Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Holleman
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 14, 2015
The movie is fun, for the most part, and several scenes are as good or better than anything Lucas created in the original films. The human characters, however, are not nearly as interesting as those in the earlier episodes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 16, 2015
What I can't comprehend is why the political details had to be so tedious and abstract. Will the kids of our nation and the world truly be titillated by trade wars and the spectacle of a do-nothing Senate?
Top Critic
November 16, 2015
Look, I wanted to love The Phantom Menace, too. I was an adolescent boy and would enjoy being one again for a couple of hours. But the movie has a way of deflating all but the most delusional of hopes.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
November 16, 2015
Mr. Lucas is not without a certain technocratic sagacity, but I don't think he's communicating even with the young as astutely as he once did.
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Jay Carr
Boston Globe
November 16, 2015
Character and personality take a back seat on this ride.
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John Anderson
Newsday
February 10, 2012
"Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" got dismissive reviews in 1999, and it deserves the same today. But you probably know that.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
February 10, 2012
You realize how much humor Harrison Ford brought to things; without him, at times the movie itself feels frozen in Carbonite.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Nick Bradshaw
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Charmless, sexless, passionless and robot-humoured, it's preposterously uninvolving.
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
March 2, 2006
Despite a shaky start and the presence of questionable elements throughout, by the time it arrives at its finale The Phantom Menace has won its place alongside the original Star Wars trilogy.
Top Critic
November 15, 2002
There are no romance, no humor, ultimately nobody to care about in this oddly sterile movie.
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 22, 2002
It does the job just fine. That job, as director George Lucas freely admits, is quite simply to thrill the beating hearts and the inquiring minds of 12-year-old boys.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
January 1, 2000
There is nothing in this noisy, overdesigned bore to equal the excitement generated by the mere idea of the trailer.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 1, 2000
Too busy and talky by half, overpopulated by a baffling array of aliens and robot 'droids,' The Phantom Menace fails to engage the audience in its mythic quest `to restore balance to the Force.'
Top Critic
John Podhoretz
New York Post
January 1, 2000
The Phantom Menace takes twists and turns you don't expect.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jeffrey Wells
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
This is a franchise in deep spiritual trouble.
Top Critic
Charles Taylor
Salon.com
January 1, 2000
Who would have guessed that The Phantom Menace would be so incoherent, so completely bereft of a grand adventure's surging thrills?
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
January 1, 2000
It sustains the gee-whiz spirit of the series and offers a swashbuckling extragalactic getaway, creating illusions that are even more plausible than the kitchen-raiding raptors of Jurassic Park.
Top Critic
Robert Horton
Film.com
January 1, 2000
This film has a strange air of nada about it.
Top Critic
Rod Dreher
New York Post
January 1, 2000
Everything about this film is so mechanical you wonder if it was written, directed and acted by 'droids.'
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
January 1, 2000
Visually dazzling, inventive beyond imagining and full of resonant detail that recalls stories told or hints at those to come!
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
Pure adventure!
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
A highly entertaining and visually breathtaking movie, capable at times of rocking and delighting you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Julie Hinds
San Jose Mercury News
January 1, 2000
This isn't a film that will change history the way the first Star Wars did 22 years ago.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
January 1, 2000
With Phantom, Lucas has brought the series to the brink of total artificiality, the future as a video game.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 1, 2000
Too bad writer-director Lucas left out the gee-whiz enthusiasm of the original movies. He also left out memorable characters. He left out the fun.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
January 1, 2000
Many of the scenes feel shapeless and flat-they're not ended, but abandoned.
Top Critic
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
January 1, 2000
A breathless, exciting family movie with a couple of truly memorable sequences, and just enough in the way of story and character to keep the franchise going for another 20 years.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Paul Malcolm
L.A. Weekly
January 1, 2000
Far from a shattering blow to my faith in Star Wars, I believe that in time these new films will only make it stronger.
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
January 1, 2000
Perhaps Lucas has become too lost in his mastery of computer-generated effects and digital sound to remember that creativity in the movies is not just a technical thing.
Top Critic
Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
In special effects, Lucas has moved a galaxy beyond. In energy, not yet.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Thelma Adams
New York Post
January 1, 2000
What's missing from George Lucas' heralded return to the screen is . . . sex.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
January 1, 2000
Even without aliens, though, the humanity in Phantom Menace would still be hard to find.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 1, 2000
Creating a so-called modern legend, droning on about The Force and all the rest of it, is no substitute for the full engagement of our senses.
Top Critic
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
January 1, 2000
I can't convey the essence of the plot because I wasn't clear about it even as it was happening.
Top Critic
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
January 1, 2000
The wow-factor action is irresistible, and Lloyd is no less appealing than '60s Disney star Kevin Corcoran.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
January 1, 2000
Not bad for a toy commercial, and the SF settings, however familiar, are even more impressive than the gadgets and beasties.
Top Critic
F.X. Feeney
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
A vigorous, romping, hugely entertaining movie!
Top Critic
Sean P. Means
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Incomplete, but still fun.
Top Critic
John Hartl
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Story. Character. They used to mean something to George Lucas.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
January 1, 2000
Even without the pre-release hoopla, The Phantom Menace would be a considerable letdown.
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
January 1, 2000
Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace seems designed more as a promotion for Lucasfilm's billion-dollar merchandising concerns than a meaningful chapter in the Star Wars canon.
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
January 1, 2000
To pull a switch on Obi-Wan, I have a good feeling about this.
Top Critic
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
After waiting 16 years for the overture to this epic saga, this is what we get? An in-progress trade war?
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
A testimony to how far special effects have come.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 1, 2000
The actors are wallpaper, the jokes are juvenile, there's no romance, and the dialogue lands with the thud of a computer-instruction manual.
Top Critic
Kevin Maynard
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
A solar bore!
Top Critic
Rita Kempley
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Joyless, overly reverential and impenetrably plotted!
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
January 1, 2000
Lucas has proved he has the Naboos to pull it off again.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
January 1, 2000
Lucas' directorial attention is clearly not focused on the cast, most of whom seem slightly adrift.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
January 1, 2000
For now, The Phantom Menace is a phantom movie, the merest hint of a terrific saga that the final two episodes of the new trilogy may reveal. At least, that's what we, and Hollywood, want to believe. Hype, after all, is just moviespeak for hope.
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Film.com
January 1, 2000
An absolute disaster!
Top Critic
Melanie McFarland
Seattle Times
January 1, 2000
The computer-generated creatures and characters are splendid, the kingdom of Naboo is a colorful paradise, and Trish Biggar's costume designs for Queen Amidala lets young actress Natalie Portman shine in her regal best.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 1, 2000
It is neither captivating nor transporting, for it lacks any emotional pull, as well as the sense of wonder and awe that marks the best works of sci-fi/fantasy.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
There is a sense of discovery in scene after scene of The Phantom Menace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Greg Burk
L.A. Weekly
January 1, 2000
I warn you, I'm gonna continue whining about the movie. Just keep in mind that I liked it.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 1, 2000
Spectacular yet remote.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Bob Fenster
Arizona Republic
January 1, 2000
Delivers exactly what every kid of any age wants: wows. And plenty of them!
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 1, 2000
Phantom had me from the moment it touched down on Naboo.