(Strangely, I once read that most people go to cinemas not knowing what
they are going to see, but decide while standing in the queue to buy tickets.
I must admit that I never do that and usually know exactly what I want
to see beforehand. Like I said, a few years back that actually included
Arnie pics . . .)
"You know," my brother said, "take the day off to see Attack of the
"Ah yes," I nodded. Back in 1999 me and a group of friends took
the Friday The Phantom Menace started in South Africa off
from work to catch the very first morning show. We had all grown up with
the original Star Wars movie and doing something like that
just made sense to view the first Star Wars flick since 1983's Return of the
Jedi. Back then it seemed like the natural and
obvious thing to do. After reading negative reviews of the movie on the
Internet beforehand I came to expect the worst however. Still, I wound
up having a good time. After all, there is little I can do to describe
to Star Wars heretics the thrill of hearing that John Williams
score and the familiar yellow lettering scrolling across the screen for
the first time after such a long time.
Back then I gave the movie a good review on this web site. I still stand
by it: on the big screen The Phantom Menace with its great
eye candy and roaring soundtrack beguiles the senses and drives out all
critical thought. It's a pop corn movie all right, best enjoyed in the
dark of a cinema.
However, recently watching the movie again on my newly acquired BIG TV
set and DVD player I just came to hate it. No, really hate it, not just
dislike it. On the small screen the movie's faults are just too obvious,
no matter how gorgeous the Dolby Digital Sound and how crisp the image.
This is a bad bad movie. The acting is either terrible (I really hate
that brat!) or mediocre (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are sleepwalking
through their roles). The film is almost entirely humourless. You know
you're in trouble when laughs depend on a racial stereotype (the increasingly
shrill Jar Jar Binks) stepping in doo doo. The plot is muddled, confused,
overlong and boring at times. This time the much celebrated pod race action
sequence just drags and drags (the DVD version of the race is even longer!).
The only two good things about the movie are the good special effects
and the bombastic John Williams score (now with chorus!).