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The Phantom Menace • Virtual DVD Commentary


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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.

 

 

Destiny, I think you've hit the hammer to the nail here. Sidious probably shared very little of his actual plans with his apprentices. Obviously the EU goes into a little more detail here, but we can assume from how he operated that he manipulated them as easily as he did everyone else and that he altered his plans accordingly whenever there was a setback.

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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.

Oh, I agree the end of the movie made that very clear (as long as someone didn't sneeze or drop their popcorn at the wrong moment), but we remember the inane postulating by actual SW fans over the identity of Darth Sidious, so I can't imagine there weren't some mainstream audience members who didn't have a clue and were genuinely surprised by the end of RoTS.

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ugh. quick poll: should we just continue, or do you guys wnt to see the now deleted commentary back? Thomas was smart enough to save his out.. me... not so much...

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How was it deleted???

 

I already read it, so I suppose I dont need to see it back. But it would be nice to have it back if you or anybody else wanted to check this out at a later time...

 

Nightly had a time travel trip and everything in the last 5 days has been lost.

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I'm really loving this thread. This is taking me back to the Nightly discussions of old, which was why I joined in the first place. We watched Episode II tonight and I started thinking of it the way you guys are doing, and I started bringing up questions and seeing scenes differently. I might have to pop in Episode I and write some notes.

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ugh. quick poll: should we just continue, or do you guys wnt to see the now deleted commentary back? Thomas was smart enough to save his out.. me... not so much...

 

Well, I want my work back up at least <grumble>.

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Noooo... I posted a load of nonsense about Battle Droids and now it's lost forever!

 

It got deleted out of jealousy because it was such a good post wasn't it. Go on... admit it Nightly Admins! Grrrr :(

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Scene: The Jedi and Jar Jar head out on their journey through the planet’s core. As Jar Jar is telling them how he was banished, the ship is attacked by a sea monster.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-One of those things that changes over time. In 1999 when the bongo went through the city’s membrane it seemed like a cool effect. Today it looks pretty simple and badly done.

 

-The Jedi seem a bit too unconcerned with a giant fish starting to eat their ship. Lucas’s “life of the Jedi†strategy was always a bit overplayed I thought. Though the “There’s always a bigger fish†line was pretty nice. It got a laugh in the theater.

 

-In all honesty, this little action sequence was cuttable but we’re between beats so it doesn’t seem to hurt the flow of the movie all that much. And we get Jar Jar’s origin story, so it’s all good.

 

 

Tank says:

 

-- More questions about the Gungan intelligence level. Why do they speak like idiots and yet have cool tech like the bongo which seems semi-organic?

 

-- Qui-gon spouts more fortune cookie wisdom, the line is decent, and the action that cues it is amusing-- but there's no real tension or energy to this sequence.

 

-- Jar Jar's backstory comes here-- he was banished for being clumsy. That' what i get from Obi-wan anyway, can't actually understand Jar Jar. The backstory becomes the point of this scene, but since I already find Jar Jar unbearable, this whole sequence should be cut in my opinion.

 

--

 

 

Scene: Sidious appears before the Nemoidians to discuss the invasion. The Nemoidians do not tell him that there are still Jedi running around.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Sidious states that Amidala is young and naïve and they shouldn’t have difficulty controlling her. This shows that Sidious doesn’t think much of the young queen. Given her limp response in the earlier scenes, it’s no surprise that he has so little respect for her.

 

-Sidious lets it be known that he has the Senate tied down in procedures. A hint that he has surprising control (even for those who already know he’s Senator Palpatine) over the galaxy’s government.

 

-Who are those little mini-battledroids in the background? Funny little guys, wonder how well they fight. The backgrounds for this scene are pretty busy, but it doesn’t distract too much from the film.

 

-The Trade Federation aren’t telling Sidious about the Jedi. One of those little things about being a big scary badass is that your subordinates are slow to give you bad news.

 

Tank says:

 

-- Right off, I'm curious of Sidious is all but revealing his dual nature by claiming to have influence over the senate, or if we're meant to think he can already pull ze strings. Either way it works to an extent.

 

-- The TF dudes purposefully don't mention the Jedi have escaped, reminds me of serving under Vader where if you screwed up, you died.

 

-- Starting to feel a little back and forth here. Like this is all filler. We're not learning anything new so I feel like this scene is just meant to break up the Jedi's journey in the Bongo, which i also don't think is really needed.

 

 

Scene: The Jedi continue their journey through the planet core. They regain power just in time to be chased out of the underwater cave by another sea monster.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Pretty funny that Jar Jar basically says “bull****†when Qui-Gon pulls a “the Force will guide usâ€. Also, I used to mark this as one of the times where Jar Jar goes overboard, but watching it again, he seems to be well with his rights.

