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The Definitive Evisceration of The Phantom Menace *NSFW*

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the meesa-completely-agree dept.

629

cowmix writes "When TPM came out ten years ago, its utter crappiness shocked me to the core and wounded a entire generation of geeks. My inner child had been abused and betrayed. I moped around, talking to no one, for almost two weeks. I couldn't bring myself to see #2 or #3, whatever they were called. Now, a decade later, comes Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review, the ultimate, seven-part, seventy minute analysis of this mother of all train wrecks. Not only does it nail how the film blows, but tells us why. Time, apparently, does not heal all wounds." Or, if you prefer all 7 parts embedded in one page, you can check out slashfilm's aggregation.

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629 comments

Why a decade later (3, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514800)

It probably took 10 years to do all of this.

I didn't think The Phantom Menace was all that bad then, but now he's pointed out all the flaws in humorous manner.

Re:Why a decade later (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514996)

The Phantom Menace could have been fixed by 3 things...

Older Skywalker (Lets get him in his late teens)
No JarJar and/or no C3PO and R2D2 (way to many comedy characters)
No Pod-Racing... 20 minutes about 1/3 of the movie about nothing.

Re:Why a decade later (3, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515084)

I think JarJar could have been cool if he wasn't a complete klutz and was able to fight with capoeira, he could have kept his annoying traits and been a badass, and then everyone would have just thought well he's an alien.

Re:Why a decade later (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515326)

Those three points violate rule #1 of sci-fi action for kids - Marketability outweighs quality.

Older Skywalker (Lets get him in his late teens)

Younger kids identify more and are responsible (indirectly) for many more toy sales.

No JarJar and/or no C3PO and R2D2 (way to many comedy characters)

Action figures.

No Pod-Racing... 20 minutes about 1/3 of the movie about nothing.

Video games.

Re:Why a decade later (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515466)

I know it's old, old news by now, but if you haven't already check out The Phantom Edit [wikipedia.org] . It made some great headway in making TPM watchable, boosting it from unwatchably atrocious to plain old Vanilla Bad. It doesn't address all of your issues, but did a great job in rectifying the biggies.

Re:Why a decade later (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515404)

Why even post this shit? Some guy tries to be funny and relevant on YouTube, a bunch of /. nerds start jacking off to his 70-minute rant and now the guy is all over the Internet in under a day. At the very least, this shit belongs on idle, not the main page...

C'mon now... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514824)

My inner child had been abused and betrayed

Kind of like when the story submitter found out that the guy who had been boning him hard and fast while wearing a sombrero was really his step-dad?

Demo Reel (3, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514828)

I thought it was awesome at first, because it seemed to just be a demo reel for SGI and Alias|WaveFront. Then I realized that it was a "real" movie, and that it was supposed to be Star Wars... then I realized how bad it was. Apparently so did the rest of the world, and they seem to have taken it out on SGI. Poor SGI... it wasn't their fault!

Re:Demo Reel (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515096)

The real problem is that George Lucas wrote it. As a generic sort of idea man, Lucas is great, but the more involved he is in the film, the worse it gets. The reason The Empire Strikes Back is probably the best of the bunch is because Lucas was at his most distant from the whole process.

Frankly, the prequels were a letdown. Episode III is clearly the best, but that's pretty relative. It still sucks a lot more than even the most dismal of the original trilogy; Episode VI, but compared to TPM and Attack of the Clones (I mean, that really is a retarded name), it's a brilliant film.

Lucas seems to have a hard time building any kind of dramatic tension. In place of a decent script and dialogue, he puts in ever more insanely huge spectacles. In Episode III, for instance, instead of a battle between Anakin and Obiwan around a lava crater (as was originally expounded in the book for Episode IV, Lucas, who seems incapable of writing the kind of chilling dialogue that would go on between a former master and pupil and friend, replaces it with a WHOLE MOLTEN PLANET. I mean, it's eyecandy to be sure, but every time I watch those scenes, I feel like I was robbed of what could have been an extraordinarily dramatic moment.

TPM lacks any kind of useful dramatic device. It holds the worst aspects of Lucas's filmmaking, with little or nothing of some of the better aspects of the franchise.

Re:Demo Reel (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515228)

I was so digusted with Ep. 2 that I never did get around to watching Ep. 3.

But you're exactly right. Lucas should have stuck with just coming up with ideas and visuals of these alien worlds and ships, and that's it, and left the storywriting to people who are actually talented at that. That's why ESB was so great: it was written by a professional sci-fi author, not Lucas. Any time Lucas writes dialog, it's beyond terrible. But his ego is so huge that he refuses to admit it, and insists on doing it himself.

