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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Directed by George Lucas
Fox 05/99 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) strides through this intergalactic adventure story written and directed by George Lucas. He is a steady, strong, and wise Jedi knight whose apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), has much to learn about patience, living in the present moment, and seeing clearly.
The two are sent to watch over Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), the teenage ruler of Naboo, a planet that has been subjugated by the Trade Federation and its army of droids. Along the way, the Jedis free Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a nine-year-old slave who loves racing high-powered stock car-like "pods" and constructing droids in his spare time. When Qui-Gon learns from Anakin's mother (Pernilla August) that she conceived him as a virgin, he's not surprised. He believes the boy is the "promised one" whose mission will be "to bring balance to the Force." However, Yoda, the head of the Jedi Council, disagrees.
Lucas has fashioned a fascinating pluriverse of outer space works filled with strange and amazing computer generated and special effects enhanced creatures. However, he tries our patience with the antics of a flappy earred dumb dumb character, Jar Jar Binks (voiced by Ahmed Best), who is meant to provide comic relief. Although Lucas beguiles the child in us with his digital marvels, the most intriguing aspect of this story is its mythological underpinnings. The struggles between good and evil run a zigzag course, and we never know where or when they will erupt.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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