, & I have it on pre-order :) )
 

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