| Star Wars Episode I:|
The Phantom Menace
- "Every saga has a beginning."
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It was the fourth film to be released in the Star Wars saga, and the first in terms of internal chronology. It is also the first film to be re-released in 3D.
The film begins as two Jedi, assigned as ambassadors to resolve a trade dispute, arrive in orbit of the threatened planet Naboo. When the situation turns violent, the Jedi, along with Padmé Amidala, the planet's queen, flee Naboo in an attempt to reach the capital world of the Galactic Republic, Coruscant. There they hope to find a peaceful and diplomatic end to the dispute. Along the way, the ship must stop for repairs on the planet Tatooine. It is there that the Jedi encounter Anakin Skywalker, a young slave boy who is unusually strong with the Force. When the group returns to Naboo, they realize that the situation is much worse than they had at first thought: the evil Sith, ancient enemies of the Jedi, have returned.
The release of the film on May 19, 1999 came almost 16 years after the release of the last film in the series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The release was accompanied by extensive media coverage and great anticipation. Despite mixed reviews by critics and fans, it grossed $924.3 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of the entire Star Wars saga unadjusted for inflation. The film was re-released in the Blu-ray format in September of 2011, and was re-released in theaters in 3D on February 10, 2012.
- "I have a bad feeling about this."
"I don't sense anything."
"It's not about the mission, Master. It's something…elsewhere…elusive."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Qui-Gon Jinn
It is the year 32 BBY, and a trade dispute between the Trade Federation and the outlying systems of the Galactic Republic has led to a blockade of the small planet of Naboo. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, leader of the Galactic Senate, has secretly dispatched two Jedi, Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as ambassadors to the Federation flagship, Saak'ak, in order to meet with Viceroy Nute Gunray and resolve the dispute. Unknown to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, who secretly orders Gunray to invade Naboo (as well as implying that he would ensure that their invasion was made legal when asked if it was illegal by Gunray) and kill the two Jedi upon their arrival. Their ship, Radiant VII, is destroyed, and the two Jedi escape the assassination attempt by using knight speed to get away from the destroyer droids and stow themselves aboard two separate Federation landing craft leaving for the surface of Naboo. Amidala then contacts Gunray expressing her disapproval of their blockade of Naboo, with Gunray explaining that they wouldn't have done it without the approval of the senate. Gunray, after ending communications with her, also tells his aide that they should disable all communications on the planet in case she suspected their invasion. Meanwhile, Amadala was conversing with Senator Palpatine regarding the recent attempt at negotiations with the Trade Federation via hologram only for it to short out. Bibble suspected that the shorting out of communications was the first sign of an invasion from the Trade Federation.
On the planet's surface, Qui-Gon saves local native outcast Jar Jar Binks from being crushed by an MTT. Later, STAPs attack but are destroyed by Qui-Gon. Jar Jar Binks shows the two Jedi the way to an underwater Gungan settlement, Otoh Gunga, escaping the Trade Federation army. Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades Naboo and captures their leader, Queen Padmé Amidala. The Jedi meet the Gungan leader, Boss Rugor Nass, and ask him to help the people of Naboo, but Nass refuses and sends them off in a bongo submarine. They are attacked by an opee sea killer and a colo claw fish but both fish are eaten by a sando aqua monster. The Jedi, with Binks in tow, reach Theed, the capital city of Naboo, and rescue Queen Amidala from the Trade Defense Force. They depart for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic's capital planet, to ask for help from the Senate. An astromech droid named R2-D2 manages to repair the Queen's starship and they narrowly escape an attack from Federation battleships.
Due to the damage the ship's hyperdrive sustained in the attack, the Queen's party is forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for a new hyperdrive generator, they befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy, whose master is Watto, a Toydarian junk dealer.
Anakin is gifted with piloting and mechanical abilities, and has built an almost-complete droid named C-3PO. Qui-Gon Jinn senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin, and feels that he may be the Chosen One who will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force. By entering Anakin into a podrace, Qui-Gon orchestrates a gamble in which the boy (alone, since Qui-Gon was unable to include the youth's mother in the bargain) will be released from slavery and they will win the parts needed for their ship. Anakin wins the race and joins the team as they head for Coruscant, where Qui-Gon plans to seek permission from the Jedi High Council to train Anakin to be a Jedi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to kill the two Jedi and capture the Queen. Maul appears just as the group is leaving the planet, and duels with Qui-Gon. The fight is cut short when Qui-Gon manages to escape his black-robed assailant by jumping onboard the Naboo Royal Starship as it takes off.
On Coruscant, Qui-Gon informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious attacker he encountered on Tatooine. Because of that being's obvious mastery of the Jedi arts, the Council becomes concerned that this development may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, a religious order who were followers of the dark side of the Force and thought to be long gone. Qui-Gon also informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy and deliberating with one another, the Council refuses, deeming him too old for training according to the Jedi Code. They are also concerned due to their sensing of a seemingly clouded future and a strong presence of fear in the boy. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine (of Naboo), warning of the corruption in the Senate, advises Queen Amidala to call for a Vote of No Confidence in Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum. Seeing no alternative, the Queen takes this advice when she addresses the Senate. Palpatine is among the candidates to replace the Supreme Chancellor, and the Queen later announces to Palpatine that she herself will return to their home planet to repel the invasion of her people. She is frustrated by the Senate's deliberation and lack of action, and feels that even if Palpatine is elected Chancellor, it will be too late. The Jedi Council sends the two Jedi to accompany the Queen back to Naboo, hoping to shed light on any Sith involvement.
