In Defense "The Phantom Menace" (Sort Of)

In Defense "The Phantom Menace" (Sort Of)

"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" is much maligned among most "Star Wars Fans", but does it deserve the massive levels of negativity from fans?

Like most "Star Wars" fans, I do not look kindly upon the "Prequel Trilogy". Like many, the Prequels led to a long period of disappointment and embarrassment for anyone who identified themselves as a "Star Wars" fan. The film that kicked off these feelings was the first of the Prequels; "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". No other film in the "Prequel Trilogy" has received as much hate as "The Phantom Menace". The massive disappointing reception from both critics and fans led to an almost constant feeling of cynicism and bitterness that still surrounds the release of "Star Wars" movies to this day (trust me, I've seen these fans hate a "Star Wars" product before they've even seen it). It is clear that "The Phantom Menace" is a film that lives in pure infamy, but does it deserve to?

Make no mistake, this is not going to be one of those self-righteous contrarian articles saying "'The Phantom Menace' is actually a good movie". In all honesty, "The Phantom Menace" is not a good movie and it isn't good for all of the reasons that several people like Mr. Plinkett have pointed out; It has sloppy story structure, poorly written dialog, wooden acting, Jar-Jar, reliance of style over substance, Jar-Jar, poor child actors, overused CGI that's aged poorly, too many boring political meetings, Jar-Jar, and did I mention Jar-Jar Binks.

However, my biggest issue with the Prequels was how they managed to suck all of the mystery and fantasy elements that made me interested in the series as a child (for example, why was it necessary for us to know about midichlorians, Lucas? The Force is supposed to be mysterious and spiritual in nature). But, looking back on it, I can't bring myself to hate this film like most "Star Wars" fans do and that's because I was able to find elements within the film that are of genuine quality.

For instance, I really enjoyed the lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul. I know the fight isn't as emotionally engaging as the fights in the "Original Trilogy" due to us not knowing the heroes well and not knowing the villain at all (seriously! he's only in the film for almost fifteen minutes and he only has two or three lines). But the fight is well choreographed and paced to one of the best pieces of "Star Wars" music ever written; "Duel of the Fates". In fact, I can say that this is the best lightsaber duel in the "Prequel Trilogy" because it is mostly grounded and doesn't go over-the-top with ridiculous flips and moves (like the lightsaber fights in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" did).

I can also say that the production design for "The Phantom Menace" was very spot on. The effects actually look really good. Yes, a lot of the CGI hasn't held up well over time *cough* Jar-Jar *cough*, but a lot of the practical effects still do. I also like how this was one of the last "Star Wars" films to use a lot of practical effects; like model ships and locations, practical sets, location shooting, and aliens made with makeup and masks (things we wouldn't see again until "The Force Awakens").

The film also includes great sound design, as well as the previously mentioned quality of the score (but when it's John Williams scoring your movie are you that surprised). While you can argue that this is a textbook case of style over substance (and you'd be right), at least the style is of a high enough quality to be fun to look at.

This brings me to one of the best things to have come from not only "The Phantom Menace", but the Prequels in general; the worlds. The worlds presented in "The Phantom Menace" are unique and some of the most creative in the "Star Wars" universe. From the Mediterranean architecture and underwater bubble cities of Naboo to the city-planet that is Coruscant, these planets display a vast universe with various cultures and alien species.

It ultimately helps the galaxy feel larger and varied. While the Originals were limited by the budget and technology of their time, the worlds in the Prequels feel truly alien. While there are some fans who didn't like the clean and shiny worlds (mostly because "Star Wars" had always visually distinguished itself from most sci-fi films through a "used universe" that was grimy, dirty, gritty, and felt lived in and somewhat real), I don't mind this change. I always thought it did a good job of visually emphasizing a prettier and happier era before the Empire took over.

Even after everything I just said I still don't consider "The Phantom Menace" a good film, but I don't feel like it's the terrible disaster that most "Star Wars" fans make it out to be. I don't even think it's the worst "Star Wars" film ever made. That title still belongs to "Attack of the Clone" (mostly because, even as a kid, I thought the story and characters were bad... like... why doesn't Uncle Owen recognize C-3PO if he owned 3PO for years in the past!). If you want to know more about my opinions on "Attack of the Clones" go here.

