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Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace  

While this is not the worst movie ever made, I single it out because it was such a disappointment following the original STAR WARS trilogy, a series of films which displayed a genuinely imaginative combination of mythology, creativity, and FX.

But PHANTOM MENACE fell flat on its bloated face by giving us only about 20 minutes worth of plot buried under 2 hours of FX. While FX can be impressive, they don't make a story worthwhile. Characters make a story come to life, and these pasteboard figures never come to life.

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Another egregious plot failing is that the only potentially interesting characters (the Jedi Master and the evil Darth Maul) are both killed off. The rest of the cast stands around posing in fancy outfits (the future wife of Darth Vader) or uttering useless dialogue (Obi Wan as a young man).

And worst of all, the boy playing the future Darth Vader is so toothpaste-ad cute and at the same time such a bad actor that one wonders what Lucas was thinking in casting him. Consider how much better the film might have been with the boy from SIXTH SENSE playing the young Anakin.

I still love the original trilogy, but Lucas stumbled badly here and needs to remember that a good movie requires a good story before he makes the next STAR WARS movie.

Matthew Ignoffo

The Z Review thanks Matthew for his review, it may be a short review but he states clearly what he disliked about the movie which is exactly what we want at The Z Review. If you wish to expand on this or approach his argument in a different light then feel free to send us it.We also received the following for publishing , its more of a mickey take of the plot of The Phantom Menace so we feel its worth publishing.

A dire plots ruins the potential for greatness. The main flaw for me was the lack of "evil". Darth Maul, the Dark Jedi, looks mean but we never actually see him do anything evil. In fact, he never kills anyone, until TWO Jedi gang up on him. In any court of law, he could claim self defence! Not the same as destroying entire planets for a laugh. So here's my interpretation of the "plot".

Not too long ago, in a cinema down the road...... For many years the Sith had endured racial and religious bigotry. Hunted by the Jedi, their numbers had dwindled. Now, a chance arose for a strike for freedom.

The human liberator, Darth Sidious, informs the greatest of the Sith, Darth Maul, that a time for great reforms may soon be at hand. The Trade Federation, which wanted to sell batteries to the open market, were being held back by the restrictive practices of the Republic. The Jedi controlled the Senate, and as long as the Jedi held power, no batteries would ever be sold.

Jedi feared batteries - Ever Ready, Duracell were all accursed names. After all, what would happen if robots had independent power sources? In protest, the Trade Federation had placed a picket around the planet Naboo, home of the cosmetics Queen Amidala. The Trade Federation promised to support Darth Sidious if he helped them stop any "scabs" passing the picket.

Despite a near miss motorbike accident on Tatooine, Darth Maul had managed to avoid the Jedi so far. On Tatooine, it is revealed that the Force is caused by a virus called Metachlorate. These Metachlorates had so infected a local woman that she bore their human spawn - Anakin Skywalker.

From a young age, Anakin spends every hour at the local race track. There he meets two fellow gamblers, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn who show him how to use his powers to cheat at the races. Darth Maul travels to Naboo. Since Darth Sidious passed a law banning animal testing, Queen Amidala could no longer test her products on animals, she had tested on the local Gungans.

The side effects have caused the Gungans to live in vast underwater cities, do a bad impersonation of Bob Marley and wobble like a bowling pin. Meanwhile, the Trade Fedaration had dumped all their useless, centrally powered robots on Naboo, stating the Repulbic can have them now. However, the brain damaged Gungans start to throw water balloons and rocks at the robots, which causes them to malfunction.

A fight soon ensues. Darth Maul tries to meet Queen Amidala, but is stopped by her two bouncers Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn. Deep rooted bigotry shows as they judge him by his appearance and set upon him. Soon Darth Maul is fighting for his life, and valiantly slays Qui-Gon Jinn before being killed in a cowardly fashion by Obi-Wan.

Darth Sidious sends robots to Darth Mauls aid, but young Anakin laughs as he blows up the central power unit, making all the robots useless. Darth Sidiuos stays in the background, biding his time. He realises that as long as the Jedi hold the batteries, he will have to find an alternate road to victory. Night after night, he ponders ways of making an indepently powered army. Soon, there shall be freedom for all races!

Diarmuid Quirke

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