Queen Amidala, back on Naboo, attempts to locate the Gungans at Otoh Gunga, but Jar-Jar, after searching Otoh Gunga, informs them that it was abandoned. He then led them to a sacred area which he was certain they were at. They then arrived at the Sacred Place, where the Gungans were waiting for them. After brief negotiations with Boss Nass, including Padme Naberrie revealing herself to be the true Queen Amidala, the Naboo formed an alliance with the Gungan people, uniting in battle against the Trade Federation. Captain Panaka and several other security forces were also dispatched to rescue anyone imprisoned in the Trade Federation's prison camps, although they were only able to successfully extract a handful. Queen Amidala then gave their battle strategy: With the Grand Gungan Army acting as a distraction to the bulk of the main Trade Federation forces, the Naboo resistance led by Amidala, Obi-Wan, and Qui-Gon would infiltrate Theed via a secret entrance located inside one of the waterfalls. Nute Gunray, taking the bait regarding the Gungan Army, informs Darth Sidious about the Grand Army, the latter then promptly ordering Gunray to wipe out the Gungans and the Naboo as the Trade Federation prepares for battle. Captain Roos Tarpals orders the Gungan Grand Army to start up their shield, to protect them from ranged attack. OOM-9 has his tanks fire first, but seeing them fail to penetrate the powerful shield, orders them to cease fire. Daultay Dofine gives the command to activate the battle droids. These droids march through the shield, and its generator is destroyed. After much fighting against the Federation's droid army, defeat for the alliance seems imminent.
However, victory comes when young Anakin Skywalker accidentally takes control of a starfighter and goes on to destroy the Federation's Droid Control Ship, killing Daultay Dofine and rendering the droid army useless. Meanwhile, Queen Amidala and her force fight their way back into the royal palace and capture Nute Gunray.
At the same time, in a Theed hangar bay, Darth Maul (an apprentice of the Sith Lord Palpatine) has been engaging in combat with the two Jedi, using a double-bladed lightsaber. The battle moves from the hangar, across a series of catwalks, to the Theed Generator Complex. During the fight, Obi-Wan is separated from his master when he is kicked off of a catwalk and falls. He grabs the edge of another catwalk below and jumps back up to where Qui-Gon and Maul continue to fight. By this time, Qui-Gon and Maul have become separated by a force field in the entrance to the Generator Room. Obi-Wan catches up to them, but is divided from his master by four force fields. When the force fields deactivate, Jinn and the Sith continue their battle while Kenobi remains divided from the battle by one force field when they all reactivate. Maul suddenly hits Qui-Gon Jinn on the chin with his lightsaber handle, stunning him, then rams his lightsaber straight into Qui-Gon's chest, mortally wounding him. Heartbroken, Obi-Wan redoubles his assault upon Darth Maul and chops Maul's lightsaber in half, but the Sith almost kills Kenobi when he Force pushes him to the edge of a melting pit. Obi-Wan saves himself from falling when he manages to grab onto a pipe protruding from the wall of the pit. Darth Maul kicks the Jedi's lightsaber into the pit and prepares to finish him off. The Padawan calms himself, using the Force to jump out of the pit and summons his fallen Master's lightsaber to his hand. Within an instant he lands behind the surprised Maul and cuts him in half, the Sith's body falling into the pit.
Just before passing away, Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin to become a Jedi. Obi-Wan gives his word that he will. The newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine arrives to congratulate Queen Amidala on her victory, as Nute Gunray is sent to stand trial for his crimes.
After the battle, the Jedi Council names Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight. Kenobi conveys his Master's wish regarding Anakin Skywalker to Yoda, who reluctantly allows him to become Obi-Wan's apprentice. Qui-Gon's body is cremated, and Mace Windu and Yoda agree that the Sith are definitely to blame for the tragedy. Being that there are only ever two Sith at any given time (a Master and an apprentice), both Masters believe that one must still remain.
The Naboo and Gungans organize a great victory celebration on the streets of Theed, in front on the palace. Obi-Wan and Anakin are present, the younger now wearing formal Jedi attire, and in his hair is a special braid: the mark of a Jedi Padawan. Queen Amidala presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to Boss Nass and the Gungan people.
