Archive for the I – The Phantom Menace Category

Overview of “The Phantom Menace” (Continued)

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 29, 2005 by jedicouncil

I realize this blog is coming to you a little early this evening, but I plan on going to a poker game with my friends here in Binghamton later tonight.  Okay, today’s blog may seem kind of cheesy, but I’m going to do a summary of the characters from The Phantom Menace.  A note for all of you Star Wars fans out there.  I have recently been listening to “Chrono Radio” about the different versions out there of this movie.  For your info, I have not seen the DVD of this movie and I hear there are many changes on the DVD from the VHS version which is the one that I’m using for these reviews.  So, I realize the DVD version is different and until I either get that version as a gift or just go out and buy it, I will stick to the current review of events.

Also, if you want to catch all of my comments on The Phantom Menace, then just click on the “category” tab on the right.


Okay, so here’s the list in order of their appearance on my blog:

Qui Gon Jinn

“Realistically speaking, it’s Qui Gon that let the Jedi Council down, not Obi-Wan.”

“He even says in his dying breath to take care of Anakin because he is “the chosen one”.”

“However, even with these short-comings, Qui Gon is one of the essential “bad-ass” Jedi Knights.”

“Kudos to Liam Neeson for playing the character so well that I wanted him to live.”

Qui Gon Jinn:  ********** (10)

 

Young Obi-Wan Kenobi

“I was concerned that I would be let down by a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I was delighted in the way the character was played.”

“I was impressed with Ewan McGreggor and how he portrayed Obi-Wan in each of the movies, but I believe that his role in The Phantom Menace was the best!”

“I do believe that his ability to kill Darth Maul puts him towards the top of the Jedi order.”

Young Obi-Wan:  ********* (9)

 

Jar Jar Binks

“Jar Jar Binks seemed to turn everybody’s ears and heads and even caused political upheaval for George Lucas.”

“The Gungans are not so bad, they are just a unique culture that we may just not completely understand.”

Jar Jar Binks:  ****** (6)

 

Queen Amidala

“I do really believe that Natalie Portman had some independence in creating the Amidala character and I think that came acrossed on the screen in all three movies.”

“She ends up being a strong female role that I believe my daughters were looking for and my wife had been looking for since the beginning of the Star Wars movies.”

“I don’t know if there were ever a stronger female character in any film EVER!”

“I do think that Queen Amidala is one of the stronger roles in The Phantom Menace and she helped to propel the story to a new level.”

Queen Amidala:  ******** (8)

 

Ani (Young Anakin)

“I was happy to see that George decided to make Anakin a regular child in many ways like you and me.”

“I really liked the “Nascar like” race we get to see in this movie.”

“Kudos to Jake Lloyd for playing the role of Anakin so well!”

Young Anakin Skywalker:  ******** (8)

 

C-3PO

“Lucas has been quoted saying that “all of the Star Wars films are supposed to be from the point of view of R2-D2 and C3-PO.”

“C3-PO who eventually helps get the Death Star Plans to The Rebels so they can destroy the Death Star is actually created by the man who created the Death Star itself, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker).”

“I believe that Anthony Daniels is a great actor and it is a shame that he has never seen any real credit, like an Academy Award, for being stuck behind that costume in all of these films.”

Partial C3-PO:  ********* (9)

 

Watto

“Watto is one of the most original CGI created characters for the movie.”

“With all of this said, I think Watto is a really wimpy character.”

“I mean, think about this realistically folks!  Yeah, Anakin is a slave and we don’t know how he and Shmi end up in that situation and we have no idea where or how Watto gets them (probably in a game of chance) but how could Anakin just listen to a fat flying idiot like Watto!  This is the same guy that later on chokes his generals left and right and kills them at the drop of a hat.”

Watto:  ** (2)

 

The Hutts

“One of the most powerful “families” in the Jedi universe is the Hutt family.”

“I really enjoy the fact that in this movie we actually get to see a Hutt moving around instead of being a big “blob” of fat like Jabba becomes later on.”

