32 years before Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope there was a trade dispute on the planet Naboo, an outlier planet in the Galactic Republic. The Jedi send two of their own, a Jedi Knight by the name of Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, to serve as ambassadors to smooth over the situation. When they are attacked by the Federation, the pair escape to the planet’s surface in order to get to the bottom of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades the planet and captures the Queen in order to solidify their forced treaty with Naboo. The Federation is assured that the Galactic Senate will back their invasion so long as the treaty is signed by the Queen.
While the council of Naboo and their Queen are being taken away they are saved by Master Jinn and his apprentice who then help them to escape Naboo in order to plead their case in front of the Senate. As they attempt to get through the blockade their ship is damaged forcing the small group to land on Tattoine, a planet even further on the outskirts of the Galactic Republic, where they hope to find assistance and get their ship fixed.
Here they meet a young boy strong in the force and encounter the cause behind all their problems… how will the story end? Will Naboo fall to the power of the Trade Federation? Who is behind the whole debacle? And is the young slave boy they have found The Chosen One that the Jedi have been searching for…the One who will bring Balance to the Force?
-Genre: Space Opera
-Creator: George Lucas
-Length: 133 minutes
-Rating: PG (mild violence, mild intense scenes)
-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library
-Main Cast: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGreggor, Natalie Portman, Jake Loyd, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmend Best, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Samuel L Jackson, Ray Park, Keira Knightley
-Page of Reference in RP1: 22
Review (contains spoilers):
So….as I’ve talked about several times, I am not a huge Star Wars fan (Star Trek is more my jam)…but that being said the first three prequels are the Star Wars films I really grew up with. The Original Trilogy was shown to me as a child and I really liked them but as I got older I didn’t really connect with them in the same way.
When these films released, I was between the ages that Anakin and Padme are in the movies. Padme resonated more with me than a lot of the other characters but she was still older and had different responsibilities I didn’t really connect with. I do attribute this to the reason why I didn’t really connect to this world in the same way (that did change with the new trilogy though and I will talk about this in those reviews and another article in more detail).
However, from an objective standpoint and re-watching these films I really struggle with them. They are fine overall but knowing how the Original trilogy was set up is a big deal. This movie is so full of exposition and world building…but not in the way the Original Trilogy is full of that same concept. Everything that explains the world and the story of the Jedi (such as the midi-clorions and the whole Chosen One prophecy, the way the order trains its warriors, etc) it is all so… drawn out.
The explanations feel forced and often wordy. Come at times that make little to no sense and it all just is…heavy. In a way that the other films aren’t. that’s not to say there aren’t moments in the other movies that are not like this. But this is the whole film. Its like the movie was written just to give all this backstory and they kind of forced it to “make sense” within the world of Star Wars and its greater universe.
Overall, necessary to watch because it’s part of the universe. But not the best of the films. However, it does truly introduce one of my favorite characters in all of his sassy glory (anyone else really excited for the show Obi-Wan to come out on Disney+???? Just me? ok.) so it gets an extra half point for that.