Phantom Menace Review

19 views
Skip to first unread message

Ronin27

unread,
May 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/23/99
to
I admit it. I was a dork as a kid. I had a difficult home-life (parents always
fighting, mother clinically psychotic, etc.) I never played Little League and
was a pretty crappy Boy Scout. The majority of my childhood memories can be
summed up as on the latter side of depressing, except the one childhood
experience that still rates as a shining point in my life: seeing "Star Wars"
for the first time. Ok, so that's pathetic, but there it is, let's move on.
"Star Wars" was a fundamental experience in my young life, truly taking me
somewhere I had never imagined, could not have dreamt. While I won't say that
then and there The Force altered my life for the better, it did strike a spark
in my soul that burns to this day, leading me down a more creative, inward path
than perhaps I would have taken.
That brings us to "The Phantom Menace". The trailers rocked and were
galvanizing. Just hearing the "Star Wars" theme again quickened my pulse,
leaving my soul salivating for more. Settling into my seat today, I stared up
at the screen and prepared to be taken to the next level. I was apparently in
the wrong theater, because there was no next level. There was only that much
remembered theme, then a quick, painful slide into greed and computer graphics
run amuck.
From the outset it is clear that this film was primarily created to market
toys and products, essentially creating a slick, two hour commercial that I had
to pay $8 to see. You can't look me in the eye and tell me that Jar Jar and
each of the featured Pod Racers weren't drawn up specifically for their toy
marketability. Far from the gritty, dangerous aliens in the Mos Eisley
Cantina, Lucas has created cute, cuddly, aliens that every child will have to
have next Christmas. If anyone is taking bets, I'll lay a year's wages that
the entire Pod Race will be part of a video game by Christmas.
Products, products, products.
Also clear from the start is that Lucas has fallen in love with computer
graphics to the point of overload. Computer generated creatures and
environments are wonderful, taken in small amounts, played against a "real"
backdrop of actors, sets, and locations. They should all blend seamlessly
together, the CGI complimenting the real. Lucas has seemingly abandoned the
real in favor of CGI, and it doesn't play. Sure, it looks nifty, but you don't
believe it. In Jurassic Park, the flitting, shadowed dinos were a seamless
part of their natural environment. In "The Phantom Menace", the marching
robots and animated creatures never feel real. Perhaps Lucas chose to use
these cartoony robots instead of the imposing Storm Troopers so that the Jedi
could hack and slash them at will without having to actually do any harm to
anyone. Heaven forbid anyone dies here. Candy for the masses.
Oh, wait… there was a story there too.
I think.
I must admit that I cannot give a full review of the film, as I walked out
after the Pod Race, roughly halfway through the film. I'm not sure what it
was that broke my will to grit it out. Was it the slobbering, jive talking Jar
Jar? Perhaps the two headed, utterly ridiculous announcers? Or was it the
complete lack of any sincerity in the performances from Laim Neesan and Ewan
MacGregor? It may well be that I had hopes set too high for "The Phantom
Menace". I will probably rent it when it comes out on video, eventually, to
see what end there may be. But until then, I can't bring myself to return to
the theater, to watch that soulless commercial again.


Ronin /}
@#####{ ]::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::>
\}

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/23/99
to
Ronin27 wrote:

> somewhere I had never imagined, could not have dreamt. While I won't say that
> then and there The Force altered my life for the better, it did strike a spark
> in my soul that burns to this day, leading me down a more creative, inward path
> than perhaps I would have taken.

It's just a film! Everybody chant it with me, IT'S JUST A FILM!!! Even Lucas said
that himself. If there is a group of people out there who have built some sort of
strange religion around star wars, Lucas has no obligation to it.

What exactly did you expect to see when you went into the theater, the schindlers
list of sci-fi? I don't understand why people expect a massively deep, though
provoking, life changing experience. The first film wasn't, it was something new.
The acting in the first one stank!! All the star wars movies we meant to be fun, and
an adventure. I think The Phantom Menace pulls this off. I for one really enjoyed
the phantom menace, was it because I didn't line up for days, was it because I wasn't
expecting oscar winning performances, no, it's because I wanted to be ENTERTAINED!!!

Everyone was so hot to trot about Titanic, it's a boat sinking wrapped around a
love story. Somewhat entertaining, but it doesn't stretch the imagination like TPM
does.

