Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 163: Spectre (2015) and The Peanuts Movie (2015) and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

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Episode 163

Hi, and welcome to Movie Podcast Weekly, you’re No. 1 movie podcast for anticipating the release of “The Force Awakens.” This is Episode 163, which is the beginning of a seven-part series where we’re reviewing the entire Star Wars franchise, one film for seven episodes.

So, during this podcast, we bring you Feature Reviews of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance (1999) with the help of special guest Jedi Master Steve Hernandez. And we also bring you Feature Reviews of Spectre and The Peanuts Movie. Join us!

This episode is dedicated to the late, great Gunnar Hansen.

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts — Jason, Andy, Karl and Geek Cast Ry — along with frequent guests. We give you our verdicts on at least one new movie release from the current year that’s currently playing in theaters, as well as several mini reviews of whatever we’ve been watching lately. And we usually provide specialized genre recommendations. New episodes release every single Wednesday.


SHOW NOTES:

I. Introduction
— Dedication
— Welcome guest Jedi Master Steve Hernandez
— “Meep”-Gate 2015
— Faster episode releases but no editing
— Hilarious comment from Gomez98
— Life imitates art: Dying Star Wars Fan Gets to Preview “The Force Awakens” Before Its Release (much like Fanboys, 2009)


FEATURE REVIEWS HAVE TIME STAMPS:

[ 0:15:04 ] II. Feature Review: STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999) featuring special guest Steve Hernandez
Jason = 5.5 ( Rental for non-fans / Buy it! for fans )
Andy = 4.5 ( Doesn’t care. )
Karl = 6.5 ( Buy it! )
Ryan = 5 ( Buy it! )
Steve Hernandez = 4.5 ( Buy it! / Must-see )


III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend:
Spectre
The Peanuts Movie
Spotlight
The Outskirts
Trumbo
Brooklyn
Miss You Already
Theeb
My Nazi Legacy


[ 1:22:18 ] IV. Feature Review: SPECTRE (2015)
Jason = 4.5 ( Low-priority Rental / Free Redbox or Netflix stream )
Andy = 6 ( Rental )
Karl = 6.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )


Note: Ryan rates “Bone Tomahawk” (2015) a 10 out of 10 and calls it his BMOTY


[ 1:38:24 ] V. Feature Review: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015)
Ryan = 9 ( Theater / Buy it! )


VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— postscript about Daniel Fleetwood


COMING UP ON MPW NEXT WEEK:
Episode 164 where we’ll be reviewing “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” with Jedi Master Steve Hernandez, and we’ll also be reviewing “The 33,” “Cartel Land” and Robin Williams’s final role in “Boulevard.” Join us!


LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

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Leave a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Ry’s BIO
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DONATE here to facilitate the creation of more Geek content!
Blog: Geek Cast Live
Web site: Geek Harder.com
Facebook
Twitter: @GeekCastRy

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

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Josh’s links:
Hear Josh named as one of the Top 5 Up-and-Coming Directors on The Film Vault Podcast!
Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming movies on: Movie Stream Cast
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If you’re a Horror fan, listen to Jason and Josh on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST

We’d like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Buy Dave’s Eaton’s music: BandCamp.com


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Thanks for listening, and join us again next Wednesday for Movie Podcast Weekly.


60 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 163: Spectre (2015) and The Peanuts Movie (2015) and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

  1. Since I assume this podcast was taped a few days ago, Daniel Fleetwood, the Star Wars fan that was granted a chance to see Episode 7 as his final wish ended up passing away yesterday, just five days after seeing the movie.

    Big kudos to everyone that was involved in granting Fleetwood’s final wish, including social media that helped spread the initial request, as it probably meant the world to Fleetwood’s loved ones.

  2. I’d say I’m a casual Star Wars fan at best. So the release of The Phantom Menace was just another movie for me. Admittedly, a gigantic popular culture release where you couldn’t go outside of your home without being reminded of the movie. Just a ton of cheap merchandise being released by seemingly everyone. The merchandise I remember the most were the collectable cans released by Pepsi and Mountain Dew. I didn’t see The Phantom Menace in the theater, but I did buy the VHS I imagine shortly after it was released. I can’t say I remember much about my original thoughts on the movie other than a general opinion that it wasn’t as good as the original trilogy.

    Back in April ’15, I watched the movie for the first time in at least a decade. Since the legacy of the flaws of the film has been built up so much over the years, I went into it expecting the absolute worst. So watching it with almost zero memory of any previous view, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected to. Even Jar Jar Binks wasn’t as annoying as I was expecting him to be. Sure, he’s clearly the worst part of the movie and I started cringing every time he spoke, but the legacy of this being such a terrible film made Binks out to be the single worst character in the history of cinema.

    There’s not a whole lot I really dug though. I liked Padme and thought Natalie Portman was fine in the movie thanks to not having to try and force chemistry with someone she clearly doesn’t have chemistry with like in the next two films. Darth Maul remains such an awesome character. Personally, I think it was a mistake killing him off in The Phantom Menace rather than keep him around for the rest of the trilogy before ultimately killing him like they did with Padme. Maul may be the only aspect about the trilogy that everyone agrees on that was great. So to kill him off prematurely, you’re left with…what exactly? I liked the character of Qui-Gon Jinn. The best scene of the film was easily Maul battling Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I kind of hated the pod racing scene due to it lasting forever.

    Overall, The Phantom Menace is not terrible, but also not a movie I feel any need to watch again for the next decade plus. The original trilogy and to some extent Episode 3 are so great that it seems silly to waste time watching The Phantom Menace when you’re far better off watching a different Star Wars film.

    I’d give it a 5.5 to 6.0. Rent it once if you’re going to marathon the Star Wars series.

    I can’t say I’m looking forward to having to give Episode 2 another watch.

  3. Hey all…
    I have to agree with Andy on Spectre. I’m not as filled with ire as Jay is about it. I did think some scenes could’ve been better.

    The whole movie was shot beautifully and had that great slick, Bond style. But what was a major let-down was the villain’s lair in the meteor crater scene. For me, that should’ve been the ‘Holy Spicoli, I just crapped myself!!!!’ scene. And it just wasn’t. The car chase was underwhelming, also. I mean, I get it, it’s a Ferrari chasing an Aston Martin through the old-world, teeny-tiny streets of Rome, so there probably aren’t too many actual white-knuckle moments to be had there. But, c’mon, this is a movie where a dude beat the **MEEP!!** outta two dudes in a helicopter, while in motion! I could’ve stood for the car chase to have been a bit more unbelievable.

    All that being said, I did have an enjoyable time, for the $5 matinee pricing I spent on it. The opening scene was dope and I thought the secret meeting of bad dudes in Rome was super-cool too. Overall, I’d give it a 7.25 and say see it in the theater as a matinee. That 7.25 might be high, but I was going into to it ready to drop a 9 to 10 on it.

    Anyway, thanks for the shout-out. It feels me with immeasurable joy to induce minor chuckles from the dudes I get so many good listens from on a weekly basis.

    Great show, fellas!
    gomez98

  4. I’ve heard that some Star Wars fans skip Star Wars Episode I altogether and watch the films in a different order. It is called ‘The Machete Order’. Watch them like this:
    Episode IV, Episode V, then go to Episode II, then Episode III, then finish it off with Episode VI. Episode I is left out altogether.

    It sounds pretty cool. So after you learn the truth about Darth Vader being Luke’s father, you get to flashback and see how Anakin became Darth Vader. Here’s an article about it: http://time.com/3817072/star-wars-download-machete-order/.

  5. You guys have no idea how happy it makes me to know that I took a chance on Bone Tomahawk and that it is getting all this praise from the people who’s opinions I respect and cherish the most…Not since Pulp Fiction have I been so completely rivieted by a movie…This feeling is like when I bought Guns and Roses’s Appetite for Destruction cassette when it first came out and I would take it to school and sit it on my desk and people would ask me about it and I would praise it…and then half a year later it became the greatest thing ever…It’s so awsome to discover a treasure!!!

  6. In some non-Star Wars talk, there were some pretty big box office duds lately.

    The Bill Murray movie, Rock The Kasbah, had a budget of 15 million and only brought in 2.8 million.

    Jem and the Holograms brought in so little money at just 2.3 million on a 5 million budget that it was pulled from theaters after just two weeks. In fact, Jem is now ranked #4 on the all time worst openings for a wide release (2,000 screens).

