Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Memories Of: Star Wars, The Phantom Menace

           With Star Wars in the air, I just thought I'd take the time to make my contribution... Therefore, I've decided to reflect on the ever hated, ever debated, prequel trilogy...starting with...

My Memories Of... The Phantom Menace (1999):


           Older Star Wars fans will tell you all about how Phantom Menace was the worst day of their lives... for me that wasn't totally the case. Why?... because I was 11 years old when that movie came out. That said, my younger self had a different set of reactions to everything people generally complain about today. Let me be clear, I'm not trying to convince anyone that The Phantom Menace is a great movie...because it isn't. All I offer are some of my thoughts at the time...

           I'll start by saying that all the awkward racial characteristics of Nute Gunray, Watto, and Jar Jar were totally over my head. Speaking of Jar Jar... while most people are quick to crap all over him (and rightfully so), I actually don't even remember noticing him much in the movie. He was just
another character who didn't have a lightsaber... so I just kind of tuned him out (somehow I blame Space Jam for desensitizing me to dumb crap, although I still love that movie).

C'mon you can't see his face that well...
           How about all those boring senate meetings? Yeah they we just as boring to me too. Everything having to do with "blockades" and "votes of no confidence" didn't make any damn sense. But at the time I didn't see those slow parts as flaws, I just figured they were important grown up stuff, so I gave them a free pass. I suppose that speaks to how well (by that I mean not well) this movie was geared towards the younger audience. Despite that political confusion...there were two things that confused the hell out of my 11 year old brain the most...

1.) I actually walked away from this movie thinking that Senator Palpatine and Darth Sidious were two different people. Maybe it's because Sidious' hood was covering too much of his face, I don't know. I figured he was the same emperor from Return of The Jedi, but that's about the only connection I made.

2.) I didn't understand that Padme was the real queen the whole time. I really thought she was the hand maiden... so when she stood before the Gungans proclaiming she was the queen, I didn't get it...in fact I thought she was lying.

           So what did I enjoy about this movie? Definitely the pod racing, that was fun. Nothing however, compared to the lightsaber fight with Darth Maul. In fact thats what I rewound the most when my parents bought me the VHS tape later on. I remember being blown away by how fast the combat was and shocked at how Qui-Gon died (because if you think about it we hadn't seen anyone get stuck by a saber like that). Did I care that some of the fighting was borderline dancing? No. Did I care that Maul had absolutely no character development and checked out of the series way too early? Nope. All I knew was that he looked scary as hell and I was damn glad that Obi-Wan killed him.

           Unfortunately for most of the world, The Phantom Menace didn't turn out to be the movie we wanted... What did you think when it came out? Hate it? Love it? Is Jar Jar really a Sith lord?