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    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace


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    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    Mesaj  Kaliope la data de Vin Feb 08, 2008 12:24 am

    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is a 1999 space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the fourth film to be released in the Star Wars saga, and the first in terms of internal chronology. The film follows two Jedi Knights, played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, who flee the planet Naboo with the planet's queen in the hope of finding a peaceful end to a trade dispute. Along the way, the ship must stop for repairs on the planet Tatooine, where the Jedi encounter Anakin Skywalker, played by Jake Lloyd, a young slave boy who is unusually strong with the Force. When the group returns to Naboo, they realize that the situation is much worse than they thought—the Sith have returned.
    The release of the film on May 19, 1999 came almost sixteen years after the previous film in the series, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Lucas began production when he felt special effects had advanced to the level of what he had envisioned for the film. Shooting took place during 1997 at various locations including Leavesden Studios and the Tunisian desert. The release was accompanied by extensive media coverage and great anticipation. Despite mixed reviews by critics, it grossed US$924.3 million worldwide,[1] making it the highest grossing Star Wars film in the series (fourth when adjusted for inflation).

    The opening crawl reveals that the Trade Federation has blockaded the planet of Naboo in hope of resolving a galactic trade dispute. Chancellor Valorum of the Galactic Republic secretly sends two Jedi Knights — Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan learner Obi-Wan Kenobi — to meet with the Trade Federation to settle the crisis. Unknown to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who orders them to invade Naboo with their immense droid army as well as kill the two Jedi. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escape and flee to the surface of Naboo, where they meet local Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks. As Jar Jar brings them to an underwater Gungan settlement, the Trade Federation captures Naboo's leader, Queen Amidala. Through a Jedi mind trick, Qui-Gon secures a submarine, which he, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar use to reach the capital of Naboo and rescue Queen Amidala and her escort. The group departs for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic's capital planet, to seek help from the Senate.
    During the escape, the ship is attacked by the Federation blockade, forcing R2-D2, one of the ship's droids, to fix the shields. The attack damages the ship's hyperdrive, forcing the party to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for needed parts, Qui-Gon and a handmaiden named Padmé befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a nine-year-old human slave gifted in piloting and mechanics. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin, and feels that he may be the "Chosen One" — an individual the Jedi believe will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force. At Anakin's insistence, Qui-Gon enters Anakin into the Boonta Eve Podrace in a bet with Anakin's master, Watto, to gain the needed parts as well as Anakin's freedom. Anakin eludes several obstacles—including rival racer Sebulba—to win the race, gaining his freedom and bankrupting Watto. After hesitation, Anakin leaves his mother and his droid (C-3PO) behind on Tatooine to go with the Jedi. As the group prepares to depart, they are attacked by the Sith apprentice Darth Maul, who battles Qui-Gon until the heroes escape. On Coruscant, Qui-Gon informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious, well-trained attacker. The Council becomes concerned that this may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, an opposing order that followed the dark side of the Force. Qui-Gon informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy the Council refuses, worried that he is too old for training and that the fear and anger that he harbors will cloud his future. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine of Naboo persuades Amidala to call a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum. The vote removes Valorum from power and leads to Palpatine's nomination for the position, which Amidala considers too late to be effective. To stop the Federation invasion by herself, the Queen decides to return to Naboo with her security team, the two Jedi, R2-D2, Anakin, and Jar Jar.
    On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself as Queen Amidala and forms an alliance with the Gungans for the battle against the Trade Federation. The Gungans march into battle to divert the Federation army away from the capital, allowing the others to infiltrate the palace. Once inside the palace hangar, the Jedi free several Naboo pilots, who regain their starfighters and assault the Federation droid ship. As they make their way to the throne room, the infiltration team is confronted by Darth Maul. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan engage Maul while the others take an alternative route. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan duel with the Sith Lord amongst the catwalks of a massive power-generating reactor core. Obi-Wan is briefly delayed, separating him from Qui-Gon and Maul. Meanwhile, Queen Amidala and her forces fight their way into the palace and capture Nute Gunray, Viceroy of the Trade Federation. Anakin—inadvertently joining the dogfight in space—destroys the droid-control ship's reactor with proton torpedoes, which deactivates the droid army in the midst of taking Gungan prisoners. In the reactor core, Qui-Gon re-engages Darth Maul singlehandedly, but is mortally wounded. Obi-Wan catches up with and defeats Maul in another intense lightsaber battle. With his final breath, Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin to become a Jedi.
    In the aftermath, the newly elected Chancellor Palpatine congratulates Queen Amidala on her victory and promises to watch Anakin's career with great interest. Meanwhile, the Jedi Council promotes Obi-Wan to the level of Jedi Knight, and Yoda reluctantly accepts Obi-Wan's request to train Anakin as his padawan. During Qui-Gon's funeral, Mace Windu and Yoda agree that Maul was indeed a Sith. However, because there are always two Sith at any given time (a master and an apprentice), they believe that another Sith still exists, although who that Sith is remains uncertain. A large celebration is held on Naboo to celebrate the world's liberation and the newborn alliance between the Naboo and the Gungans.


    • Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn: a Jedi Master and mentor to Obi-Wan. When he discovers Anakin, he insists that the boy be trained as a Jedi, despite the protests of the council.
    • Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi: Qui-Gon's young Jedi apprentice. He holds Qui-Gon in high regard, but questions his motives at times.
    • Natalie Portman as Queen Padmé Amidala: the young queen of Naboo, Amidala hopes to protect her planet from a blockade brought on by the Trade Federation. Keira Knightley plays Queen Amidala's decoy.
    • Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker: a nine-year-old slave boy from Tatooine. He is discovered to have a higher midi-cholorian count than any Jedi, and is therefore exceptionally gifted in the Force.
    • Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine: the Senator of Naboo, who grows concerned about Naboo's blockade and defends his position in the Senate.
    • Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks: a clumsy Gungan, exiled from his home but taken in by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. He accompanies them throughout the film.
    • Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker: Anakin's mother. She is concerned for her son's future, and must let her son leave with the Jedi.
    • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: a protocol droid built by Anakin, he lacks a metal covering in this film, which R2-D2 refers to as being "naked".
    • Kenny Baker as R2-D2: an astromech droid, notable for saving Queen Amidala's ship when all other droids fail.
    • Ray Park as Darth Maul: a Zabrak Sith apprentice to Darth Sidious who uses a double-bladed lightsaber. He was voiced by Peter Serafinowicz.
    • Silas Carson as Nute Gunray: the Viceroy of the Trade Federation who leads the invasion of Naboo and tries to force Queen Amidala to sign a treaty to legitimise the occupation.
    • Andy Secombe as Watto: a junk dealer on Tatooine who owns Anakin and his mother as slaves.
    • Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda: the leader of the Jedi Council, who is apprehensive about allowing Anakin to be trained.
    • Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu: a member of the Jedi Council who also opposes the idea of training Anakin.
    • Terence Stamp as Finis Valorum: the current Chancellor who commissions Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon to negotiate with the Trade Federation Viceroy.

    • More than 3,000 young actors auditioned for the role of Anakin Skywalker through North America and the British Isles.[2] They included child actors Michael Angarano, Justin Berfield and Haley Joel Osment.[3] The field narrowed to three actors, all of whom were interviewed by Lucas and then screen tested with Natalie Portman.[2]

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    Re: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    Mesaj  Kaliope la data de Vin Feb 08, 2008 12:30 am

