Monday, December 21, 2009

The Phantom Menace: why it sucked

I was at a party over the weekend with some of my favorite pop culture experts, people who have read every book, seen every movie, played every video game and watched every TV show. One of them even tours with big-time rock bands and is usually good for an entertaining story or two.

Aside from some interesting talk about David Foster Wallace, the decline of Harper's magazine and the poster art of Jay Ryan, which the party hostess and I both collect, I got tipped off to the latest Internet sensation: a scathing 70-minute review of what has to begiven the enormity of its industry-changing franchise and the sixteen long years of anticipation that preceded itthe most colossally disappointing movie of all time, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (God, even the title is terrible).

The review takes the time to document the movie's shortcomings in exhaustive detail: its lack of a protagonist, incomprehensible story
, glaring plot holes, cardboard characters, nonsensical moments and overcluttered visuals, among many others.

It also includes footage of George Lucas and his cowering employees as they work on Phantom Menace, making clear that Lucas' immense wealth and complete creative control (plus his underlings' job security concerns and groupthink) prevent anyone from pointing out its obvious problems. Even Lucas himself more or less concedes that the movie is a huge mess, but only after it's too late to undo the damage.

The review is posted to YouTube in seven 10-minute installments that, as more than one commenter noted, amount to a far more entertaining movie than The Phantom Menace.

Here's the first installment to get you started:


Jon Strauss said...

Haven't watched the review yet, but hope too. My biggest problem with the movie (and I have many) is that the "bad guys" don't do anything bad except conspire in whispers, wear dark robes and fight jedi (who don't do anything that makes them particularly good). No equivolent of destroying an innocent planet or even force choking your comrades. If this movie is supposed to introduce generations of future Star Wars fans to the series, where is the good v. evil battle as was so brilliantly set up in A New Hope?

Really, you can skip Phantom Menace and go right to Attack of the Clones, which, if you take away the worst love story in the history of cinema, is a rollicking and fun movie.

Mike Sacksteder said...

The review is absolutely hilarious, although deeply disturbing at times. Much better than the underlying movie.

Jon Strauss said...

I just finished the review. Hilarious and spot-on. Definitely better than the movie.