So many people have hated on this movie, which is understandable, that it's hard to like the Phantom Menace without being criticised or ignored. From my point of view, the negatives far outweigh the positives in this move, but this movie does have positives. The opening credits are so memorable and iconic to Star Wars that no-one can associate it with anything else. It's the exact same for Phantom Menace. Though a bit more choral than the rest of the fanfares, Williams pulls through on a great musical festival. Soon after the invasion begins we are treated to a visual spectacle to match the aural one of the fanfare. When the film was still in production there were periodic video diaries released on the web to whet our appetite - it was one of the first movies to really do this. I remember viewing each one with great excitement, watching the craftsmen and women bringing George's vision to life, and seeing the movie come together bit by bit. One of my favorite bits was seeing the new locations being created and the level of detail involved in them. The flyby of the Royal Palace in Theed and our first glimpse of the planet-wide city of Coruscant blew my mind, with their renaissance and art deco inspired themes and you really can't beat seeing them.The Phantom Menace was the only one of the prequels that was filmed in their spiritual home, England (where all three of the original trilogy movies where made). This means that the supporting cast are predominantly English, or at least from the UK. Probably the biggest and most well known of the cameo roles goes to acclaimed actor Terence Stamp. I'd totally forgotten he was even in the film, his role as the pre-Palpatine chancellor was so brief. Two scenes, and then he was ousted in a carefully orchestrated coup by the scheming senator from Naboo. You may remember him from his role as General Zod in Superman II. Ben Burtt redefined what sound could bring to a movie with his ground breaking work on the original Star Wars and he continues it throughout The Phantom Menace. Of course the lightsabers, blasters and crazy languages are all present, but it's with effects like the Pod Racer engines where he and his team really excelled themselves this time. They bring together the best elements of F1 cars, fighter jets, drag racers and motorbikes to enhance the feeling of the speed these machines travel at. Each Pod sounds different, but it's Sebulba's that takes the crown. The part where he speeds up behind Anakin's tiny chariot and we're almost deafened by the 'whump, whump, whump' of his two giant jet engines is just amazing when it's filling the whole auditorium. The duel is also great It's very hard to remember that before Phantom Menace, the only lightsaber battles we'd seen were between a) two old dudes, b) an old dude and a student taught by old dudes and c) a student and snow beast, so seeing the threesome of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Maul battling away, with their blades swooping and swishing at hitherto unknown speeds was simply breathtaking. Sure, it probably went on a bit too long, that choir really did get on my nerves, and what on earth were the red forcefields all about? Oh, yeah, a plot device. But seeing the Jedi in their prime, fighting at the very peak of fitness with all their skill and energy - and still almost being beaten - was a great spectacle. Massive credit to the fight choreographer Nick Gillard and to Ewan MacGregor, who apparently broke 300 lightsaber props during rehearsals and constantly made his own lightsaber sound effects as he fought Ray Park with such enthusiasm that his blade actually connected a good number of times. Long before Neeson defined his career with name-taking, wolf-punching roles in films like "Taken" and "The Grey," the Irish actor got to play one of the biggest bad-asses in the galactic history: a Jedi Knight. The morally grey Qui-Gon Jinn slices and dices droids, uses his Jedi powers to cheat and manipulate, and chooses to train a force-sensitive kid (Anakin) whom he knows might be bad news, just so he can stick it to the Jedi Council. However, there are also many bad things. One of them is Anakin Skywalker. You can't really blame a precocious child actor for turning in sickeningly precocious performance. After all, that's what Lucas hired young Jake Lloyd to do. Between his poorly delivered lines and with Lucas's cringe-worthy dialogue, viewers won't know whether to laugh or cry when Lloyd is on screen. One of the major subplots of the prequel trilogy is how the humble Senator Palpatine of Naboo became the evil Emperor of the galaxy. But when you're selling audiences on a new "Star Wars" movie, they go in expecting one thing: swashbuckling adventures in space. What they aren't banking on - and what you definitely shouldn't be giving them -- are boring galactic senate hearings, overwrought trade negotiations, and behind-the-scenes political machinations. That's not "Star Wars," that's C-SPAN in space! The pod race is really good: the sci-fi equivalent to the chariot races of Ancient Rome, pod racing is one of the most dangerous sports in the galaxy -- so why not let an 8-year-old child participate! Two giant engines towing a tiny cockpit behind at nearly supersonic speeds, looping around a deadly track full of obstacles. The race is a blast and one of the film's standout sequences. With the addition of 3D (and an extra lap previously only found on the DVD/Blu-ray) the pod race just barely justifies the re-release. However the racial and Ethnis stereotypes are bad. It might be lost on the kids, but "The Phantom Menace" is full of terrible ethnic and racial stereotypes. Despite not being human, comic sidekick Jar Jar Binks, junk dealer Watto, and the hapless Neimoidian Trade Federation representatives are all unfortunate, and very human, caricatures of real life minorities. At most, many films have two intertwining plots to close out a film. "The Phantom Menace" had four, each more uninteresting than the last: the duel, the space battle, the land war, and the battle for the palace. The shift in tone between these plot lines is a jarring experience for the viewers. It's hard to find the "hilarious" wartime antics of Jar Jar Binks funny when you've just seen Qui-Gon Jinn get cut down by Darth Maul. There's something to be said for Hollywood's practice of polishing a script. Several writers usually work on a single screenplay before it's ready for the big screen, and there's a reason for that. When left in the hands of a single person, screenplays are often terrible. It takes a fresh pair of eyes to point out the shortcomings present in a labour of love like a script. "The Phantom Menace" script is all Lucas, and it's painfully obvious. Lucas reportedly brought in screenwriter Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption," "The Walking Dead") to give him notes on the script, but it didn't seem to help much.