Ah yes, the Star Wars prequels. The Star Wars prequels consist of three movies; Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of The Clones & Episode III: Revenge of The Sith.
Now let me just state that I am a HUGE fan of Star Wars but a Blogger has to be honest…. perhaps fans are right to frown at the series in the aftermath of the prequels. So in this three-part Blog I am going to be looking back at all three episodes of the prequel series and weighing them up, for good and bad.
Today I am looking at……. *Que Star Wars Theme*
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Hmmmmm……. okay I know what you are thinking, it was almost bad. Well yes and to be honest I cannot disagree with that opinion but there were somethings we can reminisce about. Considering that this marked the series’ comeback for the first time in over 20 years, it’s not wonder fans were and remain utterly disappointed at the Phantom Menace.
I recently watched it back and realized why hardcore Star Wars fans would have been distraught at the film. Essentially the elements were there for a great film and the seeds were planted for the rest of the saga to be foretold. However it is fair to say they near enough blew their bridges with this installment.
Now let’s look at some of the positive and negatives of Episode I and please don’t close the Blog, I am sorry if I enrage you.
Okay, so it’s no secret that Sith protagonist Darth Maul was freaking awesome! Citing a unique look with an unorthodox yet badass lightsaber, Maul stole the hearts of every Star Wars fan and not just Darkside nerds.
Serving as the apprentice to Darth Sidious, Maul’s backstory was not explained in the film, however I would recommend reading the Darth Plagueis Novelization which I shall get to at a later Blog. None the less Maul’s mystic really added to the essence of the Sith as they thrived off mystery and the unknown, much to their advantage.
In addition to this who can forget Maul’s epic duel with Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jiin? While he did kill Qui-Gon (Which I shall forever be sad about) he displayed some of the best lightsaber skills in the entire saga.
Maul’s reign was cut in half, no literally but his story doesn’t end there….. oh the joys of the Expanded Universe and Legends material!
What’s the most dangerous but yet exciting game in the entire Galaxy? Podracing of course! What did you think I was going to say? While we had an exciting and thrilling Death Star run, the prequels presented us with Podracing.
Now some may believe it was well meh. But I believe that it displayed how thrilling Star Wars truly is as it showed another side to the galaxy. The dangers of the race combined with the pure adrenaline brought such a surreal experience almost to life, I could not imagine watching it in 3D. The rest of the film was somewhat in the mix of poor CGI work but the Podracing scene prevailed.
*Fun fact*: As of 2011 franchise Video Game Star Wars Episode I: Racer was the best selling Sci-Fi racing game of all time. So who says the legacy of Podracing didn’t last?
The Humble Beginnings of Anakin Skywalker
Before I go on, hear me out; While I acknowledge that some may disagree with this I do believe that the story itself did entice some fans, well just me at least. Fans were given Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but who was he?
Who was the Sith under the mask? Anakin Skywalker. Now essentially the prequel series is built around Anakin Skywalker and how his actions dictated the fate of the entire galaxy overtime. What I adore so much is how George Lucas created parallel’s between Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin.
Both started life on isolated planets on the outer-rim, Both were in Labor of sorts and obviously extremely strong with the force. It also repeats a story on behalf of Obi-Wan who has seen how powerful the branch truly is in the Skywalker family.
Now let’s look at some of the negatives of Episode I.
Jar-jar Binks and I have no more to say. For millions of fans globally this character is the single reason why they hated Episode I. To be frank I cannot blame them, really.
Quite easily the most annoying character to ever be created in Film history the Gungan did enough to infuriate an entire fan-base, with the exception of young children (Who grew to hate him anyway). It appeared that the character was to reach out to a younger audience and that would have been okay, if there weren’t so many hot-headed fans watching.
Hard to believe Binks was supposedly Lucas’ planned Sith-Lord, thank god that never materialized. Then again….. he could be Supreme Leader Snoke? No?, okay moving on.
Introduction of The Droid Army
So previously the series had introduced us to Stormtroopers; soldiers who couldn’t aim to save their lives. Then in Episode I along came the Droid Army…… and how disappointing.
In hindsight it’s hard to believe the Republic went to war with the Trade Federation as their army was useless. In-fact it’s still hard to believe that the Trade Federation were at one point theoretically in-control! mind you I guess the story must have a problem at some point. You’re probably asking yourself; Why do I hate the Trade Federation? it is was stupid concept for an army.
This army could barely go into war against an opposing army of Gungans, am I entitled to believe the Trade Federation pose a serious threat to the galaxy? Lets just conclude this Blog….
Lack of Character In-sight
I hope to not be portrayed as hypocritical but characters in this film lacked any detail. For starters, this was the only real time we the fans have seen Qui-Gon Jiin other than Expanded Universe and Legends material.
But it is a real shame we never learnt more of Jiin and to this day it has deprived fans of a potentially intriguing story. On the other hand we have Anakin Skywalker, the chosen one? right? Yes, there was an entire block of the film surrounding his story and his roots however he lacked any great detail. Still to this day we do not know of his father, only through mother Shmi Skywalker saying his birth came naturally.
This is something that could have been addressed to young Skywalker as it could have built his character’s skin throughout the forthcoming films and ultimately reflected upon his transition to his eventual turn to the dark side. Such a shame that the first installment of the prequels lacked any real story-telling for the characters involved.
Well that’s it for Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace! Hopefully I didn’t anger any Star Wars fans. Once again I am a huge Star Wars fan but honesty is the best policy.
I hope you enjoyed this Blog of absolute nonsense! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97,
Thanks for reading and Happy Blogging!