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Darth Maul

Anakin and Padame

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Theatrical release May 1999, Lucasfilm, 2 hours 16 minutes.

Written and directed by George Lucas

Starring Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala / Padme, Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker, Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine, Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker, Oliver Ford Davies as Sio Bibble, Hugh Quarshie as Captain Panaka, Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO (voice), Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Frank Oz as Yoda (voice), Terence Stamp as Chancellor Valorum, Brian Blessed as Boss Nass (voice), and Ray Park as Darth Maul.

The Federation has a blockade preventing trade with Naboo. Jedi knight, Qui-Gon Jinn, and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, go to Naboo to negotiate a settlement, but they are betrayed. They rescue Queen Padme Amidala and head for Tatooine. There they meet a very young Anakin Skywalker.

This movie starts out with a bang and never lets up. There are droids, battles, light sabers, and everything else one would expect of a Star Wars movie.

There is a budding romance between Padme and Anakin that almost works. I couldn't get the Al Yankovic song The Saga Begins, sung to the tune of Don McLean's American Pie.

Ahh, do you see him hitting on the queen
Though he's just nine and she's fourteen
Yeah, he's probably gonna marry her someday

There is a lot of action in this movie. Some if it goes on a bit too long. The pod race didn't really need a third lap. The droid battle, as fun as it is, could be shortened a bit. And the light saber battle between Qui-Gon Ginn and Darth Maul goes on way too long for my tastes.

The Phantom Menace sets up the characters and societies for the rest of the Star Wars movies. It even introduces a few characters like Jabba the Hutt, Senator Palpatine, C3PO, R2-D2, and Yoda.

The first three Star Wars films lead into A New Hope, the first film written and produced. However, if you haven't watched any Star Wars films, it might be better to start with A New Hope. The next two films, episode II and III, Attack of the Cones and Revenge of the Sith, get very dark. They make more sense after you have watched episodes IV, V, and VI.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 26, 2022

Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan

Droids, Clones, and the Good Guys

Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones.

Theatrical release May 2002, Lucasfilm, 2 hours 22 minutes.

Directed by George Lucas. Story by George Lucas. Screenplay by Jonathan Hales.

Starring: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Padme, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO / Dannl Faytonni, Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks , Daniel Logan as Boba Fett, Christopher Lee as Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Frank Oz as Yoda (voice), Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker,and Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett.

Padme is now Senator Amadala, and Anakin is a Jedi knight but still under the tutelage of Obi-Wan Kenobi. When an assassination attempt almost kills Padme, Anakin is sent to guard her while Obi-Wan goes to find out who was behind the attempt.

Obi-Wan discovers that a now-deceased Jedi ordered the creation of a clone army several years ago. The clones are coming of age and ready to fight.

Count Draco has turned to the dark side and has an army of droids ready to take on the clones.

The movie begins with a speeder chase through a city of tall buildings with lots of aerial traffic. It is a clever and exciting beginning to the movie, but it is nothing compared to the battles at the end. However, there isn't enough in between.

Besides the politics, power struggles, and battle scenes, there should be a love story between Padme and Anakin. Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, little time is spent on those characters.

In episode one, the Phantom Menace, Padme, and Anakin are obviously enamored of each other. Although too young to have a real romance, it is apparent that one will happen someday. But in this movie, they just don't work. Neither actor can make the audience believe that they are seriously attracted to the other. Padme does a slightly better job than Anakin. But that magic spark just isn't there. So much so that the wedding at the end was somewhat confusing the first time around.

The final battle with Draco, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda works rather well. It isn't overly long. Although, if Yoda can fly around and fight like that, why does he hobble along using a cane most of the time?

But the big battle that leads up to that confrontation, clones vs. droids, is another issue. It reminds me of songs that end before they finish. You know the ones that repeat the chorus and first verse five times before taking another three choruses to fade out.

The battle is beatifically choreographed. The special effects are complex and believable. Padme shows herself to be much more than a pretty face. Her costume and actions are reminiscent of Leia in the latter moves.

But it takes way too long. I tend to fall asleep in battle and chase scenes. The music swells, the dialogue stops, and no matter how clever the battle, if it lasts too long, I can't keep my eyes open. This battle lasted way too long.

Although the outcome of a battle furthers the plot, the battle itself doesn't drive the plot. Battles don't contain much in the way of character development either. They sometimes feel like filler used to make the movie longer.

Also, if Anakin misses his mother so much, why didn't he visit her now and then? Getting angry at her death is reasonable, but since he knew she was a slave, why didn't he try to free her? I understand that this is part of what drives him to the dark side, but it's a bit too contrived.

If you like endless battle scenes, this movie is for you. But if you a looking for sensitive character development, this won't do it.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 6, 2022.

Padme and Anakin

Anakin and Obi-Wan

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Written and directed by George Lucas

Theatrical release May 2005, Lucasfilm, 2 hours 20 minutes.

Starring: Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Natalie Portman as Padme, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa, Frank Oz as Yoda (voice), Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Matthew Wood as General Grievous (voice), and Keisha Castle-Hughes as Queen of Naboo.

Three Years after Attack of the Clones, the war rages on. In an attempt to rescue Palpatine, Anakin fights Count Dooku, who is the Sith Lord, Darth Tyranus. Only by tapping into the dark side of the force can Anakin defeat Dooku. He cuts off both Dooku's hands, leaving him helpless. A Jedi would have walked away, but Palpatine goads Anakin into killing Dooku, further pushing him to the dark side.

