Annlyel reflects on two of her all-time favorite Star Wars movies
Twenty-one and fifteen years ago The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith entered theaters. Over the years I have seen these movies a combined number of at least 500 times (that’s not an exaggeration) and with each viewing, there is always something to love.
The Phantom Menace has so much to love. Padme Amidala is at her coolest as fourteen-year-old Queen Amidala. I have always been so wowed by her maturity at such a young age and how perfectly Natalie Portman embraces this character in this part of the story. Qui-Gon Jinn is one of the greatest Jedi of all time. He even discovered how to return from the netherworld of the Force, highlighting just how powerful and smart he really was. Seeing a young Obi-Wan Kenobi gives extra depth to this lovable character and Darth Maul is the ultimate Star Wars baddie. Pure evil, no confusion about it. His very appearance screams BAD GUY and I love it.
And even though this film delivers us silly Jar Jar Binks and baby Anakin maybe a little annoying, these small gripes are far outweighed by the sheer happiness this movie has given me since I was a child.
Now, Revenge of the Sith. Growing up, I loved the film. I remember watching it for the first time in 2005 and crying when Padme died. After several years toward the middle of the last decade Revenge of the Sith‘s quality started to dim on me. With no new Star Wars movies and only the first six films to occupy me with, the movie started to become boring. But then, the Disney Star Wars movies started to come out and suddenly Revenge of the Sith started to become interesting again.
After The Clone Wars and those outstanding final four episodes, this feels more true than ever. Revenge of the Sith is a dark conclusion to an otherwise light trilogy. Tragedy strikes in ways you don’t see in most blockbuster films and even though we knew things were going to end badly (because of the Empire and Darth Vader/Emperor Palpatine in the Original Trilogy) it still hurts to see the Jedi wiped out in the blink of an eye or to see someone as “heroic” as Anakin Skywalker be seduced the dark side so extremely.
Honestly, in the last week, I have watched this film three times which is something I haven’t done since maybe 2009. Hayden Christensen’s annoying acting as a fallen Jedi is swallowed up by a profoundly incredible storyline that is supported brilliantly by the likes of Ewan McGregor’s stellar acting in this film, delivering one of the most tear-inducing scenes in the franchise as Obi-Wan tells Anakin he loved him after essentially killing him. Revenge of the Sith is the epitome of tragic and I love every second of it. If The Rise of Skywalker had only produced an inkling of the brilliance of this movie it would’ve been far more enjoyable and emotionally impactful.
Say what you will about the prequels, these two films which we, as Star Wars fans, are celebrating this week, are what Star Wars is all about; great lightsaber duels, fantastic characters, horrifying tragedy, and an underlying basis of hope that still manages to permeate the darker themes of these movies.
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Annlyel James is a prolific Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Aside from her role with Future of the Force she also writes for her own blog: annlyelonline. Follow her on Twitter @annlyeljames where she channels the Force frequently!