The Hutts:  ***** (5)

 

Darth Maul

“I would like to start by saying that Darth Maul is the best bad ass (sorry for the “French”) that George Lucas has ever created.”

“I remember seeing Maul’s face on the screen for the first time and I thought, “wow, this guy is going to kick everyone’s butt!”  Sure enough, we get to see some great scenes from Darth Maul.”

“I loved it when Maul walks in the entrance of the hanger and drops his cloak and lights up his lightsaber and then the other side (which will forever live in imphamy for having a two-sided lightsaber), and Obi-Wan says, “go on, we’ll handle this”.  GREAT SCENE!!  I loved how George Lucas set up this fight!”

“I wish there was more of a backstory on Maul.”

Darth Maul:  ********** (10)

 

Sebulba

“I do feel he was an important character to The Phantom Menace.  However, I don’t feel his character really played a huge role in the overall scheme of the Star Wars universe.”

“I think Sebulba’s last lin is the best one of all of them in the move:  “pudu!””

“Honestly, as a bad guy, Sebulba sucks!”

Sebulba:  **** (4)

 

Palpatine

“My impression of Senator Palpatine is that he is a man that is desperately “bi-polar”.”

“Okay, so let’s say that he isn’t bi-polar, then he is definetly Jekyl and Hyde!”

“I have to say of all of the Star Wars movies that Ian McDiarmid has participated in, this one was the worst.”

Palpatine/Sidious:  ****** (6)

 

The List

Qui Gonn:  ********** (10)

Young Obi-Wan:  ********* (9)

Jar Jar Binks:  ****** (6)

Queen Amidala:  ******** (8)

Anakin:  ******** (8)

C-3PO:  ********* (9)

Watto:  ** (2)

The Hutts:  ***** (5)

Sebulba:  **** (4)

Palpatine:  ****** (6)

 

OVERALL:  5

Overview of “The Phantom Menace”

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 29, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, you saw it coming from the very first submission that I made about the movies.  I have gone all the way through The Phantom Menace and talked about each of the major characters (at least I think I have hit them all) and the major events and questions about the movie.  So, what did I think of The Phantom Menace?  Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out.


I am very much NOT the typical Star Wars fan.  I grew up with the original trilogy and enjoyed them immensly as a child.  I always will remember the days of running around my house playing Luke Skywalker and Han Solo with my brother and thinking we were on top of the Star Wars world.  Then, our lives got stopped short when Lucas made The Return of the Jedi in 1983.  And then the “black hole” ensued.  Sure, we saw some “cute” Star Wars projects (which will be talked about in other blogs), but not significant productions occurred between 1983 and 1999.  These 16 years seemed like an eternity to me.  I never thought I would see a Star Wars film again, until 1995 when rumors were running around on the Internet that Lucas was back to work on another film.  I was as giddy as a schoolboy again and couldn’t wait to see the movie.

I remember the controversy that surrounded The Phantom Menace.  Jar Jar was played off as being this dumb black character so the NAACP decided to protest the movie.  They thought this character would destroy the fabric of American society and bring back old prejudices.  This proved to be wrong after the release of the film.

The Christian right decided to boycott the film as well.  They thought that Lucas was trying to play the conception and life of Anakin Skywalker as being the life of Jesus.  Yeah, the midi-clorian thing sounded religious, but by Attack of the Clones, that misconception is blown away because Anakin starts to turn to the dark side before he can even be viewed as “the chosen one”.