Anakin learns that Padme is pregnant and will die in childbirth. Palpatine says he can save Padme if he uses the dark side of the force. This, of course, doesn't work out as planned. At least not as Anakin planned. But Palpatine gets what he wants. Anakin is powerful, blinded by the dark side, and loyal to Palpatine.

This movie, like the previous one, is mostly battle. Anakin's fall from grace and Padme's death should be an emotionally engaging tragedy, but the emotion just isn't there. Neither of the actors, Natalie Portman or Hayden Christensen, project the kind of feelings needed to make this part of the story work.

The ending battle between Ob-Wan and Anakin is a bit hard to take. Lava is simply too hot. Nothing can survive under the conditions portrayed in that battle. Not to mention the poisonous gasses molten lava emits.

The special effects are fantastic. The world looks real. Most of Star Wars is science fiction, but the force and some of the things the Jedi do is better relegated to fantasy. Not that including fantasy elements into science fiction bothers me, but even for fantasy, fighting on machines scooping up molten lava is too much.

In the first three movies, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, it feels as if George Lucas is struggling to turn Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. Rather than taking the time and sensitivity to explore Anakin's personality and the internal conflicts that cause him to become a megalomaniac, the focus is on action, creating bigger and more complex fight scenes, unique machines, and pushing special effects to the limit.

This movie works the first time because there isn't any time to digest the plot or characters before another chase, lightsaber fight, or battle explodes on the screen. However, in subsequent viewings, the lack of emotional continent and the very long, often repetitive, battles takes its toll on the viewer.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 23, 2022.

Obi-Wan Riding the Eopie

Fifth Brother and Third Sister

Not the Best Looking Prop

Obi-Wan Knobi - Part I

Directed by Deborah Chow.

Story by Stuart Beattie and Hossein Amini. Teleplay by Joby Harold.

Originally aired May 27, 2022, 53 minutes.

Based on STAR WARS by George Lucas

Starring Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kumail Nanjiani as Haja Estree, Marise Alvarez as Nyche, Flea as Vect Nokru, Moses Ingram as Inquisitor Reva / Third Sister, Vivien Lyra Blair as Leia Organa, Rupert Friend as Grand Inquisitor, Sung Kang as Fifth Brother, Rya Kihlstedt as Fourth Sister, Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, Dan Considine as Deck Officer Densin Clord, Temuera Morrison as Veteran Clone Trooper, Esther McGregor as Tetha Grig , Jecobi Swain as Jayco, and Indie DesRoches as Corran.

On Tatooine, the Grand Inquisitor and his minions are hunting Jedi. Third Sister is especially interested in Obi-Wan, but the people of Mos Eisley don't out Knobi. The Inquisitors are cruel, evil, and powerful, but they don't dominate the story.

Obi-Wan works in a factory and lives in a cave. Hardly the life of a Jedi. However, he watches over a young Luke Skywalker from a distance, much to the dislike of Luke's uncle Owen.

On Alderaan, a young Leia Organa lives with her rich and powerful adoptive parents.

Ewan McGregor played Obi-Wan Knobi the first three Star Wars movies and voiced the Obi-Wan character in the last three, making him the prefect actor to play Obi-Wan here.

Obi-Wan Knobi is a quiet film without the chase scenes and light saber fights typical of Star Wars. It takes its time to set up the society and the characters.

Obi-Wan is kind and gentle, living in seclusion. He is reluctant to use his Jedi skills. It isn't so much a fear of the Inquisitors as it is atonement for killing Anakin Skywalker.

Although the episode ends with a cliffhanger, it also ends on a positive note. Obi-Wan is back.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 26, 2022.

Grand Inquisitor

Obi-Wan and Leia


Obi-Wan Knobi - Part II

originally aired June 1,2022, 39 min.

Directed by Deborah Chow.

Teleplay by Joby Harold. Story by Hossein Amini and Stuart Beattie.

Ewan McGregor, Kumail Nanjiani, Marise Alvarez, Flea, Moses Ingram, Vivien Lyra Blair, Rupert Friend, Sung Kangr, Rya Kihlstedt, Hayden Christensen, and Dan Considine.

Obi-Wan travels to Daiyu in search of Leia. He meets Haja Estree, a con man passing himself off as a Jedi. Even though Haja isn't a real Jedi, he does help Obi-Wan find Leia.

Finding Leia is only the beginning. There are stormtroopers and Inquisitors everywhere.

The Third Sister admits she set up Kenobi. The Grand Inquisitor says she is the scum of the earth, so to speak, and relives her of her duties. It doesn't sit well.

This episode is dark and dystopian. Although the main street reminds me of Tokyo, or rather, pictures of Tokyo. I've never been there. Underneath the glitter, it is pretty gritty.

Leia is both mouthy and her own worst enemy. Had she been compliant, this episode would have been about ten minutes long. But that wouldn't be very exciting.

Vivien Lyra Blair does a great job as Leia. She has all the hutzpah of Carrie Fisher's Leia, wiser than her years and eager to tell off Obi-Wan.

Moses Ingram looks like such a happy, kind person out of costume, but as Third Sister, she is intensely evil. You don't want to meet most villains alone in a dark alley. You don't want to meet Third Sister on a bright crowded street. She might skewer you with her lightsaber just because you got in her way.

This episode gives a little more insight into the Inquisitors and Darth Vader.

Part II isn't a cliffhanger, but it isn't the end of the story.

Reviewed by Romana Drew September 19, 2022.