Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

The Trade Federation upsets order in the Galactic Republic by blockading the planet Naboo in preparation for a full-scale invasion. The Republic’s leader, Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, dispatches Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation’s secret benefactor, orders the Viceroy to kill the Jedi and begin their invasion with an army of battle droids. The Jedi escape and flee to Naboo. During the invasion, Qui-Gon saves the life of a Gungan outcast, Jar Jar Binks. Indebted to Qui-Gon, Jar Jar leads the Jedi to Otoh Gunga, the Gungans’ underwater city. The Jedi fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, to help the planet’s surface dwellers, but manage to obtain Jar Jar’s guidance and underwater transport to Theed, the capital city of Naboo. After rescuing Queen Padmé Amidala, the group make their escape from Naboo aboard her Royal Starship, intending to reach the Republic capital planet of Coruscant.

Passing through the Federation blockade, the ship is damaged in the crossfire and its hyperdrive is rendered useless. The group land for repairs on the outlying desert planet of Tatooine, situated beyond the Republic’s jurisdiction. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Padmé—disguised as one of her handmaidens—visit the settlement of Mos Espa to purchase a new part for their hyperdrive. They encounter a junk dealer, Watto, and his nine-year-old slave, Anakin Skywalker, a gifted pilot and engineer who has built a protocol droid, C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin, and is convinced that he is the prophesied “Chosen One,” destined to restore balance to the Force. With Watto refusing to accept payment in Republic currency, Qui-Gon wagers both the required hyperdrive part and Anakin’s freedom in a podrace. Anakin wins the race and joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving behind his mother, Shmi. En route to their starship, Qui-Gon is attacked by Darth Maul, Sidious’ apprentice, who was sent to capture Amidala. After a brief lightsaber duel, Qui-Gon escapes onboard the starship with the others.

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escort Padmé to Coruscant so that she can plead her people’s case to Valorum and the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council for permission to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council refuses, concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force. Undaunted, Qui-Gon vows to take up Anakin as his new apprentice. Meanwhile, Naboo’s Senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable leader and to resolve the crisis. Though she is successful in pushing for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are ordered by the Jedi Council to accompany the queen and investigate the return of the Sith, whom they had believed to be extinct for more than a millennium.

On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself as the queen before the Gungans to gain their trust, and persuades them to help against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar is promoted to general and joins his tribe in a battle against the droid army, while Padmé leads the search for Gunray in Theed. Anakin is told by Qui-Gon to hide in a starfighter alongside R2 in the hangar, but accidentally triggers its autopilot and flies into space, where he takes part in the battle against the Federation droid control ship, inadvertently causing its destruction from within, which deactivates the droid army. Meanwhile, Darth Maul infiltrates the Theed Palace on the orders of Darth Sidious and engages Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in a lightsaber duel; he mortally wounds Qui-Gon, but is bisected by Obi-Wan and falls down a shaft. Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin before dying in his arms. 

Following the battle, Gunray is arrested by the Republic and Palpatine is elected Chancellor. Master Yoda promotes Obi-Wan to the rank of Jedi Knight and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan’s apprentice. A funeral is held for Qui-Gon, attended by the other Jedi, who contemplate that there is still one Sith remaining since there are always two of them. During a celebratory parade on Naboo, Padmé presents a gift of thanks to the Gungans to establish peace.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Now you got me with the films. Honestly one of the best from the older films. I know Jar Jar Binks annoys a lot of people but he’s been one of my favorites since the film came out. Even Matthew was hooked with this one. I did have to explain that by this point of the movies that Anakin later becomes Darth Vader and is the Father to Luke and Leia. He enjoyed the young Anakin and all the flying he did. Fully invested in finishing this out.

22 Comments

  1. I do like this movie. What I would have done regarding the lightsaber duel on Tattooine is have Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi fight Darth Maul. Had he managed to escape, I would have had Count Dooku or Mace Windu and Yoda confront him.

      1. The initial confrontation would have had the 2 original Jedi in the story line confront Darth Maul on Tatooine and had he managed to escape have Yoda and Mace Windu or Count Dooku take him on. Regarding Yoda, Mace Windu and Count Dooku respectively, what 2 Jedi would you have liked to see confront Darth Maul?

  2. I have also been studying the different Jedi and imagining who would have been the best teacher for Anakin Skywalker. Given their relatively similar natures, I think that Anakin Skywalker should have been trained by Agen Kolar.

  3. As a follow-up, here is the conversation as I see it unfolding: Agen Kolar: “I will train the boy.” The rest of the Jedi Council: “You? Do you think you can handle the training of the Chosen One”? Agen Kolar: “I see some similarities in terms of our personalities.” The rest of the Jedi Council: “It’s settled then.”

    The duel against Darth Maul would have Mace Windu and Count Dooku confronting him. Qui-Gon Jinn would still live to help have some influence in keeping Anakin Skywalker in the light. However, the idea regarding Agen Kolar training Anakin Skywalker would be unchanged in my scenario.

    1. I’m not sure how much of a chance it would make. Anakin was close to Obi, once he saw his death, well I think that did things to him. Both Yoda and Obi knew that being the chosen one could mean that he could be light or dark. Either way he would have power

      1. I did prior to commenting, my point being sometimes there’s just a trait within a person, or in this sense the character Anakin, they it wouldn’t matter what so much on outside influences to help

      2. Alexandra Neznamy, other than Qui-Gon Jinn or Obi-Wan Kenobi, who would you think would be best suited to training Anakin Skywalker?

      1. I would like to discuss this further. What are your thoughts on my suggested ideas as mentioned in my other comment regarding Agen Kolar training Anakin Skywalker?

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