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Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the most disappointing thing since my son. I mean, how much more could you possibly fuck up the entire backstory to Star Wars? And while my son eventually hanged himself in the bathroom of a gas station, the unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequels is that they'll be around. Forever. They will never go away. They can never be undone.
This right here, I think, summarizes the main thing disconnecting me from most Star Wars fans. It's one thing to think of a film as a complete disappointment, but so many people hate the prequels to such an over-the-top extent that it's almost become Internet law to say that you actually enjoyed them. I totally get being passionate about your interests, but I've never honestly felt so passionate about a media franchise that I'd ever get this dramatic about it, especially over a few bad installments. It's just kinda pathetic.

The nice thing about the character of Mr. Plinkett, though, is that there's an innate self-awareness to his sense of humor. Mike Stoklasa must have known how obnoxious people find it when fanboys complain about their stupid Star Wars bullshit, because nobody who's normal could possibly give a fuck about who shot first, or whatever pointless debate is currently a hot topic among the Mr. Plinketts of the world, and that's the point. He plays up the fact that Mr. Plinkett is just one of these old, gross, hobbiless losers who incessantly whines about shit that doesn't matter, but resonates with a lot of jaded yet nostalgic Gen X-ers.

It's clever, but I think this aspect of his character is lost on the people who cite his reviews as gospel truth.

In any case, I am prepared to slam dunk on this review. I just wish I had found the time to do it sooner.
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If you're someone who's under the age of like, twenty, who says his least favorite film in the series is The Empire Strikes Back because it was "the most boringest one," then I suggest you shut this review off right now before I carefully explain how much of a fucking idiot you are.
Indeed, when this video was originally uploaded in December of 2009, I had just turned fourteen, and Empire was indeed my least favorite film in the series, and it really was because of how fucking boring I found it. So you could say that Mr. Plinkett had directly called me out. I didn't "shut the review off," though. I watched everything, and in spite of what all the brainless drones in the comment section were saying, it really wasn't that great of a review, even if it did alter the landscape of YouTube film analysis and influence many of the channels that I still watch today.

I'm twenty-three now. I'll be twenty-four in a couple months, and The Empire Strikes Back is still my least favorite Star Wars film, and it's still the most boringest one.

The Phantom Menace, on the other hand? It's pretty okay. I loved it as a kid, because it was made for kids. As an adult, I'd probably give it a 6/10, which means "decent" on my scale. Not great, not even necessarily good, but certainly not bad or even mediocre. It's just all right.

Honestly, the only reason I've felt the need to defend it tooth-and-nail for all these years is because Star Wars fans are so rabid and ridiculous about it, and it's funny to watch them writhe and seethe as I carefully explain to them how much of fucking idiots they are.
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But where do I possibly start?

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Jar Jar: Mesa hatin' crunchin'.

Nothing in The Phantom Menace makes any sense at all. It comes off like a script written by an eight-year-old. It's like George Lucas finished the script in one draft, like, turned it in, and they decided to go with it, without anyone saying that it made no sense at all, or was a stupid, incoherent mess. I guess, at this point, who's gonna question George, or tell him what to do?

[clip from behind-the-scenes footage]
Crewman: I take it, you [George Lucas] say "action," after we roll camera?
George Lucas: I'll say it.
Crewman: You don't have to—Sometimes, people—
George Lucas: Sometimes I forget.
Crewman: —people forget. [laughs]
George Lucas: If I forget to say "action" or "cut," just step in and say "action" or "cut."

He controls every aspect of the movie. He probably got rid of those people that questioned him creatively a long time ago. [clip of Han Solo getting tortured] I also think that everyone just assumed that a Star Wars prequel will be an instant hit, regardless of what the plot was. Really, how hard could it be to screw up? [clip of Jar Jar doing something stupid] It's like screwing up mashed potatoes. YOU BOIL THE WATER. YOU POUR THE PACKE—
I think it's fair to argue that George Lucas probably had too much creative control, and that nobody was willing to question him at the time, because George Lucas was the man. However, these speculative portions of Mr. Plinkett's reviews have always been my least favorite part of them, because of how easy it is to manipulate footage and paint a certain narrative with it. The fact is, we don't know any of this shit. We weren't actually there. It's funny to think about, but it's ultimately a waste of time, unless you're just desperate to have your bizarre hatred for a film validated.
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1. THE CHARACTERS

The biggest and most glaring problem with The Phantom Menace is the characters. This is, like, the most obvious part of movie-making, but I guess I got to explain it when talking about this turd. [clip of Jar Jar stepping in fecal matter] Let's start a movie-making 101, shall we?

You see, in most movies, the audience needs a character to connect with. Typically, this character is something called a "protagonist." When you're in a weird movie with, like, aliens and monsters and weirdos, the audience really needs someone who's like a normal person, like them, to guide them through the story. Now, this of course doesn't apply to every movie, but it works best in the sci-fi, superhero, action, and fantasy genres. I picked a few examples to illustrate this point: Marty McFly, John McClane, Billy Peltzer, Sarah Connor, Neo, Charlie Bucket, Peter Parker, Cliff Secord, Johnny Rico, Rocky Balboa, and Kevin Bacon.

So, in addition to being an everyday kind of schlub, usually a protagonist is someone who's down on their luck [clip of Sarah Connor spilling someone's drink while waiting tables], in a bad place in their lives [clip of Kevin Bacon ripping a full garbage bag open after trying to lift it], or someone where everything just doesn't always go perfectly for them. [several clips of unfortunate things happening to likable classic protagonists]

Eventually, they'll be confronted with some kind of obstacle or struggle that they gotta deal with. [clips] If we like them, we hope they succeed. [clips] The drama in the film is the result of us rooting for them against opposition. [clip of the Rocketeer lifting off heroically]

Eventually, our protagonist will find themselves in the "lowest point," where it seems like all is lost. [clips] But eventually, they'll pull through, and conquer whatever force opposes them. [clip of Sarah Connor terminating the Terminator] It's satisfying when our hero gets ahead from where they started off at. [clip of Rocky and Adrian saying "I love you" to each other] They make, like, a change. This is called an "arc." Often, too, they'll get the girl in the end as icing on the cake. [various clips of protagonists kissing their love interests, and Charlie Bucket hugging Willy Wonka]
I agree that this is a formula that generally works very well in a lot of these classic, ultra-popular movies from the '80s and '90s, but in many ways, it's a pretty stale formula. If you try writing a protagonist like this in your movie today, then you've probably written an extremely boring and hackneyed character. Harry Potter fits this formula pretty well, but no one's favorite Harry Potter character is Harry Potter (and in fact, he's many people's least favorite). I think people in general have sort of gotten fed up with the "relatable protagonist" trope, if you ask me. That's why characters like Tony Stark have erupted in popularity. In the original Iron Man, he's not the most relatable guy. You might even describe him as kind of a dick, but we still like him because he's witty, charismatic, and we can tell that he has a heart of gold beneath his tough exterior (with the arc reactor being a literal representation of this). His eventual arc is that he becomes humbled after feeling the weight of the world on his back.

Not everyone has to like a character written this way, but it proves that you don't always have to stick to this "every protagonist must be relatable and down-to-earth" formula, which I think a lot of writers seem to use a crutch nowadays. Ultimately, what matters is that the protagonist is charismatic. You just have to like them, and even if you don't like them, you have to like disliking them. It sounds simple, but it doesn't have to be. The most interesting protagonists, to me, are the ones where they don't take that easy route. The Phantom Menace uses a particular method that happens to be one of my favorite ways to establish a protagonist that I will discuss later.

Anyway, Mr. Plinkett clarifies and proceeds to acknowledge that not every movie has to follow the same formula:
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Now, I need to explain that I don't think that all movies should be the same, or conform to the same kind of structure, but it works well in certain kind of movies. So unless you're the Coen brothers, David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Lars von Trier, David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Quentin Tarantino, John Waters, Wes Anderson, Sam Peckinpah, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, or Jim Jarmusch, you really shouldn't stray away too far from this kind of formula, especially if you're making a movie that's aimed at children that has a cartoon rabbit in it that steps in the poopy. [another clip of that scene]
Okay, so he's not saying that ALL movies should be the same, but in order to break the rules of storytelling, you have to be one of these crazy talented, world-famous, auteur directors like Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino. If you're not Wes Anderson, don't ever try to be creative, especially if you're making a fantasy adventure movie with a childish sense of humor.

