Spoilers shall follow...
Want to know why this is the worst Star Wars movie? No, it is not because I feel putting Phantom Menace here is cliche or anything like that; this movie makes Phantom Menace look like Citizen Kane; and while Phantom Menace will never be anyone's "rosebud", The Holiday Special could definitely be the guy throwing their favorite sled into an incinerator. So why i this so bad? It's because it only aired once! ONCE! Star Wars is probably one of the biggest things ever and this piece has only been seen on live television a single time before George Lucas tried to sweep it under the rug. That's right! GEORGE LUCAS tried sweeping this under the rug. The holiday special was so bad, George Lucas was embarrassed by it. Weird Christians would rather drink from red Starbucks cups than watch this crap. Let me explain...
I never saw the Ewok movies, because I hate Ewoks, just in case you were wondering.
In The Phantom Menace, the emperor sends two of his jedi, Qui Gon Jinn(Liam Nielson) and his apprentice(Obi Wan Kenobi)to the Trade Federation to figure out why all routes to planet Naboo have been cut off. The film doesnt exactly take off from there as the Trade Federation, try to kill Obi Wan and Qui Gon, eventually, they get stranded on the planet Tattooine with Padme(Natalie Portman) and meet Anakin Skywalker(Jake Lloyd), who races for his freedom to become a Jedi. Afterwards, they come in conflict with Darth Maul(Ray Park)(aka Boba Fett of the prequels) and are re-introduced to the Sith, who follow them back to Naboo. On Naboo, they take on an invasion, Qui Gon gets killed, Obi Wan kills Maul, Anakin flies and yells WHOA, they get medals(because forced first movie parallels) and the movie ends about five minutes too late.
Let's talk about that ending and how it ends five minutes to late. When they are burning Qui Gon Jinn's corpse, the Jedi are discussing the Sith. They mention how there are always just two members, the leader and the apprentice. So which one was Darth Maul, the leader or the apprentice? This is probably one of my favorite parts as they pan the camera to Palpatine, who's actually Darth Sidious/Emperor in future(or umm...past?)films. This wouldve been a great point to end it, show Palpatine's face and BOOM credits, foreshadowing the future events of the series. However, much like the rest of the film(and prequels)they felt they needed to force more. Instead of ending it at the close up of Palpatine, they decide to conclude with a celebration. Medals are given to Anakin and Obi Wan, along with Jar Jar Binks(more on him later)for their great work. As stated before, this is so the prequels can run parallel with the original trilogy. Overall, I actually REALLY liked this idea most about the prequel films, but in this instance, it wasnt needed. Also, the way characters were introduced either felt forced or insipid. For instance, Anakin is the one who created C3PO, what? Come on now, why is that necessary? R2D2 is the only droid that survives when trying to fix the ship Qui Gon and Obi Wan are escaping in, which by the way, the whole way they escaped, in the first place, could be considered deus ex machina itself. Oh, here's how Jake Lloyd introduces himself, "Im a person and my name is Anakin." Also, when Anakin meets Obi Wan for the first time, you'd think there'd be some sort of cool connection there, nope. In fact, at the end of the movie, it feels like Obi Wan only accepts training him because it was Qui Gon's final wish.
I just realized something; in the originals, Luke, Han and Chewbacca are the one given the awards. This means, if the parallels are true, Jar Jar Binks was supposed to be the Chewy of the prequels, but ended up being the Ewoks instead. Oh God, George Lucas, why? Jar Jar Binks annoyed the hell out of me, but he's actually one of the smaller annoyances of the movie. The writing is weak and most of the time contradicts itself. Like, in the beginning, the Trade Federation's leader releases a deadly gas into the room the jedi are in. Outside of the room, he explains why no one should be able to survive that and they should be dead by now. He follows this statement by commanding them to open the door and finish them off. Why would you need to finish off people that are already "dead"? Also, what the hell is the point of a force field if robots can walk right through it? Want to be a jedi? Nothing actually matters except having midichlorians in your blood. What are midichlorians you ask? They're pretty much the nanomachines of the Star Wars prequels.
