Monday, May 19, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Part 3)

Click here for Part 2!

Qui-Gon reveals to Anakin he is no longer a slave and that he's going to take him to become a Jedi. Anakin is super excited, going to his room to pack but not before letting out another “yipee!”.  However, halfway to his room he stops as it finally dawns on his his mother isn't free. Qui-Gon says that he tried to free Shmi too but to no avail. Yeah, you REALLY broke your back there trying Qui-Gon.  What a joke.

Shmi gives Anakin a half hearted talk about his future being elsewhere, blah blah blah whatever. Anakin goes to pack his bags, telling C-3PO farewell. This scene is weird because half of it is a point-of-view shot from C-3PO, which is REALLY out of place in a Star Wars movie.  Anakin promises his mother he'll come back and free her... in about ten years.


The spy droid reports back to Maul, who boards his hover bike and takes off. Not too far away Qui-Gon and Anakin are running to the queen's ship with this super dramatic music playing for some unknown reason. Some unknown reason thanks to more sloppy ass editing and Lucas's refusal to reshoot anything. See, there was another deleted scene before there where as Qui-Gon and Anakin are leaving Mos Eisley and one of the spy droids flies by them. Qui-Gon slashes it in half, troubled by how unfamiliar it is to him so the two take off running back to the ship.

Qui-Gon and Maul fight as Anakin runs into the ship. It takes off, Qui-Gon jumping up into it to escape. Obi-Wan and Anakin run up to Qui-Gon, who in winded from his impromptu battle. He tells Obi-Wan his attacker was well trained in the Jedi arts, guessing it was after the queen. What led him to this conclusion? Maul never even attempted to go for the ship, he was dead set on trying to kill Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon introduces Obi-Wan and Anakin to each other, neglecting to mention one will be killing the other in around 32 years.

On Naboo, Gunray taunts Bibble that they're all going to die. Bibble says “This invasion will gain you nothing. We're a democracy. The people have decided”. Huh? What'd he just say? A democracy... with a queen? Also what have they decided? Even the extra lines in the shooting script don't make this scene any more clearer.  OOM-9 approaches Gunray, saying they've begun searching for the underwater villages. Now THIS really makes no sense at all. Maybe it's because the entire freaking story makes no sense as well, but I thought the entire point of the whole Naboo thing was just to create havoc in the Senate so Sidious could become the Emperor. I mean, I don't even understand the point of the invasion, the blockade should have been enough.

The Federation didn't actually CARE about taking over Naboo, right? Or is that what Sidious promised them in their never explained bargain? If so, why did the Federation want a small dinky planet? Regardless, why would they even bother wasting resources finding the gungans? And to what end? God I miss the Pod Race!  The queen's ship finally arrives on Coruscant, Valorum and Palpatine and waiting for them. Valorm is played by the legendary Terrance Stamp, and BOY does he look confused as to what he's doing every time he's on screen. I don't think he was accustomed to green screen of this scale. Everyone gets out of the ship and SLIGHTLY BOWS BEFORE ZOD! 

In her quarters, Monotone gets caught up on current events by Palpatine. She's now wearing her “Get Comfy Folks, This Coruscant Shit Is Boooooooring” outfit, and I really wonder how much time she wasted changing clothes. Just a few scenes ago we saw her worrying about the “catastrophic death toll” of her people, but that's no reason she can't look good while doing it.  Palpatine basically tells her Valorum and the Senate are completely worthless and won't do a damn thing to help Naboo. He recommends she call for a vote of no confidence on Valorum, which will lead to the election of a new, stronger chancellor.

She doesn't like this idea, as Valorum has been one of their strongest supporters. He tells her to other option is to submit a plea to the courts, but Monotone says that will take forever. Her people are dying so they need faster action.  Are the Naboo actually dying? Bibble's hologram was a Federation trick, she has to know that. The filmmakers probably would have, y'know, SHOWN the Federation killing Naboo citizens to make this crisis seem a little bit more crisisy.  Palpatine says in that case it looks like they'll just have to accept Federation control for the time being, looking at Monotone directly.

