Monday, June 01, 2009

"Star Wars: Episode I - The Phanton Menace" (1999) - Movie Review

There is nothing can match the endurance of George Lucas to continue this saga of one thing and one thing only (please read as Brad Pitt tells in the upcoming film “Inglourious Basterds”), to relive the glory of the first film, repeatedly. The cycle of that victory to be celebrated for long long time in the galaxy to come seems to never end. At least I know that there are two more films to finish off that victory dance which is getting to bore despite some new characters and the possibility of some origins to be dwelled. It is a feature length of graphical celebration is what I learned in the end.

There is again a dispute in the abysmal never ending space. It is a more reasonable and plausible scenario which is the greediness of the Trade Federation to conduct their business. Good start indeed I thought and when the ambassadors of the Galactic Republic sends the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his master Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), there was supposed to be a dialogue. Bad for the Republic and us that these crazy creatures (who share the emotion of greed like humans) have alliance with the devilish and scary looking evil Lord. Is there a necessity to detail on the incoming action? I thought so too.

The characters in the old films return birthing on their origins. That includes the droids duo C-3PO and R2-D2. The planet tours are still a treat to watch and Lucas has an odd imagination in drawing these beings sharing the sarcasm and the sleazy characteristics of humans. There is a compulsion for a formula. For example since the droids here does not have much of a continuing role, he brings the Jar Jar Binks (voice of Ahmed Best). Binks is a category of being called Gungan with flaccid face and ears with a skinny body to have a walk to induce a desperate physical comedy. The accidents in which that character becomes to companion to the journey of the Jedis and the crew is an avarice for a script to be stuffed with overindulgence of cheesiness.

The young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) is the “one” who we would know become the Darth Vader. He is a kid with a glow of Force. He is super intelligent, super industrious and eager to fly the space machines (thus he NEEDS to fly the thing in the end). There is a train of missions which are destined to be won by the heroes. The race, the fight, the war, the plan and the teeny tiny thing posed as the difficulty by the evil forces are like watching a game the results we knew. There is not an effort to conceal (nor does it any means necessary) on who will be the player(s) of the game. We become the Jedi knowing the destiny. But would not that suck, like the film does.

The perfection in the space ships and the accuracy in giving a plated and well rounded display of graphics is a sight seen too much. By the time this film came out, “The Matrix” surpassed and become the new geek dome with sleek factor. Never did the words geek and sleek appeared in the same line and “The Matrix” did that. So when you are braving up to fight on those lines, it is not an exhibition of how well the art of graphics can be perfected but how well we come to care a little for the characters.

If we damn well know that Anakin Skywalker is going to beat the odds in the race, what is the motivation to have a surprise in it? If the team of Queen Amidala and Jedi will anyway surpass in the careful construction of a plan, the attempted nail biting sequence would only have a glance from the viewers who now have been utterly bored by this flowchart presentation.

That visual imagination of the far distant odd galaxy and its planet is not an easy thing to bring to the screen cannot be used as an excuse for a fourth film. When you go to the roots of your characters, there is a responsibility to do a fair justice to those. Instead Lucas considers storytelling and characters a secondary form to the film he visualizes and brings on the droids, Gungans, Hutts and fantasizes in making them emote to resemble the humans. While I was thoroughly entertained by the final Saber fights between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul (Ray Park), I could not care less of the film and the remaining two other films.

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