6 April 2014

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace
  • Director: George Lucas
  • Based on book: No
  • Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, Jake Lloyd, Pernilla August, Ian MacDiarmid, Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie, Terence Stamp
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ewan McGregor – The Ghost Writer, The Island, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Moulin Rouge, Young Adam, Little Voice, Velvet Goldmine, A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, Train Spotting, Shallow Grave, Big Fish
    • Natalie Portman – Thor, Black Swan, Darjeeling Limited, V for Vendetta, Closer, Cold Mountain, Léon (The Professional), Paris je t’aime, Mars Attacks!, Anywhere but Here, Beautiful Girls, Heat
    • Liam Neeson – Life’s Too Short, Seraphim Falls, Batman Begins, Kingdom of Heaven, Love Actually, The Gangs of New York, Les Misérables, Nell, Schindler’s List
    • Pernilla August   I don’t think I’ve actually seen her in a film but her Svinalängorna (she directed) is a masterpiece.
    • Oliver Ford Davies – Hamlet, Titanic Town, Mrs. Dalloway, Mrs. Brown, Sense and Sensibility
    • Hugh Quarshie – Titus Andronicus
    • Terence Stamp – Valkyrie, The Limey, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Superman the Movie, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Collector, Billie Budd
    • Samuel L. Jackson – 1408, Kill Bill, The Red Violin, The Negotiator, Jackie Brown, The Long Kiss Good-Night, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Jurassic Park, Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Sea of Love, Do the Right Thing, Ragtime
  • Why? Part of the series
  • Seen:  Once before.  Now: April 4, 2014
       People with a passion for weird things, like very expensive space epic movies, are fascinating. I’d like to make movies like this. Well, maybe not like this. But something with Ewan McGregor for sure, though with a bigger part. Liam Neeson has the main hero role here.
       George Lucas learned some things in the twenty odd years since the first SW and film technology developed a lot in the interim. This is much more sophisticated in the effects and in the acting. First rate British and Swedish actors help.  There are a few more women and girls – pilots, servants, children – and Natalie Portman is a vast improvement over Carrie Fisher.
       There are some good lines: “The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.” And the understatement, “This is getting out of hand.” Whispers of Merlin and Harry Potter in “There’s something about this boy. He’s the Chosen One.” Unfortunately Jake Lloyd as the boy Anakin Skywalker is completely wrong for the role.  He’s annoyingly cute, blandly shallow and completely unconvincing. Oh, where is the ten year old Daniel Radcliffe when we need him? Or why not a ten year old Colin Morgan?
       The cities are fabulous, Jarjar with his weird English is very funny, the senate is totally awesome and the Podrace only put me (and the emperor) to sleep for a few minutes. 
       All in all the first prequel is somewhat high class, cheap (though very expensive) entertainment.
2  ½ * of 5


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