    Ryan’s BMOTY – Pan, brought in 114 million (Only 33 million in the US) on a big 150 million budget.

    • Rock the Casbah was a limited release, though, right? So, despite a larger budget, the per-screen average is still probably WAY higher than Jem. And Jem’s a Blumhouse movie, isn’t it? Major fail for them.

  7. Just a quick note. Carl stated he didn’t understand what happened and that George Wrote Star Wars and later called George a Genius. I just want to add that George Lucas didn’t “write” the orginal Star Wars. He had a script/treatment/Idea and when actually writing the book (which is really well written) you are not reading George Lucas’s words directly from his head to hand to paper. George hired Alan Dean Foster as a Ghost writer. George conveyed his idea’s to Alan Dean Foster, however it was Alan Dean Foster whom is responsible for much of the intricate details and greatness. If you ever read any of his subsequent books you can tell. As part of the deal this was kept secret and George got 100% of the credit however this is now know information. Alan is modest in his interviews but I have read many of his books and you can tell. Look into it. Alan is responsible for naming many of the items, characters, ships, worlds, races ect. George was lucky and I personally would give him no more than 50% credit for any of this.

      • What do you mean? The Version of the screen play existed. George and Alan then collaborated in 1976 for the book (release date was 11/1976). Much of the idea’s, names and nuance was created by Allen Dean Foster. The movie didn’t come out till 1977. Yes George is the one who had connetions. Yes George had the general Idea, however His vision was terrible and saved by people like Alan Dean Foster and the Editors. The 1st cut of the movie was a completely different movie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_From_the_Adventures_of_Luke_Skywalker

  8. “Are we just going to ignore the fact that Jay just said, ‘Language?'”

    HAHAHAHA! Don’t worry about the swears for my kid, like A Christmas Story, “he probably heard it from his father”! Good work, guys. I haven’t finished the episode yet but I had to send the shout out.

  9. Speaking of spoilers coming from other sources, the track titles on the soundtrack give away some major plotlines.

  10. Your review for Phantom Menace makes me wonder if I should try watching parts 1-3 again. I’m a star wars fan, it was a huge part of my childhood, but do not own 1-3 and have only seen each of them once. Parts 1-3 are essentially dead to me. While I did lie to myself a bit about it being good after seeing the first one, it did not take me long to come to the realization of what a pile of crap it was.

  11. I’m at the point where the Mission: Impossible franchise has surpassed Bond for me in entertainment value, by far. I grew up loving the Bond films (from the Roger Moore era… I’m not Karl old, but I’m old), and have always wanted to see them with each new one, but it’s been a long time since I’ve really been blown away (not even Casino Royale, though that’s probably the best of the recent ones). They’re all competent and have some great action scenes, but something just feels underwhelming compared to M:I, where there seems to be a real extra effort to “wow” the audience each time. James Bond will always be cooler than Ethan Hunt, but the M:I films are stronger, overall. I had Spectre on my must-see list, but at this point I’m going to wait for Redbox. Too many mediocre reviews telling me that it’s going to be another “meh.”

    If you guys haven’t seen this YouTube series about Phantom Menace, I’d recommend giving it a look. It’s hilarious (and crude, so be warned), but also spot on about the flaws. Here’s part one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtZmQgxrI

    • I’m with you regarding Bond vs. M:I, Eric. We had a similar discussion in the comments following the release of ROGUE NATION. Despite my nostalgic love of the Bond franchise, I do think I prefer the M:I offerings now.

  12. I loved the in depth star wars discussion from Steve and Ryan. Light saber colors… who knew? I pretty much agree with Jay’s points regarding The Phantom Menace.

  13. I’m a big Peanuts fan. I’ve read all of the comic strips and own most of the movies/TV specials. Ryan is correct that this movie felt like home and I feel the property is in good hands.

    It’s not all computer styled animation though. Some of the thought bubbles and flash backs are drawn in the original comic strip look. They’re even in black and white.

    The characterization is spot-on. In fact most of the jokes and dialogue are literally lifted out of the comic strips. A few times I could quote lines before the characters said them.

    If I had a complaint it would be that the story needed a little more focus. It’s fun to hang out with the gang but I wanted more of a driving plot. This is not to say that it is a slow movie though. Jokes and gags are packed into every second of this film.