So, what did I think of the movie?  Honestly, I thought it was awesome.  Lucas redefined many things through this film.  It was the first film with true CGI created characters where humans were interacting with characters that didn’t even exist in real life.  I can only imagine how hard it was to interact with a Watto, when you can’t even see him and you’re reacting and acting with thin air.  I believe that if Lucas had not made his vision a reality, the movie industry would never be the same.  The beginnings of CGI graphics in this film paved the way for great classics like “Lord of the Ring” (which I’m also a huge fan of) and in the future for “Narnia” to exist.  The film was awesome, and I can’t believe that Star Wars fans had the guts to criticize the film as harshly as they did.  People, George came out of hiding from 16 years to make this film and I think it is a masterpiece.  We finally get to see the Jedi Council, Yoda on a more serious role, the Sith Lord and Master and how that role really played out.  We see planets that never existed and met characters we never expected to meet.  We see battles on huge scales that we’ve never seen before that will only get dwarfed later on by Lucas himself.  So those of you out there that like to rip on this movie and say that Lucas is an idiot for even devising a character like Jar Jar and for making this film, I have a challenge for you:  Make one better!  That’s right, if you don’t like the Star Wars films, then make a fan film and prove Lucas wrong.  Many have tried to, but I don’t think any have come close to the master of the Star Wars universe.  I would like to end this overall dialogue by saying thank you to all involved in the making of The Phantom Menace.  And I do mean everyone.  From the guy who went out and got coffee in the morning, to George Lucas himself – Thank you!!!

Senator (no), Chancellor (no) Palpatine, or Master Sidious?

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 28, 2005 by jedicouncil

Well, we are coming close to the end of the discussion on The Phantom Menace.  Let me know what you think about the movie in general in some comments in the next few blogs.  I plan on doing Palpatine today, and tommorrow I plan on doing a general overview of the entire movie and how I have viewed The Phantom Menace in general, and then I will post a blog that makes a summation of all of the characters commented on up till now.

Palpatine/Sidious:  ****** (6)


I really wonder if the role of Palpatine was played out the way that Lucas had intended, especially for this film.  My impression of Senator Palpatine is that he is a man that is desperately “bi-polar”.  Now, I don’t mean to mock the disorder (PLEASE don’t flood me with emails saying I hate people with bi-polar disorder because I have many students that I teach, and love, at my school with this disorder).  What do I mean by saying this?  Simple, people with bi-polar disorder live their lives at the emotional polar extremes.  They are happy and giddy one minute and mean and viscious the next.  Well, now apply that to Senator Palaptine and you can see what I mean.  He sees Queen Amidala for the first time and he is over joyed to see her and seems almost on the verge of being giddy.  He assures her that the Senate will help.  Then Queen Amidala makes her plea to the Senate and hen all of a suddent the Senate sucks and Chancellor Vellorum listens only to the beuracrats (I think that’s how you spell that word), so he urges Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence.  Then, Amidala leaves the Senate chambers and Palpatine comes back almost giddy again announcing that he is up for the position of Chancellor.  This just seems very bi-polaresque to me.  He’s happy one minute and then upset with the Senate the next.

Okay, so let’s say that he isn’t bi-polar, then he is definetly Jekyl and Hyde!  Think about it, not only is he Senator Palpatine, but he is Darth Sidious at the same time.  I like the fact that Lucas never really puts the pieces together for you in this movie, but most true Star Wars buffs put it together.  Palpatine and Sidious are one and the same.  Of course, we learn more about this in later movies.  My brother didn’t quite put it together and asked me if that was the case.  Palpatine has the utmost control of the Star Wars universe however.  He manages to convince the Trade Federation to start the trade blockade and then plays the Senate on the other end and urges them to end the blockade.  He is the ultimate poker player that not only knows his hand, but the hands of those around him.  He really doesn’t become the true bad guy in this movie, but definetly plays the chess pieces the way he sees fit.

I have to say of all of the Star Wars movies that Ian McDiarmid has participated in, this one was the worst.  I’m not sure if it was lack of direction on Lucas’ part or if McDiarmid had not really understood the role of Palpatine, but he seems too much like a kid in need of vision.  The role is very weak and even his role as the Sith Lord Sidious is just not mean enough.  Maybe this was done on purpose, but I don’t fear him in The Phantom Menace.