- Qui-Gon Jinn .... Liam Neeson
- Obi-Wan Kenobi .... Ewan McGregor
- Queen Amidala/Padmé .... Natalie Portman
- Anakin Skywalker .... Jake Lloyd
- Palpatine/Darth Sidious .... Ian McDiarmid
- Shmi Skywalker .... Pernilla August
- Sio Bibble .... Oliver Ford Davies
- Captain Panaka .... Hugh Quarshie
- Jar Jar Binks .... Ahmed Best
- C-3PO .... Anthony Daniels
- R2-D2 .... Kenny Baker
- Yoda .... Frank Oz
- Finis Valorum .... Terence Stamp
- Boss Nass .... Brian Blessed
- Watto .... Andrew Secombe
- Darth Maul .... Ray Park
- Sebulba .... Lewis MacLeod
- W. Wald .... Warwick Davis (uncredited)
- Captain Roos Tarpals .... Steven Speirs
- Nute Gunray .... Silas Carson
- Rune Haako .... Jerome Blake (uncredited)
- Daultay Dofine .... Alan Ruscoe (uncredited)
- Ric Olié Bravo Leader .... Ralph Brown
- Bravo 5 .... Celia Imrie
- Bravo 2 .... Benedict Taylor
- Bravo 3 .... Clarence Smith
- Mace Windu .... Samuel L. Jackson
- Palace Guard .... Dominic West
- Rabé .... Cristina da Silva
- Eirtaé .... Friday (Liz) Wilson
- Yané .... Candice Orwell
- Saché .... Sofia Coppola
- Sabé .... Keira Knightley
- Maoi Madakor .... Bronagh Gallagher
- Antidar Williams .... Silas Carson
- TC-14 .... John Fensom
- Fode .... Greg Proops
- Quinlan Vos .... Unknown actor
- Beed .... Scott Capurro
- Jabba the Hutt .... Larry Ward
- Jira .... Margaret Towner
- Kitster Banai .... Dhruv Chanchani
- Seek .... Oliver Walpole
- Amee .... Jenna Green
- Melee .... Megan Udall
- Eeth Koth .... Hassani Shapi
- Adi Gallia .... Gin
- Saesee Tiin .... Khan Bonfils
- Plo Koon .... Alan Ruscoe (uncredited)
- Yarael Poof .... Michelle Taylor
- Ki-Adi-Mundi .... Silas Carson
- Even Piell .... Michaela Cottrell
- Oppo Rancisis .... Jerome Blake (uncredited)
- Depa Billaba .... Dipika O'Neill Joti
- Yaddle .... Phil Eason
- Mas Amedda .... Jerome Blake (uncredited)
- Aks Moe .... Mark Coulier
- Lott Dod .... Silas Carson
- Weazel .... Warwick Davis (uncredited)
- Orn Free Taa .... Jerome Blake (uncredited)
- Bib Fortuna .... Alan Ruscoe (uncredited)
- Yoda Puppeteers .... Kathy Smee, Don Austen, David Greenaway, Frank Oz
- Voice of TC-14 .... Lindsay Duncan
- Voice of Darth Maul .... Peter Serafinowicz
- Voice of Rune Haako .... James Taylor
- Voice of Daultay Dofine .... Chris Sanders
- Voice of Lott Dod .... Toby Longworth
- Voice of Aks Moe .... Marc Silk
- Voice of Tey How .... Tyger
- Ann Gella .... Nifa Hindes
- Tann Gella .... Nishan Hindes
- Rya Kirsch Bravo 4 .... John Knoll
- Sei Taria .... Kamay Lau
- Mawhonic .... Danny Wagner
- Voice of Ody Mandrell and Bib Fortuna .... Matthew Wood
Much of the primary crew of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series and Radioland Murders feature film carried over to the prequels, plus the famous Lucy Richardson, who worked in the art department for the movie.
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Behind the scenesEdit
Sources and inspirationsEdit
While Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress has often been seen as a source of inspiration for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, The Phantom Menace's middle section on Tatooine, with its series of nonviolent bargaining and twists of chance, demonstrates the strongest correspondence to Japanese film in the Saga. Queen Amidala's escape from an invading enemy and posing as a handmaiden while visiting the lower classes on Tatooine also echoes Kurosawa's film, especially in its emphasis on social consciousness.
The podrace sequence on Tatooine appears heavily influenced, if not lifted wholesale, from the chariot race in Ben-Hur. Other films likely to have influenced the pod race are Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause, which featured actor James Dean, a partial inspiration for Anakin Skywalker's character, and John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix, which not only features the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune but also features camerawork done by Lucas himself.
Starting with this episode, the Star Wars Saga, especially the first three episodes and even more especially the third chapter, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, deal heavily with the character type of the mastermind typical to the multiple genres Lucas's work belongs to. The dual character of Palpatine/Darth Sidious is probably the most noteworthy Star Wars character from this aspect: controlling and manipulating the events of the films, such as the invasion of Naboo and Valorum's impeachment, from afar. This character has precedent in countless comic books, movies, and novels, but is especially in debt to the arch-villains of serial fiction and films of the early 20th century. The two most relevant characters are Fantomas ("The Phantom") and Norbert Jacque's Dr. Mabuse, immortalized on screen by German director Fritz Lang. Lucas implicitly labels Palpatine, who like Mabuse uses mind control and secret identities to shape events on large political and economic scales, as the film's Phantom Menace, tying him to the French villain.
The key political decisions in this film revolve around the impeachment of a chief executive—Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum—in order to elect a new leader of stronger moral principles—eventual Emperor Palpatine— The motivations of the Trade Federation in the film, moreover, revolve around their refusal to cooperate with the Republic's taxes.
During the credits at the end of the film, young Anakin's theme is heard playing, but during the last moments of the film, this theme morphs into the first few notes of the Darth Vader theme during the Imperial March, and, as the last logos of THX are scrolling by, three rasping breaths from Darth Vader's respirator can be heard as an ode to young Anakin morphing into Darth Vader.
Along the lines of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, all three prequel films were originally intended to be written and shot as one large production, and released back-to-back.
The budget of Menace was estimated US$115 million. Shooting took place from June 26 to September 30, 1997. As with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode I's main exterior filming locations were in Tunisia. The podrace was filmed in a canyon near Sidi Bouhlel and Oung Jmel. A set was built near Oung Jmel to represent Mos Espa on Tatooine. The Slave Quarters Row were filmed in ksour's near Tataouine and Ksar Medenine. Small parts were filmed in Royal Caserta Palace in Italy, Whippendell Woods and Hever Castle in the United Kingdom, but Hever Castel was later cut. Studio work was mainly done at Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom. More studio work is rumored to have taken place at CTV Services in Tunisia.