Now, I know that's not necessarily what he's saying, but it is what he said, and I just don't think it's a very intelligent point. Obviously, it doesn't matter who you are. Writers should be able to take whatever risks they want, because that's the art form. That's the point of art.

I don't think Mike would dispute this, and I get that he's just trying to say "I think this movie would've been better if they had played it safe with the characters," but that's kind of a platitudinous observation, isn't it? You could say that about fucking anything.

He continues with his point, and proceeds to make his first actual criticism of The Phantom Menace:
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This is all, of course, completely applicable to the original Star Wars film, and the character of Luke Skywalker.

[clip from A New Hope]
Luke Skywalker: I wanna learn the ways of the Force, and become a Jedi like my father.

This was accomplished even without all the wonders of modern CGI. Now, with all you've just learned—IN THIS VIDEO THAT I'VE MADE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES—I want you to tell me who the main character of The Phantom Menace was.
So the movie chooses not to have one obvious main character. So what?

Obviously, the movie doesn't have just one main character, but this was clearly intentional. Whereas some stories will have a delineated hierarchy of protagonist importance, where terms like "deuteragonist" or "tritagonist" may be used, The Phantom Menace uses a particular storytelling technique where multiple characters almost equally fulfill the role of the protagonist. The purpose of this is simple: to give every individual in the audience someone to relate to and root for by covering and providing a surrogate for several demographics, rather than just having your one typical young male character who is far more likely to resonate only with young males in the audience.

If you're an older man, father, or father figure, you'll probably see yourself in Qui-Gon and his earnest attempts to pass off his wisdom to his young apprentice.

If you're a little boy, you'll probably see yourself in Anakin, with his bright-eyed enthusiasm and excitement towards life in spite of his unfortunate circumstances.

If you're somewhere in between, you'll probably see yourself in Obi-Wan (this is where I find myself), a young adult who's trying to figure out his life and other people. If you really need the movie to have just ONE protagonist for some reason, you can watch the movie from Obi-Wan's perspective, and he fulfills that role just fine in the traditional sense, by virtue of him having the most in common with the average Star Wars fan.

You see, it's pretty much the same exact formula, but it's being poured down more than one tube, because different people see different things differently. Of course, this technique is not new, by any means—it's very common in serial media, like cartoons, sitcoms, and TV dramas. Neon Genesis Evangelion uses the technique, as well, and it's one of the most appealing and interesting aspects of the show. Young boys will relate more with Shinji Ikari, whereas young adults will relate more with Misato Katsuragi. The different angles from which you can enjoy the show give it a certain depth that a lacking of this device simply wouldn't provide.

Plus, if you're an empath, this kind of storytelling allows you to rewatch the film from the other perspectives that the story provides. This way, you're guaranteed to take something new away from the film every time.

Now, I did say that the technique is more common in TV shows than in movies, and this is because movies usually don't have as much time to flesh out each character's personality, so they often limit themselves to a few. Otherwise, you'll have a whole bunch of flat, cardboard characters instead of a small number of strong, three dimensional ones. Does The Phantom Menace suffer from this issue? Yeah, kinda. You could definitely argue that. But I don't personally view that as a terribly crippling flaw, and I find myself liking almost all of the characters in spite of this relatively small issue (except Anakin, but that's more because of his annoying dialogue and Jake Lloyd's poor acting).

I would also maintain that I'm not necessarily looking for fleshed-out 3D characters in a Star Wars movie, because they've always just been the quintessential popcorn entertainment flick to me. In any case, I think if the film stuck with the same formula that the original Star Wars film did, it would only have made the film seem all the more boring and hackneyed to people. So I'm personally glad that they tried something unique, and even if it didn't pay off with flying colors, I still don't find myself disliking almost any of the film's characters. They're all fun and memorable to me, and that's part of what I go into a Star Wars movie for.

At this point, Mr. Plinkett goes on to list all the characters that he doesn't consider to be the "main" protagonist, because Mike Stoklasa apparently doesn't understand the point of having multiple protagonists:
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I can tell you it's not the Jedi. They were just on some kind of boring mission that they didn't really care about. Plus, they were fucking boring themselves.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Obi-Wan: What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this.
What does it matter if you find the characters boring? I don't understand why that suddenly means they can't be a protagonist. To go back to the Harry Potter example, there's lots of people who believe Harry Potter is pretty boring when you compare him to the other colorful characters in his story, but nobody would deny that he's still the main character.

Personally disliking a character does not actually change their role in the story. That's fucking stupid.
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It wasn't Queen Amidala, because she was some foreign queen the movie was certainly not really about specifically, either.
Well, I can't dispute this one, because she's obviously not really a main character. Women in the audience might like or relate to her, I guess, but like he said, the movie is not really about her specifically. The thing is, I don't think the movie's even trying to say otherwise. She's there, and she has a role, but at no point is that role ambiguous or confusing. No one would even think or consider her to be a main character. I'm not even sure why she's being mentioned here.
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You might be thinking that it's Anakin, because he was like, a slave, and saved the day at the end by accidentally blowing up the starship, but the audience doesn't meet Anakin until forty-five minutes into the movie. And then the things that are happening around him are pretty much out of his control or understanding. If a protagonist has no concept of what's going on, or what's at stake, then there's no real tension or drama. Without that, there's no story. So the conclusion is that there isn't one.
Again, this point would ONLY hold water if Anakin really was the only protagonist. But he's not. The fact that we have multiple characters to attach ourselves to allows us, if necessary, to shift our perspectives to the characters who do have a concept of what's going on. And the kids in the audience who are too young to understand the plot anyway will still be entertained, because they still see a little boy in a starship who's doing some cool shit in outer space. Everyone's entertained, no harm, no foul. Not even for the integrity of the story.
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Before the movie opened, I was really excited to hear that Scottish actor, Ewan McDonald, was going to be playing Obi-Wan Kenobi. I thought that was a great choice, and that he'd be perfect as the lead of this movie.

But he wasn't, really. He just sat on the ship and complains a lot.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Obi-Wan: The Queen's wardrobe, maybe, but not enough for you to barter with. Not in the amount you're talking about.
I like Ewan McGregor, too, and I think he was perfect as Obi-Wan. Not only does he look exactly like a younger Alec Guinness, which is amazing, the speech patterns and mannerisms he worked into his performance tend to emanate a "wise beyond his years" vibe, which fits in perfectly with his character.

The fact that he complains a lot is part of what makes his character. It's a neat reversal of the "cautious master, brash apprentice" trope, where Qui-Gon is the confident risk taker, and Obi-Wan is the stuffy and overly cautious one. Anyone in the audience who thinks Qui-Gon's choices throughout the film were stupid and irresponsible will probably consider Obi-Wan to be very sympathetic, and therefore more likable.

This is, dare I say, good writing. Am I saying it's the best writing ever? No, but it works, and it works just fine in my opinion.
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So YOU may like the characters... You know, if you're stupid.
Fuck you.

I like how he stops there after that one example, too, as if he already talked about all the other characters. Again, I'm not saying The Phantom Menace has the best characters, or even great characters, but I think they're all likable enough to where I could handily defend all of them. Yes, even Jar Jar.
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But let's ask some real people about the Star Wars characters, and see what they say. I posed a simple challenge to them:

"Describe the following Star Wars character WITHOUT saying what they look like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was. Describe this character to your friends like they ain't never seen Star Wars."

The more descriptive they get, the stronger the character, eh?
This is one of the most well-known parts of any Mr. Plinkett review, and I'm willing to bet it's the part where most people started subscribing to him, because it's a clever and fun concept that gives you a quick break from having to listen to Mike's stupid Plinkett voice, and because it's a challenge that they can participate in themselves.

The problem with the "real people" he interviews in the actual video, however, is that they are all his close personal friends that he continues to review films with to this day on Half in the Bag, including Jay Bauman, Rich Evans, and Jack Packard (back when he had hair). I don't recognize everyone in this section, but it's obvious that Mike made absolutely no effort to actually interview strangers to ensure that no bias would be factored into the experiment.

