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The Phantom Menace • Virtual DVD Commentary


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I see what you're doing.

He was using the force to fly the damn thing whilst trying to stop it falling apart.   Noobs.

But that's not how things work. You can't change what you've already said (written) to make it fit with what you wanna say (write) now. Try it with your girlfriend (boyfriend) sometime. It's called lying.

 

 

Isn't this exactly what Lucas did when he changed the end of ESB to make Vader Lukes father?

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But that's not how things work. You can't change what you've already said (written) to make it fit with what you wanna say (write) now. Try it with your girlfriend (boyfriend) sometime. It's called lying.

 

 

Isn't this exactly what Lucas did when he changed the end of ESB to make Vader Lukes father?

 

Hold on one gosh darn minute! Now you're saying that things like this happened in the OT before they made the PT and Lucas just went and changed the story? The stuff we knew just got changed to something else? Next thing you'll be telling me that Luke has a sister!

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Tolkien once said "this story grew in its telling." And its the same for Star Wars. When you write a story its going to change and evolve as you write it. Normally its not a problem when the story is relased all in 1 volume. But when you release it in 6 parts it canbe a problem. I don't have a problem with Lucas or any other author changing his mind on something previously written, as long as its covered in a reasonable way.

 

Yoda not being Obi Wan's master but clearly having taught/instructed him at various points, perfectly fine.

 

Vader being Lukes father and the explanation being that Obi Wan had to lie to Luke about it at the time for the greater good, perfectly fine.

 

Leia and Luke being brother and sister and Leia saying somehow she always knew, pushing it a bit.

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Tolkien once said "this story grew in its telling." And its the same for Star Wars. When you write a story its going to change and evolve as you write it. Normally its not a problem when the story is relased all in 1 volume. But when you release it in 6 parts it canbe a problem. I don't have a problem with Lucas or any other author changing his mind on something previously written, as long as its covered in a reasonable way.

 

Yoda not being Obi Wan's master but clearly having taught/instructed him at various points, perfectly fine.

 

Vader being Lukes father and the explanation being that Obi Wan had to lie to Luke about it at the time for the greater good, perfectly fine.

 

Leia and Luke being brother and sister and Leia saying somehow she always knew, pushing it a bit.

 

This is certainly true, and again no one is really debating that Obi-wan having more than one master violates continuity. As somebody said above, this is what we comic book fans call a RETCON. Retroactive continuity change.

 

While the change to the past fits in continuity, (Ben doesn't say anything to contradict he had more than one master), it was not the original intent. I'm not opposed to retcons in general so long as the make the story better. I think the debate here is less about whether the change is legit (it is) and more about if the change was needed (obviously a debate).

 

I have more thoughts it, but like I said, they kind of come into play later with his commentary, so I'm saving my mamma-jamma debate smackdown for then.

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While the change to the past fits in continuity, (Ben doesn't say anything to contradict he had more than one master), it was not the original intent. I'm not opposed to retcons in general so long as the make the story better. I think the debate here is less about whether the change is legit (it is) and more about if the change was needed (obviously a debate).

 

For the record, my problem with this stems from this one line placing highly "The Top Ten Reasons why the Prequels Ruined the World". I couldn't give a monkeys whether people like Qui Gon, thought his part should have been played by Yoda, thought his part should have been played by Obi Wan etc etc.

 

I just hate it when it's used as a wedge to drive between the two trilogies when it so obviously isn't one. As you point out it's not a contradiction. It's also not evidence that the Prequels are flawed just because it didn't turn out quite how people imagined it.

 

There are more contentious issues to encounter yet from the prequels. I find it hard to understand why this one is up there with.... (I best not say... lets just let it happen :) )

 

 

BTW: I have a problem with the pacing of this thread. Chop chop!

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For the record, my problem with this stems from this one line placing highly "The Top Ten Reasons why the Prequels Ruined the World". I couldn't give a monkeys whether people like Qui Gon, thought his part should have been played by Yoda, thought his part should have been played by Obi Wan etc etc.

 

I just hate it when it's used as a wedge to drive between the two trilogies when it so obviously isn't one. As you point out it's not a contradiction. It's also not evidence that the Prequels are flawed just because it didn't turn out quite how people imagined it.

