Star Wars With Friends #1: EPISODE I- THE PHANTOM MENACE

Yippee! Star Wars With Friends begins appropriately enough, at the beginning with a commentary for EPISODE I- THE PHANTOM MENACE. Watch with us as we relive the perils and the promise of the film that reintroduced Star Wars fans to a galaxy far, far away after a 16 year absence and have a totally wizard time!

We discuss the merits of midichlorians, Anakin Skywalker’s pimp game, and whether or not Jar Jar Binks was really all that bad. The road to EPISODE VII begins with the first edition of Star Wars With Friends!

Follow us on Twitter! @SWWithFriends

Download the episode HERE!

  • Adrian Edmondson

    Looking forward to future episodes . Still hard to watch but some things worked like Darth Maul , and Obi . Looking forward to hearing the Empire one though , since its the best out of all of them .

  • Michael

    I don’t know if you guys neglected to mention it or didn’t know it was there, but Jimmy McNulty (known in his civilian identity as Dominic West) is in the movie. It’s the scene where Anakin goes to visit Padme and the Queen informs him that she has been sent on an errand. He played the security guard who informed the Queen that “The Boy’s here to see Padme.”

  • stock

    A tragedy, (in movie terms) of epic proportions. What should have been the most important film in the series is arguably the worst. The reasons are too many to list, but, the most glaring IMO is the choice of the young actor who played Anakin, (not exactly Hayley Joel Osment), and the strange need to explain and de-mystify everything that held any wonder from the original series. Not to mention terrible directing, writing, and bland characterizations. Its a mess. I only have it to complete the series. Its just shy of un-watchable.

  • Derick22

    All things considered, I thick Episode 1 may have actually aged best out of all of the prequels. It’s certainly the best LOOKING film out of the first 3, partly because it was made at a time when George Lucas was still willing to actually film on location and not just sit behind a series of HD monitors on a sound stage. (Hi Episode 3!!) Plus, at least technically speaking, it may have the most well put together lightsaber duel in the entire saga.

  • Robert Reineke

    A lot of problems with the prequels could have been fixed if they merely started Anakin at Luke’s age, and cast someone that had chemistry with Natalie Portman.

    Otherwise, Darth Maul, the Pod Race, Ewan McGregor, Ian McDiarmid, John Williams, and the big final duel I consider plusses. I don’t care for Jar Jar, but I consider the character more akin to nipples on the Bat-suits, the easy focal point when there are larger problems at play. I don’t mind Jar Jar in his Buster Keaton moment at the end though.

    Have the Gentlemen seen The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro? If not, I’d recommend checking them out, plus The Dambusters, before Episode 4, as Lucas manages the fine line between homage and copying very well. An episode discussing George Lucas’ influences might be something to consider.

  • Michael Lalaian

    Gotta say, this first episode of the podcast was a great success! Nothing gets me more excited about the build up to Episode VII than following along with you guys. Time to blow the dust off my Thrawn Trilogy hardcovers.

    Max Von Sydow as Joruus C’Baoth? Just a thought…

  • dimitris johnson

    Great show guys, I have to say, this is my second least favourite film of the saga but definitely has some redeeming qualities, especially after watching this episode with your commentary.
    I recently watched this with my 9 year old cousin and Sean was absolutely right, he was so intrigued by the spectacle of some of the scenes, that the silly scenes with Jar Jar in the final battle weren’t even noticed by him, therefore just not needed.
    Looking forward to next weeks episode as AOTC is perhaps my least favorite Star Wars film, so it will interesting to see which redeeming qualities I will find after watching it with you gentleman.
    Just a quick thank you for creating this program, I can sit down and watch my favorite film series with some of the most knowledgeable Star Wars people i know.

  • Naes1984

    Ah… the prequels. I remember seeing Episode 1 when I was still in middle school and my mother leaned over half way through the movie and said, “Wow. This kid is a really bad actor.” I was of course too busy trying to understand what Jar Jar was saying to pay attention to the film’s other problems. It was one of the first movies I saw in a theater where the experience was unpleasant. I remember going to Batman and Robin and laughing at how bad it was but Phantom Menace was just a slog. I think Harry S. Plinkett’s “analysis” is the best thing to come out of it.