 

-Nice little subtlety with Qui-Gon overdoing the relaxation of Jar Jar.

 

-Don’t much like the character design on the cave fish. In fact all the fish feel a bit too clean and animated. Their glowing eyes don’t help this feeling.

 

 

Tank says:

 

-- The semi-decentness of "always a bigger fish" is no in validated by getting the same gag a second time. Not sure why we needed that.

 

-- Jar Jar gives a semi decent performance where the cg, voice and compositing all seem to blend really well when he talks over the back of his chair to Qui-gon-- but it's invalidated when he has an over the top cartoon bug-eye reaction.

 

-- Was always cinfused by Qui-gon giving Jar Jar what looks tobe a Vulcan nerve pinch. Obi-wan's line is mumbled, "over did it" so I'm not sure if he's talking about how fast he is driving, what Qui-gon may have done, or if Jar Jar just wigged out and made himself sick. Confusing and sloppy whatever the point that moment was.

 

 

Scene: The Trade Federation invades Theed, ending the brief conflict in victory for the Trade Federation. As the Jedi arrive on the scene, the Queen is taken into custody by the Nemoidians who demand she sign a treaty legitimizing their invasion.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Guess the Trade Federation doesn’t have much respect at all for the Naboo defenses given that they literally line up for their assault on the city.

 

-Love that establishing shot of the palace. Probably my favorite of the movie.

 

-Relying on negotiations wasn’t such a great idea. Amidala watches as her people are enslaved without resistance and the Trade Federation declares victory.

 

-That of course isn’t Amidala, but her double played by virtual twin Kiera Knightly. Oddly, Kiera never looks as queenly as Portman in her costumes. Don’t know if that was an intentional wardrobe decision, if Knightly just got the crappy costumes, or if she just couldn’t pull off a royal air as well as Portman. While we’re on the costumes, I like the way the handmaidens look in their orange.

 

-One wonders if the Trade Federation’s plans for Amidala would have succeeded had she remained on Naboo. The Nemoidians were certainly happy to use the Naboo people as leverage. There are two things we know about Amidala’s leadership at this point. One is that she is sensitive to the suffering of her people. The other is that she is naively confident in the galactic government. She may well have held out for some time in the belief that relief would be coming.

 

Tank says:

 

-- Seeing more of Naboo now, Theed in particular. Some of the first full scale digital Mattes compositing with real stuff for true world building. It's impressive stuff, though I see why the Dinotopia dude sued.

 

-- The explosion-less. bloodless invasion happens and the Queen is arrested. We start hearing about "her people" being in trouble, but we don't actually see any of it.

 

-- This is the first scene where the double-queen is put into place. I will admit, that it was the 4th or 5th time I saw it before I realized it was actually Kiera Knightly. I assumed it was just digital trickery and Natalie was playing both roles. It was so convincing that at the time, I tought the TF was there to steal cloning technology from the Naboo.

 

Scene: The Jedi ambush the droids guarding the queen and her entourage. After learning that communications are impossible, Qui-Gon decides to take Amidala off-planet where she can be safe and they can receive aid from Coruscant. After convincing the queen to go along with his plans, they storm the hangar, free several pilots and take off.

 

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-After we see the Jedi arrive on screen, we get a bit more info on the plot of the movie. The Trade Federation continues to be obsessed with legalities even while they trample on other people. I wonder if Lucas had a bit of inspiration from Hitler’s Germany as he too had an obsession with obtaining a fig leaf of legal justification before invading other countries (believe it or not). Their plan for Amidala is to retroactively make their invasion legal by forcing her to sign a treaty in duress.

 

-A few pretty shots of Theed. We really don’t think about it much in the Original Trilogy, but the only real city we ever seen in those movies is Bespin, a very claustrophobic place (though the Special Edition did a good job of adding a lot of pretty windows) along with the even more claustrophobic ships and Death Stars. The only outdoor cities we ever see are Mos Eisley and the Ewok village. Here we see that in days past, even small planets could achieve beautiful architecture and a pristine environment.

 

-The lightsaber battle here isn’t as sharp as the one we saw earlier on the ship. Qui-Gon in particular commits a very lazy spin before chopping down a battledroid. There’s little that’s superhuman here.

 

-One wonders why the Trade Federation is warehousing enemy pilots feet away from armed fighters.

 

-Even Sio Bibble, a fairly levelheaded guy so far, finds it difficult to believe the Trade Federation would kill Amidala. Once again, he seems to be correct (and Qui-Gon wrong).

 

-While we’re on Sio Bibble, let’s discuss why he’s not in charge of Naboo instead of a teenage girl. It would make some sense if Amidala were a hereditary queen, but she’s actually elected (as are two more teenage girls who are queens in each of the next two movies). Lucas pimping democracy is one thing, but in this case it just stretches believability without much reason.

