Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics.
Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson
I see "The Phantom Menace" as simply an entertaining adventure. It has a criminally slow first half, but some of the scenes in its second half are truly spectacular, such as the pod race and the Darth Maul fight. Everyone says how bad the acting is, but I found most of the actors passable- only Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker irritated me. The special effects are incredible for the most part, and the final space battle leaves you breathless.
Of course, "The Phantom Menace" is not a great movie by any means. Darth Maul was criminally underdeveloped, and the Trade Federation bad guys were dull and lifeless. Whenever Jake Lloyd appeared on the screen, I wondered if I was watching a dumb kids movie. Overall, "The Phantom Menace" simply cannot compare with "The Empire Strikes Back". Then, of course, there's the immortal Jar Jar Binks.Read more ›
I was mightily dissapointed with this movie, and I could go on and on about contrived plots and love stories, purile dialogue, and gungans who could insult the intelligence of a horsefly... but I wont.
The DVD in itself was very well made, worthy of the LucasArts logo.
But (and maybe I was expecting too much), I found the movie uninteresting, the stakes not high enough, and I didnt care if any character lived or died.
This is a very good movie. :)