Palpatine/Sidious:  ****** (6)

Sebulba

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 27, 2005 by jedicouncil

I want to begin today’s blog by saying thank you to all of the people that have posted recently.  I have been informed by blog.com that I must be growing in popularity because my bandwidth has been going up week by week.  This is all due in part to your great “word of mouth campaign” that has made this blog so popular.  I understand that I am probably a nat on the Internet of Star Wars information, but your feedback is greatly appreciated and I hope all of you continue to check back often.  Pass the word!  If you have a friend with a webpage, have them put a link on to my blog.  Keep talking because it is discussion that will keep my blog running.

On another note, just to let you know, I saw Revenge of The Sith AGAIN today.  Hey, my wife hasn’t seen it, and we were at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY and couldn’t resist.  We figure it’s our last big trip before the big move into the house.  Read on for my comments on the character Sebulba.

Sebulba:  **** (4)


Honestly, I wasn’t going to write about Sebulba, but I decided to anyway.  I do feel he was an important character to The Phantom Menace.  However, I don’t feel his character really played a huge role in the overall scheme of the Star Wars universe.

Sebulba is viewed for the first time when Jar Jar (imagine this) accidentally whips a “fish” or something like that at Sebulba when he finds out it cost seven wipuipi to buy.  Sebulba does the one that that all Star Wars fans wanted to do, and chokes Jar Jar and threatens his life.  Much to the dismay of all of these fans, he lets Jar Jar live when Anakin stops him.  We find out that Sebulba is a “Dug, a very dangerous Dug”.  This beckoned the question in my mind, what the heck is a Dug?  Why is that significant?  We never really find out in the movie and I don’t think it’s ever mentioned in a book either.  Anyway, we find out that Sebulba is the podracer to beat.  My father related him to Jeff Gordon in Nascar.  He’s the car driver that everyone loves to hate.

Anyway, before the podrace, Sebulba pulls off a piece out of Anakin’s podracer that later slows down Anakins podracer.  Again, the question has to be asked, “if Anakin is the ‘chosen one’ then why didn’t he sense something was wrong with the pod from the beginning?”  We will never know what Lucas was thinking when it comes to these aspects.  Maybe he just didn’t think these details out and maybe he did and cut them out of the film.  Anyway, we eventually find out Sebulba looses the race becasue Anakin eventually beats him.  I think Sebulba’s last lin is the best one of all of them in the move:  “pudu!”

Honestly, as a bad guy, Sebulba sucks!  He could have been meaner and could have been bolder and is just weak all around.  I just wasn’t impressed with this character and felt he could have come acrossed on the screen as a stronger character.  George, I hope that you really think through your CGI characters in the future!

I will be finnishing with my character analysis in the next few days for The Phantom Menace.   At the end of all the analysis I plan on posting one blog that will sum them all up for the first movie.  Then I will move on to Attack of the Clones.  Once I am done with all of the movies, I hope to do the books in chronological order (Josh, I may need your help with that one – I hope you’re paying attention!).

Sebulba:  **** (4)

Darth Maul

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 26, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, I want to begin apologizing (again) to my fans out there for not getting to a posting last night.  I warned all of you that I may not be posting everday for the next month, but I hope to so still check back every day.  Last night was completely crazy!  My wife and I found a rug for our new house and a grill for the house but had to figure out how to get both of them home using a Ford Escort LX wagon and three children.  Needless to say it involved some truck straps and bungie cords.  Okay, enough about me and on to the Star Wars stuff (which is what you’re here for!)

Today’s topic is about one of the best bad guys of all time, Darth Maul.  Read on to find out my viewpoints on Darth Maul.

Darth Maul:  ********** (10)


I would like to start by saying that Darth Maul is the best bad ass (sorry for the “French”) that George Lucas has ever created.  I think what makes Darth Maul so great is the fact that he is so mystical.  We never have really learned where or when this bad dude came from.  We hear nothing about him until all of a sudden Palpatine talks about his new apprentice.  I remember seeing Maul’s face on the screen for the first time and I thought, “wow, this guy is going to kick everyone’s butt!”  Sure enough, we get to see some great scenes from Darth Maul.

