Film: Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Opened: May 19, 1999

Directed by: George Lucas

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Park, Peter Serafinowicz, Terence Stamp, Keira Knightley, Silas Carson, Jerome St. John Blake, Brian Blessed, Andy Secombe, Lewis MacLeod, Greg Proops, Scott Capurro, Alan Ruscoe, Ralph Brown, Matthew Wood, Dominic West, Sofia Coppola & Lindsay Duncan

Released 16 years after the original trilogy’s conclusion, The Phantom Menace brings Star Wars back to the big screen. But with enhanced CGI technology, this film’s aim to be ambitious takes away from the storyline.

Jedi masters Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are commanded with protecting Naboo’s young queen, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), and are joined by slave Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) who has a strong connection to the Force.

The strongest parts of this film are Neeson and McGregor’s performances and their third act battle with the evil Darth Maul (Ray Park). The latter is one of the best lightsaber fight scenes in the entire Star Wars universe.

However, the script is weak and consists of many more flaws than it does high points.

Final say: More of a menace than it wants to be. ★★★☆☆

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