So earlier I said I'd talk about Darth Sidious, and this is as good a place as any. It's super obvious Palpatine IS Sidious, and that he's playing everyone like a fiddle to get more power. He's the “phantom menace”, bringing great darkness to the galaxy without anyone knowing who he is or that he even really exists. He's also the only character in the movie, and really all the prequels, who is consistently intelligent.

His plan is brilliant, he orchestrated the entire Naboo fiasco so he'd ultimately get elected Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. He chose the Federation, a gang of idiots with seemingly unlimited resources, to help him out in exchange for [important plot point deleted]. Once he got that far, he'd keep going, creating an entire war to plague the Republic and allow him to gain even more power to defeat his created enemy. The end result is the Empire we see in the original trilogy, where he rules the galaxy with an iron fist.

It's well thought out, however Lucas just doesn't have the writing chops to pull it off. It gets way more severe in the next two movies, but here Palpatine still makes some questionable decisions that are counterproductive to his ultimate goal.  Right off the bat with his first appearance in the movie, he does something stupid. He tells Gunray to kill the Jedi, which is the WORST thing he could possibly do as this would surely draw the Republic's entire attention to Naboo. Why didn't he just tell the Jedi to GTFO and there'd be no negotiations? I highly doubt even Qui-Gon would have done the mind trick on Gunray to force him to end the blockade or boycott or whatever the hell it was.

The treaty. The stupid goddamn treaty. He was so obsessed with Padme signing it, going as far as to send his apprentice to track her down. I already bitched about why her having to sign it was so stupid, but from Palpatine's perspective it's even worse. If she did sign it, the Federation would have no point in continuing the blockade from the Senate's perspective. The blockade is absolutely essential to Palpatine's plan, he should want to keep that thing going as long as possible.

Which again is why the invasion makes no sense whatsoever for any of our villains. I already talked about why it's stupid for the Federation, but why did Sidious want them to do it? Unless he knew Padme wouldn't sign it and start an impromptu battle on the surface that he as the new chancellor would declare war with the Federation over? A war that would escalate and force the Senate to vote him more power to stop? Sigh. I've gotten into way out there speculation territory, time to reign this in.

We cut to the Jedi Council, where Qui-Gon is telling everyone about his attacker being a Sith Lord. Ki-Adi Mundi, the Conehead Jedi, says that's impossible as the Sith have been extinct for a millennium. Mace Windu, played by the most bored Samuel L. Jackson you'll ever see in your life, gives us one of the worst line readings in the history of bad line readings as he adds “Iiiiiiiiiiiii do not believe the Sith could have returned without us knowing.”.  Yoda disagrees, saying “hard to see, the dark side is”. Mace tells Qui-Gon the Council will use ALL of their resources to unravel the mystery of the attacker. Qui-Gon then tells them he's encountered a vergence in the force. Everyone reacts like “whoa, this is a big deal!”.

Qui-Gon goes on to tell them about Anakin having the highest midi-chlorian count ever, and that he was likely conceived by them. This causes Mace to ask “you refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the force?”.  Ohhhhh am I sick of prophecies! But this one is BY FAR the worst. This whole scene is the worst. What's a vergence? What's the prophecy? More importantly, WHAT DOES BRINGING BALANCE TO THE FORCE MEAN?! Balance ostensibly means the Light and Dark sides being on equal footing, with no side having an advantage of the other. We just learned the Sith have been extinct for a thousand years, so wouldn't this mean the Force is unbalanced in the direction of the Light side? So isn't the prophecy saying all the good guys have to die to bring balance back to the Force?

Qui-Gon wants Anakin tested to become a Jedi. Everyone reacts like this is a massive pain in the ass, which since it's Anakin we're talking about it is, but why exactly do they react like this since they don't know him yet? A little later we get this whole thing where they think he's too old to begin training, but they don't even know how old he is yet. Qui-Gon just says a boy, he doesn't give his age.  Anakin goes to see Padme, but she's out on an errand. The queen, looking resplendent in her “Holy Shit That Last Scene Was Bad!” outfit, is in the room. He says he may never see Padme again since he's hopefully going to train to become a Jedi, the queen wishing him luck. This time the queen is really Padme, and I'm fine with her not telling Anakin 'cos he's just a little kid who'd probably go blabbing to everyone. I'm also fine with her not telling the Jedi either, would YOU trust Qui-Gon?

