7/10
Not as bad as everyone seems to think...
5 November 2003
I can remember the first time I saw Episode 1, years ago when I was still in high school. I recall coming out of the theater, mostly pleased. I had a sweet lightsaber duel with my cousin (my cousin pretended to be Darth Maul). I thought it was a fairly good movie and that was that.

Then the talk came the next day in school. People on the net were really blasting Episode 1 - was my memory really THAT faulty? Yes, the movie was pretty bad compared to Empire Strikes Back, but so is 95% of the stuff that passes for sci-fi these days. Why weren't they comparing Episode 1 to modern sci-fi like Event Horizon or Virus? Surely Episode 1 was better than those movies.

People seem to have some kind of huge attachment to the Star Wars franchise. I mean, when you have movies with entirely different casts (save for Frank Oz as Yoda), you're going to have entirely different levels of quality. Let's face it, Ewan McGregor is no Alec Guiness, Liam Neeson is no Harrison Ford, and Jake Lloyd is certainly no Mark Hamill. Lucas was dealing with inferior actors...of course the acting would be inferior.

Then there's Jar Jar. Well, slap my tail and call me crazy, but I don't think Lucas meant Jar Jar as a racist character. I think he wanted a fanciful alien companion for Anakin, and he went too far. Edit the movie a bit, and Jar Jar becomes a non-factor. C3PO and R2 did some pretty stupid stuff in their day, too.

I think Episode 1 is a decent movie. Nothing particularly good, but nothing to justify a 1/10 score. It has one of the best, if not THE best lightsaber fights in the series, it has a nifty pod-racing sequence, and it has Natalie Portman. And for me, that's enough.
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