The Phantom Menace (I) – Muddled & childish. 4/10 / Attack of The Clones (II) – Improved. 6.7/10 / Revenge of the Sith (III) – Breathtaking masterpiece._9.2/10
Ep. I: The Phantom Menace – 4/10
Review: A muddled starting point that boasts some cool sequences like Pod-Racing & Darth Maul but is heavily tainted by insulting kidification like Jar Jar and Midi-Chlorians, The Phantom Menace is disappointing and by far the worst of the Star Wars movies.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a 9-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter.
Most Memorable Moment(s): 1. Pod Race in the Desert, 2. Darth Maul fight
Pros: Good opening scene with a memorable fight scene in the trade ship with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Liam Neeson a great actor and Qui-Gon, story easy-to-follow which will undoubtedly be a good start point and sucker-in for the uninitiated (franchise building can be important I guess), Jake Lloyd mostly serviceable (shakily acted at times) bringing to screen Anakin’s original innocence before he becomes.. you know.., Pod race in the desert an iconic sequence that stands as one of the most memorable moments in Star Wars, Darth Maul a memorable and intimidating villain, Yoda looks and sounds much better, Ewan McGregor a phenomenal Obi-Wan – highlight of the film, sets in motion pretty well the storylines that will ultimately lead to A New Hope, Darth Maul fight great, Qui-Gon’s exit meaningful & heartbreaking, better final act at least making it watchable
Cons: Three words: Jar Jar Binks – so goofy, childish (obviously made to cater to kids and simple-minded non-fans/general audiences while insulting fans of the originals) and blackface racist making fun of Carribbean people (I’m honestly stunned they got away with this) – it is almost UNBEARABLE to watch and single-handedly ruins the movie experience & drops TPM’s score 40-50% for me, a lot of the CGI looks unexplainably cheap in things like world design and droids, Midi-Chlorians.. sigh, Jake Lloyd’s acting pretty shaky at times – gets the characterization right of an innocent young Anakin but delivers lines in an inexperienced and cheesy at times way, about 20-25 min too long (cut out Jar Jar and some of the kid stuff and you’re there), other storylines besides Darth Maul fight in final act detracting & not as energetic/enriching as the Originals
Overall Rating: 4/10
Ep. II: Attack of The Clones – 6.7/10
Review: Refreshingly less childish/cartoonish than TPM, Attack of The Clones is, although held back by glaring flaws like a romantic comedy-feel in parts/less enthralling storyline, a step in the right direction for the Prequels with some memorable action sequences.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of “The Phantom Menace,” the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos. A separatist movement encompassing hundreds of planets and powerful corporate alliances poses new threats to the galaxy that even the Jedi cannot stem. These moves, long planned by an as yet unrevealed and powerful force, lead to the beginning of the Clone Wars — & beginning of the end of the Republic.
Most Memorable Moment(s): 1. Obi-Wan’s rain-soaked fight with Boba Fett – stunning, 2. Opening futuristic city scene/chase,
Pros: Phenomenal opening act with the futuristic, almost Blade Runner-esque city scene of the assassination attempt of Padme and the following pod pursuit, Ewan McGregor cemented even further as the definitive Obi-Wan that just looks and plays the part masterfully, Hayden Christensen a phenomenal Anakin – MUCH better actor than Jake Lloyd correcting that flaw from Ep. I and does a great job bringing to light the emotional, teen, troubled and strugging-to-decide-his-fate Anakin (not an easy role by any means), CGI a lot better, Nathalie Portman absolutely gorgeous as Padme and has great chemistry with Hayden’s Anakin that makes their romance believable, much more serious tone than the over-childish Ep. I, the Clone storyline phenomenal and Obi-Wan’s rain-soaked fight with Django Fett – stunning & one of my favorite Star Wars moments, great ending 15 min with thrilling action sequences including Dooku vs. Anakin and Yoda (wow was not expecting how energetic and great his effects were in battle. hype)
Cons: Plays like a romantic comedy in many parts and over-focuses on Anakin/Padme’s relationship – I agree it’s an important part of the story but c’mon this is Star Wars not a chick flick, Jar Jar’s back…. at least he’s toned down but still.. why??.. -___-, pacing problematic as it struggles to keep up and keep the viewer involved and on the edge of their seat, “I hate sand”.. sigh, a lot of characters besidees the main ones underdeveloped, back-half with Dooku and post-Anakin kills surprisingly boring until the very end
Overall Rating: 6.7/10
Ep. III: Revenge of The Sith – 9.2/10
Review: A powerful, dark, & emotional film boasting perhaps the most iconic & jaw-dropping Star Wars moments of All-Time in brother vs. brother in the lava fight, the fall of Anakin & the Jedi, and the birth of Darth Vader, Revenge of the Sith is a masterpiece by George Lucas & the Star Wars film that converted me from casual fan to lifelong one.
Synopsis: Three years after the Clone Wars began, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from General Grievous, the commander of the droid armies, but Grievous escapes. Suspicions are raised within the Jedi Council concerning Chancellor Palpatine, with whom Anakin has formed a bond. Asked to spy on the chancellor, & full of bitterness toward the Jedi Council, Anakin embraces the Dark Side.
Most Memorable Moment(s): 1. Darth Vader’s birth with the chilling first breath and iconic ‘NOOOO’, 2. Anakin vs. Obi-Wan lava fight – the scene I think about when I hear Star Wars, 3. Yoda vs. Palpatine fight in the senate chamber
Pros: Breathtaking cinematography ranging from diverse locations, jaw-dropping action sequences including some of the most, if not THE most iconic Star Wars scenes of All-Time like Anakin vs. Obi-Wan on the lava rocks (the scene I think about when I hear the words Star Wars), Yoda vs. Palpatine fight in the senate chamber, and Grievous vs. Obi-Wan and the final fight on Tatooine, enthralling storylines masterfully executed and balanced bringing up to the peak of their impact and leading directly and seamlessly into where we began in A New Hope that adds a new dimension and layer of hype to the originals (what the best prequels do and what I didn’t exactly feel in Ep. I or II), incredible acting as everyone in the cast has really grown into their roles especially McGregor as the definitive Obi-Wan, Ian McDarmiad as the seriously twisted and devious/duality-infested Senator Palpatine (amazing villain that is truly convincing and blurring of lines between good and evil), etc., and Hayden Christensen – the MVP showcasing an All-Time great performance in this one as the seriously disturbed and interior conflicted Anakin who is believable and truly investing in his emotional, heartbreaking, and even twisted fall from grace to become the big gun: Darth Vader, Darth Vader’s birth with the chilling first breath and iconic earth-shattering ‘NOOOOO’ one of my favorite moments in the HISTORY of cinema and without doubt the greatest Star Wars moment of All-Time as far as I’m concerned, Anakin and Padme’s relationship done right for most impact and of course bringing into the world Luke and Leia, the death of hope is thoroughly disheartening, dark & breaking in things like Order 66 and the hunting down of all Jedi by their own ranks, one of the greatest final acts in the HISTORY OF CINEMA – if you told me I had to pick only one Star Wars film to watch the rest of my life to sum up the experience it would be this one
Cons: Begins in kind of a weird place as it gets its legs about 10-15 min in, dialogue in some parts could have been better with some misplaced jokes in parts too due to Lucas’ bizarre penchant for kidiness sometimes (very minor problem in all it achieves but still)
Overall Rating: 9.2/10