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Star Wars, Episode I -
THE PHANTOM MENACE

Star Wars Episode 1 is here. This is not just a film, it is a major cultural event.
Review by David Bruce


Star Wars, Episode I -
T
HE PHANTOM MENACE
(1999)


This page was last updated on May 19, 2005


REVIEW
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   The Queen and the Jedi leave the planet with Anakin. Failing to persuade Coruscant senate into necessary immediate action, the Queen and her Jedi return to Naboo and form an alliance with the Gungans, a group that the Naboos had previously shunned. Together they defeat The Trade Federation. 
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     The alliance between the Gungans, the Queen and the Jedi demonstrate the power of community and focused purpose.
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Revelation 20:3
The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore...

Phantom Menace on TIME magazine

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GEORGE LUCAS

Excerpts from TIME magazine, April 26, 1999.
THE SPIRITUAL SIDE OF THE FORCE
Interview by Bill Moyers.

Summary by David Bruce

LUCAS ON GOD:
"I think there is a God. No question."

THE PURPOSE BEHIND STAR WARS:
"I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about mystery. Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask questions, 'Is there a God or is there not a God?' -that is for me the worst thing that can happen."

STAR WARS AND RELIGION:
"I don't see Star Wars as profoundly religious. I see Star Wars as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and easily accessible construct -there is a mystery out there."    

ON EVIL:
"This is a world where evil has run amuck. But you have control over your destiny, you have many paths to walk down, and you can chose which destiny is going to be yours."

           

DARTH MAUL
Everyone's favorite bad guy.
"Killed off too soon," some say.

By David Bruce

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    For George Lucas Darth Maul makes him feel fear: "You would not want to meet him in a dark alley." When Lucas needed a new icon of evil for Episode One, he researched mythology. Darth Vader had come to be the persona of evil. But, now he needed to create a new symbol of evil more terrifying than Darth Vader. What evolved through Lucas' research was Darth Maul: a Satan-like being, red like the fires of Hell and horned, because devil creatures in myth have horns. The clothing represents the dark side of the force -spiritual darkness.

     Darth Vader was part machine: He had lost most of his humanity. Evil deforms the image of God within us. Luke Skywalker was on his way to becoming a machine too. Darth Maul is different. He is not part machine. He still has all of his human parts. He is all human and yet evil. This is what makes Darth Maul terrifying.

     "He is the evil with us," Lucas says. This is the real terror.

     At the end of the episode one Darth Maul loses his double-edged sword (in Bible = power of the Word) and is cut in half and falls into a pit. Could there be a more vivid image of the outcome of those who give in to the dark side without turning from it as Vader does in the last episode?

     Does he die too soon? Many viewers wanted Lucas to explore Darth Maul more. And indeed, evil is a curious thing. We all want to know more about it, how it works, and its danger. We are all victims of our own evil. There is a little bit of Darth Maul in all of us.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER
EVERY MOTHER'S SON
EVERY MOTHER'S FEAR!
By David Bruce
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     What makes Anakin so compelling is we that know beforehand that he will become Darth Vader. In Episode One he is innocent, and familiar. He loves his mother and his people. We are all born innocent, just like Anakin. Then, life happens, we make bad choices, associate with the wrong crowd, entertain immoral thought. We lose much of our humanity. He is compelling because we are like Anakin.

     Anakin wants to set his people free from their slavery. Anakin has a noble call. He has a great destiny. He has been chosen to train as a Jedi Knight. His mother loves and supports him. But something goes wrong. We identify. If you don't identify with Anakin, try to. Because he represents what you can become when you neglect and/or reject the higher call in your life.

      Star Wars is about a journey from innocence and hope, into the dark side and finally into the light. Anakin is “The Chosen One” we are intended to be. He becomes the worst of our fears about ourselves.

