The Clackamas print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1989-2019, June 02, 1999, Page 17, Image 17

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    ______ 13
Wednesday, June 2, 1999
The Phantom Menace: new Star Wars saga reviewed
Special effects, story are the brilliance
behind Lucas's new Star Wars movie
Pros and cons: Lucas scores some hits, but many
shots go wide
many different feelings and concerns
in a short period of time.
Copy Editor
Staff Writer
McGregor is able to do this as well.
He embraces the complex role of
As with any Star Wars movie, Star Kenobi, accurately portraying
As you have no doubt heard
Wars: The Phantom Menace was a Kenobi’spivotal role in the film. Kenobi us gloat by now, most of the
marvel to see. Great acting and bril­ must function as the Jedi Apprentice
Clackamas Print staff saw Star
liant special effects combine to make to Qui-Gon, showing him his love, re­
Wars: The Phantom Menace at
this movie a winner.
spect, and admiration while display­
12:01 a.m. opening day. So, how
The main strength of Star Wars is ing his displeasure with some of Qui- was it? Well, that’s a tough one
the special effects. Lucas put much Gon’s decisions as well.
to answer. After all, I love Star
time and care into the effects, and it
This is one of the many complex
Wars, but Episode / bothered me
paid off in the finished product.
sub-roles Kenobi plays. It is through on numerous levels. So just let
The casting of the character roles is his flawless execution of these sub­
me say that The Phantom Men­
not one of the high points you would roles that McGregor is able to make ace is cool when it is like Star
think of, when thinking of the the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Wars, and uncool when it is not.
strengths of this movie. It is in the cast­ come together as one of the more well-
Let’s look at the pros and cons:
ing of the roles for the characters, how­ portrayed characters in this film.
Lightsaber battles: cool.
ever, that Lucas really came through.
The only negative comment I have
This movie, while
Jake Lloyd did a phenomenal job as on the topic of characters is the alien
never equaling
young Anakin Skywalker. His body Jar Jar Binks. Although Jar Jar does
the pathos of the
language throughout the movie added provide an element of constant humor
Luke/Vader con­
immensely to the impact of the spoken to the film, he is overused as a charac­
frontations, nev­
ertheless dazzles
You could tell how Anakin was feel­
Jar Jar could have been a useful as­
with its quick,
ing withouthearing him. The mark of set to the film had he been used mod­
good acting is when you can see the erately. However, the consistent use blades. The ending battle pitting
movie without sound and still under­ ofJar Jar as amain character degrades Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and
stand how the character feels based his effect on the audience.
Obi-Wan Kenobi against Sith Ap­
on what you see.
Most of the humorous scenes in­ prentice Darth Maul is superb.
This is tiie area where young Lloyd volving Jar Jar in the movie are clearly Space Battles: uncool.
excels. He brilliantly portrays the char­ set up. His jokes get old quickly, and
Lucas seems to
acter of young Anakin. You can sense soon Jar Jar comes across as an an­
fhave dropped the
his feeling in his body language and noying nuisance.
ball on classic
facial features throughoutthe film. This
Had Lucas cast the character of Jar
Star Wars space­
adds a deeps dimension to the charac­ Jar to play a moderate role in the film
ship dogfighting.
ter of Anakin.
instead of a main one, Jar Jar could
The final starship
The young Obi-Wan Kenobi, have provedtobe a useful comic relief
battle is uninter­
played by Ewan McGregor, and Jedi instead of an annoying nuisance.
esting and de­
Master Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam
Still, Jar Jar Binks was played well tached. The familiar seat-of-the
Neeson, are the pivotal figures in the by Ahmed Best He displayed excel­
pants banter (“Look at the size
plotline ofEpisode I.
lent vocal tone in the voice of Jar Jar;
of that thing!” “I can’t shake
The part of Kenobi and Qui-Gon and seemed to do well acting as the him!” “Red 5, I’m going in!”) is
were intricate and deep, yet Neeson model for Jar Jar’s movements.
absent, as is the nail-biting ac­
and McGregor were able to play these
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom tion that went with it. The evil
complex characters to a T.
Menace is definitely a well-con­
battleships, though they look
Neeson uses a mix of vocal tones structed movie. The characters and cool at first, never seem that
combined with excellent body lan­ special effects are strong, and the over­ threatening, and the fighters
guage to accurately portray Qu i-Gon all acting quality may be the best out aren’t seen in battle enough to
throughout the movie. This is evident of the four Star Wars movies so far.
develop a sense of menace. It
in a scene that takes place in Anakin’s
makes one long for the
hone, in which Qui-Gon must show
“sheeeeow” of passing TIE
“■> Troy Maben
The Print
George Lucas has done it again! He has
“Star Wars” quality
sated another fast paced, far out film in his
itinuing Star Wars Adventure, “Return Of
eJedi.” P'...-
V .
First we saw the introduction of such things
the empire, the rebellion, and the ever­
familiar characters of Darth Vader, Luke
Sky walker, Han Solo, and many others, in the
JgBftksft hanging at the Outcome of the second
film, “The Empire Strikes Back," In which evil
Darth Vader (Boo hiss) gained the upper hand
o-ver the rebellion and froze hero,Han Solo, in
cefttopite. Now the new Jedi film answers all the
questions oi the last film, ties up loose ends, and
. presents a new array of characters anddazzllng
.^efled^^mbtoed-to iwj^ie • more
Even t&ibgh the film has been put for a
Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) prepare to
KARL KATZKE I Clackamas Print
Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kanobi action figures duke it out
Fighters and the looming Star
Destroyers of yesteryear.