Nonetheless, let's take his little challenge:
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Han Solo

Rich Evans: He's a rogue. He's...
Jay Bauman: He's very arrogant. Charming.
Jack Packard: Roguish, if you will.
Woman: Han Solo is... totally dashing.
Jack Packard: Wannabe dashing. He fancies himself a playboy.
Man: So, like, he's a smarmy, cocksure... womanizer?
Rich Evans: Scoundrel.
Jack Packard: He's pigheaded.
Woman: Completely sexy, in like, a bad boy sort of way, where he's gonna ride the line.
Rich Evans: He's got a bit of a dark streak to him, with shooting Greedo in the bar.
Jack Packard: But also, deep down, is a thief with a heart of gold. That's his character, really.
They forgot "insufferable" and "annoying." I always hated Han Solo. Never liked him in any of the original movies.

But okay, let's keep count here.
Rich Evans described him with three terms: "Rogue," "scoundrel," and "has a dark streak."
Jay only described him with two: "Arrogant" and "charming."
Jack described him with four terms: "Roguish," "wannabe dashing," "pigheaded," and "thief with a heart of gold."
The woman described him with two terms: "Totally dashing" and "completely sexy in a bad boy sort of way."
And the other man described him with three: "Smarmy," "cocksure," and a "womanizer."

Controlling for synonyms, that gives us, like, seven or eight different terms combined. Obviously, Han Solo is a character that Mike Stoklasa considers to be well-written, and you only need to describe him with seven or eight words to demonstrate how strong of a character he is. Got it.
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Qui-Gon Jinn
Okay, my turn.

Qui-Gon Jinn is wise, mature, soft-spoken, and stoic. Very mild-mannered and dry, but that's only because he takes his job seriously. Has shades of grey sewn into his moral compass; he's not above things like gambling and lying to his adversaries, frequently using Jedi Mind Tricks to get his means. He would be a risk-taker, but the point is that he's so confident, that he doesn't view them as risks at all. He's also a very stern, no-nonsense kind of person, and frequently gets annoyed with Jar Jar's hijinks. To some, he may come across as a little cold, but in a fatherly sort of way where he ultimately knows what's best for his disciples.

Boom. Fucking easy.

Now, let's see how these idiots do:
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Rich Evans: He's... stoic.
Woman: I don't remember that character. (Offscreen: He's Liam Neeson, with the beard.) Ohhh... Yes.
Jay Bauman: Well, he has a beard.
Jack Packard: Qui-Gon, and uh, he was—[cuts off before we can hear his response]
Man: [laughs] Um... Stern?
Instead of making a point about the characters in Star Wars, Mike chooses to throw his friends under the bus by making them look like complete fucking idiots.

Well, Rich Evans isn't a complete idiot. He almost immediately used the perfect word to describe him: "Stoic," which I used to describe him as well. He's the quintessential stoic Jedi who's all wrapped up in the niceties of his profession. He's not particularly emotional, because emotions cloud your judgment, according to Jedi teachings which parallel a lot of real world religions. It's a great word. Good on you, Rich Evans. Not so good on you for struggling to come up with any other words, because there are plenty of them.

I don't blame the woman for not remembering Qui-Gon's character, but she says "I don't remember" in a way that implies that she's only seen The Phantom Menace once, which is clearly the case, otherwise she would've done a better job. Meanwhile, she described Han Solo as if she saw the original trilogy at least ten times, which is probably the case. That's not really fair, now is it?

Jay was being a fucking shithead in his interview. First of all, he said not to describe the character's physical appearance. Second, he's clearly bullshitting. "He has a beard." Get the fuck out of here with that shit.

Jack Packard's interview was clearly about to give us a few adjectives, and he sounded enthusiastic about his answer, but Mike decided to cut it off before he could say anything. Nice. What an honest way to make your point, Mike!

The laughing guy shrugs before using "stern," which is certainly one decent description. He could've come up with more if he really tried, but he's playing dumb, because he sees the point that Mike is trying to make, so he decides to play along with it, because he doesn't like the Star Wars prequels and wants to help his friend make a good video.

Fuck this part.
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C-3PO

Jack Packard: His character is kind of the bumbling sidekick.
Rich Evans: Afraid, scaredy-cat. He's timid.
Woman: C-3PO is anal-retentive.
Rich Evans: He's prissy.
Jay Bauman: Well, C-3PO is prissy. He's used a lot as comic relief.
Jack Packard: He's the comic relief.
Woman: He's high-strung.
Jack Packard: He's bumbling. Effeminate.
Jack kinda fails right off the bat by describing his role in the story, rather than his character, as outlined in the challenge's rules. "Sidekick" and "comic relief" are roles, not necessarily character traits in and of themselves (though "bumbling" sidekick has a character trait built into it, I suppose). "Effeminate" is a good word to describe him, however.

The other guys did okay. They still only used, like, two or three, maybe four different words to describe him, which isn't a lot, but Mike decided to play the Star Wars theme over these portions, and NO music at all during the prequel character portions, which manipulates me into thinking that he's making a good point.
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Queen Amidala
My turn, I guess:

This one's a weird example, because there's two different characters playing the role of Queen Amidala. There's the Queen herself, Padmé, played by Natalie Portman, who appears in and out of her role as the Queen, but then there's the oft-forgotten Sabé, played by Keira Knightley, who played Amidala's decoy. The fact that the Queen lacks a personality makes it easier for Sabé to stand in for her, because she doesn't have any mannerisms to imitate which she would otherwise have to learn.

So, I mean, yeah. She doesn't have a personality. That's not a problem, though, because it's woven into the plot.

Padmé herself, on the other hand, has... a little bit more personality to her. Not a lot, but when she's not having to be the Queen, she just seems like a nice, kinda sweet and caring, yet strong and conscientious person. Now, she doesn't necessarily SCREAM any of these qualities at you, but that's okay. She's very down-to-earth about it. She's like a normal teenage girl. I can see how you'd think she's boring, but she doesn't lack character in my opinion.
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Rich Evans: That is going to be fucking impossible because she doesn't have a character.
Jack Packard: She... is, um... She's Natalie Portman!
Woman: Uh, yeah, like, just, kind of...
Rich Evans: Um, well, I can't say she was the Queen. I was gonna say she was the Queen.
Woman: Normal, I guess? Just kind of normal.
Rich Evans: Makeup would be a description. I was gonna describe the makeup.
Jay Bauman: Descibe Queen Amidala's character... Um... Monotone?
Jack Packard: She's the...
Jay Bauman: She looks a lot like Keira Knightley.
Man: [laugh] I can't answer that, and you know it.
Woman: ...So...
Jack Packard: She is... [stops] This is funny, by the way. I get it.
I was kinda giving these people the benefit of the doubt earlier, but shit. Maybe they ARE just fucking idiots.

The woman won this round, concluding that she was just "kind of normal." Yeah, that's true. She's clearly the only one there thinking Padmé, and not the Queen, which is good. She passes that part, but fails the description part.

Jay Bauman, meanwhile, once again puts his dick into his mouth and pulls it straight out of his stupid ass. "She looks like Keira Knightley"? What the hell do you mean? She WAS Keira Knightley, you fucking dipshit. Why did Mike interview you when you haven't even seen the movie? How embarrassing. They don't even look that much alike.
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CONTINUED IN PART 2
Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 03:54:14 PM by Verbatim


 
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No one has to like the The Phantom Menace, but I do, so I'm gonna have fun carefully shredding all seven parts of this terrible review to pieces, because I've always wanted to. I just wish I would've done it sooner.


Fedorekd | Mythic Inconceivable!
 
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I love you, son.
In hindsight RLM's Star Wars stuff is probably their weakest, and has gotten weaker over time as it's pretty clear they lack the engagement to really put the effort into them now. Their TLJ video is noticeably lazy, and it seems like the only reason why they make any Star Wars content is because a lot of people subscribed to them because of their prequel reviews.

I also hate the current trend of needlessly long nitpicky """""objective""""" critique video essays complaining about Star Wars (i.e. Mauler, Dishonoured Wolf, etc) that RLM seem to have inspired with their reviews. It's like Plinkett has failed to evolve past the monster it created.


Ian | Mythic Inconceivable!
 
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Garlemald did nothing wrong.
I completely agree about the overzealous hate for the prequels. While I prefer the OT personally, I still have fond/decent memories of the prequels simply cause I saw them as a kid and there was a bit of something for every age group whereas the OT kind of had a filter against kids with all the dialogue heavy scenes (A New Hope is notorious for this). However I have to disagree about Empire Strikes Back being boring; or even about arguing about the simplicity of "who shot first?" simply when looking at storytelling from a subtle standpoint.

