Fun with Franchises: Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Part III — “What the Fuck, George?”
Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Part III.
In case you don’t know how this works — a while back, I decided to rank my favorite Disney movies and rank my favorite James Bond movies. And the Disney ones were mostly straight synopses and not too much fun, but when I got to Bond, I enlisted the help of my friend Colin (whose blog is TokyoRemix.com. Fuck yeah, promotion!), who knows everything about the Bond franchise that I do not, for those articles, and along the way, learned how to have fun with it. And, by the end of the Bond articles, we were having so much fun that I said, “Man, we have to do this again with other stuff.” Because I spent about a straight month and a half putting together those articles. That’s how much time and effort actually goes into something like that. And not once did it feel like work. It was so much fun that I knew, as long as we were doing it for comedy purposes and able to riff off of each other — we could do pretty much any film and it would work.
And very quickly, the first ones you come up with are the major franchises, because those are not only the most fun, but also the most universally known. Everyone’s gonna understand all the jokes we make (well… most of them. Some of them might be limited to three people) about them. So that’s what we’re doing. And if you’re gonna have fun with franchises, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t franchise it. Also, just so we’re clear, this is all for parody. We’re just messing with them because we love them.
And that’s Fun with Franchises. Right now, we’re doing the Star Wars franchise, and today is the third part of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
We begin Part III with some shady business about to go down.
This place really thins out once the Empire takes over.
Which is weird, since you’d think a hive of scum and villainy would only thrive in a fascist state.
“Are you sure about this? … the Queen will not approve.”
“The Queen doesn’t need to know.”
“Oh, that’s right, bitch. I know.”
“Well I don’t approve.”
Oh, okay. I guess just pout.
Does Qui-Gon not get that she’s the queen? I’m unclear on that. I like to think he’s just messing with her this whole time, trying to make her snap.
Qui-Gon’s gonna stake Anakin. Watto uses his Italian hand gestures to say he needs a little more than some Republic credit.
That’s his entry fee.
(Just got a good idea for a new Pokédex.)
(Also – can that thing pull up anything? Like… Jedi porn? Leia in the bikini, dancing and shit, taking off her top, touching herself? That can do that, right?)
But what’s he gonna ride? He crashed the last pod. Though Anakin says, “I actually saved the pod. Mostly.”
You know he was this close to putting the second “mostly” in there. You know he was.
It’s actually a great deal. Watto puts up the money for the race. If they lose, he gets their ship. If he wins, he gets all the winnings, minus the cost of the parts. It’s legitimately a win-win. Though my question is – doesn’t he already have the parts? Wasn’t the snag that he didn’t like their method of currency? Wouldn’t he end up with all the money anyway? Or does he have to ship out for the parts? If that’s the case, I get it. But at that point, wouldn’t you order them and give him time to pay? That one seems on Qui-Gon. He could probably get some money in the time it takes to get the parts in. So actually this doesn’t make any sense at all. Too bad. I thought we had one.
When the fuck did he get educated?
Oh look, the Rite of Spring segment of Fantasia is going on in the background.
I’m more interested in what those two guys are doing with that microscope than with what Ewan McGregor is saying right now.
Can we pause to realize – this entire second act so far is Obi-Wan sitting on a ship, doing nothing, and Qui-Gon wandering around a place without a clue of what to do. Why does Obi-Wan need to not be here, exactly? He needs to not see the droids, which I get. (Which seems an impossibility for the next two movies, but I don’t remember anything about them, so we’ll see how that turns out.) But he goes to live on Tattooine later. I don’t see why he has to be stuck on the ship for so long. He’s actually the only human we recognize and give a shit about in this movie.
This whole thing seems like a big “fuck you” from Lucas.
Jesus… look at that pose.
Couldn’t they call Coruscant on a pay phone? Or get someone ELSE to call for them? There HAS to be a way of contacting the people they need to contact without attracting attention. There are a quadrillion residents on Coruscant – there must be some cell traffic in and out of there.
