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The Phantom Menace: Dreadful, Calamity, or Just Pretty Bad?

Nothing gladdens the heart quite like a blunt pan of The Phantom Menace.

The packed theater of fangirls and fanboys I saw it with at a midnight showing sat in stony silence, after a few initial hoots and shouts when the lights went down.
We don’t want to remember it’s pretty bad. Then we do.
Why stop with one review? Let Simon Pegg have his say:
Money quote: “It’s a dreadful film… Everything that was cool about Star Wars is destroyed, abused and left for dead by this ponderous, meaningless story.”
The Guardian gets in a quick kick to the ribs:
 It was a pop-culture calamity, a soulless, passionless film whose only real effect was to smudge the happy memories of the three originals. Now Phantom Menace is back, in 3D, and a new generation can feel their hearts sink at that baffling and boring opening, all about the trade blockade and taxation quarrel.
LucasFilm Ltd.

UGO has the 11 worst Phantom Menace characters, and things are so bad that Jar Jar Binks doesn’t even make the list. Fode and Beed come in at number 9:

“For audiences in 1999, if there was any lingering doubt that Star Wars had taken a massive nosedive into stupidity, it was snuffed out by the appearance of Fode and Beed, the two-headed Podrace announcer whose broadcasting style was steeped in 20th Century hackery. Fode and Beed’s comic relief was about as cheesy as a Robin Williams impression and twice as irritating.”

CinemaBlend says “It’s no secret that George Lucas has done everything in his power to try and suck the life out of Star Wars fans,” then laughs at his improbable new claim that Han never shot first in original film.

Wired tries to salvage a few gems from the wreckage. Good luck with that, boys!

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