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5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 593 Ratings

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  1. VincentV.
    Sep 28, 2008
    3
    Dear George, the story was okay, just okay, but the very boring race, jar jar binks and the failed tries to be funny just made it a long annoying movie...
  2. Dec 27, 2013
    0
    George Lucas dumped all over this travesty of a movie. How can you not compare it to the original Star Wars episodes 4, 5, and 6? And in comparison I cannot sit through this entire movie and watch the painful train-wreck that it is. Like watching a computer generated video game that frequently throws miserable one-liner humor at you.
  3. BitBurn
    Oct 8, 2004
    7
    Liam Neeson's performance saved the day! And that baddie Darth Maul is wicked cool!!
  4. CameronS.
    Mar 3, 2004
    7
    Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a grand display of visuals, and the first chapter in which Lucas lost sight of what was great about Star Wars. Episode I is by no means a great film, and now it is almost painful to watch it. Once Jar Jar Binks appears, it just grows annoying. However, the visuals on the screen and the noises of the soundtrack are greatly appealing. While today, Episode I Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a grand display of visuals, and the first chapter in which Lucas lost sight of what was great about Star Wars. Episode I is by no means a great film, and now it is almost painful to watch it. Once Jar Jar Binks appears, it just grows annoying. However, the visuals on the screen and the noises of the soundtrack are greatly appealing. While today, Episode I seems fairly mediocre, especially when being compared to the original trilogy. However, I saw it way too many times in theatres and home video not to reccomend it. I don't plan on watching it until it gets a grand 2005 IMAX release, when it can be seen the right way, not analyze with inanities. The film is slightly inferior to Attack of the Clones, which is nearly just as painful. It was fun when it came out, and it's painful now that it's old. The Phantom Edit is much better, I strongly reccomend downloading it in all its shortened glory. Expand
  5. feliped.
    Apr 24, 2005
    9
    In the middle of the movie i was bored. but after that it was an action pack. this is a true star wars movie!
  6. LoganA.
    Apr 6, 2005
    8
    I'll be brutally honest, this is the worst Star Wars installment of the series. That said, it is still a decent movie. The acting may not be stellar in all respects, but once again, THIS IS STAR WARS. IT IS IN A DIFFERENT TIME AND GALAXY. Besides, Liam Neeson, Ewan Mcgregor, and Natalie Portman did good jobs for what they were required to do. And asking everyone to give a "Castaway" I'll be brutally honest, this is the worst Star Wars installment of the series. That said, it is still a decent movie. The acting may not be stellar in all respects, but once again, THIS IS STAR WARS. IT IS IN A DIFFERENT TIME AND GALAXY. Besides, Liam Neeson, Ewan Mcgregor, and Natalie Portman did good jobs for what they were required to do. And asking everyone to give a "Castaway" Oscar nominated peformance is absurd. I know that's not what people said specifically, but I'm growing tired of ill-tempered imbociles comparing everything to an overtly critical scale of judgement when reviewing movies that weren't meant to be a typical film. This movie did what it was supposed to do; set up the series for the next episodes. I think it does a decent job of that. And in the end, "Duel of the Fates" is possibly one of the best lightsaber duels of all time. Expand
  7. IanE
    May 25, 2005
    8
    This movie is not the best star wars movie, but the lightsaber duels and overall performance doesn't deserve all the 0's 2's and 3's that this movie is getting, it gets an 8 from me.
  8. BobB.
    Sep 27, 2006
    8
    Okay, it wasn't the best, but it did include lots of things which were absent in Episode 3. The droids didn't run away from battle like un-trained civilians, they marched steadily forward, like a droid is supposed to. Also, the pod racing scene wasn't too shabby, either. All of this included with the best lightsaber duel in the series makes this movie very much worth watching.
