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Phantom Menace DVD Cover A Special Gaylaxians Presentation
of Friday Night Movies

Star Wars: Episode I
The Phantom Menace

Friday the 10th of May

Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning. - original tagline

USA: 1999 -- Directed by George Lucas

Written by George Lucas

Starring Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, and introducing Jake Llyod as Anakin Skywalker

"I have a bad feeling about this." --Obi-Wan Kenobi

Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

"I have a bad feeling about this," says the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace as he steps off a spaceship and into the most anticipated cinematic event... well, ever. He might as well be speaking for the legions of fans of the original episodes in the Star Wars saga who can't help but secretly ask themselves: Sure, this is Star Wars, but is it my Star Wars? The original elevated moviegoers' expectations so high that it would have been impossible for any subsequent film to meet them. And as with all the Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace features inexplicable plot twists, a fistful of loose threads, and some cheek-chewing dialogue. Han Solo's swagger is sorely missed, as is the pervading menace of heavy-breathing Darth Vader. There is still way too much quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo, and some of what was fresh about Star Wars 22 years earlier feels formulaic. Yet there's much to admire. The special effects are stupendous; three worlds are populated with a mélange of creatures, flora, and horizons rendered in absolute detail. The action and battle scenes are breathtaking in their complexity. And one particular sequence of the film--the adrenaline-infused pod race through the Tatooine desert--makes the chariot race in Ben-Hur look like a Sunday stroll through the park.

Among the host of new characters, there are a few familiar walk-ons. We witness the first meeting between R2-D2 and C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt looks younger and slimmer (but not young and slim), and Yoda is as crabby as ever. Natalie Portman's stately Queen Amidala sports hairdos that make Princess Leia look dowdy and wields a mean laser. We never bond with Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan's day is yet to come. Jar Jar Binks, a cross between a Muppet, a frog, and a hippie, provides many of the movie's lighter moments, while Sith Lord Darth Maul is a formidable force. Baby-faced Anakin Skywalker looks too young and innocent to command the powers of the Force or wield a lightsaber (much less transmute into the future Darth Vader), but his boyish exuberance wins over skeptics.

Near the end of the movie, Palpatine, the new leader of the Republic, may be speaking for fans eagerly awaiting Episode II when he pats young Anakin on the head and says, "We will watch your career with great interest." Indeed! --Tod Nelson

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a ticket to the next pod race!

Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker Ian McDiarmid as Darth Sidious


Won Saturn Award for Best Special Effects and Customing. Nominated for Saturn Award for Best DVD Classic Film Release.

Nominated for Oscars for Best Sound, Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects

More awards

Memorable Quotes

Qui-Gon Jinn: The ablilty to speak does not make you intelligent.

Senator Palpatine: There is no civility, only politics.

Jar Jar Binks: Monsters out there, leaking in here. Weesa all sinking and no power. Whena yousa thinking we are in trouble? (The moment you stepped on screen, Jar Jar!)

More quotes


Sets were built only as high as the tops of the actors' heads and computer graphics filled in the rest. But Liam Neeson was so tall that he cost the set crew an extra $150,000 in construction.

In 1997, a fierce sandstorm destroyed several of the Tatooine sets in the desert outside Tozeur, Tunisia. Filming resumed two days later. George Lucas considered this a good omen, as the very same thing had happened during filming of the original Star Wars in 1977.

Ray Park, whose swordsmanship is showcased in Darth Maul's light saber battle against Obi-wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, worked as the Headless Horseman's fight double in Sleepy Hollow (1999), and also choreographed the sword fighting scenes in that film. Ray Park's Headless Horseman kills Casper Van Dien's character Baron van Brunt by cutting him in half at the waist, the same way Park's Darth Maul was killed in Phantom Menace.

Qui-Gon Jinn's communicator is a redecorated Sensor Excel Razor for Women.

More trivia


Revealing mistakes: A power cord can be seen along the floor powering the lights on Queen Amidala's dress when she is looking out the window of the palace at the invading army.

Continuity: Obi-Wan's hair length and style changes between shots, starting when Amidala returns from Coruscant. It goes from spiky to smooth and back once or twice.

More goofs

Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala Ray Park as Darth Maul Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks