After much hype, and bated anticipation, "Star Wars: Episode I; The Phantom Menace" written and directed by George Lucas, does not deliver what it promised, according to most movie critics. The May 17, 1999 issue of Newsweek published a review on the film by David Ansen on page 58. In his review, Ansen states flatly, "The movie is a disappointment." Ansen presents the fact that most moviegoers don't care that Anakin Skywalker, the father of Luke Skywalker, is Darth Vader. What they really want to know is, why he turned to the "dark side"? While he admits that there is no shortage to the thrills, sound effects, and action, Ansen insists that the urgency of the original "Star Wars" is lacking. David Ansen ends his review with the following question; "You can understand why Lucas would want to carbon-copy his golden oldies-why tamper with the most successful formula in movie history?"
Film Critics and Star Wars
In the May 17, 1999 issue of the Time magazine, film critic, Richard Corliss, reviews the film "Star Wars: Episode I; The Phantom Menace". Corliss also questions the amount of hype and build up of anticipation. He however, warns, "Precautions may be indulged for the most avidly awaited, assiduously hyped film since "Gone With the Wind". But they may also boomerang, by setting up expectations that few films could satisfy." Corliss comments on the need for back-story text in the beginning of a tale. He attributes such "gobs of dry exposition" to Lucas' lack of dramatization of certain events. Corliss ends his review equating "the Phantom Menace" to nothing more than a phantom film hoping to fill in with the next two episodes of this continuing saga.
Leah Rozen of the People magazine believes "The Phantom Menace" will deliver for younger fans, but adults may be painfully disappointed. "unless they're "Star Wars" fanatics who believe creator-director George Lucas can do no wrong, will find themselves wishing the human characters were more dynamic and the story more compelling." Rozen goes on to say that the human actors performances are lacking, but probably so due to Lucas' preoccupation with the digital, snazzy effects. "Harrison Ford's bravado as Hans Solo is sorely missed." The bottom line, according to Leah Rozen, is that the special effects are great, but the movie itself is forced.
Reviews of Star Wars
Rita Kempley of the Washington Post reviews "Star Wars: Episode I; The Phantom Menace" in the Thursday, May 13, 1999 edition of the page. Rita states flatly, "The Empire Strikes out." Making note again of all the disturbing hype, Kempley says "The Phantom Menace" cannot live up to the advanced media coverage. Kempley does not disallow that "The Phantom Menace" has more of the dazzling technical effects, Lucas is famous for, but the same consideration is not given to Lucas' flat human characters.