  9. PaulF.
    Apr 27, 2007
    8
    When I first watched this I was about 16 and I have to admit that it blew me away at the time. It was a completely fresh aproach to the saga with cool enemies and set pieces. Who could forget the pod race, the first time you see the destroyer droids rolling into action and the Darth Maul battle at the end? Yes it isn't as good as the originals but IMO it's more than good enough When I first watched this I was about 16 and I have to admit that it blew me away at the time. It was a completely fresh aproach to the saga with cool enemies and set pieces. Who could forget the pod race, the first time you see the destroyer droids rolling into action and the Darth Maul battle at the end? Yes it isn't as good as the originals but IMO it's more than good enough to sit alongside them. Expand
  10. Telimaktar
    May 23, 2008
    9
    Till today I can watch this movie over and over again just like the rest of its family. Thank you George Lucas for this works of art.
  11. YashS
    Mar 17, 2009
    8
    Darth Maul and Qui-Gon-Jinn are the BEST Obi-Wan went crazy at the final battle scene That was the best battle scene of the series I hate that Darth Maul died He is so cool Same with Qui-Gon Everything else was okay
  12. mikek
    May 27, 2009
    8
    I remember the hype for this movie right after the special editions the new amazing character jar jar binks whom ended up hated by fans but whom i liked over the films anakin...other than that the movie was great....way better than attack of the clones..the darth maul is one of the best lightsaber duels in all the movies it was a sin the amount of time he got in the film after all the I remember the hype for this movie right after the special editions the new amazing character jar jar binks whom ended up hated by fans but whom i liked over the films anakin...other than that the movie was great....way better than attack of the clones..the darth maul is one of the best lightsaber duels in all the movies it was a sin the amount of time he got in the film after all the publicity it was an upset but what we get is great and qui gon was quite possibly the best performance in the whoel prequal trilogy. Expand
  13. Gilbert
    Nov 17, 2002
    7
    Not a bad movie in and of itself...no worse than "okay"...but not much better either. Neat idea - the fall of the Republic, the rise of the Empire, galaxy tumbling into a World of Sh.t - but poor execution. In fact, such poor execution that I have no idea what's going on. At all. It smacks of extended-toy-advert, with precious little film to hide it, unlike the other three. Not a bad movie in and of itself...no worse than "okay"...but not much better either. Neat idea - the fall of the Republic, the rise of the Empire, galaxy tumbling into a World of Sh.t - but poor execution. In fact, such poor execution that I have no idea what's going on. At all. It smacks of extended-toy-advert, with precious little film to hide it, unlike the other three. Especially the pod race: what the hell is the point in spending ten damn minutes on it? And that sub-Disney commentator arsehole! Why didn't someone beat him to death? And what, ANAKIN made C3PO? When he was a kid? Heck as like he did! Still, good preformances from Leeson (I mean Neeson), and Ewan, Portman and McDiarmid. Great design for the senate. Jar Jar Binks isn't really much more irritating than, say, the Ewoks, or those little jabbering desert twats from the first movie. Look, 7 out of ten is about what it deserves. It's got some great bits, but an equal number of crappy bits, and a hefty majority of average bits. It's one of the most average films ever made, and, since it must sit next to three of the best ever made (well, two of the best and a great one) makes it look sh.tty. Cemented George's (undeserved) reputation as a "hack". Hello? A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back (and Jedi) still exist, you damn ingrates! Expand