Speaking of that, there's a HUGE missed opportunity here(actually if you read part of the Revenge of the Sith review later on, a hint shows it might not have been missed afterall)! While speaking with Anakin's mother, Qui Gon asks about his father; this is when Anakin's mother tells him he had no father, she carried him and gave birth to him. So, basically they're setting Anakin up as Jesus gone wrong. It wouldve been nice if, you know, the movie could've explained this further. It's a shame that this movie had so much talk yet said so little.
Phantom Menace couldve actually been an hour and a half shorter. Too much of this film was filled with malarkey. You feel like youre watching C-SPAN for an hour before remembering, "oh yeah this is a Star Wars film". Two hours of NO personality to anyone whatsoever; nothing but monotone dialogue, it was like listening to Jason Statham speak for a decade. This whole thing is Palpatine trying to gain power behind the scenes, but constantly, he says stuff that is the absolute worst way to do so. Back to those Jedi being killed and then finished off, because remember, Jedi must be finished off after they die; Palpatine tells the Trade Federation to kill them, why? He wants some treaties signed or something, I dont know. So how would you kill someone? I dont know perhaps sneak up on them, poison them without them knowing, etc. No....instead they alert them by destroying their ship and then try to kill them with some gas. Why would you do that? That makes no sense. Just do it sneakily and youre good. Im sorry Im all over the place, but I keep remembering the dumb occurrences. Why the hell would there be a blockade that cant block anything? How would a shield generator get destroyed if the shields are generated, wouldnt the shields be protecting the main thing that generated the shields? Why can Jedi run fast from shielded robots shooting at them, but cant run fast to save their master from getting killed by the bad guy, before getting blocked off by the red wall of death, that's there for no reason? Why is it that Jedi should never fear because that leads to anger, which leads to the dark side. THEN, Yoda, the JEDI OF JEDI keeps talking about he fears the training of Anakin Skywalker.
Let's move on though, I have other stuff to poop on. Like this kid...
Which reminds me of the biggest problem once again with this movie; most of the time it's the writing trying to force chemistry, instead of showing it(a huge problem in the prequels and this movie in particular). Every time Hayden speaks with Natalie, I feel it's more torture for them to speak to each other, more than it is torture for them to hold their feelings back. Oh wait! THEY DONT HOLD THEIR FEELINGS BACK! They have to describe every bit of feeling they supposedly have for each other, even though their body language displays otherwise. Instead of showing their love for one another they constantly have to tell you so much. Han and Leia grew together, at first they appeared to hate each other, but that was only to disguise their true feelings for each other. This is why once again, the prequels, although I like the idea of making them, "rhyme" so to speak, but the way they do it, is just weak, or forced. Also, this movie didnt learn one thing, and that's arguing with itself. Jedis arent allowed to love in the first place. How the hell does the Jedi order stay alive exactly? Oh yeah, maybe this is the reason they broke down in the first place, because of these stupid ideas. Who would want to be a Jedi anyway? They're more like a cult or monks or something.
The rest of the movie is awesome. I loved seeing the final conflict with Vader and Darth Sidious and HIMSELF. It isnt until he sees that his father's hand is cut off, like his, that he realizes the emperor is playing both of them. And Vader, a character whose face, in the prequels, you NEVER get to see; yet you can TELL the emotions inside him are raging when Sidious is trying to kill Luke. At that moment, he saves his son, sacrificing the armor/uniform that keeps him alive, possibly(with knowledge of midichlorians and sidious' control over them) the person keeping him alive too
As I said before, the movie is great, but my own personal ranking places it here. It was one of the hardest ratings I've had to do after the first two movies.
I give it an 8 out of 10.
Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
In it, the civil war is still going on, Obi Wan and Anakin are fighting Count Dooku to save the Palpatine. Afterwards, Palpatine insists Anakin be his head soldier in plans to turn him to the dark side. Eventually, Palpatine wins him over and they destroy the dark side and we get to see what turned Anakin Skywalker Jedi Knight, into Darth Vader Sith Lord.
