Fun with Franchises: Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Part V — “You Kind of Have to Drink to Make It Through This Movie”

Today we continue with another entry in our Fun with Franchises series, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Part V.

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 fifth and final part of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

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We begin Part V during what is probably the best part of all the prequels:

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This fight scene.

And oh shit, and here comes the music.

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DUEL OF FATES, baby!

I put this on just as I do shit just to add a sense of majesty to it. Seriously – put this shit on as you’re running in the gym, taking a shower, doing dishes, or even during sex.

So what if your sex playlist has this and the Lawrence of Arabia theme? That ain’t nobody’s business. All that matters is you last until the Jurassic Park theme crescendos.

Colin:

You and I know someone who has doubtlessly crymaxed to “My Heart Will Go On” several times.

By the way, the 2:38 mark of that video up there on is one of my alarms I have in the morning. I fluctuate between a bunch. It’s that, “You Know How We Do It” (which is my primary), this AWESOME Spring Yard Zone Remix from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game (which… there go my next twenty minutes, whenever that comes on), and then I’ll occasionally go into Duel of Fates or some other ones. Like thisthis and this (which… I fucking hope you people get that one). And I’m just talking straight wake-up ringtones. We haven’t even breached the surface of all the other badass ringtones I have. But we’ll save that for another time.

I just wanted you all to know how badass I am across the board.

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Colin:

This would suck so much more without Duel of Fates.

I think we can say that about all six of these movies.

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You got KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT!!

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But actually. He really got knocked the fuck out.

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OH SHIT A BACKHAND!

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TALLY HO!!

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Also, why would you do that? If you actually tried that you’d be dead in five seconds. Maul should fucking kill him right now. Right now, he should be fucking sliced in half.

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See, right there — dead.

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Wow… Lucas telling you where everyone is in relation to one another? That’s weird.

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Really?

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I hate it when that happens.

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Colin:

I don’t get what this is. Why do these doors exist? Why are there so many of them? Did you pick these up at Plot Devices ‘R Us?

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This is some perfect character shit right here. Obi-Wan’s anxious to get into battle, Qui-Gon’s praying and saving his energy, and Darth Maul is just pacing – he wants to fuck this guy up.

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Oh my god, this looks amateurish.

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Holy shit, look at that animation.

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Look at this fucking buffoon.

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The less said, the better.

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Colin:

Jar Jar Binks is doing shit in a battle. I can’t.

General Binks, right there.

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Y’all got got.

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Colin:

He’s hit? He doesn’t look hit. He got a scratch on the paint. Guess we need to careen out of control into one of the cargo holds that’s supposed to have a shield over it.

Anakin crash lands in the mothership.

I’m assuming R2 is about to give it a cold.

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I’m a fan of that. Meditating, then eyes open, and back to fighting.

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Colin:

That door shut in Obi-Wan’s face, like, “Bye, bitch.”

I wish we somehow had a reason to tell that entire story here.

Not even just that part. I mean all of it.

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Colin:

So much for Qui-Gon’s particular set of skills.

I like how that works in context with the reference and out of context with that screenshot.

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Apparently “NNNOOOOOOO!!!” is also a thing in this franchise.

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That’s badass. Kills the dude then calmly just walks away. “Next.”

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“Oh I did that shit.”

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Yawn.

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They’re so fucking racist.

They want her to sign the treaty.

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Oh shit – BREAK YO SELF FOOL!!

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Colin:

I got nothing for this scene. The actual decoy shows up and then they happen to keep pistols in the throne, so they could get the jump on the Asians.

I guess that means nobody was… watching, the throne.

Colin:

And then, “Jam the door!” He says this and they just do it, like it’s something they have to do all the time. Is that how doors work? Are all electronic doors in this universe fitted with a “jam” function? Isn’t it usually called a “lock?” If you jam a door, aren’t you stuck inside too? Can you un-jam a door? Cause if so, that’s just a lock for all intents and purposes. But I think George just wrote it in like this so you think, “Oh, well now we don’t have to worry about bad guys coming through here anymore.” Lucas should have been a massage therapist because he’s a master of dissolving tension.

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She has some ideas about a new treaty.

Colin:

She’s gonna make them do all her laundry. (Calgon?! Ancient Trade Federation secret, huh?)

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Oh this shit is on.

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Now you’re just showing off.

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That was cool.

