On Could 19, 1999, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace was last but not least released into the globe. Expectations for the movie were being astronomical. Right after all, this was Star Wars—the most fiercely beloved franchise of them all—and it was the very first Star Wars flick in 16 several years, a life time for diehard admirers to undertaking their hopes onto the substantially-anticipated prequel.

But George Lucas, by most accounts, created a colossal mess out of The Phantom Menace, leading to lovers to problem no matter if returning to Star Wars was a very good strategy. Monetarily, The Phantom Menace wasn’t a disaster—no film that helps make much more than a billion bucks at the box workplace is—but most folks, fans and critics alike, considered it a substantial disappointment.

The causes were manifold: The figures ended up vapid. The pacing was plodding. The plot was puzzling. The aliens were…kind of racist? The Jar Jar was Jar Jar. It took another 16 many years for The Pressure Awakens to get followers fired up about Star Wars once more.

But 20 yrs afterwards, does Phantom Menace are entitled to to continue being this kind of a cinematic punchline? I searched out for an neutral judge to determined no matter if, in truth The Phantom Menace was definitely that poor. I desired to locate that uncommon unicorn who someway, immediately after more than 40 many years, had in no way viewed a Star Wars movie.

Luckily, I was married to one.

What follows is my conversation with my wife, Lauren, before the movie commenced, a number of offers all through unique scenes, and our article-screening dialogue in which she determines, after and for all, irrespective of whether or not The Phantom Menace is basically very good.

A Pre-Screening Dialogue About Star Wars


Andrew: Just before we start, what do you assume Star Wars is about?

Lauren: I consider they’re hoping to defeat Darth Vader. The plot is that Darth Vader wants to get above some universe. Is it Earth? I really do not know. And the very good persons in Star Wars want to end him from carrying out that. I know Darth Vader has troopers.

And what are they named?

Room Cadets? They ride all-around in a spaceship.

What is that spaceship known as?

The Force?

Consider to identify as numerous things from the Star Wars universe as you can. The Force is one particular of them. It isn’t a spaceship.

I know they use laser beams.

Absolutely sure. What are those people identified as?

Jedi Swords?

I like that a whole lot better, essentially.

They buzz, ideal? Aren’t they known as Laser Beams?

Consider the future 60 seconds to identify as lots of Star Wars figures as you can.

Darth Vader. Princess Leia. Jar Jar Binks. Yoda. The Jedis. Luke … anything? What’s that robotic? R2D2? Chewbacca. That could possibly be it.

Honestly, that is superior than I assumed you have been heading to do.

Oh wait, the Stormtroopers!

You necessarily mean the Room Cadets.

Yeah, them! Now I bear in mind.

Why do you believe men and women have been so obsessed with Star Wars for 40-additionally several years?

Since it possibly reminds them of their childhood. And it has to be rather of an intriguing story, normally folks would not like it.

Can you title any of the episodes other than the a person we’re about to look at?

Return of the Jedi. I know that 1. And is there one referred to as Missing in House?

There is not. Do you know anything about The Phantom Menace?

I know there’s Darth Vader and Chewbacca and all the other people today I stated.

Oh boy.

And Darth Vader is the Menace.

So what do you consider this motion picture is going to be about?

Darth Vader. Perhaps they never know him nonetheless. Probably it’s like Tom Riddle in Harry Potter, exactly where they really do not really know he’s likely to be Darth Vader.

A Few Quotes During The Phantom Menace Screening



Lauren, a single 2nd into Jar Jar Binks’ initial overall look: “What the f**k?”

10 seconds into Jar Jar Binks’ very first visual appearance: “Is he supposed to seem like that?”

20 seconds into Jar Jar Binks’ 1st physical appearance: “Is he meant to be a joke?”

30 seconds into Jar Jar Binks’ to start with visual appearance: “Is this how all the motion pictures are?”

Five minutes into the Pod Race, after I expose Anakin’s foreseeable future identity: “Oh, that tiny kid is Darth Vader? That’s sad.”

On Jabba the Hutt’s initially visual appeal for the duration of the Pod Race: “Is that Yoda?”

Ten minutes into the Pod Race: “How a great deal time are they likely to devote on this race?”

Close to End of the Pod Race: “This is the longest f*****g race ever.”

A Submit-Screening Dialogue



So what did you consider?

It was alright. I’d give it a 5 out of 10, I guess. It was … cuter than I was anticipating? Like a Disney movie. I actually thought it was heading to be additional significant. I appreciated seeing the unique planets, even though. And I considered the race matter was neat at very first, but then it went on for good, and I could not believe we have been actually even now seeing this race an hour later on.

Jar Jar: Views?

Ugh. I have no strategy what they were being imagining. Like, was he a joke?

He was actual. Did you typically fully grasp what was heading on?

Not really, no. I want I understood all the trade things.

Yeah. So do I. Who was your beloved character?

I preferred the robot. CP3?

C-3PO? He’s scarcely in it!

I liked him, though! He’s humorous.



How invested were you in the Anakin tale?

I guess it was appealing, but that child was a seriously awful actor.

Why do you assume so lots of folks hate this movie?

For the reason that it is baffling, and the race was an hour prolonged, and the enhancing felt really choppy. It was just all in excess of the area. Actually, I was shut to slipping asleep in the vicinity of the conclusion.

Did you feel everything when Liam Neeson died?

That was Liam Neeson?

It was.

Not really.

What about Darth Maul? He was very amazing, ideal?

Yeah, but he was hardly in it. He just showed up a couple times and then he died. I was like, okay?

So immediately after seeing The Phantom Menace for two several hours, did it stand on your own as a worthwhile motion picture, or did you come to feel like you necessary to find out a great deal a lot more?

No, I’d absolutely will need to watch the rest to understand this just one. I guess I’ll read about it.

But at least you are intrigued. Want to check out the rest of them?

I just want to go to mattress.

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