> Also clear from the start is that Lucas has fallen in love with computer
> graphics to the point of overload. Computer generated creatures and
> environments are wonderful, taken in small amounts, played against a "real"
> backdrop of actors, sets, and locations. They should all blend seamlessly
> together, the CGI complimenting the real. Lucas has seemingly abandoned the
> real in favor of CGI, and it doesn't play. Sure, it looks nifty, but you don't
> believe it. In Jurassic Park, the flitting, shadowed dinos were a seamless
> part of their natural environment. In "The Phantom Menace", the marching
> robots and animated creatures never feel real. Perhaps Lucas chose to use
> these cartoony robots instead of the imposing Storm Troopers so that the Jedi
> could hack and slash them at will without having to actually do any harm to
> anyone. Heaven forbid anyone dies here. Candy for the masses.

And you know, those creatures that the GunGun ride on would have been really good
if they had slapped some papier mache on some ostrich's. How the hell can you say
whether or not it looks real, they are made up characters. None of the giant walking
creatures could have looked a quarter as good if shot with some sort of live action
get up. We are in outer space! There are ALIENS, I don't know about you, but all of
the aliens around here look similar to those in Star Wars. Besides, do you really
believe that the aliens in A New Hope really looked better?

Oh yeah, news flash, If you hadn't gotten up half way through the film, you would
have met a good friend called Darth Maul that happens to kill Qui Gon Jinn, by
sticking his double sided light saber through him, which follows with Obi Wan slicing
him in half as we see each half bounce down an air duct. DO NOT, make hasty reviews
without seeing the whole movie!!!!! Also - it is a kids film, if there we're more
blood and carnage as you have requested, it could easily have been and R rated film,
and people would start to complain about that. If I was a kid and i couldn't see the
new star wars I would be so bummed out, and Lucas knows that.

Thanks for the review though, and if anything seems to harsh it's because I feel
strongly about it, we each are free to believe what we like and your honesty is
appreciated.

C.

--
Colin Doncaster
bEnT Animation, Inc.

Scott Bethel

unread,
May 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/23/99
to
Ronin27 wrote:

> If anyone is taking bets, I'll lay a year's wages that
> the entire Pod Race will be part of a video game by Christmas.

Uh, it's out. I saw it in the store last Thursday.

I agree. It was difficult to sit through, though I stayed for it all. No plot, thin
characters (some with zero development) and a bunch of eye candy that wasn't that
tasty.


DELRAY 62

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
<< It's just a film! Everybody chant it with me, IT'S JUST A FILM!!! Even
Lucas said
that himself. >>


Just because it's "just a film" doesn't mean it has to be a shitty film. You'd
think that for all the millions they spent that it would be more than "just a
film". Or maybe not. Maybe you have to spend that much to make up for the lack
of creativity, originality, integrity, style, or vision that is lacking from
that piece of crap.

By the way, I haven't seen it, and never will. Ha ha.

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
DELRAY 62 wrote:

If you haven't seen it how do you know it's a shitty film! Like I said at the
end of my last message, we are all entitled to our opinion, your shitty film could
be someone elses favorite. Boy, if everyone liked everything out there it would
be a psyco place to live. What about the amount of money spent on titanic, I
personnally don't think it was worth in and it cost more than double that of Star
Wars. BTW, when you say all those millions, you do realise that it was only 115
million, like I said, Titanic grew to about 400, didn't it?

In terms of creativity, there are a lot of aliens and places there that no one
else has thought up. What the hell, again, how can you judge it without seeing
it?

MerrittCA

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
I just saw the movie and all 3 previous pictures were better. The story
DRAGGED terribly in several scenes. The characters were very thin and had NO
attitude. I felt like any of them, even the Queen, could just leave or die and
the story end and no one would give a damn.
I predict: NO WAY this beats Titanic b.o.

The next 2 better be better.

-CM

Radiobyfm9

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
>Oh, wait… there was a story there too.
> I think.
> I must admit that I cannot give a full review of the film, as I walked
out
>after the Pod Race, roughly halfway through the film.

>From the outset it is clear that this film was primarily created to market


>toys and products, essentially creating a slick, two hour commercial that I
>had
>to pay $8 to see. You can't look me in the eye and tell me that Jar Jar and
>each of the featured Pod Racers weren't drawn up specifically for their toy
>marketability.


