Welcome to my latest series of articles called “Why I love Star Wars”. This is a series that was inspired by reading Ken Napzok’s Why We Love Star Wars: The Great Moments That Built A Galaxy Far, Far Away, a countdown of the top 100 moments from Star Wars that made him love it all, including canon stories from every medium. As I was reading this book, I found myself thinking of some of my own favourite moments and wanted to discuss them.
Why I Love Star Wars:
Unlike in the book, I will not put the moments in any specific order (I do things like that enough in my Top 10s!) as the order would probably change on every viewing. Today I will be looking at The Phantom Menace
Beware: this will contain spoilers for the movie!
Duel of the Fates
The highlight of the film by far is the fight between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul. From the moment the doors open to reveal a hooded Maul, to the moment both halves of his body fell down a shaft, this was amazing! I’ve talked about it plenty elsewhere on here and it was picked as my top lightsaber duel, but the thrill of seeing the duel utilise Ray Park’s martial arts abilities, the 2v1 nature of the first half of the fight and the first time we saw a double-bladed lightsaber makes this instantly memorable. John Williams’ music only heightens the fight and whether it is by virtue of the music itself or its association with the footage, “Duel of the Fates” is one of my top 3 pieces of music!
An awesome set piece in the middle of the movie, the podrace is a stunning sequence that (like the fight mentioned above) really heightens the movie. The race itself is something completely different to what we had seen before and the racers all looked so realistic, which we can’t always say about the footage of the Prequel Trilogy. What you may not even notice on the first viewing is that the race does not even contain music until late in the race once it is just Anakin and Sebulba that we are sticking with, helping to throw us into the action as if we are in the crowd. This works so well by giving each racer their own individual look and sound, so that we can easily identify the characters as the race goes on. I would definitely be up for seeing more podracing in the future.
“Queen Amidala is young and naïve. You will find controlling her will not be difficult.”
Those were the words of Sheev Palpatine in his guise as Darth Sidious when speaking to the Trade Federation earlier in the film. Throughout the entirety of the Prequel Trilogy, Palpatine is shown to be one step ahead controlling everything… so imagine his shock in the moment that Queen Amidala turns to him and announces that she is returning to Naboo. This genuinely seems to be the one time in the Prequel Trilogy that he is caught out by someone’s actions and it shows just how strong and dangerous Padmé was to his plans, something that is seen again during The Clone Wars.
Battle Droid Unfolding
As the Gungan Army draws the majority of the droids out of Theed to the Great Grass Plains, the Federation’s army begins to bombard the natives with canon fire from their tanks, which is stopped by the Gungans’ shields. Moving to plan B, the MTTs deploy their copious numbers of B-1 battle droids and the order is given from the control ship to activate them. While I mentioned in my look at A New Hope about how each X-wing beginning their descent to the Death Star surface added realism to the scene, this time the droids all unfolding in sync makes it feel realistic as it makes sense for a droid army to move a one. All thee thousands of droids unfold and turn to form ranks and march towards the Gungan forces. “Ouch time” as Captain Tarples predicts… indeed!
The second funeral pyre scene to make it into this series. The sombre music through this scene feels like a perfect send-off for the first Jedi to have died at the hands of the Sith in a millennium. Add in Obi-Wan’s vow to train Anakin and Mace Windu and Yoda’s ruminations as to if Maul was the master or apprentice (complete with ominous camera pan to Palpatine), this scene does a great job of wrapping up the stories for this movie but also move along the stories to continue in the next film.
What are your favourite moments from The Phantom Menace?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…