Re:Demo Reel (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515514)

Episode V had some great dialogue. The Yoda sequences gave us all the mystic mumbo jumbo of Episode IV, but with more Zen-like conviction and less being pure corny. The fight between Vader and Luke, and the ultimate revelation of Vader's identity was a moment of extraordinary drama that surely stands as one of the great moments in cinema history.

The whole film has a kind of tension to it that none of the other films had. It was a character driven film. The special effects don't play as a big a role. You'll note a lot of the action in this film takes place in claustrophobic places; ice tunnels on Hoth, Bespin interiors, Star Destroyer interiors, Dagobah (which is so murky it might as well be a closed interior), the interior of the worm creature/asteroid. This means the camera is concentrating less on eyecandy and more on the characters, and requires a lot more dialogue and interaction between characters.

Re:Demo Reel (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515272)

As a generic sort of idea man, Lucas is great

Lucas is great at coming up with stories; his stuff, even the stuff that doesn't come out that well, tends to be interesting and creative. The problem is he's not that great a screenwriter. If the basic story in TPM had been told and directed and acted well, it could have come out really well.

In contrast there are movies that just cannot be saved from the lousy story by good screenwriting, acting and directing.

Re:Demo Reel (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515352)

Apparently so did the rest of the world, and they seem to have taken it out on SGI. Poor SGI... it wasn't their fault!

SGI didn't fall from glory because of a three-coiled Lucas-branded turd. It failed because it made repeated strategic mistakes in the market. When 3D hit the desktop, they sat there watching people build clusters out of gaming consoles and making boards out of commodity components -- management was convinced it wasn't a threat. Then they made several attempts to change platforms to various Intel chips, and released Linux workstations. People didn't take them seriously after that (Yes, I am saying on slashdot that using Linux was a strategic mistake). They were nearly dead, delisted from the NYC, shareholders demanding they fold -- when they finally reversed course, hired a crisis team, and assessed the damage. But it was too late -- the economy didn't allow for a recovery, and the vulnerable shell of SGI was bought out, and its brand identity assumed by a company specializing in rackmount servers.

SGI died because management lost focus, got complacent, and fried like an egg in a frying pan in the recession. Besides, Hollywood was never SGI's main market -- it was the government and scientific institutions. For every CG animation you see, there's ten weather modeling simulations, and other massively-parallel graphic-intensive processes.

Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (0, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514846)

So from watching the first part, the guy raises some good points. And we've all ripped apart Episode One because it's so easy. Some of the points he raises are the fact that we can't identify with anyone and therefore any character that's supposed to be the protagonist fails at being a protagonist. He also points out that George Lucas doesn't have big enough genitals and intelligence as a director to be straying from this standard model. On top of that, it's George Lucas which we can all safely assume there was no second guessing King Midas on set or off set. These are problems. The other thing addressed in part one of this series is that the characters are by and large featureless in the prequel while anyone can talk for two hours about Han Solo's character. Good luck describing Qui Gon.

Now that said, I wish the voice acting for this review had been better. Or at least normal. The guy intentionally mispronounces everything. It was funny the first time but after a bit he just comes off as a one trick pony looking for a half million views on YouTube (well done, by the way). The pitch inflections actually recall me to a sort of idiot valley girl a la Alicia Silverstone. I think if the effort had been more serious he might have gotten a message out to Lucas and maybe even Hollywood but he needs to put his own humor on it so that's his choice. Now, this isn't the MST3K style of ripping apart a movie, it's deeper than that and I just wish it had been presented in a serious manner. Yes, you can still be funny when you're being serious, that's what makes great teachers, speakers and orators.

One important caveat that this review overlooks is that many of his criticisms center on complexities and different approaches that Lucas took (before that he wanted to take different approaches when he asked Lynch to direct RotJ [cinemablend.com] ). Just because Lucas screwed it up doesn't make these things bad. Lucas gambled and he lost. He lost everything. He made something different but he wasn't good enough at what he did to ensure that it was still great. In software development, you generally start with the basics and master them before you begin an epic endeavor into parts unknown.

Lucas made bad choices and failed. If you need to relinquish another seventy minutes of your life to this failure. Watch this series. The odds are you already know all of this.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514906)

while anyone can talk for two hours about Han Solo's character

Without repeating the same stuff over and over? I find that hard to imagine. How about you give us 500 words on the subject?

