Monday, May 19, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

The Jedi EASILY take out the robots and free the pilots. They board the queen's AWESOME looking silver ship and take off to face the barricade. I never liked this part either, because what exactly was Qui-Gon's thought process here? “Oh yeah, we'll just fly through the blockade no sweat!”

There is absolutely no prep work on his part beforehand. No plotting out a course, no exploiting the blockade for any weaknesses, no trying to hijack a Federation ship so they could sneak by, nothing. And no one even argues against doing this, everyone just goes alon with it! They just take this gigantic easy to spot ship and fly out into space. There's not even any kind of bullshit “the Force will guide us to safety!” line thrown in. What in the world make him think they'd be able to clear the blockade, other than the fact they're the lead characters of the movie?

Obi-Wan drops Jar Jar off in a room full of astromech droids, telling him to stay there and do nothing. Sadly, he doesn't spend the rest of the movie here. One of the droids is R2-D2, which got a huge burst of applause in the theater.

The blockade opens fire, but fortunately the ship has force fields. Things quickly go south though as the shield generator gets hit... despite the shields being up? How could the ship get hit if the- yeah, nevermind. If I start questioning technical details of this movie this review's going to be longer than Atlas Shrugged. This causes the droids to be deployed to repair it, R2 taking the time to “accidentally” bump into Jar Jar because he's awesome like that.

Jar Jar says “How wude!”, which is the second time he's said this so I guess it's supposed to be his catchphrase now. It's so painfully obvious Lucas thought Jar Jar was going to become the biggest thing in the history of EVER, and that “how wude!” was going to replace “don't go there, girlfriend!” or “talk to the hand” as the new catchphrase of the world. Funny how that all worked out. By late 1999, any American landfill was an estimated 50% Jar Jar Binks merchandise.

The blockade blasts the droids off one by one in what is a really nice shot. This is one of the more “Star Wars” feeling scenes in the entire movie. Panaka yells if they can't get the generator fixed they're done for. This was kind of a stupid plan Qui-Gon.

Taking a page out of Obi-Wan's book, R2 repairs the entire shield generator by moving one wire. I'll buy this one though, R2 is BY FAR the smartest character in this movie and arguably the entire six movie saga. Yoda takes a major hit thanks to these prequels. With shield generator now operational, the ship easily flies past the blockade and into deep space. Well gee, that wasn't very deadly was it? If a non-military craft was able to pass the blockade with zero issues, WHY THE HELL IS THIS MOVIE EVEN HAPPENING?! A TIE Fighter, the Ford Pinto of the Star Wars universe, could have flown through this damn thing!

Ship's pilot Ric Ollie tells everyone the ship's hyperdrive was damaged during the escape and won't have enough power to get them to Coruscant. Obi-Wan studies a star map and recommends they land on the nearby planet Tatooine for repairs. Panaka is against this because it's controlled by the gangster Hutts, but Qui-Gon says it's no less dangerous than landing on a world controlled by the Federation. What, they control entire PLANETS now?  ...okay.

Gunray calls Sidious to tell him Queen Monotone has escaped. Sidious summons his apprentice Darth “Motherfucking” Maul to track her down. After the call ends, Gunray confides to Rune this is getting out of hand. Rune agrees, saying they shouldn't have made this bargain.

Aaaaaaaaand there we have it. One of the biggest issues this entire movie has, which one could make the case is the biggest . WHAT WAS THE FEDERATION'S DEAL WITH SIDIOUS? I think it's safe to assume that when Sidious takes over the Republic he'll give them all kinds of money and bitchin' tax breaks, but we're never told. It's almost like Lucas wants US to write the movie ourselves in our heads rather than him having to deal with minor story details like villain motivation.

Most memorable villains in movie history have always had a clear goal they're working towards, and like it or not, the Federation ARE the villains of this movie. They are risking EVERYTHING for this scheme of theirs, and we're never told why. It would have been a great idea to include this stuff, including how they came to meet Sidious and starting working for him. I always wondered if he was maybe controlling them with a Sith mind control trick, if such a thing even exists?

On Monotone's ship, Panaka takes R2 to MEET THE QUEEN so she can congratulate him for saving their lives. This is so over the top silly and ridiculous, I don't even know what to say to this. This is fan service taken to levels of insanity, the only thing missing here is Amidala saying “Thank you so much-”, and then looking directly at the camera and dramatically finishing with “-R2-D2!”. Personally, I would have had her wink as well.