    If I had a second complaint it would be the music, specifically the score. I didn’t hear all of the musical themes from the other shows as I was expecting. I’m not sure I even heard the skating theme when they were ice-skating. I’ll need to watch it again to know for sure. Vince Guaraldi was a great jazz pianist who developed the musical aesthetic for Peanuts. I wish the score was more jazz and piano influenced. I don’t mind an orchestra but an orchestra can still play in a jazz style. After Guaraldi died, David Benoit composed a lot of the music for the Peanut’s specials. Why didn’t they ask him to do the score?? If you’re going to to put all of this effort into making authentic animation and characterization, why not do it with the music too? This happens in movies and television all the time, though. Sets, costumes, dialogue and acting is all authentic to a time period and some random pop song will begin to play. Why can’t director’s educate themselves about music or hire someone to help them. AAUGH!

    Anyhow, I have a friend in the producers guild and she got me tickets to a free screening at the FOX studios. My wife and I took our son who is 2 years old to his first movie. He lasted through the whole thing and really enjoyed it! It was in 3D and he wouldn’t wear his glasses so it was a little fuzzy for him. He recognized snoopy from It’s the Great Pumpkin viewings last month. Plus, he loved the red baron scenes because he’s into airplanes.

    Overall I’d give it an 8.5, minus a point for a meandering plot and minus .5 for the score being less than it could’ve been. I wish I could buy it now! I loved how true to the property it kept while updating it for a modern time. I’m hoping more movies will follow.

    P.S. Can I just watch the death scenes in Bone Tomahawk and fast forward through the drama parts?

    • Saw this last night with my girls (10 and 13), and we all really liked it. I grew up devouring Peanuts books, and enjoyed those classic films and TV specials, so for me, there was definitely a nostalgia factor. I thought this version did a great job of keeping the visual feel consistent with the comic strip look, but also adding the modern CGI flavor. And they did some clever things with the animation, like when Sally when she sees Linus and the little hearts around her are carried into the snowbank that she crashes into.

      I agree with Dark Mark that the story was a little weak. In terms of story focus, the classic A Boy Named Charlie Brown (with the spelling bee) was better. I liked the music score fine, but I was disappointed that they didn’t have any original songs, which was something else that distinguished A Boy Named… “Champion Charlie Brown” and the “I Before E” song were great, and something original and catchy in the new film could have elevated it a bit more.

      One thing I found interesting is that they really seemed to soften the “loser” status of Charlie Brown. Sure, Lucy always bags on him, and he feels inadequate and all that, but I recall some pretty heavy derision heaped on him in some of the older Peanuts films and specials. It got downright dark at times. But I think this new film may be trying to shy away from depicting any serious bullying, so it’s a kinder and gentler Peanuts, I suppose.

      I give it a solid 8, though I would probably knock off a full point for anyone who wasn’t really into the Peanuts already.

  14. Errughem!

    Jay, I don’t know about The Pantom Menace’s artistry. There’s definitely some merit there, but you made it sound like it was so outstanding that that alone makes the movie worth a watch. I don’t think so, Tim. Even back then the movie looked dated. The green screen backgrounds were so obvious and didn’t quite match some of the other special effects that at the time were impressive. I just don’t understand why every single little thing had to be CGI. And I’m a proponent of CGI, just not bad one. And it’s bad here, bro. Really bad.

    • Juan,
      I might have said the same thing, but let me provide some context for my ravings…

      This is going to sound weird, but perhaps my biggest wake-up call as a film critic was when I realized that filmmakers are often not only proud of their work that I’m dismissive of, but they also have good reasons to be proud. Josh Ligairi and Barrett Hilton, filmmakers both, helped me to realize this when I would discuss their films with them.

      For instance, I produce podcasts for a number of small business owners. Unlike my shows, I actually edit them to make them sound good. I pull off audio editing moves that are borderline MIRACULOUS, and yet, nobody ever realizes my great work because it’s so seamless.

      I would encourage you to listen to the commentary for The Phantom Menace. Many of the commentators are special effects personnel, who pull back the curtain and help to provide insights for the lay person (like me) into the craftsmanship, artistry and wizardry that went into pulling off this film as well as they did. You can hear the excitement and pride in their voices.

