The Phantom Menace Review (2009) - full transcript
A serial killer decides to dissect the critically panned Star Wars prequels to determine their TRUE flaws.
Star Wars “The Phantom Menace” was the most disappointing thing since my son.
I mean, how much more could you possibly fuck up the entire backstory to Star Wars?!
And while my son eventually hanged himself in the bathroom of a gas station
the unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequels is that they’ll be around…
They will never go away.
They can never be undone.
If you're someone who’s under the age of like 20 who says his least favourite film in the series
is “The Empire Strikes Back” because it was “the most boringest one”
then I suggest you shut this review off right now
before I carefully explain how much of a fucking idiot you are.
So where do I possibly start?
Jar-Jar: “Meesah hatum crunchy!”
Nothing in “The Phantom Menace” makes any sense at all.
It comes off like a script written by an 8 year old.
It’s like George Lucas finished the script in one draft, like turned it in
and they decided to go with it without anyone saying that it made no sense at all
or was a stupid, incoherent mess.
I guess at this point who’s gonna question George, or tell him what to do?
Some hippy: “I take it… you say “action” after we roll camera?”
George: “I’ll say it… Sometimes I forget." Some hippy: "People forget" [Laugh]
George: “If I forget to say action or cut, just step in and say action and cut.”
He controls every aspect of the movie.
He probably got rid of those people that questioned him creatively a long time ago.
I also think that everyone just assumed that a Star Wars prequel would be an instant hit,
regardless of what the plot was.
Really… how hard could it be to screw up?
It’s like screwing up mashed potatoes.
You boil the water, you pour in the packet.
Number 1: The Characters
The biggest and most glaring problem with the Phantom Menace is the characters.
This is like the most obvious part of movie making
but I guess I gotta explain it when talking about this turd.
Jar-Jar: "Oh! Ick icky goo!"
So let’s start at Movie Making 101 shall we?
You see, in most movies the audience needs a character to connect with.
Typically this character is something called a “Pro-ta-gawnist”.
When you’re in a weird movie with like aliens, and monsters, and weirdos
The audience really needs someone who’s like a normal person like them to guide them through the story.
Now this of course doesn’t apply to EVERY movie
but it works best in the sci-fi, superhero, action, and fantasy genres.
I picked a few examples to illustrate this point:
and Kevin Bacon.
So in addition to being like an everyday kinda schlub
usually the pro… prutugunist...
is someone that’s down on their luck
in a bad place in their lives
or someone who everything just doesn’t always go perfectly for them.
Neo’s Boss: “Either you choose to be at your desk ON TIME from this day forth
or you CHOOSE to find yourself another job.”
Agent Fitch: “Well maybe it’s time to get a REAL job!”
Mr. Strickland: “No McFly ever amounted to anything in the history of Hill Valley!”
Eventually they’ll be confronted with some kind of obstacle
or struggle that they gotta deal with.
Kitten Smith: “WAR! WE’RE GOIN’ TO WAR!”
Lynn Peltzer: [Screaming]
If we like them, we hope they succeed.
The drama in the film is the result of us rooting for them against opposition.
Eddie Valentine: “Go get ‘em kid.”
Eventually our "prumurmrurm"
will find themselves in the lowest point where it seems like all is lost
but eventually they’ll pull through and conquer whatever force opposes them.
Sarah Connor: “You’re terminated fucker!”
It’s satisfying when our hero gets ahead from where they started off at.
Adrian: “I LOVE YOU!”
Rocky: “I love YOU!”
They make like a change.
This is called an “Arc”.
Often too, they’ll get the girl in the end as icing on the cake.
Now I need to explain that I don’t think that all movies should be the same
or conform to the same kind of structure, but it works well in certain kinda movies.
So unless you’re the Coen Brothers
Paul Thomas Anderson
Lars Von Trier
Gus Van Sant
or Jim Jarmusch,
You really shouldn’t stray away too far from this kind of formula.
Especially if you’re making a movie that’s aimed at children
and has a cartoon rabbit in it that steps in the poopy.
This is all of course completely applicable to the original Star Wars film
and the character of Luke Skywalker.
