Friday, June 17, 2011

6 Things that didn't suck about Phantom Menace

I did a post awhile back about movies that had great trailers, that really ramped up the anticipation, but just couldn't deliver when the movie came out.  One of those movies(number 1 actually) was Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and for good many, many reasons(lookin' at you Jar Jar). But I wanted to make a post about the six utterly awesome things that came out of that disaster.  Read on for more!

6) Liam Neeson
It's almost a copout, because Neeson is great in any movie, but it still counts that he owned his role as Qui-Gon Jinn.  Calm, collected, but ready to be brutal in combat at a moment's notice, of course Liam Neeson is a Jedi! Why didn't I see it before? Other reasons he's badass: He's Darkman, a god, an underwater wizard, a Batman Villain, a Jesus Lion, oh, and don't mess with his daughter.

5) Destroyer Droids
If there's one thing we love about the prequels, it's the mother effin' robots. Robots everywhere all the time! And honestly, it makes more sense that you'd produce a million off-brand easily destroyable robots than hire a million mall-cop security stormtroopers(and they're more fun to dismantle). But while regular droids were all well and good, they didn't hold metacholorian soaked water to Destroyer droids. I mean, they call them Destroyer droids for crap sakes.  They have a near impenetrable forcefield and two automatic guns on each arm. And who doesn't love robots that transform and roll out?!

4) Duel of the Fates
John Williams, you magnificent bastard.  This might possibly be my favorite Star Wars theme.  "Josh, you blasphemous whore, how can you say that?!" Yes, the main title theme is iconic and the Emperor's theme is an instant classic, but Duel of the Fates is just beyond epic.  It's impossible NOT to have a lightsaber battle while listening to it! Open another window and listen to this and tell me you don't get amped up for an epic fight.  YOU CANNOT.

3) Modern Lightsaber Duels
When we watch a Star Wars movie, cartoon, read a comic or play a videogame, there's one thing we've grown to expect: epic lightsaber duels. If there's not guys flipping around in the air, people throwin' stuff, at least 2 light beams per jedi and more color clshing than a rock laser lights show, it's just not a lightsaber duel. Before Phantom, lightsaber duels looked more like an ancient form of fencing.  They didn't have the technology, rigging or budget for it back then.  People say they should redo the classics to put in more epic lightsaber duels, but it makes sense people weren't leaping around; Luke was completely new, Darth Vader was more man than machine, and both the Emperor and Obi Wan were crusty old men.  Like it or not, this is the film that started it all. And by it, I mean guys in robes jumping around like spastic acrobats.

2) Mace Windu and Captain Panaka
You might think putting Sam Jackson in here is a copout like Liam Neeson, but there's a bigger theme behind this: HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS THERE'S MORE BLACK PEOPLE. So with a young Lando, it puts the count up to 3? Really Star Wars? You'd think in a futuristic sci-fi space opera with hundreds of different aliens, this wouldn't be a problem (y'know, until you get to the trade federation guys and Jar Jar Binks), but yeah, the inclusion of these two characters is kind of a big deal.  Were they from an African planet destroyed long ago by some deathstar-like weapon and these are the only survivors? We may never know...

1) Darth Maul
Was it any wonder that it wouldn't be him? One of the most badass villains of the Star Wars Universe and cooler than Grievous and Dooku combined, he's silent, skilled, and has a double mother lovin' lightsaber. Played by the great Ray Park, he didn't get nearly enough screen time to show off his insane fighting skills. This is the guy that started the lightsaber arms race. First double bladed, then Grievous with at least 5 or 6, leading to it's inevitable end of the Clove Wars series with Count Darth Dreeliddoo who is nothing but a sentient ball of lightsabers.

What are your thoughts? Did I leave anything out? what are your favorite aspects(or least favorite) about the menacing phantom?

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