 

There are more contentious issues to encounter yet from the prequels. I find it hard to understand why this one is up there with.... (I best not say... lets just let it happen :) )

 

 

It's my opinion that some of the criticism of the prequels stems from the idea of what we thought for 20 years didn't appear on screen. So, I really don't feel that Qui-Gon is a contradiction even though that's not what we thought about Obi-Wan's training for a long time.

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It's my opinion that some of the criticism of the prequels stems from the idea of what we thought for 20 years didn't appear on screen.

 

This is another pin for me to come back to at the end-- but this is a MAJOR discussion point I think. It's a rather large argument with one said being that this is George's story, and his to do with what he wants. But on the flip side, when something becomes such a cultural icon and world-renowned story, it starts to belong to everyone, and making changes or bucking assumptions is alienating.

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Qui Gon = new main character = many new action figures = many more $$$

 

No Qui Gon = one less main characater = many less action figures = less $$$

 

Thats why Qui Gon was written in.

 

 

 

I don't buy this line of thinking at all. If Lucas was just in it for the money why wouldn't he just let other people write and direct live action Star Wars movies and sit back and collect the money?

 

Lucas was originally going to have Qui Gon play a lesser role, when Neeson came on board Lucas expanded the part.

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Qui Gon = new main character = many new action figures = many more $$$

 

No Qui Gon = one less main characater = many less action figures = less $$$

 

Thats why Qui Gon was written in.

That's some nice anti-Lucas zealotry there.

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Thing is, there is a Laurence Kasdan interview where he talks about the prequels and Jedi, and he said Lucas went more in favour of bigger effects and more toy concepts over story and plot.

 

It's a shame that the business aspect of Star Wars takes over Lucas's artistic and creative side.

 

When artistic decisions are overshadowed by business decisions, they in turn effect the story, and dictate much of the outcome.

 

Lucas has unfortunately been seduced by the dark side, twisted and evil.

 

The man who was once George Lucas has now gone, consumed by Darth Lucas.

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Scene: A message from the Queen. Amidala makes contact with the Trade Federation leaders to talk policy over the embargo. She feels they have over-stepped their bounds, and they of course act innocent and dumb. When the conversation ends, we learn that the Federation's attack is imminent.

 

Tank says:

 

-- First look of Natalie in the film, and the first look at her repeated wardrobe changes. Leading up to the film I knew what she was going to look like and I thought it was cool. Naboo is clearly a world of craftsman, which is fun to see considering that in the OT all we saw were backwater locations, tribal societies, fringe groups, a rag tag rebellion and a utilitarian military empire.

 

-- The conversation between the two parties only adds to my confusion. Granted, both sides assume the law is on their side, but either the Republic's laws are the most confusing thing ever, or this is just poorly written dialog. The Chancellor can "force" a settlement, the blockade is legal, a "boycott" is also in effect... just.. huh?

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Queen Amidala pops up for the first time decked out in the most elaborate wardrobe she’ll have in the entire movie (or saga for that matter). It’s a real shame that Tasha Biggar didn’t even merit a best wardrobe nomination for her work here. I’d put this dress somewhere in the middle for the movie though, it’s just a bit too much. Though it makes sense that this piece is used here since it’s really the only time that we see her as the Queen of the planet until the very end of the movie.

 

-Her attitude here is stiff as we might expect. She’s playing the role as the queen. One of the things we should remember for these scenes is that a primary goal here is to separate Amidala from the handmaiden Padme. It’s easy to think of the two as obviously the same now, but the way the movie is played is to make her a princess in disguise. For what it’s worth, the first time I watched the movie I couldn’t recognize Portman on sight thanks to my strict spoil-free stance (sadly now I can recognize her wearing an elephant suit on Sesame Street while flipping through the channels) so for at least a few minutes on Tatooine I didn’t realize that the two characters were the same.

 

-The Nemoidian’s little flatscreen has a bit of old school Star Trek feeling to it. Never really thought about it before, but it’s a bit strange that Episode I has these flatscreen monitors while the rest of the saga has only voice transmissions and holograms.