MISSING DADS,
BAD DADS
and DARTH SIDIOUS

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A GOOD DAD
By David Bruce
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     Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) is the father of Luke Skywalker. So then, I wonder, is the Emperor, Darth Sidious, the natural father of Anakin Skywalker? Is he the 'no father' to Anakin? Maybe so and perhaps not. One thing is certain: the Emperor will take Anakin under his wing and be a father/mentor to him. Darth Sidious will become be the dominant "father figure" in Anakin's life's journey.

    I was fortunate to have a caring father. My mother and father were together always. My father and I went camping together. We talked to each other. Loved each other. He went on to heaven. Heart attack. I miss him. I realize what a force in my life he was. I must never forget.

    As a father now myself, I want to be the best I can be for all seven of my kids. I want my marriage to work. I want our family to stay together. And, as a pastor I know, first hand, the pain of family breakdown. And, it's the dads who are generally not involved with the broken family. I know what it does for kids. It's not good.

     Fathers who give in to the dark side (drink, drugs, other women, violence, absence) profoundly influence their children in unimaginable negative ways. May the Star Wars series remind fathers of their importance. May it restrain them from entering the dark side.

      How does a 'bad' dad get back to the light side of the force? It will take Anakin's son, Luke, to redeem the father. For those with 'bad' dads, you can be such a force as Luke was in your family. Never give up. Never enable. Always rely on God. The force is with you. Your family is important. Seek God.

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COMMENT ON THIS FILM

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VIRGIN BIRTH NOT LITERAL
Subject: Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
From: jlb

In my view, the virgin conception of Anakin isn't literal. When his mom said to Qui-gon Jinn that Anakin had no father, she was just avoiding the question. Her evasive facial expression that accompanied her answer is proof of it. I invite everyone to watch it again to see her face when she says it.
- jlb
p.s. please don't put my address. thanks.

Response: Yes, of course, this is understood. -David

I KNOW WHY!
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001
From: DAN

I KNOW WHY OBI-WAN AND YODA DISAPPEARED!!!! SINCE LUCAS LIKES TO BORROW THINGS FROM THE BIBLE (LIKE ANAKINS MIRACULOUS "VIRGIN BIRTH") HE WAS READING ONE DAY IN HIS FAITHFUL OLD KJV AND COME ACROSS TWO ACCOUNTS OF MEN WHO WERE SO IN TUNE WITH THE LORD THAT GOD JUST TOOK THEM. IM REFERRING TO ENOCH AND ELIJAH WHO WERE TRANSLATED/RAPTURED INTO GLORY.YODA AND OBI-WAN WERE AT SUCH A MATURE LEVEL AND IN SUCH HARMONY WITH THE FORCE THAT "IT" JUST TOOK THEM. REMEMBER, ELIJAH LEFT ELISHA (AS A MATTER OF FACT THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH RESTED ON ELISHA IN II KINGS 2:15 AS THE SPIRIT OF OBI-WAN DID ON LUKE IN EPISODE IV), OBI-WAN LEFT LUKE. THE ONLY SPECULATION I HAVE ABOUT ENOCH AND STAR WARS IS THAT ENOCH WAS TAKEN JUST PRIOR TO THE FLOOD (GEN 5) AND PROPHESIED OF THE COMING OF CHRIST TO EXECUTE JUDGEMENT (JUDE 14&15). PERHAPS THERES SOME CONNECTION BETWEEN THE APOCALYPSE, YODA, AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EMPIRE.
DANHURST31@AOL.COM.

STAR WARS DVD
RE: Christopher's Comments about the Star Wars DVD
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000
From: John W. Killinger

Just a factual update. When asked in various interviews, and on the starwars.com website, about the possibility of Star Wars DVD's, Lucas said that he would not be releasing the movies on DVD until he had finished the entire prequel series. His reasoning behind this decision is that he wanted to do "something special" (extra scenes?) with the DVD versions. He said that with the production schedule for the next two movies, he wouldn't have the time to give his DVD plans the attention that they would need. Considering we all had to wait 20 years for the touched up versions of the original trilogy, I for one am willing to wait another 5 for the DVD enhancements of the new trilogy.
John W. Killinger

STARWARS NOT ON DVD!
Subject: Lucas On God?
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000
From: Christopher

They say, "Money is the root of all evil"! Well, all I have to say about that is: George Lucas is taking this saying to heart when it comes to his Star War movies. Did you know that he is not releasing any of his Star War movies on DVD because he claims he will loose money by creating the movies in this format! The poor man. To Hell with his fans I guess. With estimates in the Billions for the total gross for these films, the man is claiming he is broke and cannot afford to put even the latest episode on DVD. I guess the situation that Mr. Lucas is in is such that we should all chip in to put food on his table yes? After all it is the Christian thing to do. Greed is something for evil men and I see this is the case for the person in your article were it states: LUCAS ON GOD: "I think there is a God. No question." I leave the judging up to you.

LOVES REVIEW
Subject: I loved your Star Wars Episode I section.
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000
From: Josh

Hi my name is Josh. Please withold my email address because I don't want to get any spam. My favorite part of your site was the Star Wars Episode 1 section. I'm glad to see some actual Christian insight into film reviewing. You know , I'm also glad to see Christians, like myself, that enjoy the Star Wars saga. Usually, when you find Christians talking about Star Wars, they are usually very paranoid about it and say that it is an abomination unto the Lord Jesus. This is not true. I believe that there are some very good Christian viewpoints in Star Wars. Another problem with some Christians that are paranoid about Star Wars is that they say that Anakin is mocking Christ and the Jedi and the Jedi Council are the Pharisees and that Lucas is saying that the Pharisees were right and that Christ was wrong. This is not so because I read somewhere that the Jedi Council and the Jedi represented
defenders of royalty such as the Three Musketeers. Also I agree what you said about Anakin having to have a father and that it said nothing in the movie about a Virgin birth. Plus, here's five more points that prove that Anakin is not a mockery of Christ,

1. George Lucas said he believed in God, but did not plan for the Force to represent the God he believes in because he feared that it would be somewhat of a mockery to God and the Bible, hence even if Anakin was conceived by the Midichlorians, he wouldn't represent the Son of the one true God.

2. Before Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, he had a son and a daughter with Amidala, Did Christ get married on Earth and have a son and daughter or any children for that matter? I don't think so.

3. In the calendars and literature I've seen about Anakin Skywalker he is called the chosen one with lowercase lettering, not the Chosen One with uppercase lettering such as Christ.

4. The Jedi Council believed that Anakin was the chosen one, the Jewish Religious Council denied the Christ was the Chosen One.

5. You know the prophecy that relates to Anakin being the chosen one who would bring balance to the Force, well there were Jedi before and after him that brought balance to the Force and there were prophecies about them also.
I think that you're site is great, but I have just one more thing to ask of you, Could you please tell me if George Lucas is a Christian or not?
God Bless and may Christ be Saviour to all,
Josh

My response: Thank you for the kind words. George Lucas was baptised in the Luthern Church in Modesto, California, as a baby and was raised in a Christian Family. I do not know the place that Jesus has in the life of George Lucas.

SITH CONNECTION TO REVELATION'S 1000 YEARS.
September 17, 1999. I loved The Phantom Menace enough to see it three times. Each time I found there were things I had missed before, especially biblical references. One reference I caught the third time through was a connection between the Sith and the book of Revelation. When the Jedi council are presented with the possibility that the Sith have returned, Yoda responds that it is impossible, the Sith have been gone for a thousand years. It wasn't until hearing this three times that I made the connection to the mention in the book of Revelation that Satan will be bound for a thousand years (the thousand year reign of the Jedi) and then let free to cause more havoc (enter Darth Sidious). I can't express how great it is to have a movie which is immensely entertaining and causes me to reflect on the Bible at the same time! As far as the Virgin Birth reference, I don't understand why some people get so worked up over that. During the time of Jesus, stories of virgin births were common, and were a way of expressing in a story the great significance of a person. All you need to do is look at Mediterranean literature of that period to realize that. So George Lucus picks up on a common theme of religious story telling and uses it to evoke thoughts about the significance of Anakin Skywalker. He is after all writing a myth. I say if Lucus can entertain millions of people and cause them to reflect on spirituality in the same movie, may the Force be with him!
-Andy
My response: Thnks for this observation for the 1000 years. I had not noticed it

STANDING UP FOR QUEEN AMIDALA
August 15, 1999. I looove Phantom Meance and all the other Star Wars movies. I thought your report was great and very thought provoking. I never noticed all the Biblical refrences in it!  You wrote some really great things! I've seen Phantom Meance twice and love it! I haven't found any reviews at your site about the other Star Wars movies, but if there aren't some you should write some! It made me so mad when I read the e-mail that said Queen Amidala looked like a vampire!!!!!!!!! For their information Queen Amidala is 14 in the movie not 18 as the person wrote. I'm a big fan of Queen Amidala and that made me really mad!!! She doesn't look liike a vampire in my opinon !   :D Princess :D

ANOTHER LOOK AT ANAKIN/JESUS CONNECTION
August 9, 1999. I find it fascinating the way everyone is so quick to say that Anakin   cannot be the chosen one to bring balance to the force. Maybe my  theory won't sit will with lots of folks, but here it is anyway.
     If you look at what Vader does at the end of Return of the Jedi, he really  does bring balance to the force. He sacrafices himself to kill the   emperor, thereby ridding the universe of the Sith Master/Apprentice pair.  Not only does this redemption come through self-sacrifice, but his  journey through the dark side is almost a sort of incarnation. I say  "through the dark side" because in the end, he does emerge-- the mask  comes off and he turns to good.
     Of course, there are people who would say that such a story is
blasphemous, that Anakin/Vader cannot be a savior figure because he is  not "sinless". But why should we not tell stories of imperfect people who follow in the footsteps of the Messiah? Vader saw the error of his ways,  and his conversion came with a very biblical action-- obedience even to death.
     Maybe we needn't get so uptight about Anakin being the chosen one. I  think it could work out just fine.
Peter J. Wall  peterj@madnet.net

ANAKIN THE CARPENTER.
July 23, 1999. To add to the similarity, Anakin is the futuristic version of a carpenter... Can we expect to see him being tested as Jesus was by the Devil ?
-Joshua

CONCERNED ABOUT ZEN-BUDDHISM
July 13, 1999. I am a "generation-x"-er and like many of us I am a big STAR WARS fan. As a Christian, I am often concerned about the obvious zen-buddhism promoted in the "force philosophy", though I do admire the devotion of the Jedi and their stance for justice and against evil. If more Christians were even half as devoted -- think what a difference we would see in this world [Matt 5:16]! Anyway, when I went to see EP1, I loved it. But not all of it. This thing about Anakin being virgin born is NOT cool. That aspect should only refer to the Lord Jesus Christ. His virgin birth is a sign of His sinlessness, not just a miracle. Anakin is not sinless, and I can prove it in 3 different movies! If Darth Sidious is his father, I can live with that. Though there is the question then of the interpretation of the Jedi prophecy as to the one who will bring balance to the force/universe/galaxy (I can't remember exactly how it goes -- only saw EP 1 once!). Well, that's my two sense worth. -Sheridan
My response: Don't sweat it. George Lucas has a strong Lutheran background, loves eastern philosophy and is a great follower of Joseph Campbell! There are many layers of myths and religious thinking in the Star War epics, not just Zen. Star Wars is a celebration of all that is mystical and mythical. It's George Lucas' way of getting young people to think about God. I like what he is doing. It's working.

WORTH SEEING
July 5, 1999. Not the greatest movie ever but you should see it at least once.

HOLY SPIRIT IN STAR WARS?
July 3, 1999. I thought the special effects were interesting but the plot was a bit reminiscent of the first movie. Yet, it kept my attention and the attention of my kids.I thought the part where they did the test on Anakin and found he had more of the force "molecules" than anyone else was intersesting comparison with our being created in the image of God and having the Holy Spirit within us. (sound weird?) -Chris
My response: Weird? No not at all. Bill Moyers asked this same question of George Lucas in the Time magazine interview.

CAN'T WAIT FOR EPISODE TWO
June 26, 1999. I thought it was a wonderful movie my whole family went to see it! It is jam pack action! I like it better than the first stars wars I can hardly wait until the second star wars comes out! It is a great movie!
--Carrie Kritcher (c_kritcher@hotmail.com)

VIRGINAL CONCEPTION
June 21, 1999. Mr. Bruce: I just saw "Phantom Menace" this past weekend. I'd like to hear your comments on the "virginal conception" of Anakin. Also, did his Mother strike you as modeled on Glenn Close's Iris in "The Natural" I thought so. Let me know. Thanks and best wishes. Mike.
My response: The "virginal conception" makes Anakin a candidate for the "chosen one." I had not thought of "The Natural connection." Interesting.

RESEMBLED TOY STORY
June 21, 1999. I didn't know if I was watching Toy Story, or, Star Wars. (at times)) too much fake computer graphics for me.

BEST OF THE SAGA, SO FAR
June 17, 1999. This is the greatest movie I have ever seen, ESB of the original trilogy was great too, all SW movies are, but this was the best of the saga so far. Thank you George Lucas!

LUCAS SHOULD FILM THE LIFE OF JESUS
June 13, 1999. As a previous writer has commented, I too will hold George Lucas up in prayer. I have prayed for a film using all the available technology to be made of the life of Christ. Imagine what so talented a director as Lucas could do with Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm. Imagine the full "force" of the crucifixion and Jesus ascension filmed by a master! I know that most are merely satisfied with this wonderful directors work to date, and I don't take issue with his outlook on religion, this is his choice, but just imagine for a moment that what DeMille did for Moses Lucas could do for Jesus. I tingle at the thought!
-John jbirdtree@yahoo.com

SCI-FI FILMS ARE MEANT TO BE ENJOYED
June 10, 1999. I really enjoyed it. I have been reading science fiction & fantasy and seeing SF/F movies since junior high school. I enjoy the clear contrast between good and evil shown forth in flawed, believable beings. I don't mistake this for theology or Scripture. They are meant to be enjoyed and to raise questions. For truth, Scripture is the only place to look. –Chuck

TEASER FOR THINGS TO COME
June 8, 1999. The special effects are excellent but I found the acting to be wooden, relationships stilted. Some parts of the movie seemed to have been given too much time (the race on Tatooine) but the battle on Naboo less than warranted. The film's strength lies in it being a teaser for things to come. I would hope the next installment has better interaction among the characters. –Stan

"THE FORCE" COVERS ALL RELIGIONS AND BELIEFS
June 7, 1999. I haven't seen Phantom Menace yet. But I have seen the other Star Wars trilogy. And I have seen many biblical connections in all three movies. For example, the temptation that Luke goes through, and the faith that he has. That is of course only a small example of what biblical connections can be seen. But I'm sorry to say that many people I've come across, don't see that, because as soon as they read that George Lucas is a Buddhist, they choice to put a blind eye to the positive message the movie sends out. And if people are judging Lucas because they think because he is Buddhist, that he is anti-Christian. Well Lucas may follow a different religion. But that doesn't make him anti-Christian. In fact from a recent interview I read, he seems very pro-Christian, and has great respect for Christianity. In fact I think Lucas has respect for all religions, which is probabaly the reason he uses 'the Force', instead of 'God'. So that way, 'the Force' can cover all religions and beliefs. kind regards. --Wendy

VIRGIN BIRTH?
June 3, 1999. Gday all, Ok I've read a few of the viewers comments and while I agree that at first the "virgin birth" comment worried me too. But I have to say that thinking about it, in the end it didn't worry me. Also after thinking about it a little more (and here's the point lol) where in the movie does it say "virgin birth" IT DOESN'T. It says that Anakin has no father and then leaves it at that, mind you I've only seen it once (but I'm going again). –Donald