Let's start with that right there, the way Palpatine patiently coerces Anakin to the dark side. He eases his worries about his thoughts from the get-go. Whenever Anakin brought up the Jedi, Palpatine was quick to shoot down the importance of the Jedi way. As a still young, immature person, Anakin was still very influential and angry. He felt that the Jedi were doing all of this intentionally, in spite of him. Palpatine knew that and took advantage, every chance he got. Palpatine is also powerful, sees the future and could probably read his thoughts, so he could play chess easily with Anakin's thoughts, knowing each move before it was made. This is why he takes him under his wing. To spend more time around him. Anakin looks up to Obi Wan, but throughout the movie you can see there's actually a lot of jealousy built up inside him, contrary to his accusations in the second film. Anakin also wants to be accepted by someone and felt like an outcast. So, Palpatine played to those emotions, portraying the father figure he yearned for. Or was it just playing?
Earlier in the Phantom Menace ranking, I talked about how Anakin was Jesus gone wrong and how he had no father and how that was a missed opportunity, well maybe it wasnt. Early on in the film, Anakin is having visions similar to the ones he had of his mother dying, of Padme dying instead. Like I mentioned earlier, Palpatine probably knows this and tells him a story. This is my favorite part in the movie that doesnt involve a saber fight. Palpatine tells a story about Darth Plagueis and how he was so powerful, he could save lives. He goes on to tell a story about how he had control of the midichlorians and that the midichlorians could create life. He then gives him this interesting look, with a smirk. Could Plagueis or Sidious be Anakin's father? Did they control the midichlorians in Anakin's mother to impregnate her? Just a thought. As Anakin's determination to protect those he loved took him over, he asks him if it was possible to learn this power. Palpatine responds with, "not by a Jedi"
The film made the quiet moments better and the conversations mattered. The fights were interesting as well. Obi Wan Kenobi vs the four saber-wielding General Grievous was fun and went somewhere. I was interested to see the fight, I actually wondered who was going to win, despite KNOWING Obi Wan obviously would. Of course, the final fight had some greatness too, as it should. There was some ridiculous choreography in there too though.
Hayden gave his best performance as Anakin and Darth Vader as well. Sure, he still wasnt the best actor, and there are times where his delivery was weak. There's a part that really shows off the weakness, towards the end where he gets angry at Obi Wan for turning Padme against him. It really came off as whining again and he did a GREAT job of avoiding that the whole movie. I could actually see the frustration building up inside him, he actually appeared to be an angry man gone insane once he finally turns to the dark side. Even when he isnt saying anything, I can tell the emotion he's feeling.
The writing, while not great, has definitely improved. There is only a hint of forced dialogue here and there. For instance, when Padme tells Anakin she's pregnant, they dont FILL it with unneeded crap, you can see the fear, then acceptance and finally happiness flow across their faces. The conversations between Palpatine and Anakin, like the one about Plagueis, have a point and foreshadow the movie later on.
Star Wars was an improvement over the other two movies in every way. Sure, it had its issues, but what I'm getting at is; Episode III made the best out of what it was given, to lead to the original trilogy.
Overall, the rating is still a bit lower than Episode VI though, 7 out of 10.
Next up is a pretty obvious one...
AND WHAT A BEGINNING IT IS!!! Look, people who see this for the first time now, might not truly appreciate what Star Wars did back in 1977. This especially holds true for if you wait until your 20s to see it, like myself. However, I know how to place myself in a state of mind that I was seeing this for the first time in the 70s. A lot of what Star Wars did was for the first time in cinema. If it wasnt the first time they did something, you better bet they revolutionized that aspect of film. It's why you see so many huge fans of the series to this day. It created a huge lore way more colossal than can be demonstrated in EVEN seven films now. Star Wars is now a huge universe, with a huge cult like following and "A New Hope" was what began it all.
Dont get me wrong, it has its own little issues, like any other movie. The dialogue still is goofy, here and there. Yet, most of all, there is a point to each scene and it transitions through the film smoothly. The character development is still some of the best Ive ever seen. Luke starts as some annoying little teenager complaining about power converters, to a young man trying to become a Jedi and using the force to defeat the Death Star and save everyone around him. Han Solo, one of my favorite characters, period, starts out as this selfish smuggler who is actually pretty much a douchebag. Then, he becomes one of the best allies to the resistance in aiding Luke, at the end. Leia grew more and more, showing she was way more than just some damsel in distress. She doesnt fall easily against the series' main villain, Darth Vader. After being saved, she's the one who helps them get out of being stuck in a dead end against the storm troopers, even though she kind of leads them to more trouble...and the Storm troopers wouldve never hit them.