 

-“At last we are getting resultsâ€, followed by “Again you come before us your highnessâ€. A little contradictory statement between two lines. For that matter, didn’t he just give the order to launch an invasion? If anything, a transmission from the surface would be an annoyance you’d think.

 

Scene: The Queen and her advisors discuss the situation once they realize the Federation is jamming their communications to Coruscant. This foreshadows an attack. The Queen wishes to rely on negotiation, not wanting to force her peaceful world into war.

 

Tank says:

 

-- The ruse begins! If you go into this film knowing ANYTHING about Star Wars, you know Senator Palpatine is the Emperor. This scene begins in a way that MAYBE the wholly uninitiated won't realize that the Senator the Queen speaks with is the same man we saw only moments ago as Sidious. He goes by quick enough here, but the ruse isn't substantial for much longer.

 

-- The Queen seems young and inexperienced from the start of this scene, with a room full of advisors telling her what to do. Sio Bibble is the main voice, followed by Panaka, her head of security. According to him, their army is volunteer based and no match for any true military force. I don't know if the Queen's hesitation is intended to show us this planet is peaceful, or if she is inexperienced. Either way, it's a pretty good way to introduce her character.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Amidala’s got a nice view from her palace.

 

-It was a nice little thrill to see Palpatine show up early in the movie as Naboo’s Senator. It instantly gives the answer as to WHY Naboo is being specifically targeted (and not some other random planet) if not tipping his hand as to what the plan in entails.

 

-Sio Bibble (think I got the name right) instantly realizes the whole communications disruption means war. Amidala shows weakness in these scenes, refusing to acknowledge that war has already started and, essentially, condemning her people to occupation without a fight with her wishful thinking that the Trade Federation would never invade. This establishes the primary deficiency as a leader Amidala will need to overcome through the movie.

 

 

Scene: Invasion! The Trade Federation forces swoop down from space and spread out over the planet as an occupation force, meeting little resistance. The Jedi have stowed away with the landing party... and we meet the polarizing Jar Jar Binks who lead the Jedi to a nice hiding place-- the city he's been banished from.

 

Tanks says:

 

-- The landing sequence is another hit and miss CGI sequence. In space, everything looks great, planet side there's a couple shots that have always bothered me. In the background of one shot there's a transport that run a tree over. Something about is so stiff and lame. It's truly a minor thing, but it bothers me every time I see it!

 

-- Sigh. Jar Jar. Bashing Jar Jar is such an easy an expected thing to do that I really hoped watching this again would find me over it and not really caring. Was he REALLY any worse than an Ewok? The answer is yes. He grates on my nerves instantly. The CG work is decent, and I wish OTHER CG character were given his sort of detail and attention. It's mostly his voice that is so awful. The tone, the odd pronunciation... it doesn't strike me as alien, or even just eccentric like Yoda, it strikes me as something that Lucas thought we'd all find hysterical. "Ex-squeeeeeeze me" Just, ugh. Even the whoop he gives as he back flips into the water is obnoxious. Even if you made his lines in perfect English, he would still seem like he was retarded. To me it becomes a problem of selling the Gungans. Are they stupid or not? They have some amazing technology, yet seem really stupid.

 

-- "the ability to speak does not make you intelligent" is a terrible line I know a lot of people like. This is one of the many times I feel as though the script is trying to be insightful and philosophical like Yoda in the OT. But this is no "do, or do not..." line. It feels like the first (of many to come) easy, bite size fortune cookie bits of wisdom that is just thrown out, it's not organic to the scene at all.

 

-- One thing I do like in this sequence. There's a brief moment of reminder to the speeder bike chase in ROTJ when Qui-gon swats down a couple droids chasing Obi-Wan.

 

-- Another little visual thing that's always bothered me, but isn't a huge deal. Jar Jar leads the Jedi to a pond. They go under water, and we see a HUGE city just inches below the surface. Something about the scale or size of this bit is wrong, even though the design of the Gungan city is really cool.

 

-- Music: this is the first time I notice the use of a vocal chorus in the music, something never done in Star Wars before-- I like it!

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-The Nemoidians know the Jedi are probably on the planet, but are probably just as happy they’re lightsabers are no longer on the same ship as them.

