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The Phantom Menace • Virtual DVD Commentary


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I'd say it's consisitant. Looking back at Jar Jar, I don't think he's well-animated at all. It felt like the Jar Jar team was very young and looking to press every button they could find to increase the character's exageration in every scene. You can get away with that a bit in cell animation, but photorealistic CGI? Nope. Watto worked better because his face was more stationary (character being found by the simple decision to have him talk out of the side of his broken mouth) and his movements came from flying and not Ahmed Best's "funniest" mo-cap walk.

 

I totally agree. There's some shots where Jar Jar looks amazing, and others where he looks cut in from a video game FMV. Mo-cap is great and all, but I feel like Ahmed over did it. Like he was afraid he wouldn't shine through the way Mayhew, Baker and Daniels all did in the OT. Add this to the cartoonish nature of the character and it just comes across as trying too hard. But Watto is far more naturalistic, in particular the amount of acting that happens just with his eyes is great for an animated character.

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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.

The sad thing (for GL), is that two, regular, non-LFL affiliated guys can provide the very kind of observations fans really wanted to hear on the TPM DVD commentary, while GL and Co. failed to do the same!

 

Why on earth GL and Co. did not dig--really dig into the why/when/how of TPM in relation to the overall saga for the commentary--is beyond reason.

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How the HELL can you not see the racial stereotyping of Watto?! He is clearly a charicature of the Jewish man, he has a big bent nose, he is obsesed with money and is a tightwad, and there is one scene where he wears his little hat and has curls of hair and looks identical to an orthodox Jew. I hope to god that this was accidental but I have a hard time believing it.

 

I fail to see who anyone cannot spot this. In actual fact, I feel more strongly about this then with the problems some people have with Jar Jar. At least Jar Jar didn't LOOK like a racial cartoon. He only talked like one.

 

EDIT: Having read this post again, is sounds like I am really offended or I'm calling the filmmakers racist. That's not the case. I just think the designers have used some racial sterotyping when creating Watto. With Jar Jar, not so much as really it's only his voice that could be construed as having some overtones of the stereotypical 'slave voice' of African-Americans. But I'm assuming this is coincidence and anyway, that was Ahmed Best's choice wasn't it?

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Yes, and he's also clearly an Arabian charicature. And clearly an Indian charicature. And whoever else feels like being offended.

 

Watto's money obsessed and a tightwad because he's a used car salesman, not because he's Jewish.

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I like this stretch of the film, R2 saving the day, Maul's introduction and Qui-Gon attempting the mind trick on Watto are some of my favourite scenes in the film. Seeing Tatooine for the first time is neat too.

 

I'll admit though I would have prefered Qui-Gon to stay on the ship and Obi-Wan discover Anakin, it just makes more sense. (And then following on from that I'd have Obi-Wan end his training with Qui-Gon (who would have survived) early to train Anakin once he was rejected by the council, which in turn would be the last straw for Qui-Gon who feels disrespected then quits the Jedi and shows up 10 years later in Dooku's role as the Sith apprentice and leader of the Seperatists, I think that would have been awesome! But thats fan-fiction territory so I'll stop!)

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I'm not particularly offended, I'm not Jewish and it doesn't really offend my sensibilities. I just feel strongly that Watto has definite Jewish overtones, and it surprises me that others don't agree. It's clear to me that the animators knew what the character was like and that informed the visual aesthetic.

 

I don't find the Neimodians particularly as Asian steropypes - their voices are slightly similar buts that's it.

Jar Jar has definite overtones of the "yes massa" slave voice, but I think that's accidental. (at least I hope it is).

 

Saying Watto has overtones of Arabian or Indian becuase then those races can be offended is nonsensical. I don't go into films hoping to be offended. I just find it hard to believe that there wasn't a conscious decision to go this route with Watto, just like the godawful unfunny twins from Transformers 2.

 

FYI Watto is one of my favourite characters in TPM, but I'd have more respect for the filmmakers if they came out and said that he was a charicature of the steropyping of the Jewish shyster. Which is what I believe he is.

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Saying Watto has overtones of Arabian or Indian becuase then those races can be offended is nonsensical.

 

I didn't make it up. There were complaints 10 years ago from those groups that Watto was based on Arab and Indian stereotypes. You think it's a Jewish stereotype, others think otherwise.

 

Truth is, Watto's defining feature is a stereotype for several cultures. Doesn't mean that he's based on any one of them.

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Watto's money obsessed and a tightwad because he's a used car salesman, not because he's Jewish.