The Queen orders Padme to go clean R2, as he's somehow gotten quite filthy from when we saw him atop the ship. Is there dirt in space? Now remember, Sabe is the queen right now so she just ordered HER BOSS to go do janitorial work. Isn't that the greatest power trip in the world, or what? Go scrub this droid clean and then get me a sandwich!

We catch up with Padme cleaning R2, where she meets Jar Jar. The gungan starts babbling on about his day, Padme just kind of awkwardly smiling up at him with this frozen smile on her face.  It's a really hilarious scene, as you KNOW she's just wishing he'd shut the fuck up.

They land on Tatooine, Obi-Wan telling Qui-Gon they'll need an entirely new hyperdrive generator. Qui-Gon sighs, as this is one more thing to add of his list of neverending shit to do. Hey, how come he hasn't called Valorum yet? You can't tell me a ship as big as Amidala's can't do interstellar communication. Did Lucas forget all about that particular plot point? Why yes, yes he did. Calling Valorum is NEVER brought up again.

Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan to be wary, as he senses a disturbance in the Force. He then leaves, telling Obi-Wan not to the let the Naboo send any transmissions. Oh, so the ship can call people! I assume he says this so they can't somehow be traced by the Federation, which ALMOST makes sense but earlier he said Tatooine is way out of their reach. How extensively can the Federation monitor communications? More or less than twelve parsecs? Lucas could have easily thrown a line in here that their radio was knocked out along with the hyperdrive, but I guess he thought it was pretty to just ignore it altogether.

Qui-Gon, R2, and Jar Jar- what?! What would you bring Jar Jar with you? They want to keep a low profile, so let's bring a walking circus along with us. Nooooope, no way that'll possibly backfire! Panaka stops them, saying the queen orders Padme to go with them. Qui-Gon begrudgingly agrees to take her, but is quick to add it's “not a good idea”.  But taking Jar Jar, now that's a GREAT idea! Qui-Gon just might be the worst idea haver since someone thought Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan was a good idea to throw money at.

They walk to the world famous Mos Eisley spaceport, Qui-Gon telling Padme how it's mostly a bunch of moisture farmers, outcasts, and people who don't want to be found. This is also home to the infamous Jar Jar steps in shit scene, which pretty much sums up Jar Jar as a whole. I can just picture gut laughing with tears in his eyes as he wrote this part. “They're going to LOVE this!”

As they enter Mos Eisley, Qui-Gon tells Padme about how the area is mostly a bunch of moisture farmers, outcasts, and people who don't want to be found. This is also the infamous jar jar steps in shit scene. You really can tell Lucas thought Jar Jar was the funniest thing EVER, I can literally picture him gut laughing as he wrote scenes like this.

They look around, Qui-Gon saying they'll start with one of the smaller part dealers. They enter a shop owned by an alien named Watto, whom people say talked like a Middle Eastern stereotype but I've always felt that comparison was tenuous at best. Watto tells them he has lots of parts for their ship, calling out for his slave Anakin to watch the counter while he helps Qui-Gon.

Watto, who travels by hovering, flies up some stairs and through a hallway. Qui-Gon and R2 start following, but the camera cuts away before we see how in the hell R2 got up the steps! Yes, this bothered me a lot! I'm one of those people that can't concentrate on what's happening in a movie if a character doesn't close the door to a room they enter, it's all I can think about.

When I first saw this movie, I thought Anakin was worse than Jar Jar and that he did the most damage to the movie. I blamed the actor Jake Lloyd for not being able to act. Many years later I saw the famous interview he did where he talked about how miserable parts of his life were thanks to asshole fans like myself that constantly made fun of him.

And just like that, it dawned on me. It was ALL Lucas's fault for horrible direction, because EVERY actor was terrible in this movie. Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor are all some of the greatest actors alive, but you would never guess that from this movie. Everyone is a monotone coma patient with absolutely no emotion or range. This is all thanks to their director, who could care less about what they're saying and how they're saying it as long as it can carry the movie to the next CGIfest.

Lloyd was pretty damn good in the movie Jingle All The Way, definitely way better than your average young child actor. He did the best he could with what he was given in this movie, so every slam against Anakin from here on out is against how the character was written and how he was portrayed, not the actor himself.

