Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

by Janis Cortese

We've all been waiting -- don't tell us you haven't. I was 11 when the first movie came out, and I've been drooling over big-eyed virgins with no chest hair even since. A 22-year crush on Luke Skywalker? Don't laugh -- that's the closest to a long-term relationship I'm ever likely to get.

So it follows that most of us have been waiting for Episode I of the whole shebang to come out: "The Phantom Menace." And here under your hot little mousie, you'll find my take on the whole movie! So sit back, pop open the $3 soda, and the $5 buttered popcorn, and let your movie reviewer take you off to Opinion-Land, her Very Favorite Place.

[Side note: you can also read why Kim Allen thinks Jar-Jar Binks is completely stupid irrespective of any racial and sexual connotations].

Item or Items



Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor


Oh, that'll be a bit ol' fat f*cking thumbs-up on those two. Everyone I know who was awaiting this movie (everyone I know, in other words) put out a puddle of drool that could swamp Antartica when they heard the cast list. I could smell the underwear elastic melting when I was in the theater. I want me a Qui-Gon Jinn of my very own. *ahem* Now.

I'm waaaaiiiitttttiiinnnggg . . .

The fact that Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor were covered chin to ankle during the whole movie


B. O. F. F. thumbs-doooown on that one. Okay, so it was (just like the three movies prior to this one) essentially for kids. Stillllllll . . . *whine*

Liam Neeson's hair


B. O. F. F. thumbs-up. You were expecting anything different? This is me here. The woman against whom all other hair fetishes are calibrated. Hell yes, it gets a thumbs-up.

Queen Amidala


B. O. F. F. thumbs-up on her. Guts, a spine, and she can shoot pretty straight, too. I was hoping she'd be this good, and she was.



B. O. F. F. thumbs-DOOOOWWWWWWWNNNNN on this one, George! What were you thinking? The Force has been a cultural meme for decades, the essence of fun, inexplicable mysticism -- and it turns out it's just cooties?

All those cool buttkicking women Jedi with their lightsabers flashing


B. O. F. F. thumbs-up HAD WE ACTUALLY SEEN ANY. Come on, dude, you can get girl germs on your male fantasy. You've already got cooties, right?

Shmi Skywalker


Thumbs-up, but I would have liked a bit more on her. Anyone else out there think that she and Qui-Gon were a perfect couple? (Oh, that's right -- did I mention that Qui-Gon Jinn is hot?)

The Virgin Birth


B. O. F. F. thumbs-DOWN. Joseph Campbell is gonna sue your butt for George.

The Special Effects


Oooooh, B. O. F. F. thumbs-UP! Especially the Gungan city! GORGEOUS! I loved everything I saw.



Thumbs-up visually, thumbs-DOWN as far as living there goes. Can you imagine what it would be like to live on a planet that's like downtown LA, only all over? Eew. Who else got Metropolis flashbacks?



B. O. F. F. thumbs-up. Gorgeous place, beautiful effects, lovely castle where they filmed all of that.



Thumbs-down, unless you've got your 35 sunblock with you, then it's . . . still thumbs-down, frankly. What a dump. Poor Luke, growing up on that hellhole . . .

The Pod Race


Thumbs-up! Can I have one of those things? I could have used one when I was working rotating shift work in the LA area, and ended up driving on the 91 fwy at 8am, getting head bobs in rush hour traffic. Especially if it came with laser cannons. :-) Think of the advantages of passing -- rrrrrrrrrr-wowr! Somebody going too slow in the carpool lane? No problem!

The Opening Credits


B. O. F. F. thumbs-UUUUUUUPPPPPPPP!!!!!!! I was misting up, I tell you! Talk about moving!

So, in summary -- see this movie! It's great, lots of fun, has more women than the last one, and showcases everything that a Star Wars movie is known for: an easily-digestible story, great special effects, great music, and fabulous-looking men. Go see it!

But don't touch my Qui-Gon action figure.

Copyright © 2000 by Janis Cortese

02/08/07 at 21:46