Action Movie Fanatix Review: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Every Saga Has A Beginning

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Terence Stamp, Ray Park, Warwick Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Dominic West, Keira Knightley, Peter Serafinowicz, Richard Armitage

Director: George Lucas

1999  |  136 Minutes  |  PG

The long dormant Sith resurface to attempt to reclaim their former glory, meanwhile two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) come across a young boy who may be able to bring balance to the Force.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Star Wars.  For whatever reason I never really watched any of the original trilogy growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s but when The Phantom Menace came out in 1999 I was hooked even before the movie hit theaters.  Time has not been kind to Episode I though.

Quite honestly, I think the biggest problem with The Phantom Menace boils down to Lucas & Co. putting the CGI center stage instead of developing strong characters and story to get behind.  Point blank… The Phantom Menace is freakin’ dull.  The story… the characters… it’s all pretty boring.  No amount of CGI can make up for that.

A good chunk of the movie centers around incredibly boring trade talk.  Nobody goes to a Star Wars movie for the politics talk of trading… and let’s be honest… no one has the slightest clue what they are talking about

The main characters, Qui-Gon Jin & Obi-Wan Kenobi were incredibly lackluster Jedi.  I mean, they are SUPER powerful and kick some serious butt when they need to but they just aren’t at all interesting to follow around for two hours.  And young Anaking DEFINITELY isn’t interesting.


Jar Jar Binks

I’m WAY in the minority here but I still find Jar Jar Binks to be kinda funny.  I know how incredibly dumb he is.  It has to be some weird sense of nostalgia that keeps that funny to me.


Darth Maul had the potential to be THE most badass Star Wars villain of all time.  He certainly had the look… but we see far too little of him.  We should have seen him kicking major butt throughout the movie, leading to the final duel.

There’s also the incredibly weird “romance” between the very young Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.  I don’t know what else to say about it.  It just feels super creepy.


The pod racing is cool.  All the different pod racing ships and drivers are fun and they REALLY capture the sense of speed well.  The scene probably goes on a bit too long but that’s getting really nit-picky.

The majority of us saw Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace hoping to be blown away by what should have been a great launching point to a brand new trilogy.  We weren’t.  Some of us were briefly fooled by some good (for the time) special effects but Episode I is BY FAR the worst Star Wars theatrical movie ever made and will likely remain in that lowly position for a long, long time, despite Disney looking to churn out annual Star Wars releases until the franchise loses all ability to generate money.



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