A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

We begin our week to the highly anticipated next entry of the ‘Star Wars’ saga for ‘The Force Awakens’ with the 1999 prequel titled ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’.

The film is about a treaty that the Trade Federation want Queen Padme Amidala to sign, but have to take the queen to a distant planet of Tatooine as the Federation have ambushed the city of Naboo. I hope that makes sense, because the film was confusing and convoluted at best.

Let’s start with the positives first, Liam Neeson is one of the best things in this movie, he embodies as this wiser and experienced Jedi who always has the best intentions and making calls and plans for the resistance. Ian McDiarmid is also a standout acting performance in this bland film, reprising his role from the last original ‘Star Wars’ film ‘Return of the Jedi’.

Darth Maul is a menacing antagonist physically, but because of the lack of scenes with this villain, he is a massive disappointment due to the lack of characterization, despite a great design, as he has like five scenes, and has like three lines in the entire film.

The pod race scenes are cool to watch, as it reminds me of my nostalgia for the Nintendo 64 game I played as a kid titled ‘Star Wars: Episode I – Racer’, and the fight scene between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul is very well choreographed and a well-executed action fight scene, however, it’s just too bad there wasn’t much weight in terms of the characterization for us to actually care about these characters involved.

I didn’t have much of a problem with Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker as I thought he did a serviceable job as the character, it’s just unfortunate many of his lines are forced and unnatural like “Yippie”. However, most characters suffer from stiff dialogue.

The film has a messy story, which can become convoluted at times, becoming hard to follow. However, little parts of the film is easy to navigate such as the trip to Tatooine as an example.

Also, like many, Jar Jar Binks was annoying for the most part, but I think the problem is with his pandering kid humour and that he is always in the way, creating more trouble than it already is needed.

‘The Phantom Menace’ is flat and bland, the magic of ‘Star Wars’ is hardly seen in this entire film, and while it is enjoyable very few times in the film such as the pod race and the final fight lightsaber battle, the film is a mess from the start.

Daniel’s Grade: D+

Average Grade: D+