The Phantom Menace. Menace or Memorable?

Since Rogue One has just hit the theaters and audiences are once again being reminded how much they love the Star Wars universe, I had a few thoughts on Episode I. This was prompted my remembering a few words my dad had said about Anakin and Padme’s relationship. His viewpoint was that however  annoying their relationship was, Padme was very good. Very virtuous. This is attractive and so it is no surprise that Anakin falls for her. What is frustrating is that she gives into her emotions and falls for him. This relationship make Episodes II and III more difficult for me to connect with since I demand more from Star Wars then lightsabers.

So what about Episode I? I have heard many of the fans complain about this movie for various reasons, the obvious one being that gungan. Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film which I saw in the theaters and so there is definitely some nostalgia going on here. While there are certainly problems, I would like to point out:

  • The podrace. Amazing. My favorite version of Star Tours.
  • Queen Amidala is fierce and clever, keeping that secret the whole movie.
  • The Duel of Fates music. I believe that using this piece again in Attack of the Clones was a mistake. It belongs to Qui Gon Jinn, Obi Wan Kenobi, and their nemesis and to their individual fight scene. I came down hard on lightsaber fights earlier in this post. I love them when they are done like this.
  • The final fight scene. I have heard some commentary stating that the final fight scene in Rogue One hearkens back to a time when the editing for the final battle was special. Phantom Menace might possibly be my favorite fight scene edit. Each of the battles on Naboo, in space, with the gungans, and with the Jedi are unique and spellbinding. The Dual of Fates music, as said previously, is everything and certainly the use of the double bladed lightsaber was a statement of power not previously seen in the Star Wars universe. It’s trivial, however, I think the images that stay in your mind are important, but I love how the grass waves before the droid ships become visible. The rising tension as the army prepares for action will always be a thrill.