Is Star Wars the Phantom Menace worth the watch

Logan Sanders, Student Life Reporter

          Star Wars The Phantom Menace is a great movie about politics, lightsabers, and pod races. The opening crawl reveals that the Trade Federation, led by its Viceroy Nute Gunray, has blockaded the planet of Naboo in hope of resolving a galactic trade dispute. Chancellor Valorum of the Galactic Republic sends Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi on a secret mission to meet with the Trade Federation to settle the crisis. Unknown to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who orders them to invade Naboo with their immense droid army and also to kill the two Jedi. Following a failed attempt to force their way into Gunray’s command center, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escape and flee to the surface of Naboo, where they meet local Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks. As Jar Jar brings them to an underwater Gungan settlement, the Trade Federation captures Naboo’s leader, Queen Amidala. Through a Jedi mind trick, Qui-Gon secures a submarine, which he, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar use to reach the capital of Naboo and rescue Queen Amidala and her escort. The group departs for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic’s capital planet, to seek help from the Senate.

            During the escape, the ship is attacked by the Federation blockade, forcing R2-D2, one of the ship’s droids, to fix the shields. The attack damages the ship’s hyperdrive, forcing the party to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for needed parts, Qui-Gon and a handmaiden named Padmé befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a nine-year-old human slave gifted in piloting and mechanics. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin and feels that he may be the “Chosen One”, an individual the Jedi believe will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force. At Anakin’s insistence, Qui-Gon enters Anakin into the Boonta Eve Podrace in a bid with Anakin’s master, Watto, to gain the needed parts as well as Anakin’s freedom. Anakin eludes several obstacles including rival racer Sebulba to win the race, gaining his freedom, and bankrupting Watto. After hesitation, Anakin leaves his mother and his droid, C-3PO, behind Tatooine to go with the Jedi. As the group prepares to depart, they are attacked by the Sith apprentice Darth Maul, who battles Qui-Gon until the heroes escape.

             On Coruscant, Qui-Gon informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious, well-trained attacker. The Council becomes concerned that this may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, an opposing order that followed the dark side of the Force and had long ago disappeared. Qui-Gon informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy the Council refuses, worried that he is too old for training and that the fear and anger that he harbors will cloud his future. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine of Naboo persuades Amidala to call a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorem. The vote removes Valorem from power and leads to Palpatine’s nomination for the position, which Amidala considers too late to be effective. To stop the Federation invasion by herself, the Queen decides to return to Naboo with her security team, the two Jedi, R2-D2, Anakin, and Jar Jar.