To be honest, I guess I love being negative because I cant think of anything else to say about Star Wars that hasn't already been said. It's great, it will be remembered for years to come with the likes of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in Sci-Fi. Its influences arent just on the Star Wars fans, it's been on all of Hollywood. Every single action movie, especially ones like it, have something in it that was taken or learned from Star Wars: A New Hope. Not many movies have done much like it since.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10
As little as I can say about Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope, that's the opposite of the amount I can about....
Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Im going to try and keep this short...
Empire Strikes Back follows Luke, Leia and Han after they've helped the resistance destroy the Death Star. As the resistance finally seems to be gaining momentum, Darth Vader and the Emperor forge a plan to get Luke to join their side. Meanwhile, Luke searches for Yoda to go through his Jedi training. Leia and Han need repairs on the Millennium Falcon, so they visit their friend Lando(Billy Dee Williams). They learn it's a trap soon after, by the Empire, not for them, but for Luke to come save them and to be seduced to the dark side. Despite Yoda and Obi's spirit recommending otherwise, Luke decides to go and help his friends. This leads to a battle where Luke loses his right hand and finds out that Darth Vader is in fact, his father. Luke and Leia escape with Lando after Han is frozen and we are left waiting for RotJ to find out what happens.
Take everything good about A New Hope and multiply it by a thousand. Also, if there was something you didnt get from it, you probably did with ESB. One of the great likes of mine is that they included more light saber battles in it. The battles themselves weren't as crazy as the prequel trilogy, but that's a good thing. Luke was still learning the way of the force and it showed, it was supposed to show. Luke and Darth Vader go through a mental and physical battle and you wonder what's going to happen. Hell, if you watch the PT before this movie, you might even think, "Luke is about to turn to the dark side". You can see Vader's offers are getting to him. When he finally states he is his father, you can tell that if Luke doesnt jump there, Vader probably wins. In fact, the whole movie is pretty much about Luke's battle with the light and dark sides. While training him, Yoda tries to tell Luke what he should do, but Luke constantly gets frustrated and his fear/anger gets the best of him. The great scene is when he goes into the forest to challenge his inner demons and Darth Vader comes out. Luke beheads him and the mask comes off to reveals Luke's face. A great symbol and foreshadowing for the remainder of the film.
ESB does a great job of following different characters as well. Their stories all come together in the end, and there's a connection with every scene. Han and Leia are going through their own internal conflict, with their building love for one another. This doesnt appear to be as big as Luke's, and it's not, but you have to remember Han was once this selfish smuggler. A great example is when Darth Vader first shows up at Cloud City, Han takes no time ripping out his blaster and shooting at him. This shows his badassery and possibly his dedication to protecting everyone around him.
The film isnt short on memorable quotes either. There is the obvious one "Luke I am your father". Yet, there are many great ones coming from Yoda, to show how wise he is. My favorite was "Try not! Do or do not! There is no try" when Luke is attempting to pull the X-Wing from the swamp, but ultimately fails. Yoda is telling him to believe and stop making it harder on himself to do so. "Try" is fearing that he might not do it, and fear leads to the dark side. "Do or do not" is telling him to lose himself in the moment, enjoy himself and make it effortless, this will actually make it natural to the point he will be successful.
Also, for all the things that A New Hope did new, Empire took it to the next step. If we're to watch it now, once again, we wont appreciate it. ESB has the perfect mix of everything, it can be watched by adults, children, it doesnt matter. There isn't a cheap Jar Jar Binks or Ewok to try and attract children, but it has just enough glee and humor to keep them entertained, wanting to see more. The charm is there as well, but there is enough darkness, to keep it from becoming too kiddy. It keeps a sincere tone without taking itself too seriously. It has enough fun without making a joke of itself. Both of these factors really echoed into the casts' acting as well. The movie is close to, if not perfect.
A 10 out of 10
That's that, what's your ranking? Let me know
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