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Warning.... You are about to read a review by Joe Hallenbeck. The man who always follows through by twisting the knife. This review will OFFEND NEARLY ANYONE INVOLVED WITH THE MOVIE, STAR WARS, ETC.... However, Though I am on the exact opposite polar extreme with my feelings about this film, I can see where Joe is coming from in this review. And I think his feelings are shared by more people than will admit it. I've seen people fall in love with this film, be disappointed by it and loathe it with every fibre of my being. And ya know... I can see all three points of view, but then I'm one of the delusional folks that'll end up on a therapist's couch trying to figure out why I fucked my neighbor's cat (as Joe so eloquently puts it!) Oh yeah. VULGARITY WARNING.... BEWARE.... THIS IS JOE HALLENBECK. His feelings are not mine, and you will feel provoked. Two years ago, he screamed out, "DEATH TO SCHUMACHER".... well... now... well... see for yourself...

The Mighty one here. This will be my final review…maybe. We’ll see what my future holds. I hope I’m still able to piss everyone off. Well, here goes

DEATH TO LUCAS!!! I want him DEAD! I want his Family DEAD! I want his friends DEAD! I want Skywalker Ranch burned down to the ground so I can go up there and piss on the ashes!

Other than that, how y’all doin’? Oh, I know how most of you are…it’s like you just came and realized you blew your wad on a 75 year old whore named Flo. It was your first time and it wasn’t all that great. All the waiting…the anticipation and now you finally realized that it wasn’t all THAT. The pathetic thing is you fuckin losers that have planned your whole life around this second coming can’t and won’t even admit that the movie pretty much sucked. You’re in such a state of denial. Years from now, when you’re lying on your Shrink’s couch, trying to figure out why you beat your kids and had sex with the neighbor’s cat, Psychiatrists will trace everything back to this tremendous let down and this state of denial that you have been living in lo these many years. You freaks actually made Trekkies look cool…a feat that seemed nearly impossible. For Christsakes, people, it’s only a fuckin’ movie!!!

I just thank my lucky stars I stayed grounded in reality when it came to this flick. I didn’t get overly excited. I waited a total of 4 hours in line and THAT was 3 hours and 59 minutes too long. At the end of the film I turned to one of my buds and said, “GODZILLA’s lookin’ mighty good.”

I wasn’t devastated that the movie sucked. I had a feeling it would. However, I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. I expected some Ewok lameness, but Jar Jar and the rest of the kiddie-ish antics went far and beyond the call of lame. Even kids groan at the stupidity and silliness in front of them. This is not a fuckin Muppet Movie, George. I expected to see Miss Piggy kicking some Imperial ass in the background. If you were to combine the lameness of Godzilla, TMNT II, and ID4, it doesn’t even come close to the amount of lameness incorporated into this horrendous piece of shit.

Let the Mighty one break down the lameness for you:

THE DIRECTING – For the love of Spielberg, George, let someone else direct the sequels. Granted, you’ve been sitting on your bum for 22 years, but that’s no excuse. Your total lack of attention paid to your actors was quite evident. You were more concerned with those phony looking Gungans than with the flesh and blood in front of you. This was never more apparent than in the goodbye scene between Ani and his mother. I’ve witnessed more warmth during a Mob hit. This was meant to be the tender scene…the emotional core of the movie. It was treated in such a blasé matter I got the impression he was just walking in the other room instead of leaving his mother for good! What made this scene even more excruciating to watch was the stale acting job of Mama and the wretched performance of that little shit.

The emotional wallop wasn’t the only thing Georgie-boy missed the ball on. His action scenes(with the exception of the final lightsaber duel) felt stilted and dull by ANY standards. The Pod race scene was boring and redundant as hell. The CGI really got to me. The only redeeming aspect of this boring race was the Sand People blasting away at the pods. Other than that I could care less. The point to a race is to care who wins…to cheer them on and to hope and pray they beat the bad guy. I could give a rat’s ass if Ani won. In Ben Hur, you knew Chuck would kick some ass, but were completely enthralled in the exciting elements of that amazing, classic scene despite knowing what the outcome would be. The same can’t be said for this scene. At no time was I at the edge of my seat. At no time did I care how Ani did. As a matter of fact, I wanted the little pissant to die. I think back to a recent film that had an AMAZING race scene that I knew the outcome to, but was still on the edge of my seat whilst watching it. The movie was WITHOUT LIMITS. My God, now THAT was an intense scene. That’s excitement. That’s bravado. That’s just plain goddamn awesome! THAT’S the way to do a race, Georgie-boy!