 

-So the Trade Federation is marching through the forest terrorizing the animals (why did they land on the opposite side of the planet?) when the agile, quick-witted Jedi fails to dodge the immobile screaming Gungan. I’m not sure how close they came to death given that the machine was going slowly and the worst that would have happened was them getting knocked over by it.

 

-Jar Jar’s pretty much as I remember except I don’t recall him being animated this poorly. The difference between the overuse of wide motion-cap gesticulations and unnecessarily overexpressive faces and the nearly perfectly done Yoda of RotS is glaring. Jar Jar plays as a bunch of tech junkies trying out a proof-of-concept trying to push him as far as he can go and never quite realizing where to let things stand. More of this can be seen in many of these early interaction sequences like Obi-Wan dodging Jar Jar’s ear.

 

-My biggest problem with Jar Jar was that his voice was sometimes difficult to understand. I can stand a lot of eccentricities, but if I don’t know what a character is saying, then I’m just made. This problem may be idiosyncratic on my part though due to some hearing comprehension difficulties (noisy situations and unfamiliar accents give me trouble…it’s why I’m a poor music critic).

 

-Kind’ve heartless of the Jedi to force Jar Jar to return to the Gungan city when they know he’ll be punished for it.

 

-“This hasn’t been our day for warm welcomes.†Ewan manages to capture a glimmer of Alec Guiness’s Ben Kenobi for the first time with that line.

 

-More unnecessary animation with the Jar Jar dive. Aren’t they in a war zone? That one’s all on Lucas though.

 

 

Scene: The Jedi arrive in the Gungan City and are arrested. Before the Gungan leader Boss Nass, they try to explain the invasion. Getting nowhere, Qui-gon uses the force to manipulate Nass into giving them a transport so they can get to the Queen.

 

Tank says:

 

-- Again with the wondering about the Gungan intelligence level. Like I said, even if you took their dialog straight, they still say stupid things. This exchange for example, in Gungan speak, and translated normal, is awful and idiotic either way:

 

Tarples: Hey yoosa! Stoppa There! (You there, halt!)

Jar Jar: Helloo der, Cap'n Tarples. Meesa back! (Hello, Captain Tarples. I'm back.)

Tarples: Nosa 'gain Jar Jar. Yousa goin' to a bosses. yousa steppin in big doo doo dis time. (Not again, Jar Jar. You're going to the Bosses. You've stepped in shi t this time.)

 

These are people with a functioning society? They ride legged animals indoors, but can make an underwater city with organic sub-technology? I think this is a case of Lucas having too many ideas at once and not honing them with multiple drafts or getting other opinions. It's a problem that plagues the whole PT.

 

-- Boss Nass is almost as bad as Jar Jar. For one, the detail work on him is terrible compared to Jar Jar. If you're going to go all out CG, commit to it. He looks a little too cartoony, he doesn't seem to have the same biology as the rest of the gungans and his CG slime spittle is so saturday morning cartoon that it bothers me. This scene is probably where I really began to first worry. It reminded me a bit of the Jedi Rocks sequence from ROTJ: SE which was the first sign to me that Lucas may have shifted his perspectives. The only real elements in this scene are Qui-Gon and Obi-wan, everything else is fake, the dialog exchange is terrible, and I'm just simply annoyed by the gungans. These are things that by themselves I could deal with. An all CG scene with great dialog I would forgive-- it's just too much suck at once. This scene doesn't ruin the movie but it makes me honestly worry about where it's going.

 

-- This is the first time we hear the term "symbiosis" in the film. This is the core metaphor Lucas was attempting to use for this film. I don't think he knows how to be subtle with metaphor as well as a experienced writer would, but it is an interesting concept. The Naboo and the Gungans need each other to survive, is what we learn here-- but this theme will crop up again and again.

 

-- Qui-gon using the force is a cool bit, but it doesn't save the scene.

 

-- The LIFE DEBT. Lucas loves to recycle ideas, good or bad, and this is an old one. This was actually developed for Chewie in relation to Han in early ANH drafts. It's in a TON of the EU and tertiary materials, but never actually made it into on-screen dialog. Using it here is interesting, especially in light that Jar Jar is technically supposed to be the Chewbacca of the PT.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Nice little snow-globe city concept. One of those things they probably couldn’t have done 15 years earlier.