Luke: “I wanna learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.”
This was accomplished even without all the wonders of modern CGI.
Now with all you’ve just learned
in this video that I have made for educational purposes
I want you to tell me who the main character of “The Phantom Menace” was.
I can tell you it’s not the Jedi.
They were just on some kind of boring mission that they didn’t really care about.
Plus they were fucking boring themselves.
Ambien: “What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this.”
It wasn’t Queen Amidala cuz she was some foreign Queen
who the movie was certainly not really about specifically either.
You might be thinking that it’s Anakin cuz he was like a slave
and saved the day at the end by accidentally blowing up the starship
but the audience doesn’t meet Anakin until 45 minutes into the movie.
And then the things that are happening around him
are pretty much out of his control or understanding.
If a protagonist has no concept of what’s goin on or what’s at stake
then there’s no real tension or drama… without that there’s no story.
So the conclusion is that there isn’t one.
Before the movie opened I was really excited to hear that Scottish actor
was going to be playing Obi-Wan Kenobi.
I thought that was a great choice and he’d be perfect as the lead of this movie.
But he wasn’t really…
He just sat on the ship and complained a lot.
Obi-Wan: “The Queen’s wardrobe, maybe, but not enough for you to barter with.
Not in the amount you’re talking about.”
So YOU may like the characters, y’know, if you’re stupid.
So let’s ask some REAL people about the Star Wars characters
and see what THEY say.
I posed this simple challenge to them:
Describe the following Star Wars character WITHOUT saying what they look like
what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was.
Describe this character to your friends like they ain’t never seen Star Wars.
The more descriptive they could get, the stronger the character, right?
Rich: “He is a rogue. He is…”
Jay: “He is very arrogant, uh… but charming.”
Jack: “Roguish if you will.”
Jillian: “Han Solo is… totally dashing.”
Jack: “Wannabe dashing. He-he fancies himself a playboy.”
Jesse: “So like, he’s a-a smarmy, cocksure, uh… umm… womanizer?”
Jack: “Uumm he is uhh he is pigheaded.”
Jillian: “Completely sexy… eh in like a Bad Boy
sorta way where, like, he’s gonna ride the line.”
Rich: “He’s got a bit of a-a-a dark streak to him
with uhm… y’know shooting Greedo in the bar.”
Jack: “But also, deep down has a heart of
thief with a heart of gold. That’s his character, really.”
Rich: “He is-s-s-s-s… stoic?”
Jillian: “I don’t remember that character.”
(He’s Liam Neeson… with the beard) “Ooohhh… yes.”
Jay: “Well he has a beard.”
Jack: “Qui-Gon Jinn. And-uh-he was…”
Jesse: “Ha hahahahahaha [Clap] Ummm!
Let’s see here.
Jack: “His character is the uh… is kind of the bumbling sidekick.”
Rich: “A-fraid. A scaredy cat. He’s timid.”
Jillian: “C-3PO is… anal retentive.”
Rich: “He’s prissy.”
Jay: “Um, well, C-3PO is-is prissy.
He’s uh-uh used a lot as comic relief.”
Jack: “He is the comic relief.”
Jillian: “High strung.”
Jack: “He’s bumbling, uh effeminate.”
Rich: “That is going to be fucking impossible because she doesn’t HAVE a character.”
Jack: “She-he… is um…
She’s Natalie Portman.”
Jillian: “Uh, ya, like uh, like just kind of…”
Rich: “Uumm, well I can’t say she’s a Queen. I was gonna say she’s a Queen.”
Jillian: “Normal. I guess. Just kinda normal.”
Rich: “Make-up would be a description. I was gonna describe the make-up.”
Jay: “Eh. Describe Queen Amidala’s character. Um…
Jack: “She is the…”
Jay: “She looks a lot like Keira Knightley.”
Jesse: “U-he-he-he, he-he-he-he, he-he…
I can’t answer that and you know it!”
Jillian: “… So…”
Jack: “Uh, she is-s-s-s…
This is funny by the way. I get it.”
Continued in Part 2