THE WRITING – or should I say, lack thereof? I’ve heard bad dialogue in my life, but this flick takes the cake. That line of Ani’s concerning helping his fellow man in the universe made me scream out in pain. It would have been better if the film was silent. . And the story…well, my dear George, Plot STILL Matters!!! Why don’t you drop good ol’ Joe a line when you come up with one.

THE CHARACTERS – a VERY mixed bag.

ANAKIN – Jake Lloyd is perhaps the worst actor to ever act in a big budget movie. He makes Richard Gere look like Henry Fonda. George could have gotten a street urchin to play this role and THAT would have been better. This is the hero of the series and I hated him. This kid couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag. Ground the little son of a bitch and make him take tap lessons. Never let him in front of a camera again. His lack of emotions in the tender scenes and his mock enthusiasm bothered the hell out of me. If I didn’t know any better I would swear this little bastid was Lucas’s son. Why, in Spielberg’s name did he pick this little fuck is beyond me. I’ve pulled better performances out of my dog’s ass.

QUI-GON – Liam is a great actor, but he blew in this film. When he died I didn’t shed a tear. His rebellious attitude was talked about but never shown. He was as stale as the rest of the characters.

JAR JAR – This wretched soul officially takes the place as annoying character ever committed to the screen (The previous title belonged to Sophia Coppola). From the second he appeared on the screen I wanted him dead! Never have I been so instantly repulsed in my life (well, there was that time I saw Bea Arthur naked…). I’d rather be Wookie-raped than to watch one more second of this abomination. If he’s not killed off in the first frame after the opening scroll of the sequel I’m leaving. To be cruel to this piece of Bantha Shit, Jar Jar should be forced to watch his performance on screen 1000 times over. Ooh, the horror.

OBI WAN – The only redeeming character in the whole lot. Ewan has a certain charm and charisma very few young actor’s posses. His freaky and uncanny impression of Alec Guinness sent chills down my spin. I’m looking forward to this character’s growth in the next two installments.

AMIDALA/PADME – first off, Ms. Portman is instantly boinkable. Sexual fantasies aside I felt that her portrayal of the royal bitch was incredibly stale. However, she was playing royalty…as all those Elizabethan movies showed, Royal chicks are boring. However, her portrayal of Padme left me wanting more of her. She seemed genuinely human. I only wished Lucas would have had more of this personality placed in the film rather than that pale faced Kabuki girl.

DARTH MAUL – cool looking, but served no purpose. It’s as if George had to throw in a bad dude so he did for a few seconds. His presence felt so forced. He may be a bad ass, but if you look at his screen time you’ll see he was wasted. Fuckin Lucas!

THE F/X – ran hot and cold. Some of the CGI shit worked really well, but other things just looked way too phony. In particular, that damn underwater city. Not only was that scene a waste of time, it looked ridiculous as hell. I thought I was watching a frickin’ cartoon. And Boss Nass…my GOD did he look lame. He looked like an animated piece of Jell-O. If he would have shook his jowls one more time I swear I would have killed the person sitting next to me. That shit ain’t funny, George. It’s just plain lame!

The pod race scene was another part that looked way to CGI’d for me. I fuckin’ hate this CGI shit! Give me practical f/x ANY DAY!!!

The cities, however, were quite breathtaking. Naboo, in particular, made my jaw drop. It’s the kind of landscape that can be gazed upon for hours. After seeing that beautiful place I said to myself MIDDLE EARTH is going to look incredible.