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (2, Informative)

Jethro (14165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515004)

Yeah, that's what I came here to say. Guy makes some good points (that, face it, aren't new) but tries way too hard to be funny. That 'voice' was way too annoying.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (-1, Flamebait)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515076)

Sounds like you're stuck up. I'm sure the doctor can help you get out what ever it is that is stuck up your anal cavity.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515368)

Fortunately, the guy who made the review doesn't have any such ailment, given he already pulled his sense of humor out of the same cavity.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (1, Insightful)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515128)

So from watching the first part,

So you didn't watch the whole thing?? Your three paragraph diatraibe is rather wothless if you didn't watch the whole thing. The guy does know a thing or two about making film, and what makes this review funny isn't just ripping apart The Phantom Menace (which in itself isn't hard to do), but the way he does it and the way it is revealed there is something else about the reviewer. While this review makes some serious points pulling apart TPM, it is not a serious review itself.
How about you watch the whole thing and then start your diatribe?

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (3, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515152)

Seriously. The review itself has more character development, plot, intrigue, etc than TPM itself. Thought I found the ST: Generations review to be a lot funnier, esp. the parts that show the shortcuts and incongruities with the series.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515296)

How about you watch the whole thing and then start your diatribe?

I thought I made it pretty clear that if you want me to watch an hour and ten minute critique of a two hour and thirteen minute movie, you had better do a better job than what I saw in the first ten minutes. Nothing groundbreaking was presented to me in the first ten minutes and on top of that I was getting pretty annoyed with the guy's intonation. All I'm saying is that it's not my cup of tea. If you found something worthy of note in part whatever that you think is brilliant, let's hear it.

But who is he and what has he done to contribute to modern cinema? He sure speaks like everyone's a fucking moron for not seeing all the problems with The Phantom Menace. Yet I could have presented films where the exact techniques he criticizes actually work. He himself shows some of these movies, why did it work in the Usual Suspects but not The Phantom Menace to leave the enemy confusingly hidden the whole time? "Because TPM is for kids" does not suffice. If I give you seventy minutes of my life, I expect a comprehensive analysis. I stand by my statements and will not devote any more time to this review.

We all know Lucas is no stranger to screwing with his old work. Maybe now, a decade later, he'll hack apart something that should be hacked apart and rework TPM to have a five minute pod racing scene, no Jar Jar Binks and a whole lot more interesting development? I think there are some good things in TPM but the bad things just overshadow anything worth watching.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515204)

The pitch inflections actually recall me to a sort of idiot valley girl a la Alicia Silverstone.

Actually, I think he's going for Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, with a bit of Ed Gein thrown in. It's a bit that did not work for you, apparently, but that keeps it from being too Comic Book Guy. If that's what you want I'm sure there are hundreds such out there. Once I spun up with it I liked this review. Chacun à son goût.
He also has multi-part reviews of all of the TNG-cast Star Trek films (yes, in the same character), even more brutal than the Ep I takedown. Good stuff.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (1)

CeramicNuts (265664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515210)

I think his review is brilliant, both delivery and content. Even the editing is funny. Haven't laughed so hard in a long time... His Star Trek movie reviews are great too.

What's wrong with your face?!?

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (2, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515220)

Lucas gambled and he lost. He lost everything.

This is where I have to disagree. He went on to make 2 more movies, and their associated toys, video games, books, etc. He went on to make a stupid amount of money. While the person who created this entire thread said he didn't see the last two movies (and I doubt this very much) most people, even the ones who complained about TPM, did. We went to the theatres, we saw the movies, and cheered during the movie. After the movie we became the typical fanboys who tried to equate the last three movies to something from our childhood.

Right there that is the equivelant of what I did to myself by watching Transformers cartoon (the original cartoon) when I was 30 years old. I f'd up my memory. Back when I was 8 y/o Transformers was top notch graphics...now it is like reading a comic book - except not drawn as well. Same thing with these movies; we are trying to compare what our childhood memories (fantasies) represent and compare it to this -- it ain't going to fly.

Anyhow - many of us have gone to see movies for their graphics and not their stories (avatar anyone)

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515244)

Now that said, I wish the voice acting for this review had been better. Or at least normal. The guy intentionally mispronounces everything. It was funny the first time but after a bit he just comes off as a one trick pony looking for a half million views on YouTube (well done, by the way). The pitch inflections actually recall me to a sort of idiot valley girl a la Alicia Silverstone. I think if the effort had been more serious he might have gotten a message out to Lucas and maybe even Hollywood but he needs to put his own humor on it so that's his choice.

Sense of humour failure, methinks.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (1)

zwede (1478355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515276)

Good luck describing Qui Gon.

Who? Oh, wait... good point.