ENJOYED IT AS ENTERTAINMENT
June 3, 1999. .I saw the movie 2x and enjoyed the movie as entertainment. Probably see it again for that same reason. However, any other similarities to Christianity only throws confusion on our faith. –Gregg

EPISODE 1 = EPISODE 4
June 2, 1999. I just got this feeling. "Haven't I watched this in Episode 4?" I mean, the space dogfights, just picture the droid space station as the death star, you know what I mean. And the way it is destroyed, really does remind you how Death Star is blown to oblivion? Or just picture the fighting scene between Maul and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Episode 6? Really, if Lucas is going to make big bucks out of this I think he has to be more creative in Episode 2 and 3. Or else.... Okie, spiritually, it does have a lot in common with Jesus. Anakin was born without a physical father, being born from the meeting of the force. Hmmm, another virgin mother I think. And the theme of 'Force' does has its meaning, that it is in each of us, and how we can use it depends how strong it is in us all. Just picture the 'Force' with the Holy Spirit. It does has a lot in common. Even the usage of the force, "Just concentrate, go with the feeling" do remind me (at least) that Holy Spirit do talk to us in a whispering voice, a feeling. I went to the show with open mind which is a blessing given that I am a SW-ian. Why? It starts out quite good, but ends up feeling like watching Episode 4 again. Hmmm... --Wilson

A LITTLE HARD TO FOLLOW
June 2, 1999. Before I was saved I loved the Star Wars trilogy. I think that the Lord was showing me that there is a wrong and a right back then. But that's where it ends. I agree that there is a sense of Christianity in, not just this movie but the whole series thus far. But there is a dangerous mixture of New Age religion mixed in and once that becomes deeply ingrained in people it's like a cancer that is very difficult to heal if the people survive spiritually. Don't get me wrong I thought it was an interesting movie, I have an idea about where Anakin Skywalker goes wrong, who the mother of Luke and Princes Lea is and some other unanswered questions. One of my problems with the movie is that the vehicles are more Hi tech then the movies previously made but which came later. And Lucas packed so much into one movie that it was a little hard to follow. It kept jumping around from scene to scene-and very quickly I might add. Now If I had read the book ahead of time I might not have been bothered by that but I really don't read those kinds of books anymore because I don't want that sort of influence in my life. Getting back to Anakin, It was sad to me to see the boy who was eventually to become Darth Vader, but I remember happily that before his demise he went over to the good side(was saved). That's a good message for people. Not to wait to the last minute because you don't know when your last hour is coming but that it's never to late. In conclusion, I believe in the force but my force has a name, He is Jesus! –Edward

GAVE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL KIDS ABOUT THE BIBLE
June 2, 1999. Parallels are so unmistakable I see no danger in a false message getting through to my kids. In fact, it provided me as a parent an excellent opportunity to remind my children that the greatest (and most copied) story ever told came from our Dear Old Bible. –Thomas

