13 years ago I was asked by my parents which film I wanted to see in the cinema with them. I don't know why I replied 'Star Wars' but I did. From the end of the film my addiction for the franchise had been triggered and my pocket money from that weekend onwards was spent on the latest action figures and lightsabers. 13 years later and Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is my second to last favourite film of the franchise, with The Empire Strikes Back being my number 1. At the time of The Phantom Menace's release I did not know of the anger around the film from previous fanboys. But now I can see why. But don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible film.
Going to see Star Wars Episode 1 in the cinema yesterday brought back many childhood memories. 3D or not, I was going to see this film if they ever re-released it in the cinema. As soon the credits started rolling up the screen I felt like a 5 year old boy again. The first 15 minutes of the film are promising, with some great action from super cool jedi Qui Gon Ginn and his padawan Obi Wan Kenobi. Unfortunately being the keepers of peace the two jedi's go on to save the annoying Gungan's life. the Gungan being Jar Jar Binks.
When I was younger I thought Jar Jar Binks was hilarious. Now I see that he is not. This is where the film suddenly becomes a disaster as Jar Jar Binks is an out of place character in the Star Wars universe. There were many moments throughout the film that me and my friends had been wishing that the 3D version had been re-edited to kill off this annoying character. Unfortunately not.
Without Jar Jar Binks I think the film would have been better recieved when first released. Don't get me wrong the young Anakin Skywalker can be a tad annoying also with his high pitched 'yipee!' making me want force choke him. Could you ever imagine Darth Vader saying 'yippee!'?
Some of the acting is a bit blank but the film does hold some great set pieces. The pod race is one. The visual effects are great and still hold up today, unfortunately not as good in 3D as I was hoping. Even with George Lucas adding litte extra snippets of footage for 3D only. How he got this footage I don't know?
The other great scene is the three way lightsaber fight between the two jedi and Darth Maul. The choreography is incredible and as soon as the sith takes down his hood and the music starts getting louder you know you are in for a treat!
I also no longer have nightmares over the creepy younger Yoda puppet they originally used as it has been replaced by it's digital counterpart. Actually come to think of it, a lot of character were digital in the film, some okay (Sebulba) some not so much (Jabba The Hutt).
Overall the 3D was okay but I would have paid to see this film anyway. The feeling and emotions it brought back made me feel like a kid again. It's not as bad a film as the fanboys make it out to be but could do with some re-editing. The film allows the franchise to be seen by a new generation of Star Wars fans which is only a good thing. If this goes well, there could be a new 3D Star Wars film every year, I cannot wait to see the original films in the cinema, especially The Empire Strikes Back as that really would be incredible!
Excuse me as I go get my Star Wars action figures out of the loft. May the force be with you!