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515282)

This and more. This guy's voice makes me want to blow my brains out and i don't give a fuck how spot on his points are, this is 10 years too late. Who the fuck doesn't know all this stuff already if you actually care about TPM in any sense at all? Phantom has been torn to shreds over the last decade and this guy isn't bringing anything original to the table except his shitty jokes. If you need 70 minutes to dissect why TPM "is a bad movie", you're doing it wrong. It isnt that complicated. TPM isnt the worst movie ever made. I've paid money to see worse. I'm not even sure that its the worst star wars movie ever made. I think there are failures in ATOC and RotS that are much bigger, simply because more of the film hangs on those moments (like the anakin/padme 'romance'). Regardless, I cant understand why this is lighting the internet on fire. Some guy spends 70 minutes talking like a retard and repeating film 101 bullet points and he's a fucking comedy genius?

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (5, Insightful)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515380)

One important caveat that this review overlooks is that many of his criticisms center on complexities and different approaches that Lucas took (before that he wanted to take different approaches when he asked Lynch to direct RotJ).

I don't know what this sentence is supposed to mean, exactly.

Just because Lucas screwed it up doesn't make these things bad.

Well, yes it does. The Phantom Menace is bad because Lucas screwed up. And the critic does explicitly address the fact that it is not just Lucas's fault, but the fault of the editors, producers, screenwriters, and everyone else who were sycophants instead of creative partners willing to say no and challenge Lucas when he screwed up.

Lucas gambled and he lost. He lost everything.

Lucas didn't gamble anything. And he sure as frak hasn't "lost everything". He's still in the top 25 of Forbes Celebrity 100. He pulled in $170 million last year and has an estimated net worth of around $3 billion (that's three-fraking-BILLION-with-a-"B").

In software development, you generally start with the basics and master them before you begin an epic endeavor into parts unknown.

How did this vacuous comment make it to +5?

Re:Good Material But Lengthy and Bad Delivery (2, Interesting)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515384)

"So from watching the first part, the guy raises some good points."

This is Slashdot and it's unreasonable of people to criticise you for not watching the TFV. They're obviously still on web 1.0 and obsessed with not reading TFA without extending standard /. protocols to FVs.

I'm on part 3 and it seems to be going the same way as TPM. It started well with a good pace and a plot that expounds some interesting details. Shame as he was onto something pretty good at the beginning but by the middle of part 3 I kept saying, "Well, I can't really agree with that". For example, it doesn't seem implausible, in story terms, that a corrupt trade regulation body would be carrying out an embargo for self serving reasons.

It's a shame that he couldn't have taken his own advice and edited out some of his crappier ideas.

Yeah, I was disappointed that Ep1 was a kids movie too. Most adults who grew up with the original trilogy were. But it could have been much worse and it does expand the SW universe with some interesting new details.

Anyway. Onwards...

If that's what it means to be a geek... (5, Insightful)

RedK (112790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514862)

Seriously, if a Movie wounded your inner child and destroyed your hopes and dreams, you had a very sad life. Most normal Star Wars fan just didn't watch the movie again and that's it. Personally, it was the 3rd movie that turned me off completely. Anakin's turn to the darkside felt so rushed and didn't seem to work with the character at all (one minute he's a goodie 2 shoes that's going to turn Sidius in, 30 seconds later he's bowing to his new master... wtf ?).

Re:If that's what it means to be a geek... (2, Insightful)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514922)

Seriously, if a Movie wounded your inner child and destroyed your hopes and dreams, you had a very sad life. Most normal Star Wars fan just didn't watch the movie again and that's it. Personally, it was the 3rd movie that turned me off completely. Anakin's turn to the darkside felt so rushed and didn't seem to work with the character at all (one minute he's a goodie 2 shoes that's going to turn Sidius in, 30 seconds later he's bowing to his new master... wtf ?).

Do not underestimate the power of the Dark Side.

Different Audience (2, Insightful)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514864)

Sure, TPM was lame when compared to the original Star Wars trilogy, but it was never meant to please the audience of the original films. Its primary target was the little kids... progeny of the original audience. Agreed, Lucas could have achieved this with a film of the caliber of the originals, but I suspect that at that point he didn't really care to go to the effort.

Re:Different Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514920)

As a kid in the early 90s I loved the original trilogy. From my PoV, there was no need to simplify the method further for children.

When I watched the full seven parts a few days ago I thought the first three parts (or there about) had the most professional critiques of TPM while the following four dug into what was systematically wrong with how Lucas made it. I agreed with nearly everything the narrator points out and am among the many who thinks the series would have been better off if the new three were never filmed.

Re:Different Audience (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514990)

The original films aren't all that good. They are enjoyable and have some outstanding moments, but they aren't 'of a caliber'.

Re:Different Audience (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515504)

"Of a caliber" is a statement of comparison. Neither Ladas nor Yugos are good cars, but you can still say that Yugos were not of the same caliber as a Lada, because a Lada is crappy but better.

