My Five Favorite Things About The Phantom Menace

I thought I’d go through all the Star Wars films and list a few of my favorite things about them, because why not? One a week, starting with Episode 1 all the way through 9, as well as Rogue One and Solo. Let’s start, shall we?

Favorite Scene

This isn’t a specific scene, but I loved how Padme Amidala disguised herself as one of her own handmaidens, and Sabe often was dressed as the Queen. It was smart, clever, and fooled almost everyone–I’m still up in the air as to whether the Jedi were fooled or not. They looked fairly surprised when Padme came forward and admitted to being the Queen when she spoke with Boss Nass, but I’ve seen others claim that they knew. What do you think?

Favorite Duel

This one’s pretty easy, because there’s only one duel of note in this film: Duel of the Fates, between Qui Gon, Obi-Wan, and Maul. It’s the first major lightsaber duel of the prequels, and it’s graceful, frenetic, and deadly in a way that the duels from the OT weren’t, like a dance. Maul’s double-bladed red lightsaber is awesome, and his moves are equally impressive. Qui Gon’s death at his hand is heartbreaking, as is the tender way Obi-Wan cradles him and promises to train Anakin right before he dies. Obi-Wan, by the way, proves he’s a master lightsaber duelist when he kills Maul, the first Sith the Jedi have encountered in a thousand years. Well, we thought he killed him, and so did Obi-Wan.

It’s also interesting to note that Dave Filoni himself pointed out that it’s called the Duel of the Fates because it’s Anakin’s fate that hangs in the balance with this duel. If Qui Gon had not been killed, would Anakin have eventually turned the Dark side? Perhaps not, as Qui Gon might have been the strong father figure that Anakin needed, whereas Obi-Wan was more of a brother or friend and inevitably failed in that role. And I’m not saying it’s all Obi-Wan’s fault Anakin turned; I think it’s obvious several factors were at work.

So it’s an important duel for that reason; not to mention the fact that Maul actually survives, and his injuries at the hand of Obi-Wan fuels his rage and his vendetta against him throughout much of Clone Wars and Rebels.

Favorite Line

Some people should heed Qui Gon's words more often.

Funniest Moment

Jar Jar Binks is definitely the comedy relief in this movie, and I have to say that although I thought he was pretty silly when I first saw this back in the day, I’ve come to love the goofy guy. There’s an innocence to him that’s touching, and he does help the cause in many ways. I’d have to say the funniest moments are the ones during the Battle of Naboo, where he clumsily swings weapons around and actually does some damage. It’s not laugh-out-loud, certainly, but gets a little chuckle out of me.

Most Impactful Character

Qui Gon Jinn wins this category. He’s pretty much the dramatic center of the story, and he’s always been one of my favorite Jedi. But I’ve decided to make this category the most impactful character, and not necessarily my favorite. Qui Gon is impactful here because it’s he who discovers Anakin (for better or for worse), frees him from slavery, and brings him back to Coruscant. It’s Qui Gon who pleads for Obi-Wan to train Anakin as a Jedi. It’s Qui Gon who steadfastly believes that Anakin is the Chosen One. Basically, if it wasn’t for Qui Gon, there would be no Skywalker saga; there would be no Star Wars. That’s quite impactful.

So, if I was forced to rank the Star Wars movies (and I see a lot of people ranking them on fan sites), this one would probably be last, as it often is with a lot of fans. Poor Phantom Menace. But I hate ranking the films, as I do love all of them in their own way. It’s like ranking your children, or picking a favorite child. I find something to love in all the Star Wars movies, and TPM has a lot to love.

What are some of your favorites in The Phantom Menace? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

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Friday Focus: Padme-Casualty of Love

Natalie Portman | Padmé Amidala | Star Wars
Queen, Senator, Fighter, Lover

Here is the latest installment of my Women of Star Wars series.

Ah, Padme. I have so many conflicting feelings about this character.

Clearly, she’s an intelligent, capable woman. We meet her in The Phantom Menace as the Queen of Naboo (an elected position, despite its title), at a very young age, perhaps 15 or so. She’s smart enough to have a decoy to protect herself and throw off adversaries. She’s decisive and strong-willed. She’s brave, leading the attack to take back her position and oust the Trade Federation. She can also hold up 50lb headresses–now that’s a tough woman!