      And I agree with you that there is an unnecessarily dependence on CGI; however, George Lucas (obviously) intended to place these few actors amidst environs of computer-generated imagery. If you also watch the hour-long behind-the-scenes film in the special features for Episode I, there’s actually a scene where George marks storyboards and — in my opinion — arbitrarily assigns what’s going to be CGI and what’s going to be practical.

      All I’m really saying, Juan, is that it’s easy for a viewer like me or you to become downright dismissive of something that’s actually quite praiseworthy for the planning, time and execution that went into it.

      I’m not saying films are great if they merely “get an ‘E’ for Effort,” nor is it lost on me that I often fail to appreciate the efforts of mediocre or even (mostly) terrible films. But I’m trying to get better at, at least, attempting to sufficiently appreciate film art and filmmaking craft where they have merit. such as “The Phantom Menace.”
      J

      • Thank you for such a well written response, Jay. Trust me, I definitely know and understand where you’re coming from and I respect that you’re defending the artistry at play in Episode Juan. Having said that, being able to draw, paint, design, direct, etc. doesn’t make you an artist automatically. There is a certain level of artistry on Episode I that deserves SOME credit, but I honestly believe you’re giving them way more credit than they deserve—probably because you’re looking to justify your love for the franchise. Just that year alone, these movies accomplished way more interesting looking visuals than Episode I did with its seemingly endless budget and over-the-top CGI:

        The Matrix
        Sleepy Hollow
        Three Kings
        The Haunting

        You have your heart in the right place, Jay. I just think you picked the wrong movie to defend.

  15. Jason, first-time poster here. I’d like to join the conversation now and then, but I added a post this morning that apparently wasn’t approved. I don’t really care about that, specifically, but going forward I’d like to know what might have caused it to bounce. Was it the YouTube link? Making fun of Karl’s age? :o)

    Best,
    Eric

  16. I’m super excited about your Star Wars coverage, and so glad that you were able to procure some actual Jedi Masters to help parse things out. I’m a pretty big fan of the franchise:
    (I was among those lucky ducks sitting in the theaters when the first set came out, and my brother and I probably spent HUNDREDS of hours playing with the TIE and X-wing fighters and other licenses toys that we got for Christmas – I think he still has them, as beaten up as they are.)

    BUT; I know hardly anything about light saber colors as well as a million other things, so…. I’m your audience, boys!!

    I was really glad that Ry brought up the theory about Jar-Jar. I had read the same post a couple of days before your episode aired and hoped that somebody would talk about it. I’ll admit it, I drank that cool-aid. (Well, about half of it, anyway.)

    As long as I’m talking about Jar-Jar, I’ll weigh in; I like him better than all of you do. He’s ok by me. And the Gungan city is one of my favorites. You guys talked a lot about the pod-races and the final saber fight, but I love the underwater scenes with the big-fish/bigger-fish/biggest-fish. Gets me every time.

    Thanks guys! Keep up the good work!!

  17. If the Force Awakens jigsaw leak that Ryan referenced is the one regarding the second name of one of the new leads then I’m pretty sure it’s since been debunked as being fake. I get the impression the people selling the jigsaw on amazon just threw it in there to sell more merch.

  18. I was 21 when Phantom Menace came out, and I just remember leaving the theater thinking, “that was amazing…right?…maybe?” almost as if I knew I had just seen a terrible movie, but it was Star Wars, so I was forcing myself to think it was great. Like when your friend all like a band, and so you pretend to like it to fit in, even though you really kinda hate it.

    • I remember going to watch Episode I at the mall, a place where I usually don’t watch movies but I was in high school and it was the only place where there were tickets left for day one. The lines were huge and the rooms were packed to the brim with nerds and casual movie goers alike. It was a huge event after all! Because I got so late to the theater, the only seats available were right at the very front of the screen. I detest these seats, particularly for this type of movie, because I’m so close to the screen that I can’t follow the action. For the first half of the movie, I was stuck in a seat that didn’t allow me to fully enjoy the film. But then my brother, who I was with at the time, tapped my shoulder and told me there were two seats open towards the top. We rushed to the back of the theater and enjoyed the rest of the movie. I was young and not very critical of movies yet. And lets face it, during that period of time (mid 90s to early 2000s) movies with big special effects were huge, so yeah, I was definitely caught in the hype and the shiny CGI. It wasn’t until after I saw Episode 2 that I realized that these movies were pretty bad. I still had fun and I’ve revisited them a few times here and there, but always out of nostalgia.