  14. SimonD.
    Jun 26, 2003
    7
    To my surprise, I find that this film improves with each re-watching. OK, I wait to fast forward through the pointless journey from the Gungan city to Naboo's capital every time, but otherwise, this film is fun. It's not profound, or sharp, and Jar Jar is every bit as annoying as ever. But if you can accept this as a film for kids, you can perhaps let your inner kind enjoy it. A To my surprise, I find that this film improves with each re-watching. OK, I wait to fast forward through the pointless journey from the Gungan city to Naboo's capital every time, but otherwise, this film is fun. It's not profound, or sharp, and Jar Jar is every bit as annoying as ever. But if you can accept this as a film for kids, you can perhaps let your inner kind enjoy it. A great performance by Liam Neeson, a good performance by a young Ewan MacGregor, and some spectacualr action scenes carry viewers through the slow parts. Also of note is John Williams' score, featuring a good deal of original music that serves to enhance the film. Watch this. Bring a kid. Make some popcorn, It's not the origianl Star Wars, but it's not half bad. Expand
  15. AndrewM
    Aug 31, 2004
    9
    I am astounded that so many people were disappointed by this movie...seriously folks, surely you weren't expecting new re-creations of the first three!?! (Episodes 4-6) By that I mean new stories, of course, but given the same filmmaking treatment and methods as with the early films. For a start, they were made two decades ago - and in those 20 years since, technology (not just I am astounded that so many people were disappointed by this movie...seriously folks, surely you weren't expecting new re-creations of the first three!?! (Episodes 4-6) By that I mean new stories, of course, but given the same filmmaking treatment and methods as with the early films. For a start, they were made two decades ago - and in those 20 years since, technology (not just filmmaking) has changed dramatically. That alone should suggest that The Phantom Menace was always going to be somewhat unique amongst the Star Wars chronicles. At least until the sequels came out anyway. Secondly, the plot and most of the characters are totally new. This ain't the same time and place that Ep's 4-6 were set - how could the movie possibly feel the same? Anyway, I'm just a little confounded why so many people (including friends of mine) were expecting the impossible. Now, what did I think of this film? I liked it. I liked it a lot! Actually, I don't think Lucas could have done much more in opening the trilogy, than what he's done here. The script is not the strong point, but it never is in these films. It is however typically and appropriately storybook-style and it more than adequately illustrates the story. The characters are fascinating - though I too found Binks more than a little annoying - and the production sets are undeniably Lucas-worthy. It's a magnificent feat this film, and is truly up to Lucas's usual standards. What I like most about it, as is the case with all the Star Wars films, is that it is incessantly replayable. Plus, you will get more out of it each time. That's value for money! The film plays half an hour shorter than its' length and for me that is always a sign of an enjoyable film. And this is an immensely enjoyable one! Bring on the sequels! Expand
  16. Sam
    Jun 16, 2005
    6
    A huge dissapointment. Lame acting, they kill 2 of the 3 cool characters (Qui-Gon and Darth Maul) and i wish Anakin wasn't Anakin so they could kill the little dorky bastard. However, it's got great action scenes though, and the pod-race was one of the most thrilling star wars scenes ever, but they could've used more of them. I hope Lucas remakes this one and number 2, A huge dissapointment. Lame acting, they kill 2 of the 3 cool characters (Qui-Gon and Darth Maul) and i wish Anakin wasn't Anakin so they could kill the little dorky bastard. However, it's got great action scenes though, and the pod-race was one of the most thrilling star wars scenes ever, but they could've used more of them. I hope Lucas remakes this one and number 2, which rumor has he will, but all he really needed to do was redo the dialouge and acting, that's it. Do it George, do it. Expand
  17. Tonydannie
    Jun 17, 2005
    8
    I can't believe How much this movie is hated so. Granted it is not the best of the Star Wars films. And Jar jar is Annoying,But not as annoying as those pesky ewoks. Once you get pass all of that the movie is a great ride. This is suppose to be the first chapter of a biggier story. It sets everything for the other films. Palpatines plans. The Sith Urge for revenge. And The I can't believe How much this movie is hated so. Granted it is not the best of the Star Wars films. And Jar jar is Annoying,But not as annoying as those pesky ewoks. Once you get pass all of that the movie is a great ride. This is suppose to be the first chapter of a biggier story. It sets everything for the other films. Palpatines plans. The Sith Urge for revenge. And The Relationship of Anakin and wife to be Padme. As well as his Relationship with Obi-wan. The Visual Effects are expectacullar. And the Music Soars when it should. Expand
  18. Kip
    Jun 14, 2009
    6
    By far the weakest of the Star Wars episodes. It only gets a 6 because it is Star Wars. Jar Jar Binks is perhaps the most annoying character ever created. Remove him and cut 80% of that damn pod race and I'd give it 7.5, maybe even an 8.