While it ultimately doesn't really make a difference in the grand scheme of things since we got dialogue from Han before he ran into Greedo, imagine that scene playing out as an introduction to Han (and in a way it still kind of is). If we had to gather as much information about Han as possible just from that one scene alone and we don't know anything about him (and from a story perspective we still know extremely little by that point in time) the implications of him shooting first would add quite a bit. Ultimately though it doesn't really matter since A. We're introduced to him in a conversation with Luke & Ben and B. It happens so fast that you have to frame by frame anyways to see it making it hard to tell if it even really happened. Regardless it doesn't subtract from the story in any significant manner but if Lucas had done that numerous times throughout filming we might have been looking at a much different movie altogether.

It's these little implications and all the manual labor that went into making these stories that makes me love the OT so much. Vader's Super Star Destroyer in Episode V took over two weeks to build and at the time they ran out fiber optic lights for it. They used fiber optics to display activity on the outside of a star ship. While The Millenium Falcon only needed maybe ten or so because it was only ran by two guys (Han and Chewie); a Star Destroyer needed hundreds of lights all over its hull because it was a shipped man by thousands of crew members. So what they had to do for Vader's ship since they ran out was puncture holes into the outside of the ship leading into the hollow inside and put two giant lamps on the side of each half of the ship so it would shine through the holes and looks almost exactly the same (hence why some lights look brighter than others on the ship). This process was in the middle of detailing the outside which took roughly 12-14 hours over a seven day period, and it looks just as good as any ship that appeared in the Prequels. I don't particularly care for the CGI in everything after the OT because not only is it noticeable, it feels kind of lazy and plastic and ultimately fake.
Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 02:19:47 PM by Ian


 
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This is not the greatest sig in the world, no. This is just a tribute.
Jar jar was fun
Fuck y'all haters.


 
Verbatim
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I completely agree about the overzealous hate for the prequels. While I prefer the OT personally, I still have fond/decent memories of the prequels simply cause I saw them as a kid and there was a bit of something for every age group whereas the OT kind of had a filter against kids with all the dialogue heavy scenes (A New Hope is notorious for this). However I have to disagree about Empire Strikes Back being boring; or even about arguing about the simplicity of "who shot first?" simply when looking at storytelling from a subtle standpoint.

While it ultimately doesn't really make a difference in the grand scheme of things since we got dialogue from Han before he ran into Greedo, imagine that scene playing out as an introduction to Han (and in a way it still kind of is). If we had to gather as much information about Han as possible just from that one scene alone and we don't know anything about him (and from a story perspective we still know extremely little by that point in time) the implications of him shooting first would add quite a bit. Ultimately though it doesn't really matter since A. We're introduced to him in a conversation with Luke & Ben and B. It happens so fast that you have to frame by frame anyways to see it making it hard to tell if it even really happened. Regardless it doesn't subtract from the story in any significant manner but if Lucas had done that numerous times throughout filming we might have been looking at a much different movie altogether.

It's these little implications and all the manual labor that went into making these stories that makes me love the OT so much. Vader's Super Star Destroyer in Episode V took over two weeks to build and at the time they ran out fiber optic lights for it. They used fiber optics to display activity on the outside of a star ship. While The Millenium Falcon only needed maybe ten or so because it was only ran by two guys (Han and Chewie); a Star Destroyer needed hundreds of lights all over its hull because it was a shipped man by thousands of crew members. So what they had to do for Vader's ship since they ran out was puncture holes into the outside of the ship leading into the hollow inside and put two giant lamps on the side of each half of the ship so it would shine through the holes and looks almost exactly the same (hence why some lights look brighter than others on the ship). This process was in the middle of detailing the outside which took roughly 12-14 hours over a seven day period, and it looks just as good as any ship that appeared in the Prequels. I don't particularly care for the CGI in everything after the OT because not only is it noticeable, it feels kind of lazy and plastic and ultimately fake.


Ian | Mythic Inconceivable!
 
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Garlemald did nothing wrong.
What is this image trying to convey?



 
Verbatim
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What is this image trying to convey?
wry disinterest

it's the face jay makes every time mike rambles about star trek in half in the bag
Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 02:53:35 PM by Verbatim


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Garlemald did nothing wrong.
I apologize for being unable to keep you engaged.

wry disinterest


 
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Goodness gracious, great balls of lightning!
Fuck RLM

I'm sick of the internet basing their opinions on movies depending on what these guys think about them.


 
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I apologize for being unable to keep you engaged.
congratulations on your promotion


 
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Quote
2. THE STORY

The second biggest problem with The Phantom Menace is the whole story, and the way it was told. It's almost mind-boggling how complex the awfulness is.

From the very start of this movie, I could tell something was really wrong, just by the way it started. It opens with some boring pilot asking for permission to land on a ship that looks like a half-eaten doughnut, with the doughnut hole in the middle? What the fuck is that?
I don't know, I actually kinda like the design of the Trade Federation's battleship. It's unique, looks pretty cool, and it's very Star Wars-y. He makes fun of how it looks like a doughnut, but some of the most iconic designs in the OT look pretty silly, too, when you actually look at them. Leia's cinnamon rolls, anyone?

Anyway, he's about to take a dump all over the opening scene. He already called the pilot who asks permission "boring," even though she has an interesting voice, and she's being shot from behind the cockpit, like we're a child listening in on something we're not supposed to. For me, this opening scene puts me right in the mood in a low-key sort of way.
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Then two cloaked figures walk into a room in a completely flat angle. They sit down in a conference room, drink tea, and wait to talk about a trade dispute with something that looks like my ex-wife.

While they eventually get to the ball-numbing, mindless action that the fanboys crave, [clip of crazed nerds running into a theater] I found myself utterly bored already.

Compare this fecal matter to the opening of the original Star Wars. [clip]

You see, a guy named William Shakesman once said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." This just means don't waste my time. You keep it nice and simple. [clip of George Lucas behind-the-scenes carefully examining a miniature sculpture of Dexter Jettster] I said stop wasting my time! STOP IT!

Without saying one word of awkward, boring, political dialogue that goes on for ten minutes, we know everything we need to know just by the visuals. REBELS, [arrow points at smaller ship] EMPIRE. [arrow points at bigger ship] We get a sense of how small and ill-equipped the rebels are, and how large and powerful the Empire is. The low angle implies dominance, and the length of the Star Destroyer implies the long reach of the Empire. This shot says everything we need to know without saying one word. In fact, this is so genius, I have a feeling that George Lucas had nothing to do it, and probably fought against putting it in the movie.

So, this comparison of openings is a small example of the overall styles of both films.
Okay, so the opening of The Phantom Menace does not accomplish what the original was able to do without any words, and within about ten seconds. Fine. I don't disagree that the original movie has a very good opening scene that does a great job of conveying important information to the audience without boring or spoon-feeding them. To call it "genius" is a little much, I think. Concision and brevity in storytelling might take a bit of cleverness, but it doesn't take any amount of genius. Not to argue semantics, but I dislike when people throw around "extreme" words as if they're nothing.

Either way, I can wax poetic about TPM's opening scene, too. The reason the opening to the original Star Wars works so well is because, at its core, it's telling a fundamentally different story. It's a simple tale that can be wrapped up with about ten seconds of basic visual storytelling. Now, I'm not about to argue that TPM's story is complicated, because no Star Wars story is—but I would argue that there's a little bit more going on than just Rebels vs. Empire, and I'd also reinforce the point that the two films are telling completely different stories.

There is no Galactic Empire yet, so there are no obvious villains to visually demonstrate—and there doesn't have to be. Instead, the film just hints at them. The whole conceit of TPM is that it's the very beginning of the Star Wars saga. It contains all the events that will eventually domino effect their way into the original trilogy, and as with any domino effect, it all begins with something very small and unassuming, because all it takes is one domino. Qui-Gon himself acknowledges this rather transparently when he says, "I sense an unusual amount of maneuvering for something as trivial as this trade dispute. I sense fear as well."

Not only does this mean that every ensuing conflict in TPM resulted from this dispute, but every subsequent conflict in every other Star Wars film all splintered off from this trivial thing, as well. I think that's neat, and it's true to life. It's not uncommon for wars to break out in the real world over the most trivial shit, so it makes sense. Drawing parallels to real life allows the audience to connect themselves more to the narrative.