LUCAS IS CAPABLE OF SO MUCH MORE!
May 31, 1999. With spare time on my hands yesterday I broke my own self-imposed embargo on Lucas and went to see Star Wars. Much to my surprise I absolutely hated it! I did manage to stay in my seat though and came away with the following observations. Regarding the race question, there is no doubt that Lucas is very uncomfortable with race. Sure there were two black men in the movie, but one (Jackson) was the only human Jedi Master amongst weird looking aliens (are blacks aliens?) and he had a decidedly surly and sour outlook, as did the narrow minded queens guard who was at least allowed to kill some of the bad machines. Amazing that in 4 feature length films Lucas can't find even a small part for a positive black character. I also noticed that the two bad ambassadors who started the whole thing had very oriental accents! As to the Force, Lucas has decided to stay firmly entrenched in this new age philosophy, now even bringing it down to the genetic level when there is discussion of the properties in your cells that are good or bad. As far as religion is concerned we are treated to the ancient religion of the cartoon characters where they are hiding in what looks amazingly like Buddhist temple ruins. Lucas has always kept ties with Eastern religion in his films and continues that tradition. What amazed me is the outright slap at Jesus when we come to find out that Anakin Skywalker was immaculately conceived! That is to say, he had no father. This ups the ante on Jehovah as Jesus had a heavenly Father, whereas the future savior of the force is almost entirely self generated. This is the triumph of humanism, the philosophy that we can do anything, we are self contained "gods," etc. Also, little Anakin’s willingness to jettison his mother and his unconvincing love for his mom as they part is further proof that Lucas seems to be working out some serious problems of his own on film. For me Anakin Skywalker, who Lucas has now made the absolute center of the whole set of films was the most annoying character of all. I really didn't like the little kid, no charm, no acting skills, nothing for me here... Yet all the trivia buffs will be wondering, who will he marry to have Luke and Lea? How will he be turned to the dark-side? and so on. I've gone on at great length (mainly because it's Memorial Day morning and I have nothing better to do yet) and I'll leave out my growing abhorrence of special effects, the wasting of a good actor (Neeson), the only near Christian character (mom), what was on the necklace (I think I spotted a cross!), and so on. Suffice it to say that Lucas now becomes a prayer focus for me, with his considerable influence amongst the young he has the opportunity to send out much more positive messages that he does. While Darth Maul may look like one of Satan's devils, it isn't man that can defeat him! –Ken
My response: You certainly gave the film lots of thought. According to eastern Zen, "the greatest purpose is to have no purpose." This doesn't characterize George Lucas or Star Wars at all. I believe it has more to do with the Saturday morning movie serials, where the good guys win, where bad is bad and good is good. George Lucas also feels that kids don't think about God as often as they could. So he has created a kid series that deals with spirituality (the force). In true Buddhism it is less about God and more about the Four Truths to self discipline, and the Path to Nirvana to end the cycle of reincarnation (this is not in Star Wars). Lucas' mentor is Joseph Cambell, the famous mythology expert. I think Lucas' is more about the importance of myth and its power in truth telling. The virgin birth thing, will turn out to be not so. Anakin has a father. The 'no father' comment was to give punch to the idea the Anakin could be the 'chosen one.' We all know he isn't and so does Yoda.

CAN'T SEE CORRELATION BETWEEN VADER AND GOD
May 27, 1999. I can see that you have given this a great deal of thought, but... Has it occurred to anyone, amidst all of these references to the similarities between Anakin and Jesus, that Anakin Skywalker is the future Darth Vader, the one who was drawn to the Dark Side? Granted, he did help Luke conquer the Emperor in the end, thereby causing his own death and saving the life of his son (more potential connections, eh?). However, please feel free to fill me in on the similarities between Jesus and Darth Vader. If Anakin is to become Darth (which he will), I see no correlation whatsoever between Darth and the One I call Lord and Master. Do you? mamabear84@hotmail.com

GREAT, INTENSE STORY
May 27, 1999. I thought Episode One was excellent. It is a great story and intense SE. The lightsaber battles are the best. As a Christian first, and a Star Wars fan second, I wasn't threatened by George Lucas' use of several religious themes. We must remember that this is a story, not a doctrinal statement of belief, and while some will take it to far we must realize that evangelism is our responsibility, the Holy Spirit's work and not a movie's. I personally think that an educated person will realize that Lucas is a great "story teller" not a theologian. --Brian Metz
My response: You are so right.

OPENS CONVERSATION WITH NON-CHRISTIAN FRIENDS
May 26, 1999. I thought the movie quality was really good and very interesting. However, the numerous biblical references to a virgin birth and life force connection which tells each of us the will of the force did somewhat disturb me as a Christian. Yet, the movie has opened a conversation base for me with some of my non-Christian friends.--Dave Poole daveythmin@aol.com
My response: Star Wars has been the beginning of many great discussions about spirituality. It is the perfect series for this.