 Colin: 

The one moment I liked in all this was when Obi-Wan cut Maul’s staff in half.

And then he just kicks him in the chest.

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Well that was unnecessary.

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I love that you can just do that to people.

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Colin:

Wouldn’t be Star Wars without random holes in the floor that drop unbroken for hundreds of feet and have no guard rail.

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Oh wow… he destroyed the shield generator without even trying.

Colin:

How lucky for him. He happened to shoot two torpedoes directly at the one thing that will destroy this space station.

What happened to the autopilot?

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Jesus, just run over a motherfucker, will ya?

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“Now this is podracing.”

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

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Thank you.

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Colin:

Dude, you didn’t have to blow up the whole thing. Someone spent a long time building that. Just wait. See how it feels.

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Colin:

That’s what happens when you pull the plug, apparently. But why does that one’s head fall off? When I turn off my TV, it doesn’t fall off the table.

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That’s AWESOME.

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Colin:

I love the idea of just messing with Obi-Wan here. Putting the tip of your lightsaber down to his knuckles and saying, “Not touching, can’t get mad!”

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You can see that? Really?

(Also, why hasn’t he gone into the Force?)

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Colin:

Maul had enough time between Obi-Wan jumping and getting sliced in half to write a novel. Not a REALLY decent one, but the sort that might do a week or two on the bestseller list. Plenty of time to figure out what was up and kill Obi-Wan. But oh well.

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Colin:

Note the blood spurt. Cause sometimes blood spurts from lightsaber wounds, and sometimes it doesn’t.

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“I never saw Venice!”

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Colin:

I don’t mention most of the extended universe shit I know because who cares? But I will mention that Maul lives and has his bottom half recreated with a prosthesis, because – NEW LEGS, LT. DAN!

No, this IS something I want to know about. Because he was such a badass character, why would they kill him so quickly? I want to know that he survived. (Though didn’t Shiho send us that link of him crying like a bitch in the show or something? There’s always a bigger fish video of a character you love crying like a bitch.)

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He’s not dead yet?! For fuck’s SAKE, George!

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He lives long enough to tell Obi-Wan to trail Anakin. You know, balance to the Force an all that. Motherfucker, we didn’t need to hear him say that. He could have Force ghosted that information to him later. Or Obi-Wan could have, you know… inferred it from what Qui-Gon was saying for the past three days.

But seriously, why isn’t he a part of the Force?

Colin:

Okay, this is one of my problems with the franchise and with Lucas, and I’ve been waiting for the appropriate time to talk about it. The prophecy states that the “Chosen One” will “bring balance to the Force.” I’m going to lay my cards on the table, George – I don’t think you know what “balance” means. Balance means equal weight, amount, or representation. What you’re talking about is actually restoring IMBALANCE to the Force by destroying the Sith. And he has referred to this in interviews, so we’re clear on his intent: Anakin “restores balance” to the Force by destroying the Sith and then dying himself. I’m sorry, but that’s not what that means. All good guys and no bad guys may be IDEAL, but it isn’t BALANCE.

There are so many things in this franchise that are said without much thought, and you can almost hear Lucas going, “Well, yeah, but you know what I mean.” Fuck that, George. You don’t get to just throw words around because that’s how it makes sense in your head. There are multiple different characters saying this stuff several times apiece – and the interpretation of the prophecy informs the story. Remember Yoda’s thing about anger and suffering and bullshit? I stand by my claim that Lucas has very little knowledge of the English language and I would bet that when people talk, it sounds like The Sims to him.

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Why would you land that close to people?

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Colin:

They can kiss their trade franchise goodbye. I wish Lucas would kiss this film franchise goodbye. I mean, now he has. But earlier.

The interesting thing is that they keep calling the Trade Federation a franchise, meaning it derives its right to exist from the Galactic Senate. Wouldn’t that mean that a new, more powerful Supreme Chancellor would be able to revoke their charter without much difficulty? Later on, we hear complaints about how the Trade Federation is still around and how Nute Gunray is still in power – wouldn’t you talk to Palpatine about that? Unless…he’s using them for his malevolent ends. But it’s amusing how they complain about it and are never like, “Oh right, their charter could be revoked by the guy from OUR planet that we’re friends with!”

