Part 1: WHY IT FAILS
I ask you to power up your Delorean and transport yourselves to 7:30 AM, May 19, 1999 at the home of the Maryas -- 106 Ayer Road, Harvard MA, 01451. I woke up that morning, stoked beyond stoked. For those of you that know me well, I have always been about ordering my movie tickets in advance, especially when it's a flick that has garnered my obsession.
I remember bounding down the stairs and seeing that my parents had Good Morning America turned on and (wouldn't you know it?) the show had a panel of movie critics giving opinions on the most recent edition of the Star Wars saga. Tossing Lucky and his associated charms on the floor, I quickly sat in front of the TV, blasting the sound, eager to hear the endless praise.
I wouldn't hear anything like that...
"Blasphemy!" I said as i headed off to school. "No chance this is true! Right?"
It was an early release day, and a few of my buddies and I were soon off to the movie theater. At this point, I had pretty much forgotten about that sad review. We sat down at the theater the star wars theme boomed across the theater... I was in a good place. And then... This guy showed up:
Now, simply put, there is no defending Jar Jar. He represented the worst of what George Lucas has become. A slobbering buffoon meant to entertain the younger children in the audience, but instead puzzled and disgusted millions.
I remember when he first came on screen, and started presenting us with his muffled prose. "Meesa Jah Jah Binksah" or whatever the fuck he said. I remember looking around and seeing confused faces everywhere. Was it possible the sound in the theater wasn't mixed correctly? Like, was his face just not moving well with the sounds that were being made? What the fuck was going on???
That initial confusion followed me for the rest of the movie. It was tough to get past because every time you began to enjoy yourself he'd stick his tongue in between a pair of pod racer power cuplinks or perhaps would total a repair shop on Tatooine.
He was just an embarrassment.
That's not to say, however, that the movie wasn't without other missteps. That brings us to our next topic:
THE TRADE FEDERATION
What?? Lucas claims that he came up with the concept of the first three movies at the same time of the original triology. Really George? You consummated a glorified version of a Fed Ex empire run by weird looking aliens that were based on East Asian stereotypes for the last 40 years and never considered that it was a shitty idea? Oh god and the droids. What was that about huh? Just real bad.
There was no sense of anything when it came to these "villains." You hate them because they have surrounded the planet of Naboo as part of a trade embargo? Oh, the horror! This is the same fucking franchise that brought us the ULTIMATE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE (i.e. The Death Star) and they decide to reintroduce generations of Star Wars fanatics to their franchise with THE TRADE FEDERATION!?!?
So, these were my two major issues with episode 1... but wait! This is supposed to be an article about why the first episode wasn't actually that bad, right? Well my friends, tune in soon, because I will explain to you Why Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is not that bad