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Unique ID Code: 0000023618
Added by: DVD Reviewer
Added on: 9/10/2001 16:59
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Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (2 Discs) (UK)

8 / 10
15 votes cast
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Every saga has a beginning
Certificate: PG
Running Time: 131 mins
Retail Price: £24.99
Release Date:

Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning... Return to a galaxy far, far away in the first chapter of the mythic Star Wars saga.

Set 30 years before the original Star Wars film, `Episode I` introduces a young Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into the evil Darth Vader. Obi-Wan Kenobi, the wise old Jedi from the original trilogy, is a determined young apprentice, and Palpatine, well-known as the evil Emperor, is an ambitious senator in the Galactic Republic.

It is a time when the Jedi Knights are the guardians of peace in a turbulent galaxy and a young queen fights to save her people. In the shadows lurks an evil force waiting for the right moment to strike.

With `Episode I` in your DVD collection, you can experience the excitement again and again. Feel the adrenaline of the Boonta Eve Podrace. Relive the intense lightsaber battles. Discover the incredible detail and breathtaking scope of this milestone in the Star Wars saga.

Special Features:
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Audio commentary by Writer-Director George Lucas, Producer Rick McCallum, Co-Editor and Sound Designer Ben Burtt, Visual Effects Supervisors Scott Squires, John Knoll and Dennis Muren, and Animation Supervisor Rob Coleman, offering personal insights into the making of the film.
Seven never-before-seen deleted scenes with full visual effects completed just for the DVD release.
`The Beginning` - an all-new hour-long documentary culled from over 600 hours of footage offering unprecedented access inside Lucasfilm and ILM during the making of Episode I.
Multi-angle storyboard to animatic to finished film feature, that lets you flip through the various phases of development of key action sequences.
Five behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring The Phantom Menace`s storyline, designs, costumes, visual effects and fight scenes.
`Duel of the Fates` music video.
All 12 parts of the Lynne`s Diaries - web-based documentary from the website.
Galleries of theatrical posters, print campaign, and never-before-scene production photos.
Original theatrical teaser and launch trailers, plus seven TV spots including the `tone poems`.

Video Tracks:
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Audio Tracks:
Dolby Digital EX 5.1 English

Subtitle Tracks:
CC: English

Directed By:
George Lucas

Written By:

Brian Blessed
Terence Stamp
Frank Oz
Kenny Baker
Anthony Daniels
Ahmed Best
Hugh Quarshie
Oliver Ford Davies
Pernilla August
Ian McDiarmid
Jake Lloyd
Natalie Portman
Ewan McGregor
Liam Neeson

Casting By:
Robin Gurland

Soundtrack By:
John Williams

Director of Photography:
David Tattersall

Paul Martin Smith
George Lucas
Ben Burtt

Costume Designer:
Trisha Biggar

Production Designer:
Gavin Bocquet

Visual Effects:
Rob Barnes
Katharine Baird
Carl Assmus
Barbara Affonso
Lauren Abrams
Sean Schur
Veronica D. Loud-Nelson
Peter Hutchinson
Geoff Heron
Jack Haye
Dan B. Goldman