You, sir are sorry.

First! You paid $8 to see a movie, and then didn't stay to watch it.

Second, Don't you think that the Xwings and Tie Fighters were cool things to be
toys in Star Wars? Everyone I knew wanted an AT-AT when Empire came out. And,
how can you not want an R2D2?

Marketing is part of the business....If you don't then you're not doing it
right.
Now, ART is also important. If you're movie is all marketing, and no ART, no
CRAFT, no STORY, then you have a problem. If you can look at the Phanom Menace
and tell me that it had none of those, that's one thing(and I'd have to
disagree)...But you didn't even stay the whole movie, let alone to see the
names in the credits of all those Artists that made the movie possible. You
will never be one of them.

Now, I do agree that so many CG characters were a little much. I personally
like the puppet, costume, and makeup look from all of those great Return of
the Jedi charcters. You can't make a CG Jaba look so disgusting, and evil as
the puppet.. The Jar Jar was more annoying because of the way he spoke, not
because of his CG effect. And I was disturbed by seeing the inside of 3PO's
head spinning.
Yes there may have been a lot of eye candy. But, was it not cool? And Have
you tried the POD racing game? It rocks. Don't knock it.

Everyone is entitled to an opinon. Usually, it is wise to know what you're
talking about before you post it on the net. If you have an opinon that you
can't even back because you didn't see the whole movie, then you are ignorant
for posting you're opinon. If you walked out of the movie, then you didn't
like it....Don't bitch about it on the net. Your "subject title" wast "Phantom
Menace Review".....You can't review it if you didn't see it. So, Shut the heck
up.
Thank you.

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
Radiobyfm9 wrote:

> First! You paid $8 to see a movie, and then didn't stay to watch it.

My thoughts exactly!

> because of his CG effect. And I was disturbed by seeing the inside of 3PO's
> head spinning.

That was pretty cool, but it was actually a puppet. There was a fellow
controlling it from behind that was painted out.

> Yes there may have been a lot of eye candy. But, was it not cool? And Have
> you tried the POD racing game? It rocks. Don't knock it.

Very cool game, Lucasarts did a great job on it!

Liz

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to

Ronin27 wrote:

>
> "Star Wars" was a fundamental experience in my young life, truly taking me

> somewhere I had never imagined, could not have dreamt.

> The Force altered my life for the better, it did strike a spark


> in my soul that burns to this day, leading me down a more creative, inward path
> than perhaps I would have taken.

You are right in saying that Star Wars did have a tremendous impact on "children", as
I am sure it still has. Which brings me to this point:

Stars Wars is meant to appeal to younger generations!!!

Your clear dislike to the new film is just your sub conscious trying to tell you,
"Hey, You've grown up, you are not a kid any more" So all I can say is, "Shut-up,
Grow-up and enjoy the film for all of its entertainment value, and for the
appreciation of all the great work that went into creating a fine piece of art". Thank
You!

Liz


>

Scott Dorsey

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
In article <37499ADD...@bentanimation.com> Liz <l...@bentanimation.com> writes:
>
>You are right in saying that Star Wars did have a tremendous impact on "children", as
>I am sure it still has. Which brings me to this point:
>
> Stars Wars is meant to appeal to younger generations!!!

This is true. However, the original Star Wars film had enough going on
that it was able to draw the adult crowd as well.

Comparing the original film with the Phantom Menace is sort of like comparing
Sesame Street with the purple dinosaur. Both are intended for a young
audience, but one consciously tries to treat them seriously and to
refrain from boring adults.

You know, the original Star Wars was a family film. I didn't see it until
I was an adult, and I enjoyed it. A family film is just that, something that
the whole family can go to and enjoy. Yeah, it had technical problems (I
remember seeing it at the Star which was running carbon arc with a pretty
fast lens and being able to see matte flaws), but nothing like the Phantom
Menace. Yeah, it was a kid's film, but it had some serious undercurrent to
it that made it fun for adults.

> Your clear dislike to the new film is just your sub conscious trying to tell you,
>"Hey, You've grown up, you are not a kid any more" So all I can say is, "Shut-up,
>Grow-up and enjoy the film for all of its entertainment value, and for the
>appreciation of all the great work that went into creating a fine piece of art".

