Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
In Episode I, Luke Skywalker’s father is just a hopeful 9-year-old boy named Anakin, who knows nothing of his eventual fate as a Dark Lord in years to come. In this earlier time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a determined young Jedi Knight. Qui-Gon Jinn is Obi-Wan’s venerable Jedi master, trying to teach the Jedi way to his apprentice as their world begins to unravel in political turmoil. Episode I takes audiences through realms and adventures, from the desert planet of Tatooine to the galactic capital world of Coruscant (with its Jedi Temple), the green world of Naboo, and beyond. Familiar Star Wars characters Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Jabba the Hutt are along for the ride. This first chapter in the Star Wars saga follows young Anakin Skywalker’s journey as he pursues his dreams and confronts his fears in the midst of a galaxy in crisis.
This first film in the “new” Star Wars trilogy was a box office monster, but many fans were disappointed with it as it concentrated on a young boy who would turn into Darth Vader, rather than a young adult Anakin Skywalker. The film does have its moments. It showcases a fantastic lightsaber battle between Qui-Gon Ginn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, and it has a fascinating pod race which involves young Anakin.
As far as content, it does have some violence with two people being blown up in their ship in the beginning of the film, and with constant subsequent battles which are rife with explosions and include fighters and droids being destroyed, along with a few humans. In the climatic lightsaber battle a character is run through with a lightsaber blade by Darth Maul, but no blood is shown. When Obi-Wan Kenobi runs a saber through a villain, a small blast of red is seen but not in a graphic manner. A main character is cremated after his death at the end of the film and although not graphic in nature, it does reveal the flames surrounding his body, which might make it a bit squeemish for the very young. It should be noted that an odd plot surrounding the virgin birth of Anakin is included in the movie. George Lucas has stated that in myth this is the case sometimes–a god or main hero will have a virgin birth. Still, the inclusion of that scene must be noted here. The film clearly defines good and evil characters and the good side prevails. We recommend this film for ages twelve and above.