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Blind Spot ’14 : Star Wars : Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Posted on the 25 June 2014 by Ikzidna @InspiredGround

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As I confessed in my post previously, yes, I’ve never ever watch Star Wars before, despite seeing many references in other movies and TV series. It’s a little odd confessing as movie fan and have blog about it for several years, but never seen this famous series. The reason is simple; I usually didn’t connect with futuristic movies and I’m afraid I’ll dislike it. But I think maybe I’ve been too presumptuous. Like the old slang, better late than never, I faced the challenge and ‘forced’ myself to watch the first episode, Star Wars : Episode I – The Phantom Menace. I’ve read the scores and critics reviews how it’s not the best Star Wars ever made. But I’m willing to check it out just to know the characters and the basic story. This is also the first Blind Spot of mine that only have been released only 15 years ago.

Almost as great as Lord of The Rings, Star Wars have its own fictional world (though they do exist in galaxy and formed mostly humans), the world that combined futuristic and elder days, if I must say. I still have never seen any combination like it and I’ve read that George Lucas get the inspiration from Chinese philosophy (which is interesting, as I’m Asian). I’m afraid I’m too green to understand the background of the story, but maybe this first episode isn’t exactly easy-to-digest for newbie watchers like me (Am I alone?).

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

What wowed me the most was the presence of Queen Amidala, which shockingly played by a very young actress at that time (and proven quite an incredible one today), Natalie Portman. Not only by she able to acted with charisma and presence of authority, but also by her unusual wardrobe and make-up. As Queen she has limited gesture and movements, but it proven to be very effective and helped showing her grand presence. Some of her look seems to adapt Japanese signature look, with the kimono, geisha white powder and red lips, and the hair-do. In one of the scene, she almost wear hijab-like fabric in her head (I also recognized Keira Knightley as Amidala’s decoy!).


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The story became more lively when young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) is in the story, full of spirit, energetic and smart little kid that soon interests a Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). I found Anakin racing scene was the most exciting battle in the movie. His robot creation who speaks British also added a little cheerful color. I also love Anakin’s relationship with his mother, which he must leave to be trained as Jedi.

Noticed I said ‘more lively’, because I found this movie have less soul and energy. Most of the characters like the Jedis, the Queen and the rest have cold expressions, but it doesn’t necessarily make the movie have less color. Some non-human characters, especially Jar Jar, might add a little wackiness to the icy environment, but ironically it’s still was uninteresting and didn’t performed as funny as it should. I noticed for the late 1990s, The Phantom Menace might considered to have the latest technology. But the characterization of Jar Jar and it’s species still looked stiff and odd. The atmosphere of the places sometimes needed more sound effects and sound background to make it sound more real. Of course, it’s easy to judge this as we are now basically entertained everyday by the latest CGI technology and sound. Somehow I think this movie might started the revolution of the visual effects in movies, and developed it to be better.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Liam Neeson as the more experienced and wise Jedi, especially impressed with Queen Amidala and Jake Lloyd as young Anakin. I also loved some wisdom quotes said by Yoda.  I’m interested to see Anakin Skywalker’s path in the future. I found myself relieved that Star Wars have more than I’m afraid it doesn’t have. Surely there’s something that make lots of people feel engaged by this series. I hope the next Star Wars movie will be more impressive.

Final Score : 6

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