No thank you. I'd rather watch Gene Autry vs. the Mole Men. It at least
had sincerity going for it.
--scott
(an inveterate Godzilla addict as a child, too)
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Videominx

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
In article <19990524121822...@ng-ch1.aol.com>, radio...@aol.com
(Radiobyfm9) writes:

>If you have an opinon that you
>can't even back because you didn't see the whole movie, then you are ignorant
>for posting you're opinon. If you walked out of the movie, then you didn't
>like it....Don't bitch about it on the net.

It sounds like you just don't like what this guy has to say, but his OPINION is
just as valid as yours...or anyone's.


Charles Minx
Burbank, CA

"Ars gratia pecuniae!"

Liz

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to

Ah yes, I do see your point, but, think of it this way:

A trip to disneyworld (a "family" vacation destination)just doesn't hold the same magic as
it once did for you as a child.

Liz


Scott Dorsey wrote:

This is true. However, the original Star Wars film had enough going on that it was able
to draw the adult crowd as well.

Comparing the original film with the Phantom Menace is sort of like

comparingSesame Street with the purple dinosaur. Both are intended for a young

David Mullen

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to

><< It's just a film! Everybody chant it with me, IT'S JUST A FILM!!!
Even
>Lucas said
>that himself. >>


I'm a big "Star Wars" fan but I also knew that it was "just a film" when I
went in to see it. I was just hoping that it would just be the best film of
1999, not of the millenium, and now that I've seen it, I'm not sure that it
was the best film released in May...

It was fun, with great visuals, but also "clunky" -- badly paced and poorly
acted at times. It made "Return of the Jedi" look better (at least
pacing-wise) and that's no compliment.

I'm hoping that Lucas was just getting back on his directing feet again and
he figures it all out by the next film. At times, I felt like he was
shooting the rehearsals and moving on.

I think most "Star Wars" fans like the first one (Episode 4), so I tend to
group them by whether they prefer "Empire Strikes Back" over "Return of the
Jedi". "Empire" fans tend to prefer the more adult tone and the romantic,
almost operatic tone and darker mood; "Jedi" fans tend to prefer that film
for the spectacle and fun (although it is basically "Star Wars" re-made,
plot-wise). I think that "Return of the Jedi" fans will like "The Phantom
Menace" more than "Empire" fans.

Of course, there are fans who just like every episode.

Maybe because I am a cinematographer and spend a lot of time on sets around
actors that I am sensitive to this, but I was surprised how "The Phantom
Menace" felt like a high-school play at times, acting-wise. It was as if
Lucas' only intruction was "flatter please..."

I'll probably see "The Phantom Menace" a few more times in the theaters (and
check-out the digital projection demonstration) but I certainly will not see
it as many times as I saw "Star Wars" and "Empire".

David Mullen

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
David Mullen wrote:

> I'm hoping that Lucas was just getting back on his directing feet again and
> he figures it all out by the next film. At times, I felt like he was
> shooting the rehearsals and moving on.

I also think that there was a lot of rapid ground work being laid for the rest
of the films. I agree the best was episode 4, but I really like episode 1 now,
I may like it more that the first, or I could be on some sort of high because it
is the most recent seen. I don't think it is my all time favorite film (Out of
Sight still holds that position), but I don't think that it was crap and the
shittiest film of all time as some have said. I felt it was a good, fun,
enjoyable film (what I was expecting) - and I hope does better than Titanic. :)

I saw EP1 again today and still really liked it.

DELRAY 62

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Boy, isn't it strange how the real pro Phantom Menace people seem to all have
the word "animation" in their e-mail address?

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
DELRAY 62 wrote:

> Boy, isn't it strange how the real pro Phantom Menace people seem to all have
> the word "animation" in their e-mail address?

Not all of them. But I do think the fact that I am an animator, and someone
who likes to let things go, helped contribute to the movie. I was going to be a
physicist, I think if I was, I'd still like the movie.

I am curious to see how everyone is going to take the new lord of the rings
movies...

--
Colin Doncaster
bEnT Physics, Inc.

Liz

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Don't judge a person by their email address, I'm an Interior Designer, and I still
like the movie!!!

