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The Good Parts: Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace

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Happy 10th anniversary to Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace! Today marks 10 years since the release of the most anticipated film in history. Some were thrilled. Others feel their childhood was raped! Even with its flaws, I still enjoy the first Star Wars prequel. I clearly remember hitting the theater 4 hours before the midnight showing with all of my friends, discussing every aspect of Star Wars. In celebration of the 10 years since its release we are doing a very special Good Parts article. It’s easy to point out how George Lucas fucked up, but why be negative? Here are the Good Parts of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace!

good_phantom_04Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jin
Liam had big shoes to fill as the wise old Jedi Qui-Gon. Alec Guiness was amazing as Ben Kenobi, mentor to Luke. Liam Neeson’s portrayal of Qui-Gon Jin proved that he was worthy of the task. Qui-Gon mentored not only OB1, but a young Anakin Skywalker. In a movie filled with stiff acting, Liam stood out above all giving us one of the most popular Jedi’s.

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The Opening Scene
Lucas got our attention within the first five minutes with OB1 and Qui-Gon attempting to escape the Federation Trade ship. The transforming destroyer droids, pushing over the battle droids with the force, and opening the blast door with a lightsaber as skewer was just bad ass! Too bad five minutes later we are introduced to Jar Jar Binks!

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Anakin Skywalker Builds C3PO
Anakin could build or repair nearly anything. He built a podracer and created his own protocol droid, C-3PO.  Having Anakin construct C3P0 was a nice way to introduce the character. Lucas only ruined the continuity of how nobody knew the golden rod in the original trilogy.
Mr. Stinkhead says: I disagree… I liked seeing 3PO in the prequels, but the decision to have Anakin be his creator seemed hamfisted or too “wouldn’t it be cute if…”


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Visually Stunning Worlds
Special effects could be the reason that The Phantom Menace didn’t live up to the hype. Lucas took the number of special effects shots above and beyond the amount a normal sci-fi movie might incorporate. The worlds of Naboo, Corscant, and even Tatooine were just stunning.

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The Pod Race
It has been called “the ultimate test of skill and daring on Tatooine,” so what better way to show how strong Anakin was with the force, than a Podrace? Lucas amazed us with the pods racing in and out of the sand dunes. Even with the occasional Jar Jar line interupting the action wasn’t enough to ruin the excitement of the race. We all knew Anakin would win. He was strong with the force. Too bad that Lucas ruined the concept of the Force from a ubiquitous power to an infestation of microorganisms!

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Lightsaber Duel
How do you top the lightsaber scenes from the original trilogy? Speed them up, and incorporate a dual lightsaber! Darth Maul was a big disappointment through much of the movie, except for when he fought Ob1 and Qui-Gon.

Mr. Stinkhead wants to add a side note. This is a good a place as any: I get why Lucas created Jar Jar Binks… I don’t approve of it, but I get it. Lucas knew that people would have deeply personal reactions to Phantom Menace, and he just couldn’t stand to hear people rip up his decisions on casting, changing the origin behind the Force, story lines, etc… so he created a whipping boy. He knew people would hate Jar Jar, and focus their hate on him. That’s why that character sucked above and beyond normal levels of suck. It was an intentional suck magnet. You’re so distracted ripping up something Lucas knew you would hate, you don’t have time to say “Hey, jerk! The Force used to be something anybody could understand and harness… now it’s not”  It was a hate decoy.


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