My Star Wars Diary – The Phantom Menace

One man. One franchise. Meeting for the first time...

As someone with an incredibly expansive and almost intimidating knowledge of films – a trait that never fails to impress girls and win admirers – I usually find that people are surprised to learn that I have never seen Star Wars. In fact, my early filmic upbringing was very sophisticated and as such I never really had much call to watch films like Star Wars, or Back to the Future; I basically moved from Laurel and Hardy straight to The Thing, bypassing pop-sci-fi altogether. Those of you out there with Star Wars tattoos and children named Darth, Sith, and Death Star may not be able to imagine a world without Star Wars but I am just a normal man, with normal tastes, albeit with a small gap in my pop culture experience. This small diary is my journey through the cinematic re-releases of the Star Wars films, in 3D.


Star Wars Phantom Menace

So this is the floating text I’ve heard so much about. It’s difficult to follow, something about trade disputes, and hopefully does not hold any really important information that is key to enjoying the film. Various characters make their entrances, and the main body of the film seems to be about acquiring as many different looking characters as possible. Three seconds into his arrival, I already want to kill Jar Jar Binks – one suggestion I would make to George Lucas, where it not thirteen years too late, would be to remove Jar Jar entirely. Liam Neeson seems embarrassed about performing a scene with him. Qui Gon Jin was perhaps intended to be a slightly maverick, but ultimately serene character but, post Taken, he seems incredibly menacing. His death is a shock! Genuinely unexpected. The most bizarre thing about watching this film, that nobody has ever mentioned before, is that nobody ever betrays any emotion. It’s difficult to get a grasp on the characters and to ultimately care what happens. The only character who shows any emotion at all is Anakin, when he almost-but-not-quite weeps at having to leave his mother. He seems to recover from this almost immediately, however. Also having Queen Amidala and Padme swap roles between scenes was brilliant, muddying the waters in an interesting way.

Darth Maul is amazing, and I would hope that the double-edged light sabre makes a re-appearance.
By the way, the 3D adds nothing. It’s barely even used, a lot of the time. The podrace benefited in some scenes but aside from that it was just used to add depth of field to scenes in which characters talk quite drily about trade and sanctions. There’s a lot more politics than I was expecting, and not as much action. So far, it’s difficult to see what all the fuss is about.

Hopefully Attack of the Clones will be a bit better!

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