Liz
bEnT Interiors, Inc.

Liz

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained, after all, are movies not about entertainment?
As Colin Doncaster pointed out, Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
moved? Well, maybe, if you were on your way into see Schindler's List, but come on, this
is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the purpose of
pure entertainment!!!!!!!


Scott Bethel wrote:

> Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Scott Bethel wrote:

> Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?

I like a movie that keeps my interest. For me it may be something different that
keeps my interest than others. I thought out of sight was a great movie, good acting
and fun story. Phantom Menace was an adventure.

It is all totally personal. I thought Fifth Element was a great movie also and a lot
of people didn't like it. When people say TPM has bad acting, I don't think it is bad
(Starship Troopers was bad!!!), but I don't think it was up to academy awards quality.

I enjoy fantasy/sci fi films and well put together films like Out of Sight (i thought
the editing was great!). And ya! I do go to see some great effects also, but that's
personal.

Scott Dorsey

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
In article <374ACFD9...@bentanimation.com> Liz <l...@bentanimation.com> writes:
>Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained, after all, are movies not about entertainment?

Precisely. Entertainment is a good thing.

Restless audience members who are yawning and can't stay in their seat
are not being entertained.

As for me, if I notice the camerawork, if I notice the effects, then my
mind is being drawn away from the plot. There are altogether too many films
in which I have "gee... nice steadycam shot" going through my head instead
of thinking about the actual substance of the film.

I believe that when the mechanics of the film are obvious, they detract
from the film. Now admittedly what is obvious changes as the audience
becomes more familiar with the language of film; the stop motion and
undercranked sequences in Nosferatu were probably quite impressive in their
day, but to a modern audience they stick out like a sore thumb. Even so,
if it seems to stick out to a modern audience, it will stick out that much
more twenty years down the road.

And I don't think the effects in the original Star Wars do stick out much
more today than they did originally. They were done with style and with
taste, and while there were a lot of them, they were not overdone. And
I fear that this is not the case with the Phantom Menace, but really only
time will tell.

>As Colin Doncaster pointed out, Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
>moved? Well, maybe, if you were on your way into see Schindler's List, but come on, this
>is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the purpose of
>pure entertainment!!!!!!!

You must pardon me, but I found Schindler's List very entertaining.
--scott

Scott Dorsey

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
In article <374ACFE3...@bentanimation.com> Colin Doncaster <co...@bentanimation.com> writes:
> It is all totally personal. I thought Fifth Element was a great movie also and a lot
>of people didn't like it.
You know, that is a good point. I thought the effects in Fifth Element,
even if they were obvious CGI jobs, still meshed well into the plot and
they added to the film rather than detracted from it.

I found Fifth Element very amusing in a dry sort of way, and the fact
that it didn't take itself seriously made it that much easier for me to
suspend disbelief, and to be amused rather than angered at the points
where I was unable to do so.

Liz

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to

Scott Dorsey wrote:

In article <374ACFD9...@bentanimation.com> Liz <l...@bentanimation.com> writes:
>Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained,  after all, are movies not about entertainment?

Precisely.  Entertainment is a good thing.

O.k so we have an understanding there, but....

Restless audience members who are yawning and can't stay in their seat
are not being entertained.

I didn't see too much of that in my theatre, but then again, the film managed to keep my concentration on the screen straight through.

As for me, if I notice the camerawork, if I notice the effects, then my
mind is being drawn away from the plot.  There are altogether too many films
in which I have "gee... nice steadycam shot" going through my head instead
of thinking about the actual substance of the film.

I think the point you are attempting to put across here is that, from a professional point of view (assuming that your "steadycam" language was learnt through several years of education and experience in the field) has killed the movie experience for you. When you, as a professional go to a film, you have been trained to critique and learn from what you see. As a general audience member, (a.k.a. Liz, Interior Designer) who knows nothing about the mechanics of film making, can infact sit down to a movie and concentrate on other things besides "gee...nice steadycam shot".

I believe that when the mechanics of the film are obvious, they detract
from the film.  Now admittedly what is obvious changes as the audience
becomes more familiar with the language of film; the stop motion and
undercranked sequences in Nosferatu were probably quite impressive in their
day, but to a modern audience they stick out like a sore thumb.  Even so,
if it seems to stick out to a modern audience, it will stick out that much
more twenty years down the road.