Don’t mess with a Queen

We see more of the same in Attack of the Clones, particularly in the Battle of Geonosis. But she’s also a Senator of the Republic, once her term as Queen of Naboo ends. She’s still a woman of importance, a woman to be reckoned with, even though still quite young. Even when she and Anakin are obviously falling in love on Naboo, she’s clear-headed and tries to resist giving in to her feelings. She knows what the consequences will be. Whereas Anakin, impetuous as ever, is willing to give in to his passions and throw caution to the wind. When they get married at the end of the film, you start having a bad feeling about this.

Star Wars Attack Of The Clones Natalie Portman Image 8
Holding her own with the boys

By Revenge of the Sith, we learn that she’s pregnant with Anakin’s child(ren), and here’s where I begin to have a problem with Padme. Throughout the entire film, she does nothing but hang around their apartment and wait for Anakin to come back while she frets and worries, looking absolutely gorgeous in her many wardrobe changes. She does nothing else. Nothing.

I get it, she’s pregnant and can’t very well go on dangerous missions or adventures. And I’m not saying she needs to be wielding a blaster to be strong or essential. That doesn’t mean she can’t contribute something to the film or do something halfway useful. In conversation with Anakin, she tells him she wants to go back to Naboo and have their baby there, because she doubts the Queen would let her continue as a Senator on Coruscant. Um, why? Because she’s pregnant? Maybe there’s some cultural Naboo thing I don’t know about, but this didn’t make any sense to me, and it kind of offended me.

I feel bad for Natalie Portman, because the filmmakers didn’t give her character anything to do in this third, and pretty damn important, installment of the series. She is now officially just “Anakin’s wife” and “Luke and Leia’s doomed mother”, and really just a placeholder in the story. I hate to say it, but she’s a crying Barbie doll in this movie, and it really pissed me off. After strong, capable Padme in the first two films, this is what she’s reduced to?

Padmé Amidala - The Best Costumes From The 'Star Wars' Movies - Photos
Basically Padme throughout the entire ROTS movie

Understandably, with nothing to do and a child on the way, Padme is feeling lost and vulnerable. She doesn’t know what’s going on with Anakin, but feels there’s something off, not quite right. She weeps. She stares off into the distance. She waits for men to come and go to her. This image of Padme disappoints me.

Just because she’s in love and pregnant means she’s falling apart? I’m not sure what I can suggest for a better storyline for her, but surely she deserves better.

And then, at the end of the film when she’s giving birth to the twins, the medical droid states that she’s otherwise healthy, but she’s dying anyway. She’s “lost the will to live.” Yeah, okay, her husband has turned to the Dark Side and it’s broken her heart, but excuse me, you HAVE BABIES that need you. You have something left of what Anakin once was in his children, but they’re not enough? I’m sorry, but this doesn’t ring true for me. Early Padme would NEVER have given up.

The folks at Retrozap may have just fixed one of the goofiest moments in the Star Wars prequels. We all remember when Padme dies — seemingly of "a broken heart" — while giving birth to the twins in Revenge of the Sith, right? Well, this theory states something else killed her... namely the Emperor.
This pain is nothing compared to the loss of my Ani

I can’t help but conclude that the filmmakers simply didn’t know what to do with Padme in the third film, didn’t have the time, or take the time, to be true to her character, and reduced her to a frustrating stereotype. This is extremely disappointing and kind of unforgivable, considering that Star Wars has done a pretty good job overall with its female characters over the years; even Padme from the first two films is admirable and fairly three-dimensional.

Revenge of the Sith is my favorite movie out of the prequels, but this one thing–the mishandling of Padme–is my one sticking point. Yes, her death is tragic and moving and so forth, but it would have carried more weight if she’d been allowed to be a fully realized human being rather than the starry-eyed girl who thinks of nothing but her lover.

I get it–she’s young and love is blind, but I can’t help feeling that Padme was wasted on Anakin. She’s far his superior in character, temperament, and intellect. She fell in love with his looks, his charm, and maybe even his vulnerabilities–and it proved to be her undoing. Tragic, indeed.

Imagen de star wars and padme
Sci-fi Ophelia

What do you think of Padme Amidala? Did the filmmakers do her justice in ROTS? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!