Rick McCallum
George Lucas

Twentieth Century Fox

Your Opinions and Comments

9 / 10
At last Star Wars is on DVD. Alright it`s the weakest out of the four but what a disc. Excellent picture and sound, but the best part is the second disc that contains loads and loads of footage, like behind the scenes, trailers, music video, deleted scenes etc. Great scene access to all areas. If your a Star Wars fan you`ll properly buy this anyway but you won`t be disappointed. I cannot wait for episodes 3,4,5 to come out on DVD after seeing this one. By the way I brought Region 4 version and it`s got region 2 coding included and I brought for £14, that`s £10 cheaper than RRP.
posted by David Garner on 19/10/2001 19:23
7 / 10
Okay, its finally here, and without doubt will become the best selling dvd of this year.
Having put my grubby mits on the region1 disc over two weeks ago now, i`ve had enough time to digest the disc`s contents and view the movie both on a critical and casual level.
The first thing that struck me was the incredibly boring packaging-just a stanard black case with a half hearted booklet inside listing chapter stops. Considering many special editions now come with some sort of themed packaging, such as T2 and Evil Dead to name but two, surely TPM deserved at least a nice cardboard oversleeve?! Hey i may just be picky.
Slipping the first disc into the tray we are presented with some de rigeur Fox 3D menus, pretty much a pre-requisite of every one of Fox`s new releases-TPM `s fully animated menus are extremely stylish and are in good keeping with the theme of the movie-but are nothing outstanding or different-The Abyss still holds the honours for best menus in my eyes.
Select options and that old favourite the Thx `optimizer` can be selected for simple calibration of your set up. Whilst being useful and extremely simple to wade through, it`s never going to compete with the likes of Video Essentials or Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Move out and select Play Movie and we`re presented with a short THX trailer thats shamelessly ripped from T2 Ulitimate Ed. but remains fun and system threatening all the same. And then those familiar credits ring out for the first time on dvd, the resulting symphony sounding excellent in its 5.1 Digital Surround Ex glory. As the credits roll by, the trademark tracking down shot is accompanied by some pretty fabulous sound steerage as the Jedi`s transporter flies by. So far, so so.
As the scenes progress, its pretty clear that this ISN`T the perfect transfer that some peope seem to have got themselves wound up about. For starters this certainly is not taken from the digital master(as some people originally thought), and as such the overall image is quite disappointing to say the least. Don`t get me wrong this is by no means bad, but for comparison and for example, X Men(also by Fox) has a far superior image. The problem with TPM`s image is the old nasty itself- Mr Edge Enhancement. Practically every scene is laden with this image saping atrocity, and gives the picture a very cold and hard edged feel. The scenes on Tattooine are also blessed with some pretty nasty evidence of film grain(ok, its not a crime-but c`mon we all expected a lot better than this), which leads you to believe that George and co. have a lot to learn, THX could mean Try Harder NeX t time in this case. Still, the film is at least watchable, and the many blacks of space are menacing and tinkling with stars. The best images come in the Pod Racing sequence, being very crisp and vivid.
Sound, however, is a different story altogether. Mixed by Oscar winner Gary Rydstrom, who also supplied the sonics for Saving Private Ryan and Toy Story 2, has excelled himself here with a truly astonishing 5.1 surround mix that is both well balanced and natural, but can turn on the power when called for. From the opening titles to the frankly incredible Pod Race, your sound system will be lapping up every explosion and phaser blast til the end credits. The osund mix of the pod race is totally astounding, to the poiint where you can actually detect each different pulsation cycle of bass from each different pod racer-now thats genius. John Williams superlative(though not his best)score has been fabulously mixed into the movie, and the various sound effects are steered superbly and naturally to every channel to deliver an amazingly transparent mix. Though to me, Saving Private Ryan remains his best work yet, TPM will obviously be one of those demo discs that gets played to death for years to come. Top work that man.
Extras are plentiful and insightful, particularly the 70 minute documentary, which is very `warts and all` in style and approach. Then there are some excellent picture galleries, deleted scenes-all restored and mixed with 5.1 sound, and available to watch as part of a documentary or on their own for your own perusal. There`s the usual trailers and tv spots, plus a great set of mini web documentaries.
All this is topped off with the (very monotonous)tones of Mr Lucas himself, joined by two of the other film makers in the commentary, thought they have all been recorded seperately and edited together to create one whole track-don`t expect some cheery banter here. On saying this, the commentary is good and the usual secrets are uncovered.
On the whole, i think more could`ve been done with this. The comments about the casing may seem picky, but for a huge release such as this, you`d have thought Fox would`ve pulled out the stops just a little more. Plus the shortcomings in the picture come as both a shock and a disappointment, dare i say that we can expect a `Five Star Edition` in the future taken from the digital master(and dts please).
Put it this way, you`re going to find it hard not to buy this, as the overall package is good value, and the film is an entertaining nights viewing with some great replay value(pod race, final battle). Just don`t expect the universe and you`ll be pleased as punch. Forget the inconsistencies and go grab a copy, go on tell me you`re not thinking of buying it!
P.S. There are some Easter eggs in the menu`s which are very entertaining-see if you can find them!
posted by Westy on 20/10/2001 06:01
9 / 10
I have nothing to add to the extensive reviews below. Suffice to say there are only 2 problems with this fantastic package -
1. The film really isn`t very good, in fact its pretty bad. The great thing about the original trilogy is that you can watch them over and over and they are always entertaining. Having owned this now for quite a while (on DVD and Video), I can report that the same cannot be said for Ep 1. With every repeat viewing it becomes more irritating.
2. It makes you want the original trilogy on DVD SO much more!
C`mon George, sort it out!
posted by Pete Mallard on 30/10/2001 13:47
8 / 10
I`ll keep this review short, since so much has already been said and written about this movie.
Let me just remark that for a movie that contains the Phantom`s name in its title, very little information (if at all) is given about this so-called Phantom.
The video transfer is excellent. There are no compression signs and the colors are very well saturated. The CG effects are superb and almost reach reference quality.
The DD 5.1 soundtrack is mind blowing. This reference quality soundtrack utilized the surrounds frequently and the quality and clarity of the sound cannot be described in words.
The menus are all animated with sound.
The extras include just about everything you ever wanted to know about how the movie was made - commentary, numerous behind the scenes featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, CG explanations, storyboards, picture galleries and more.
Bottom line - forget the plot and the double trilogy. This is a show-off disk. Have fun.
posted by Zvi Josef on 22/11/2001 16:29
8 / 10
Still hard to love after thinking about Episodes 4,5 and 6...
posted by Richard73 on 4/12/2001 23:35
7 / 10
Star Wars - possibly the greatest or the most over hyped film of our time.