 

A Jewish Used Car Salesman?

 

Honestly, the TF dudes were the only ones I really thought were in poor taste, and it was purely vocal.

 

That could be construed as favouritism as you like the character! I think the guy has a point about Jewish Stereotyping. And the way he puts it it's a lot more blatant than the Nemoidians ever were.

 

The only way the Nemodians could have been in worse taste than what they were is if they started taking pictures of Naboo after they landed.

 

It would be funny if they walked around with cameras with big lenses round their necks! I don't think that the way they speak is offensive but I take Tank's point from many moons back, that they should have spoken in an alien language and had subtitles. Although, I associate subtitles with foreign films... so is that racist too?

 

I'm not offended by any of these characters and the way they speak. I would be interested to hear from people who are Jewish or Japanese or whatever Jar Jar is meant to be. They could probably give me a better insight,

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Agreed. I just think dude in a cheesy tie and plaid blazer, maybe with a porn star mustache.

 

Or, see my smooth-talking alma mater's President. That gross old snake-oil salesman totally looked me up and down when I came to ask him a question about scholarships. I can't stand listening to him because I always think "used car salesman" when he talks.

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A Jewish Used Car Salesman?

 

Is there a Jewish used car salesman sterotype? I don't think Jew at all when I'm thinking of a used car salesman.

 

Lighten up Thomas!

 

Treq originally talked about visual stereotypes like the hat, nose and the ringlets of hair. And, according to you, he talks/behaves like a used car salesman. I was making the inference that both stereotypes could be used together to create that character's personality. He does look ever so slightly Jewish in AOTC so I think Treq has a good point. I'm not dismissing your thoughts, just throwing it up in the air that you both could be right.

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Scene: After being turned down by Watto, the small company make their way through the street searching for an alternative. Jar Jar runs afoul of Sebulba only to be saved by Anakin.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Obi-Wan makes an appearance to tell the audience there’s nothing to barter with. I find it funny that they brought the Queen’s wardrobe with them. I can only hope it’s an emergency backup that was already on board when they got there.

 

-Qui-Gon believes something will come up which will get him the money they need. Another example of his trusting the Force to provide.

 

-Padme’s got a decent little walk scanning the dangerous city. Her character isn’t completely naïve, she might well be able handle herself on her own.

 

-Apparantly “Yo wanna wanga†means “Are you going to pay for that?â€. Which makes me wonder why Bib Fortuna asked that of Threepio in RotJ. Pretty lazy to recycle made-up dialogue and not even have it remotely in the same context.

 

-The shop owner’s got some of the less textured features of any of the CGI characters and looks pretty fake.

 

-And now Sebulba, another major CGI character. I like the concept of his design, flipping the functionality of his arms and legs. The execution is a bit rough but not too bad considering they had to guess at the physics and logic of such a character.

 

-I’m not sure how wise it was to have this supposed heavy get angry enough to start a fight, and have him back down because a child slave gives him a vague warning. That’s okay, ‘cause we’ll be settling this feud at the racetrack. Woot.

 

-Anakin’s lines here would be awful if they came from an adult. The thing is, children talk in that awkward manner fairly often, so it’s not completely out of place.

 

-Yes, Jar Jar’s walking a dangerous path Qui-Gon.

 

-This is also pretty much the first meeting between Qui-Gon and Anakin. He treats the kid with respect, but turns to leave nonetheless..

 

 

Tank says:

-- Qui-gon talks to Obi-wan via his Gillette razor phone and reminds me how much i wish Obi-wan were the one out there making rash decisions and being forced to grow up. The more we see Qui-gon go by the seat of his pants, the more obvious it is to me that Lucas wrote the first draft with Obi-Wan doing these things, and i so wished he'd stuck with it.

 

-- Joke about the Queen's ever changing wardrobe-- funny!

 

-- Jar Jar is a racist. He says Tattooinians are "KUHWAAAZY!!!!" I think part of the problem is Jar Jar is SO over the top, and Qui-gon replies so calmly. The performances are so off from each other it doesn't help sell Jar Jar

 

-- More clowning with Jar Jar leads to setting up Sebulba as the foil for the race down the road. Sebulba, much like Watto, is far more interesting of a design, and even better realized than Jar Jar. Interesting that Sebulba speaks in Dugese, and yet Jar jar, the tard from another backwater planet, understands him.