Unlike the latter two films in the series which were shot on digital video, most of this film was shot in 35 mm, with a few scenes shot in digital video.
This episode was also the first of the Saga to be referred to primarily by its number (Episode One) by media and fans, to contrast it with the classical saga the public already knew. This reference also gave finally some sense to the riddling numbers IV-VI of the previous movies.
The Phantom Menace received enormous media-created hype, which made Lucasfilm's $20 million advertising campaign – with the distinctive artwork of Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan gracing the movie poster and other advertising – seem modest and almost unnecessary because of the unprecedented interest amongst both fans and the wider audience in the return of the franchise. Few film studios released films during the same week as the release of The Phantom Menace; among the more courageous were DreamWorks and Universal Studios, with the releases of The Love Letter and Notting Hill respectively. The Love Letter resulted in a box-office flop, whereas Notting Hill fared rather well and followed The Phantom Menace closely in second place. Challenger, Gray & Christmas of Chicago, a work-issues consulting firm, estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees did not appear for work to attend the film, resulting in $293 million in lost productivity. The Wall Street Journal reported that such a large number of workers announced plans to view premiere screenings that many companies shut down on the premiere day. Many fans began waiting outside cinema theaters as early as a month in advance of ticket sales.
More theater lines appeared when it was announced that cinemas were not allowed to sell tickets in advance until two weeks into the release. This was done out of fear that family theater-goers would either be unable to receive tickets or would be forced to pay higher prices. Tickets were instead to be sold on a traditional first-come-first-serve basis. However, after meetings with the National Association of Theatre Owners, Lucasfilm agreed to allow advance ticket sales on May 12, 1999, provided that there be a 12-ticket limit per customer. As a result, however, some advance tickets were sold by "scalpers" as high as $100 apiece, which a distribution chief called "horrible", stating it was exactly what they wanted to avoid. Daily Variety reported that theater owners received strict instructions from Lucasfilm that the film could only play in the cinema's largest auditorium for the first 8–12 weeks; no honor passes were allowed for the first eight weeks, and they were obligated to send their payments to distributor 20th Century Fox within seven days. Servers at the film's official website became gridlocked soon after the release of the first teaser trailer, and many fans of the series paid full admission to see Meet Joe Black only to leave after the trailer had run. The same tradition followed months later when the theatrical trailer was featured in front of Wing Commander. The theatrical trailer caused even more notable media hype, because it not only premiered in theaters, but screened at the ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas, and was aired on television on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. An unusual marketing scheme was pursued across the United Kingdom, where the teaser trailer was released on December 2, 1998 and then pulled from theaters six weeks later.
Despite worries about whether the film would be finished in time, two weeks prior to its debut Lucasfilm pushed the release date up from May 21, 1999 to May 19, 1999. At the ShoWest Convention, Lucas stated that the change was to give the fans a "head start" by allowing them to view it over the week and allowing families the chance to view on the weekends. In a nod toward his future with digital technology, Lucas stated that the film would be released on four digital projectors on June 18, 1999. Eleven charity premieres were staged across the United States on May 16, 1999; receivings from the Los Angeles event were given to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with corporate packages available for $5,000-$25,000. Other charity premieres included the Dallas premiere for Children's Medical Center, the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at the Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, the Big Brother/Sister Assn. of the Philadelphia premiere, and the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. A statement said that tickets were sold at $500 apiece and that certain sections were set aside for disadvantaged children.
Since it was the first Star Wars movie in 16 years, many Star Wars fans were excited when Episode I came out. After an enormous marketing campaign, with the distinctive artwork of Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan gracing the movie poster and other advertising, there was almost unprecedented interest amongst both fans and the wider community in the return of one of the successful movie series. However, critical and fan reaction ranged from high praise to outright derision.
The much-hyped special effects, while generally viewed as groundbreaking in their sheer scope, were perhaps less impressive than anticipated simply because of high expectations. This attitude was confirmed with the rival film, The Matrix, winning the visual effects Academy Award for that year over The Phantom Menace. It was the first time a Star Wars film lost in that Oscar competition category. Many critics heavily criticized the acting of Natalie Portman and especially Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin Skywalker. Some aspects of the scripting and direction were also criticized. Extra venom was directed at the character of Jar Jar Binks, who was regarded by some fans as purely a merchandising opportunity rather than a serious character in the film. Another source of dissatisfaction comes from the decision to explain Force-sensitivity with the introduction of midi-chlorians. Fan reaction was mixed too, with some fans praising the film while others having a negative opinion of it.
A number of people anonymously re-edited the film and released their edited versions over the Internet. The most popularly known of these is The Phantom Edit.
However, despite some of the negative criticisms leveled at the film, many others gave praise to The Phantom Menace. William Arnold, of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer commented that the massive of hype of the film may have caused much of the negative reaction to the film, saying "it built expectations that can't possibly be matched and scuttled element of storytelling surprise". He also felt "it's well made and entertaining" and believed it was much better than similar box office fare released around that time period, such as The Mummy and The Matrix . David Cornelius of efilmcritic.com remarked that the better moments of the film "don't merely balance out the weaker ones- they topple them" . Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and half out of four stars, calling it "an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking," and stating that "Lucas tells a good story". Ebert comments that it was perfectly fine for the characters being a bit less compelling, seeing that they were just being introduced, and stating to "give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day."  Mark Dinning labels The Phantom Menace "A great work from a great director, and a blockbuster of quite the most swashbuckling kind". Many fans and critics also agree that the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul—showcasing astounding choreography and Ray Park's martial arts skills—is a high point, and one of the best lightsaber duels in the entire Star Wars saga.
