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Stars Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace Movie
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Stars Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace aka Stars Wars Episode I 
Release date: 19 May 1999 
Stars Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace Official Web Site
20th Century Fox - distribution 
Lucasfilm - production 
 
Credits

Cast: 
Liam Neeson --------------- Qui-Gon Jinn 
Ewan McGregor ----------- Obi-Wan Kenobi 
Natalie Portman ------------ Queen Amidala Padme Naberrie 
Jake Lloyd ------------------ Anakin Skywalker 
Pernilla August ------------- Shmi Skywalker 
Frank Oz -------------------- Yoda (voice) 
Ian McDiarmid ------------- Senator Palpatine 
Oliver Ford Davies --------- Sio Bibble 
Hugh Quarshie ------------- Captain Panaka 
Ahmed Best ---------------- Jar Jar Binks, new computer generated character 
Samuel L. Jackson --------- Mace Windu 
Ray Park -------------------- Darth Maul 
Peter Serafinowicz ---------- Voice of Darth Maul 
Ralph Brown ---------------- Ric Olié 
Terence Stamp ------------- Chancellor Valorum 
Brian Blessed -------------- Boss Nass 
Sofia Coppola -------------- Sache 
Adrian Dunbar ------------- Bail Organa 
Kenny Baker --------------- R2D2 (Artoo-Detoo) 
Warwick Davis ------------ Wald/Grimy Man/Spectator 
Anthony Daniels ----------- C-3PO (See-Threepio) 
Silas Carson ---------------- Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi Mundi 
Dhruv Chanchani ---------- Kitster 
Celia Imrie ----------------- Bravo Five 
Andy Secombe 
Margaret Towner ---------- Jira 
Oliver Walpole ------------- Seek 
Kristina DaSilva ----------- Rabe 
Jerome Blake -------------- Rune Haako 
Steven Speirs 
Synthia Monroe 
Benedict Taylor ------------ Starship Pilot 
Clarence Smith 
Dominic West 
Alexi Kaye Campbell 
Greg Proops ---------------- Fode-Beed (Beed's head) 
Scott Capurro -------------- Fode-Beed (Fode's head) 
Liz Wilson ------------------ Eritae 
Khan Bonfils --------------- Saesee Tinn 
Cin --------------------------- Adi Gallia 
Michaela Cottrell ----------- Even Piell 
Mark Coulier --------------- Aks Moe 
John Fensom --------------- TC-3 (TeeSee-Three) 
Ray Griffiths ---------------- Power Droid 
Madison Lloyd -------------- Ellie 
Geoffrey Pomeroy --------- General Ceel 
Alan Ruscoe ---------------- Plo Koon/Bib Fortuna/Sil Unch 
Christian J. Simpson ------- Royal Naboo Pilot 
 

Directed by --------------- George Lucas 
Written by ---------------- George Lucas 
Executive producer ------ George Lucas 
Produced by ------------- Rick McCallum 
Music by ----------------- John Williams 
Camera by --------------- David Tattersall 
Edited by ----------------- Ben Burtt, Paul Martin Smith 
Casting ------------------- Robin Gurland 
Production Design by ---- Gavin Bocquet 
Art Direction ------------- Phil Harvey 
Set Decoration ----------- Peter Walpole 
Costume Design by ------ Trisha Biggar 
Special Effects ----------- Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), (read that George Lucas' ILM) 
MPAA: Rated PG for sci-fi action/violence. 
Run time: 131 min 
 
 
Comments
In "Stars Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace", the movie, the event, the much anticipated opening on Wednesday 19 May. 

And the reports are starting to come in for this 21st Century Western with of course the force: 

  • Awesome Visual Effects
  • Wonderful panoramic scenes
  • Great new computer generated character: Jar Jar Binks
Guest Appearance

22 June - Liam Neeson to make a guest appearance on Sesame Street Tuesday 22 June 1999.

Phantom Menace goes Digital - On June 18 both Los Angeles and New York will see the first ever commerical presentation of a digitally projected feature film. LucasFilm and 20th Century Fox announced Thursday 3 June that "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" will be in two New Jersey theaters, the Loews' Route 4 Paramus and Loews' Meadows 6 in Secaucus. In Paramus the movie will be projected using a system from CineComm while in Secaucus Texas Instruments equipment will be used.That's right, it will not be shown on the 18th of June in Manhattan. In Los Angeles, Phantom Menace will be screened digitally at Pacific's Winnetka Theater (CineComm) and AMC's Burbank 14 (Texas Instruments.) 