 

-- Anakin must have cleaned those racks double-time, because he joins them and scares Sebulba off. His dialog is terrible of course, and acted in even worse. This kid is just bad. Sorry. What I do like though, is Sebulba IS backed down. That says he actually either has respect, or a little fear for this kid. We'll learn more down the road, but as an introduction, it's certainly foreshadowing that the dug is kind of afraid of this kid. I don't think Anakin knows it-- clearly his lie about Jar Jar isn't fooling anyone, and Sebulba having to pay Watto for killing his slave doesn't seem like much of an excuse either... but I think Sebulba is willing to save face and pretend to buy what Anakin is selling. This is one of the few times I think George pulls off being subtle, and it works well despite Lloyd's acting ability.

 

-- Qui-gon notices Anakin for the first time, and isn't sure what to make of him.

 

Scene: A sandstorm hits and Anakin invites the group to his home where they meet Anakin’s mother, Shmi and a partially built See-Threepio.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Obi-Wan’s back with the weather report.

 

-Qui-Gon’s trying to stay low, and yet he’s not exactly keeping his Jediness a secret. First he waves his hands around at Watto, then he lets Anakin see his lightsaber. Undercover work’s tough when you can’t just take everything you want.

 

-Slaves get pretty nice quarters on Tatooine. Jar Jar even remarks that it seems cozy. I know that the purpose of Star Wars isn’t to send a message that slavery is bad, but we’re heading into ignorant territory here. I’d think that it must cost Watto more to keep the Skywalker’s comfortable than it would be to hire a cheap assistant.

 

-Shmi’s awfully accepting up Anakin bringing home three people.

 

-I love how Anakin’s first instinct with Padme is her his toys. It’s one of those little kid that totally fits with the age.

 

-Portman’s fallen back into not knowing what to do in these awkward conversations again and is just smiling blankly.

 

-Ah Threepio. Can’t say I much approve of Anakin making him. Some coincidences I can handle, like R2 just so happening to be on the Queen’s ship as mechanic, but having him come out of Anakin’s mini-shop is pushing the bounds of an incestuous universe just a bit much.

 

-The naked Threepio joke only works because R2 was the one who pointed it out, though it always makes me cringe when they wipe on a joke. Reminds me too much of a Hanna Barbara cartoon where the show ends with all the characters laughing at some unfunny slapstick bit.

 

Tank says:

--Obi-wan has one of his two scenes on the exterior of Tattooine. Ewan McGregor went all the way to Tunisia and got dysentery to deliver two lines.. WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN DRIVING THE PLOT THE ENTIRE--oh never mind. We do learn that somebody from Naboo is sending a message though.

 

-- I LOVE the bit where Anakin spots Qui-Gon's lightsaber. I'd wish we'd seen a better reaction shot from him. In the comic adaption there was a tight shot of the saber, then a tight shot of Anakin. In a way, this is the moment where he might realize his life is about to change.

 

-- R2 prop must have been slow that day because as he passes and the scene wipes the film is obviously sped up.

 

-- Shmi: OH HI STRANGERS FROM ANOTHER PLANET MY SON BROUGHT HOME! COME ON IN! Felt her introduction could have been a little more interesting. And after being sped up in the last scene R2 is missing from the group until they are already inside.

 

-- Speaking of R2, I'm kind of bummed he has had zero character moments thus far outside of saving the ship earlier. No one talks to him, everyone is walking away from him.. granted in the SW universe droids aren't given much thought.. but this is R2 freaking D2 and he should have a little more to do. As much as I have always disliked 3P0, I see know how essential their interaction is to the OT and is sorely missed in the PT.

 

--Speaking of 3P0, Anakin builds him. That's retarded. Obviously, he didn't INVENT 3p0 as we've already seen two droids of the same model in this film, but rather has scavenged the parts and is following the equivalent of a chilton manual to put him together. I'm trying to figure out why George made this decision and what it adds to the story. As best as i can tell, he either just didn't know how to get 3p0 into the film, he wanted to show how tech savvy Annie is, or he just thought it would be cool. Well, he all know George's idea of cool is very NOT. Annie's tech ability easily comes out when we learn he's building his own pod racer and 3p0 would have been perfectly in place as part of the Queen's entourage. So I just don't GET why Darth Vader had to build 3P0... there's nothing to be gained. The idea of him lacking a body is further confusing-- the only point of it seems to be showing off special effects to mask out Daniels being his own puppeteer.

 

-- Also hate the repeating "entirely stable" joke off his line in ESB. And one again, Williams over does the music with his PAY ATTENTION! CUTE IMPORTANT MOMENT OF NOSTALGIA HERE music cue as 3P0 and R2 meet for the first time.