Lucas made the best film Lucas could make (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515310)

TPM was lame when compared to the original Star Wars trilogy

While I would agree with most people that TPM wasn't as strong as the first three films, I often wonder what sort of movie Lucas would have to have made to appease the fanboi masses. After all, the 'holy trinity' was a cornerstone of growing up for many and its awful hard to compete with deeply ingrained nostalgia and twenty years of anticipation.

Could TPM been better? Sure. Could TPM been what everyone imagined? I don't know, its awful hard to compete with childhood memories...

Re:Lucas made the best film Lucas could make (3, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515432)

People keep saying this, and I really don't agree. The prequels could have been good movies (not necessarily great, but at least good, on par with the originals which were also not great), had Lucas simply relinquished the script-writing and directorial duties to some talented people. With a movie with that kind of budget, it shouldn't have been hard to find some good writers and a director to take these roles. Lucas could have instead stuck with being "creative director" or somesuch, and come up with ideas and drawings for aliens and ships and such, which is what he's actually good at. Instead, Lucas with his giant ego insisted on doing it all himself, and it came out as a steaming pile of shit.

If he had done this, we'd have had some decent movies at least, and while some people would certainly have complained, it wouldn't be anywhere near what we see now with just about everyone over the age of 13 saying these movies suck ass.

Re:Different Audience (5, Insightful)

Captain Fallout (704318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515350)

Sure, TPM was lame when compared to the original Star Wars trilogy, but it was never meant to please the audience of the original films. Its primary target was the little kids... progeny of the original audience.

That point is addressed in one of the later clips. If this movie is made for little kids, then why make it so complicated in regards to trade disputes, political arguments in the galactic senate and the machinations of someone trying to take power.

Re:Different Audience (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515444)

Star Wars was for children because it was about a teenage hero who teamed up with a mysterious old wizard and a swarthy space pirate to rescue a princess, battle an evil knight dressed in black armor, and destroy the Death Star.

TPM was for children because it was about galactic teamsters strike negotiations, interspersed with with CSPAN footage of a senate sub-committee debate on interplanetary tariffs. If the Jedi don't foil Senator Palpatine's evil plan in time, he will be elected to a Senate sub-committee chair! The video game probably expands on this theme by including lots of exciting amendments and cloture votes, because kids love that stuff.

Who was the target audience? (1)

beetle496 (677137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515518)

> Its primary target was the little kids

As the review points out rather humorously, films targeted to children give dialogs on tariffs less screen time! Lucas' target audience was fanbois. From a financial perspective, he was successful. Money and feeding his ego are his only motivation. Lucas gives lip service to artistic vision, but he is not credible when making such claims.

It was impossible (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514874)

To listen to this review for more than two minutes.

I was hoping that the monotonous and almost comically distorted voice-over was somehow a parody, but then it kept going on and on and on...

My advice is to take the hot potato out of your mouth on the next film.

Agreed... (2, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515280)

I was hoping that the monotonous and almost comically distorted voice-over was somehow a parody, but then it kept going on and on and on...

I'd like to hear what he had to say, but I just couldn't stand listening to that voice.. it sounded like he was trying to do an impression of Joe Lieberman doing an impression of Jar Jar's leader.

Han shot first! (3, Insightful)

burtosis (1124179) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514886)

IMHO the decline into craptacularism and lowered expectations started with the re-release of an otherwise good film.

I beg to differ (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514900)

seventy minute analysis of this mother of all train wrecks.

You seem to have forgotten about the Star Wars Christmas special. The review its self is just too long... 70 minutes of video to review a 10 year old movie is a bit much.

Re:I beg to differ (4, Funny)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515262)

Remember, remember the 17th November,
The Holiday Special and plot,
I see no reason
The Star Wars Life Day treason
Should ever be forgot.

I actually liked TPM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514916)

1) The Pod Race is really cool over a six pack.
2) The Gungan fight is awesome.

Who cares about the rest?

Jar^2 (4, Insightful)

TBoon (1381891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514918)

Jar Jar wouldn't have been so bad, if he had gotten way less screen time. Sure he's a "breakthrough in technology"...hmmm... actually that seems to summarize everything wrong with that movie... It's there because it's possible (and/or have never been done before), not because the story needs it to be there...

Re:Jar^2 (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515274)

Interesting that this reviewer barely mentioned Jar Jar. I expected him to really launch into him. Showed him in a couple of scenes, and called him a 'rabbit' but beyond that, I guess the reviewer figured, "too easy".

