A new, amazing, thorough and hilarious critique of The Phantom Menace

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sam Posten, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    don't have time to go through the entire thing but i am impressed w/ a good chunk of the 1st part =). "most impressive" ;)
     
  2. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I should go back and change that to- "with almost equal devastation".
    TDK doesn't have the legion of inanities that TPM contains, but it has enough to choke on for me.
    I can't make it 10 minutes in anymore without wanting to knock my forehead against the wall to unconsciousness.
    Here's a few questions- The school bus is leaving a gaping hole in the side of a building.
    Were all the other buses in on the heist? That's a lot more people that he would have to kill.
    If they weren't, did they all lack radios? Wouldn't real drivers see there was a poser here and alert the cops that are starting to converge on the bank as the scene ends?
    If they were part of the gang- how easy was it to steal a fleet of school buses undetected?
    Why does an un-deputized vigilante get a pass for setting off explosives in a densely populated area, yet off duty cops with hockey pads and automatic weapons are not to be taken seriously- who put Batman in charge?
    Does having the bat signal on the police department roof mean that the city endorses Batman? wouldn't that open the city up to monstrous litigation over property damage and safety when Batman is setting off explosives to 'intimidate' people? How hard is it to run up a cursory profile of someone who has access to highly advanced weaponry?
    Are Abe Lincoln and Elvis the best these guys can come up with?
    If the film is consistently throwing things at me that I can't logically accept or question the validity to, then I can't buy into the characters, the premise or stakes of the conflict.
    TDK is a hard sell for me now because I see so many sequences that I can't get past.
    It's nowhere close to the 'thinking person's' action movie that so many of us thought it was at first glance.
     
  3. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Paul:

    while I won't go into it, because it's unpopular, you hit on some issues.. I admit, I really dislike TDK (and BB) and still think "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" is BY FAR .. and I mean LEAPS AND BOUNDS the best Batman film.

    I understand the nature of the argument of something as "not a good film" and that's fine. Like I said, a big part of anything to me is whether or not I find it personally entertaining or not. I'm sure we all have tastes. But to me, picking apart a film to say "here's why it's bad" just is a matter of laying out your own personal tastes.

    For example, there are tons of films I hate, but that doesn't mean they are bad films. I saw "ET" the first time in the theater and -walked out-. I thought it was so bad that half way through it I quit and went home. Outside of Postcards from the Edge, it is the only other film I have ever physically walked out of.

    It doesn't mean the film itself was a horrible work, it just wasn't for me. I personally didn't like it, and found it too hard to get through. Meanwhile, I sat all the way through "Battlefield Earth" which was absolutely god awful and laughed my ass off at how bad it was.

    I don't revere TPM as "a great work" like I said, it was fairly mediocre with a few really fun moments. But it's something I'm happy my kids enjoy.

    Sometimes films just exist for their own reason. I think it's great that this person cares enough to spend time to critique the film. Again, he has every right to do it, and I'm sure it reaches home with a lot of people who were disappointed with the film.

    I'd be much more interested if he made the same effort with sequels that harmed more significant pieces (my example of Godfather III is a good one) or remakes that harmed even the basic point of the original. "Stepford Wives" remake may have been one of the great bastardizations of a work, but it isn't alone.

    To each there own, but I don't think there is a definitive "good/bad" with film. After all, while most of my favorites are also favorites for others, the fact that I'd include "Back to the Beach" in my Top-25 films or believe "Little Shop of Horrors" is one of the most underrated films in the last few decades wouldn't match everyone's taste. But that's why they churn out movies.

    (and, just as a point of reference, I believe that Revenge of the Sith IS the film I wanted, and I find it one that is incredibly re-watchable and love the hell out of it)
     
  4. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    He is spot-on with his points about the story, plot, and character (or lack thereof) in The Phantom Menace even though it's done in an over-the-top (but entertaining) way.
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Matt
    while I agree that what entertains us is largely subjective, I disagree that there few if any objective principles that can be applied to distinguish a good work from a bad work.
    And I think this applies to creative outlets beyond film- or at the very least in terms of storytelling across different mediums.
    For the arts in general there is structure, clarity, harmony.
    In storytelling specifically you have plot, character, themes, etc.
    Whether you like a given plot, character, theme etc is a subjective call.
    But I think there are objective elements at play that inform and influence, sometimes unconsciously, our subjective reactions.
    For example, we don't respond as enthusiastically to a character whose motivations are murky or inconsistent as we would to one who is clear and consistent- whether he is a bad guy or a good guy.
    Han remains a fairly consistent character from the first moment we meet him. When he does have a change of heart, it is after his primary motivation has been satisfied (greed= he gets paid off) and it is motivated by the influence the other characters have had on him. Though see him show up to help Luke save the day is a pleasant surprise, it's not an unwarranted change of character. Would anyone disagree that Han (or Vader, or Luke, etc) were examples of 'good' characters?
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I said before but I think it's a waste of time to spend so much of your life agonizing over not liking a movie that came out 10 years ago. If this was 1999, I could understand that it was still a fresh to wound to the man. However, it's been 10 years so it's way past time for him to say "Fuck that movie" and just stop thinking about it. I'm sure all of the people posting in this thread that hate The Phantom Menace have managed to do the same so I find it weird and sad that someone can't do that.
    Keep in mind that I'm not saying it is or isn't funny, I'm not saying that he is or isn't correct in his critique but I'm fairly certain that if this was any other movie that is as 'old' as The Phantom Menace, people would be wondering why this guy was still worried about it.
     