 

-- This may seem petty, but it's one of the little things that drive me insane and point to how poor of a writer Lucas is. In screenwriting, especially dialog, you really want to avoid repeating words close to each other. It sounds unnatural and clunky. Example, Anakin says "When the storm is over I'll show you my RACER. I'm building a pod RACER." It just sounds like bad writing. Any copy editor in the world would have made that sentence be "When the storm is over I'll show you the pod racer I'm building." The last scene had the word "outskirts" used twice in a row as well. Again, probably, petty to anyone but me, it's just this endless string of tiny little things adding up that makes this movie fail for me.

 

Scene:The Sith plan to use a transmission pinpoint the location of the Queen. The plan works and Sidious sends Maul to Tatooine with instructions to destroy the Jedi.

 

Thomas Alan says:

 

-Obi-Wan’s back again. At least he’s got something to do this time by ordering the faux queen not to send any transmissions for fear of being discovered.

 

-But oh wait, now Darth Maul’s telling us they did get a trace despite no reply being sent. Absolutely no indication was ever given as to how this happened. This is where the “Captain Panaka is a traitor†rumors really got started I think because someone had to send out that signal. Too bad the guy was basically written out of the saga in the next movie in favor of the exact same character with an eye-patch.

 

-This whole scene is theoretically pretty important. It’s the only time we ever see Palpatine with his apprentice before he sends him off to kill Jedi. Unfortunately, it’s a rather broad conversation where the only part of the plan that is revealed is that they want Amidala to sign the treaty, which we already knew. Otherwise, we just know that this is the first step in the Sith plan to have vengeance against the Jedi. Fair enough, but it would have been nice to give us a broad reason for that vengeance. But that’s what the EU’s for I suppose.

 

-Incidentally, the Nemoidians never did tell Sidious that it was Jedi who freed the queen. Guess he just knew.

 

-This is also the first scene where we get a look at Coruscant. It’s darker than I had imagined. I was thinking it would be a gray planet, instead of black with red streaks. We’ll see more of it later.

 

-Didn’t mention it before, but it’s nice that Timothy Zahn’s name and concept for the planet made its way into the movie. There are few instances of EU making its way into the saga, and quite a few examples of it being swept aside altogether without a second thought. But Zahn’s planet had entered the popular culture enough that Lucas went with it. Which was easy enough given that I’m sure he had a similar concept for the planet and keeping the name was easy enough.

 

Tank says:

-- Okay. Confusion. The Naboo crew gets a transmission from Bibble, Obi-wan senses it's a trick, and orders no reply be sent. He informs Qui-gon, who also says it's a trick to establish a connection trace, and no reply must be sent. Cut to Coruscant where the Sith congratulate themselves on establishing a connection trace! WTF? Did anybody read this script before shooting?

 

-- Coruscant is cool. The first two shots match what was established in ROTJ:SE, but I rather like the background the Siths walk in front of because for some reason, it reminds me of old Disneyland Tomorrowland concept art. Speaking of concept art, the city-planet concept was in pretty much every single draft of Star Wars Lucas has ever written from all the proto-Starkiller drafts, to the first draft of ROTJ. As a result, this is one of the things McQuarrie did concept art for, and I LOVE the fact Lucas went into the archives and dug out 22 year old art to finally realize.

 

-- Seeing Sidious in the flesh (vs. hologram) and seeing the architecture of the balcony really should solidify the fact that he and Palpatine are the same person.

 

-- The Sith want revenge on the Jedi for something-- but I want to know what... and I don't want to have to read a bunch of crap novels and comics for an answer. Odd to that he knows the Jedi are involved, and when we last saw him talking to the TF they were too scared to tell him the Jedi escaped. Oh well-- it's not like I wanted to see anymore calls between them. We can assume he's been filled in since their last talk.

 

Scene: At the Skywalker home, the group eat dinner and discuss how they plan to get off the planet. Anakin suggests he be allowed to enter a pod race so they can use the prize money. Shmi, though worried, agrees to the plan.

 

Thomas Alan says:

-At least the movie was kind enough to explain why slaves are granted as much freedom of movement as they are. Making a slave’s head explode if they run away makes for a rather effective deterrence.

 

-Padme’s getting her own little lesson here on the limitations of the Republic in regards to slavery. Her plans have relied heavily on the omnipotence of the Republic thus far. Hoping if she can just get to Coruscant they’ll sweep in and making everything right. This is the first real crack in that belief.

 

-Anakin takes the moment to brag about his pod racing skills. Another example of a little kid thing.