So why do so many people hate "The Phantom Menace" more than "Attack of the Clones"? It mostly has to do with hype and disappointment. While I don't consider "The Phantom Menace" the worst "Star Wars" film, it is the most disappointing.

Fans had been waiting almost twenty years for a new "Star Wars" movie and the hype surrounding the "return of Star Wars" was so massive that it, in retrospect, had almost no chance to live up to the hype. Take that and mix it with the overall mediocre quality of the film and it led to a disappointment so large that it has still left traces of unhealthy cynicism and hyperbolic hate within the fandom to this day. I'm not asking that everyone start liking this massively flawed film.

I'm just sick of the hyperbolic hate that continues to emanate from a film that is below average at worst, which has led to the creation of a massive toxicity problem within the "Star Wars" fandom (but that's a topic for another day). I hope that this article has shown that even films as flawed as "The Phantom Menace" still have some qualities worth mentioning.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Shows And Movies We Loved As Kids And What Those People Are Doing Now

I wanted to know what some of my favor actors and actresses are up to now.


I was scrolling through Netflix the other day and came across the movie "Spy Kids." Now I don't know about you guys but I LOVE this movie and was very excited when I saw it. Obviously, I watched it, and the second and the third cause what else would you do on a weekend? It got me thinking I wonder what some of our favorite movie/show characters are doing now and what their life is like.

Alexa Vega also is known as Carmen Cortez in "Spy Kids" is now 30 years old and doing great! Alexa is married to...wait for it: Carlos PenaVega. You might be thinking who even is that. If you watched "Big Time Rush" it's Carlos from BTR!! They got married in the year 2014 and they have a baby boy together named Ocean and they just posted on their Instagram they are expecting another baby boy.

Next, on our list, we have Jonathan Lipnicki also known for some great movies like "The Little Vampire" and "Stuart Little," He is now 28 years old and you can now find him on some television shows such as "Family Tools" and "Worst Cooks in America."

Danielle Fishel was known as Topanga Lawrence on "Boy Meets World" and later "Girl Meets World." You could catch her on Disney Channel in those shows. She is 37 years old and now she is married to Jensen Karp. Ben Savage, also known as our beloved Cory Matthews on "Boy Meets World" and "Girl Meets World," is now 38 years old. One of the quotes that have stuck with me is:

"A lot of the problems teenagers go through, it's better for them to go through them on their own. If you always have a crutch, you don't learn anything."

Daniel Radcliffe also is known as "Harry Potter" (favorite movie ) is now 29 years old. If you have never seen these movies I recommend them to anyone, and if you don't like them.. well, we are done talking. Anywho he is in the upcoming animation movie "Playmobil: The Movie."

Emma Watson also is known as the gorgeous and smart Hermione Granger now at 29 years old. Something you might not know is that her alma mater is Brown University. Emma is in a movie coming out December 25th, 2019 called "Little Women."

Robert Pattinson or how a lot of people know him as Edward Cullins from the "Twilight" series is now 32 years old and is in the upcoming movies "Waiting for the Barbarians" (2020) and "The Devil All The Time" (2020).

Taylor Lautner (I will always be Team Jacob and we can forever argue about it ) is known as Jacob Black in the "Twilight" series but you might also remember him from the movie "Abduction" in 2011 and the movie "Sharkboy and Lavagirl" in 2005, "Grown Ups 2" in 2013, another good one was "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" in 2005 and I could go on and on talking about him. Taylor is now 27 years old and in a few shows such as "Scream Queens" and "My Wife and Kids."

Anna Kendrick also from the "Twilight" series but also from "Pitch Perfect" known as Beca is now 33 years old and working on an upcoming movie "Noelle" coming November 2019

Rebel Wilson in the movie "Pitch Perfect" known as Fat Amy. A fun little tidbit, when the movie came out I changed my twitter name to "Fat Hannah"... and now that I think about it I was a stupid kid and why would I do that to myself. Anyway, Rebel is known for her funny personality and she is in an upcoming movie "The Hustle" May 10th, 2019 with fellow actress Anne Hathaway.

These are just a few of some of the actors and actresses from some of my favorite movies I have watched over the years and wondered what they were doing now with their lives.


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