The one thing that makes The Phantom Menace such a stunning film is George Lucas pushed film making to a new level with the use of CGI. In fact Lucas did so throughout the entire Prequel Trilogy. The Phantom Menace had pressure on it from the very beginning, after all it was the film after the beloved Original Star Wars Trilogy. Still Lucas and company pulled it off nicely.
While The Phantom Menace is clunky in areas and some characters are not fully developed, the story offers perhaps the best of all the Star Wars films. The most interesting aspect of the film is that George Lucas used embargoes and blockades to set the stage for the birth of the galactic empire.
Also, Lucas gives us a look at a young Anakin Skywalker a child so innocent that it is hard to imagine the rage he would develop as he grew up. Obi-Wan Kenobi had been introduced in the Original Trilogy as an older, wiser Jedi. Alas, The Phantom Menace gives the audience a young Kenobi who is still learning the ways of the Jedi under his Master Qui-Gon Jinn.
The fun begins when we see Senator Palpatine, from Naboo. Palaptine was a member of the Republic Senate. Because “The dark side clouds everything,” (Yoda) Palpatine and his motives went undetected. Not to mention one small detail, Palpatine was secretly a Sith Lord.
The brilliance of The Phantom Menace is that Palpatine played both sides. He single handedly orchestrated the fall of the Republic Senate and later the Jedi Order. He then set up the Galactic Empire for his own reign and rulership.
Underwater cities, the senate chamber, a city with a beautiful waterfall are all part of the visually pleasing offerings from The Phantom Menace. The pod race is fantastic fun as well.
Groundbreaking and ahead of it’s time. George Lucas pushed film making to the next level with the use of computers. It was bashed by the Star Wars fan base at the time, but as time has passed The Phantom Menace has been embraced as it should be.
The saga continues tomorrow with a look at Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Let’s continue the journey then.