He should go fuck her. She’s clearly a single mother, and he’s got a big dick. I mean… he’s a Jedi. He’s a lonely wanderer. They should go fuck.
Also, apparently Anakin has the traits of a Jedi. Which reminds me of something else Lucas is about to do that basically says “fuck you” to everyone who loves the original movies. So I guess I’ll wait for that conversation.
We also find out that Anakin was apparently born of virgin birth. She says “there was no father,” and that she “can’t explain what happened.” This could mean she got raped while in slavery, which I’m assuming is what the actual cause is (either that or she had a wild 20s), but the way she says it makes it sound like immaculate conception.
This is the proper reaction.
Gonna go out on a limb here, but…maybe Shmi Skywalker just doesn’t know to keep her hand over her drink.
Apparently he has friends.
These kids are awful.
Is one of them Greedo? And is that a ginger? And that girl looks like the guy from Gummo.
Jesus, 3PO, you look like Nicolas Cage with his face/off.
That’s right. Make C-3PO comment on Jar Jar. That’ll have credibility, coming from him.
Don’t we all wish that were fatal?
Which reminds me… how come all these species can speak English along with their dialect? In the original trilogy, all the creatures spoke their own language only and that was it. And 3PO was the translator. Except for the added scene with Jabba in New Hope, which was done after the fact anyway. But even there, he had Jabba speak his language and Han spoke his, and they understood one another, and no one said anything about it because it just worked. This just comes off as speaking down to your audience by having everyone speak English out of nowhere.
It was usually the Jabba way in the original movies. Think of Chewbacca speaking his own language, Greedo speaking his own, Lando’s first mate, Short Round, there…there were so many characters that understood Basic but didn’t speak it. And then everyone understood their languages, I guess. The Ocean’s 11 way, where Brad Pitt randomly understands Chinese and vice-versa. I love that.
Oh man… here it comes.
Also, he says, “Say still, Annie. Let me clean this cut.”
I forgot they call him Annie.
Jesus. At least spare us and spell it “Ani,” which is how it’s done in the literature and the script.
But he really is gonna be Little Orphan Annie.
Qui-Gon’s checking his blood “for infections.”
Midichlorians definitely are infections, I’ll give him that.
And here we go. Midichlorians. Fuck you, Lucas. Really, though.
“Sleep well, Annie.”
“Obi-Wan… I need an analysis of this blood sample I’m sending you.”
Wait, what? You can just transfer BLOOD over a communicator like that? What the fuck?
I assume the analysis is done inside the communicator, like it takes a microscopic photo and beams it back to Obi-Wan. Or it does all the analysis itself but has no screen for a readout.
He needs a midichlorian count.
The reading is off the chart. It’s –
Oh shit. Maul Cop in the house.
Ah… those things.
What is this, Obi-Ben-Hur?
That’s such a douche line, but I like it. “My blue friend.”
The line is Qui Gon saying, “Patience, my blue friend,” to Watto when he talks about having won the ship already. For those who have no idea what he’s referring to.
Sup, blue lady? How you doin’?
Oh… you got a sister. Are your names Padma and Parvati? Or am I just being racist?
Of course Sebulba has Twi’lek bitches.
Watto’s also betting everything on Sebulba. So Qui-Goña Colada bets Anakin and Shmeegols’ freedoms against it.
Well now we’re just getting into prop bets.
Watto doesn’t want that bet, so he settles for just Anakin. Watto still doesn’t like it.
He wants to shoot dice for it.
Now there’s the Hood betting I’m familiar with.
Blue is Anakin, red is Shmeegol.
What the fuck is the deal with this “chance cube” thing? It’s either blue or red, but it’s a six-sided die. Hey Watto, you know they invented coins, right?
That looked like a pretty old chance cube, too. Like maybe it was his lucky cube? But eh, fuck it. Leave it in the sand.
So you can influence that but not a dragonfly with stubble?
