To the extreme I rock the mic like a vandal

Commence the terror:

Back aboard the Federation command ship, Sidious is asking about the treaty. I still fail to understand why they require her real signature. Seems to me this is not an area where a Dark lord of the Sith would really have any compunctions about doing something deceptive. The Neimoidians explain that the queen has escaped, and that they can’t track her. Sidious isn’t concerned though, his Apprentice, Darth Maul can handle the job.

Okay, Darth Maul, it’s a pretty bad name, but luckily for the Movie, Darth Maul looks so incredibly cool that you forgive his character the horribly unimaginative name he was saddled with. Here too is another failing of the film, the mismanagement of characters. Darth Maul, possibly one of the most visually interesting and intimidating villains since Boba Fett, is completely wasted in this film, delivering only one line of dialogue, and generally just not getting the chances to shine that he deserves.

The explanation I choose for this is simple. Darth Maul was in serious danger of overshadowing Darth Vader as the coolest villain of the saga. He looks cooler, he’s faster, he’s deadlier, he has a double bladed lightsabre, given the opportunity, he would definitely give Vader a run for his money, and Lucas can’t have that. Sorry Maul, you’re going out like a punk, it’s the way it has to be apparently. Needless to say, the Neimoidians are a bit fearful of Maul’s inclusion into their gambit.

Meanwhile, aboard the Naboo cruiser, we are getting our formal introduction to R2-D2, and it’s pretty lame. The droid, for saving the ship, is given an audience with the Pretend Queen, who then orders the real queen to clean up the droid in a show of gratitude. Yeah, I’m sure that’s how it works. I’m sure the aristocracy looks upon droids as beings who deserve praise and admiration for a job well done, as opposed to machines built to do specific tasks. This leads us to a scene in which we get some more capering by Jar Jar as Padme cleans up R2. It’s pointless and asinine.

Well, up to this point the film has had a really brisk pace. Some scenes have been as short as 20 seconds before being brushed aside for the next. Not to worry, we’ve now arrived at Tatooine, where the film will grind to a screeching halt for the next half hour or so. Obi informs Qui-Gon that the hyperdrive is dead, so, R2 and Jar Jar in tow, Qui-Gon sets off to find a replacement. He doesn’t get far before Panaka, the queen’s security chief, tells Qui-Gon he has to take Padme with him.

Now, at this point the audience isn’t supposed to know that Padme is really the queen in disguise. I think this was a bad move. When the reveal finally comes, it makes the Jedi look stupid. After seeing the film a number of times, you learn to see that the Jedi knew all along, but those cues are so subtle as to be lost on the average viewer. The whole gambit would have been more effective had it been played so that we, the audience, know about the switch, and are also aware that the Jedi know, but that Padme is unaware of their knowledge. That would make Qui-Gon’s antagonism of Padme on Tatooine play a lot better, as if he were daring her to reveal her secret. As it stands now, it just makes Qui-Gon seem like an ass.

Tomorrow the introduction of Jake Lloyd, the boy wonder.

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~ by Pagz on June 19, 2008.

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