  7. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I'd say a lot of it is wishful thinking, as in "I really want these films to be good, and they do have the 'brand name' on them...".
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Actually, his comments are quite insightful and intelligent, but since you only watched about a minute of what he had to say, you wouldn't know that.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'm kinda shocked this is so polarizing. I'd just like everyone to try to refrain from taking or making any of this too personally. Last thing i want is mods jumping in and shutting this thread down just when it's getting interesting.
    Quote:
    Agreed with this totally. If you didn't make it through the whole thing it's interesting to try these two exercises that the video does very well.
    First, describe the following characters without describing merely what they look like:
    Han Solo
    Darth Vader
    Lando Calrissian
    Now try to describe the characters of:
    Amidala
    Anakin
    Darth Maul
    Darth Sidious
    or any other prequel character.
    Next, describe to me who the protagonist of Episode 1 is. Why are we invested in that protagonist. What is their story arc?
     
  10. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    I did not watch the whole clip so I will take you up on this:

    Han Solo - Is a loner who is always thinking of himself and just trying to survive the easiest way he knows. He knows what he wants, lives by the moment and tries not to let anything or anyone get in his way. I liken him to the old fashion cowboy , 30s gangster wannabe, modern day street wise hustler type.

    Darth Vader - My impressions before the prequels. He is power hungry as you can get. Bent on ruling the universe at any cost he is basically enslaved to his own evil desires and feels that he has to do what he does. While he states that he would rule the universe with his son, that shows there is still some human compassion left in his almost robot like personality.

    Lando Calrissian - Basically a businessman who enjoys a profit and still tries to do the right thing when needed. He thinks he is a good guy and that is what drives him to make some decisions that might not be good for the bottom line.

    Amidala - Reminds me of a young, naive, ideologist who generally wants the best for the people she rules. This drive to do what is "right" gets her into situations that she hasn't completely thought through. But it is her 100% belief in what she is doing that drives her "failure is not an option" mentality. The only thing that I say that is way out of her character is when she show sympathy to Anakin after he kills all the sandpeople. Based on all her other actions, I would have thought that she would dis-own him after that.

    Anakin - As a boy he is young and innocent. He wants better for his family and friends and like most kids wants to have fun. As the teenager / young adult, he have unprecedented powers, but like most older teens, he can't be told what to do or how to do it. He believes that he is invincibly and that his power makes him right. He has a lot of strength, but not the experience and wisdom to use it correctly. This lack of wisdom leads him to make the biggest mistake he could in the name of doing what he thinks is right.

    Darth Maul - Not much character or personality. Just a thug doing what his master instructs him to do. Basically the bad guy put into a movie to die in the end. (red shirt and red eyes and red stripes on his face)

    Darth Sidious - A pure evil leader bent on universal domination and power. (like a Hitler) He is playing a game of power because he finds it entertaining. He has no allegiance to anyone - family or friends. Everyone and everything is expendable as long as he achieved his goals. I often wonder what these people bent on universal / world domination would do once they achieve their goal.

    The protagonist of all the episodes is Anakin/Darth Vader. His inner battle between good and evil and the mistakes and redemption that are made. I think episodes 1,2&3 really help put a man and his reasoning behind the dark character that is so ruthless in episodes 4,5 &6. I have often wondered what real life Hitlers and mass killers were like as children. Did they have a normal childhood with parents that loved them? What course of events lead them down such a dark path in life? Episodes 1,2&3 help answer these questions for Darth Vader.
     
  11. Cory S.

    Cory S. Supporting Actor

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    I freaking hate to do this but, personally, Episode I's protagonist is the plot, not a character. But more than asking that question, I think the appropriate question to ask is why is Episode I set up the way it is...?

    Personally, I think if Lucas had made the film just one film, that question wouldn't be asked. He would've adjusted the story. The difference between Episode I and Episode IV as introductions to the world is that Lucas didn't know if there would be an Episode V after Episode IV. With Episode I, he knew he'd make two more...hence how the film is set up. It's literally set up like an opening chapter to something much, much larger.

    The world, the plot, and the action are the hooks to get you into this world. The real story begins in Episode II.