I grew up with the star wars phenomena when I was young. I was blown away by the effects and storytelling.

Several years on Lucas provides us with a prequel. After watching the trilogy recently; something was missing. No more was I impacted by its greatness but felt empty how I was managed to be taken in by the hype. Lucas has been hailed has one of the greatest directors. Although important; through the special effects industry. Lucas is an understudy to many of his closest friends (Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola etc).

His weakness in film making and greatness is shown in his latest film. Great cast and special effects provide an average sci fi experience with poor performances.

Although, people and critics have viewed it as a poor companion to the series. The film moulds iitself perfectly with the other films. People seem to only remember the good points of the series and thus its unfair to make a comparrison.

As it stands; an average attempt of an action/sci fi film.

The disc carries the movie along way with probably the best print and sound on DVD, complemented with hours of extras.
posted by paul griffiths on 18/1/2002 19:05
9 / 10
Not a Bad Film as this is the worst one so far Episode 1.

But i will admit the extras and audio do the justice.

The audio is superb, brillant quality sound well done.

Commentary from Lucas, A hour documentary behind the scenes, Deleted Scenes and more.

Film let down and the rest does better.
posted by barry110 on 27/10/2002 11:36
6 / 10
Do I need to get into a rant over this stink-infested misfire? Taxes? Trade disputes? Senates? I was snoring before the intro was done. Darth Lucas was never smart enough to make me believe this crap. There are five major things that makes this film really bad (and a host of others) and they are; 1) Darth Lucas's direction. See that thing in front of you George? That's called a camera, use it. Lucas' direction has all the complexity of a soap opera. 2) Darth Lucas' script, which would have being rejection in Script writing for dummies 101. Pantha Poodoo indeed. 3) Jar Jar Blunderman. Does this need any explanation? John Carpenter could have put him in to "The Thing" and Jar Jar would still be the scariest thing in it. 4) Jake Lloyd. I know he was 9-ish. But he simply cannot act and his voice is so annoying it could be used instead of Chinese water torture. 5) The CGI. This plain and simply is appalling. What happened to the groundbreaking effects of the originals that still look great today? TPM looks like a cartoon.

Video: To anyone who thinks this picture is great, I implore you to get your eyes tested before you walk into a lamppost or something dangerous. For a 1999 transfer this is mediocre. For Darth Lucas, the man who single-handingly campaigns for digital this and digital that, this is bloody appalling. This wasn't even taken from a digital transfer. It was taken from a damn film master. So much for innovator, George. Sharp? Are you kidding? This transfer looks like it's been covered in gauze. So much so I went to the optician to check my eyes. There was a waste of £20. The print that was used isn't even in great condition; there are many nicks and scratches on the print, though nothing hugely distracting. Jaggies and halos are all over the place and at times are distracting. Colours are fine, apart from scenes on Tatoonee, which look far too bleached compared to the theatrical and even VHS version of this.

