Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace | EW.com

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom MenaceHere's why I love video: Because, with judicious use of the fast-forward button, you can create what writer William Goldman would call the ''Good Parts''...Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom MenaceAction/Adventure, Sci-fi and FantasyPT134MPGHere's why I love video: Because, with judicious use of the fast-forward button, you can create what writer William Goldman would call the ''Good Parts''...2000-04-04Kenny BakerAhmed BestBrian BlessedAnthony DanielsSamuel L. JacksonIan McDiarmidRay ParkTerence StampKenny Baker, Ahmed Best, Brian Blessed, Anthony Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Ray Park, Terence Stamp20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Ray Park, Liam Neeson, ...

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy; Starring: Jake Lloyd, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Kenny Baker, Ahmed Best, Brian Blessed, Anthony Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Ray Park, Terence Stamp; Director: George Lucas; Author: George Lucas; Producer (group): Lucasfilm; Release Date Wide: 05/19/1999; Runtime (in minutes): 134; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

Here’s why I love video: Because, with judicious use of the fast-forward button, you can create what writer William Goldman would call the ”Good Parts” version of any movie. This comes in especially handy when dealing with a film like Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, an ”entertainment” that’s got almost as many eye-popping special-effects shots as it does slack-jawed dialogue scenes. (It’d be even easier to excise those clunkers on DVD – perhaps THAT’S why there’s no digital release in sight.)

To do its job as a prequel, ”The Phantom Menace” has to provide only three pieces of information: (1) introduce Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and Amidala (Natalie Portman); (2) establish Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as Anakin’s teacher; and (3) let us meet Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) before he becomes the evil emperor. We don’t need to know anything about Gungans, senatorial chancellor elections, podraces, droid armies, or midi-chlorian levels.

So, what’s in my ”Good Parts” version? The mentor-student dynamic between Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan, the somber Jedi Council scenes, and the intricate climactic lightsaber duel, which shows just how badass Jedi Knights can be. Everything else gets in the way. ”Good Parts” version: B The official cut: C-