I will not add anything here because you do make somewhat of a good point, except, we have no need to get ahead of ourselves. Live Life in the Present. with time I'm sure the mechanics will improve, and I am sure that the Lucas Crew have learned alot during the making of Episode I. I guess we will just have to wait for Episode II to continue this debate.

And I don't think the effects in the original Star Wars do stick out much
more today than they did originally.  They were done with style and with
taste, and while there were a lot of them, they were not overdone.  And
I fear that this is not the case with the Phantom Menace, but really only
time will tell.

Yes, I do agree, the originals were something special, but Phantom Menace holds many of its own merits.

>As Colin Doncaster pointed out, Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
>moved? Well, maybe, if you were on your way into see Schindler's List, but come on, this
>is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the purpose of
>pure entertainment!!!!!!!

You must pardon me, but I found Schindler's List very entertaining.

O.k, you know, you missed the "Schinler's List" point completely!!

Scott Bethel

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Let me rephrase it then - what entertains you?

Liz wrote:

> Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained, after all, are movies not about entertainment?

> As Colin Doncaster pointed out, Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
> moved? Well, maybe, if you were on your way into see Schindler's List, but come on, this
> is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the purpose of
> pure entertainment!!!!!!!
>

> Scott Bethel wrote:
>
> > Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?
> >

Scott Bethel

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
Well my point is if you (the editorial "you") know the difference between a good movie and a
bad movie? I know several bad movies that entertain me and several good movies that bore me
to tears.
I would kind of expect anyone frequenting this NG to know that just because a movie
entertains you personally does not make it good. On the other hand one that does not
entertain you personally does not make it a bad movie.
Good filmmaking/craftmanship does not necessarily equal entertainment and good entertainment
does not necessarily equal good filmmaking. Just because a movie (TPM) falls short in a few
basic areas of filmmaking (plot, character development) doesn't mean it can't be
entertaining.
Craftsmanship in filmmaking is not totally subjective. Entertainment, however, certainly
is.


Colin Doncaster wrote:

> Scott Bethel wrote:
>
> > Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?
>

> I like a movie that keeps my interest. For me it may be something different that
> keeps my interest than others. I thought out of sight was a great movie, good acting
> and fun story. Phantom Menace was an adventure.
>

> It is all totally personal. I thought Fifth Element was a great movie also and a lot

ken...@yahoo.com

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
On Tue, 25 May 1999 07:56:09 -0700, Scott Bethel
<media...@linkport.com> wrote:

>Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?
>

Saw Phantom Menace on Saturday with my wife. No line ups when I
bought advance tickets for Sat. on Wednesday the day it opened all
over the world.

No lineups on the day of the show itself - Saturday and a long holiday
weekend on British Columbia too! The show was for 11:45am.

My criteria for a good movie is story, story, story.

TPM was a great movie for rendered sets, computer graphics and
computer generated animation but the story was weak, the acting could
have been waaaaaaay better.

The characters lacked depth and were extremely wooden although from
their previous body of work, most are quite exceptionally talented.

Best scene in my view was the light sabre fight scene with Darth Maul
at the end. Very, very realistic.

The movie was more designed to WOW you with sets, costumes, CG and
such rather move you by the storyline's depth and screenplay.

K.

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
Scott Bethel wrote:

> Well my point is if you (the editorial "you") know the difference between a good movie and a
> bad movie? I know several bad movies that entertain me and several good movies that bore me
> to tears.

If they bore you to tears, why do you call it a good movie. If you like a movie, and enjoyed
it, wouldn't you call it a good movie?

> Good filmmaking/craftmanship does not necessarily equal entertainment and good entertainment
> does not necessarily equal good filmmaking. Just because a movie (TPM) falls short in a few
> basic areas of filmmaking (plot, character development) doesn't mean it can't be
> entertaining.
> Craftsmanship in filmmaking is not totally subjective. Entertainment, however, certainly
> is.

I guess it is just a difference in what we think a good movie is. If there is a movie that
shot everything perfectly and beautifully but I didn't enjoy it, I am not going to hail it for
an academy award. But, what you are saying is that, if the craftmanship of the movie was good,
and you didn't enjoy it, you might cast your vote in it general direction?

Just curious.