Re:Jar^2 (0, Flamebait)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515418)

Mod me to heck, but Jar Jar made me chuckle. The forced worked through (channeled) his clumsiness, which is a rarely-used plot device, making it refreshing. Sure, Shaggy and Scooby "solved" crimes by clumsiness, but it was just lucky accidents (as far as the audience knows), not supernatural assistance.

It kind of reminds me of speculation that the future is saving itself from the LHC by making a bird poop on just the right spot. [tripod.com] And the fact that those around Binks seem to mostly ignore his clumsiness makes it even more funny. They may waver an eyebrow or two, but otherwise go about their business with a serious face.
 

Character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514930)

In the first couple installments, he attacks the lack of real characters in the prequels. However, while the people in the video stare blankly when asked about Amidala, my wife was able to give some legitimate answers (devoted to her people, proactive, not willing to sit around, wants to be in the action). So some of it is strawman. But for the most part, dead on. And hilarious.

Did she mention Stupid? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514998)

If she's so proactive why did she call for the no confidence vote so quickly, and then rush back to the planet with no plan 10 minutes later?

Stupid and quick on the draw. A hotter version of George W. Bush??

A lot of these characters are STUPID, but I don't think that's a good enough description for a redeeming movie.

SWHS? (0)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514940)

I still haven't seen the Holiday Special, but I've heard from a very reliable source that it is so terrible that there are no words in any language on Earth that sufficiently describe it.

Re:SWHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515088)

I still haven't seen the Holiday Special, but I've heard from a very reliable source that it is so terrible that there are no words in any language on Earth that sufficiently describe it.

Actually all the salient details can be summarised by "Chewy has a son called Lumpy".

Re:SWHS? (3, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515150)

It was terrible, but it wasn't even the worst Christmas special that year! That distinction goes to Shields and Yarnell at Disneyworld. Mimes, for God's sake!

      Brett

Re:SWHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515182)

As a fan of star wars you should nevertheless try to get a hand on it .... the kitchen scene reminds me of a futurama episode (which seems to cite that part of swhs imho) where bender watches a cooking show and tries to cook a dinner for his friends ....

on the other side, hearing the wookie "language" for nearly 90 minutes with only a few interruptions when luke talks .... *shudder* i don't want to remember that

Re:SWHS? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515208)

I honestly couldn't bring myself to watch the whole thing. I've yet to speak to a die hard Star Wars fan who has watched the whole thing. It really is that bad.

Re:SWHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515366)

I sat through the whole Holiday special, which turns out is actually a Thanksgiving special. I kept thinking something worthwhile was going to happen, then Leia started to sing....Its on google video, the best parts are the vintage ads!

It's actually a pity ... (5, Funny)

tonk (101504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514948)

... that after Return of the Jedi, no more Star Wars movies were ever made.

Re:It's actually a pity ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515060)

Even ROTJ was showing major cracks compared with the previous two.
 
It's funny, though, that the author mentions not seeing #2 and #3 as I shared that reaction, but it seems like pretty much every one else was like "Oh, this is shit.... Let's go pay $11 to watch the next one!" I could understand that attitude among the general populace (e.g., Transformers 2, Fast and Furious Ad Nauseum, etc.), but geeks are supposed to be pickier and smarter than that.

Re:It's actually a pity ... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515246)

The thing is that, for a lot of us, Star Wars holds a rather special and pre-emptive place in our imaginations. I was five years old when Episode IV came out, and it defined a lot of my childhood. We hard Star Wars figures, fought endless light saber battles with sticks or vacuum cleaner extenders, lusted over the Millenium Falcon model or friends had. In a way, Lucas has us by the scrotum.

But my tolerance ended with The Clone Wars. When I saw the previews and saw the horrible animation, and realized the thing was just a tie-in to a kids cartoon and even more merchandising, that was it. I lost all interest. The Ewoks and Jar-Jar were managable attrocities, but this was just pure shit.

Re:It's actually a pity ... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515390)

Actually, in comparison to the prequel trilogy (at least I & II), the Clone Wars cartoons are actually... surprisingly decent.

Re:It's actually a pity ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515412)

... that after the Emire Stirkes Back, no more Star Wars movies were ever made.

Fixed that for you. I can't believe you're actually putting the awful Rancor monster, Sarlac pit, and the Ewoks over JarJar and a whiny little brat. Imho, Ep1 was better than Ep6 (and I'm not saying Ep6 was a bad movie).

