Our Star Wars rewatch project begins a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away with Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
1. Best fight
Eppu: Darth Maul vs. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan on Naboo, hands down. This is how the Jedi fight, not the staid fop-fop-tap of Episode IV!
Erik: Agreed. Whatever else you may say about Phantom Menace, we finally got to see Jedi in their prime fighting a worthy adversary.
2. Best line
Erik: “Her Highness commands you to take her handmaiden with you.” Captain Panaka to Qui-Gon setting out on Tatooine. Less for the line itself than for how Hugh Quarshie delivers it. You can tell that he thinks this is a really, really bad idea, but he’s doing his job of helping the queen do what she wants to do.
Eppu: “What, you think you’re some sort of Jedi, waving your hand around like that?” Watto to Qui-Gon. Delivered in Watto’s bone-dry style, too, it’s hilarious.
3. Best minor character
Eppu: Kitster, one of Anakin’s friends on Tatooine. Very sympathetic young man.
Erik: TC-14, the protocol droid on the trade federation ship. Like C-3P0, more personality than you would expect a droid to have.
4. Best reveal
Erik: When the hangar doors on Naboo open on Darth Maul.
Eppu: The droid army unpacked from the bowels of the transportation drones, unfolding into their full size. I still remember seeing it for the first time.
5. Best save
Eppu: During Queen Amidala’s attack on the palace, Captain Panaka shoots out a window, the group steps out to the ledge, and uses their fancy handguns-cum-harpoon-and-line-shooters to skip to the next floor.
Erik: When Watto tries to back out of a bet, Qui-Gon casually suggests taking the matter up with the Hutts. That’s enough to convince Watto to pay up.
6. Best visual
Erik: Theed, the capital city on Naboo. Gorgeous landscape and architectural detail.
Eppu: The approach to the underwater Gungan city. One of my favorite scenic scenes in the Star Wars universe.
Extra question: Best misdirect
Eppu: Palpatine’s plotting, all of it. Plotwise it’s a step up from the original trilogy, just like the Jedi fights are.
Erik: The opening crawl about conflict over the taxation of outlying trade routes. One of the themes of the prequel trilogy is how momentous events can have tiny beginnings. The taxation of trade routes sounds like the most boring subject for a movie ever, but it leads to the fall of the galactic republic.
Your turn – what’s your Best list for Episode I?
Images: Lightsaber fight via Giphy; Kitster: via fialleril on Pomegranate Seeds; Theed: wookiepedia; Gungan city: StarWars.com.
In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.