  19. I would also like to say that coming from a music industry background, where a good song is a good song regardless of production value, a movie should not have to rely on it’s production value for quality. The story is the backbone, it’s why we love the original trilogy even today. The fact that the sound and scenery are fantastically amazing on episode I are no redemption for the fact that the script and the acting is horrid. This turd has bottles and bottles of polish dumped onto it, but under all of those layers it’s still a turd. The only reason that it matters today is in it’s membership to the whole. The small bit of story line that snowballs forward from this film is the only reason to see it. And so that you can understand the widespread hatred of Jar Jar Binks. (Who is too stupid to be a Sith Lord).

  20. Episode 1: It’s 3 and I say to “skip it” if you’re a Star Wars fan. If you genuinely don’t give a damn about what the Star Wars saga is all about, keep talking about this film.

  21. I’m with Brain and Josh. I felt like Jay, in has admirable attempts to be a little more lenient and objective, may have overshot the mark a bit and ended up being TOO forgiving.

    When he said that the screenwriting works with regard to narrative coherence it was all I could do not to shout “Errughem!” in disbelief. This is seriously one of the most incoherent messes of a plotline that I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve seen a few times now and I still have no really idea what the hell the Trade Federation are supposed to be up to. Why does Darth Sidious command them to force the queen to sign a treaty legalising the invasion? Isn’t his ultimate plan for her to declare a vote of no confidence in the current chancellor? Wouldn’t her signing a treaty to legalise the invasion negate her standing to do so? Why does any of this bureaucratic bullshit even matter in a Star Wars film? Does any one understand the bet that Qui Gon has with Watto? I always feel like the dialogue in that scene has been sped up to make it even more impossible to digest. And the whole point of the podrace section of the movie is just because they needed to buy a new hyperdrive? That’s the motivation? To get a part to fix their car? What was the point of sending Darth Maul after the Queen at all? Didn’t Sidious need her alive so she would do the whole vote -of-no-confidence thing? None of it makes an ounce of sense.

    And this is actually my favourite movie in the prequel trilogy, though I’m definitely not above admitting that that has more to do with Nostalgia than anything. I was 12 when I saw it so still young enough to not realise how bad it was and the initial excitement remains as I kind of residual begrudging fondness. But objectively it’s a terrible film. And I don’t give a toss about the impressive lightsaber choreography. The prequel trilogy made Jedis and lightsabers utterly boring to me. Flat, rambling dullards who prance about, their movements superficially beautiful but ultimately hollow and meaningless.

    And sure the people who worked on it might have been proud but you know what? Craftsmen get paid in money, not pride. I’ve seen dogs do their business on the floor and look quite proud of it.

    End of rant.

    Sorry Jay! I had to get that out of my system, but I do applaud you for taking the stance of defending such a maligned film. As is often the case you’ve positioned yourself as a sacrificial axis around which debates can form and that is certainly admirable.

    • I agree with everything you said except the bit about the lightsaber fights. After John William’s score, they’re the coolest part of the movie. Though I have to say that there are times when they make ridiculously useless moves just to add flair to them. BUT overall, they are way better than anything the original trilogy offered us.

      • They’re obviously better choreographed but what with the bland characters and lack of emotional investment they’re just a show of skill and nothing more. Maybe the fights in this one aren’t too bad but by the second and third prequels there’s just way too much and way too little on the line in terms of the involvement of characters we actually care about. When you’ve got sixty Jedi all on screen at once and don’t have any connection to any of them it just ends up like watching a laser light show or something. They’re all such flat, stoic dullards that I’m just sick of Jedi altogether. There’s none of the heart and “humanity” that made Star Wars special in the prequel fight scenes, it’s all just overblown, over-choreographed pomp.

        • I can definitely get behind your thoughts, David. I guess I was only including the Episode I fight, which is by far the most emotional battle out of the three prequels. I was never a big fan of the lightsaber army fights, so I’m with you there. The lightsaber is such a personal weapon whose majesty is hard to portray with hundreds of them onscreen. I think it’s a character in and of itself and it should be treated as such.