 

-Like how the guard just walks up and shocks Jar Jar for know known reason. You just know he waits all day for a chance to poke someone with his taser stick. It fits with the Star Wars slapstick humor and I suspect would have gotten a bigger laugh if it had happened to R2 or even C-3PO. Should have cut a few seconds earlier their though. No reason to have Jar Jar sniff at the guards beyond again letting the animators have their way.

 

-Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan go up some sort of Gungan council. There seem to be a lot of them in this movie.

 

-I don’t think I ever found out what’s up with Boss Nass looking so different from the rest. Is he just really fat, or does the Gungan species have some sort of genetic monarchy? Boss Nass also represents the biggest failure of the voice choices. Playing with his vocabulary to make him sound like a four-year-old probably wasn’t the best choice for a character that’s supposed to be the leader of a pretty advanced society. I think that the idea behind it is that he’s speaking a 2nd language he doesn’t understand well. If I’m right about that, though, it would have been wise to show him speaking his native language (we heard a few Gungans muttering it when the Jedi first enter the city). To Jar Jar when he takes him to the side later in the movie.

 

-Obi-Wan lays out the theme of symbiosis between the Gungans and the Naboo. Pretty heavy-handed, but at least the movie goes all the way with the theme in the 3rd Act.

 

-I like how Qui-Gon is so nonchalant about using his little Force Persuasion technique. A bit abusive, but they are in a hurry.

 

-Obi-Wan’s all happy to let Jar Jar take the fall even though he helped push him into taking them there. Qui-Gon doesn’t let him. It’s another little beat showing that Qui-Gon is a bit freer while Obi-Wan is focused totally on the mission. If Obi-Wan represents the normal focus of a Jedi, it’s another indication that the Jedi are more arrogant than they perhaps should be.

 

-The life-debt thing is self-plagiarism on Lucas’s part. It’s well-established in continuity that Chewbacca has a life-debt to Han Solo. It’s okay to dip into that well again as the concept was never explicitly mentioned in the Original Trilogy as a Wookie thing, but it would have been wise to at least change the words (though Boss Nass does use the words “liveplayâ€).

 

-Interesting that the Gungan behind Jar Jar in this scene legitimately looks like a warrior. The only real differences between him and Jar Jar’s model are that he’s a bit thicker and stands differently, but it really shows how much difference a few small changes can make in a character.

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I know Tank likes to nitpick at the CGI, but there is an inexcusable shot in Otto Gunga. Theres a few, but the one that sticks out in my mind, if I remember correctly, is a kind POV shot from Captain Tarpals angle. God I can't beleive I know this characters name.

 

The bluescreen compositing is really quite bad here. It's a shot of Obi Wan and Jar Jar. I can't remember what it is, it's probably the RGB levels, but it's sticks out really bad.

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My first "let down" in TPM was watching the invasion. The problem was that the trailer for TPM ruined it for me. The trailer showed the Trade Federation ships landing with the Imperial March playing in the background, interspersed with shots of Darth Maul and Sidious looking ominous and talking about "revenge on the Jedi." It all looked and sounded so ominous in the preview. In the actual movie, it...wasn't. And...it didn't appear to have anything to do with revenge on the Jedi.

 

Don't get me wrong, I understand why the Imperial March wasn't used in the actual movie, and I understand that the TPM musical score probably wasn't ready in time for the preview.

 

Also, I realize that this is just the first realization of Sidious' overall plan, and that this is really the first step in an ultimate revenge on the Jedi.

 

The problem is that the TPM musical score, while great on its own, just didn't evoke the same emotions that the Imperial March did in the preview. So seeing the invasion in the movie was sort of an emotional let down from the preview. Similarly, I had no idea that the ominous sounding "AT LAST we will have our revenge" really meant, "at last we will start a blockade on your home planet, in order to score political points to propel you to the seat of Chancellor, which will allow any emergency powers resulting from our manufactured separatist movement to be vested in you, and when our manufactured separatist movement results in a civil war, we will have a pretense for both killing the Jedi in war, and blaming them politically in our role as the Chancellor, at which point (say, 15 years from now), we will have our revenge." In that sense, it just seemed a little bit like the preview was trying to sell the movie as something that it wasn't.

