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Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace
Short plot summary

Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), a Jedi, with his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor doing an Alec Guiness impersonation), are out saving the universe, protecting princesses (all the usual stuff) when they come across an 8-ish year old Anakin Skywalker (aka in later movies Darth Vader)(Jake Lloyd (I)) who serves as a slave.

What our panel of critics thought

"The special effects are amazing, however the actors have difficulty looking the animated characters in the eyes. I want my money back and punitive damages too."

"For a child actor, the guy who plays Anakin is extremely good, if a little too short."

"Jar Jar Binks, you annoying prick! If there is any way I can edit you out of the special edition DVD then please show me which key to press - I am perfectly willing to keep my finger on the button for the whole movie, risking white knuckle injuries later in life."

"There is strange character overload in this movie: From characters with two heads, to ones with squashed faces. It's almost as if they have been designed specifically for the merchandising sell through market, and for their impact on cereal packets. Apart from that, ho hum."

Please spoil this movie completely by telling me the ending.

Oh come on, it's a prequel you know how it ends already.

Anakin wins his freedom from slavery in a race. He goes off with Qui-Gon Jinn. Due to an administrative error on Qui's part, however, he is not allowed to have two apprentices by the force leaders.

They get into a fight and Qui gets killed by Darth More (aka ZiggyLined face). Then Obi kills ZiggyLined face in an amazing feat of Jedi back-flippage against seemingly impossible odds. Those not dead already live happily ever after, or at last until the next episode.

Yoda, Jar Jar Binks, C3PO (Anakin created him) and R2-D2 also star.

Quotable quotes (real)

"Your focus determines your destiny."

Other comments

An adequate Saturday matinee effort. The critics went wild in their criticism of this movie and there is much wrong with it, but if you are disappointed then you really only have yourself to blame...

The movie delivers what it can, given the fact it has to set up the story later in the series, adds in a bit of philosophy and has some sensational special effects. Cut the movie up into 20 minute chunks and you have a modern day Flash Gordon series.

Date of review

December 4 , 2002.

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