What Plinkett finds boring here, I find tense. Sure, nothing is happening at the moment, which might seem "boring," but the point is that you're supposed to feel like something is going to happen. The foreboding music of John Williams played all throughout this opening really helps to sell my point here, I think.

Plus, it's not like the opening is utterly bereft of visual storytelling. The shape of the Trade Federation battleship, an incomplete circle, represents their stranglehold over interplanetary commerce. The single base at the center implies greed and monopoly. The gap, however, implies that they possess a blindspot—right in front of their faces. This is where the Jedi come in.

Plinkett criticized the use of a completely flat angle when the cloaked figures of the Jedi first walk in, but I would argue that this was the perfect angle to use. Just as he claimed that the "low angle" in the original film's opening implies "dominance," I would argue that the flat angle in this part implies that everything is okay. However, the John Williams score in the background contrasts with this notion, and this clash creates a subtle sense of unease. The cinematography is telling us that there's nothing to worry about, but the music is trying to tell us that something is amiss, which only heightens the tension further.

Later, Obi-Wan's first line is the iconic "I have a bad feeling about this," confirming our suspicions, but this is shortly followed up with Qui-Gon's "I don't sense anything," reaffirming the notion that everything is fine, which doesn't happen to relieve any of the tension. This exchange lets us know, too, just how prodigiously in-tune Obi-Wan must be with the Force, if he's able to detect danger in a situation like this before his own master. Or, it could be that Obi-Wan is merely an anxious young apprentice, who's scared because of his lack of experience compared to Qui-Gon, who's probably used to this sort of thing. Nonetheless, the audience is able to empathize with his apprehension.

I won't call this ingenious, or anything, but it's still a pretty cool way to set an uneasy tone, while also letting us know a little bit about the characters. What exactly does Mr. Plinkett want from this scene, anyway? He doesn't like that it's a flat angle, probably for some basic bitch reason like "it's visually uninteresting," so what would he prefer? A Dutch angle? Dutch angles are often used to make the viewer feel uneasy, too, but it's a little cheesy, a little cliche, and definitely less subtle and creative.

Anyway, yeah, I don't find the opening scene very boring at all. Again, it's not the best opening scene of all time, and you could very well argue that the opening to the first movie is better. I'm not trying to argue otherwise. I just don't think it's a bad opening. I don't think every opening needs to be ten seconds, unless it's a very basic movie with a very basic story, which the original Star Wars movie is.
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The original trilogy was a modern-day homage to the classic adventure serials of the past, the kind I used to watch when I was in my forties. Good vs. Evil, the classic hero on a journey, the adventurous rogue, a damsel in distress, the wise old sage, gay robots, and an epic quest of discovery.
In other words, the original trilogy is an amalgam of tired tropes and boring cliches.

I like a good classic Hero's Journey tale every once in a while, but can we not pretend it's the pinnacle of storytelling?
Quote
The new movies are about shoving as much crap into each shot as possible.

[clip from behind-the-scenes interviews]
Rick McCallum: It's so dense. Every single image has so many things going on.
[clip of Jar Jar poking a robot]

This is part of the reason why I find the Special Editions so fucking offensive, because you're into what's happening in the movie, and they keep shoving more shit on the screen to distract you. It reminds me of a child waving his arms in the background for attention. Doesn't Lucas realize that cluttering the frame up with shit is NOT what makes Star Wars good?

[clip from behind-the-scenes interviews]
Rick McCallum: It's so dense. Every single image has so many things going on.

Fuck you, Rick Berman. You ruined this, too? Stop ruining—Wait a minute. That ain't Rick Berman. What is it with "Ricks"?
So, this point was a bit of a digression, as it has little to do with TPM itself, but I'll address it anyway since he decided to throw it in. I hate the overuse of special effects, as well, and I also find the Special Editions of the OT to be pretty offensive and not okay. Altering movies is super lame for the exact reasons that he gave in this excerpt, and I couldn't possibly agree more.

Nothing to do with TPM, though. Moving on.
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So, the film is called The Phantom Menace, and by the nature of the story, there is no clear villain.

Hey, idiot! You're not making The Usual Suspects here. You're making a movie for children, right?

[clip from The Phantom Menace super-imposed on stock images of babies watching it on TV]
Palpatine: Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the Senate, a tragedy has occurred, which started right here with the taxation of trade routes, and has now engulfed our entire planet in the oppression of the—
This is a REALLY subjective point to make, and it hinges upon how stupid you think children are. When I saw this movie as a kid, did I understand or care about the politics? Fuck no. But I wasn't bored by it, either. Whenever I heard anyone talking about trade routes and delegates and the Senate and shit like that, my little kid brain would just be like, "Oh shit, some serious adult stuff is going on. This is cool!"

You see, when a story introduces elements that are beyond my comprehension, it makes me feel like I've gotten into something that's much larger than myself, which makes the story feel more grand and macroscopic. Maybe I was just a weird kid, but I found this sort of thing genuinely exciting and interesting, even if I couldn't quite grasp the concept of "taxation" yet.

Even then, it's not like the movie doesn't have Darth Maul at the end, and there's not a kid on this planet who doesn't think Darth Maul is cool, and doesn't know that he's one of the bad guys in The Phantom Menace.
Quote
How about a bad guy in the movie whose motivation is clear?

[clip from A New Hope after Darth Vader chokes out a rebel troop]
Darth Vader: Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans, and bring me the passengers, I want them alive!
Hindsight may be 20/20, but isn't it kinda obvious that Palpatine's motivation is to build the Galactic Empire? I can't remember if that's made clear as early as TPM or not, but in any case, if you've seen the OT before seeing this film (which you should have), I think you should be able to put that much together, as long as you're paying attention. It's not like Palpatine doesn't debut super early in the film, or anything.

Still, don't quote me on this one. It's possible that they could've done a better job on this front. In any case, I still maintain that it's not important or necessary for a Star Wars movie to follow the exact same formula as the OT, because that would be fucking boring and stupid. There doesn't have to be a clear villain with a clear motivation. Kids aren't that stupid. They'll catch on as best as they can, and if they don't, it's really not that big of a deal. Doesn't make the film any less enjoyable for adults.
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The prequels should be very similar in style to the originals, because I don't like things that are different.
I appreciate this flash of self-awareness. This sentence alone almost invalidates everything he said in the entire segment, because he's admitting, sarcastically, that it's just his shitty opinion.

These are just my shitty opinions, too. None of you have to see it my way. The only reason I'm doing this is because I feel like it, and because I think people are way too quick to take Plinkett's word as gospel, when he himself is the first to point out that his perspective isn't worth dogshit. He says it right there. Read it and weep.
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3. DEATH AND SPACE TAXES

So, when you find yourself thinking things like, "Huh?" or "What?" when you're watching how illogical characters act in a movie, it's not really a good sign. Now, I've analyzed this film with a team of cheerleaders, and they came up with one unanimous conclusion: That if I let them go, they promise they won't tell nobody.

Anyways. So, at the end of the movie, Yoda makes Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight...

[clip from The Phantom Menace of that very scene]
Yoda: Confer on you the level of Jedi Knight the council does.

...even though in the opening titles, it says he's a Jedi Knight. But we'll just call him "Jedi Knights," too. People call me a murderer, even though I've never been caught yet.
This is his first nitpick of the film, and boy, is it ever a fucking tiny one.

- Maybe Obi-Wan was VERY close to being a Knight, but hasn't gone through the formal process of induction yet.
- Maybe saying "two Jedi Knights" is less clunky than "a Jedi Knight and his apprentice."
- Maybe it doesn't fucking matter at all, and you devoted 30 whole seconds of your review to it for nothing.

Or maybe it's all of the above. But especially that last one.
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So the Jedis are there to do what, exactly? According to the opening title crawl, it was to "settle a dispute over the taxation of trade routes."

Oh. So what makes the Jedi Knights experts on intergalactic trade laws?
Do you have to be an expert on intergalactic trade laws to settle a dispute over them, or do you just have to know enough? I don't know, and I don't really care either. It's not terribly important, and I'm willing to buy it for the sake of the movie. Why question the capabilities of a fantastic religious group? You might as well question why they're expert swordsmen, too.
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So, the Trade Federation have set up a blockade around Naboo in order to stop them from getting space supplies, which instantly causes some kind of "crisis" that we never see.

Okay? I don't get it. Why would an organization called "the Trade Federation" want to blockade trade?

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Ric Olié: There's the blockade!