Also, that little Force wave pushes shit. What if he pushed too far and it went to red? This seems like a very inaccurate method of influence. Are Jedis not allowed in casinos?
– – – – –
– – – – –
God DAMN look at that blue ass.
Damn… why you leaning into it like that, Padme?
“I can assure you they’ll never get me on one of those dreadful starships.”
ha ha ha somebody please get me a rope so i can end it all
Why does Anakin have a random Indian friend?
Hey, remember when Ben-Hur put actual people in the stands?
Why is there an announcer? Why is this a sporting event? Isn’t this supposed to be some back-alley shit? What the fuck, George?
By the way, the subtitle to this movie is, “What the fuck, George?” More so than the next two, since those are just pouring salt on the wound and jacking off into it for good measure. This is the one that’s truly Unforgivable.
They always lump the “Outer Rim” territories together, which doesn’t make any sense. It’s a rim, meaning that it’s even farther from one side of the rim to the other than it is from the rim to the core. That’s how circles work. There’s no reason for people to be here from all corners of the Outer Rim. Somebody teach George about circles.
I also hate how they tried to make this all ESPN with the announcers. Might as well have gotten John Madden. He could pass for a Hutt.
Also, you guys realize that one of the announcers (the one on the right) is Greg Proops, right? I didn’t even look it up to fact check it. I know that’s his voice. I’ve watched enough Whose Line in my day to know.
So Humpty Dumpty is one of the contestants.
Are they really stopping to tell us this podracer’s wife just got out of the hospital with a new baby? Isn’t this the one that dies in a fiery explosion in the cave?
And the Nesquik bunny.
And Sebulba. Who is such a dick that it’s amazing.
So much to say about this picture. So much. From Rosie O’Donnell over there on the left, to the guy far left with the half-DiCaprio face, to the guy who looks like the first guy Scott Pilgrim fought, to the guy who’s dressed like Jack Sparrow but looks like Eagle Eye Cherry. It’s madness. And that’s not even mentioning Zoidberg.
These people will cheer for literally anything.
Nice shots. They’d be better if this was all real shit they were photographing.
Hooray, fart jokes!
A FART JOKE? Seriously? Any more of this and the target age segment for this movie will be pre-natal.
So Anakin talks with Shmeegol.
This brings me back to the beginning of the Harry Potter franchise and how much I hate watching movies with kids in them. Unless they can act. Like Shirley Temple, who – SHE had it rougher than Anakin Skywalker.
You cheating fuck.
You’d think someone saw that.
Aww… just like the Biebs.
Holy shit, I figured it out… Anakin is Justin Bieber.
How come no one has a problem with a child racing like this? Is it because he’s a slave? Why is everyone okay with him racing? I know he has been doing it before, which still doesn’t make it okay.
Ah, it’s Jabba. And he’s got a BITCH with him!
And that creepy fuck is there, too. Thanks, CGI!
Also, is that his wife in the background? I really hope it’s his wife. I’d love if that were the situation. Because you know it has to be. Jabba’s got the wife he married before he made it big. She’s the mouthy broad who doesn’t give a fuck what her husband does. And he gives her lots of money and takes her out to dinners and events, but he fucks other chicks on the side, and it’s just an assumed thing. It’s just an understanding they have, like a Mafia wife sort of thing. You know that’s the situation.
Look at her. You know that’s the situation. Jabba’s got a mouthy Jew broad for a wife. Just picture Mrs. Potato Head but as a Hutt.
Also, chick on the left – total Saiyan/Heat Miser hair.
This second Hutt behind Jabba here is Gardulla the Hutt, a “female” crime lord who used to own Anakin and Shmi. The hermaphroditic thing about Hutts is kind of nasty, because imagine Jabba the Hutt giving birth. Which he did. Apparently there was talk of a romance with Gardulla, too. Like two latex gloves full of mayonnaise slapping each other.
