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.

Maze Runner Movie Review

Summary

Based on a popular teen novel, a group of teenage boys find themselves mysteriously placed in a glade surrounded by a seemingly inescapable maze. Though action and their code, the gladers strive to uncover the secrets of the maze and remember who they really are.

Review

Teen literature has become rife with stories of adolescents placed in situations in which they must become action heroes. While falling into a few Hollywood cliches, this movie entertains with sharp direction and stellar performances by the young cast. The lack of a immature love story was also refreshing.

Rating

Mature teens. Ages 14 and up. Manly action violence set in a dark premise. While many of the deaths are not shown on screen, the depiction of suicide is particularly disturbing.

Twenty and Ten Review

Summary

The story follows the adventures a small group of twenty Catholic schoolchildren in France during the Second World War. When they receive the opportunity to help ten Jewish children to escape their Nazi oppressors, the children rise to the occasion in an unexpected way. Based off of real life events, this story is filled with charm and excitement while giving a unique perspective on the history of World War II.

Review

This is one of the most unique and charming stories I have ever encountered about World War II. The children in it are very real. They are not perfect, but are incredibly honest with themselves. The schoolchildren’s immediate and unquestioning acceptance of the Jewish children, in particular, is touching as it shows what it is to see a person’s value without first being troubled by prejudices about their race.

Rating

10 out of 10.

For ages 6 and up. Some tension due do the war environment.

New Book?

In honor of the end of the semester, I drew a character tree at work yesterday. I have never been able to produce an idea that might someday become a novel. I am very efficient with words, so I tend to prefer short stories. Yet, I have always had a hankering to write a great work of fiction. Who knows? Maybe I still have a chance.