Back to the Past – Futuro Chili
The world of “Star Wars” looked very different in 1999 than it does today. Despite the fact that audiences around the world had the level of anticipation for a new film set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away was through the roof, the franchise was not nearly as mainstream in culture. Now. Only the original trilogy was released in theaters between 1977 and 1983. Some companion TV movies in the mid-’80s. Some books in the universe. and the Special Edition was re-released in 1997.
But now a new movie was coming, “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” The first installment of the prequel trilogy that will tell us how young Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. The film’s teaser poster, which features a familiar and sinister shadow of young Annie (played by Jake Lloyd), anticipates the possibilities.
“The Phantom Menace” was one of the most anticipated movies of all time. But almost immediately after its May 19, 1999 release, it became a movie joke thanks to Jar Jar Binks. Anakin’s crybaby (both as a child and as an adult). A Shameful Romance. Many more aspects.
It’s fascinating to see where ‘The Phantom Menace’ went wrong. Even if you can understand why George Lucas, again the sole first-time writer-director since the original “Star Wars” in 1977, would decide to. But ultimately “The Phantom Menace” flopped for three main reasons. Narrative expectations. Excessive reliance on special effects. And a bad artist.
The story of a peasant named Luke Skywalker who aspires to be a hero in a galactic war against a sinister empire that has been captured in the imaginations of many children. It seemed like a new concept. Maybe because it was set in outer space. But Lucas used descriptive tropes from a number of sources.
The basic structure of the film mirrors the book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell; which documented the general style of three-act adventure storytelling; Some of the fight scenes were inspired by dogfights in World War II films; and Luke’s desire to become a Jedi Knight like his father; It was a classic hero’s journey straight out of a film by Japanese legend Akira Kurosawa.
What Lucas did with “Star Wars” was brilliant, working within familiar narrative structures to deliver an epic that felt fresh, even as it was a clever reconfiguration of ideas already visible in the culture. Was. The film went on to become a huge success, surpassing everyone’s expectations. Lucas assumed that Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction epic that year, Encounters of the Third Kind, would outdo his own; They bet on him with the winnings of each film. Spielberg won the bet and has been increasing Star Wars profits by 2.5 percent ever since.
But “The Phantom Menace” came with the audience’s implicit knowledge of the story from the first three films. The Phantom Menace advertising campaign was built around a very clear concept that saw an innocent little boy become one of the most terrifying villains in film history. Whatever happens in The Phantom Menace when young Anakin meets the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as well as the beautiful Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), everyone knows That is, when all is said and done, Anakin will become Darth Vader.
The original “Star Wars” included both Darth Vader and the idea that Luke Skywalker’s father was killed by the black-masked villain. But of course, it isn’t until the end of “The Empire Strikes Back” that we learn Luke’s true parentage. In “Return of the Jedi”, Obi-Wan admits that what he told Luke about Anakin’s death was metaphorical, not literal. The prequel trilogy is different. From the very beginning it is clear where the movies will take us. And they culminate in a bloody, fierce battle between an adult Anakin and Obi-Wan. leaving the former disfigured and healed in a fully black suit and mask.
We know that Anakin’s two sons will be hidden from him to avoid his wrath. and that he would completely align himself with the evil empire. In this case, knowing is not half the battle, it is the battle to be lost. Part of the fate of the prequels is what makes them more lifeless. There are so many things that can happen in these movies. And Lucas’ writing isn’t up to the task of making them feel as exciting as the first film.
However, “The Phantom Menace” has two of the best action sequences in the entire prequel trilogy. The Tatooine-set is the podrace in which Anakin vanquishes a host of uniquely designed aliens. and a climactic lightsaber fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul. It is in these two sequences that Lucas has the most obvious change between the trilogies. Using more CGI than practical effects, it serves up the story well. The scenes go beyond what the original “Star Wars” trilogy was able to achieve without diminishing the impact of the world of these films.
But they are the exception to the rule. As Lucas did with the special editions of the original trilogy, it seems computer technology is a core tenet of many of the Aliens. One of the best things about that first trio of movies is that the worlds they depict seem very tactile. Yes, this is a world of fantastical aliens and spaceships blasting each other out of the sky. But from the Mos Eisley Cantina to the Millennium Falcon, what got viewers excited was the exciting idea that all of these places could be real.
However, “The Phantom Menace” marked the beginning of a change for Lucas to fully enter the digital space. That technique attracted many directors of its time, from Steven Spielberg to James Cameron. But in the prequel trilogy the use of CGI overwhelms the actors. And sometimes he destroys his performance simply because the audience simply cannot live without focusing on computer technology.
However, the casting of the prequel trilogy was the last straw. At least with “The Phantom Menace”. Many of the film’s actors already had several notable credits. McGregor burst onto the scene as the star of Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting” and Neeson was the lead character in Spielberg’s harrowing Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List.” But they’re still working from a script similar to the serialized adventures Lucas grew up with.
On the set of the first film, Harrison Ford criticized the script by saying, “You can write this nonsense, but you certainly can’t say it!” Whatever bad dialogue was featured in the first film works because Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Alec Guinness figured out how to make it work. On the other hand, Neeson, McGregor and Portman are unable to make their dialogue sound natural; It’s almost as if they are too talented and too far away to help.
However, the two biggest points of criticism that fans have focused on over the years have been Jake Lloyd and Ahmaud Best; as Anakin and Jar Jar Binks, respectively. Both explained how criticism of their work on “The Phantom Menace” hurt their careers. But he had a lot of control over his performance. Lloyd was only 10 years old when the film was released, so being cast in such an iconic role at such a young age is almost a lost position. For Best, he was at the mercy of both computer technology and bad writing. Yes, Jar Jar is an annoying character, but Best didn’t design him and he appears in “Me-sa Your Humble Servant” and “Nice!” Did not come up with lines like
Who knows if “The Phantom Menace” would have been creatively successful (as it was hugely successful financially with over $430 million at the domestic box office) if the film had stayed away from the CGI. Lucas realized that the way to the future lay with computers designing a galaxy far, far away. This move, along with a tilt toward more kid-friendly scripts with gags, is part of what’s bothered “Star Wars” fans for so long.
Now that’s good for the cast of the film: Best even appeared at the Star Wars Celebration event in April 2019 to a standing ovation. But “The Phantom Menace” hasn’t aged as much as “the original Star Wars.” Some movies are always timeless; Others will always feel like a missed opportunity.