 

-In retrospect, Sabe (Knightly)’s nod to Amidala in a handmaiden outfit is rather obvious, but I did not catch it for my first viewing. It’s interesting that Sabe’s first reaction is to decline the Jedi’s offer for rescue.

 

-Now we’re really starting to see the theme that battledroids are very stupid. They let an armed group walk right up to them and then have difficulty processing the idea that they are not friendlies. Also, still funny.

 

-The lightsaber fight here is a lot better than the one in the street a few minutes earlier. A few quibbles though. Obi-Wan does that split-kick thing again, a repeat from just minutes earlier. Also, one of the droids Obi-Wan kills as they’re making their escape seems to be firing in the opposite direction from where anybody’s standing. That one in particular was obvious even from a first viewing. Still, a pretty strong little action sequence that makes good use of the droids as disposable adversaries.

 

 

Tank says:

 

-- The Jedi ambush is brief but cool-- but when Qui-gon sheath's his saber the film is going backwards or something. It always looked odd to me. It's also here that i first noticed Obi-wan's twirling obsession with his saber.

 

-- One of the moments I LOVE with the doubles, is the way Padme gives a coded message to the Queen in front of everyone that basically tells her it is okay to go along with Qui-Gon's plan.

 

-- One thing I hate about this scene-- Sio Bibble. He seems to be full force against the queen leaving, then folliwing a line from Qui-gon, full force with the idea of her leaving. Could be bad writing, or bad acting, or even bad editing-- but to me it's the first sort of obvious spot that shows the Lucas copy/cut/paste style of film making and editing, where things are assembled. A scene could be written well after principle photography was finished and inserted in. It's a sloppy unprofessional way to make movies and it's severely compromised the quality of these films.

 

-- Panaka succinctly spells out the nebulous political plot that's been going on, and really, somebodyu could have done this ten minutes ago and made this movie a lot more streamlined. Still missing the WHY though. Qui-gon is missing the why as well, which I find welcoming. So long as somebody else is in the dark, I feel like it is intentional and can hold my question. (I'll get into how it is never answered though later).

 

-- I don't care much for the battle droid crap at the Queen's ship/. The droid pretending to be confused confuses me. Is it really confused, is it just supposed to be funny? Is the droid ACTUALLY confused... none of them really make sense considering that thus far, whence droid and Jedi meet, shooting and slashing immediately commences.

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-- One thing I hate about this scene-- Sio Bibble. He seems to be full force against the queen leaving, then folliwing a line from Qui-gon, full force with the idea of her leaving. Could be bad writing, or bad acting, or even bad editing-- but to me it's the first sort of obvious spot that shows the Lucas copy/cut/paste style of film making and editing, where things are assembled. A scene could be written well after principle photography was finished and inserted in. It's a sloppy unprofessional way to make movies and it's severely compromised the quality of these films.

 

I don't recall Sio Bibble being all that against her leaving, only that he was shocked by the notion she would be killed if she didn't. And I don't remember him suddenly being in favor of it either. Wasn't his next set of lines to basically say that he would stay in her place?

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You know, it might be that stage-style shakspearian acting that only works ON STAGE, not when a camera is in your face. It's just always seemed to me that he flips positions with equal conviction in under 3 seconds. I can't stand the actor though, he;s holographic message to come is always cringeworthy as well.

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Sio Bibble is your bargain bucket Thespian :)

 

I'm gonna text that to my friend!

 

Anyway... somewhere along here I interjected with a post of afore-mentioned blinding brilliance and I will try to recreate it via the medium of text!

 

I think that George Lucas didn't do a good job of selling Battle Droids as a fighting force and for me they were farcical. I felt that they were represented better in The Clone Wars Cartoons where they were still kind of goofy but they could also fight and appeared menacing when they did so. That just wasn't captured in the prequels.

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Sio Bibble is your bargain bucket Thespian :)

 

I'm gonna text that to my friend!

 

Anyway... somewhere along here I interjected with a post of afore-mentioned blinding brilliance and I will try to recreate it via the medium of text!

 

I think that George Lucas didn't do a good job of selling Battle Droids as a fighting force and for me they were farcical. I felt that they were represented better in The Clone Wars Cartoons where they were still kind of goofy but they could also fight and appeared menacing when they did so. That just wasn't captured in the prequels.

 

This is a plot point, they aren't suppossed to be "sold as a fighting force". They are supposed to be inept. If you watch the real DVD commentaries of the prequels Lucas flat out says this he says "eventually Palpatine realizes that droids are of no use for fighting." They arent supposed to be menacing.

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