If we had to ask any Star Wars fan, what was their least favorite movie, they probably would say The Phantom Menace; The prequel trilogy, that first introduced us to a young Obi-Wan, the boy who would eventually become Darth. Not only was it an utter disappointment but its following two films were equally worse-or, so it seemed at the time. However in 2015, when the first installment of released, it was ecstatically welcomed by fans who were fed up with George Lucas’s increasingly outlandish changes made to the previous trilogies.
Episode VII enjoyed immense financial and critical success, and Star Wars lovers hailed it as the champion that saved the franchise from a tired old man who no longer knew what to do with his creation. However, despite all the hype and fanfare, there came a time where we discovered that The Force Awakens is worse than The Phantom Menace?
Here are 15 Reasons to prove that The Phantom Menace is better than The Force Awakens.
15.REY’S SKILL SET
In the original Star Wars movies, the character of Luke Skywalker had to learn how to use an X-Wing in record time and deliver the fatal blow to the Death Star. In short, it took Luke multiple movies to become a formidable force. Rey, who comes across as an abandoned desert-dweller, not only has inexplicable proficiency with things she was never exposed to but was also capable of feats like flying the Millenium Falcon despite never having flown before to dueling with an extremely proficient Force user. She even understood Wookiee language.
Even if it was the Force that guided Rey as it did Luke, its a heck of a lot of guidance for someone who wasn’t even the “Chosen One.” At least Anakin Skywalker would be able to do all those things as a child since he was already the child of the Force.
14. FINN’S CHARACTER ARC IS NONSENSE
Finn was a likable character. He was relatable and funny. The only problem was the inconsistency of his story arc and plot holes that are hard to figure out.
Our first introduction to Finn is a Stormtrooper who, during a savage massacre at an isolated village starts to have second thoughts about being bad. Since Finn is trained from birth to follow orders unquestioningly, one has to ask what made this particular mission change his mind.
Secondly, he is fearful of being chased throughout the galaxy for his betrayal. The First Order’s military is massive, and since they were gearing up for a big war, it’s unlikely the smallest inconsequential soldier would be at the top of their priorities.
13. OVERLOADED FAN SERVICE
“Chewie, we’re home.” The heartwarming line spoken when Han Solo and Chewbacca, finally made it back to their beloved Millenium Falcon, was cheered by fans in cinemas all around the world. Designed as the movie “fans want,” The Force Awakens tried to deliver on all fronts but failed.
Scenes from A New Hope were replicated in cringe-worthy ways, with the inclusion of another Death Star amongst others.
In the Phantom Menace, Anakin was responsible for the creation of C-3PO, but aside from that inclusion, the movie was treated with more dignity, by showing moments like subtle musical cues, or visual callbacks without sacrificing its unique identity.
12. LACKLUSTER SIDE CHARACTERS
Star Wars has always been defined by its incredible cast of side characters, like Lobot, Nien Nunb, and Admiral Ackbar. One of the saga’s most beloved characters, Boba Fett, has maintained a diehard fan following.
In The Phantom Menace, side characters like Captain Panaka, Sebulba or the legendary Darth Maul have also been hugely popular and have a great fan following.
Unfortunately, with The Force Awakens, the director and designers come off as trying too hard, to introduce characters that would intrigue the audience.
Some examples include the Poe, along with some unusual characters of Maz’s cantina, who fail to even remotely attract the audience.
11. THERE IS NO CONTEXT…
At the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke redeemed Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine is destroyed, and the Empire collapses, allowing peace to reign once more.
Thirty-four years later, a malevolent military force called the First Order, similar to the Empire, and emerges to cause trouble while the Resistance challenges them.
One has to wonder how the world became this way and where was the Republic when trying to fight this Order. We still question what in the world is Snoke and how did he ever gain power. These are just a few of the integral plots in the film which have no explanation.
In The Phantom Menace, we were introduced to characters and concepts that are also made their debut, but it’s all adequately and appropriately explained.
10. BECAUSE SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS ARE REQUIRED
Because the Force awakens left so many plot holes open and had so many characters with no back story, it was necessary to purchase supplementary books and buy some video games to make sense of it all.
If one wanted to know what happened when the Empire fell, then they would have to read the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig. Whereas others resorted to comic books and video games to discover where the rest of the Imperial Star Fleet was or why did C-3PO have a red arm.
Oddly enough all other explanations were delivered through the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game which acted as an extended version of the film.
In TPM, the movie had dialogue to educate us on who they were and where they stood instead of forcing us to spend money to find answers elsewhere.
9. UNINSPIRED SHIP DESIGNS
The Phantom Menace had sleek and futuristic ship designs when compared to the designs of the original trilogy like the X-Wings, TIEs and the Millenium Falcon.
However, those designs were gorgeous, impressive, and unique, unlike The Force Awakens. The First Order looked like they just added some spokes to the front of the new super powerful Star Destroyers and painted the TIE fighters black.
