★★★☆☆ USA. 2h13m. Sci-Fi / Adventure. Directed by George Lucas. Written by George Lucas. Cinematography by David Tattersall. Edited by Paul Martin Smith, Ben Burtt. Music by John Williams. Starring Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Pernilla August, Frank Oz.
The first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and begins the “Skywalker saga,” though it was the fourth film to be produced chronologically. The Phantom Menace is set 32 years before the original film and follows Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they protect Queen Amidala in hopes of securing a peaceful end to an interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by Anakin Skywalker—a young slave with unusually strong natural powers of the Force—they simultaneously contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.