This leaves Anakin and Padme, Anakin dropping the epic “are you an angel line?” on her. Gotta hand it to the kid, at nine years old he knew what was up. They talk a bit, Padme learning Anakin and his mother Shmi are slaves owned by Watto. I never got this, why in a world full of droids that can do literally everything would you need slaves? Just weird.  Once again, the shooting script's version of this scene was superior:

Anakin sits on the counter, pretending to clean a part, staring at Padme. She is the most beautiful creature he has ever seen in his life. Padme is a little embarrassed by his stare, but she musters up an amused smile. Finally, he gets the courage to speak.

Anakin : Are you an angel?
Padme : What?
Anakin : An angel. I've heard the deep space pilots talk about them. They live on the Moons of Iego I think. They are the most beautiful creatures in the universe. They are good and kind, and so pretty they make even the most hardened spice pirate cry.

Padme looks at him, not knowing what to say.

Padme : I've never heard of angels.
Anakin : You must be one...maybe you just don't know it.
Padme : You're a funny little boy. How do you know so much?
Anakin : Since I was very little, three, I think. My Mom and I were sold to Gardulla the Hutt, but she lost us, betting on the Podraces, to Watto, who's a lot better master than Gardulla, I think.
Padme : You're...a slave?

Anakin looks at Padme defiantly.

Anakin : I am a person! My name is Anakin.
Padme : I'm sorry. I don't fully understand. (looking around) This is a strange world to me.

Anakin studies her intently.

Anakin : You are a strange girl to me.

See? Those little touches do more for Anakin than damn near any other line he had in this movie. All of the subtlety of him trying to get the courage to talk to her or his cut lines instantly make his character more interesting and insightful. But nope, gotta scratch those for more Jar Jar WACKY HIJINX!

In the back, Watto tells Qui-Gon he's the ONLY person in the entire city with a hyperdrive generator but it's going to cost him. Qui-Gon says he has 20,000 Republic dataries, but Watto says those are no good out here. Qui-Gon breaks out the mind trick again, but it doesn't work. Honestly at this point, why didn't he just do that in the first place? I know he's trying to be honourable and do the right thing, but isn't trying to get back to Valorum to prevent the deaths of endless innocent Naboo a little more important?

This is another huge problem with the story, and feel free to make a drinking game out of every time I say THAT. There is absolutely no sense or urgency with what should be a huge ticking clock storyline. “ZOMG the Naboo are going to get slaughtered, we have to get them help immediately! ...or not, let's just pal around Tatooine at a leisurely pace for the next week or so.” That was something original trilogy Lucas, or more likely his editors, did to perfection: you were on the edge of your seat whenever there was a race against time.

Watto notices Qui-Gon waving his hand, saying “What you think you're some kinda Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian. Mind tricks don't work on me. Only money. No money, no parts! No deal! And no one else has a T-14 hyperdrive, I promise you that.”  Oh, so they did explain the hand wave thing for newcomers. Okay, well gotta give a point to Lucas for that one.

Qui-Gon tells everyone they're leaving, Padme telling Anakin she's glad to have met him and he replies the same. This kid's got some moves, although (say it with me) the shooting script did it better.

Padme gives Anakin a loving look.
Padme : I'm glad I met you,....ah...
Anakin : ...Anakin.
Padme : Anakin.
Anakin : Anakin Skywalker.
Padme : Padme Naberrie.

Padme turns, and Anakin looks sad as he watches her leave.

Anakin : I'm glad I met you too.

Watto complains to Anakin about the outlanders and then tells him he can go home. Anakin responds with a “Yipee!”, which is unfortunately his apparent catchphrase in this movie. Again, I attribute this to Lucas being stuck in an era long gone and he genuinely thinks kids talk like this.

Qui-Gon calls Obi-Wan to see if there's anything on the ship they can use to barter for the part, but that's a no go. I'm going to assume Qui-Gon checked all the other part dealers in town just to make sure Watto wasn't lying, although we never see any of this. Watto just doesn't seem that trustworthy, you know?  Is this exciting enough for you? Did you know Obi-Wan was actually having an adventure during this nonsense? In 2001, LucasArts released a video game called Star Wars: Obi-Wan that showed us Obi-Wan's side of events in this movie since he bafflingly wasn't in a lot of it.