We go to the SenateDome, where every senator sits in a giant hovering pod in a dome the size of a small town from the looks of it. I can't even imagine how they're able to officiate something like this. Palpatine is pleading his case to the Senate, telling them how the Federation is oppressing their planet over the taxes thing. This causes the Federation Senator Lott Dod to object-, WAIT WHAT?! You're fucking kidding me! The Trade Federation has a seat in the Senate?!?

Palpatine introduces Amidala, who he says was recently elected queen.  Ha hah, nice try movie! I'm not touching that one either.  She tells the Senate her planet has been invaded, Dod saying there's no proof of this. Why aren't the Jedi here to present their evidence? They're the official ambassadors of this whole ridiculous affair, did Valorum forget about this? Dod wants a commission sent to Naboo to ascertain the truth, Valorum asking Amidala if she'll defer to this. With Palpatine whispering in her ear about how pathetic everyone is, she's all “aww hell no dawg!” and calls for the dreaded vote of no confidence.

Valorum slumps into his chair in shock while Palpatine gives us his ever so faint smile. He's almost TOO good of a villain to be in this movie, you know? Like everyone is so stupid it's shooting fish in a barrel for him, he really should be matched up against Batman or something. BOOK IT HOLLYWOOD!  The entire Senate erupts into chaos, proving my point at how awesomely impractical their setup is. Even the senators from the E.T. planet look so pissed off I'm guessing they didn't get their Reeses Pieces today.

The Council tests Anakin by making him guess images on their viewpad, which is not unlike the test in Ghostbusters. Sadly Anakin gets everything right and doesn't get electrocuted though. Yoda says he senses much fear in Anakin, which apparently leads to anger to hate to suffering to the Dark Side. Okay? What if your life was going great and suddenly you lost your job which led to suffering, are you fast tracked to the Dark Side even though you didn't experience fear, anger, and hate?

What if one day some stranger just punches you in the face, causing you to suffer. Can you still feel anger or is it too late? What if you really hate jazz and get mad whenever you hear it, then one day find you really like this one song and get into jazz as a whole? What if Lucas actually took the time to think about a single thing he was writing in this movie, and if it make any sense whatsoever?  Padme looks out the window in her “I Was Just Duped By Darth Sidious And All I Got Was This Stupid Costume” outfit. Jar Jar talks with her, telling her the gungans will be fine because they have a “grand army”. He starts musing that's why the Naboo don't like his people and we ALMOST get some very insightful commentary from Jar Jar (of all people) when Panaka interrupts because Lucas didn't want Jar Jar to be smart, only funny.

Panaka tells her Palpatine has been nominated to succeed Valorum. She asks who else has been nominated, learning the other candidates are Bail Antilles of Alderaan and Ainlee Teem of Malastare. Bail... Antilles? Pretty sure this was supposed to be Bail Organa and that Lucas got confused on what he was writing.  One of the first drafts of A New Hope back in 1974 stated Princess Leia's father was Bail Antilles but his last name got changed to Organa later on. I believe Lucas simply forgot this, and since this script obviously had no editors whatsoever no one else was around to catch that. They fixed it in the next two movies, and apparently all the expanded universe stuff made it so they were two different characters, whatever.

Padme thinks by the time Palpatine becomes chancellor it'll be too late for their people. She decides to go back to Naboo, and he offers some kind of half hearted protest to make her stay even though he really wants her to go. Near as I can tell, his reasoning is he's sure she'll get captured and finally forced to sign the treaty, but for the life of me I can't understand why. Or maybe he just didn't care either way, no matter what he's going to become chancellor now and can start the next phase of his plan.  The Jedi Council tells Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan that Anakin won't be trained because he's too old and his future is “clouded”. Qui-Gon's like “whatever, I'm training him anyway as my padawan” and Yoda's all “slow your roll, you already have a padawan!” Qui-Gon says Obi-Wan has learned all he can teach him and is ready to face the trials to become a Jedi.

Mace tries to get them back on track by saying Amidala is going back to Naboo, which is going to escalate the Federation mess. Ki-Adi Mundi says this will surely draw out the queen's attacker, Mace ordering Qui-Gon to accompany Amidala back to Naboo so he can discover who the attacker is. Qui-Gon is obviously terrified of Samuel L. Jackson, or else he would have pointed out he just got done saying the Jedi Council were going to investigate the assassin.  Mace says the identity of the attacker is the clue they need to unravel the mystery of the Sith.

