Today: June 21, 2024

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

“Nothing is accidental, everything is for a reason” is just one of the musings of Liam Neeson’s long-locked Jedi knight in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

“Nothing is
accidental, everything is for a reason” is just one of the musings of Liam
Neeson’s long-locked Jedi knight in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

This would lead you to believe then that Jar
Jar Binks
, the personification of clumsiness, was created for some sort of
purpose. When Phantom Menace was first released this purpose seemed to be the
target at which all middle-aged men in the Western world could vent their
frustration. Every negative feeling under the sun was flung at poor Jar Jar as
with every lollop, trip and skip, a grown man’s childhood memories of a
dignified and triumphant franchise was trampled on by a pair of massive Gungan
feet. In the words of Tim Beasley,
“Jar Jar makes the Ewoks look like f***ing Shaft.”

Now the time has come for these scorched fans to get over
themselves, relieve themselves of the past and appreciate that this is not just
about them anymore. It’s been 12 years since The Phantom Menace was released
and in this time a new generation has succumbed to the Siths and Skywalkers as the
Star Wars line of Lego and Lucas’ Clone Wars cartoons shape their growing up as
much as their dad’s collection of figures which under no circumstances are they
allowed to touch. It’s this generation that are shaking with laughter as our
hopeless acquaintance bumps into droids and gets his tongue numbed by power
beams. It’s a reaction devoid of disappointment or rage as it doesn’t know any
better and this is the reaction that Lucas had intended when dreaming up this
comic relief.

To the unknowing eye this is just a film about heroes and
baddies. They won’t get the bits about tax restrictions of the senate but the
pod racing and the laser guns, they’ll go nuts for. Scratch just a little
further and the flaws will come flooding out; a patchy narrative, ineffective
nemesis and a bloated plot do not make this a film of epic proportions. But
there’s no denying the shiver than runs down your arm when John Williams’ fantastic fanfare blasts fills the cinema and
the legendary rolling text climbs towards the stars. This is carrying the name
of Star Wars onto a new wave of
audiences, with young families turning up to have their pictures taken with stormtroopers as well as the older man
who can’t seem to keep himself away. The fact that the film is in 3D is quite
insignificant; aside from the pod racer tournament and the final showdown
between Qui Gon, Obi Wan and Darth Maul this is not worth the experience, even if the glasses
are rumoured to be shaped like Anakin’s pod racer goggles. The decision to see
this then lies with the New Hope
audience, who are either willing to settle their grudge from 1999, give Jar Jar
another chance and pass on the name of Star Wars to their miniature padawans or cling on to the Ewoks of their youth and solemnly never
let go.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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