Granted all of the new movies each had at least three gratuitous video game scenes, but overall the prequels were still some of the best scifi+action+adventure movies of the last decade. They're certainly better than the Harry Potter series. And granted, there were much better scifi movies (e.g. Donnie Darko and Serenity), and much better adventure movies (e.g. Gladiator, LotR), and I don't think the prequels are even in the top 50 of the decade, but they're still good movies. I suspect people only rate Ep6 higher because of our nostalgia for the original cast, because after having watched them all on DVD I promise you the prequels are better than Ep6.

The real problem is: we all grew up over the past 2-3 decades and forgot how to appreciate the genre. That and we had such high expectations for what the movies could have been that we felt personal injury when they weren't top 20 of all time movies.

Box Office (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514978)

Of course this doesn't directly correlate to the "crappiness" of the movie, but Phantom Menace did just shy of $1 billion in worldwide sales, and it is currently the #10 top grossing movie of all time (placing just below LOTR-TTT). It was the #2 top grossing film of all time until the first Harry Potter movie came out in 2001.

Regardless of the hype, or the previous success of a franchise, a movie cannot be so popular without being liked or enjoyable to at least a very significant portion of the population. That seems to go against TFA's opening line of "Chances are you probably didn’t like Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace."

Could Episode 1 have been better? Absolutely, in so many ways. But it was an incontrovertible success on many levels too. For me personally, various aspects of the movie was too childish (for starters).

oh zing mr. lucas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30514984)

Welcome to Last Week, Slashdot.

Also much nerd rage and neckbeardery going on for a ten year old film. Where is the pundit who will excoriate and denigrate Citizen Kane on the YouTubes?

I was more disappointed by Return of the Jedi (3, Insightful)

bunuel (1061042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30514992)

I think Return of the Jedi was a more disappointing movie. The change in tone in this from Empire was more drastic than the change between this and the prequels.

Don't look now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515006)

All of the films sucked.

Just, as a child, you saw the film *once*, then bought the toys, and had a ton of fun playing with the toys in the schoolyard, making up your own adventures.

That is where your fond memories lie. You are disappointed because you are no longer a child, and can no longer revel in your imagination, and are upset that Lucas can't replace your lost youth. Tough shit.

Detach yourself, and watch any of the films with a critical eye. They are all awful.

Re:Don't look now (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515238)

"All awful" is a stretch. I would say EP IV, V and VI were entertaining and uplifting, but not enlightening or deeply moving.

And really, we all know George's best film was "THX 1138."

Re:Don't look now (2, Funny)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515470)

I've seen all the films as an adult, never had any of the toys, and I still like them and you are still a trolling asshat.

Grow Up (1, Insightful)

twistedfuck (166668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515020)

The prequel to the movies you saw as a child didn't live up to your expectations? Perhaps you should take a closer look at those first three movies, and maybe you will realize they are all crappy movies meant to be enjoyed by kids.

The Definitive Evisceration of The Phantom Menace (5, Funny)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515034)

I've been waiting almost 10 years for The Definitive Evisceration of The Phantom Menace and I must say that now that it's here I'm very disappointed.

My inner child has been abused and betrayed. Im going to mope around, talking to no one, for the next two weeks. I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to see #2 or #3, whatever they will be called.

There were so many good points to be made, but it seems the director just went for the easy, mass appeal, fluff. Maybe if the director wasn't surrounded with mindless 'yes men' with no vision this could have been better. Maybe if they had cast a narrator with a better voice. Unfortunately this 70 minute train wreck cannot be undone.

I hope I don't have to wait 10 years for the The Definitive Evisceration of The Definitive Evisceration of The Phantom Menace.

Phantom storytelling (2, Interesting)

Bill_s16 (1664121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515092)

I remember after seeing Episode One: The Phantom Menace thinking "I know it was bad but I don't feel like expending too many cycles analyzing why"? The myriad answers here. And in the process of deconstructing dismanting the film, conveyed as well is a good basic lesson in storytelling/scriptwriting. My own Star Wars orbit began to decay with Return of the Jedi. Besides the accursed Ewoks, I came away with the distinct impression that Lucas didn't actually rescreen or review his previous films for the-story-up-to-now before scribbling the script for the next one. At the End of "Empires" Yoda states: "There is another." Leia, I'd guessed. Made sense. But I never found out who for sure...

Re:Phantom storytelling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515334)

Of course it was Leia, you twit. You know, Luke's twin sister? Didn't you read the books? How do you think she was actually strong enough to strangle Jabba? Yeah, that's right: The Force.

Re:Phantom storytelling (1)

Bill_s16 (1664121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515526)

Nope. Didn't read the books. Strangling Jabba? Neh. She and her version of the force should have been central to that film. Instead. Ewoks.

Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515102)

My inner child had been abused and betrayed. I moped around, talking to no one, for almost two weeks.

