Podcast: ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ Retrospective Review

The latest installment of the Star Wars saga is on our doorstep, and with a week to go before the release of The Force Awakens worldwide, The Scruffy Nerf Herder is taking a look back at the films that lead into Episode VII. Though it’s not the greatest film in the saga (arguably the worst), The Phantom Menace is still very much a part of this legendary story, and it kicks off our week celebrating Star Wars with our series of retrospective reviews.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was the first of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy that told the story of Anakin Skywalker and his fall to the Dark Side and into the iconic role of Darth Vader. Released in 1999, The Phantom Menace was exciting at the time, excitement that wares off as the film, and we the audience, age. Starring Ewan McGregor as a young, impetuous at times Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Queen Padmé Amidala (eventual mother of Luke and Leia), Jake Lloyd as a young Anakin Skywalker, and Liam Neeson as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, the film is a weak, plodding introduction to this story, and suffers greatly from Lucas’ lack of scriptwriting and directorial skills. Focusing more on CGI innovations while succumbing to over-saturation of said innovations, The Phantom Menace wallows in its own mediocrity, a fact that shows not only the film’s age but also its many, glaring flaws. Lifted only by Ray Park as the mysterious and brilliantly skillful Darth Maul and John Williams’ clever score, this film that truly edges far into the “kiddie” side of the saga is much more of a standalone when put up against the rest of the franchise.

Qui-Gon Anakin Obi-Wan

Padme Anakin

Obi-Wan Jar Jar Qui-Gon


Palpatine Amidala



Qui-Gon Maul Obi-Wan

The Phantom Menace also stars Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine, Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks, Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker, Anthony Daniels as C-3P0, Kenny Baker as R2D2, Frank Oz as Yoda, and Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu.

2 Stars (2 / 5)

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(Photos copyright: Lucasfilm, Disney)

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