Star Wars Canon Challenge Update
Star Wars Episodes I & II Review
This is an update to my Star Wars Canon Challenge that I previously posted about. I started the challenge by watching Star Wars Episodes I & II again. The prequels are not really movies that I tend to rewatch so its been a few years since I watched either one. I know its very easy to hate on all of the prequels so I’m going to post on some of the pros & cons for each movie. Here’s my review:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
+ Score Once again John Williams has done a phenomenal job with the movie’s score. The film has of course the classic opening, but also introduces Duel of the Fates and Augie’s Great Municipal Band (two of my favorites from the prequels).
+ Costumes I love the costumes (especially Queen Amidala’s). There are so many great details in the costume design. The costume designer for this film and for the rest of the prequels is Trisha Biggar.
+ Darth Maul. Need I say more? Ray Park did an amazing job with this character. His presence is felt in all of scenes he was in. Also his fight scene with Obi-wan and Qui-Gon Jinn was the best in this film.
+ The casting. Besides Ray Park, I thought Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor were wonderful choices for Quin-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I felt Liam Neeson really carried some scenes and tried to help with the pacing of the film (I’ll be talking about the pacing problems of the film later on). Now there are some casting choices that I didn’t agree with and again I’ll talk about that later.
+Naboo Naboo is SO gorgeous. I would seriously consider living there. I love the Romanesque architecture. It just seems so beautiful.
+ Pod Racing Pod racing is just cool. I remember seeing the film in theaters as a kid and thought the pod racing scene was cool and I still do now.
– Jar Jar Binks Come on, you already knew he was going to be on the list. I mean how many times can this character say “Meesa” in one film? Here’s the thing about Jar Jar Binks, he disrupts the movie (the pacing is all off when he is around). It’s like a small child interrupting the grown-ups’ conversation. Even at one point, Quin-Gon Jinn grabs his tongue and goes, “Stop it”. Which is something I would have done (if not something worst) because he was interrupting a key story line moment for Anakin Skywalker; the moment we learn he doesn’t have a father and could possibly be conceived by the Force which means he could be the person the prophecy predicts. You know…no big deal, right? I get it, Jar Jar is suppose to be comedy relief…but his comedy just doesn’t connect with me (way too many poop jokes).
– CGI I get it you can do CGI so why not do it….well maybe you shouldn’t do it as much. Now that this movie is 17 years old (WOW I feel old as fuck), you can really see the age in the CGI. The armies look copied and pasted and you can tell when an entire environment around the actors is CGI. I really appreciate the hard work that goes into set building (not saying there isn’t hardwork in CGI too). I, personally, feel more connected to a film if there’s some tangible sets than I do with one that entirely CGI.
–Age Difference The age difference between Padme and Anakin is off to me (because of what happens in the next film). The age difference is suppose to be 5 years. The actors have an 8 years difference between them. I thought Jake Lloyd as Anakin looked way too young to be with Natalie Portman. I kept thinking that she is a true cougar with this one. I think if the actors were closer in age, it would have helped set up the love story in this film and continue it in the next film.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
+Less Jar Jar It looks like they learned their lesson from the first movie and decided to not use Jar Jar as much. He is still in the film (and somehow a senator?!?!), but his role is much smaller compared to the last film.
+Better Pacing This might be due to the fact that Jar Jar isn’t in much of the film. I felt like the story line moved in a much more natural pace without the interruptions of Jar Jar.
+Costumes Again, Tisha Biggar knocked it out of the park with the Padme/Senator Amidala costumes.
+Jango/Boba Fett Boba Fett is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe (even with his few lines). So getting some sort of backstory on him was a plus in my book.
+Yoda Fight Scene It’s great to finally see Yoda have a kick-ass fight scene. For most of the movies, he is seen as a fragile old man (with some strong force powers) but this film showed him fighting with a light saber. Bonus point for the fight being against the legendary Christopher Lee.
–The Love Story It felt so forced. That retreat/grassy valley scene was so cringe-worthy. The scene was shouting “hey, look at us! We’re so in love. This is what love looks like, right?” The whole thing felt so cheesy (and not cheesy in a good nacho cheese way). As I mentioned before, I think it would have helped to start the love story in the previous film and work up to it in this film. In the first, there was clearly an age difference between the two and now she is like “Oh, you’re grown up!”….settle down cougar! It also bothered me that after he admitted to killing the entire sand people village (woman and children included), Padme still married him. Was that not a red flag for her?
–Teenage Anakin I know most people’s teenage years are not the best, but Anakin’s is just killing me. For most of this movie, he is just a love-sick puppy dog following Padme around and for the other half of the movie he is trying to convince everyone that he is a men now. You may say you’re grown, but you’re not acting like it.
Up Next for the Star Wars Canon Challenge: