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Episode 605

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After a 16-year break, Star Wars returned in 1999 with the first entry in a brand new prequel trilogy: The Phantom Menace. Hopes were high, maybe too high, but what was delivered was not what was expected. Listen as Dan and Mike examine the movie that gave us the origin of Anakin Skywalker, very little Obi-Wan, and defined The Force. Also, Mike has a theory about Qui-Gon Jinn. [ 2:39:37 || 77.0 MB ]

To listen, click here: http://www.earth-2.net/theshow/episodes/e2ts_605.mp3

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The Phantom Menace is actually my favorite of the prequels, I hate it, I hate it so much, but it seems like the one with the most effort put into it. All my feelings for this movie are expressed perfectly in Mr. Plinkett's fantastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtZmQgxrI. Anyone who hasn't seen his reviews is missing out on three incredible, hilarious and very interesting analyses.

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I hate it, I hate it so much, but it seems like the once with the most effort put into it.

Yes. Attack of the Clones is two hours of Lucas shrugging his shoulders and saying "Meh, whatever, they'll buy it." This at least had Lucas' full attention. He made terrible, terrible decisions, but they were his.

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Phantom Menace was my first real introduciton to the Star Wars universe. I was in fifth grade, and vaguely aware of the rest of the films.

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Hey Dan, do you want to know how old I was in 1999?

I really don't.

Stop being younger than me.

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Awesome episode, guys.

Some thoughts/responses:

Jedi actually are meant to be mediators and negotiators; they're trained for that. They probably are experts at dealing with taxation disputes. In that time of peace, that's mostly what they were good for. They really weren't "knights" at all, hence why the Clone Wars killed so many of them off.

Dan was right when he mentioned that the Jedi order is not at all in the right place. After a millennia of relative peace, they've become extremely weak and stubborn. They've essentially made religion-for-the-sake-of-religion, adding superfluous rules to their code and letting themselves be blinded to the truth of the matter. Over in The Clone Wars a couple years ago, they had "The Mortis Trilogy" of episodes (featuring Liam Neeson reprising his role as Qui-Gon) where they delved extremely deep into the Dark and Light sides of the Force, sort of like an entire arc set in Dagobah's tree cave. The general idea is that the Light side of the Force, when used purely, is entirely inactive and unable to defend against the Dark Side. The Dark Side, conversely, is so active and violent that it lacks wisdom and will ultimately destroy itself. Acting purely in the dark side or light side will lead to ultimate destruction, as the too-Light Jedi of the Prequel era learned, as did the too-Dark Palpatine by the end of Return of the Jedi. An analogy would be having the Light side be "health" and the dark side being disease. You do still want to be as healthy as possible, but if you're a health freak that washes his/her hands eighteen times a day and never goes outside for fear of germs, you won't build up immunities and won't be able to fend off illness when it does finally arrive.

Ideally, what a Jedi should aim for is to be, say, 90% light. Still totally focused on doing the right thing, but not blind to the presence of evil.

Qui-Gon is most definitely not a Sith or Dark Jedi; he just doesn't give a single crap about the Jedi order and their rules-for-the-sake-of-rules. He follows common sense, basically. He represents the idea of the new, reformed Jedi that carries through Anakin (who had similar problems with "the system"), then gets passed on through Obi-Wan to Luke, who is able to find a kind of clarity at the end of Return of the Jedi and "teach" it to Anakin, fulfilling that philosophical idea.

Probably the biggest thing with Qui-Gon actually happens in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, where he appears as a spirit to Yoda. Here's the clip from the audiobook. It actually contains a huge portion of the entire philosophical thrust of the Star Wars saga, and it's a crime that it didn't make it into the film itself.

On the note of the droids:

Anakin didn't actually "build" C-3PO. He rebuilt him from scraps in Watto's junkyard. This was shown in that comic you referenced and was also mentioned in passing in an episode of The Clone Wars.

R2 and 3PO (especially R2) are different from most droids because they have not had their memories wiped regularly, as is the norm for droids. This has allowed them to grow and become more like "people." Part of the reason R2 is so much smarter than 3PO is because his memory literally has never been wiped, at the behest of Anakin during the Clone Wars, and later by Luke.

Qui-Gon and Anakin are running away from Mos Espa towards the Royal Starship because on their way out, Qui-Gon saw that they were being followed by one of Darth Maul's probe droids and cut it in half. (it was awesome) This was actually in the theatrical release, but cut out of the DVD and put in the deleted scenes on the bonus disc.

Midi-chlorians aren't the Force itself, nor do they create it. They're basically the biological reflection of it. In Return of the Jedi, Luke says, "the Force is strong in my family;" the midi-chlorians are just another way of saying that. They're a plot device there to explain how the Force can be detected and how Anakin's status as the Chosen One can be "confirmed."

Obi-Wan is 25 in The Phantom Menace, 35 in Attack of the Clones, 38 in Revenge of the Sith, and 57 in Star Wars.

The problems with Naboo somehow starving go even further in The Clone Wars, where it's said in one episode that because of economic difficulties due to the war, the people of Naboo somehow don't have electricity or running water. WATER, on a WATER PLANET, which we clearly see uses hydroelectric power plants. -_-

Naberrie is Padmé's family name; Amidala is the name she took as queen. She keeps Amidala as her last name when she becomes Senator.

One thing that's made clearer in other versions of the story is that Anakin was halfway-purposely doing all the stuff he was "accidentally" doing in the Naboo starfighter. A lot of it was Force instinct (especially the torpedo launch in the hangar), but a good portion of it was actually him going "oops, I accidentally launched this awesome starfighter into space and now I get to fly around and shoot stuff. Tee hee hee."

According to the stunt coordinator, Nic Gillard, Obi-Wan did in fact have a reaction to Qui-Gon's death, but it wasn't anger. He'd tried using anger against Maul in the final duel and it got him kicked into the shaft. He learned that he needed to fight smart, not hard. He saw that the fighting style that Qui-Gon had used was not defensive enough to stand up against Darth Maul, so by Attack of the Clones, he had begun using Form III, the most defensive style, which focuses on using as little energy as possible to defend against all attacks. He hadn't mastered it until Revenge of the Sith, hence why he got beaten down by Dooku almost instantly in AOTC.

Actually, Darth Maul coming back in The Clone Wars was Lucas's idea, against the desires of the writers at the time. In fact, about 95% of the stories in TCW are actually from Lucas. He comes up with the outlines and hands it over to the crew, basically following the Empire Strikes Back method.

Jedi robes are actually designed to look generic, hence why Obi-Wan can pass as a normal person on Tatooine. A lot of races apparently dress like that across the galaxy, but we never see any of them because it would be confusing to a movie audience. The closest thing to it is Luke's outfit in Star Wars.

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Never mind I just found the podcast on Jedi. As for this movie I have no comment. I own the entire series on blu-ray but I am not a fan of the new trilogy. I don't hate it I respect it enough as a key aspect of this universe and I watch it out of that respect. Over the years I've developed better feelings for it as time as slowly passed.

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Aaron: unless doing so will ensure me a role in the movie, I for one will not be rushing to watch either Ewok movie anytime soon.

As for your other post: unless Lucas recurs TPM to include any of that info, it doesn't matter. A movie should not need a mountain of expanded universe to annotate it. If you need the novels and comics and spin-off cartoons to explain what's unclear or fix mistakes, the movie sucks.

Which is not to say the spin-off stuff is bad. A lot of it is great. But it's not germaine to the discussion of the movie.

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Oh, I wasn't saying that the EU, The Clone Wars, or anything else justifies TPM and its "bleh"-ness. It's not a great movie. I was just adding info. It's neat to look back at the now-annotated prequels and see the bigger picture. It doesn't make the movie any better, exactly, but from the geeky perspective of getting to see a more complete Star Wars universe, it's cool.

Also, all the stuff I mentioned (aside from the 3PO comic) is considered "G-level" canon, and is thus, according to Lucasfilm, written in stone to never be contradicted again (now that George is gone). So it can be reasonably trusted to be now part of the Star Wars universe as it truly exists in all forms.

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All my feelings for this movie are expressed perfectly in Mr. Plinkett's fantastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtZmQgxrI. Anyone who hasn't seen his reviews is missing out on three incredible, hilarious and very interesting analyses.

Ha, you guys actually talk about these in the review. Oh well, I'll just leave this for anyone who wants the link. Also, I think they're hilarious, the Mr. Plinkett character is so funny I'm laughing at almost everything he says. But that's just me.

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Stovepipe here, just to prove that I do listen to other Earth-2 shows.

And now the one thing that took me out of the otherwise excellent Genesis of the Daleks. I couldn't unsee it and now you can't either:

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Anyway, I was only a 9 years old when The Phantom Menace came out. I think my only reason for seeing it then was "it's Star Wars. It's popular." I think I liked it then(????), but... yeah, I'm just gonna flat out admit that I listened to the show hoping that you guys would tear the movie a new one, and you certainly didn't disappoint!

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Hey Dan, do you want to know how old I was in 1999?

I really don't.

Stop being younger than me.

I groaned when having a real job was mentioned. I still have short sleeves and a name tag when I work.

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So if I understand you Mike, Liam Neeson is The War Chief?

Its a shame they couldn't do something to try and save Shmi after the movie was over, either to buy her or just go back and save her. I guess Anakin only knows the heads of the intergalactic police and the Queen of Renaissance Italy so he had access to neither arms nor wealth. And its not like he's a pivotal figure upon whose emotional well-being rests the.fate of the galaxy, so it clearly wasn't important. There's no way Padme could have bought her and brought her to Naboo for everyones peace of mind.

Oh wait.

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I groaned when having a real job was mentioned. I still have short sleeves and a name tag when I work.

I did say that, and it wasn't cool. That had always been my attitude back then when I was basically still a kid and working full-time for the first time, and I tend to still use the phrasing today, but work is work. If I offended you I apologize.

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