          • Absolutely! It’s moments of use in the original trilogy are super exciting because it’s such a unique and mysterious weapon. Giving one to every Tom, Dick and Conehead in the prequels diminishes that uniqueness and mystery. It makes the extraordinary ordinary.

  22. I’m really excited about the Star Wars coverage after listening to this episode. Some of the insight Steve brought to the table after just one episode was excellent; I’m loving the discussion on old Jedi lore and stuff like that. I have a feeling these Star Wars episodes are going to be great and really get me in the mood for Episode VII.

    This might be sacrilege coming from a Star Wars fanatic, but I actually don’t mind the prequels. I recognize they aren’t the greatest of films, and they frustrate the hell (which I feel comfortable saying here since it is an allowed word for the podcast) out of me because of what they could have been… but I still enjoy watching them for the visuals, mythology and fan service.

    PHANTOM MENACE is definitely the worst of the three, but I still come in a bit higher than I probably should at about a 7/10.

    On the show, you mentioned cutting Episode I out altogether, but I think that would be problematic for a few reasons. First, we see Anakin’s connection to his mother, who was the only thing he had for the early part of his life. That love ultimately makes his loss all the more poignant in Episode II, and very clearly initiates his turn to the dark side. You would also lose Qui Gon, who Yoda says in Episode III has learned to use the force to communicate with the living after death. That sets up Obi Wan’s use of the ability in the OT.

    I just wish the movie was better.

    Btw, that was a beautiful tribute for Daniel Fleetwood at the end, J.

  23. So, I was putting off listening to this episode until I had a chance to see SPECTRE, which I did the other day. I gotta say, I didn’t hate the movie as much as the MPW crew (and many others) seem to have. I actually quite liked it. It was a gorgeous movie with great style and cinematography. It was beautifully understated throughout. A slow-burn? Yes, but I appreciated how the story of the criminal organization unraveled. Was it contrived? Of course, it’s a Bond film. But it all worked very well for me.

    I wanted to address one of J’s nits. The net in the old MI6 building wasn’t just magically there because Bond needed a net to jump into. It was established earlier in the film that the building was set to be razed, so demolition crews would have been in there to wire it for explosives. Setting up a net overhead would be standard procedure to protect the demolition crew from any potential falling debris while wiring the building.

    And that DB10 is gorgeous, so much so that this red-blooded Italian might even skip over the Ferrari for one if I had the means. Apparently, Aston made 10 of them – 8 were used for filming and two were kept for historical/museum purposes – and is meant to be a design study for future Aston Martins. Hopefully the mega rich will clamor for it enough that it’ll become a reality, though.

  24. On your recommendation, I watched Bone Tomahawk on VUDU. I did like it quite a bit, but thought it was pretty uneven. There was some really snappy dialogue, especially early on, but then other times it was kind of clunky, and there was a horror movie trope that made me groan when the guy is peeking into the barn and saying (in essence), “Mr. Barn Caretaker… is that your shadow lurking around in there???” :oP That just felt a little cheesy, compared to the tone of everything else. But those moments were few. The cannibals were genuinely scary with their throat screamers, or whatever. Mathew Fox was particularly good in his role, and Kurt Russell (duh), but some of the other characters like the guy with the broken leg felt a bit underdeveloped.

    Things didn’t turn out quite the way I thought they might, so that was good. That one death scene was indeed ugh whoa no ohhhhh stay down, lunch, stay down… Maybe as a horror fan, J, you appreciated the horror/gore elements, but it seemed a bit over-the-top and disconnected to the feel of everything else for me. Not so I didn’t appreciate it, overall, but this was more of a 7 for me.

  25. Listened and just want to say. Search your feelings about George Lucas. My issue was with Carl calling him a Genius. Did George have an Idea? Yes. But remember he had a 2 picture deal and even with the success of American Graffitti, his original script for Star Wars was so bad that they released him from the contract and George was forced to look elsewhere. I never have felt that George understands what is great about Star Wars and looking at his other movies Especially the Pre-quells, I feel that his true talent shows, as in he average to below average talent as a writer and director. Howard the Duck and Willow are his other 2 franchises that he wrote, both bombs. Again I think he got lucky and benefited greatly from the contribution of others like Alan Dean.

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