  19. Aug 9, 2011
    5
    Jar-Jar Binks didn't bother me that much. The attempts at comedy were pretty rough though as was the rest of the script. But this movie had some incredible moments. The bad acting couldn't destroy all the genius battles and other entertaining sequences such as the podrace
  20. Jul 13, 2013
    6
    Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is nostalgic, silly and campy fun filled with cheesy dialogue and hit-and-miss performance. It may not be as good as the originals, but it still manages to entertain, especially in the film's third act.
  21. Nov 16, 2011
    8
    It may feel stretched out too long and the story may not be too powerful compared to episodes IV, V, and VI, but it still does have a strong tale to tell.
  22. Jun 9, 2012
    6
    The Phantom Menace is one of the worst movie in the whole Star Wars saga. It has uneven pacing, wooden acting, weird screen play; on the other hand, it has some of the best set pieces in the whole saga. Lucas seems to be paying more attention to ILM compared to his actors and it really shows. I still watch it regularly from time to time, but it shows how the master is starting to get leftThe Phantom Menace is one of the worst movie in the whole Star Wars saga. It has uneven pacing, wooden acting, weird screen play; on the other hand, it has some of the best set pieces in the whole saga. Lucas seems to be paying more attention to ILM compared to his actors and it really shows. I still watch it regularly from time to time, but it shows how the master is starting to get left behind in the type of films (blockbuster movies) that he 'created' more than thirty years ago. Expand
  23. Jul 12, 2012
    6
    The first of the three Star Wars prequels. The story and character development are mediocre, making this a considerable downgrade from the original Star Wars movies, but on the good side the special effects add more depth to battle scenes and make them all the more impressive.
  24. Jun 13, 2014
    10
    For me this is the perfect family action film. All of George lucas' film making led to this point where lucasfilm could seemlessly integrate the first full screen cg character jar jar. I love jar jar! I love the complex political plot this new trilogy enabled and anyone who takes issue with jar jar need only look at mordern animated film like despicable me to see how forward thinking thatFor me this is the perfect family action film. All of George lucas' film making led to this point where lucasfilm could seemlessly integrate the first full screen cg character jar jar. I love jar jar! I love the complex political plot this new trilogy enabled and anyone who takes issue with jar jar need only look at mordern animated film like despicable me to see how forward thinking that character design was. The perfect example of a perfect cinematic 'ride' encapsulating everything previous star wars worked to show at a digestable pace wrapped in high art. Expand
  25. Jan 19, 2015
    0
    Star Wars I: the Phantom Menace is abysmally structured. I'm honestly having a very very hard time figuring out where all three Acts begin and end. Perhaps, it was meant to be that way. One can ask, is that ambitious or flawed? I vote for flawed. Not simply because I feel Lucas severely lacks the writing capabilities to write an abstract narrative but also because it's nothing like anStar Wars I: the Phantom Menace is abysmally structured. I'm honestly having a very very hard time figuring out where all three Acts begin and end. Perhaps, it was meant to be that way. One can ask, is that ambitious or flawed? I vote for flawed. Not simply because I feel Lucas severely lacks the writing capabilities to write an abstract narrative but also because it's nothing like an abstract narrative. The problems start right from the opening shots and this is a problem in all the Star Wars movies. It starts off with backstory, with lines of narrative, scrolling up as John Williams' soundtrack plays along, serving as exposition for the upcoming events. Why couldn't they create a quick montage - a series of rapidly edited shots or just a basic sequence of still photos or simply start off before that. The entire purpose of film is to convey a story through the wonderful language of images. And when Lucas throws narrative at us, just as it appears in the script, let's just say it's a very underwhelming opening. Terrence Malick was able to briefly portray evolutionary progression and natural selection from the most elementary to the most multiplex of creatures, all in about 20 minutes in the Tree of Life. Lucas was asked to carry no such burden.Ewan McGregor is a decent actor but his role is so poorly written in the movie. For the most part, his job consists of 3 basic exercises. He walks alongside Liam Neeson stating the obvious, he looks up when he enters rooms and he keeps questioning Liam Neeson's "high intellectual Jedi converse" so that Liam Neeson can start explaining the plot. The entire Jedi counsel exists so that Lucas' characters can sit around and explain the plot to the audience. Jar Jar Binks may be the most annoying character I've ever had to witness on screen. But there are so many versions of him in this movie. It's intolerable.
