Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace ★½

Back on this bullshit again. I swore off Star Wars but the power of peer pressure has dragged me back into the infinite discourse machine.

Alright, I appreciate what Lucas is going for. A trilogy of films covering the corruption and decay of a bureaucratic democracy through genre beats and a space opera sounds great. The problem that The Phantom Menace faces is that much of this is delivered so inorganically, in a way that emphasizes tedious exposition. There's not enough character work here, both in writing and performance, to make the melodramatic beats anything other than forced. So many scenes feel awkward because of the dialogue and stagnant editing. I can enjoy the films ironic sheen that's developed after the fact and that some aspects, the practical affects, music and generally impressive intention behind the picture, but man is it hard to sit through.

It's weird to watch this film and have it feel so artificial. For all of its world building it's too clean and emotionally void, lacking the charisma of the original trilogy.

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Rob liked this review