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Is the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy still worth Watching? Part 1: The Phantom Menace

By Humberto Marmolejo
On April 3, 2017

There is no denying the impact the “Star Wars” series has had on both the science fiction genre and the cinematic world itself. In the first film released, we saw the heroic adventure of Luke Skywalker and his quest to become a Jedi and bringing an end to the unjust rule of the evil galactic empire. Accompanied by the fearsome smuggler Han Solo and his loyal astromech droid R2-D2, the “Star Wars” saga became a cultural phenomenon that has cultivated the imagination of thousands of fans over the years.

    Today “Star Wars” is as popular as ever, currently there are three films in the works, one animated TV show, and dozens of comic books and novels. All of this is thanks to Disney’s acquisition of the “Star Wars” name and Lucas Film Company from series creator George Lucas. The future is bright for “Star Wars” and its loyal fan base, but many people seem to overlook one controversial topic; and that is, the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. The “Star Wars” prequel trilogy tells the story of the early life of Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi hero who would someday become the ruthless Darth Vader, and the journey in which a series of events ultimately lead him falling to the dark side. The “Star Wars” prequel trilogy came out between 1999 and 2005 and all were written and directed by George Lucas himself. However, there is a lot of debate concerning the quality of these three film compared to the original trilogy. Many people think that the larger focus on computer effects and galactic politics negatively impacted the trilogy. However, many people still defend the prequel trilogy and call them just as worthy as the original trilogy.

    In my view, I have to admit that although the prequel trilogy may have it flaws, it also has lots of high points that help defend their reputation. First off, as a person who grew up in the 2000s, I have to say that these are the films I grew up watching and my view on the prequel trilogy might be drastically different than a person who grew up in the 1980s and grew watching the original trilogy.

    Today, I want to focus on the first film, “The Phantom Menace.” “The Phantom Menace,” was released on May 19 1999. The film tells the story of Jedi Master Qui Gon Jinn and his young apprentice Obi Wan Kenobi, and their quest to Protect Queen Amidala of Naboo. In their journey, Qui Gon runs into a young boy named Anakin Skywalker, who Qui Gon believes will bring “balance to the Force”. In the end of the film, Qui Gon tragically dies battling the dark lord Darth Maul, and thus pleas his apprentice Obi Wan to train Skywalker. The film got mixed reviews from both film critics and fans alike. Most criticism revolves around the slow pacing of the film and annoying characters such as Jar Jar Binks and the young Skywalker.

    Although, I understand and respect this criticism, I have to say that in my opinion, this film is overly criticized. I defend this film because what it set itself to do was accomplished, and that is to set the events of the rest of the trilogy. Kenobi and Skywalker meet; the Dark Lords are revealed to still exist, and the beginning of Skywalker’s quest to become a Jedi is set in motion. Something I really enjoyed in this film are the set pieces, the pod-race scene and the final battle in particular are one of my favorite moments in the entire series. New planets are introduced, such as Coruscant and Naboo, and we get to see how the Jedi operated. Overall, this film isn’t the best in the series, but it is frequently judged unfairly. Either way, it is a film that carries many important set pieces and one many “Star Wars” fans and new fans alike are welcomed to enjoy.


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