    I will find out soon enough when my son is old enough but I'm curious to see who he latches on to when I introduce him to Star Wars with Episode I. What character will it be?

    Prequel apologist, I know....sue me. I love the damn moves.
     
  12. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Guys, if we're gonna deconstruct every movie, than they all fail.

    Why doesn't Glinda tell Dorothy to click her ruby slippers together as soon as she has them on her feet?

    How did the Frankenstein Monster know where his creator lived, and how did he find Elizabeth's boudoir?

    How could Scottie Ferguson not know that Madeline Elster and Judy Barton were one and the same person?

    The list could go on and on. TPM is far from a masterpiece, but TDK is a very fine piece of film making that has no more plot holes or problems than any other film.
     
  13. Cory S.

    Cory S. Supporting Actor

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    drobbins,

    Here's the problem with your assessment about Episode I's protagonist...if there were no other Star Wars films and this was the first, who's story is it?

    This is why I've always thought that the protagonist is more the plot than any character. This is the opening act. If we had no knowledge of the Original Trilogy or what is to come in Episodes II and III, what you take away from the film is that there was an intergalactic blockade on a peaceful planet. The Queen ultimately has to fight for her people with the help of two Jedi Knights...

    We latch on to Anakin(in a way) because he's a tangent to the story...and what Qui-Gon feels about this boy. But even that is gone after they leave Tatoonie. The plot and the resolution to the plot is what keeps us watching(well, some of us.).
     
  14. Cory S.

    Cory S. Supporting Actor

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    Very true, Larry.
     
  15. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    I didn't need more than a minute to realize that I didn't have a bit of interest in what he had to say....the same way I feel about the majority of your posts, Robert.
     
  16. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Totally agree.
     
  17. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I already gave a few 'WTF' lapses, and that was just within the first 10 minutes of the film. The other 130 minutes contain plenty more.
    I could go down a list and tick them off, but it wouldn't be nearly as entertaining as the TPM reviewer made his criticism, so I'll save everyone the tedium.

    Good stories hold up well to deconstruction. weaker stories require gymnastic rationalizations, and poor stories completely fall apart with the more thought you put into them.
    Few movies , if any, are flawless. But I think you can find a whole bunch of classics (and underrated contemporary films) that are thoughtfully constructed, that can be pulled apart and examined, where each part remains sound, yet contributes to a greater sum.
     
  18. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Luckily I can enjoy a movie without picking every single part of it to death. I think I'd make myself miserable if all I did while watching a film was look for its flaws. Instead, I watch movies to be entertained and a film either achieves that goal for me or it doesn't. For example, all I'd heard the past few months was how great Inglorious Basterds was, how it was arguably Tarantino's best effort and one of the best movies of the year. I watched it the other night and was absolutely bored to death. Does that mean it's not a good film? No, but I certainly wasn't entertained by it so on that level the movie was a fail for me. If The Dark Knight has a bunch of plot holes I personally could care less because I was entertained more by that film than have been by any movie in a long time.
     
  19. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I don't think most of your arguments were very good at all.
    For instance:

    This was a joke. An obvious, hit you over the head joke(and maybe some people don't find it funny), but still a joke.


    [/QUOTE]
    It's made clear that the department makes no official endorsement of Batman, but that Jim Gordon(who is not the Police Commissioner yet) has an "officially frowned upon" connection with him. We hear the Mayor denying any official endorsement of Batman when he's being interviewed on live television. The Bat Signal is called "faulty equipment"; no one admits what it is. And governments and city officials denying that they have a connection with people or organizations doing illegal things is a part of popular storytelling, is it not?
    And, this is Batman. The comic book character has existed for seventy years, and for about 68 of those years Batman was summoned by Commissioner Gordon to police headquarters with a skylight called the Batsignal. No one figures out that Bruce Wayne is Batman, even though this would seem to be a cinch for the police or at least the FBI(still, Bruce does at least have a better disguise than Clark Kent ). Even in a "realistic" approach to the material, people expect there to be a Batsignal, a Batmobile, a secret identity, a utility belt filled with gadgets and other unrealistic elements. Without them, it wouldn't be Batman.
     
  20. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    That's fine Brent.
    The first time I watched it, I was swept up in the films relentless pace and left the theater feeling quite entertained (or at the very least, that I got my money's worth).
    It was on subsequent viewings, where I could sit back and process just what was going on, that I started seeing big lapses of logic and structural problems. They stick out like sore thumbs to me now.
    I'm not contending that the film is no longer entertaining (although it is much less so to me now), just that it has far too many problems based on simple logic to still be congratulated on being a thinking mans action movie.
    Also, while discussing storytelling in general is probably germane, I don't want to get hung up on TDK minutiae in this thread. If someone wants to move the discussion to a TDK thread, I'll expand on the problems I see with it.
    Though I will understand if no one wants to
     

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