Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars (Episode I) : The Phantom Menace

Star Wars (Episode I) : The Phantom Menace

Turmoil has engulfed the
Galactic Republic. The taxation
of trade routes to outlying star
systems is in dispute.
Hoping to resolve the matter
with a blockade of deadly
battleships, the greedy Trade
Federation has stopped all
shipping to the small planet
of Naboo.
While the congress of the
Republic endlessly debates
this alarming chain of events,
the Supreme Chancellor has
secretly dispatched two Jedi
Knights, the guardians of
peace and justice in the
galaxy, to settle the conflict....

It is the year 32 BBY (or, 32 years prior to Episode IV), and a trade dispute between the Trade Federation and the planet of Naboo has led to a blockade of the planet. Supreme Chancellor Valorum of the Galactic Republic secretly sends two Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, to resolve the dispute. Unbeknownst to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Darth Sidious, who secretly orders an invasion of Naboo and the killing of the two Jedi upon their arrival. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escape the assassination attempt by the Federation and flee to the surface of Naboo.

On the planet's surface, the Jedi meet local native outcast Jar Jar Binks, who brings them to an underwater Gungan settlement to escape the Trade Federation army. Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades Naboo and captures their leader, Queen Padmé Amidala. The Jedi meet the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, and ask him to help the people of Naboo, but Nass refuses and sends them off in a submarine. The Jedi, with Jar Jar Binks in tow, reach the capital of Naboo and rescue Queen Amidala from the Trade Federation droid army. They depart for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic’s capital planet, to ask for help from the Senate. A droid named R2-D2 heroically repairs the Queen's starship as they narrowly escape an attack from the Federation base star.

Due to the attack, however, the ship is forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for needed parts, they befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy. Anakin is gifted with piloting and mechanics (he has built an almost-complete droid named C-3PO). Qui-Gon Jinn senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin, and feels that he may be the chosen one who will fulfil prophecy by bringing balance to the Force.

Young Anakin SkywalkerBy entering Anakin into a podrace, Qui-Gon orchestrates a gamble in which the boy will be released from slavery and they will win the needed parts for their ship. Anakin wins the race and joins the team as they head for Coruscant, where Qui-Gon plans to seek permission from the Jedi Council to train him to be a Jedi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to kill the two Jedi and capture the Queen. Maul appears just as the group is leaving the planet, and fights Qui-Gon, who then manages to escape on the ship.

In Coruscant, Qui-Gon Jinn informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious attacker he encountered in Tatooine. Because of his mastery of the Jedi arts, the Council becomes concerned that this may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, a long-gone humanoid race who followed the Dark Side of the Force. Qui-Gon also informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy and deliberating with one another, the Council refuses, deeming him too old for training according to Jedi Code. They are also concerned due to their sense of what seems to be a cloudy future and a strong presence of fear in the boy. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine (of Naboo) uses Queen Amidala's situation to his advantage by persuading her to call a motion of no confidence in Supreme Chancellor Valorum so that he can get himself nominated as the new Chancellor. After doing so, the Queen decides to return to her home planet to repel the invasion of her people. She is frustrated by the Senate's deliberation and lack of action, and feels that by the time Palpatine is elected Chancellor it will be too late. The two Jedi accompany the Queen back to Naboo.

Queen Amidala, back in Naboo, forms an alliance with the Gungan people, uniting in battle against the Trade Federation. After much fighting against the Federation's droid army, defeat for the alliance seems imminent. However, victory is won when young Anakin Skywalker commandeers a fighter plane and destroys the Federation's droid command ship, rendering the droid army useless. Meanwhile, Queen Amidala and her force fight their way back into the palace and capture the leader of the Trade Federation. At the same time, Darth Maul has been engaging in combat with the two Jedi. He kills Qui-Gon Jinn, but Obi-Wan Kenobi avenges his death by in turn slaying Darth Maul. Just before passing away, Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin to become a Jedi. Obi-Wan gives his word that he will train the boy.

Senator PalpatineAfter the battle, the Jedi Council names Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight. Kenobi conveys his master’s wish regarding Anakin Skywalker to Yoda, who reluctantly allows him to become Obi-Wan’s apprentice. Qui-Gonn is cremated, and Mace Windu and Yoda agree that his death was caused by the Sith. Because there are only two Sith ever at any given time (a master and an apprentice), they believe that there is still another one out there. As they are speaking, the camera focuses on Palpatine's face, and it becomes clear to the audience that he is, in fact, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.

The film closes with a large celebration of liberation from the Trade Federation on the planet of Naboo. Queen Amidala presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to Boss Nass.

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