Lucas claims that there as no racial overtones to this film, but the desert people are clearly trilling with ululation right now. Okay, it’s a scene set in the desert, and the crowd cheers the same way that Arab women do? Yeah, complete coincidence.
Wow, so Sebulba’s podracer has a V8. No doubt.
This is The Fast and the Furious but with pod racing.
Boonta Eve is the first track in the Star Wars Podracer game I had for N64. That game kicked ass. It was really high-paced, so you couldn’t just beat it. Shit was hard as hell.
Hey, it’s Warwick Davis! (And bald Kanye, apparently.)
That’s a shame. It’s sabataage.
There we go.
It’s always funny to me how these people always start from behind and always manage to win. Never seemed to make sense to me that they could make up that much ground with everyone else going regular speed the whole time. They ain’t even have no blue shells or nothing.
Why does this sequence exist, again?
It’s fucked up that you’re recreating Monument Valley with CGI.
But actually… what is this scene’s purpose? Thinking about it… right now, there’s some trade route shit, a treaty is supposed to be signed, there’s some military action on a planet. The princess was taken to hide out. The ship is down, so we’re doing all this extended bullshit in order to get the ship fixed.
Now… in an older Star Wars movie, this would still happen. Military shit, crumbling of the Republic, maneuvering of Palpatine, Queen has to be hidden. Fine. They end up on Tattooine to hide out. Ship breaks down. All fine. They run into Anakin and in their side track, they find someone who is a strong candidate to be a Jedi. Also fine. The sidetrack takes up most of act two, and we see Qui-Gon not wanting to train Anakin but Obi-Wan wanting to, and Anakin gets close to Padme, and Darth Maul is tracking them down, and it ends with some sort of battle.
The broad outlines of this make perfect sense. And yet, when George writes it…
Imagine if they remade these three movies, but better. With an actual story, with character development instead of pod races, and real stuff instead of Jar Jar.
But we don’t have time for that now, because there’s another fart joke coming up.
I love that they’re just racing where people live.
Why exactly is there no danger of pedestrians?
That roadblock thing is hilarious. I wonder if it’ll factor in later…
Man, riding through dark caves and shit. This shit is dangerous. Why are you letting a kid do this?!
Yeah, sorry about that, wife and new baby. Your dad just died in a fiery wreck.
Also, how can a pod create that big of an explosion? Did you think about anything, George?
Oh, god… sand people…
Back to their old tricks, I see.
It’s always funny when characters flick shit.
To this day, a flick remains one of my favorite funny moments in cinema. I laugh out loud at that EVERY time.
Anyway, lap two is more of the same. Naturally George has to show us the WHOLE race, because we’re clearly invested in it.
Anakin’s pod actually sounds a bit like an F1 car, after it’s gone by. It’s the high revs.
Then he gets detached.
Sure… that works.
It’s just occurring to me that according to what’s been said, the Force is what allows Anakin to be a podracer. Does that mean that all the other racers have Jedi reflexes too, even though they aren’t Force sensitive? Cause there are some species that can just DO this. Are they better than human Jedi? The multi-ethnic makeup of the galaxy and Jedi council mean that unless the Force decides everything, you can’t really call everyone equal in terms of their abilities. Humans seem comparatively slow next to some of these other races, but they still manage to make up a lot of the Jedi council.
I’m probably late in mentioning this, but in case you hadn’t noticed, Lucas is going for Ben-Hur here. Not that it’s really working, but that’s what he’s going for. Even the thing that ticks off the finished laps.
I like how the Tusken Raiders just shoot people because they can and nobody says anything.
Those sand people were crack shots when firing at pods going over 600 mph. Now they’re missing Jawas walking at what couldn’t even be called a brisk pace. Obviously Lucas couldn’t have a Jawa get shot, but that would have forgiven a lot of this movie. If one of them had been shot and the sand people had high fived or something, that would be just bad enough that I’d have enjoyed it.
