Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ★★½

Fascinating in that it feels like a vast megabudget production made by a clueless, racist, aesthetically scattershot, shut-in billionaire with no concept of tone or any idea how to direct actors—which, of course, is exactly what it is. Shooting on celluloid gives these garish, cartoony images a richness the following two films lacked; it's an often beguiling looking piece of kitsch. Taking it (or any of these movies) seriously on any level beyond that, especially its confused and silly political ideas, is about as embarrassing as earnestly considering the politics of Harry Potter.

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