Star Wars Episode I was nominated for the Academy Awards on th categories of Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects but it lost to The Matrix. It won Best Motion Picture at the People's Choice Awards. It was also nominated for the Saturn Awards on the categories of Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director (George Lucas), Best Actor (Liam Nesson), Best Supporting Actor (Ewan McGregor), Best Young Actor (Jake Lloyd), Best Young Actress (Natalie Portman), Best Supporting Actress (Pernilla August), Best Screenplay (George Lucas), Best Music (John Williams), Best Special Effects and Best Makeup, It won on the categories of Best Costume Design (Trisha Biggar) and Best Special Effects.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released on DVD in 2001; it was the first Star Wars film to be officially released on DVD. The DVD version of the film had certain scenes and other elements edited and inserted by George Lucas, making it slightly different from its theatrical release while retaining an identical plot. Some scenes were modified, and some that were unfinished by the date of release were added to the film. To date, this is the only Star Wars film whose theatrical release is not available on DVD (excepting the 1997 versions of the original trilogy).
The DVD features a commentary track by Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor Ben Burtt, animation director Rob Coleman, and visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Dennis Muren, and Scott Squires. It includes seven deleted scenes completed specifically for the DVD, and The Beginning: Making Episode I, an hour-long documentary film drawn from more than 600 hours of footage, including an insider's look at Lucasfilm and ILM during the production. The viewer can access a multi-angle storyboard-to-animatic-to-film segment featuring the submarine and podrace lap 1 sequences. The DVD includes two documentary sources, five featurettes exploring the storyline, design, costumes, visual effects, and fight sequences in the film, and an award-winning twelve-part web documentary series chronicling the production. The Duel of the Fates music video featuring John Williams was included on the DVD as well. The final special features included are a never-before-seen production photo gallery with a special caption feature, theatrical posters and print campaigns from around the world, a theatrical teaser and launch trailers, seven TV spots, Star Wars: Starfighter - The Making of a Game featurette from LucasArts, and a DVD-ROM weblink to exclusive Star Wars content.
The DVD became the fastest selling DVD ever in the US, after 2.2 million copies were sold in its first week after release. However, some reviewers criticized the DVD for the excessive use of edge enhancement that degraded the DVD's picture quality.
At the DVD press conference for Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars prequel trilogy animation director, Rob Coleman confirmed that the animation department at Lucasfilm has replaced the Yoda puppet from the original version of the film with a digital Yoda. This was done to better match up the look of the Yoda from The Phantom Menace with that of the other two films of the prequel trilogy, as well as with the Yoda from the original trilogy. This change has been, for the most part, welcomed by fans, in contrast to the original puppet Yoda as seen in The Phantom Menace.
A preview of these changes can be viewed on the Revenge of the Sith DVD that was released on November 1st, 2005. The clip is included as part of "The Chosen One" featurette. When Coleman announced the change, he didn't, however, specify when the revised version of The Phantom Menace will be released. It is expected to be in an upcoming prequel trilogy box set, however.
The Phantom Menace, along with the other five Star Wars movies were released on Blu-ray format in September of 2011.  For this release, the film went through a restoration process which restored the picture to its full frame (offering around 8% more picture when compared to its DVD release), increased the picture quality to be more clean and crisper while at the same time allowing ILM to revisit and fix some visual effects and technical errors. The Blu-ray release was also marked by the replacement of the puppet for the CGI model of Yoda used in Revenge of the Sith.
On September 28, 2010, StarWars.com and Lucasfilm announced that the entire Star Wars saga would be converted to stereoscopic 3D and re-released in theaters and IMAX 3D, beginning with Episode I. John Knoll and Industrial Light & Magic are supervising the conversion. The stereo conversion process has been in the works for several years, however, with George Lucas showing tests of the Episode II speeder chase scene and a reel from Episode IV in 3D during 2005's ShoWest in Las Vegas, and the speeder chase scene was demoed again by Texas Instruments as an emerging technology at SIGGRAPH 2007 in San Diego.
As announced by Lucasfilm on March 3, 2011 via StarWars.com, the film's 3D version was release on February 10, 2012. However, on January 28, 2013, Lucasfilm announced that the 3D releases of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were postponed so that the company could focus on Episode VII. 
- The Waterfall Sequence—As Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Jar Jar arrive in the waterways of Theed, in the bongo, they surface just in front of a huge waterfall and have to vacate the vehicle in a hurry.
- Dawn Before the Podrace—Anakin gets up early to prepare the pod for the race and has a brief chat with Padmé.
- Complete Podrace Grid Sequence—This scene shows more of the participating racers and creatures in the crowd, later added on DVD.
- Extended Podrace Lap Two—This lap shows some more of Sebulba's "creative interpretation of the rules" and further proof of just how special Anakin is, later added on DVD.
- Anakin's Scuffle With Greedo—This was due to follow the podrace, to show Anakin's potential for aggression, but George Lucas cut it because he wanted Anakin to be shown as a genuinely good character who turns evil later in adulthood.
- Farewell to Jira—This occurs as Qui-Gon and Anakin are leaving Mos Espa and Anakin stops briefly to say goodbye to Jira. One of Darth Maul's probe droids follows them for some time until Qui-Gon finally notices and destroys it before passing by the Dusty Duck.