THE MUSIC – the ONLY good thing to come out of this great disappointment. Leave it to Johnny Boy to write original music and have it fit perfectly into the film. I friggin’ love “Duel of the Fates” and the “Flag Parade.” Them be classic tunes in my ears. I loves ya, Johnny-boy!

THE ENDING – Kill all the fuckin GUNGANS and phony looking DROIDS, blast the shit out of those fighters(particular that little fuck’s), but keep the lightsaber duel. The lightsaber duel was pretty awesome, but could have been spectacular in a competent director’s hands. Having Qui-Gon meditate while Maul paces like a caged tiger was the only true touch of brilliance in this film. However, Lucas had to take all that coolness away by having fuckin’ Jar Jar act like a dumbfuck and have Ani accidentally destroy the space station. I FUCKIN HATE THESE FUCKITY FUCKS!!!! Wipe them out…all of them!!!

But the duel was cool.

Okay, I’ve done enough bitching about the movie so let me tell y’all what I dug about it:

1. R2’s intro.

2. Qui-Gon catching fuck face’s tongue.

3. The Sandpeople.

4. Maul’s “split” personality.

5. Qui-Gon’s failed Jedi Mind Trick.

6. And, of course, the opening crawl.

Six minor moments of coolness don’t make for a great movie, though. It’s disgusting to think that George spent 3 years on the f/x but only 3 hours on the script.

In ’77, George revolutionized the movie biz with Star Wars. He transported the viewer into a plane of existence that seemed unimaginable. He combined art and commerce and changed the face of movie making for 22 years. I strongly believe with TPM this concept of f/x heavy filmmaking will now come to a close. I, for one, am fed up with this style of filmmaking. The reason why movies in the late 70’s/early 80’s were so damn good and successful was due to the great scripts, fun characters, and cool f/x. Everything seemed to mesh together beautifully. Since we entered the 90’s, art in an entertaining film started to slowly dissipate. The f/x were the prime concern and the scripts secondary…if that. Good characters, witty dialogue and original plots went the way of the dodo. They were replaced with great marketing, awesome f/x, and unmemorable stories. It’s pathetic when more creativity goes into a 2 minute trailer than into a 2 hour movie. TPM was supposed to be that one movie…that great film that was going to capture all that worked in the 70’s and 80’s. It was supposed to wipe away all those hard to swallow blockbusters of the 90’s like Twister, ID4, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Lion King, Batman Forever, etc…It was supposed to spit in the face of the new Hollywood regime and show them that you CAN have an entertaining blockbuster with a good script. In a way, it was the second coming. It was meant to save US, the movie going audience, from sitting through countless other mindless blockbusters. Like it’s Papa, it was going to shift the way movies are made…to right a wrong. Instead, it crushed any and all hopes of their every being the kind of movies that combined art and commerce. Perhaps I’m living in a dream world. Perhaps the cinematic utopia that was the late 70’s/early 80’s can never happen again. I have now completely lost any and all hope in the modern day blockbuster. If a new Star Wars movie can’t lift the cinematic world out of those creative doldrums, then nothing can.

Seeing what we have to look forward to this summer and next I just weep for the future. I give up. I’m at a loss. Perhaps Hollywood should shut down for a year, clean house and then bring in a whole slew of fresh faces. Maybe then we might be able to get those kick ass entertaining movies made…the ones that combine the great stories, cool characters and awesome f/x. The ones that not only make a shit load of money, but will be remembered 20 years from now. The shit in the 90’s is already forgotten. It will continue to be so until WE, the MOVIE PAYING AUDIENCE, tell those dumbfucks in the ‘WOOD that we’re mad as hell and we ain’t takin’ it any more. I, for one, am making a stand right here and now. I refuse to see the recycled cliched shit they’re churning out. Movies like The Haunting, Wild Wild West, and Mystery Men will be viewed by my peepers when they come out on tape. Those fucks in the wood ain’t getting my $8.50 anymore!

Think of it this way, if one good thing came out of this abomination known as THE PHANTOM MENACE it’s that it forced The Mighty to hang up his acerbic tongue and rock hard ass and say, “FUCK Y’ALL” to those hopeless denizens in Hollywood.


Joe Hallenbeck

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