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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Every saga has its beginning 

Year: 1999 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC U Cert – Universal 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by George Lucas 
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman  

In a galaxy far, far away, Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to confront the impending menace of the evil Trade Federation, who seek to seize control of the peaceful planet of Naboo.

However, in a sinister turn of events, the Jedi are forced to escape back to Naboo, now under attack from the Federation’s droid army. With the assistance of an unlikely partner – the unequivocal Jar Jar Binks – the pair rescue Queen Amidala and flee to Coruscant to resolve the trade dispute, only to break down on Tatooine. It is here that we first encounter a young Anakin Skywalker, slave boy and podracer. In this boy Qui-Gon places high hopes – he believes Anakin to be destined for Jedi greatness. An enthralling podrace later, and the group once again embark upon their journey, only to find that the evil behind the Trade Federation stems from a much darker side than expected…

Whilst it has occasionally been labeled overindulgent, much criticism of The Phantom Menace stems from the fact that it really is bigger, bolder and busier than the original trilogy. That almost three-quarters of Episode I is digitally created is tantamount to its ambition. Its fast-paced, action-heavy plot leaves little time for pause.

Overall, Lucas continues to capture the imagination with the sheer thrill of the film. From laser-fuelled space battles to Gungans vs. Droids, what some critics claim it lacks in tightness of plot, Episode I certainly makes up for in excitement. And the lightsaber, oh, the lightsaber.

Jack Ghaleb

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)