- The Air Taxi Sequence—The taxi ride shows us about ten more seconds of Coruscant, later added on DVD.
Two separate soundtracks were released for The Phantom Menace. One, a traditional soundtrack, contained seventeen tracks selected from the movie. The second, an Ultimate Collector's Edition Soundtrack, compiled sixty-eight tracks of music, including several pieces that did not make it in to the final cut of the film.
Major musical themes include:
A novelization of the movie was written by Terry Brooks. It includes three entire chapters of material created by Brooks and unique to the novel. The first two chapters of the book concern Anakin's next-to-last podrace and its aftermath, while a later chapter describes an encounter between Anakin and a wounded Tusken Raider in the desert.
Brooks met with Lucas before writing the book and received his approval and guidance, including information about developments to come in Episodes II and III. This can be seen in such passages as the Tusken Raider scene, which ironically foreshadows the death of Anakin's mother in Episode II, and the passage leading up to Anakin's fight with the Rodian child Greedo, indicating that Anakin's anger derives from his anguish at Padmé's impending departure (foreshadowing the plot of Episode III).
The novelization is especially well-known for a passage describing the history of the Sith, including Darth Bane. According to Terry Brooks's memoir, Sometimes the Magic Works, Lucas spent an hour on the telephone with him discussing the history of the Jedi and the Sith. Therefore, the information on this subject provided in Brooks's novelization might derive from Lucas himself. The novelization is also the first mention of the Stark Hyperspace War.
Brooks devotes an entire chapter of Sometimes the Magic Works to the writing of the Episode I novelization, which he claims to have been an extremely happy and fulfilling experience.
References to the original trilogyEdit
- In the beginning of the movie, the Republic cruiser carrying Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan approaches the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship. This reflects the beginning of Return of the Jedi, as Darth Vader's flagship approaches the second Death Star.
- In the beginning of the movie, Obi-Wan tells Qui-Gon, "I have a bad feeling about this." (all Star Wars films)
- Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's first appearance, each man pulling his hood back to reveal his face, is the same as Obi-Wan's first appearance in A New Hope.
- The sound of a droideka's blaster fire sounds similar to that of an AT-AT.
- Qui-Gon uses his lightsaber to deflect the lasers from a speeder flown by a battle droid and destroys it in the forest scene near the start. In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker does the same thing to a speeder flown by an Imperial scout trooper in the forest scene.
- Obi-Wan loses his blue-bladed lightsaber when it falls into a seemingly endless abyss, similar to The Empire Strikes Back when Luke's blue-bladed lightsaber, along with his severed hand, falls into an abyss. He then (initially at least) replaces it with his master's green-bladed lightsaber, just as Luke replaces his lost lightsaber with a green-bladed one of his own design.
- In The Phantom Menace, Nute Gunray says, "Close the blast doors!" In A New Hope, an Imperial stormtrooper uses the same line while chasing Han Solo and Chewbacca.
- In the scene where Qui-Gon's group is walking through the street of Tatooine, Luke's landspeeder is seen in the background painted green.
- A Jedi Master uses the Jedi mind trick to help himself and his Padawan. In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn uses the Jedi mind trick to persuade Boss Nass to help him and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi to speed through Naboo's planet core. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi uses the Jedi mind trick to convince the Imperial stormtroopers that "These aren't the droids you're looking for" and to get past them with informal Padawan Luke Skywalker.
- Qui-Gon Jinn identifies Queen Amidala's ship as a "J-type 327 Nubian." This is the same number as the bay the Millennium Falcon lands in on the first Death Star in A New Hope, and the number of the platform the Falcon lands on at Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. Also Podracer Dud Bolt's pod is a Vulptereen 327.
- Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator resembles an Imperial TIE/LN starfighter. Also the probe droids on Tatooine resemble the interrogation droid on the first Death Star in A New Hope.
- The final lap of the podrace between Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba mirrors Darth Vader's pursuit of Luke Skywalker in the Death Star's trench during the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. Sebulba's podracer is X-shaped, resembling Luke's X-wing starfighter. Also, part of the podrace takes place in Beggar's Canyon, which is mentioned in A New Hope.
- In the final lap of the podrace, Anakin's podracer goes up the ramp and comes down again. This reflects the forest speeder scene in Return of the Jedi, when Princess Leia takes her speeder up and comes down again.
- A Jedi uses the Jedi mind trick, but the target resists the trick. In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn attempts to persuade Watto to accept Republic credits as a means of purchasing a new hyperdrive, but as a Toydarian, Watto resists the trick. In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker attempts to persuade Jabba the Hutt to free Han Solo and Chewbacca from captivity, but as a Hutt, Jabba resists the trick. It is Jabba who calls this technique as "an old Jedi mind trick." Both characters happen to live on Tatooine, and both scenes take place on that planet as well. The former takes place in Mos Espa whereas the latter takes place in Jabba's Palace.
- Sebulba threatens to rough up Jar Jar Binks, but was prevented by Anakin's timely intervention. In A New Hope, Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba threaten to browbeat Luke into a fight, but were prevented by Obi-Wan's lightsaber.
- C-3PO says upon activation that the floor is "not entirely stable", a reference to his line about the asteroid in The Empire Strikes Back.
- When Anakin assumes that Qui-Gon is a Jedi Knight, he asks "What makes you think that?" Uncle Owen asks Luke the same question in A New Hope when he assumes that R2-D2 might have been stolen some thirty-two years later.