    George Lucas began writing the new Star Wars trilogy on November 1, 1994.[4] The screenplay for The Phantom Menace was adapted from Lucas' 15-page outline that was written in 1976. The early outline was originally designed to help Lucas track the character backstories and what events had taken place before the original trilogy.[4] While the working title for the film was The Beginning,[4] Lucas later revealed the true title to be The Phantom Menace; a title which, in contrast to the more self-explanatory titles of the other films, is ambiguous
    Within three to four months of Lucas beginning the writing process, Doug Chiang and his design team started a two-year process of reviewing thousands of designs for the film.[5] Stunt coordinator Nick Gillard was recruited to create a new Jedi fighting style for the new trilogy. Gillard referred to the lightsaber battles as akin to a chess game "with every move being a check." Because of their short-range weapons, Gillard theorized that the Jedi would have had to develop a fighting style that merged every swordfighting style, such as kendo and other kenjutsu styles, with other swinging techniques, such as tennis swings and tree-chopping. While training Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, Gillard would write a sequence to be an estimated 60 seconds in length, meant to be among five to six sequences per fight.[6] Lucas later referred to Jedi as being "negotiators", rather than high-casualty soldiers. The preference of hand-to-hand combat was implemented to give a more spiritual and intellectual role to the Jedi.[6]
    Filming began on June 26, 1997 and ended on September 30 of that year, primarily taking place at Leavesden Studios in England, with additional location shooting in the Tunisian desert for the Tatooine scenes and the Italian Caserta Palace for the Theed City Naboo Palace interior.[7] The city of Mos Espa was built in the desert outside Tozeur. On the night following the third day of shooting in Tozeur, an unexpected sandstorm destroyed many sets and props. With a quick rescheduling to allow for repairs, production was able to leave Tunisia on the exact day originally planned.[8]
    Nine R2-D2 models were created; seven could run in the sand or on the stage, one was for Kenny Baker to be dropped into, and one was a "pneumatic" R2 that was able to shift from two to three legs. During filming in Tunisia and on sets to replicate the environment, the standard model was prone to skidding off in strange directions and having its motors lock up from the sand. Having confronted similar problems before, Lucas allowed two companies, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and the production's British special effects department, to create their own versions of the perfect R2-D2. The finished product needed to navigate deep sand, light sand and door jambs. ILM's R2-D2 featured two wheelchair motors capable of pushing 440 pounds (198 kilograms) of weight. The British effects company produced a new foot and motor drive system, allowing R2 to drive over sand. The ILM version was primarily used on stage sets, whereas the British version was used in Tunisia.[9]
    Up until the production of The Phantom Menace, many special effects in the film industry were achieved by the use of miniature models, matte paintings, and on-set visual effects, although other films had made extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Visual effects supervisor John Knoll previewed 3,500 storyboards for the film, with Lucas accompanying him to explain what factors of the shots would be practical and what would be created through visual effects. Knoll later recounted that on hearing the explanations of the storyboards, he was unaware of any way to accomplish what he had seen. The result was to mix original techniques with the newest digital techniques to make it difficult for the viewer to guess which technique was being used. New computer software was written by Knoll and his visual effects team to create certain shots in the film. Another goal was to create computer-generated characters that could act seamlessly with live-action actors. While filming scenes with CGI characters, Lucas would block the characters using their corresponding voice actor on-set. The voice actors were then removed and the live-action actors would perform the same scene alone. A CGI character would later be added into the shot, completing the conversation.[10]

    [edit] Releases

    The Phantom Menace received enormous media-created hype, which made Lucasfilm's $20 million advertising campaign[11]-—with the distinctive artwork of Star Wars series artist Drew Struzan gracing the movie poster and other advertising—seem modest and almost unnecessary because of the unprecedented interest amongst both fans and the wider audience in the return of the franchise. Few film studios released films during the same week as the release of The Phantom Menace; among the more courageous were DreamWorks and Universal Studios, with the releases of The Love Letter and Notting Hill respectively. The Love Letter resulted in a box-office flop, whereas Notting Hill fared rather well and followed The Phantom Menace closely in second place.[12] Challenger, Gray & Christmas of Chicago, a work-issues consulting firm, estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees did not appear for work to attend the film, resulting in $293 million in lost productivity. According to The Wall Street Journal, so many workers announced plans to view premiere screenings that many companies shut down on the opening day.[13] Queue areas formed outside cinema theaters over a month in advance of ticket sales.[14]
    More theater lines appeared when it was announced that the film cinemas were not allowed to sell tickets in advance until two weeks into the release. This was done out of fear that family theater-goers would either be unable to receive tickets or would be forced to pay higher prices. Tickets were instead to be sold on a traditional first-come-first-serve basis.[15] However, after meetings with the National Association of Theatre Owners, Lucasfilm agreed to allow advance ticket sales on May 12, 1999, provided that there be a 12-ticket limit per customer.[16] As a result, however, some advance tickets were sold by "scalpers" as high as $100 apiece, which a distribution chief called "horrible", stating it was exactly what they wanted to avoid.[17] Daily Variety reported that theater owners received strict instructions from Lucasfilm that the film could only play in the cinema's largest auditorium for the first 8–12 weeks; no honor passes were allowed for the first eight weeks, and they were obligated to send their payments to distributor 20th Century Fox within seven days.[18] Servers at the film's official website became gridlocked soon after the release of the first teaser trailer,[19] and many fans of the series paid full admission to see Meet Joe Black only to leave after the trailer had run.[citation needed] The same tradition followed months later when the theatrical trailer was featured in front of Wing Commander.[20] The theatrical trailer caused even more notable media hype, because it not only premiered in theaters, but screened at the ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas, and was aired on television on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.[21] An unusual marketing scheme was pursued across the United Kingdom, where the teaser trailer was released on December 2, 1998 and then pulled from theaters six weeks later.[22]
    Despite worries about whether the film would be finished in time, two weeks before its theatrical release Lucasfilm pushed the release date up from May 21, 1999 to May 19, 1999. At the ShoWest Convention, Lucas stated that the change was to give the fans a "head start" by allowing them to view it over the week and allowing families the chance to view on the weekends. In a nod toward his future with digital technology, Lucas stated that the film would be released on four digital projectors on June 18, 1999.[23] Eleven charity premieres were staged across the United States on May 16, 1999; receipts from the Los Angeles event were given to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with corporate packages available for $5,000–$25,000.[24] Other charity premieres included the Dallas premiere for Children's Medical Center, the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at the Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, the Big Brother/Sister Assn. of the Philadelphia premiere, and the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. A statement said that tickets were sold at $500 apiece and that certain sections were set aside for disadvantaged children.[25]