Oh, so now they suddenly believe he was a Sith? I find it amazing so many fans waited so many years to finally see the Jedi at the height of their glory, and when we finally get that they're some of the worst parts of the entire movie. You know, in sharp contrast to all the other worst parts of the movie.  As everyone boards the queen's ship to return to Naboo, Anakin asks Qui-Gon what midi-chlorians are. YES! I've been waiting for this, I'm just going to transcribe the explanation word for word.

“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life-form that resides within all living cells.”
“They live inside me?”
“Inside your cells, yes. And we are symbionts with them.”
“Symbionts?”
“Life-forms living together for mutual advantage. Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you'll hear them speaking to you.”
“I don't understand.”

...yeah, me neither kid. I don't even know what to MAKE of that. I'll just never get what Lucas was going for here, why he took one of the most simple and pure concepts in movie history and tried to quantify it with.. whatever the hell Qui-Gon just said. Tiny beings give us life and grant us access to super powers, and tell us what to do 24/7? This must also mean there's good ones and bad ones, since we have the Dark Side.

What makes a midi-chlorian choose evil over good? Their midi-chlorian parents didn't love them enough? They didn't get picked for the midi-chlorian softball league? How does one person get more midi-chlorians in them than another? What's the cutoff rate for having enough midi-chlorians to become a Jedi? How do midi-chlorians apply to ghosts? Are they the ghosts of midi-chlorians themselves?

Why do midi-chlorians tell us about the will of the Force? Why do they care? Or does the Force make them do it? Why does the Force concern itself with the affairs of aliens? If the Force itself is sentient, doesn't this mean there's also good and bad versions of it? Does free will even EXIST in Star Wars since everything is just the Force telling midi-chlorians to tell us to do stuff? Is every decision you've ever made just the Force willing you to do what it wants you to do? Or does this only apply to Jedi? If you have a low enough midi-chlorian count are you free from the will of the Force? Or does this just mean you don't get kick ass super powers?

Are midi-chlorians asexual, or do they have male and female genders? How did they sire Anakin since logically they're a different species than humans, and thus shouldn't have been able to fertilize a human female? Wouldn't this mean the midi-chlorians in Anakin came from Shmi, so she should also have a crazy high count in her blood making her a Jedi as well?  WHY DID YOU DO THIS LUCAS?!?

Amidala is the last to board, wearing her “I'm Going Back To Naboo, Naboo, Naboo. I'm Going Back To Naboo... Hmm, I Don't Think So” outfit. Qui-Gon vows he'll protect her and won't let the Federation harm her. Jar Jar screams out “wesa goin' home!” as Anakin and R2 board the ship. They're bringing Anakin along?!? WHY?!? They're going back to a fucking warzone and they're bringing a nine year old kid with them? I've probably said this at least a dozen times already, but THIS just might be the stupidest thing in the entire movie!

At Theed Palace, Sidious confers with Gunray and Rune. They tell him the planet is secure and they've taken over the last few pockets of primitive life forms. Sidious announces Maul will be joining them.  The ship flies back to Naboo, Ric giving Anakin a lesson on the controls of the ship. I'm sure this won't be important later, nope. In the queen's throne room, Qui-Gon and Panaka discuss with her how they have no idea what she's doing. They probably should have done this back on Coruscant, which brings up another gaping hole in logical thinking: why didn't they try to get some help from some sympathetic senators? Why didn't any other Jedi accompany Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan?

But the queen finally plays her card, she tells Jar Jar she'll need his help. See, she was listening to him when he mentioned the gungans have a “grand army” so that's her plan, but she's still risking a lot here. Her entire plans hinge on the gungans listening to the banished Jar Jar who just got done extra pissing Boss Nass off, and her by extension when it's been established they hate the Naboo. Sure, she's going to play on the “we need to band together to defeat the Federation” card, but this is a very weaksauce plan at best. ESPECIALLY when earlier she gave Qui-Gon holy hell for doing almost the exact same thing. I guess she saw how perfect it worked out for him and was all “hey, why not me?” but it really is at odds with her character from earlier. But look at me, putting way too much thought into a film again...