And then once they’re at war, wouldn’t trade grind to a halt? So where does the cash flow come from? How do they keep making droids? They’re a franchise, not a planet; they have to pay for shit. Ah, I believe it’s the Banking Clan that funds them. But then why is it still the Trade Federation? If you had to fund a certain operation, wouldn’t you fund one that’s primarily devoted to warfare, rather than a trade group that happens to make battle droids?

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Ha ha. Palpatine and Anakin.

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Palpatine says he’ll be watching his career “with great interest.”

Colin:

“We will watch your career with great interest.” HINT FUCKING HINT. Really, they should have seen what’s coming NOW.

Again, if you give him more of a role and write it correctly, this fits in fine. It’s just that, in this movie, Palpatine is the only political figure we ever know anything about (you’d think Terence Stamp would be, but they just oust him after two scenes and we never see him again), and he goes from random senator to Supreme Chancellor in the span of like a minute, and he’s also the reason Natalie ousted Valium in the first place, so there’s really no one else who could end up being the Emperor, since why the fuck would you introduce him in movie two or three?

So it’s really Lucas being a shitty writer and feeling the need to incorporate a pod race instead of actual character development.

Remember when all we needed was to hear about the womp rats? Well, in this trilogy, he shows you the womp rats. And that’s why these are shitty.

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Oh, and he’s also Supreme Chancellor now.

The rise begins.

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“Together, we will bring peace and prosperity to the Republic.”

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Obi-Wan’s an official Jedi now.

I love how shit’s all official now, but after they’re all dead it’s like, “Yeah… you’re a Jedi. You got everything you need. Go ahead. Do shit.”

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Yoda don’t agree with Anakin being a padawan.

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He gave Qui-Gon Collins his word.

He’s right. I would say go back on it, but these Jedi can Force guilt the shit out of you.

Colin:

“Qui-Gon’s defiance I sense in you.” This is Lucas getting too into the whole Force thing. You don’t need to SENSE defiance in Obi-Wan here; he just told you outright that he’ll defy the council if he had to. This is like someone saying, “I want pizza for lunch today,” and Yoda responding, “A desire for pizza, I sense in you.” What the fuck? Cut the bullshit.

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Again… why is he not a part of the Force?

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Colin:

I love how Boss Nass randomly has a place of honor at the funeral for a Jedi he spent all of 15 minutes with and got mind raped by.

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“What will happen to me now?”

Colin:

This seems an inappropriate time for this conversation. Qui-Gon’s body is being incinerated in front of them, and Anakin’s all, “So…let’s talk about me!” Shut up for now, Obi-Wan’ll take you out to dinner after the cremation. Where does one go for dinner after a cremation, you ask? Quiznos.

But really — what happens to him now?

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“Butt stuff.”

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“There’s no doubt the mysterious warrior was a Sith.” (Motherfucker.)

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“Always two, there are. No more, no less. The master, and the apprentice.”

“But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?” (Motherfucker.)

Colin:

This is also too neat. Sometimes there are three Sith, sometimes there are one. You don’t just get a new apprentice instantly after losing one. And sometimes your apprentice has a secret apprentice. It’s just how things work.

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Subtlety!

Colin:

Wow. In Mike’s immortal words, that was about as subtle as a dick in the ass.

And…..drink.

You kind of have to anyway, to make it through this.

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Drumline.

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Colin:

They’re all cheering for the Gungans, which is nice because you know that after this parade they’ll go back to the swamp where they fucking belong.

♫ “Why are there so many songs about rainbows…” ♫

Colin:

This part is even more Dinotopia than before, with the little children up on the walls throwing flowers. It’s uncanny. Because it’s stolen.

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Is that a palantir?

Colin:

What’s this rock thing? Is that the Heart of the Mountain? How did they get that? Why is the Arkenstone on Naboo?

Wow. Interesting that we separately came up with two different Tolkien rocks.

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That stupid haircut.

(These prequels are a series of stupid haircuts for Anakin.)

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Look at Jar Jar strutting up those steps.

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Uhh… all right.

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White swan.

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Jesus. Look at that smile. That’s the best smile in this movie. That’s the “Imma fuck her” smile.

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She want the dick.

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R2 knows everything.

Colin:

Oh, I get it. Callback to the end of A New Hope. Down to the cut to R2.

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Colin:

Somebody get the TP. Lucas is done with his dump.

So who was the phantom menace, again?

Was it George? I bet it was George.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, we list our favorite shots from the film, Sunday is the final thoughts, and then Monday… Empire.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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