Find more information regarding The Phantom Menace from the Internet Movie Database
The Phantom Menace is a prequel to the Star Wars trilogy that's been in existance for over 15 years. This story preceeds the original films by approximately 30 years. It tells the tale of the Republic and the emergence of Annakin Skywalker, who later becomes Darth Vader. While no movie can hold up to over 15 years of anticipation and buildup, it should still stand on its own, no matter what history's behind it. This film is entertaining, with some glaring annoyances. Take your expectations as to what this movie should be, throw them out the window (or nearest airlock, depending), and enjoy the spectacle.
There are a lot of things to say about this movie. It shines with its technical wizardry, especially when integrating in characters who are important to the plot. This alone is an amazing acheivement, but George Lucas has made this film rich with background and minor details that most moviemakers would never even consider to begin with. There are some action packed scenes as well as stupid happenings, but the overall impact of this movie is favorable.
Some minor gripes:
Young Darth Vader's nickname is Anni. What, the sun'll come out tomorrow? And some of his dialog is well above what you'd expect from someone his age.
The amount of screentime that JarJar Binks and Darth Maul have should be reversed (you'll see).
Perhaps too much foreshadowing for the future films.
Without giving anything away, I end this portion of the review, only to say that I am already anticipating the sequels to this prequel.
So, lots to see in this film, and a lot of Gungan dialog to strain to hear. Some of the more notable events:
Gungan (JarJar Bink's race): Great Jamaican accents. It's a shame we can't hear it. Was George Lucas trying to get us to see the movie several times so we'd understand them? Meesa No Like. Yousa Dig?
Jar Jar Binks Must Must Die. His character was geared too much towards children. It's almost as if George and Steven Speilberg traded places on how to portray children.
Why was there no mention of paying for Annakin's mother so she could emerge from slavery on Tatooine? I'm expecting that to be the central focus of the next movie.
JarJar steps in dung, and gets farted on. Why not go for the Triple Crown and have him trip and fall into a Bantha's Ass?
And, Whaaaat is the deal with Annikin's ship going into autopilot and that the autopilot brings him right to the battle? Dumb!
Roger Roger. I'm guessing that the war droids' voices were entirely computer generated.
Note that the different force's weapons all sounded differently? Interesting way of distinguishing them.
Going through the core of the planet Naboo, I'd expect to see molten lava, not water and big aquabeasts!
So, here's to hoping that Lucas wises up for the next one.