 

-Qui-Gon mentions Jedi reflexes (once again, not very subtle) giving Anakin the opening he needs to ask if he’s a Jedi. When Anakin declares that no one can kill a Jedi it’s provides three bits of foreshadowing. First that Qui-Gon will soon die. Second that he will not necessarily stay dead. Third that Anakin has a belief in immortality. It’s an echo of Obi-Wan’s “Strike me down†speech, except Anakin’s saying it instead of Obi-Wan.

 

-This dream of Anakin’s that he’d free all the slaves pretty much goes nowhere.

 

-And now we get to the main point of the scene, and getting the movie started again. Anakin getting his mother to agree to the pod racing scheme is a bit much. Yeah, she says that a problem with the universe is that people don’t help each other, but I’ve yet to meet a mother who accepts their child putting their life at risk no matter what the reason.

 

Tank says:

--Insert awkward exposition here: WE GOT BOMBS IN US AND IF WE LEAVE WE BLOW UP. I get that we needed to establish why Anakin and Shmi weren't shackled even though they are slaves, and the pseudo-tech answer works, this explanation just isn't very organic though. More student level screenwriting here.

 

-- I like Padme being ignorant to the world outside of the Republic. I can't help but think this informs her decision later to bring up the no-confidance vote. The Republic has already failed her planet, and it's even worse outside its borders. I wish she'd have had a few more moments like this, even through the next two films in the face of the empire growing.

 

-- Jar Jar is in this scene. yeah.

 

--Anakin brings up podracing so he can talk about himself and introduce the concept to the story. Both are awkward entry points, but a cocky little kid that grows into being a cocky adult WOULD do that sort of thing. Qui-gon makes a remark which leads Annie to calling him out as a Jedi and having a "lazer-sword" which for some reason is what George Lucas calls a lightsaber in all his scripts.

 

-- Anakin mentions he's the only "human" that can pod race.

 

-- Anakin's dream is important. We know he later has them and comes back, but here he talks about coming back and freeing the slaves as a Jedi. When this comes part true I can't decide if it was a missed opportunity to see that happen... or if the point is that Anakin makes a wrong decision somewhere, and that he SHOULD have come back to Tattooine sooner and the fact he didn't leads to his mother dying. I feel inclined to add Jake lloyd is a terrible actor. Not sure if I mentioned that yet or not.

 

-- Exposed, Qui-gon and Padme spill the beans as to why and how they are there. In a twist of cosmic coincidence Anakin has a pod racer and can help them win on a race TOMORROW which will give them the hyperdrive they need. Padme tells Shmi that "Qui-gon wouldn't want to put your son in danger" )which is kind of funny considering what transpires for the rest of the film), to which the galaxy's greatest mom takes 3 seconds to decide its cool for her 8 year old to strap himself to floating turbine engines and fly in a race against some gangsters to help some people that he dragged home out of the storm. It's all so absurd. This is supposed to be the call to adventure-- like Luke getting sucked up until Leia's plight. But for Luke, there was a lot riding on it. Turns out Ben knew his father, his aunt and uncle are killed, he KNOWS he's attached to Leia somehow-- it's truly destiny. Anakin's call seems to be based on coincidence and random choices under the guise of being "the will of the force." I call it, again, poor storytelling. There's other ways to get to this entry point in the story. Again, if Anakin were older, he'd have the hots for Padme and decide to help them on his own to please her (for example).

 

Scene: Qui-Gon goes to Watto and sets up the deal whereby Anakin will be allowed to race for the ship parts. If the child loses, the queen’s ship will belong to Watto.

 

Thomas Alan says:

-Here we have the most direct call on Padme being Amidala in disguise. By this point, I’m fairly sure Qui-Gon knows he’s speaking to the queen and intentionally tweaks her.

 

-I don’t think it’s unfair to call Qui-Gon reckless for offering someone else’s ship and only property of value on a racing scheme.

 

-This is the first scene where we see that Watto has a legitimate soft-spot for Anakin. Even when talking about an accident that, no doubt, cost him a lot of money, Watto credits Anakin with a good piloting job.

 

-Qui-Gon strikes a deal with Watto whereby the toydarian will win either way. Unfortunately, it also means that Qui-Gon has little leverage later on in the movie. Watto calls him foolish, and he’s not wrong.

 

Tank says:

-- I'm still not sure if Qui-gon knows Padme is really the Queen or not at this point. It's possible, but at the same time he's so cocky and sure of himself it's hard to say if he is blinded by his overconfidence, or just dicking with her.

