Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace
Quick Take: As a galactic battle wages, one of the rebel leaders finds a young boy with special gifts that could change the balance of the force. Great special effects and decent acting keep the weak story line and character development from ruining the film.
Review: This movie probably would have been better if there wasn`t so much rediculous hype during its release (people waiting in lines overnight, ticket scalpers selling tickets for $100, etc.) With all that much hype, the end result was rather disappointing. The plot was fairly straight forward, had gaps, and the characters were not very well developed. In fact, despite the "3D Sound", the story was very one-dimensional -- you followed the characters from beginning to end and never had more than one sub-story going at one time. Also, at no time could one just embrace a character and get more than a shallow interest in him/her.
There are just too many great sci-fi pictures (to include its predecessors) for this one to stand out. Even that issue leaves one with a rather "odd" feeling: going back to "Episode I" of the story after having released 3 other parts of the story that happen later in the story`s time line.
Of course, the special effects were good and the acting was done reasonably well. Even then, I didn`t see much that was better than what had been done with the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series (acting or special effects). The action sequences are probably the single best attribute of the movie and, thus, coupled with the good special effects, the movie is at least worth seeing. I would recommend you just wait for the video, but the attributes that set it apart make seeing it on the big screen better.
read the Star Wars Drinking Game
Jackson, Samuel L.