Usually, a blockade is used to stop something you don't want to get in.

You see, we once set up a naval blockade around Cuba to stop the Russians from setting up missile launchers there. It was a little event you might have heard of. Wasn't a big deal, you know, but you might have heard of it. It was called WORLD WAR I. Jeez, you stupid people gotta learn your history right.
First of all, real world nations have engaged in embargoes and trade-blocking all the time across history. It's not that unheard of, and there's all kinds of different reasons for why it might happen.

Second, the actual answer for the blockade in this case is because Palpatine secretly forced it. He wants to invade his own planet in a big ploy to get sympathy votes for once it's time to vote in a new Supreme Chancellor.

Like I said before, the movies are, in a big way, about Palpatine's rise to power. The movie makes it very clear from the beginning that Palpatine, as Darth Sidious, has control over the Federation and is currently influencing all their decisions, so I'm not even talking about stuff from the EU or any supplemental material at all. You can glean all of this shit just from watching the film itself.

How did he obtain such great influence over Nute Gunray in the first place? I don't know. Maybe some other nerd has the answer to that one. I don't find the answer to that question terribly interesting, though. This is just another one of those things that I'm willing to accept for the sake of the film.

I think Mike understands all of this, but he's playing dumb for the sake of padding out the review and wasting everybody's time.
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So if the Trade Federation were, like, merchants moving goods and services around the galaxy, then why did they seem more like a military with armies and robots?
I don't know. Does the movie really need to explain why, or is it okay for a fantasy movie to have fantastical elements? The point is that the Trade Federation has way too much power, and they're a serious tyrannical force and threat, so they need to be stopped.
Quote
However, they were like a bureaucracy that was in charge of overseeing and regulating trade routes? You'd think they'd be happy about the whole new space taxes. Unless all the taxes when straight to, like, Space Obama, and they didn't see any of it?

The point is, I'm still not sure what the doughnut ships were there to do.
This part is kinda funny, because he had just previously asked how the Jedi Knights are experts on trade laws, but now Mike is trying to act like he's some kind of trade expert.

I, for one, won't act that way. But my basic understanding is that, sure, while it's obvious that the Trade Federation themselves would be happy about the new space taxes, that doesn't necessarily mean Naboo is. Maybe Palpatine forced Nute Gunray to jack up the taxes to an unreasonable point. Have you ever read about the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable Acts? It's kinda like that, I think. Because Naboo will either refuse or outright be unable to afford these steep new tariffs, this provides Palpatine with a decent excuse to force them to set up the blockade to cover up his true intentions, because it looks like the blockade is up for (somewhat) legitimate reasons.

That's my takeaway, at least. I don't think it's that complicated.
Quote
And don't any of you faggots tell me that it was explained more in the novelization, or some Star Wars book. What matters is the movie. I ain't never read one of them Star Wars books, or any books in general for that matter, and I ain't about to start. Don't talk about them stupid video games or novels, comic books, or any of that fucking crap. I seen enough of that shit. I got Phantom Menace toys scattered all over in my basement.

You see, my grandkids play with them down there when they come over to visit. And they leave that shit all over the place. Let me see if I can find some of them so I can show you. I'm gonna go down in my basement, now. Hold on. I gotta switch the cameras.

[skit]
The sentiment he expresses here is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I've never read any extra supplemental Star Wars material, either, and I never will. And I certainly wouldn't use material like this to justify anything in the prequels, because movies really should be able to stand on their own.

However, none of the shit he's been confused about so far requires you to do anything but pay attention to the film, and use just a little bit of your brain. You don't need to be an expert on space taxes, and you don't need to take fantastic elements in a fantasy story too seriously. It's honestly so fucking inconsequential that it hurts to even talk about.

Why not talk about something interesting that has to do with the film's craft? Why do we have to finagle about the film's logistics and internal logic? How could anyone possibly give a fuck about any of this stupid shit?
Quote
Anyways, so I realize that Senator Palpatine was using the Trade Federation to create a crisis to advance himself politically. Like, that was the plot, I think.
Yes. That's the plot.

Okay, so he DOES get it. What was the point of this whole segment, then? Why were you acting like you don't get it?
Quote
But the conflict from the blockade and the subsequent invasion is the entire movie. Understanding what role the Trade Federation played in this is important. You know, what the blockade was about, who was getting taxed, what kind of supplies were so crucial to the Naboo. What was it, like, medical supplies? Is there some kind of plague? Did they not have the capacity to survive on such a lush planet with a huge power reactor for one day without space trade?

You see, I would've accepted the idea of some kind of mystery villain if the basics were at least clear.
I just don't understand why any of these "basics" need to be made clear in the first place. You can't just say that they're important. Why are they important? Why should I care about any of that stuff? They're not interesting, and they're not relevant to the grand scheme and overarching plot of Palpatine's rise to power, Obi-Wan's coming of age, and the awakening of Anakin Skywalker's Force sensitivity.

These aren't even necessarily bad questions to ask, either. They're good questions, and I bet they're fun to think about if you're some kind of Star Wars nerd, but I'm not. Those plot details aren't important to me.

Remember when they made this little movie called Rogue One, specifically to explain how the rebels in the original trilogy were able to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire? It's a movie that everybody hates because of how boring and vestigial it feels. It's a movie that didn't need to be made, and it's a story that didn't need to be told.

The rebels getting the plans is just something you're meant to accept as an audience member. It doesn't ruin the fucking movie that they never really explain how it happened, does it? No. So how do the ambiguities of the Naboo tax/trade situation REALLY matter at the end of the day? That's right, it doesn't. It's a worthless complaint.
Quote
So when two guys wearing robes come on board their ship, Rosie the Robot just assumes they are Jedi Knights and tells the Shatnerians.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
TC-14: The ambassadors are Jedi Knights, I believe.

Even though almost every single character wears robes in Star Wars. Then, somehow, this robot knows or "thinks" they're Jedi Knights.
They're also coming from the Galactic Republic, you fucking idiot. Kind of a reasonable assumption, then, if not a dead giveaway.
Quote
Hey idiots, so much for the disguise! Even a protocol droid could sniff you out!

Maybe it's not a disguise, but whatever.
Yeah, I'm thinking they probably weren't disguised. That would be pretty dumb if they were.
Quote
So the Shatnerians immediately inform this mystery guy who they're running this scam with, a guy who looks like Satan, that Jedis are on the ship. And, of course, so we can have an action scene, he tells them to kill the Jedi.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Palpatine: Kill them immediately.
Oh no, not an action scene! 😱

Man, fuck this guy.
Quote
You see, they never once went into the room to say "hello" to the Jedi, and that they'll be right with them, but they tell Palpatine that they are Jedis. And then they try to gas them to death based solely on the hunch of a droid.
The Neimoidians are stupid cowards, yes. That's their character. They obviously have an intense fear for the Jedi, which is why they refuse to greet them in the first place, but their hatred is so intense that they don't even care if they kill two innocent ambassadors, even if they aren't actually Jedi.

Plus, what reason do they have to distrust TC-14's judgment, anyway? She's a droid, right? Maybe she has metal detectors, and she detected their lightsabers, or something. Protocol droids are for etiquette and protocol, right? The fact that she would use the term "I believe" probably just means she was programmed to speak passively and submissively, but she would never actually point anything out unless she had an actual objective reason to say it. I mean, she's a robot.

I can't believe this is the criticism he chooses to end this part with.
Quote
Who's fucking with my medicine?
Who wants a pizza roll? E-mail me if you want a pizza roll.
Post a comment on this webzone if you want a pizza roll.
Who's fucking with my medicine?

CONTINUED IN PART 3
Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 04:49:35 PM by Verbatim


 
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I, for one, won't act that way. But my basic understanding is that, sure, while it's obvious that the Trade Federation themselves would be happy about the new space taxes, that doesn't necessarily mean Naboo is. Maybe Palpatine forced Nute Gunray to jack up the taxes to an unreasonable point. Have you ever read about the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable Acts? It's kinda like that, I think. Because Naboo will either refuse or outright be unable to afford these steep new tariffs, this provides Palpatine with a decent excuse to force them to set up the blockade to cover up his true intentions, because it looks like the blockade is up for (somewhat) legitimate reasons.
so i did a little bit of research, and it turns out that the details of the trade dispute are basically anyone's guess, if you're just going by the film itself, so this very well may not be it

i maintain that it's ultimately unimportant, and if TPM is a bad movie because it doesn't explain these trade dispute details, then ANH is a bad movie because it doesn't explain how the rebels were able to get the death star plans
Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 05:05:36 PM by Verbatim


Mmmmm Napalm | Legendary Invincible!
 
