This is a six-part (potentially longer if we get into The Clone Wars) series where I will sit through the Star Wars saga chronologically with my girlfriend who has, aside from snippets here and there and that one time I sat her down with A New Hope, never watched the original trilogy in its entirety. My purpose is to see how a person without the emotional attachment of having grown up with the originals will:
1) Respond to the prequel trilogy on their own and in light of their reputation
2) Respond to the original trilogy three decades after the fact, especially in light of their place in cinematic history
3) View The Saga in its entirety as a single, over-arcing story
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1) Briefly summarize the plot of The Phantom Menace.
um. the republic was all corrupt and the jedi knights had to go fight to regain peace among the peoples for queen amidala. then by chance they found anakin and qui-gon thought he was the chosen one so they gambled to get him. the jedi leaders didn’t think anakin should be trained but qui-gon’s dying wish was to have him be trained by ob-wan. then there was like a war and sith lords and shit.
2) Which character(s) did you like the most and why?
i liked anakin best, he was smart and cute and i liked his whole back story. they did a great job building his character, i cried when he had to leave his mom. and i liked the connection between him and padme. also, qui-gon because he was a total hotty. duh.
3) Which character(s) did you like the least and why?
jarjar binks was gay. i HATED the way he talked. him/his species were an obvious cheap ploy to get kids into the movie.
4) What was your favorite scene(s) and why?
i liked when they were on anakin’s planet… meeting him, during the pod race and with his mom.
5) What would you have liked more of?
i would have liked more back story on queen amidala/padme and on qui-gon. i was sad he died because i liked him and wanted more of him.
6) What could you have done with less of?
too much cgi and computer animation… i like that they use it but everything looked too shiny and new. i would have liked if they kept it grittier and rustic feeling. it all felt too polished. also, some of the alien characters were just too out there, it took from the feel of movie.
7) What did you know about certain characters going into the movie/figure out as it went along?
i know ob-wan, he is a jedi. i think he is a good guy in the later movies. i know that anakin and luke are related in some way obviously, i kinda thought they were the same person but i guess not. ’cause you just said no. jabba the hut was there, he is fat. i kept asking why queen amidala and padme were both played by natalie portman, and i still don’t really get why but at least i know that i wasn’t imagining things.
8 ) What sticks in your mind most about The Phantom Menace?
i know tony must think im an idiot ’cause i kinda didn’t know what was going on the whole time.
9) What, if anything, surprised you about The Phantom Menace?
i was surprised that it was a little hokey almost… i remember the old movies feeling so much more important and this one just didn’t strike me in the same way. not that i’ve watched (empire strikes back and return of the jedi) in entirety or anything. the animated characters took way too much away from the whole star wars feel.
10) What were your general impressions of The Phantom Menace?
i know that i am slightly jaded by things you have said about the movie. i don’t think i am ready to say if it was good or bad or mediocre. i did enjoy watching it with you, of course, but i do think that the plot wasn’t as strong as it could have been (i obviously had some issues following) and i wasn’t really charmed by it.
I was surprised by how much Sondra enjoyed Jake Lloyd. While I never found him particularly awful (he’s a kid and they generally blow in movies) he seemed to be a pretty high ranking bone of contention for a lot of people. I also found it odd that she didn’t ever mention Darth Maul in our post-TPM discussion. He tends to be one of the few highlights for prequel haters. However, I was really blown away by just how little she knew of what was coming down the line. The fact that she asked me at one point of Luke and Anakin are the same person got me really excited to see what the uninitiated would consider to be big twists. Example: she was crushed when she over heard a casual Star Wars discussion at work and had Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader spoiled for her. Those are the sort of OMG moments this experiment is all about. Curious…