Rich and detailed fantasy world:
Menace is gor­
geous, rich, and
dazzling—an un­
derwater city, the
Republic’s Sen­
ate Chamber, the
city-planet of
these are rendered spectacularly.
Overuse of computer graphics:
As mentioned
above, Phantom
Menace achieves
some majestic
beauty, but the
miracles possible
through CGI are
through overuse. Call it nostalgia;
call it curmudgeonry; I actually
like stop-motion, animatronics,
blue-screen models, and espe­
cially matte paintings. The usual
complaint against these antiqui­
ties is that they don’t look real.
Well, guess what—often, CGIs
don’t look real either. They’re just
a more impressive, detailed ver­
sion of fake.
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker is destined to
become a classic scene:
The acting is so much better in this third film
also. In fact, Lucas went to great lengths to show
how much Luke has grown since the last film.’
The first introduction the audience has of Luke
is a Hologram image in Jabba’s court. Spunky
robot, R2D2, displays the image which shows a
much older looking Luke Sky walker, self
assured and a Jed! Knight.
Princess Leia is also more in depth in this
film than in the past two. She was previously
portrayed as a tough young girl, but in “Return”
we see a more sensitive and mature character.
: Han Solo’s part stays pretty much the same
and Harrison Ford plays him with the same
smug, smart alec attitude that has delighted Star
Wars fans for six years. In one scene in the forest
on Endor, Luke tells Han to sneak up on some
storm troopers, and, says, “Be quiet!” Han turns
to Luke with a big grin and replies, “Hey, it’s
me." Should Luke worry? Han steps on a twig
and gets decked by a storm trooper.
And we musn’t forget good old Darth
Vader. His character is Introduced with the same
evil approach that makes every kid in the theater
(as well as some adults) cringe in their seats. But
also in this film we see a new side to Darth Vader
(hint, hint) that I won’t tell you about-youTl
. have
_ __
to-go and see for yourself.
' "'’"'F '
Even though you may Kei some reviews
• that say this film borders on mushy, or that
■ ■ the
. -
W looks of the lines in front of • «wing to safety from the top of Jabba’s desert sail.
the theatZrsl’mrute most people have not been
Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.
aHe to make ir to the acket counter yet. So ft waiting for a sequal. The en- Han, and Leia are bom. It will
: V
wouldn’t be yei$ nice of The FWnt to give away . dftig is complete and wraps up bz.episode one.
,;O^WPP®ns in'fhe
> the; middle of three trilogies.
The special effects in
Jf i ,Luke SkywtJker and PrincessLeiaOtgana George Lucas plans on making “Return” are simply superb.
go to the desert planet of Tatooine to rescue
in all, and the You11 hav« a h«d toe Just • story is overdone and shallow, pay no heed. 1
their fiMfi pal. Hah Solo, from the evil clutches
.» . . i
.«jpoino All that
assure you that this is the best of the Star Wars
of mean and ugly Jabba the Hutt. Meanwhifetfi^,'
films to date and the ending truly fits this long
rebel alliance ^ms that the evil emperor hfis?'
awaited finale. It’s totally unexpected, and a.
gone to oversee the construction of a new and
pleasant surprise.
more powerful Death Star that would meai)i^^
So get going, grab the popcorn, and be
prepared to venture back a long time' a^’ to
11ntt tn th» Rrnnomr* fhwwt» come to know so well come to ^ou °n the screen of the
: galaxy far, far away,
-ty.nallofJabba trie Hutt, to the Emperors throne, ,
magnificent space battles and ï''"
‘ K
room aboard the new Death Star, to the forest a stop with “Return of the the chase scenes of flying
moon of End«, where small K<^«Bed^» .yedl.” The next big blockbuster speed bikes through giant red-
This article ran In the Clackamas Print's June ^ 1,1983
after Return
of the Jedi was released.
,ake shortly
Piece ^¿ditreeson
mention that the film does riot before the characters of Luke, frontation between
Overall plot: cool.
While more sub­
dued than other
chapters (it is the
phantom menace
after all; the evil
are still behind
the scenes), the
story is nonetheless engaging
and builds to a nice climax, even
if all the bandying about of trea­
ties, trade blockades, and Sena­
torial debates can be a bit con­
Development of plot: uncool.
I’m bothered by
fthe fact that “Epi­
sode I” wasn’t
written as Episode
I. It’s written as
“Episode VII: the
flashback.” The
story assumes we
already know all about the Star
Wars universe, and concepts like
“Jedi,” “Force,” and “Dark Side”
whiz by without explanation.
Darth Maul is particularly ne­
glected, with only one line in the
film and no development of his
anger-driven persona. Not only
is it lazy storytelling, but it also
means that future generations,
who have the opportunity to
watch Episodes I-VI in sequence,
will be confused until the expla­
nations halfway through.
Delving into the science of the
Star Wars Universe: uncooL
It removes the
mystery and ex­
citement of the
story. I cannot
stomach, for in­
the con
communicate with
the Force.
Just ­
cept of micro
say, “May the Midi-chlorians
be ­
scopic a organisms
with you” to yourself
few times
(Midi-chlorians) in cells which
and you’ll see my point.
Now, if I sound like I thought
The Phantom Menace was a flop,
I say thee nay: it has its faults,
but is overall a worthy addition
to the saga. For devotees, it is a
plotlines, and epic themes all get
rolling in this one, and you’ll hate
yourself if you don’t witness the
beginnings of some very cool
things. Sure, it’s got problems,
but it’s still Star Wars, and it’s still
cool And hey, at least there’s not
an Ewok in sight.