DARTH MAUL IS MY HOMEBOY
"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (1999)
Directed by George Lucas
I am going to do something right now that many would not dare. I am going to defend "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". Before I open this potential can of worms, let me share my opinion of what a Star Wars film is intended to be. My theory is that they are films with a young audience in mind. As far back as "A New Hope", George Lucas made action figures for this franchise. This is back in the seventies, when adult toy collectors weren't a thing yet. When you offered toys, you actually meant them to be for children. There were no action figures for "The Godfather", that was a film for adults. "Star Wars" was for the kids. I also think that "The Phantom Menace" was not meant for grown-ups either. I think George still thinks of his outer space films as movies for kids.
Back in 1999, many of the people who saw "The Phantom Menace" for the first time were actual children. Have you ever had a conversation about a film with a six year old? Spoiler alert: it won't be very intellectual. Kids don't always have the most discerning taste. What does that mean, exactly? That means that kids back in 1999, actually liked Jar Jar Binks. If people are nostalgic about their childhood, there must be a whole generation that not only likes "The Phantom Menace", but even prefer it to any of the films in the original trilogy. This may sting, but don't let it.
Darth Maul: He is scary looking, his double-sided light saber is bad-ass and he fights like a possessed ballerina.
The eager pacing of Darth Maul, the tension of Obi-Wan and the Zen-like calm of Qui-Gon.
These things are more than enough to qualify "The Phantom Menace" as not only a movie that I enjoy, but one that I think people should lighten up on. If it's been a while since you have watched it, why not give it a second chance? Who knows, if you didn't like it before, maybe you'll hate it just a little bit less this time.
(Artwork by Isaac Keith Martinez)