Why don't you seek professional help. This is one of those sad testimonies that makes geeks look like raving idiots. It's another reason to dismiss geek culture as a whole.

JarJar narrating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515136)

Is it just me or does it sound a bit like JarJar underwater is narrating this ? :)

Great Example of IP Abuse (2, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515138)

I haven't seen it, but I'm glad someone devoted the time to do this.

The prequels, and especially the replacement of the original trilogy with the "re-mastered" Lucas-edited crap are great examples of how destructive exclusive IP can be to creative works.

"The ultimate single-minded, self-centered creature is a cancer cell."

That is what George Lucas became to his own films. After a great piece of artwork has become culturally accepted, it should be cast in stone, and be preserved as it is.

Every film is flawed (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515170)

Read Mr. Cranky and he will make the greatest film on the planet sound terrible. Every film is flawed.

The prequels on the whole failed to live up to lofty expectations. But they aren't terrible on a Batman and Robin scale either.

Episode 1 ultimately fails due to a poorly written script. Not just in dialogue, but also in structure. A tentpole blockbuster film comes down to a series of meetings followed by a series of meetings. Lucas forget screenwriting 101 - show, don't tell. That being said, the saber duels in Episode 1 are the best of the series. The pod race sequence is pretty decent. The movie also invented 8.1 channel sound, didn't it?

I don't understand the massive vitrol aimed at films that ultimately aren't half as terrible as people would like us to believe. The same person who wrote this probably sat through Transformers 2 without having an aneurysm. Really, which film was worse?

Your childhood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515234)

...shouldn't have been walking alone there at night dressed like that.

Jar Jar redeemed himself (5, Funny)

benchbri (764527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515252)

I'd just like to point out that Jar Jar -alone- allowed the creation of the Galactic Empire.

It sucked (0)

Mashhaster (1396287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515376)

How many words, how much time do you need to waste saying something anyone who saw it already knew? It's like being trolled, in allowing yourself to be you have validated the troll. Seeing the movie was time that I'll never get back. Now they've made a pointless documentary about how bad it was, throwing good time after bad.

They are all just as bad as any others (1)

unum15 (695402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515430)

I did not grow up watch Star Wars. I have absolutely no nostalgia attached to them. I watched the original trilogy for the first time in college, in 1998. I watched the remastered versions. They are ok movies not bad, but not great. Same with the newer trilogy. They all have annoying character and plot holes. Get over it. If you had watched the original three for the first time as adult, you would have thought they were over hyped(which they are).

I barely remember the movie... (4, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515438)

...but I remember the hype and feelings of expectation my friends and I had about it. We paid full price for "Meet Joe Black" just to see the TPM trailer, then left immediately afterward. There were a lot of other people doing the same thing, to the point everyone was laughing and the ushers were promising the trailer would run again after the movie if everyone stayed.

After we left, we went to have dinner and talked endlessly, dissecting every second of the trailer at length, imagining what the plot would be, how they would eventually get to "New Hope", and then after dinner we went to an arcade and played video games.

I don't care a whit about the actual movie, but for me it'll always be about that evening with friends in New York and how much fun we had in total geek mode. Sadly, I can't say I've had a repeat of that experience since. So for that evening alone, I'll still say thanks to Lucas for making the movie in the first place. But, yeah, the movie itself sucked.

Needed fans to consult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30515442)

I mean .. how is it that Obi-Wan needs Yoda to remind him that "there is another" when .. OBI-WAN WAS THERE FOR THE BIRTH?!?!

It is the stupid ignorance of HIS OWN MOVIES that makes the prequels so bad. Not the poor acting, dialogue, pod race, emo kid, midchlorideans, etc.

I would forgive everything else and give Lucas a pass on the prequels - had they fit and worked within the Star Wars Universe.

most fundamental flaw of prequels --- (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515532)

You can already guess how it turns out. I like flashbacks. I've seen many enjoyable stories where the past of certain characters and events is kept a mystery to slowly tease out over the course of the story. But it's never the primary focus of the story. When you go and make a prequel, dedicating an entire movie to going backwards, it feels like retreading old ground, even if we haven't explicitly seen it. Vader starts off as good guy, falls to evil. We caught the gist from Obi-Wan's exposition. Nothing we saw in the prequels added anything to it whatsoever.

Personally, I would have preferred to see the future adventures of Luke. Pretty much all of the expanded universe stuff was crap. But there could have been some great stories to tell as the Rebellion tries to become a Republic and not fall into the very tyrannies they fought against. Luke reforming the Jedi Order would have been awesome. The Jedi Academy stories weren't fit to line the bottom of birdcages. I would fear causing damage to any fireplace I tossed those books into for burning.

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