 

-- The overly elaborate plan for Qui-gon to pretend he owns a pod anakin has built but we've only heard about and to enter a race using the ship with no hyperdrive as collateral to enter the race is laid out in a painfully expository way. It really could have been streamlined. Anakin's pod didn't have to be a secret, that gained nothing. We established earlier a ship without hyperdrive is worthless in theory. It's just so overly complicated. I think Lucas writes his scripts in a way where he knows the major plot points and action sequences, but it's just torture for him to connect them organically.

 

-- Backing up Anakin's "human" line, Watto says Anakin is a credit to "your race." This makes me wonder if aall humans in the Star Wars galaxy are from the same planet historically. That might make sense in terms of why the Naboo and Gungans don't get along. If the Naboo are descended from colonists, and the Gungans were indigenous you could see why there might be bad blood.

 

 

Scene: Qui-Gon and Shmi discuss Anakin’s powers and what can be done for him while watching Anakin put the finishing touches on his pod. Anakin’s friends stop by to let Anakin know he doesn’t have a prayer of winning.

 

Thomas Alan says:

-Qui-Gon’s been giving Anakin meaningful looks for a good 10 minutes now. While he’s checking in with Obi-Wan he expresses that he might be important for the first time in words.

 

-Now it’s time to start talking to the mother about her special little boy. This is really the only time we ever see how Jedi handle the delicate situation of telling a parent that their child has the potential to become a Jedi. In Anakin’s case he’s unusually old and has manifested his power more than most, but I think the method of breaking it to the parent would be generally the same.

 

-Shmi mentions that Anakin has a rather pure heart. In this movie, he’s as far away from Vader as you can get.

 

-Here we have the virgin birth. It seems to be mainly a concept meant to fulfill a prophesy, but will also be lightly touched upon in RotS. I don’t have much use for it as Christ figures in movies are a bit overplayed, but it is an indication that Anakin is megapowerful.

 

-Oddly, when Shmi essentially offers Anakin to the Jedi, Qui-Gon at first waffles because it’s not his primary mission.

 

-And here comes Boba Fett, I mean Kitster. This is one of the weirder rumors that got started and was accepted by way too many people.

 

-I can accept Anakin talking like a crackhead alone, but I really don’t need a whole gaggle of them interacting.

 

-I think this is one of the more effective little Jar Jar gags. Threepio commenting on it might be the reason.

 

Tank says:

-- The underused Obi-wan does more of nothing, playing the other end of the telephone as Qui-gon confirms Anakin is special. Shmi pops out and they shoot each other these little grins which tells me that last night they got it on. I'm sure of it. Given that Jedi have the best defense for one-night stands in the galaxy (hey baby, jedi code don't allow for no attachment) it's a forgone conclusion she was swinging his lightsaber all night.

 

-- Shmi and Qui-gon talk about Annie, and confirm he should have been a Jedi given his abilities. We also get our first clue as to how young Jedi are when they begin training. Hearing the Luke was too old wasn't a huge shock, but finding out Anakin is too old at 8 is very interesting.

 

-- I KNOW this is mythic storytelling that involves a prophecy, and that the concept of an immaculate conception goes part and parcel with that, but Shmi just throws it out there, and Qui-gon doesn't question it. I know he senses the force and what not-- but come on. Who's going to buy this realistically? Maybe he should have given HER a blood test. Then again, if he just bailed out on her with his "can't date, i'm a Jedi line" she can come back with "immaculate conception."

 

-- This kid scene is terrible. CHILD ACTORS GAAHHHH. Warrick as a midget proportioned young Greedo is creepy. I THINK this is where the cut scene is where it is confirmed that is a young Greedo, and Anakin gets mad and knocks him down. I think having that scene really would have helped define Anakin as a character.

 

--This is one of the scenes where Jar Jar looks phenomenal. There's barely any edge blurring when Padme touches his arm. The close up of his hand reaching for the wrench looks so good I'm not sure it isn't actually a prosthetic/make-up job. He's still annoying though.

 

Scene: Anakin tells Qui-Gon about his hopes and dreams. Meanwhile Qui-Gon secretly takes a blood sample to test his Force potential and discovers that the young man is off the charts.

 

Thomas Alan says:

-Talking about the stars…a rather banal “I wish†moment.

 

-This was filmed months after production wrapped. Anakin’s mostly shot in shadow here to hide his being older than he should be.

 

-Obi-Wan pops up to play the science guy.

