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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Honest Review

Star Wars is one of the biggest movie franchises, for good reason. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is the first (or fourth) in the Skywalker Saga — depending on how you look at it. But is it a movie worth watching time and time again?

star wars episode 1 review

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is not the best Star Wars movie. In fact, in my opinion, it is the worst. But a bad Star Wars movie is still a Star Wars movie — and you can’t go wrong with that. This movie (sort of) kicks off the whole Skywalker Saga, and it does so well, despite it’s flaws. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace gives us a great set up for what is to come in the future with Anakin and Palpatine. And for that, I am thankful.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Jar Jar Binks

Jar Jar Binks is SO ANNOYING

I really didn’t think a character could be so annoying that I cringe when they come into a scene in a movie, but Jar Jar Binks is that character. However, my daughters LOVE him. They find him hilarious and cute. They like him. A lot. So, I suppose Star Wars did what they set out to do, and created a character that kids would like. 

I know I am not alone in thinking that he is really annoying, especially in Star Wars Episode I. He seems to get a little more bearable in his other two movies, but probably only because he is not in them as much. I try to give everything multiple chances but the way he speaks, and how he just…. isn’t funny when he tries to be… I got over Jar Jar real quick.

star wars

Nine Year Old Anakin Is A Brat

OK, let me tell you, if my nine year old acted like a little turd like Anakin does, she would be grounded FOREVER. He just comes off as super annoying. He whines, he complains, he is full of himself — I could go on and on. Not to mention he could have used the money he got to free his mom. Not just give it to her. Like that will help. 

Anyways, I do like the set up for him becoming Darth Vader. And I did like the fact that he built C-3PO. That is pretty cool. But for those of you that complain about how Hayden Christensen portrays the role of Anakin in Episodes II & III, just remember this little twerp in Episode 1. I’ll take Hayden’s version all day every day over Jake Lloyd’s.

The Pod Racing Drags On Too Long

I cannot be the only one that thinks the thirty minutes of pod racing in the middle of Star Wars Episode I goes on for too long. We are in a time crunch and hey let’s just race around for a third of the movie. Why not. Annoying. It breaks up the film too much, and frankly, I often fast forward through it if I am watching it by myself.

darth maul

The Battle Scenes Are Cool Though

At least we get some good action in Star Wars Episode I. While the battle on Naboo is not my favorite in all of the Star Wars movies, it is pretty fun. And I love me some Darth Maul so you know I have to give this movie a little more praise because of him. 

No Star Wars movie is complete without a badass lightsaber fight, and we got a few. Darth Maul, and his double-sided lightsaber is pretty amazing. It is actually one of the things that made me like the Dark Side so much. They seem to have the coolest lightsabers.

star wars episode 1 palpatine

Setting Up Palpatine’s Future

Watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace after you know who Palpatine becomes, is pretty awesome because you can see just how smart he is. Just how calculated he is. And exactly how he had a hand in EVERYTHING from the beginning. As Leia says in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skwyalker he was “in the shadows from the very beginning.

I love a REALLY GOOD bad guy — and that is exactly what Palpatine is. He has pulled the strings for years and years and YEARS. He is cold and calculated. One of the many reasons he is my favorite.


Overall Thoughts

Is this the best Star Wars movie? Absolutely not. But is it the worst? Yes. It sure is. However, it is a Star Wars movie and that means I don’t mind watching it every now and then. I love the entire Star Wars universe so for me, even a bad Star Wars movie is worth a watch.

Not to mention, after binging all the films with my kids, and seeing it through their eyes, it made me like it just a little bit more. It still drags on, is overloaded with CGI, and focuses too much on a really annoying little brat — but my daughters loved it, and isn’t that what life is about? Entertaining your kids? 

Watching all the movies again, starting with Star Wars Episode I, was an interesting way to watch them. And to see Anakin’s character arc in full swing. It made me love one of my favorite villains (Darth Vader) just a little bit more. There are some great battle scenes, and if you completely ignore Jar Jar, the movie isn’t THAT bad. It isn’t THAT good either — but still worth a watch every few years for this Star Wars fan.

star wars episode 1

About Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a 9-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter.

Stream Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace of Disney+!