What this means is that for the first time instead of projection from reels of film, the digital version of the movie will be read from eighteen 18 Gb hard disks in a HyperSpace digital video recorder developed by Denver based Pluto Technologies International and passed through the digital projectors developed by Texas Instruments and CineComm's partner, Hughes-JVC Technology Corp. This will mark the first time that the movie going public will see a fully digital, full length feature. 

Top one day box office:
 
Phantom Menace $28.5 mil Wed 19 May 99
The Lost World 26.1 mil Sun 25 May 97
The Lost World 24.4 mil Sat 24 May 97
The Lost World 21.6 mil Fri 23 May 97
Men in Black 20.2 mil Sat 5 Jul 97
Batman Forever 20.0 mil Fri 16 Jun 95
Jurassic park 18.2 mil Sat 12 Jun 93
Batman Forever 18.1 mil Sat 1 17 Jun 95
Independence Day 17.9 mil Sun 6 Jul 96
Independence Day 17.7 mil Sat 5 Jul 96
The Lost World and Independence Day opened on holiday weekends.

Music - John Williams, his thirty-seventh Academy Awards nomination was for Saving Private Ryan and he is the five-time Oscar-winning composer responsible for the music. His Oscar-wins are: 

  • SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)--Winner, Music (Original Score).
  • E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)--Winner, Music (Original Score).
  • STAR WARS (1977)--Winner, Music (Original Score).
  • JAWS (1975)--Winner, Music (Original Score).
  • FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971)--Winner, Music (Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score).
Location - Tunisia was the location from both Episodes 1 and 4. Near Tozeur, which is 250 miles from Tunis, the "Menace"  sets stand abandoned in the desert.

Best Star Wars Toy - Check out the 12 inch Darth Maul. That's the red-faced villain with the dual light saber.

Dolby EX Debut - Most Theaters have six separate sound channels: center, front left, front right, side surround left, side surround right and sub woofer. The new theater sound, dubbed Dolby Digital Surround EX, will have an additional set of rear speakers pumping out their own discreet sound effects. George Lucas requested the technology in order to immerse the audience in the onscreen action. This is the second time that Dolby and Star Wars have made a co-debut together. The 1977 Star Wars movie was the first special effects extravaganza to use the original Dolby Surround Sound theater system.

So what is THX? THX is a division of Lucasfilm Ltd. But THX is also a Lucas-created sound standard that works much like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Theaters are allowed to advertise themselves as THX movie houses if they meet certain specifications regarding ambient noise levels, sound amplifier power, speaker quality and placement. Dolby and THX together developed the Dolby Digital Surround EX used in Phantom Menace. Among other things you need the new $2,500 EX decoder made by the Dolby's Brisbane factory. Some 2,000 theaters have requested the decoder for the sound system for Phantom Menace.

Star Wars Episode 2 , the Sequel

  • Release scheduled for 2002
  • Will take place up to a decade after Phantom Menace
  • Will be shot entirely with a digital camera
  • To be directed by George Lucas
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"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Darth Maul Cover)
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Complete Stores set up with Star Wars Phantom Menace Stuff .
"Star Wars Episode I Electronic Naboo Fighter"
by Hasbro 
Manufacturer age range: 4 years and up
"Star Wars Episode I Basic Figure Collection II: R2-D2 #7"
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"Star Wars Episode I Basic Figure Collection II: Yoda with Jedi Council Chair #21"
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"Star Wars Episode I Basic Figure Collection I: Darth Maul (Version 2) #43"
by Hasbro
Manufacturer age range: 4 years and up
"Star Wars Episode I Basic Figure Collection I: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Naboo) #15"
by Hasbro
Manufacturer age range: 4 years and up
Stars Wars Epidsode I Posters
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In Association with allwall.com
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Fan Comments
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21 May - In regards to "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" the newsgroups are running wild in a Love It/Hate It war of epic proportions, but here is my take on the film.

