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Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 592 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Set decades before the original "Star Wars" series, in the era of the Republic, The Phantom Menace is a prequel which introduces many of the major characters.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 36
  2. Negative: 6 out of 36
  1. 91
    Phantom may not be the best entry in the series, but it's the most technically accomplished, and it makes you as hungry for the next film as you've been for this one.
  2. 88
    Not a masterpiece, but it's an example of how imagination, craftsmanship, and technological bravura can fashion superior entertainment out of something that is far from flawless.
  3. 75
    Let the killjoys squawk. Lucas has proved he has the Naboos to pull it off again. And again. And again.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Phantom is easily consumable eye candy, but it contains no nutrients for the heart or mind.
  5. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    50
    It earns an "Incomplete'' -- because we won't know the results until we see Lucas' next chapter.
  6. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    40
    Story. Character. They used to mean something to George Lucas.
  7. 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.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 170
  2. Negative: 45 out of 170
  1. Nov 1, 2010
    10
    George Lucas's epic masterpiece before the dark times.
  2. Feb 4, 2015
    10
    I know people won't agree with me but this is the best Star Wars IMO. The story was good, the acting than people give it credit for, and theI know people won't agree with me but this is the best Star Wars IMO. The story was good, the acting than people give it credit for, and the amazing effects and music. Great from start to finish Expand
  3. 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 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
  4. Oct 9, 2011
    5
    Cast your mind back to May 1999. You may remember quite a buzz of excitement in the air. The world was awaiting the release of a new editionCast your mind back to May 1999. You may remember quite a buzz of excitement in the air. The world was awaiting the release of a new edition to the Star Wars saga, 16 years after it ended. To put it mildly, The Phantom Menace had a lot to live up to. It may yet go down in history as the most divisive film of all time. As often parodied, it split Star Wars fans down the middle. No one could deny that the effects were superb, flawless even. But what bothered many was the clunky dialogue, the wooden acting and the fact that it didn't seem to belong in quite the same world as the series which shares its name. My main problem with the Phantom Menace is that I'm relatively indifferent to it. It's not awful by any means, in fact it has many redeeming features (but no where near enough to make it a great film). The visuals were the best in the world at the time of the film's release, and still hold up today. The realisation of Coruscant, the "capital of the galaxy" in the form of a planet-wide city is an interesting idea, as is the Gungan's underwater "bubble city" and both look sensational. The film also has two stand-out action sequences - the pod-race, a creative, heart-thumping Ben-Hur tribute, and the "duel of the fates" which forms the finale of the film. This three-way lightsabre battle between a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) against the formidable Darth Maul (Ray Park) wielding an iconic double-bladed lightsabre. This has to be among the finest fight scenes of all time - the choreography is extremely creative and the execution flawless - it's a real testement to the stunt crew working on the film. Brilliant visuals and two memorable scenes cannot save a film, however. The story isn't up to much, and you don't have the high stakes of the original films - you know who's going to survive, it being a prequel to the original series. Lucas has never been great at dialogue, but during his Star Wars prequels, he seems to become worse at it over time. In the Phantom Menace you can look forward to such gems as Obi-Wan's "do not defy the council master, not again", young Anakin's "Are you an Angel?" speech, Yoda's classic "how feel you?" and pretty much everything said by Jar-Jar Binks. Ah Jar-Jar Binks - no other three words send shivers down the spine of a Star Wars fan so effectively (accept maybe a debate into who shot first). He's a truly irradeemable character - narratively unnecessary, insulting, and very, very annoying. The other actors and their characters are either unremarkable (MacGregor, Lloyd and Portman) or look thoroughly embarrassed to be on screen (I'm talking about you, Mr Neason). The Phantom Meanace is a disappointment, but in truth, it could never live up to Star Wars fans' high expectations, but it's good for providing the odd cheap thrill. And John Williams' scoring for the series is still great. Expand
  5. Sep 24, 2011
    5
    "The Phantom Menace" is a decent movie that I would overall recommend only to those obsessed with the franchise because the film is a"The Phantom Menace" is a decent movie that I would overall recommend only to those obsessed with the franchise because the film is a explanation film that connects what happened before the age of Luke, not amazing CGI or powerful quotes like the other ones did. Expand
  6. Jan 8, 2013
    3
    Okay, let's face it: If episode I would have been the first star wars movie, there would not have been a episode II. If the only (good) thingOkay, let's face it: If episode I would have been the first star wars movie, there would not have been a episode II. If the only (good) thing everybody remembers about a movie are some eye-candy scenes (and I am talking of course about the pod race and the double light sabre duel), you know your movie is in trouble, because it fails on all other levels: storytelling, character development, acting, pacing and tone. This movie feels like a well-calculated commercial product that should deliver to all audiences, but it's all about a shiny surface and nothing beyond that. And let's not forget about Jarjar, the most annoying character ever to be put in a movie. Expand
  7. Apr 20, 2015
    0
    Utterly and completely disappointing. So much CGI has been crammed into this movie that it makes your eyes hurt from watching it. EverythingUtterly and completely disappointing. So much CGI has been crammed into this movie that it makes your eyes hurt from watching it. Everything looks fake. There is no charm no emotions as they have been to the original trilogy. The plot is just boring and lame, all characters are annoying and forgettable. The boy playing Anakin is just an awfully terrible actor. If you compare it to other young actors (see Game of Thrones) you will notice that at least with a somehow decent acting choice some part of the movie could have still been saved.
    But then there is this terrible terrible Jar-Jar CGI abomination. It fails at everything, it fails at humor, it fails at having any benefit to the movie.
    While the old trilogy had a clear story line, some very memorable scenes and characters. This has nothing. I can't remember a single scene that was interesting or that I liked.
    George Lucas should have better listened to his advisors instead of trying to do everything himself.
    I know he is a big fan of modern computer imagery / CGI and so on. It does not really make the movie any better. It actually makes it much worse. The carefully crafted models used in the old trilogy look way more realistic and better even after many many years.
    Expand

See all 170 User Reviews

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