Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace ★★★★★

*Was an 84, now a 95*

"Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think. Trust your instincts."

"But Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future."

"But not at the expense of the moment."

Another Phantom Menace re-watch, another bump-up in my personal Star Wars ranking. George Lucas' penchant for serialized genre tropes allows for an innocence that places a childlike naivety and hopeful optimism against a more ambiguous political structure. A key moment is found in the one-two punch of the conclusion. Qui-Gon Jinn's funeral conveys an unceasing tension between a clear-cut Chosen One narrative and the darkness of Anakin's internal turmoil. The stubborn nature of the Jedi Order is based in hesitant council meetings, all while Palpatine comfortably pulls the strings from behind the curtain. The celebration ceremony at Naboo, while mirroring the joyous finality of A New Hope and its ending, is so bittersweet in comparison.

The final battle here with Duel of the Fates is definitively the greatest lightsaber fight in the saga.

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