    Since, all of us have already seen Lucas' pantomime 1977 original, we should all agree that he's the master of oversimplification. The characters are all so black and white. There's not a single character even remotely leaning towards the second dimension. And in fact, this is a problem with all the Star Wars movies. They all show us distinctly, which characters are good and which characters are evil but none of them tell us why. In fact several movies like Apocalypse Now, Rashomon, Taxi Driver and in more recent years, Pans Labyrinth and the Dark Knight, have explored this idea of the relativity of morality so brilliantly. But of course Lucas doesn't bother with interesting objectives of that sort. The entire "dark side of the force should rule the galaxy" is as cliched as it gets. How many movies have been made where the bad guys want to take over the world? Too many to count.
    But the part where I began to despise it, was the last 45 mins, which was literally jam-packed with mind-numbing CGI action. I found it amusing that Lucas thought he had the ability to juggle multiple story lines (rather I should just use action sequences instead of storyline) from the "epic" battle between the droids and Jar Jar's, to Anakin's random "attempts" to destroy the "what-ever the hell that was" all accompanied by a triumvirate lightsaber dual between Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor with the man with the double ended light sabre. And then on top of all that, we have the dialogue. Now this is something that I am infuriated by. Lucas' writing skills are pre-school. A 10 year old could write better lines of dialogue and convey more emotion. Greeting Cards have exuded more passion than Lucas' raw use of words. It's as bad as I've ever seen (and that's not in any way an exaggerated statement).
    The Phantom Menace is a disgrace to everything that contributed to the world of cinema and it opened the door for several other mindless action movies. It's over-filled with computer imagery and is completely hollow within. There's no psychology, no philosophy, basically no ideas in it whatsoever. It's the work of a machine rather than an artist and it was as entertaining as filling out your Income Tax forms. It may be appealing to adolescent boys who grew up with those characters but to me this is just a sad money making practice targeted at a series run out of control.
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  26. Jun 30, 2014
    0
    Jar Jar Binks. That's all I need to say...............................................................................................................
  27. Jun 15, 2014
    0
    Everyone knows it,
    Anyone who pardons e1PM is simply in server denial,
    It will always be known as one of the great
    disasters in cinematic history.
    Sad but oh so true.
  28. Aug 2, 2014
    9
    Some may wonder why i have rated it so highly im comparison to the average user score, well its just because of my age, it was the first star wars film i watched and its always stuck in my head as the favourite, however i dont believe its better than the older ones its just this is a special memory from my childhood and i really do rate this film highly.
  29. Dec 2, 2014
    10
    A very good and fantastic movie. A very good screenplay good acts and good special effect. It is the best movie from Star Wars sries. I like this movie more than the others.
  30. GlennL.
    Nov 11, 2009
    9
    Excellent film which starts the prequel series of the Star Wars Trilogy.
Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 36
  2. Negative: 6 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Feb 5, 2012
    0
    It's difficult to discern precisely where this all went wrong, and even more difficult to speculate about possible improvements.
  2. 40
    The Empire strikes out.
  3. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    80
    It's up to snuff. It sustains the gee-whiz spirit of the series.