Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace

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Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace ★★★ 1999 (PG)

Lucas' first “Star Wars” film in 16 years is also the beginning of his prequel trilogy. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and rebellious apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) are sent to the peaceful planet Naboo to aid young Queen Amidala (Portman), who is being forced to sign a Trade Federation treaty. When the Jedis escape to Tatooine with Amidala, they encounter a slave boy, Anakin (Lloyd), whom Jinn realizes is enpowered by the Force, and are pursued by the Federation and evil Dark Lord, Darth Maul (Park). The special effects are all they're cracked up to be (practically the whole thing is computer generated, but doesn't look it), and the action scenes have the zip and excitement you'd expect. The characters and story may aim a little more at kids than some would like, but those kids will be the teenagers that flock to see the next two. Some plot holes, but that's to be expected in the first installment of a trilogy. 130m/C VHS, DVD . Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Park, Pernilla August, Terence Stamp, Brian Blessed, Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie, Ralph Brown, Sofia Coppola; D: George Lucas; W: George Lucas; C: David Tattersall; M: John Williams; V: Ahmed Best, Frank Oz. MTV Movie Awards '00: Action Seq.