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No disintegrations!
No offense, but who even cares anymore.

It's cool you're passionate about debate. I guess I'm just apathetic to all of this shit at this point. I don't like the prequels, but I'm far beyond the point of being willing to argue with someone about them, or even reviews of them.


 
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PART 3

Now this is where it gets complex, my lovelies.
Indeed. Previously, for the first two parts, I was basing my arguments entirely on my memory of the film alone (not counting using Wookieepedia to look up names and such), but for this part, he's REALLY getting into the nitty-gritty of some of its finer plot details, most of which I either barely remembered, or didn't have a strong counterargument for. So, I went ahead and rewatched the film last night, with subtitles, while jotting down notes and rewinding key scenes here and there so that I could keep my arguments sharp and fresh.
Quote
So I think this is what happened. I'm not sure. But Palpatine wanted to create a crisis on Naboo so that the naive young queen would propose a vote of no confidence for Chancellor Valorum. This would lead to Palpatine getting elected in his place, right? Like, that's the plot? I think?
Yep. I'm with you so far. Again, not sure why he's acting like he's so confused about it, when it's actually pretty straightforward what the plot is. I guess acting like it's confusing helps make it look worse, or something? It's a pretty dishonest tactic.
Quote
So how does killing the Jedi or creating a communications blackout on the planet even get word back to the Senate that there is a crisis?
Well, Palpatine had no choice but to order the Neimoidians to kill the Jedi, because otherwise, they were prepared to ruin everything for him by submitting to the Jedi out of cowardice. The blockade would cease, the crisis would be over, and Palpatine's ultimate scheme would be stymied. He really had no other option.

As for the communications blackout, what, do you really think that the Senate wouldn't notice that they can no longer communicate with one of their members? You don't think that would be a little concerning to them, given that they were already under blockade for dubious reasons?

The level of reaching in his complaints at this point is becoming extremely transparent.
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At the end of the movie, Amidala goes back to the planet to solve the problem herself, because the Senate wanted to send an independent team to investigate whether or not the invasion was real.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Chancellor Valorum: Will you defer your motion to allow a commission to explore the validity of your accusations?

I guess the testimony of two Jedi Knights wasn't good enough. Those were the guys that Valorum trusted enough to settle the whole dispute in the first place? That don't make sense.
The guy who suggests the investigation in the first place was this guy. He's a delegate from the fucking Trade Federation. That means he's with the bad guys. That means he's intentionally using the power of red tape as a filibuster to stall the Senate from doing anything productive or helpful regarding the crisis on Naboo.

It's not that the testimony of the Jedi wouldn't have meant anything. If you're paying attention, you'll notice during this scene that Valorum gets whispered "shut up" into his ear by some blue guy next to him before he even had a chance to bring up their testimony, which would've made a difference. The whole scene is designed to illustrate how grossly corrupt and impotent the Senate is, which is one of my favorite aspects of the film, because of how true to life it is.

And no, it makes perfect sense. You just have to not be stupid.
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So anyways, when the guys told Palpatine that Jedis were there, he should've said this:

"Tell the Jedi that there will be no negotiations. Tell them that you plan to invade the planet next, and then send them back to Coruscant to inform the Senate."

Instead, he tells them to do the exact opposite of what will help his plan.
Except that would be really stupid, because he'd essentially be throwing the Trade Federation under the bus for the sake of expediting his own plans. Which would be great for him, but not so great for them. Why would the Trade Federation cooperate if Palpatine just makes loud and clear that he's only looking out for himself? If he's not willing to help protect them from the law, why would they take his orders in the first place? They have nothing to gain from this.

Sure, taking the route he actually did in the movie is not the most ideal or efficient way of exacting his scheme, but that's what happens when you work with an unwilling third party. You have to make compromises.
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Like, he wanted her to sign the treaty, right?

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Palpatine: I want that treaty signed.

He seemed really intent on having her sign the treaty to make the invasion legal. So what if she was, like, a total coward, and actually signed the treaty? Like, right away? Then the crisis would be over, and there'd be no need for a vote of no confidence. See what I mean, this sounding like an eight-year-old wrote it?
Jesus Christ.

No, I think you sound more like an eight-year-old when you unjokingly act like signing a piece of paper would actually end the conflict there, as if Palpatine still doesn't have control over the narrative, and wouldn't be able to convince the Senate that Amidala was coerced. I don't even know shit about history, and I know that signing treaties by force often doesn't result in anything like peace. What a joke.

I know that Star Wars is basically a cartoon, but this to me kinda shows how Mike goes back and forth between wanting real-world logic and cartoon logic. Whichever one he needs at the time to make the movie look stupider.
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So anyways, it's time to kill off the Jedi. Oh, good. How do they go about it?

Well, they start pumping in an obvious deadly white gas into the room. This alerts them to danger—Well, actually, blowing up their ship does. I guess they should've pumped in the gas first, and after the Jedis were dead, then blow the ship up?
Probably, but it's already been established that the Neimoidians aren't very bright, and they're also panicking, so I'm willing to buy the idea that they just didn't think this part through very well.
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Anyways, back to the gas.

Hey, idiots! Have you ever heard of carbon monoxide? It's odorless AND colorless! Your wife won't even know what hit her. Oh, I mean Jedi.
Oh, what the fuck ever. I could not conceivably give a singular shit less, but I guess I have to concede that he's not wrong here. It's a pretty fucking lame thing to point out as a flaw, though.
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Also, moments earlier, the Jedi willingly drank tea that was given to them while they discussed how everything felt really fishy.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Qui-Gon: I sense an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this trade dispute.

Hey, you guys got any rat poison lying around? Put it in the tea! PUT IT IN THE TEA! They'll drink it! Put the rat poison in the t—
Did the Jedi really have any reason to suspect that the tea was poisoned?

When Qui-Gon talks about the Neimoidians having "an unusual amount of fear," it's because they're known to be cowards like that. Just not this much, over something so small. Before then, he tells Obi-Wan that he senses absolutely nothing. He has no reason to suspect anything, and indeed, he was right not to, because at that point, they weren't intent on killing them yet. From Qui-Gon's perspective, this was just business as usual.
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So anyways, then the dioxis starts filling up the room, and then...

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Qui-Gon: Dioxis.

...Hey, wait. How does Qui-Gon know what kind of gas it is before he smells it? Isn't that, like, a contradiction? You smell the deadly white gas, I guess it's a little too late. Maybe he just got a little sniff of it.
Maybe he was just spitballing. The point is that he wanted to alert Obi-Wan, regardless of what it actually was. They just heard their ship get blown up, after all, and now gas is being sprayed into the room. I guess he should've just assumed it was something safe to inhale, right? Sure, yeah, that would've been the smart thing to do.
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Anyways. You know, this idea could work, because we see that the Jedi hold their breath, which implies there's some kind of danger of them running out of breath, right? Maybe they can hold their breath for, like, two hours, because they're Jedis.

I don't know, that's not true, because later in the film, we see they need to use them breathing things underwater for that short swim to the Gungan sea world.
Fair enough on this point. I think this one might actually be a legitimate continuity error, or something, because it's implied in the gassing scene that they were in that room holding their breath for some time. When they emerge to fight the battle droids, the room has been filled and rendered completely opaque with the gas.

If they can hold their breath for that long, then they probably wouldn't need a breathing apparatus underwater either, and I don't have an explanation for why they're used. It's possible that the "short swim" really wasn't that short at all, and the film just pares it down to make it seem that way? But that's all I got. Things like this are why the movie is a 6/10 for me, and not a 7/10. I'll defend it till the day I die, but I won't ever tell you that it's completely flawless. Mike Stoklasa just happens to be a broken clock.
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So anyways, it's like the Jedi know that the droids are gonna open up the door in a very short time before they run out of breath, because they don't immediately start trying to cut their way out. Which is what I'd be doing. I'd probably be screaming, too, like a little girl. So what are they doing in there?
Like you said, they probably know that danger is coming (they have the Force, remember?), so they're planning an ambush. Why not? It seems as good as any other strategy they could've employed in that position.
Quote
Then the dumbest line in the movie is said:

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Nute Gunray: They must be dead by now. Destroy what's left of them.

