Alright, so Padme and I basically agreed that we would disagree on the 3D. Honestly, I thought it was pretty much nonexistent. For a company the likes of LucasFilm, I was expecting depth such as that portrayed in Tron: Legacy. I saw no such depth. The opening crawl was incredible, because of course they utilized it there. I was mesmerized. CGI Yoda was also given a depth of field, understandably because he was new material anyway. But it seemed as if they didn't touch anything they weren't already going to change. Don't misunderstand me, I didn't want lightsabers popping out of the screen and podracers coming into the seats. I just wanted to see a difference. My sister acquired 2D glasses for her birthday (they reverse the effect of the 3D), and they work very well. Turns any 3D movie into perfect 2D. Well I tried them yesterday during the movie, and I saw little difference. *shrugs*
Anyway...! That aside, as that was the least of my reasons for wanting to see the film. I just felt I could have paid a little less. So I'm going to start off with things that were kind of like...AWESOME:
1. CGI Yoda (the best thing Lucas has ever changed)
2. Qui-Gon Jinn!
3. Darth Maul
4. Battle Droids/Destroyer Droids
6. Jedi Council
So I'm sure most of you will disagree with much of my list. But let me just add one more list and then I shall discuss. So things that were kind of like...AWFUL:
1. Jar-Jar (he was worse than I remember)
2. Slapstick (be subtle George, it worked in the 70s and 80s, it can still work now)
4. Anakin's friends
CGI Yoda was fantastic! Couldn't have asked for a better change to the films. Really put my mind at ease, that. I never realized how awesome Qui-Gon is! Obi-Wan was always my favorite prequel character, but Liam Neeson totally makes that film. I am a new and utterly devoted Qui-Gon fan.
Darth Maul was, of course, incredible as always. I tried to imagine myself seeing the double-bladed lightsaber for the first time, and yes, it was awesome. The droids! They really were incredible. The battle droids that folded out and were so emotionless? Awesome. The destroyers that could roll around and then unfold into a calculating machine of death? I was in awe. Coruscant! How about seeing the city planet for the first time? To see it in theaters was breathtaking. Loved it! The Jedi Council was totally awesome. I tried to imagine coming from 20 years with no Star Wars and seeing a Jedi Council...it was just kind of awesome. 3PO made me smile! Just loved having him there. I once heard someone say that it was dumb that Anakin was building a droid for no reason. Uh, let's see...because he wanted to?! Love 3PO.
Now onto some debatable pros. I loved Sebulba! He was just a really good antagonist. I don't know why, but I enjoy his character. Watto! Absolutely love Watto. He's incredibly acted, probably some of the best acting in the film next to Liam Neeson, and I just love that he hovers around like an annoying insect. Really appreciated his character even more after the viewing yesterday.
And last but most definitely not least, Jawas! I forgot all about them, and when they yelled out "Utini!" during the podrace, I cracked up laughing. That's the kind of humor George is supposed to employ. Not Jar-Jar.
Which brings me to the very awful! Jar-Jar was horrific. I actually enjoy The Phantom Menace, but I must admit I actually found myself frowning at certain scenes with Jar-Jar. He's so unnecessary and horribly overdone. I used to be an advocate, claiming he was humorous to an extent and didn't ruin the film. I have since changed my stance and am a proclaimed Jar-Jar hater. He ruined every potentially decent scene he showed up in. Final battle? Gungans could have been awesome. Enter Jar-Jar! Gungans were laughable. Oh, George.
Related to this was the incredible wealth of slapstick. What was George thinking?! I remember Empire with it's amazingly subtle humor scattered throughout. Hilarious! Phantom Menace? Cringe-worthy humor sprinkled everywhere. Sadness.
I don't really know what to say about the Neimoidians. They were just...bad. Maybe it was the way they talked? I just think they were bad characters to use for the majority of the film's opening. Disappointing.
Anakin's friends were sad. The acting was so bad it's a wonder how it got into the movie. I like Kitster, I really do. But I was sad when Anakin's friends showed up. Sad indeed.
I used to be an advocate of "Yippee!". This is because I was once babysitting a 7 year old boy, and he asked permission to do something. When I told him he could, he shouted "Yippee!" and jumped into the air like Anakin. So I found it realistic. What I do not find realistic is the fact that it was said 297 times! I never realized how often it was used, I thought it was only said once.
Finally, I must comment on Jake Lloyd and the storytelling of TPM itself. First off, Jake Lloyd. The kid was adorable and a great actor for his age. I'd like to see any of us do that well as a child. He really did an amazing job, and I hate the fact that he gets so much flak. I love the fact that he plays Anakin. He's cute, and personally I think he pulls it off very well.
Storytelling! The story of The Phantom Menace is really very complex and praise worthy. It was hidden beneath a layer of embarrassing material such as Jar-Jar and bad dialogue, but the story really is Star Wars worthy, in my opinion. Midichlorians can be debated, of course, but that aside, I think it's great prequel material. So I do give George props for that.
And before I go away bashing the 3D, the movie was incredibly crisp and beautiful to watch. They definitely cleaned it up. So I'll give them points for that. Anyway, didn't mean to be so longwinded! Overall impression: Originals beat prequels any day of the week, hands down. But there really are some great things about the prequels.
"It's not about the legacy you leave, it's about the life you live." ~Mara Jade Skywalker