Liz

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to

Yes, I agree with much of what you have stated below (Hooray, well said, you are a true film
coinesseur) now back to the original argument. Phantom Menace is not as bad as people are making
it out to be. O.k sure, it had a few weak points, but it still managed to tell a story, and tell
it well. There is the art of film making and then thier is the purpose. George Lucas is the
artist, an experimental artist. He is making use of the most up to date mediums to tell his
story (the purpose) and as a true artist, he is not afraid of experimentation. To bring a new
medium even further into its development and applying it to something as BIG as STAR WARS takes
enormous courage. Now that he has done it, and knows that he can do it, just think of what is
still to come. Try to see it as a process, you know, everything evolves.

Something else to think about, was it completely necessary for the original Star Wars trio to
be upgraded to today's quality for re-release? It is important that the film quality be
preserved, but wouldn't you admit that the new computer effects and animation did not change the
fact that they are still great films? (Even if their "craftsmanship" is not up to standard)

"Editorial" Liz

Scott Bethel wrote:

> Well my point is if you (the editorial "you") know the difference between a good movie and a
> bad movie? I know several bad movies that entertain me and several good movies that bore me
> to tears.

> I would kind of expect anyone frequenting this NG to know that just because a movie
> entertains you personally does not make it good. On the other hand one that does not
> entertain you personally does not make it a bad movie.

> Good filmmaking/craftmanship does not necessarily equal entertainment and good entertainment
> does not necessarily equal good filmmaking. Just because a movie (TPM) falls short in a few
> basic areas of filmmaking (plot, character development) doesn't mean it can't be
> entertaining.
> Craftsmanship in filmmaking is not totally subjective. Entertainment, however, certainly
> is.
>

> Colin Doncaster wrote:


>
> > Scott Bethel wrote:
> >
> > > Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?
> >

> > I like a movie that keeps my interest. For me it may be something different that
> > keeps my interest than others. I thought out of sight was a great movie, good acting
> > and fun story. Phantom Menace was an adventure.
> >
> > It is all totally personal. I thought Fifth Element was a great movie also and a lot
> > of people didn't like it. When people say TPM has bad acting, I don't think it is bad
> > (Starship Troopers was bad!!!), but I don't think it was up to academy awards quality.
> >
> > I enjoy fantasy/sci fi films and well put together films like Out of Sight (i thought
> > the editing was great!). And ya! I do go to see some great effects also, but that's
> > personal.
> >
> > C.
> >

La...@la.com

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
klu...@netcom.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

>>Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained, after all, are movies not about entertainment?
>

>Precisely. Entertainment is a good thing.
>

>Restless audience members who are yawning and can't stay in their seat
>are not being entertained.
>

>As for me, if I notice the camerawork, if I notice the effects, then my
>mind is being drawn away from the plot. There are altogether too many films
>in which I have "gee... nice steadycam shot" going through my head instead
>of thinking about the actual substance of the film.

Ever think you are becoming more "savvy" and enjoying the film on a
different level?

>
>I believe that when the mechanics of the film are obvious, they detract
>from the film.

I don't know about that. I've been aware of the "mechanics" since I
was ten...

>Now admittedly what is obvious changes as the audience
>becomes more familiar with the language of film; the stop motion and
>undercranked sequences in Nosferatu were probably quite impressive in their
>day, but to a modern audience they stick out like a sore thumb. Even so,
>if it seems to stick out to a modern audience, it will stick out that much
>more twenty years down the road.
>

>And I don't think the effects in the original Star Wars do stick out much
>more today than they did originally. They were done with style and with
>taste, and while there were a lot of them, they were not overdone. And
>I fear that this is not the case with the Phantom Menace, but really only
>time will tell.
>

>>As Colin Doncaster pointed out, Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
>>moved? Well, maybe, if you were on your way into see Schindler's List, but come on, this
>>is Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the purpose of
>>pure entertainment!!!!!!!
>

>You must pardon me, but I found Schindler's List very entertaining.

La...@la.com

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
Colin Doncaster <co...@bentanimation.com> wrote:

>Scott Bethel wrote:
>
>> Just curious, what is your criteria for a good movie?
>
> I like a movie that keeps my interest. For me it may be something different that
>keeps my interest than others. I thought out of sight was a great movie, good acting
>and fun story. Phantom Menace was an adventure.
>
> It is all totally personal. I thought Fifth Element was a great movie also and a lot
>of people didn't like it. When people say TPM has bad acting, I don't think it is bad
>(Starship Troopers was bad!!!), but I don't think it was up to academy awards quality.