    Positives: I do think it looked good compared to the other 2 prequels. The special effects were a tad more restrained. “Restrained” is probably not the best word but I can’t think of a better one. There are parts in 2 and 3 (like where they digitally put Christopher Lee’s and McDiarmid’s faces on younger actors while they flip around comically with lightsabers) that look atrocious.

    Negatives: Where to begin? I guess I’ll point out my entire problem with the trajectory of the series: Why are you trying to create heroes (the Jedi) whose highest aspiration is to be bland as possible? They don’t marry. They don’t party. They don’t own possessions. They rarely joke. They don’t seem to have hobbies. They don’t seem to actually like each other. They steal children (yes I know it’s not technically stealing). Sign me up! I don’t care if Jedi are supposed to be this way: it’s a broken concept. Contrast this with Guardians where every character’s personality has a chance to shine and where they have relatable motives. The prequels were sorely missing a Han Solo-esque character.

  • texvor

    I think people are missing the point of the prequels. The Jedi aren’t meant to be exciting heroes….they are supposed to be monks of a sort. Be it monks that have lost their way with the force. Qui gon Jinn for example is used in the podcast as being more in contact with the force but even he is a bit arrogant when it comes to the force. The scene near the start of the film when Obi wan Kenobi says to him he feels something elusive on the ship while Qui gon jinn tells him to ignore it was obvious that Obi wan was picking up Palpatine who was communicating with the federation in his Darth Sidious guise. A similar scene is repeated in the second sequel at the temple when the kids tell Obi wan the obvious.
    Another factor now is the context of TPM in regard to the other films. In the beginning we see the jedi at the height of their powers and the technology they use to benefit their order. But the original trilogy there are no Jedi left and only a few has the actual knowledge about the order as well as the force. When Yoda dies technically everything about the jedi order is lost as Luke will only know a handful but not everything. So the OT will present it as more mythical. By the time we get to the first sequel film of the sequel trilogy its more apcolyptic and Luke hasn’t been going around training new Jedi knights from what we know so far.
    Effectivly the jedi and the Sith kept what they knew about the force and the technology they used in tandem with it to themselves. Themoment they went, no one else knew or more likely understood. Especially from what we see in the clone wars and the prequel movies, every time the jedi fight the sith its always seems to be in private and not where many people can witness it. So by the time we get to the original trilogy and even the sequel trilogy the whole thing is a fantasy a fairy tale in their own galaxy.

  • Hey berto

    Is this not on iTunes yet?

  • Kerry Vanderberg

    I can’t find this on iTunes or the podcast app when I search for it. So please fix that.

    I did download it and listen to it as if it were a song, and highly enjoyed it. All my SW DVD’s are packed away, so I’ll have to revisit this commentary later, but I enjoyed listening to your guys thoughts and banter as always. Some thoughts . . .

    I might change my opinions a bit when I re-watch them factoring in some of your guys’ comments, and I admit I am not familiar with almost any of the EU material other than the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn.

    For me, this was the weakest of the prequel trilogy, with ROTS being my favorite. I agree with you guys for the most part on all of the fun parts and positives of this movie. But I personally do find the political stuff boring, and I feel like they are on Tatooine WAY too long. Yes, the pod-race is fun, but in my opinion it drags the plot down quite a bit. Plus, two of the Original Trilogy films featured Tatooine heavily, so I wasn’t interested in revisiting it again and again. It’s great watching the stuff with the Jedi, and seeing some of Palpatine’s political maneuvering, but I feel like that could have been accomplished in a much more condensed fashion and they could have hurried up to setup the threat of the clone wars by the end of this movie. I also would have appreciated a little more Jedi mythology and history in this, which we still only got in snippets in the next two films.

    I find Jar Jar annoying for sure, but I remember kind of feeling the same way with the droids in ANH. I never even realized the droids were there for comic relief as a kid, as the whole thing felt very serious to me. It wasn’t until I saw the re-release in theatres while I was in high school that I heard the audience laugh at the scenes with the droids that I realized how much humor they bring.

  • Kerry Vanderberg

    Oh, and this is a technical/stylistic comment for the podcast – I’m not as into the scripted intro and outro with this. I know that probably fits with Justin’s sensibilities, but I much prefer how Sean conducts the intro and setup for an episode of a podcast. Maybe I’m just used to how Sean set it up, but to me it sounds almost too “formal” when the MMM podcast for me has always been more about friends having a guided but casual conversation about the things they love. The same thing didn’t appeal to me on the DeadTalks podcast.