 

All that being said, I enjoyed TPM overall, and probably saw it 5 times in the theater. I was just graduating from high school at the time, and went to see it at the midnight showing with a bunch of friends. The reaction from everybody was positive, and that seemed consistent with everybody else we knew. But then, relatively quickly, opinions started to change, and some people starting slamming things like Jar Jar even though they earlier said they loved the movie and didn't seem to have any complaints. It was kind of a funny turn around, like all of a sudden it wasn't "cool" to like TPM, so people felt like they had to bad mouth it (or, alternatively, that they didn't like Jar Jar all along, but didn't feel like they could bad mouth the movie as long as everybody else still thought it was cool).

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Thomas Alan:

It’s a real shame that Tasha Biggar didn’t even merit a best wardrobe nomination for her work here.

 

YES. This was one of the many PT snubs that I thought was completely unwarranted, just because people disliked other parts of the films.

 

Svenn:

All that being said, I enjoyed TPM overall, and probably saw it 5 times in the theater. I was just graduating from high school at the time, and went to see it at the midnight showing with a bunch of friends. The reaction from everybody was positive, and that seemed consistent with everybody else we knew. But then, relatively quickly, opinions started to change, and some people starting slamming things like Jar Jar even though they earlier said they loved the movie and didn't seem to have any complaints. It was kind of a funny turn around, like all of a sudden it wasn't "cool" to like TPM, so people felt like they had to bad mouth it (or, alternatively, that they didn't like Jar Jar all along, but didn't feel like they could bad mouth the movie as long as everybody else still thought it was cool).

 

I could have wrote this myself, except I saw it way more than 5 times. :thumbsup:

 

As for Jar Jar, I was ambivalent towards his character. I groaned when I saw him in AOTC only because I knew that other people were going to get annoyed. While I have nothing against him, I do wish he had been toned WAAAAY down, because he was obviously a huge distraction for many people.

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The problem is that the TPM musical score, while great on its own, just didn't evoke the same emotions that the Imperial March did in the preview.

 

Stuff about the TPM score that stands out to me...

 

1) Some of the cool background music set to the events that take place on Coruscant. I know most people hate that portion of the movie, but I love it due in large part to the score that goes along with it. Lots of good cues such as Palpatine suggesting the vote of no confidence, Anakin being tested, and the evening scene in the council chambers.

 

2) Duel of the Fates. HELL YES. Once the Jedi and the Naboo confront Maul in the hangar, the music gets AWESOME. Dare I say...some of the best in the entire saga.

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It's reoccurring now in the commentary and so I felt like I'd add to it... I hate that the aliens in the Prequels almost all speak Basic. I think so many problems with Jar Jar, the Nemodians and more could have been washed away if they did not speak in Basic.

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Similarly, I had no idea that the ominous sounding "AT LAST we will have our revenge" really meant, "at last we will start a blockade on your home planet, in order to score political points to propel you to the seat of Chancellor, which will allow any emergency powers resulting from our manufactured separatist movement to be vested in you, and when our manufactured separatist movement results in a civil war, we will have a pretense for both killing the Jedi in war, and blaming them politically in our role as the Chancellor, at which point (say, 15 years from now), we will have our revenge." In that sense, it just seemed a little bit like the preview was trying to sell the movie as something that it wasn't.

Now that you've brought this up, it got me thinking. I doubt Sidious let any of his apprentices on his grand master plan other than, "We will crush the Jedi and the Republic". We saw how careless he was with Dooku's death. Maul and Dooku were both expendable, Dooku especially so once he saw how strong Anakin had become. I think this is one of those lines you could look back on and possibly read more into it. Also, Sidious's plans may have been somewhat foiled by Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Anakin. I think the entire purpose of the blockade was to get Palpatine into the Supreme Chancellor's seat, but I doubt he told Maul that. But I wonder if, with the loss of an apprentice and the discovery of the "Chosen One" that Sidious may have had to wait a bit with his plans. Don't know if he had always had the clone thing in mind or if that came along in the aftermath of the Battle of Naboo.