 

-Midichlorians are brought up for the first time. I’ll save my comments on them for later when Qui-Gon explains what they are.

 

-Whatever they are, though, Obi-Wan’s mentioning that he’s got a higher count than Yoda is another big indicator that Anakin is unusually strong in the Force even for a Jedi. It also marks Yoda as the peak of Jedi strength. A concept not totally known in the Original Trilogy.

 

-Qui-Gon says he’s not sure what it means, but he has strong suspicions already.

 

-Shmi catches Qui-Gon on the phone and turns away. The Jedi gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar a bit there.

 

Tank says:

--This kid is killing me. He's 8 and he speaks like... I don't know what. My four year old doesn't sound this cheesy. This kid has no personality and just reads lines written by somebody who is giving him dialog that is just stock kid-stuff. The kid just isn't good enough to sell bad dialog.

 

-- Qui-gon does the blood test and we hear the word MIDICHLORIANS. No definition of them yet, but even on first viewing I was bothered by the fact there could be any scientific measurement of force potential. We already know he is special. George is once again TELLING us things instead of showing us. Showing Annie with fore-sight or Jedi reflexes would such a more interesting way then to TELL us by having Obi-Wan look at a microscope. More midichlorian hate when we get the filmic definition.

 

--The DVD version of this scene looks decent, but I remember in the theater it looked terrible. MAJORLY noisy/grainy with very poor contrast. I also recall an interview with Lucas and McCallum talking about shooting AOTC digitally as the technology was just coming up. They revealed they had shot one scene of TPM digitally as a test, but wouldn't say which because OMNG IT'S SO GREAT YOU PEOPLE DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE! Well I did. It was obviously this scene, and when they finally revealed that years later in another interview I wasn't shocked at all.

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-- Anakin must have cleaned those racks double-time, because he joins them and scares Sebulba off. His dialog is terrible of course, and acted in even worse. This kid is just bad. Sorry. What I do like though, is Sebulba IS backed down. That says he actually either has respect, or a little fear for this kid. We'll learn more down the road, but as an introduction, it's certainly foreshadowing that the dug is kind of afraid of this kid. I don't think Anakin knows it-- clearly his lie about Jar Jar isn't fooling anyone, and Sebulba having to pay Watto for killing his slave doesn't seem like much of an excuse either... but I think Sebulba is willing to save face and pretend to buy what Anakin is selling. This is one of the few times I think George pulls off being subtle, and it works well despite Lloyd's acting ability.

 

Heh, too subtle for me I suppose.

 

-- This may seem petty, but it's one of the little things that drive me insane and point to how poor of a writer Lucas is. In screenwriting, especially dialog, you really want to avoid repeating words close to each other. It sounds unnatural and clunky. Example, Anakin says "When the storm is over I'll show you my RACER. I'm building a pod RACER." It just sounds like bad writing. Any copy editor in the world would have made that sentence be "When the storm is over I'll show you the pod racer I'm building." The last scene had the word "outskirts" used twice in a row as well. Again, probably, petty to anyone but me, it's just this endless string of tiny little things adding up that makes this movie fail for me.

 

For the "racer" dialogue, I think a lot of Anakin's dialogue is intentionally bad to reflect the character being a child. For them, repeating a word twice in a sentence makes more sense. Anakin's dialogue in pretty consistantly hitting on childishness so it's obviously intentional and not the sign of a writer without a handle on writing fundamentals. Whether it makes for good movie dialogue is another story. I understand what was being attempted and accept it, while a lot of people just cringe.

 

Anakin's pod didn't have to be a secret, that gained nothing.

 

Well, he is a slave. Technically, Anakin doesn't own anything. They were selling Watto his own property.

 

-- Backing up Anakin's "human" line, Watto says Anakin is a credit to "your race." This makes me wonder if aall humans in the Star Wars galaxy are from the same planet historically. That might make sense in terms of why the Naboo and Gungans don't get along. If the Naboo are descended from colonists, and the Gungans were indigenous you could see why there might be bad blood.

 

I'd long assumed that to be true. It would be excedingly odd if humans sprung up on planet after planet.

 

Of course, when I was 11 I wondered what humans were doing in a galaxy far far away.

 

The close up of his hand reaching for the wrench looks so good I'm not sure it isn't actually a prosthetic/make-up job. He's still annoying though.

 

It was a prosthetic. They built a full Jar Jar costume for Ahmed Best in the hopes that they could just animate the head, but it turned out not to be cost effective. It came in handy for the close-ups.