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    Re: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    Mesaj  Kaliope la data de Vin Feb 08, 2008 12:33 am

    Box office performance
    The Phantom Menace was 1999's most successful movie, earning more than $431 million in North America and $493 million elsewhere.[38] The worldwide total was some $924 million, making it the second-highest grossing film of all time (behind 1997's Titanic) after its first release. The Phantom Menace ranks 5th on the all-time domestic and 8th on the all-time worldwide box-office lists and 19th on the all-time domestic list when adjusted for inflation.[1][38]
    The Phantom Menace also accumulated a number of box office records. It broke the record for the largest single-day gross for a single movie by earning more than $28 million opening-day. It was not until the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released that these numbers were greatly exceeded.[38] The Phantom Menace, in a record five days, passed the $100 million mark, breaking the record set by The Lost World: Jurassic Park by 24 hours (the record has since been reduced to just two days, by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), and now the biggest opening weekend is Spider Man 3. However The Phantom Menace surprisingly failed to take the record for biggest opening weekend, grossing $64.8 million, compared to The Lost World's $72.1 million. Sales reached the $200 million mark in just 13 days, easily beating the previous record held by Independence Day by seven-and-a-half days. The film took only 28 days to earn $300 million, beating Titanic's record by a 16-day margin. However, the film did not generate enough repeat viewers to dethrone Titanic.[38]

    [edit] Awards

    Between them, the prequels did not receive any Academy Awards. Episode I was nominated for three Academy Awards: Ben Burtt and Tom Bellfort received the nomination for Best Sound Effects; John Knoll, Dennis Muren, Scott Squires, and Rob Coleman received the nomination for Best Visual Effects; Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Shawn Murphy, and John Midgley received the nomination for Best Sound. However, The Matrix captivated Academy voters, and became the first film to beat a Star Wars film for the visual effects Academy Award; also, Phantom Menace became the first film in the series to not receive nominations for Art Direction or Original Score. In contrast, the film received several Golden Raspberry, or Razzie, nominations. These included Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor (Jake Lloyd as Anakin), Worst Supporting Actress (Sofia Coppola as Saché), Worst Screen Couple (Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman), and won the Worst Supporting Actor category with Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best.[39]