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Tank says:

 

-- The ruse begins! If you go into this film knowing ANYTHING about Star Wars, you know Senator Palpatine is the Emperor. This scene begins in a way that MAYBE the wholly uninitiated won't realize that the Senator the Queen speaks with is the same man we saw only moments ago as Sidious. He goes by quick enough here, but the ruse isn't substantial for much longer.

 

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-It was a nice little thrill to see Palpatine show up early in the movie as Naboo’s Senator. It instantly gives the answer as to WHY Naboo is being specifically targeted (and not some other random planet) if not tipping his hand as to what the plan in entails.

 

 

 

 

 

Only if you were more than a casual viewer of the original trilogy.

 

It's been my experience that the opinions of fans of the original films differed wildly from mainstream audiences who loved the original movies, but didn't find them any deeper or more meaningful than any other film.

 

As fans, we read the ROTJ novelization and found out the Emperor's name was Palpatine. We read the EU material afterwards which reiterated his name. Casual viewers stopped with the movies, so they never heard the name Palpatine uttered, never heard Bail Organa identified by name and only heard Anakin Skywalker's name in passing a couple of times.

 

For this reason, Ian McDiarmid's appearance in this TPM scene being identified as Senator Palpatine is cool for us - the fans - but leaves the mainstream audience clueless unless they've been given information by someone in the know. They have know idea who Senator Palpatine is or the importance of his appearance here.

 

It is for this reason that I feel conflicted as to what Lucas wanted to accomplish with the prequels. It was almost as if he assumed everyone who watched the new movies knew who these people were. It was certainly more meaningful to the fans who did, but may have left everyone else a little more confused. On the other hand, TPM was played so broadly that it may not have taken too much time for the casual viewer to figure it out. The fans knew who the characters were, but were far more critical of the film, in some cases due to unmet expectations. But casual fans seemed to enjoy the film for the most part, but no more or less than any other film, possibly because they had fewer expectations and less emotion invested in it.

 

At the time TPM came out, I ran into people who had seen the commercials and thought this movie was about little Luke Skywalker. A moviegoer who loved the original films but never went beyond them has no idea who Senator Palpatine is or what his importance is. As for him being the Senator of Naboo, those of us in the know about his identity thought this was interesting, but no real on-screen revelation about why Naboo, out of all planets, was being invaded as a result of this tax issue came out of this knowledge.

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For this reason, Ian McDiarmid's appearance in this TPM scene being identified as Senator Palpatine is cool for us - the fans - but leaves the mainstream audience clueless unless they've been given information by someone in the know. They have know idea who Senator Palpatine is or the importance of his appearance here.

 

Based on what we've seen so far-- then yes. But if anyone came out of this movie not realizing they were the same person.... well.. we all now how passionate i was on this subject.

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JC:

A moviegoer who loved the original films but never went beyond them has no idea who Senator Palpatine is or what his importance is. As for him being the Senator of Naboo, those of us in the know about his identity thought this was interesting, but no real on-screen revelation about why Naboo, out of all planets, was being invaded as a result of this tax issue came out of this knowledge.

 

However, we can't forget how TPM ended. I don't want to get way ahead of Tank and Thomas Alan, so I'll just say that anyone who can't connect the two characters (as well as figuring out that "they" are the Emperor from ROTJ) was certainly not paying attention!

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The problem is that the TPM musical score, while great on its own, just didn't evoke the same emotions that the Imperial March did in the preview.

 

Stuff about the TPM score that stands out to me...

 

1) Some of the cool background music set to the events that take place on Coruscant. I know most people hate that portion of the movie, but I love it due in large part to the score that goes along with it. Lots of good cues such as Palpatine suggesting the vote of no confidence, Anakin being tested, and the evening scene in the council chambers.

 

2) Duel of the Fates. HELL YES. Once the Jedi and the Naboo confront Maul in the hangar, the music gets AWESOME. Dare I say...some of the best in the entire saga.

 

Gah, I REALLY want to comment on certain parts of the soundtrack but don't want to get ahead of the discussion! LOL.

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