Please, stop equating Academy Awards with quality.

Scott Dorsey

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
In article <374b62e4...@newsproxy.pacificnet.net> La...@LA.com writes:

>klu...@netcom.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:
>
>>I believe that when the mechanics of the film are obvious, they detract
>>from the film.
>
>I don't know about that. I've been aware of the "mechanics" since I
>was ten...

So have I, and that's not a good thing. How often can you totally lose
track of the mechanics and completely lose yourself in a film?

Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
La...@LA.com wrote:

> Please, stop equating Academy Awards with quality.

Sorry - I do realize there are a lot of politics in the Awards.

Steven Weller

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to

>>I don't know about that. I've been aware of the "mechanics" since I
>>was ten...
>
>So have I, and that's not a good thing. How often can you totally lose
>track of the mechanics and completely lose yourself in a film?

I think it's a question of audiences becoming more sophisticated, and in some
cases (like Phantom Menace) filmmakers not keeping up. Fer'instance, we all
know that Darth Vader's outfit was based on traditional Japanese armour -
especially the helmet. But 22 years ago, the average movie goer wasn't
sufficiently versed in imagery from around the world to see anything more than
a cool looking costume. In TPM, on the other hand, the Trade Federation's
whole get-up was also based on feudal Japan (especially those headpieces, but
also the sedan chair, the robes, etc) but everybody recognizes that right off
the bat. Throw in some ham-fisted 'inscrutable' accents and some rather
slanted eyes, and not only does the audience see Japan, we see it clearly
enough to cry foul. The reference isn't subtext any more - it comes off as
racism.

The original Star Wars had a lot of references to WW II - the Empire was, in
essence, Nazi Germany, and that worked just fine. It (and we) needed clear-
cut villains who deserved to die just because of who they were. We could blow
up the death star and everybody on it, because it didn't matter that some of
the people there might just be tradespeople or janitors or the cooks in the
mess hall - the were Nazis, so they deserved to die. But TPM is still mired
in WW II, and not for the better. Sambo Binks is still the kind of 'house
lizard' we wanted to believe 'good' blacks were in the 40s. He still lives in
a segregated, more primitive society (though one that's capable of creating
hidden underwater cities and energy force fields, even if they need to deliver
their energy weapons via slingshots and catapults). The evil Japs are still
the bad guys, but of course they're inept, and only the puppets of a more
sinister force (Force?) - their evil Aryan masters.

In the last 22 years, we've become a more sophisticated audience, but while
Uncle George has got a great big bag of new tricks, he's not become a more
sophisticated storyteller. So the tricks seem more obvious, and so less
impressive.
--
Life Continues, Despite
Evidence to the Contrary,

Steven

DELRAY 62

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
<< Don't judge a person by their email address, I'm an Interior Designer, and I
still
like the movie!!!
>>


That's nice. But I still think it sucks, and George Lucas is a toy salesman.

DELRAY 62

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
<< Hey, as long as it keeps me entertained, after all, are movies not about
entertainment? >>

A monkey fucking a football can be entertaining to watch, but in the end what
have you gained? The way I look at it (and most other people) entertainment
shouldn't be a mindless waste of time.


<< Must we all go into a movie expecting to be deeply
moved? >>

No one said anything about the need to be moved by a movie. But there is an
issue of craft here. If you dig fancy schmansy CGI and bullshit action
sequences, then you will no doubt lead a very rewarding life.


<< Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, a totally fictional story created for the
purpose of
pure entertainment!!!!!!! >>

Actually the purpose is to sell toys. It's a friggin' commercial.


Colin Doncaster

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
Steven Weller wrote:

> enough to cry foul. The reference isn't subtext any more - it comes off as
> racism.

Why do people want to throw racism into the picture?! I am sure there were a
few japanese working on the film, they didn't stop and say, boy, I'd better
mention something, this is racist. It just seems like people are pulling hard to
find problems with the film and, as with most things these day, racism is an easy
thing to pick at.

C.

DELRAY 62

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99