But I was gonna go to the Tosche Station to audition some actors! Rumor has it that Lucas wrote his dialogue and directed his actors to resemble the theatrical, operatic serial dramas from which he drew the inspiration for Star Wars. If he was going for depth, he hit the moon instead. This is an awkward movie, to say the least, but somehow at the end, it all feels like very high-budget low-budget schlock, retaining that delightful silliness and buried thematic heft that films like Forbidden Planet are remembered for. This movie would have been a cult classic if its production had cost as much as a used car.
Where did you dig up this old screenplay? Although the first part of a trilogy, The Phantom Menace has little to do with the narratives of its sequels. In fact, it has little to do with anything at all. The story concerns the relatively localized trials of a single small planet, removed from any immediate epic machinations or sweeping galactic tribulations. At times, it feels contained enough to be a spin-off and boring enough to be the news.
Digital effects can deceive you: don’t trust them. This movie actually looks beautiful. Its sequel will make history three years later as the first feature film to be shot entirely with digital cameras, but The Phantom Menace’s film stock blends the momentous visual effects into the live action elements with seams remarkably negligible for a 1999 picture. Too bad the animators weren’t in charge of the actor’s faces too.
Mesa your humble servant! What is he doing there?! Why is he with them?!