What does that mean?
Usually, if you want to get away with killing somebody, you have to figure out a way to dispose of their remains.

Doesn't everyone know that? Why is that the dumbest line in the movie? I don't get it.
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Hey, asshole! How about you leave the door closed for, like, four hours? And then if they try to cut through the door, start shooting them in the face, then pump in more gas, and keep pumping it in.

Obviously, you've never suffocated a hooker that was trying to escape from your crawlspace before. I recommend spraying Raid in there. You need to go with the "fast kill/low irritant" kind. It's in the blue bottle. It works the best. You need about six cans, tho—
If Gunray did not honestly expect the Jedi to be dead after filling the room with gas and waiting a bit, he wouldn't have opened the doors. He underestimated them, because he's a dumb low-level villain at the beginning of the movie. Big deal.
Quote
What was I talking about?

Oh, right. So, they open the doors anyways, and they let the Jedi out and attack them with completely useless robots.

Just tell them to leave, and that you don't wanna negotiate! And then when their flies out of your space dock, SHOOT IT WITH LASERS!
Again, they seriously thought that the Jedi were dead at that point. They were wrong, and they were stupid, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that. It's really easy to think of better things they could've done while they were panicking about the situation while you're sitting at home watching it all.

Telling them to leave and shooting their ship as they fly off would be risky as fuck for no reason. What if they miss? Now the Jedi have a story to tell back in Coruscant that the Trade Federation tried to attack them. Great.
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Also, we need to consider the fact that killing two Jedi that were sent there as peaceful ambassadors would be a pretty heinous crime in the eyes of the Galactic Senate, an organization that runs everything, including space taxes.

I mean, you could just claim that they never got there.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Nute Gunray: I know not of any ambassadors.
[separate clip from The Phantom Menace]
Palpatine (via hologram): I have assurances from the Chancellor that the ambassadors did arrive.

But now, you've got the burned wreckage of their ship inside your horribly burned docking bay.
Obviously, they must have cleaned that shit up. It's probably not that big of a job for fantasy sci-fi robots. We don't need to see it happen.

If we saw everything that Mike thinks we need to see, then the movie would be five hours long.
Quote
4. WHO'S DOING WHAT? WHERE? WHY?

Why are the Shatnerians taking orders from this mystery hologram again? What did he promise them that would be so worth risking their entire organization for? The location of the Fountain of Youth? A planet made of gold? Corrective surgery for this woman's face? How about a night in Megan's foxhole? Seriously, what was it?

Oh, we're never told, are we? Generally speaking, it's easy to get a handful of insane people to follow you on some kind of legal or crazy scheme, but when you're talking about a huge organization that's run with military efficiency, then they're probably gonna want something in return for the use of thirty of their ships and risking everything.

Darth Sidious can't really promise them future political favors, because it would give away who he is. When they get arrested at the end, they could just say, "It was, like, a hologram in a cloak! He made us do it! In fact, he looks like Palpatine, and he sounds like him, too! We got the recordings of the hologram. You wanna look at them?"

I find it hard to believe that these guys never started pointing fingers after they got caught.
As stated in the title crawl, all the Trade Federation wants to do is solve their tax problem, and I don't see how promising political favors would necessarily give away who he is. In any case, I'm perfectly okay with this being one of the film's mysteries if there's no definitive answer for all this stuff. There's nothing here that I'm incapable of accepting with no proper explanation, because not everything needs to be explained, believe it or not. Especially if it's of such little consequence.
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5. I CAN'T PUT ENOUGH QUOTATION MARKS AROUND THE WORD "STORY" SO I WON'T TRY
Section #2 was already for the story anyway, so I'm not sure why you're so disorganized.

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[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Tey How: Sir, they've gone up the ventilation shaft!

How do you know that?
I said how do you know that?
Answer me, thing-in-the-mouth face!
What is that, anyways?
What, did you smoke too much?
What's wrong with your FACE?
Ugh. Security cameras??? She obviously figured it out somehow. Maybe that thing on her face is what allows her to see shit like that, who knows.
Quote
Anyways, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, they end up in the hangar bay somehow, where the droid armies are being staged for an invasion. Why don't the Jedis just start fighting all of them? Then steal the ship and head back to Coruscant to tell the Galactic Senate what's going on.

It's not so crazy, because later in the film, they attempt to run the blockade with one ship, and they make it through. The fact that they even tried that makes this a possible option.

What is WRONG with your FACE?
I don't think it's that smart to use future decisions made in the film to justify a completely unrelated decision made before, but whatever. Obviously, fighting an entire army of droids is obviously batshit insane, no matter how weak and useless they are in small numbers. Even if they could feasibly survive, it's definitely not worth the risk, so it's a completely stupid suggestion.
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But instead, Qui-Gon and all his wisdom thinks it's a better idea to go down with the army to quote, "warn the Naboo."

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Qui-Gon: We've got to warn the Naboo, and contact Chancellor Valorum.

Hey genius, if you're going down with the army, don't you think it's a little too late to warn them about the army? And what the fuck are the Naboo gonna do anyways? They don't even have a real army. Just volunteers.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Captain Panaka: Our security volunteers will be no match against the battle-hardened Federation army.

So the droid army just rolls in unchallenged, as expected. Just like the Nazis into France in a little historical event you might have heard of, THE FRENCH REVOLUTION?
It's not a perfect plan, but it's better than revealing themselves to the entire army and risking death or serious injury so that no one gets saved.
Quote
Anyways, so then for no reason, they decide to stow away on different ships.

[clip from The Phantom Menace]
Qui-Gon: Let's split up. Stow aboard separate ships and meet down on the planet.

Is this guy a fucking retard? Maybe that's why they call him Qui-Gon Jinn, because he's always drinking gin.

This is a minor point—
This entire review has been comprised almost entirely of minor points, but thank you for at least admitting to this one.
Quote
—but what would going down on the planet on separate ships accomplish? Let's think about this.

1. Increase the chances of getting caught by 100%.
2. Have no one else to help you if you get caught and get into a fight with robots.
3. Increase the possibility of getting separated by hundreds, if not thousands of miles, by not knowing where the other craft is going to land on the planet.

But thankfully, they both aren't discovered, and they meet up in the same spot in the woods.
1. The whole point is to make it harder to find both of them at once, though. It's not important that they both survive, as long as one of them is able to carry out the mission. If they both get caught at the same time, then they might be fucked.
2. It probably wouldn't make a difference. We've already seen how they fared against a group of droids before.
3. See the first point.

Is it a plot convenience that they ended up finding each other relatively quickly and with minimal trouble? Yeah, you could argue that. And if that bothers you, I'm sorry. It doesn't bother me that much, though, and I don't know what to tell you if it does. Sometimes plot conveniences happen. It was pretty convenient how Luke Skywalker survived that fall at the end of Empire, right? Guess it was a shitty movie, or something.
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Then, although the reason for them going down to the planet was to warn the Naboo about the army, they decide to follow a cartoon rabbit underwater. Why? Why not just keep moving towards the Naboo city?

Hey Jinny, I thought you went down there to warn the Naboo. How is this gonna accomplish that? What was your plan from the beginning when you got down there? Did you plan to find a magical underwater craft that would go through the planet's core, or did you just plan to run along the surface?

What's wrong with your FACE?
Seeking refuge in the Gungan city after being told in confidence that it's hidden and safe doesn't seem that crazy to me, to be honest. Searching for the Naboo city on foot seems pretty crazy to me, though. No wonder why Mike suggested it.
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This is the first point they should've ditched Jar Jar. This is also the point when the movie starts to officially fall apart. This is the moment when the Star Wars saga is now damaged totally beyond repair. The lapses and common sense in logic begin to compound on the movie, and now it is broken. I could end this review here, but I'm really just getting started.

I do have to go to traffic court soon, though. I accidentally ran over a Korean family with my car.

CONTINUED IN PART 4
Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 02:27:10 PM by Verbatim


 
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No offense, but who even cares anymore.

It's cool you're passionate about debate. I guess I'm just apathetic to all of this shit at this point. I don't like the prequels, but I'm far beyond the point of being willing to argue with someone about them, or even reviews of them.
It's okay if nobody cares. That just means I get to end the conversation my way. This subject also has sentimental value to me in particular, because it's probably one of the first things I got to be a contrarian about on the Internet.
Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 02:39:36 PM by Verbatim