“But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future.”
“Not at the expense of the moment.”
On this day in 1999 "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace", directed by George Lucas, starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Liam Neeson, is released in cinemas.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a 9-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter.
*Sigh* When I sit down and write some copy for the subject of the art print or tee and it is based on a movie I try and watch it that week as a bit of research. I tried watching The Phantom Menace last night and couldn't make my way through it.
In my opinion, it's not just a bad Star Wars film it's just a bad film.
But the negatives have been highlighted, talked about and written about before, the acting is not great, the script gives us a glimpse of what the original Star Wars could have been like (spoiler: terrible), the annoying traits of certain characters and all the slightly iffy racial stereotypes sprinkled about the film.
However, let's have a look at the positives and how it may have revolutionised cinema and its influence today.
Darth Maul. Just Darth Maul.
John Williams can always be relied upon and the Duel of the Fates is a stand out piece of music.
Looking back at the film now, The Phantom Menace proved to be a trailblazer for the cinematic landscape today for good and bad. It was a special effects revolution building on Jurassic park, digital cameras were heavily used and exclusively used in its sequel and the use of CG set pieces and green screen work is now the blueprint that Marvel (Disney) use today.
Marvel is an interconnected cinematic universe, TPM showed it was possible to expand a single story and open it up to make a whole explorable franchise and went on to create animated shows and movies all connected to the movie. Side characters could now have their own adventures elsewhere in other media.
When in the last decade Disney bought Marvel and Star Wars they didn't buy the rights to single films, they purchased the rights to the worlds in which they take place (and the IP to be mined and products to be sold).
Whether these franchise movies are a good thing for cinema remains to be seen long term.
This week's sketch....
featured image: lucasfilm/disney