This race would be so much better if it weren’t attended by everyone and had an announcer and were some back-alley stuff. A character’s successes feel all the more real when they’re so marginal to begin with. He’s gotta win this down and dirty race where everyone cheats and it’s basically illegal and out in the desert where nobody knows. It allows for juxtaposition between all the high-level Republic shit that’s going on up in space. But not when you can’t write, it doesn’t.
This is like the Choco Mountain level of Mario Kart.
Because why else would you show it earlier?
Of course. They’re looking for parts.
Wow… how about you just show us the story of the race and not all this extra shit, George?
This has always bugged me. Notice how a part flies off the engine, but Anakin’s able to fix things without stopping or touching the engine itself. He just puts the fire out and flicks some switches, and the engine starts right up. That’s not how engines work after they’ve just shed a part. This is like in Star Trek when they have a problem with the ship and need to go faster, and Scotty calls up from the engine room, explaining whatever dilithium crystal ex machina is about to save the day. Supposedly, when the writers were doing scripts for the show, they would leave all that out and just write, “Tech stuff,” which would be improvised or thought up later. The point is, any problem can be explained away by pressing buttons and stuff, which is almost never the case with a hardware issue. If your computer’s screen breaks, I don’t care how good a hacker you are – you ain’t fixing those cracks by typing something.
In case you didn’t get it, Sebulbasaur says, “Shit.”
Of course he wins.
Yeah, I’m sure that’s safe.
Ha ha… they’re gonna fuck.
“We owe you everything, Ani.” Oh yeah? How you gonna repay him? AND DON’T TELL ME THAT’S GROSS CAUSE LUCAS THOUGHT OF IT FIRST.
Qui-Gon wants his money.
They cut out the part where he puts Watto’s head in a vice.
There you go… not even looking at R2.
That just seems wrong.
There’s also a line here where Obi-Wan stops and says, “Why do I get the feeling we’ve picked up another pathetic life form?”
“…another pathetic life form?” Obi-Wan, was that…racist? I wanna feel like that was racist.
“Oh… P.S. I freed you.”
(Starring Hilary Swank and Don Cheadle.)
“Can I go, Mom? PLEASE!?!”
Oh… but Shmeegol’s not free.
This scene is bullshit. I’m skipping it. It’s awful.
“You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure he was offered the choice to stay or go. The “stay” option sounds like stopping the change to me. You don’t want things to change, just tell Qui Gon to stuff it and save everyone a lot of trouble. Marry yourself a nice Rodian girl. Greeda, or whomever.
Oh… wait a minute… this might get interesting.
This is fun. He activates 3PO to tell him he’s leaving him behind and not finishing. “But don’t worry… I’ll make sure Mom doesn’t sell you or anything.”
I feel like we’ve all said this to our younger siblings at least twice.
Yeah… she’ll be dead soon, Precious.
It must be so hard being a brown-haired Scandanavian.
Love the shifty-ass A-rab sitting there.
“I can’t do it.”
WHY DOES EVERYONE IN THIS FRANCHISE DO THIS?!!!!
“I will come back and free you, Mom. I promise.”
Don’t the Jedi get vacation days or anything? Shit, it’s not THAT hard to get here from Coruscant if you have a working hyperdrive.
The shifty ass A-rab is making a sale.
Great parenting, Shmi. You’re sending your ten year old son off into the universe with a bearded man who gambles.
(Just like Lana Turner.)
Damn. That thing must have told him some wild shit.
Also, I love how he just drops off the cliff and we see him riding below. That’s a really cool shot.
Why are you running?
Oh shit it’s a drive-by!
RICKY LOOK OUT!
Motherfucker, THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. None of that pod racing BULL-shit.
I guess Maul’s only using half of his lightsaber now so we can enjoy the reveal for added effect later.
Wait, so how did that work? Darth Maul wasn’t even on the ground or anything. They were fighting like three inches from each other, and he just turns around and hops onto the ship and Maul does nothing.
That’s some horrible editing right there.