The first great scene from him is when he sends the droids into Tattoine to look for the Jedi.  I love this concept!  That would be me if I were a Sith.  I wouldn’t want to do all the work, let some of the droids do the work for me while I wander around on a really cool speeder bike.  Then we see him attack Anakin and Qui-Gon on their way back to the ship and I believe that Maul deliberately holds back on this scene.  I think he wanted them to get away so that Palpatine could set up the rest of the story the way he wanted to.

And, of course there is the best scene with Maul EVER!  I loved it when Maul walks in the entrance of the hanger and drops his cloak and lights up his lightsaber and then the other side (which will forever live in imphamy for having a two-sided lightsaber), and Obi-Wan says, “go on, we’ll handle this”.  GREAT SCENE!!  I loved how George Lucas set up this fight!  Then the fight began and I was completely blown away.  Anyone who has watched the previous Star Wars lightsaber fights expected to see one in this movie.  What they didn’t expect was the jumping, running, and the speed of the fight.  I could not believe just how quick the fighting was taking place.  That’s what made this fight absolutely AWESOME!  Maybe it’s because I’m an action “junkie” or maybe it’s just because I really like lightsaber fight scenes.  My other favorite part of The Phantom Menace of the lightsaber fight scenes was when the forceshields went up between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon.  Qui-Gon went into a kneeling stance and started to meditate to prepare himself for the coming battle.  Maul, wandered in circles being very impatient about the forcefields coming up and he wanted to end the fight right there.  I believe this is a great example of using the passion with The Force to create an evil character.  And, let’s face it, he kills Qui-Gon, a Jedi that I believe is pretty powerful which puts him at the top of my bad guy list.  It’s a shame that Obi-Wan kills him in this film, but I believe he had to die pretty soon to make way for Anakin.

I wish there was more of a backstory on Maul.  Where was he from?  How did he become a Sith apprentice?  How did he meet Palpatine?  What role did he play in the demise of other Jedi characters?  How long was he around?  I would love to see some authors take this storyline and run with it.  There is one book on Darth Maul, and I’ve read it.  I’ll cover that later when I start going through the books one by one, but it wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good.  So, George, if you’re listening, give the Star Wars fans a backstory to follow on Maul.  That could be the future of the Star Wars franchise!

Darth Maul:  ********** (10)

Watto AND The Future of Jedi Council.blog

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 23, 2005 by jedicouncil

Todays blog is going to have a two-fold purpose.  The first purpose is to discuss The character Watto and his role in The Phantom Menace.  I also want to take this opportunity to announce a new advancement that I plan on starting on The Jedi Council.  After I have an opportunity to move into my house in late July I plan on revamping the blog a little and adding a link to a new important project I am working on for my blogs in August.  Read the whole post to find out more….

Watto:  ** (2)


So let’s talk Tattoine in The Phantom Menace, and you can’t talk about Tattoine without talking about the character Watto.  I really appreciate the design of the character and I really think Lucas had fun developing a character like this for the movie.  Watto is one of the most original CGI created characters for the movie.  Is the character more “human like” as Jar-Jar?  I definetly disagree.  I like the fact that Watto is a flying old fat guy even though you really have no idea exactly where this race of creatures comes from.  I also like the fact that Tydarian’s can’t be affected by Jedi Mindtricks.  I always thought (ever since the A New Hope) that Jedi could pretty much just walk around the universe and get whatever they want.  I wish Lucas had introduced more characters like the ysalamari that Zahn has in his books that push the Force away.  But again, a blog for another time.  I also really appreciate the fact that Lucas developed a language for Watto all by himself.