The arrive at Naboo, where the blockade has mysteriously vanished. What?! Why- ah, there's only like half an hour left so screw it. The only ship left is Gunray's, which is identified as a “droid control ship”. They land in the forest which this time makes sense, as they'd want to avoid detection from he city. Although there is the whole “why didn't the droid control ship not spot them and alert Gunray” issue, but whatever, you can just see Lucas trying to get all this shit out of the way so he can do the epic CGIfest he's been drooling over since the queen decided to head back to Naboo.

They land, Obi-Wan wondering if Amidala's plan is going to work. Qui-Gon agrees, especially since they can't use their powers to help her. Um, why not? You had no problem doing it earlier when you hand waved Nass to try to help her.  Jar Jar emerges from the nearby water, telling them the city is deserted and there's been signs of a fight. He believes they've gone to a “sacred place” gungans go to when there's trouble, which just happens to be not far away in the forest. That was damn lucky! I like how Padme is getting revenge on Sabe for making her clean R2 by making her dress up as the queen still so she's a sure fire target for any Federation droids.

Sure enough the gungans are there, Amidala telling Nass they come in peace. Suddenly Padme steps forwards and reveals SHE'S really the queen, that Sabe is just her bodyguard. She apologizes for the deception, but it was necessary to protect herself. I guess this is supposed to show Nass she's being completely transparent with him, but I'd think it'd just piss him off more. She asks for Nass's help, falling to her knees and saying she BEGS for his help. Nass laughs and agrees to join forces.

Later as the forces plan out their attack, Nass congratulates Jar Jar for bringing their people together with the Naboo. To reward him, he makes him a general which causes him to faint. I bet characters fainting when they're told shocking news was all the rage when Lucas was a youngster back in 1886!  Panaka arrives, having scouted out Theed and tells her their army is much larger and stronger than they thought. Padme reveals the entire battle is just a diversion so they can capture Gunray, which will somehow end everything because without him they'll be “lost and confused”. They're freaking robots programmed to kill! It's not like Gunray is controlling them with his Hannibal-levels of military genius!

Oh wait, Padme reveals she has another plan to have their pilots knock out the droid control ship which will immobilize the droids. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan point out some flaws in her plan, but she's like “ehh, whatever”.  We cut to the grasslands of Naboo, the droid army and the gungan army meeting head on. Padme and her team sneaks into the city, Anakin tagging along for this as well. So not only did they bring him back to Naboo, they brought him into the HEART of of droid controlled city? Maybe Qui-Gon's really a Sith and this is his plan to secretly kill the “chosen one”.

They fight their way back into the hangar bay, the pilots boarding their ships and taking off to fight the droid control ship. R2 is lifted by mechanical arms into the back of one of the ships, which JUST HAPPENS to be the one Anakin chooses to hide from the battle in.  The pilots fly into space, the movie taking great care to show two of the main ones are black and a woman, respectively. I'm sure this was intentional to show how diverse Star Wars is now. The film jumps back and forth between the space battle, the land battle, and Padme's strike force, which is a staple of the ending to all Star Wars movies.

Back in the hangar bay, doors open to reveal Darth Maul in all his badssitude.  This is another one of the movie's best shots, and unfortunately the peak of Maul's competent as a villian.  The artistically epic “Duel of the Fates” song keys up, as everyone leaves except the Jedi. However as Padme's team goes to leave, Destroyer Droids appear and start blasting the shit out of them.  Anakin tries to help by using the ship's guns to take them out, but also launches the ship in the process. Wow, I NEVER saw that coming! Good thing Ric taught him how to fly a Naboo ship earlier or he'd likely have crashed the ship instead of flying into space to join the battle.

Maul and the Jedi duel their way into a different area of the palace, and yes this battle is ridiculously awesome. I hated all of the light saber stuff earlier because it was against totally worthless battle droids which made it boring, but here it's flat out awesome as Maul obviously has the advantage over the two men. To be fair it does look way over choreographed in some parts, but they do balance this out by including things like Maul kicking at the Jedi and things like that to make it feel more organic.