While Qui-Gon was off wasting our time, Obi-Wan got to go rescue Sabe who kidnapped by Tusken Raiders. Boy, I SO would rather be watching that instead. Hell, I'd rather be PLAYING the damn thing instead, and that game was WRETCHED.

They walk along, Jar Jar engaging in some more WACKY HIJINX that run him afoul of an asshole named Sebulba. It's a really bad movie that make you root for the stereotypical bully. Anakin happens to wander along, saving Jar Jar from getting his face smashed in. Way to flush all that goodwill from flirting with Natalie Portman down the toilet there, Anakin. Qui-Gon thanks Anakin for the help and his group walks on.  We go back to the ship, where a sandstorm is starting to form. Panaka gets a call from Naboo. Gripping!

Back in Mos Eisley, we cut to Qui-Gon looking around confused.  Very appropriate.  Wait, they're with Anakin now and he's buying food? Um, what happened to the whole “we've got to get the ship fixed” thing? Even Padme, whose only goal in life is to protect her people, is just standing around watching the kid shop. It is amazing how little this movie cares about anything. The vendor tells Anakin the sandstorm is coming and that he'd better get home quickly. She calls him “Annie”, which is his nickname in these movies and quite easily the WORST nickname ever. When he's a kid it's not so bad, but by the time Episode III rolls around it kills a lot of the drama dead when people are calling him that.

Anakin invites Qui-Gon and company to come stay with him since they won't be able to make it to their ship before the storm hits. I really like this as it shows Anakin is a nice and kind person, which he should be. AND ALWAYS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE WHOLE DAMN TRILOGY.  Originally this scene had Anakin being even kinder to his new friends, especially Padme:

Anakin: I'll take four pallies today. (to Padme) You'll like these...

Anakin reaches in his pocket and comes up with three coins. He drops one.

Anakin: Whoops, I thought I had more...Make that three, I'm not hungry.

Anakin takes them home where they meet his mother Shmi Skywalker, who is INCREDIBLY fine with him bringing home a ragged and bearded creepy old man, a thirteen year old girl, a frog alien and a tin can droid. Just like any mother would be.

This scene is bizarre though. Right after Qui-Gon introduces himself he says something else but it's muted out, although you can see his mouth still moving. Then, after Anakin takes Padme to see his room, Qui-Gon reaches into his poncho to give Shmi something but the scene changes before we can see what the hell he's doing. Shooting script, a little help here?

Shmi : Oh, my!! Annie, what's this?
Anakin : These are my friends, Mom. This is Padme, and...gee, I don't know any of your names.
Qui-Gon : I'm Qui-Gon Jinn and this is Jar Jar Binks.
Padme : ...and our droid, R2-D2.
Anakin : I'm building a droid. You wanna see?
Shmi : Anakin! Why are they here?
Anakin : A sandstorm, Mom. Listen.

The wind HOWLS outside.

Qui-Gon : Your son was kind enough to offer us shelter.
Anakin : Come on! Let me show you Threepio!

Anakin leads Padme into the other room. R2 follows, beeping all the way. Qui-Gon takes five small capsules from his utility belt and hands them to Shmi.

Qui-Gon : I have enough food for a meal.
Shmi : Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. I'm sorry if I was abrupt. I'll never get used to Anakin's surprises.
Qui-Gon : He's a very special boy.

Shmi looks at him as if he's discovered a secret.

Shmi : Yes, I know.

Well gosh, that solves something that's been bugging me forever. Why in the hell did they hack this scene up so badly? If they weren't going to use those lines they really should have done a reshoot, but since this wasn't CGI action I'm sure Lucas didn't give a single iota of a damn.

But this had everything the movie needed: Shmi was actually concerned about Anakin bringing home strangers, Anakin liking for Padme kept growing, and why Qui-Gon was reaching into his poncho. We even had more of Padme's obsession with R2 as she took the time to introduce him. If you can't tell, I'm really a fan of the Anakin/Padme stuff. In the movie Anakin barely acknowledges Padme outside of a couple of scenes, in the script it's a subtle but continuous build that enforces this boy is very smitten with her. Kind of important stuff for what's to come.