If we have made so many technological advances in our world, surely the First Order could have designed something far more evolved than a rehashed Star Destroyer
8. BREAKNECK PACING
Once The Force Awakens starts, it doesn’t stop. The story moves at a breakneck speed and ultimately topples over itself with hardly any time catch up to pause and examine the finer details of the film. TFA tries to stuff too many sequences into its runtime while neglecting finer character moments.
While The Phantom Menace is certainly loaded with plenty of boring scenes, it takes its time to build up the story and characters, which makes every moment impactful, in particular, the action sequences.
TFA’s roller-coaster pace left viewers with little time to get acquainted with or invest in the main characters while being flung all around through most of its action sequences.
7. WEAK ALIEN DESIGNS
The most hated Star Wars alien character in The Phantom Menace was Jar Jar Binks. The alien race seemed like they belonged in the Star Wars universe, conjured out of the same creative soup that gave us the beloved creatures of the original trilogy.
The Force Awakens, on the other, has had extremely weak characters that fell short compared to the corresponding aesthetics of George Lucas’ creations.
Maz Kanata looked like a geeky alien with cartoon spectacles. She would not have been out of place in a Pixar movie.
Then there are the Rathtars with their absurd mouths-with-tentacles sloshing about on Han’s cargo ship and the garbage compactor-loving Dianoga.
6. TRIES TO OUTDO THE PREVIOUS TRILOGIES AND FAILS
The creators of The Force Awakens, have run out of ideas to create something new, refreshing and original. Instead, they take inspiration from previous Star Wars movies and try and turn it into something larger or more equipped unsuccessfully.
Examples are a scene where someone refers to Starkiller Base being like the Death Star, but bigger
Other examples are installing three lightsaber blades on Kylo Ren’s. Other examples include a new desert planet or a cantina scene which is more dangerous with its weird music in the background.
The Phantom Menace at least had its originality while remaining faithful to the essence of the franchise.
Snoke is the saddest excuse for a villain that Star Wars has ever had. When his character was finally revealed, he resembled a sickly, scarred humanoid creature that could have been recreated easily without motion capture.
Compared to the devious Palpatine or the insidious Darth Vader, Snoke is a feeble attempt to create a threatening villain. He speaks spookily, but that’s about it
Compared to Darth Maul, who was more intriguing and enthralled audiences everywhere, despite speaking only a couple of lines, Snoke has, even with his extremely minimal dialogue and presence. Although the creators were desperate for the audience to fear Snoke and take him seriously, they failed miserably
4. WEIRD POLITICS
The Phantom Menace was riddled with political subplots. The film was weighed down by these boring sequences, which were at least explained and understood by audiences.
The Force Awakens, also decided to include complex political situations, without explanation, instead assumed the audience didn’t need to know,
In a nutshell: the Republic, now in control after the fall of the Empire, rebels against the First Order who bears a striking resemblance to the Empire.
Instead of going to war with them, the Republic forms a Rebel Alliance known as “The Resistance” to combat the threat. But the audience is left in the dark as to what kind of threat does the First Order pose and their goals. These are a few of the many plot holes left unanswered in TFA.
3. DISAPPOINTING SET PROPS
Episode I triumphs in nearly every setpiece with an incredible opening scene that showed the Jedi in their prime, unique sequences like the epic Pod Race or undersea chase, while also showcasing one of the best saber duels in the franchise,
Episode VII, on the other hand, was very lackluster with their set pieces, with some of its best moments feeling as though we’ve seen it all before in their previous films.
The destruction of the Starkiller Base in the climax seems been there done that since they’ve already destroyed two Death Stars, the Falcon evading has been done, and Rey versus Kylo Ren, while exciting and visceral, was just another lightsaber duel.
2. LOOSE ENDS AND SEQUEL BAIT
The Phantom Menace was meant to be a prelude to the original trilogy. In spite of it, The Phantom Menace felt like a self-sufficient film.
Anakin becomes a Padawan, and Naboo is freed. Despite there being much more to tell, TPM stands on its own.
With The Force Awakens, there were so many plot holes that were left unfilled, that it was hardly enjoyable, serving instead as a footnote for a new trilogy, where hopefully its many unanswered questions will be tied up.
The film was full of sequel baits such as Luke’s lightsaber, The Knights of Ren and the deaths of Luke’s students.
Rey’s visions which were integral plot points for all the involved characters were cast aside to be explained later on, and not even a morsel of information was given. Instead of a wink and a nod, saying “watch this space for more!” was all we were left with.
1. ARTISTICALLY DEAD
The Force Awakens tries to mirror the original trilogy by retelling A New Hope with a new refreshing cast. TFA feels like a combination of what fans loved about the originals and hated about the prequels.
The Force Awakens completely misses the mark that propelled the original film to great heights. While the story was alright, it took no risks, whereas The Phantom Menace did, regardless of quality.
Episode I may not be the film fans wanted, nor is it that good of a film, but in the end, it’s still George Lucas’s vision, the creator of this vibrant universe and is an artist at heart. It is the story he wanted to tell and justifies its existence as art. We can’t say the same for The Force Awakens.