Finally got around to viewing The Phantom Menace, just to help out a struggling indie film — not any worse than the other three movies, really. And no, Jar-Jar was fine; ignore the slashdot crowd.
Maul was a puppet. He worked well in his role as a puppet, but he didn’t appear quite enough and in important enough ways to act as an effective red herring. Lucas should have used him more — though keeping him basically mute was a good decision. The emperor — jeez. I think Lucus intended the theater chairs to see through him from his first scenes. Ditto with “Padame” — “The Queen wants to investigate!” Ahem.
The anti-intellectuality of the series continues to grate on me.
The parting between Anakin and his mother has been pounded for being overly unemotional. The people reporting this certainly aren’t very perceptive or comprehensive. Given the situation they were in as slaves, the relationship they had, the attitudes she seemed to have as a mother toward the boy, the opportunity presented, and the sheer suddenness of the whole business, the Skywalkers were more than adequately emotional; any more and the whole business would have been melodramatic and boring. Anakin’s mother basically seemed in a bit of shock throughout the whole thing. She appeared to intentionally withhold any strong impulses from processing fully until Anakin left; she knew to escape slavery and find a real outlet for his skills would be in his best interest, and she didn’t want to overly worry him, possibly scarring his future. She simply wasn’t that selfish; the boy needed strength and comfort, not paranoia that he was hurting her. While the movie didn’t show it, it’s evident that it would be hitting her any ol’ time what had just happened. The scene cut a bit too quickly, however. I was expecting a huge change of countenance to pour over her as the jedi walked away.
The special effects bugged me — I expected a lot more, from how Lucas had been describing things. They were mostly pretty obvious, despite what everyone else seems to think. Why is it nobody can seem to either correctly texture-map a wireframe, no matter how high-res the source image, or to remember to blur and de-res digital images enough that they look analogue and real? In addition, what on earth were they doing with the lighting? The photograhy and rendered light rarely seemed to synch correctly. I’ve seen Win95-based games with better integration of elements. I’m not being hyperbolic here, either.
I welcomed the return of the Jawas.
The Buck Rogers outfits the queen and the pilots had were kind of keen, too, as a bit of an allusion to the series’ original inspiratory material.
The beginning part of the movie, involving the Bela Lugosi-ish aliens, reminded me strongly of The Last Starfighter (which was, in turn, heavilly influenced by Star Wars).
This keyboard is annoyingly layed-out. I don’t feel the keys’ locations correctly. The key sizes are molded differently, I think. I prefer my own…
Not very interesting prose today (article blah; article blah; article blah). Sorry.