- The escape from Naboo mirrors the escape from Bespin:
- The ship is first under attack (Queen Amidala's ship in The Phantom Menace and the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back)
- The ship's hyperdrive is not fixed, and R2-D2 quickly repairs a problem and the ship escapes.
- The ship is attacked (in The Phantom Menace by the Federation Battleship, in The Empire Strikes Back by TIE Fighters and the Super Star Destroyer)
- Queen Amidala tells the Senate, "I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee." This is an homage to The Empire Strikes Back, where Han Solo says "No time to discuss this in committee!" and Princess Leia shouts "I am not a committee!"
- Governor Sio Bibble protests the invasion of Naboo, and Nute Gunray says to B1 battle droids "Take him away!" In A New Hope, Darth Vader interrogates Princess Leia Organa and says to stormtroopers, "Take her away!"
- During his Jedi testing by the Jedi Council, Anakin tells Master Yoda that he feels cold. On Dagobah, his son Luke tells Master Yoda the same thing during his Jedi training. (The Empire Strikes Back)
- A Jedi Master is killed by a Sith Lord in front of his apprentice. Consequently, the apprentice screams "NOOO!" when Qui-Gon is killed by Darth Maul in front of Obi-Wan (The Phantom Menace), and Obi-Wan is killed by Darth Vader in front of Luke (though Luke was not technically his apprentice and Vader was his former apprentice). (A New Hope) And the apprentices both ended up defeating the Sith Lords that killed their masters, except that Obi-Wan maimed Maul but Luke redeemed Vader. (The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi)
- A Skywalker saves the day by destroying a much much larger, heavily-armed space station, against all odds, with 2 torpedoes. Anakin destroys the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship (The Phantom Menace), and Luke destroys the first Death Star. (A New Hope)
- The film ends in a ceremony with the female lead giving the award. Also the celebration of the Battle of Naboo mirrors the Battle of Yavin, in both celebrations, the award receivers come to the award giver. (A New Hope)
- A Skywalker is deemed too old to begin his Jedi training. Anakin is deemed too old by the Jedi Council (The Phantom Menace), and Luke is deemed too old by Master Yoda. (The Empire Strikes Back) The only difference is that Anakin is not an adult at the time of the film.
- In The Phantom Menace, Yoda says, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." In the The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan's Force ghost says, "Don't give in to hate. That leads to the dark side." while Vader himself says to Luke "You have controlled your fear. Now release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me." Both are indications of a character in an earlier made but later set film "remembering" a conversation had in a film which has not yet been made. (The Empire Strikes Back)
- The Battle of Naboo reflects the Battle of Endor:
- 1) A primitive race, which fights for the good faction, is involved in an elaborate battle with a technologically advanced army, which fights for the evil faction. (Gungans versus battle droids in The Phantom Menace, and Ewoks versus Imperial stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi).
- 2) Both The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi feature three battles taking place simultaneously: a ground battle, a space battle, and a lightsaber duel.
- 3) Both battles come to a point where the odds are in favor of the army of evil, but the tides turn resulting in the victory for the army of good.
- 4) Both battles end with a Jedi funeral and a celebration sequence.
- 5) The escape of Anakin from the Droid Control Ship reflects the escape of Lando and Wedge from the second Death Star. In both the case the ship or station is about to be blown.
- 6) The power generator in the Droid Control Ship looks exactly like the one in the second Death Star and also falls like it when destroyed albeit faster due to size.
- 7) Near the end of each film, a Sith Lord is hurled down a deep chasm to his death. Darth Maul is cut in half and hurled down to a deep chasm on Naboo by Obi-Wan, maiming him (The Phantom Menace), and Emperor Palpatine is hurled down to a deep chasm on the second Death Star by Darth Vader, also killing him. (Return of the Jedi.)
- During Qui-Gon's funeral/cremation, Mace Windu says to Yoda, regarding the presumed death of Darth Maul, "But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?" The camera then slowly pans around the funeral, until finally settling on Palpatine. The Senator's face is in clear focus, while everyone else is blurred. The camera remains there for a few seconds, before cutting to the celebration in Theed. This alludes to Palpatine's role as the Dark Lord of the Sith in all six films, though it is merely an off-screen role in A New Hope.
- At the very end of the movie's closing credits, you can briefly hear the recognizable breathing of Darth Vader.
- After Obi-Wan tells the Jedi Council that he is ready for the Jedi Trials, Master Yoda says "our own council we will keep on who is ready." On Dagobah, when Luke tells Master Yoda that he is ready to be trained, Master Yoda says "my own council will I keep on who is to be trained." (The Empire Strikes Back)
- A Sith Lord serves alongside a political leader as his superior. Darth Maul serves alongside Viceroy Nute Gunray (The Phantom Menace), and Darth Vader serves alongside Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin (A New Hope).
- Also the bad guys have a commander attacking the good guys, In The Phantom Menace, OOM-9. In The Empire Strikes Back, General Veers.
- Incidents occurs between Anakin and Padmé which are quite same as for their children:
- 1) Anakin meets Padmé on Tatooine whereas in A New Hope, disguised as stormtroopers, Luke and Han meet Leia aboard the first Death Star. (In both cases, the girl is unknown to the boys and they get along well.)
- 2) At the end of The Phantom Menace, Padmé and Anakin smile at each other whereas at the end of A New Hope, Leia and Luke smile at each other.
- 3) Darth Maul searches for Padmé, whereas in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader searches for her children Luke and Leia.