Phew. Well that was lucky. But you know that Qui-Gon would never let Padme be…taken.
I guess they don’t know what Sith means yet. Qui-Gon Guinness says “whatever it was, it was well-trained in the Jedi arts.”
“Anakin Skywalker, meet Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
More like a nonja.
Holy shit, that accent sounds even more racist than it did before.
Subtlety, thy name is Lucas.
Jar Jar’s got the Itis.
They’re gonna fuck.
“Many things will change when we reach the capital, Annie.”
HA HA HA HA HA.
Oh, many things will change.
Nice planet. Only it looks a little too much like this one. (And that movie came out first, so…)
(Also, I’m just gonna come out and say it. I, 100%, without sarcasm or irony, believe The Fifth Element to be a better movie than any of the Star Wars movies.)
Coruscant. “The entire planet is one big city.”
So… New York. Space New York. You can say it. We know.
Weird. There’s another movie I’m thinking of that also has Space New York in it…
Amazing how that worked out.
Senator Palpatine is waiting for them.
What do you think the traffic accident ratio is on this planet?
Nice that you brought back looking at the camera, George.
It’s Terence Stamp. Playing Supreme Chancellor Valium.
Walk and talk.
Also, they have Roman guards back there.
“I must speak with the Jedi council immediately.”
I told you… sooner or later there’s always a council.
That thing is pretty great. The tours of this place must be fantastic.
Clearly influenced by Metropolis.
When did she have time for a costume change?
This is a rather Japanese outfit. Still, if she put as much effort into her job as she did into her appearance, this shit would be resolved already.
Palpatine wants her to oust Chancellor Valium. (How do people not spot political maneuvering? She literally says, “He’s been our strongest supporter.” Don’t you start to question a dude that tells you to get your strongest supporter fired?)
Can’t you figure out Palpatine by his voice alone? Or, you know, if you have two brain cells to rub together, this scene gives it all away. “Here are a few options that you clearly won’t go for…OR, we could torpedo our only political ally and elect someone else in his place…like another senator?” Fucking really.
Wow, so we had that point in common AND I mentioned the voice issue that Mike brought up in Part I. I believe that makes two shots.
The Jedi council.
There are some weird looking Jedis there.
IT’S SAMUEL L. JACKSON!
Mace Windu, baby.
What’s amazing about Samuel L. Jackson in these movies is that he worked it into his contract that he got to have a purple light saber and have “Bad motherfucker” initialed into the bottom.
Which is pretty much all he gets, since his character basically only exists to spout exposition. (Though… isn’t that all of them in these prequels?)
Oh, but yeah, they think the Sith are extinct. (Much like Muffdaddy T thought about the Jedi.)
Windu says they’re gonna use all their resources to discover the identity of Maul. Which seems pretty ridiculous. They’re kind of like the U.N. Say a bunch of shit, but do nothing.
Is that Fenrir Greyback over there?
Oh, also… Qui-Gon says some shit about Anakin and how he might have been “conceived by the Midichlorians.”
This is the proper reaction.
Oh, I’ll get to this later.
Qui-Gon Galliano wants him to be trained as a Jedi.
“Oh, you do, huh, motherfucker?”
I love how even the Jedi Council is like, “Qui Gon, you’re a fucking wacko.” He’s way more religious about it than they are. To them, it’s the philosophy and natural aspect of it, but to him, it’s God.
Mace Windu allows them to bring Anakin before them.
“You trust this motherfucker?”
“Not as far as I can throw him. And I can throw him pretty far.”
Jesus christ. Really?
Padme’s not there.
He came to say goodbye to Padme. He may never see her again. (Uh huh.)
Children speaking to royalty is never comfortable.
Is she wearing yak horns on her head?
This is where we’ll END PART III.
– – – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow is Part IV, and some more confusing shit. Probably. You know. Whatever. You’re honestly only reading because our shit is better than the movie anyway. You don’t care what actually comes next.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)