Anakin shows Padme the droid he's building and BLOODY HELL it's C-3PO. Darth Vader BUILT C-3PO?! Of every connection the prequels have to the originals, this is by far the weirdest. I know Lucas had to shoehorn in every character from the originals he possibly could, but THIS is how we get C-3PO? I wonder in the originals if Vader ever shares a scene with his droid? I haven't seen them in nearly a decade, guess I'll find out when I eventually review them.

Anakin says C-3PO is a protocol droid he built to help his mother. ...do WHAT exactly? Protocol droids are programmed for interpretation and etiquette, which really makes me wonder what the hell the slave Shmi does. Or why Watto even needs slaves when a droid could just as easily do what Anakin does at the shop.

Back on the queen's ship, they watch the message from Naboo. It's Bibble telling them the death toll is catastrophic and he needs them to call him. Obi-Wan sees through this, telling them it's a trick and not to respond. He calls Qui-Gon to update him, Qui-Gon agreeing that it's bait to try to establish a connection trace to where they are.

Okay, excellent! Finally some stuff is making sense in this movie! The next scene is on Coruscant, where Sidious and Maul are talking on a balcony. Maul tells him that if the trace is correct the queen is on Tatooine. ...insert record scratch sound effect here.

Wow, the movie is INCAPABLE of going two minutes without contradicting itself.  It's almost an art form!  At the Skywalker residence, everyone is eating dinner. Shmi tells her visitors all slaves have a device hidden in their bodies that will detonate if they try to escape. This causes Jar Jar to drop his “How wude!” catchphrase. Yep, keep hammering it down our throats Lucas. It's BOUND to catch on sooner or later, right?

Anakin tells everyone that he's a pod racer, which Qui-Gon says is very dangerous. Anakin says he's the only human that can do it, Qui-Gon remarking he must have Jedi reflexes to do that. This is also the part I mentioned much earlier about where the movie officially began to lose me as we get the bit where Qui-Gon grabs Jar Jar's tongue to stop him using it to grab an apple. 41 minutes in is all it took to wash away the excitement of YEARS of anticipation and the adrenaline rush I got from when the movie began. Not bad!

Anakin reveals he knows Qui-Gon is a Jedi because he saw his “laser sword” earlier. Qui-Gon suggests maybe he killed a Jedi and took it from him, which is a pretty fucked up thing to say to a kid right in front of his mother. At this point Shmi should have kicked this weirdo out.

Anakin doubts this as no one can kill a Jedi, Qui-Gon sadly wishing that were so because he read the script and knows what's coming. Anakin says he had a dream he was a Jedi and freed all the slaves on the planet. He asks Qui-Gon if he's here to free them, and Qui-Gon replies no. He says this WAY too casually and is borderline smiling, the horrible directing of the movie REALLY shines here. This should be a very sad scene with Qui-Gon mournful he can't help the slaves out because he's in a hurry to save the Naboo, but nah let's just have him kick back in his chair eating.

Qui-Gon tells Anakin about their mission, Anakin saying he can fix their ship for him. Qui-Gon believes he can, but they still need the parts to repair it. This leads to Anakin hatching a scheme where he'll race his pod in the big race (that just happens to be tomorrow!) to win money to buy the parts. His mother is against this like a real mother would be, as pod racing is very dangerous indeed, but he's quickly able to talk her into it.

You know, HERE'S what I really don't get about all of this. There's a massive urgency to get to Coruscant, so why doesn't Qui-Gon just hand wave some non-Toydarian and take THEIR ship? This would give them perfect cover as the Federation is searching for the queen's ship, not some completely different ship. Qui-Gon had no issues stealing a ship from Boss Nass earlier, why is he getting involved in this extremely risky and likely not going to work scheme?

I know, I know, because then we wouldn't have a movie and we would have missed out on the pod race scene. But that's one of this movie's biggest problems, EVERY major scene is loaded with poor logic that makes you question everything. A good movie doesn't make you say “Why didn't he just...” every five minutes. Here it's even worse because it's already been established Qui-Gon will use his mind trick at the drop of a hat.

The next day as they head to Watto's, Padme rightfully calls out Qui-Gon on what I was just talking about: trusting their entire fate to a boy they barely know and the queen would not approve. He's all “what the queen doesn't know won't hurt her”, and Padme sullenly says “well, I don't approve”.