- 4) Padmé is captured and then rescued with the help of two Jedi Knights. In A New Hope, Leia is captured and then rescued by two Jedi Knights and Han Solo. Obi-Wan is one of the Jedi Knights involved in both of these rescue missions. The other Jedi Knight is Qui-Gon in the former and Luke in the latter.
- 5) Anakin and Padmé participate in the Battle of Naboo, whereas Luke and Leia participate in the Battle of Endor (Return of the Jedi). Both of these battles are quite the same.
- After Queen Amidala's double tricks Nute Gunray into sending his guards after the double, an order is given to seal the doors. Even though modern visual effects would make the door slam down in a realistic way, it did not. This is perhaps a reflection of the scene in A New Hope when Luke Skywalker, as an Imperial stormtrooper, seals the door of the control room to confer with Han Solo aboard the first Death Star. This is evident in that both scenes show the door slamming shut in a very similar, albeit archaic, manner.
- At the end of the film, when Palpatine lands on Naboo, he is accompanied by Republic Senate Guards dressed in navy blue. Their uniforms are predecessors to those of the crimson Emperor's Royal Guards in Return of the Jedi.
- Someone touches another person's lightsaber in every episode for a reason other than taking the prisoner's weapon. In this episode, Obi-Wan touches Qui-Gon Jinn's after his own was knocked into the abyss. In Attack of the Clones, Anakin loses control of his lightsaber when confronting the assassin. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin battles Dooku and manages to get Dooku's lightsaber before killing him. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan hands Anakin's old lightsaber to Luke. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo uses Luke's lightsaber to cut open the frozen tauntaun to keep Luke warm. In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader was looking at Luke's new lightsaber.
- Both A New Hope and The Phantom Menace feature a member of the Skywalker family flying a starfighter with R2-D2 in it in his first space battle to help an organization he just joined before he becomes a Jedi, which concludes with his destroying of a round space station just before the side he's on almost loses the battle.
- Qui-Gon's body is cremated at the end of the movie, just like Vader's at the end of Return of the Jedi.
- Anakin's test occurs at sunset with THE FORCE THEME being played in the background. This reflects the sunset at Tatooine from Episode IV where Luke Skywalker is looking at the sunset.
- Anakin is first seen in a Jedi uniform only at the end of the movie during the celebration, just like in Return of the Jedi, where Luke is first seen wearing a Jedi uniform only at the end of the movie during the celebration. In both circumstances, Obi-Wan and Yoda are present with Obi-Wan turning his head to the right to look at Anakin.
- Padmé and her team use ascension guns when taking a short way from the window to reach the throne room. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke also uses an ascension gun to destroy the AT-AT.
- Anakin narrowly escapes two huge fire explosions, one in the pod racing cave exit and second from the hangar of the Trade Federation Control Ship. This reflects Lando and his team narrowly escaping the explosion from the second Death Star destruction.
- Obi-Wan defeats Darth Maul by cutting him in half. This foreshadows A New Hope where Obi-Wan (willingly) is cut in half by Darth Vader, playing on a theme where the Sith always get revenge.
- Qui-Gon, when agreeing to take Padmé with him to Mos Espa, warns his companions that it is a not a safe place and they must be careful. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan warns Luke that Mos Eisley is a wretched hive of scum and villainy and they must be careful.
- First Qui-Gon and Anakin escape from Darth Maul, then Qui-Gon escapes from Darth Maul from his duel and then finally the Naboo Cruiser leaves Tatooine. In A New Hope Obi-Wan and his gang first escape from stormtroopers and then finally leave the planet and then escape the Imperial Cruisers.
- Padmé asks Anakin, "You all right?" during their journey to Coruscant after their Tatooine departure. In A New Hope, Luke asks Obi-Wan, "Are you all right?" after the destruction of Alderaan.
- In the antepenultimate scene, the newly elected Supreme Chancellor Palpatine calls Anakin "young Skywalker." In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine uses the same phrase to refer to Luke on three occasions.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine, issue 17, 1992, p. 5-6
- ↑ Un-Menaced. IMDb (April 1 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ May 19th: A "Cultural Holiday?". IMDb (May 6 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ When Will They Start Lining Up?. IMDb (March 8 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Forces Of Feet. IMDb (March 26, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ The Wait Gets Shorter. IMDb (April 26, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Scalpers Cleaning Up On The Internet. IMDb (May 18, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Lucas Calls The Shots. IMDb (April 6, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Gridlock At Star Wars Site. IMDb (November 19, 1998). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Star Wars Hits Hollywood. IMDb (November 23, 1998). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Lucas: Fox Won't Use New Star Wars Trailer To Hype New Movie. IMDb (March 10, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Lucas Planning Unusual Star Wars Strategy In UK. IMDb (December 2, 1998). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Not So Far Away. IMDb (March 11, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ L.A. Premiere For Episode 1 Set. IMDb (March 25, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Kids Causes To Host Star Wars Debut. IMDb (April 15, 1999). Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ↑ Kevin RidolFi. The Phantom Menace. Renaissance Online Magazine. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ↑ BBC News | FILM | Star Wars breaks DVD records
- ↑ Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Region 1 DVD Review
- ↑ Bring the Complete Collection Home: Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray (2011). Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
- ↑ TheForce.Net - Latest News - The Phantom Menace 3D Gets A Release Date
- ↑ http://starwars.com/news/focusing-on-star-wars-episode-vii-lucasfilm-postpones-episodes-ii-and-iii-3d.html%7Ctext=Focusing on Episode VII, Lucasfilm Postpones Episodes II and III 3D
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