okay, just like everyone else in the country, i've seen the phantom menace. i laughed, i cried, i found god. (actually, i didn't do any of those things. not since my last viewing of the empire strikes back, anyway.) it was flawed, it was politically incorrect, it was full of annoying little computer-generated beasties. but despite all that... it was a damn good movie.

first of all, darth maul. do you love him? vicious, tattoo-faced (i'd be willing to bet lord maul was pierced, too, under that coolio black outfit), badass-lightsaber-wielding, snarling, sneering darth maul. he was everything a villain should be. he even died in a cool way. is there any more stylish of a final exit that plummeting down a tunnel in two neatly severed halves? and, okay, call me a perve, but he had a wierd sexy thing going. no, really. it was the glowering.

speaking of sexy... i want ewan mcgregor so bad! i've actually had a bit of a ewan fixation ever since i saw trainspotting, but he looks a lot better as a strapping young jedi with bad hair than as a skinny young junkie with no hair. liam neeson is pretty hot, too. about five minutes into the movie, i was just like, show us your lightsabers, boys!

okay, now for the bad news. jar-jar binks? you know how everybody keeps exaggerating about how bad he is? they're not exaggerating. he's a hideously animated, never ever funny asswipe. he just sucks. during the big gungan/droid battle, i kept hoping jar-jar would be killed. no, it would have been a good plot point, really! he could have, like, died heroically for the greater good of naboo, and then at the end they could have burned him with qui-gon and it would have been doubly sad. see? damn, where was i when george lucas was plotting this? i am a genius!

other stuff that sucked: watto (what is this, the merchant of venice?), samuel l. jackson being totally underutilized, and the fact that darth maul died at all. yes, i'm all about darth, but come on... he was rad! even if you don't want him, you have to admit it. wouldn't it have been nice if he were around to be evil and ommmmminous in episode 2?

but there was other stuff that rocked. queen amidala was a supercool kind of girl, the whole darth sidious thing was unbelievably cool, and the podrace and lightsaber battle were amazing.

so, the official sara verdict: this is a super good movie. see it. see it now. like you haven't already.

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