"The Phantom Menace" as whole is a very entertaining film, but rather slow in the beginning. It doesn't have the feel of the other "Star Wars" movies, but that's because our old friends aren't here. The movie is obviously set up to introduce us to our new friends and the planetary theaters acting as their stage. There are definitely some bumps along the way. The acting is often very stiff (okay very, very stiff). The kids (Jake Lloyd as Anakin and Natalie Portman as the Queen) are actually pretty bad in some parts, especially Lloyd in the final space battle sequence. Liam Neeson seems to be locked in a Catatonic Jedi state of meditation through most of the movie. He's, well, there and that's about all that can be said. Ian McDirmad is appropriately oily as Senator Palpatine. Character-wise the two bright spots are Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ray Park's Darth Maul (who for some reason was voice dubbed by someone else). Unfortunately, both are almost painfully underused. Also, in his important (albeit brief) debut, Samuel L. Jackson is surprisingly good as Jedi Master Mace Windu. I've read his character is an emerging one and I'm happy to here that. Yoda looks, well, young. The design on the younger version of the Jedi Master is surprising inappropriate. This takes place only one generation from Episode IV (A New Hope) and yet Yoda looks half his age when we first meet him.

I'm sure you've already heard a lot about the character named Jar Jar Binks. If you haven't you will. One of the most posted to newsgroup threads is called "Jar Jar Binks Must Die." Imagine a very tall, clumsy, reptilian-like Jamaican pre-teen who speaks in a bizarre backwards English that would confuse even Yoda and you've got Jar Jar. If you hated the Ewoks you will hate Jar Jar Binks with a passion. Jar Jar has his moments. They went kind of half and half for me. Yes, there will be times he will annoy you and you'll want to tie him up and feed him to a shark, but it is tempered with midly amusement.

As for the script and direction, let's hope Lucas used TPM as a refresher course. His pacing in the first third of the movie is horrible. Scenes with no real punch are thrown at us with horrific speed making them even more confusing than they already are. Scriptwriting was never Lucas' strong point, so I can't say I'm surprised that it needed work here it never got. One constant through all four movies has been pretty lame dialogue and acting, but everything else was always so great we didn't care.

The rest of the behind the camera work, though, is excellent as usual. The effects guys at ILM have outdone themselves again, as they always seem to do. These aren't just state-of-the-art effects, these are industry redefining effects. The bar hasn't been raised here, it's been put on an entirely different plane. John Williams' music is great, incorporating both the familiar and new music. "The Duel of the Fates" -- the main musical piece for the climatic scenes -- is one of those pieces which will take on a life of it's own like "The Imperial March" and "Cantina Band."

There are two truly great scenes. The first (and the scene which really gets the film going) is the Pod Race scene. It is fast, furious and just great all-around. Even though you know the outcome you still find yourself holding your breath and the effects are incredible.

The second is arguably the best sequence in any "Star Wars" movie period: the climactic lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul. Believe me, you will want to see the movie a second, third and fourth time just to see this sequence. It is a vicious, energetic, athletic, acrobatic and totally dialogueless battle between the three men. The choreography of this sequence is truly staggering. The quickness in the movement and athleticism is just amazing. Best of all, it ends with an incredible shot that I won't ruin by explaining here.

All-in-all a good experience. What it mostly did was make me want to know what happens in Episode II and isn't that what an Episode I is all about anyway? 

19 May - I was just a little kid when Star Wars came out. Every Saturday for seven weeks, my brother and I took our allowance money and walked to the local strip mall theater to watch the matinee. My husband has been berserk for this film to come out, but honestly, I thought it could not live up to the first films-- too much hype, too much expectation, too many people wanting it to be too many different things. I don't know how the critical chips will fall out, but for this fan of the original trilogy, Phantom Menace was a wonderful surprise-- I really enjoyed myself greatly and felt no let down at all! The plot had a lot to accomplish, which it did, and the actors did a great job, really, all of them.  We shall be seeing this again in the theaters for sure. -- eileen morgan 

18 May - Well.........Guam was first!  We saw "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" at 12:01am Wednesday, 
May 19, 1999! I believe Guam was the first of the world to see the movie....... but I know we were the first to see the movie on U.S. soil and it was awesome! -- Teri Jo, Guam 

9 May - Things should calm down a bit when Episode II is released. There is so much hipe now because we haven't received so big something Star Wars since the release of Return of the Jedi. -- Australia 

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Send me your comments. I post fan comments.
acase@casenet.com
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Updated 8 December 1999
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