Anakin tells Watto that Qui-Gon wants to sponsor him for the race, the two making a slightly confusing bet that I had to rewatch a couple of times to sort out cause they talk through this very fast. Watto will front the entry fee for Anakin, and:

1.  If Anakin wins, Watto gets to keep all the prize money minus the cost of parts for Qui-Gon to fix the queen's ship.
2.  If Anakin loses, Watto gets to have the queen's ship

Later, Qui-Gon and Shmi talk about Anakin. She reveals he has no father and she just magically became pregnant and YE GODS could you hear the groans at this scene in the theater I was at. Anakin was an Immaculate Conception, yeah that's a GREAT idea. Lucas tries to justify this later in the movie, but there's no saving how utterly, completely, absolutely, mind numbingly STUPID this is. And the funniest/saddest part? Lucas is going to top this in a few minutes.

Anakin works on his pod with help from Jar Jar and the droids. This scene is only notable for more Jar Jar WACKY HIJINX that are so over the top, even C-3PO himself remarks Jar Jar is a bit too much.  That night, Qui-Gon takes a blood sample from Anakin, sending it to Obi-Wan for a “midi-chlorian count”. Ah there we go, there it is!

Obi-Wan tells him the reading is off the chart, over 20,00. Even Yoda doesn't have a count that high! I've been wondering, what are midi-chlorians? We're going to have to wait a bit to find out because thank God, Darth Maul just arrived on Tatooine to try to save the movie. He lands in the desert accompanied by his ultra bad ass theme music, deploying hovering spy droids to Mos Eisley.

At the race, Qui-Gon and Watto talk. Watto believes Sebulba will win and he took the bet just for the queen's ship, as he's bet all his money on Sebulba. Qui-Gon bets him Anakin WILL win, putting his body up against the boy and his mother. Watto says no pod is worth two slaves, so Qui-Gon offers for just Anakin. Watto rolls a chance cube to decide, Qui-Gon using the force to make it choose Anakin.

And now onto the Pod Race, kicked off by the grand marshal Jabba The Hutt. The pod race is perfect, and fully justifies anyone sitting through this movie to watch it. It's massively exciting, has great tension even though you know who's going to win (the mark of any good scene), and STILL has better CGI effects than pretty every movie that's come out since 1999.

Something else no one ever seems to talk about, it has AWESOME sound effects that make it seem all the more real. There's even a cool part where the assholes of Tatooine, the Tusken Raiders, take shots at the pods as they drive by because that is so something they'd do. I really feel Lucas poured his heart and soul into this pat of the movie at the neglect of EVERYTHING else, because this is as Star Wars as you get. It even introduces us to one of my favourite cameo characters, Aurra Sing. She really needed to be in the other movies akin to Boba Fett.

Sadly the entire movie can't be the pod race, so it comes to an end with Anakin emerging victorious. Watto says Qui-Gon swindled him and that he's lost everything, refusing to hand Anakin over. Qui-Gon threatens to turn the situation over to the Hutts, Watto backing down. One of Maul's droids is seen in the background watching this.

Qui-Gon brings the ship parts to Obi-Wan, saying he has to go back to Mos Eisley for unfinished business. Obi-Wan quips “why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic life form?”, a smirk on his face. Oh Obi-Wan, how I wish you were in this movie more.

There's a deleted scene that was supposed to go here where back in Mos Eisley Anakin is fighting an alien called a Rodian with a group of kids watching. Qui-Gon walks up to them, asking what this is all about. Anakin says it's because the alien said he cheated, which he didn't. Qui-Gon tells him since he knows the truth he'll just have to tolerate the alien's opinion and that fighting won't change anything. They walk away, one of the other children saying “Be careful who you mess with, Greedo. You'll come to regret it.”

I would have kept this scene in for two reasons: we see Anakin getting pretty brutal with his punches which would hint at an inner darkness inside him and that he's quick to anger, which is excellent foreshadowing for his future. Also I actually liked Greedo being in here, but I guess they decided it was enough that Vader already knew C-3PO from his past and didn't need any more connections.

At the Skywalkers, Anakin shows his mother all the money they got from selling his pod. Now wait a minute, why the hell didn't Qui-Gon take this money to Watto to buy Shmi?! Watto's broke ass now, he'd probably sell her for a song and a dance. Especially since Anakin and Shmi's reaction makes it seem like it's a ton of money.