Meanwhile, the Naboo battle their way to the throne room where Gunray is. It really is amazing what a good shot Padme is for someone who's not a soldier, but maybe military training was part of the queen electoral process, I don't know. They're getting nowhere, so Panaka blasts a window open and everyone goes out to the ledge. Panaka calls out “ascension guns!” and they blast the magic Bat-grapple hooks in their guns to climb up to the next level.

I've been writing this review for what feels like years because this movie has made me lose all concept of time and space, so forgive me if I've already said this: but THIS has to be the stupidest thing in the movie! Bat-grapple hooks in their guns?!? WHY WOULD THEY EVER NEED THESE?!?  Sadly, “Duel of the Fates” keeps playing instead of the Batman theme song as they ride the grapple cables up the palace.

By now, Maul and the Jedi have fought their way into... I don't know. The biggest energy room in the history of everything? Obi-Wan gets separated as Maul knocks him off a ledge, watching as Qui-Gon battles this Sith into a hallway of rotating force fields or something. The action is still great, but I really don't know what's going on anymore.  Obi-Wan runs after them, for some reason not using the super speed that he had earlier because Lucas has completely forgot about that.

All three men end up separated by a force field, Maul pacing back and forth like a caged tiger, Qui-Gon kneeling to meditate, and Obi-Wan just standing there wishing he had some sort of way to cover distances quicker than normal.  The droids gain the upper hand on the gungans, who begin to retreat. I don't know why they even bother showing this part since it's completely pointless, oh right, we're supposed to care about Jar Jar's WACKY HIJINX even in the face of battle. The battle looks gorgeous, I'll give them that. The CGI in this film really is top notch, but honestly wouldn't you expect less from LucasFilm?

Right outside the throne room, Destroyer Droids appear and capture Padme. In space, Anakin lands in a hangar bay of the control ship as droids surround him, his ship suddenly loosing power. In the force field hallway, Obi-Wan is helpless as he watches Maul kill Qui-Gon. On the fields, the droids capture Jar Jar and Tarpals. All looks bad for our heroes...

No wait, Sabe arrives and takes out the droids holding Padme prisoner. Padme runs to her throne and pulls out some guns she has hidden in the arm rests (?!) and captures Gunray. Is that something all royalty does? Does the queen of England have an AK-47 hidden in her throne?  The force field finally opens and Obi-Wan goes wild on Maul but still gets his ass kicked. Maul leaves him hanging off the ledge of a bottomless pit, standing above him while leering.  Anakin's power finally comes back on and he blasts the droids away. As he shoots them, he accidentally blasts the ship's main reactor, which JUST HAPPENS to be located in the hangar bay. This OF COURSE causes the entire ship to explode, Anakin escaping just in the nick of time as all the pilots celebrate. This, NATURALLY, causes all the droids to shut down so the gungans emerge victorious.

Maul continues to look down on Obi-Wan, playing with his light saber instead of, y'know, trying to kill him. Obi-Wan starts using the Force on Qui-Gon's light saber (Maul had kicked his down the pit), which Maul senses. So the Sith immediately springs to action, using his Force push to knock Obi-Wan down the pit to his death!  No wait, that's what he SHOULD have done. Instead he just stands there while Obi-Wan flips out of the pit, grabs the saber, and slices him in half. Huh. Maul really should have... done something...

Obi-Wan runs to Qui-Gon, who is still barely alive so he can die in Obi-Wan's arms. That's a preview of the drinking game for Attack of the Clones! Qui-Gon makes Obi-Wan promise to train Anakin before he dies.  Later, Padme addresses Gunray in the city streets in front of all of the Naboo. She's wearing her “We Just Won The War Of Naboo Thanks To A Kid Accidentally Blowing Up A Ship” outfit, which is rather drab looking for such a miraculous event. Panaka takes the viceroy away, telling him he can kiss his trade franchise goodbye. Knowing this movie though, they'll still get to keep that kush Senate seat of theirs.

The newly elected Supreme Chancellor Palpatine arrives, thanking Obi-Wan and Anakin for their help. He adds he'll be watching Anakin's career with “great interest”. The Jedi Council accompanies him, which really makes me think they're all a bunch of cowards. NOW they'll come to Naboo since all the bad guys are gone, but not when it really could have used their help.

