The Phantom Menace (1999)


After seeing the newest Star Wars movie I wanted to revisit the old ones, starting with the terrible prequel trilogy, just to see if the new one is really so bad. I wasn’t sure I would make it through all the prequels with my sanity intact, so I looked for a fan edit that would take out the most egregious elements. The best bet was the anti-cheese edition, which makes the movie actually watchable. Mind you, all the editing in the world can’t transform this into a good movie, just a less bad one.

There are some nice pieces here and there: the space fights are cool, the light saber battle between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn is pretty good and some scenery shots and the general design of everything sets a great mood (actually I really missed seeing the underwater city that the anti-cheese edition cut out, as it was a genuinely moment of sense of wonder in the movie).

But overall, all the editing in the world can’t save your movie if it’s plot is structured around a little kid that will become the chosen one (sort of) and around political maneuvering that looks just inane and nonsensical (and that can’t hide its contempt for and lack of understanding of how real politics work). And if your director is utterly tone-deaf (despite his ambitions to make grand cinema, it comes of as children’s TV) and the overall level of writing is simplistic as fuck as well craptastic in general.

The anti cheese edition makes all this a bit easier to watch by keeping the focus on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn most of the time, but it can’t hide the flawed base structure of the movie, which is sadly irredeemable.

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