In response to taxation on trade routes in the Galactic Republic, the Trade Federation organizes a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. Supreme Chancellor Valorum dispatches Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to negotiate with the Trade Federation leadership to end the blockade. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation’s secret adviser, orders Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to kill the Jedi and invade Naboo with an army of battle droids. The Jedi flee to Naboo, where Qui-Gon saves Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being killed during the invasion. Jar Jar leads them to an underwater Gungan city. There the Jedi try but fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass into helping the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain transportation to Theed, the capital city on the surface. They rescue Queen Amidala, the ruler of the Naboo people, and escape the planet on her royal starship, which is damaged as they pass the Federation blockade.
Amidala’s ship is unable to sustain its hyperdrive and lands for repairs on the desert planet Tatooine. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Amidala’s handmaiden Padmé visit the settlement of Mos Espa to buy new parts at a junk shop. There they meet the shop’s owner Watto and his nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker, who is a gifted Podracer pilot and engineer, and has created a protocol droid called C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin and is convinced that he is the “chosen one” of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon wagers Anakin’s freedom with Watto in a Podrace, which Anakin wins. Anakin joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving his mother Shmi behind. En route to their repaired starship, Qui-Gon enters a brief lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice who was sent to capture Amidala.
The Jedi escort Amidala to the Republic capital planet Coruscant so she can plead her people’s case to Chancellor Valorum in the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council is concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force and decline. Meanwhile, Naboo senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to make a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable chancellor to resolve the crisis on Naboo. Though she pushes for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo with the Jedi.
On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself to the Gungans as Queen Amidala and persuades them into an alliance against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar leads his people in a battle against the droid army while Padmé leads the hunt for Gunray in Theed, eventually capturing him and his aide, Rune Haako. In a starship hangar, Anakin enters a vacant starfighter and inadvertently triggers its autopilot, joining the battle against the Federation droid control ship in space. Anakin ventures into the ship and destroys it from within, deactivating the droid army. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul, who mortally wounds Qui-Gon before being bisected and knocked down a pit by Obi-Wan. As he dies, Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Subsequently, Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor and Gunray is formally arrested. The Jedi Council makes Obi-Wan a fully fledged Jedi Knight and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
I decided to review the movies in episode number, not release order, for the simple reason that’s the order I will be watching them in this time around.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is the first of the 3 Star Wars prequels, released in 1999.
From a technical Point of view this movie looks great. The Visuals looks great, giving the world a clean futuristic feel (especially when compared to the ‘used’ feel fo the original movies (episodes 4,5 and 6 which will I be reviewing down the road.) Like the original movies, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace shows what pushing the limits of movie special effects has to offer and likewise it influences the entire industry (to a lesser amount when compared to the originals).
The overall storyline of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is good, however when you get down to the nitty-gritty it is lacking. The writing is so-so and the acting is hit or miss. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace also introduces us to Jar Jar Binks who is the absolute worse character in all of the Star Wars movies. Other then being raciest, he does little to advance the story other then provide comedy releaf that is completely out of place in this movie.
Overall Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace could have been a far better movie, it’s con’s far outweigh its pros.