Yoda makes Obi-Wan an official Jedi Knight, but disagrees with him taking Anakin as his padawan. I thought you had to pass some kind of trials to become a Jedi? They said earlier he had to face the trials- ah whatever, this is almost over. Obi-Wan says he promised Qui-Gon he'd train Anakin, so Yoda's all “okay!”.  This movie killed Yoda more than his death in Return of the Jedi did.  At night everyone gathers for Qui-Gon's cremation, Padme for some reason wearing her “I'm Going Back To Naboo” outfit instead of her “Hey, How Come Qui-Gon's Body Didn't Vanish Like All The Other Jedi Did When They Died?” outfit.

Hey, how COME Qui-Gon's body didn't vanish like all the other Jedi did when they died? I think they attempt to explain that in the third movie, but I guess we'll cross that river when we get there. At the ceremony Obi-Wan tells Anakin he will train him, while Yoda and Mace discuss Qui-Gon's killer definitely being a Sith. Yoda says there's always two: a master and an apprentice. Mace wonders which was killed as the camera focuses on Palpatine.

Deep breath. WHY CAN'T THE JEDI SENSE PALPATINE? Earlier, Yoda says the Dark Side is hard to see, but he has no problem sensing the potential darkness in Anakin? I suppose the answer is Palpatine is a super powerful Sith who has learned to block his powers from everyone, whereas Anakin is just a little kid with no control over his mastery of the Force, but I don't know... this doesn't feel right. I believe in the next movie, or maybe it's the third, there's this whole thing about Palpatine using his powers to block all the powers of the Jedi, again something we'll find out more later.

We cut from this solemn event to a city wide party the next day, everyone celebrating the defeat of the Federation. Padme has broken out her “This Is Kind Of Like The Ending To A New Hope In That It's Almost Exactly Like The Ending To A New Hope” outfit as she gives Boss Nass a glowing ball of blue energy instead of a medal. I guess she couldn't find a necklace big enough to go over his fat head.  Nass holds up the orb and yells “peace!” as all or heroes look at each other and smile.

Cue the credits. I PROMISE you that you'll never have two hours and ten minutes of your life take as long as this did. The credits are amazingly only about six minutes long, which is a blink of an eye compared to some of today's movies. If you sit through all of them, you're rewarded with Darth Vader breathing at the very end. Exciting!


So. Wow. Fifteen years later and this is every bit as bad as I remember it.  Actually, it's MUCH worse now that I've had time to reflect upon it in terms of its legacy to the rest of the prequels and the further changes to the original trilogy, but I'd still recommend watching this to any single person alive or dead.  And not just for the Pod Race or the Jedi duel at the end, this film is a legendary event that will live on until the end of time as the single most disappointing piece of fiction in history. It's a cautionary tale of what happens when one man has total control of something so universally beloved with absolutely NO ONE there in the form of a safety net to tell him no.

As fans, were our expectations too high for this that anything less than total perfection that would also cure cancer and give us Force powers of our own be an “epic fail” in our eyes? Yes, abso-fucking-lutely. We're just as guilty as Lucas on this one, I totally accept that. But when you hear people that haven't seen the previous movies or even the ones who don't live and breathe Star Wars complaining about how terrible is, you know something's wrong.

Honestly though, even a movie that was totally mediocre wouldn't have inspired the backlash this thing got. They seriously could have made a live action version of that Clone Wars movie and we'd have been all “that was freaking disappointing, but it was okay I guess” and gone on with our lives.  Just like we did with Episode III.  I'm probably not alone in saying I can't even remember anything from that movie except for Vader's hilarious “NOOOOOO!”. Truly the definition of a movie you forget right after you've seen it. But Episode I is SO bad, SO special, SO damaging to the classic movies in the aspect that I remembered almost all of this stuff fifteen years later. It's like seared into what's left of my zombie brain.

You know the WORST thing, and I do mean THE WORST, about all of this? This isn't even the worst movie of the prequels. Our next movie, Attack of the Clones, holds that particular dishonour as well as my personal title of “Worst Movie I've Ever Seen”. I couldn't even finish watching it! I'm not going to be reviewing that one next though, I need a break after this.  This was... this hurt.