MANY LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
May 25, 1999. I thought that there were many lessons to be learned in this movie...the rebellious tendencies of the master go through to Obi-Won and even Anakin....(he would train them anyway no matter what the council said.) But the danger is to substitute force for spirit...and I didn't think they needed the Virgin birth part... It is important not to place Jedi/star wars things in the place of what is holy. Keeping this perspective, enjoy the movie... --jayne

CAME AWAY WANTING MORE
May 23, 1999. After seeing Phantom Menace last night, I came to appreciate George Lucas' vision and creativity that much more. The special effects were simply unbelievable - unparalleled. The story itself was interesting and flowed pretty well. I didn't have a real problem with the thin script or acting - this a fantasy after all. I too came away wanting more - contemplating what I had just seen. I would heartily recommend this film - especially to families. It is a rare film with no vile language, sexuality most of the violence centers on destroying the battle droid (I really didn't see any significant blood.) Overall, definitely worth the wait.

AMIDALA LOOKS LIKE A VAMPIRE
May 22, 1999. Queen Amidala looks like a vampire spitting out blood. Having an 18 year old woman interested in a 9 year old boy, can only come from a diseased mind. George Lucas is a weirdo. –Carlos

THE THEME IS AT THE HEART OF SCRIPTURE.
May 20, 1999.  I took my whole family to see this movie on the 19th. I loved it, perhaps because I see the world in a similar way to George Lucas. The characters and the script are important but are secondary to the greater purpose of telling a story. That story is the beginnings of how evil infiltrates the highest levels of power. This is theme is at the very heart of the Bible, when sin first occurs is in Isaiah 14 with Lucifer's decision to become as powerful as The Most High, God. Lucas is showing us the Senator from Naboo is in fact a power crazed self promoter who has a hidden agenda and identity. Many of the critics have said this film lacks the cohesiveness of the campy trio of Hans, Luke and Leah. Balderdash, the script is tight and as in most of the Star Wars films is only a part of the Lucas method of story telling. To that extent the script is perfectly balanced with the telling of the story. The special effects are both over the top and yet done with enough restraint that Episode 1 will not detract from Episodes IV,V, & VI. Lucas has the power to pound his own earlier work into being so 20 minutes ago but he doesn't. The computer generated characters are also very good. I offer Mr. Lucas a hearty pat on the back for realizing what must have been a huge cost savings to himself in making the cast of thousands, i.e. Jar-Jar's people and the soldier droids totally computer animated. So much easier to control the creative process without having to feed and pay the equivalent number of extra's to play Storm Troopers. The result is very satisfying. The look achieved in this film is spectacular, and portrays a Universe that is as believable as it is alien. Not all will enjoy this film but they will be in the minority, and most likely not the type who see many movies, especially not action/adventure movies. Too bad for them, at least they won't be crowding the lines for us fans as we go back for another round to see what cool stuff we missed the first time.
My response: Amen!

IT IS WHAT IT IS
May 19, 1999. Having read a number of reviews ... all of which basically slammed the picture ... I still purchased tickets in advance for the movie. I took my 6-year-old son, and my 5-year-old daughter. I was never a major fan of Star Wars. I was always of the opinion that the stories were patchy and not easily bought-in to. I was not ever impressed with the special effects. With all of that said, I was very please with this movie. My only real concern was with the consistent reference to the alleged "virgin birth" of Anankin, and the "Messiah? complex that many of the reviews seemed to harp on. I found this train of thought to be very minor and subtle, and not at all what the reviews made it out to be. Although the acting on the part of some of the humans was rather "dead-pan" I do not feel that it was any more so than the original flicks. My children loved the movie. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit myself ... actually, much more than any of the three original installments. I left the theater wanting more, and anticipating the next installment of this "prequel trilogy" The special effects were certainly much more to the level I believe Lucas wanted in the first place. My only advise to anyone who is a self-proclaimed "Star Wars" buff
.... let this movie be what it is, and don't expect so much. It is kind of like the concept of going home after 25 years. The romanticized memories do more injustice to the reality of what still exists in the real world. This movie may not have the charisma of a Harrison Ford, but the acting surpasses anything that Mark Hamill put before us. It was fun, and actually gave me a better appreciation for the story-line of the original trilogy. Have fun with it. God Bless, Trip Ley Tripmeist@aol.com

 

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