With all of this said, I think Watto is a really wimpy character.  I just don’t get the point behind the relationship between Watto and Anakin.  I mean, think about this realistically folks!  Yeah, Anakin is a slave and we don’t know how he and Shmi end up in that situation and we have no idea where or how Watto gets them (probably in a game of chance) but how could Anakin just listen to a fat flying idiot like Watto!  This is the same guy that later on chokes his generals left and right and kills them at the drop of a hat.  Of course I realize that Anakin has to turn to the dark side in order to do such killing, but don’t you think that the “chosen one” would have a little more control of his destiny?  Don’t you think Anakin could’ve freed himself if he really wanted to?  This really makes no sense to me.  Put that aside and Watto STILL seems like an idiot!  How could he not realize the Qui-Gon was going to get the chance cubes to do exactly as he wants.  He’s a Jedi!  Hello, why would you make a bet that could free one of your best slaves based on chance cubes when you know full well that the Jedi can make them do whatever he wants!  This is just not smart.  Not only does Watto loose one of his parts but he also looses Anakin.  I was really dissappointed in this character and thought that Lucas should have played him as being a stronger character.  Heck, I would have bought it if Watto had decided to work with Darth Maul and set up Qui-Gon just for revenge.  That would have made him a much more important and powerful character in The Phantom Menace.

Okay, so on to my BIG news.  I have recently become interested not only in blogging online and using the blogging concept to send out my message to all of you Star Wars fans out there, but I have been listening to some great Internet Radio and Audio Dramas that I found at http://starwarsfanworks.com (I’d like to give a shout out to my fellow Star Wars fans there!).  So, I am officially announcing the beginning of “The Council Speaks” an audio commentary on the Star Wars Universe.  I am working on a format currently and plan on making my first online Star Wars Podcast sometime in August.  I am not sure how you will get to the podcast and more information will be coming later on.  I do want to say thank you for all of you support over the past month and look forward to all of you hearing my voice online soon.

 

Watto:  ** (2)

C3-PO

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 22, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, so let’s go back to what George Lucas has said about the Star Wars saga and the orientation of the story.  Lucas has been quoted saying that “all of the Star Wars films are supposed to be from the point of view of R2-D2 and C3-PO.  This was always a curious viewpoint for me.  If that’s true, then why aren’t the droids the focal points of all the Star Wars films and not Anakin or Luke Skywalker?

Partial C3-PO:  ********* (9)


Okay, so let’s go back to what George Lucas has said about the Star Wars saga and the orientation of the story.  Lucas has been quoted saying that “all of the Star Wars films are supposed to be from the point of view of R2-D2 and C3-PO.  This was always a curious viewpoint for me.  If that’s true, then why aren’t the droids the focal points of all the Star Wars films and not Anakin or Luke Skywalker?

Although I believe that Lucas missed the mark about the viewpoint of the movies (which is basically a neutral viewpoint if you ask me) I do like the fact that he has made an effort to have these two droids in every Star Wars film.  In The Phantom Menace C3-PO seems to play a minor role in the movie.  What I find most interesting about this movie is the fact that we find out that Anakin is the builder of the most famous translating droid.  Think about the great irony here folks.  C3-PO who eventually helps get the Death Star Plans to The Rebels so they can destroy the Death Star is actually created by the man who created the Death Star itself, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker).  There is a great irony behind this plot concept and I believe that Lucas set-up that idea on purpose to show us the irony of what we find important in our childhood and about how things can come full circle.  Prime example, I thought that Star Wars was so important while I was a kid, then I thought it wasn’t as important, but as an adult I find myself back into Star Wars again.  Instead, this time I connect with Star Wars on a more personal level and have found my son falling in love with the same story.

Interesting Star Wars fact, Anthony Daniels, the actor behind the C3-PO costume is the only person other than George Lucas himself that was involved in all six Star Wars films.  I believe that Anthony Daniels is a great actor and it is a shame that he has never seen any real credit, like an Academy Award, for being stuck behind that costume in all of these films.  I do like the fact that in this film we get to see the insides of C3-PO and we really start to understand his origins.  Although his character plays a seriously minor role in this film, I have always looked forward to seeing C3-PO in each of the films.  There is no doubt in my mind that C3-PO and R2-D2 will forever be the two most famous droids in American history.  Let’s face it, they already made it there by being displayed in the Smithsonian museum.  By the way, if you missed the exhibit in the Smithsonian on Star Wars, you missed an awesome tribute to Star Wars.  C3-PO was fun and interesting in this movie and I like his character.

Partial C3-PO:  ********* (9)