Audio: Credit goes where credit is due. This DD5.1EX soundtrack is simply one of the best out there. Spaceships fly by in the rear with extreme power. Bass is very strong and used very well when the Jedi use the force. Dialogue is clear, though I wish someone would mute Jar Jar and Lloyd. Have I mention the Pod race yet? Simply fantastic demo material. Show this to a friend and believe me they will be buying a surround sound system very soon. The sounds of the Pod racers flying back are awe-inspiring in their power and ferocity. John Williams is at his usual high standard.

Extras: Will a Star Wars DVD ever be complete for a Stat Wars fan? I doubt it, but this DVD does a fare job. Up first is the audio commentary by Darth Lucas, bighead Rick McCallum, sound genius and okay editor Ben Burtt, Jurassic Park supermo Dennis Muren and a few other guys. The track is edited together, Lucas centric and never boring. Although quite technical at times, the participants offer great information and trivia for Warries.

On Disc 2: There are 7 deleted scenes made exclusively for the DVD. They are all presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (hey these look better than the film itself!) and complete with 5.1EX sound. Of biggest note is the full Pod race scene. Each deleted scene if given an introduction and there is an 8-minute documentary on deleted scenes in general featuring such washed up hacks like Lucas' friend Francis Ford Coppola.

Certainly the best feature on the disc and one of the best DVD documentaries I've ever seen is John Shenk's "The Beginning". Culled from over 600 hours of total access, this documentary is high on information, detail and drama. Watch Ewan get his lightsabre, watch the sets and models being blown away by a desert storm, watch Darth Lucas' face as he sees the film for the first time. And a tenner bets those fans cheering McCullum would have a different opinion in 2 hours time. Infinitely better than the film itself, this documentary is essential looking for both Warries and Wars haters.

Up next are 12 web-featurettes, they are a good teaser for fans but don't delve deeply into the film. There are also five EPK featurettes, which mostly repeat the stuff in the web documentaries. Multi-angle animatics and print campaigns round of the major features of the disc.

Trailers, TV spots and John Williams' "Duel of the Fates" music video round of the disc. As a by the way. The image quality in the trailers is far better than that on the DVD itself.

Overall: There's no hiding it. The Phantom Menace is a bad film, plain and simple. It doesn't just pale in comparison to the original trilogy, as a stand-alone film, it simply isn't entertaining. Oh and Lucas' constant "jokes" in reference to the original trilogy in TPM simply aren't funny, they're slap my head inducing. The audio and extras are great, but the video is poor. I wouldn't bet that this is the last Phantom Menace DVD.
posted by directorscutIMDb on 28/2/2003 23:52
9 / 10
The film is dissapointing compared to the original triolgy, but it does have some entertaining parts - Jedi Vs Sith Battle, Pod Race. Liam Neeson is great as Qui Gonn Jinn, some of the other performance are a bit dull.
The sound is great, esspecially through pod race and other action scenes, the picture quality is great.
Though it`s the extras that make this disc great, esspecially "The Beginning" Doucmentry that can be watched several times. his is one of the best DVD extra ever!
Other extras are good, including deleted scenes esspecially completed for the DVD release, this includes an extended pod race lap, and a near death experience for Jar Jar, too bad he doesn`t die!
posted by Clive_Evil_C on 12/4/2003 01:22
5 / 10
Forget every generation having it`s hero. Every generation should see a good Star Wars film.

This, isn`t it.

I can remember when I was 9 years old, going to see Star Wars. What an event! It has stayed with me ever since.

But these films especialy Ep1 just don`t cut it. Liam Neeson is miscast, it should have been Morgan Freeman, now think about it!

And the effects miss the target.

EP2, is better, but not yet there...

There is hope, yes there is another!
posted by lambechop on 27/4/2003 02:47