 

-- This kid scene is terrible. CHILD ACTORS GAAHHHH. Warrick as a midget proportioned young Greedo is creepy. I THINK this is where the cut scene is where it is confirmed that is a young Greedo, and Anakin gets mad and knocks him down. I think having that scene really would have helped define Anakin as a character.

 

The Rodian's name is Wald. The cut scene with Greedo is a different character.

 

In 1999 I defended the idea of cutting the Anakin/Greedo fight. I preferred that he remain as pure as possible in first movie in order to build on the slight character flaws for his turn. Unfortunately, that didn't work out as Anakin's character flaws were evident in AotC.

 

-- Qui-gon does the blood test and we hear the word MIDICHLORIANS. No definition of them yet, but even on first viewing I was bothered by the fact there could be any scientific measurement of force potential.

 

I didn't have a problem with there being a measurement of Force potential in and of itself. It made sense to me that Jedi might attract some Force sensitive organism which they could test for.

 

If they'd just left it there, I would have accepted the Midichlorians easily.

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I have always thought that the Midichlorians should have just been mircoscope ECTOPLASMIC residue. The result of being 'touched' by a Ghost etc etc. This fits with, "If you quiet your mind you'll hear them talking to you. Telling you the will of the Force." This fits with what we already saw with Obi-Wan and Luke in the OT. I figure that the more attuned to the Force the more Ghosts or 'Messengers of God' would be trying to talk to you. Also the more quiet your mind was you would not just hear the Midichlorians, but see them... enter the visual and interactive Ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin.

 

I feel that if Midichlorians had been handled in this 'Ghostbusters Ray Stanz/Egon Spangler' expositional SCIENCE MEETS MYSTICISM way then the whole concept would have sold to the Star Wars fanbase.

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I could have accepted that, but I think no explanation at all would have been best. If they'd left the conversation with what Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon said in the above scene, we could just assume that Midichlorians are a by-product of being sensitive to the Force, whether it be ectoplasm or an organism. So the Jedi are testing for a benign marker like doctors do now when they test for anti-bodies when looking for a disease.

 

We haven't gotten to the scene yet, but Lucas's biggest mistake was making them the cause of Force sensitivity, not the effect.

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Thomas Alan says:

-Apparantly “Yo wanna wanga†means “Are you going to pay for that?â€. Which makes me wonder why Bib Fortuna asked that of Threepio in RotJ. Pretty lazy to recycle made-up dialogue and not even have it remotely in the same context.

 

I thought that was GL tossing older fans a pointless geek bone, as if to say "see? bet you remember hearing that in ROTJ, 'ay?"

 

Tank says:

-Coruscant is cool. The first two shots match what was established in ROTJ:SE, but I rather like the background the Siths walk in front of because for some reason, it reminds me of old Disneyland Tomorrowland concept art. Speaking of concept art, the city-planet concept was in pretty much every single draft of Star Wars Lucas has ever written from all the proto-Starkiller drafts, to the first draft of ROTJ. As a result, this is one of the things McQuarrie did concept art for, and I LOVE the fact Lucas went into the archives and dug out 22 year old art to finally realize.

 

Agreed.

 

Tank says:

-The Sith want revenge on the Jedi for something-- but I want to know what... and I don't want to have to read a bunch of crap novels and comics for an answer.

 

Probably the biggest, necessary explanation screwed up by GL neglect. He made a mistake in assuming such a crucial plot point--ater the Skywalker's effect, the prime motivator of the saga--could be sold & settled with the all too vague "revenge" line. In the OT, the audience witnessed the aftermath of the Sith's power grab, so it was not necessary for say, Obi-Wan or Yoda to go into a laborious explanation, since Luke (and the Rebellion for that matter) were already living under the thumb of evil. In other words, they got the message.

 

In the case of TPM being the "origin" film, GL needed Palpatine to finally hip us to what motivated the Jedi/Sith conflict beyond "Jedi = good / Sith = bad" as we--like the Prequel characters--were tossed into a "more civilized time" where GL should have treated us as though we were like the main characters: not knowing 2 sh*ts about Sith reasons for revenge. Even by the time of Revenge of the Sith, you would think Sith motives would have been laid out (beyond galactic takeover), but all we really hear are Sith accusations of Jedi fear (Anakin), Jedi lies and dogmatic behavior (Sidious), but no clear, this-BIG-DEAL-is-the-reason-we-want-revenge statement.

 

They are two sides of a religious movement; GL really needed to dig into that, instead of crap about midichlorian levels, and Sidious being haughty, etc.

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