    [edit] Historical and cultural allusions

    See also: Star Wars sources and analogues
    Like previous Star Wars films, The Phantom Menace makes several references to both historical events and films that George Lucas viewed in his youth. The Star Wars movies typically mix several selected concepts from different mythologies and religions together
    Although Jedi Knights practice Zen and martial arts, they are also inspired by Samurai warriors. The name "Qui-Gon" paraphrases the term Qigong, which refers to a Chinese discipline involving meditation and martial arts. The words qi and chi are different romanizations of the same Chinese term, referring to the energy thought to flow through all living things from the Tao; the Tao is also a description for the Force. These elements derive primarily from Eastern, Southern, and Native American religions and myths.[40]
    There are many Christian and biblical references in the film, such as the appearance of Darth Maul. Maul's design draws heavily from traditional depictions of the Christian Devil, complete with red skin and horns.[40] The Star Wars film cycle features a similar religious narrative involving Anakin Skywalker, a messiah conceived of a virgin birth, who is tempted to join the Sith — his sworn enemy — in order to save the life of Padmé Amidala, his secret wife. This action seemingly prevents him from fulfilling his duty as the "Chosen One" — the individual prophesied to destroy the Sith. The inspiration behind the story of the "virgin birth" parallels a concept developed by Joseph Campbell and his work on The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the same work that heavily influenced Lucas in his writing of the original Star Wars trilogy.[40]
    Japanese film such as Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress was a source of inspiration for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and scholars point out that The Phantom Menace was likewise influenced by Japanese culture. Film historians Geoff King and Tanya Krzywinska assert, "The costume and make-up designs ... favour a mixture of the gothic and the oriental over anything very futuristic. The gothic is most strongly apparent in Darth Maul's demonic horns and the red and black make-up mask that borrows from the facial designs found in depictions of Japanese demons." King and Krzywinska note that "Qui-Gon's pony tail and Obi-Wan's position of apprentice further encourage a reading in terms of the Samurai tradition." Finally, "Amidala, in keeping with her status and character, has a number of highly formal outfits ... to go with hair sculpted into a curve that frames make-up of a Japanese cast."[41]
    The rather famous "Fear leads to anger" quote from Yoda is stated, word for word, by the final boss of Final Fantasy IX.

    [edit] References to the original trilogy

    The films of the prequel trilogy feature events, dialogue and brief references that echo the original trilogy. Lucas has referred to the Star Wars saga as a poem that rhymes.[7] The most well-known of these references is the phrase "I have a bad feeling about this"; the phrase is stated by at least one character in each movie. It is one of the first lines in the film and is chronologically the first line spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the films.

    [edit] Soundtrack

    Main article: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (soundtrack)

    The soundtrack for the film was released by Sony Classical on May 4, 1999. As with previous Star Wars installments, the score was composed and conducted by John Williams. He began recording the score with the London Voices and London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios on February 10, 1999. A two-disk "Ultimate Edition" was released on November 14, 2000. The set features almost the entire score as it is heard in the film. While the original soundtrack released featured only 17 tracks, the Ultimate Edition featured 68 tracks. The original soundtrack condensed the number of tracks by allowing multiple songs to play per most tracks.
    The popular track "Duel of the Fates" is one of the few choral pieces in Star Wars music. The chorus was introduced to give a religious, temple-like feel to the epic lightsaber duel. The theme was later put to a music video that is available on the DVD.[42] The film score received a 2000 Grammy Award nomination.[43]

    [edit] Novelization

    Main article: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (novel)

    A novelization of the film was written by Terry Brooks. Brooks met with Lucas before writing the book and received his approval and guidance, including information about impending developments in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. This is evident in the passage on Tusken Raiders (which foreshadows the death of Anakin's mother in Attack of the Clones), and in the events leading up to Anakin's fight with the Rodian child Greedo; these events indicate that Anakin's anger derives from his anguish at Padmé's impending departure (foreshadowing the plot of Revenge of the Sith).
    The novel includes three chapters of material created by Brooks solely for the novel. The first two chapters of the book concern Anakin's next-to-last Podrace and its aftermath; a later chapter describes an encounter between Anakin and a wounded Tusken Raider in the desert. The novelization features one of the first descriptions of the history of the Sith; it is the first Star Wars novel to mention the ancient Sith Lord Darth Bane, who would later become an important character in the franchise's "Expanded Universe" of novels and comic books.[44] According to Terry Brooks' memoir, Sometimes the Magic Works, Lucas spent an hour on the telephone with him discussing the history of the Jedi and the Sith. Therefore, the information on this subject provided in Brooks' novelization can be presumed to derive from Lucas. Brooks devotes an entire chapter of Sometimes the Magic Works to the writing of The Phantom Menace's novelization

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