Saga Beginning the Saga: The wonderful benefits of TPM....

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by obi-rob-kenobi4, Sep 19, 2012.

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  1. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    The basic themes of TPM are truly beautiful and there is a lot to be enjoyed if you just go in with an open mind. I truly think that the following is perhaps the best example of the many great basic themes woven into the film that (sadly) most people dont realize:

    The whole theme of symbiotic relationships and balance.

    A symbiotic relationship is a relationship between two entities which is mutually beneficial in order for both participants of the relationship to survive. Thus there is a positive-sum gain from cooperation. This is a term commonly used in biology and also in philosophy (two areas lucas excels in) to explain the relationship between two entities that need each other to survive and prosper. The bumblebee and the flower would be an example and in the film the midichlorians and living beings need to work together in order to communicate with the force. Symbiosis is THE prominent theme in TPM! It is exemplified all throughout the film, beginning, middle and end and it is cleverly done with the point of jar-jar's character being to teach a lesson in tolerance and understanding for beings who are different than you. Its completly innocent! Makes it even MORE of a shame so many people misunderstand jar-jar and join in on the tired trend of bashin him.

    This symbiotic relationship theme starts right from the beginning of the film with Obi-Wan’s dialogue to Boss Nass: "You and the Naboo form a symbiotic circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other. You must understand this."

    The Naboo (the first republic planet we see) represents two species who need to realize they depend on one another, and need one another, even if they don’t particularly like one another at first.

    Its the two societies of the planet Naboo's refusal to accpt this which keeps them in danger of the Traid Federations invasion of them. When padme establishes peice and understanding between the two societies they can now work together and because they are finaly working together they can survive and that is how they defeat the greedy trade barons and save their planet. It is an AMAZINGLY beautiful metaphor!

    The dark tragedy of TPM is that despite all this the sith still win. While the heroes are being introduced throughout the film on their epic adventure to combat the invasion of Naboo, they are actually unwitting pawns in Palpatines master plan to get elected. This is the most basic reasion why TPM is a truly beautiful fanticy film and the best way to start the saga.

    This is all EVEN MORE interesting when you just consider the amazing parallels between what happens in the film to what has been happening in America lately. And thats coming from George Lucas himself. Now that we've (finally) become so culturally aware of greedy-corporations buying into and controlling politicians and political parties I believe it is easier to truly appreciate the clever political sub-plots of the film and the PT as a whole. The greatest, bloodiest conflict in galactic history (the clone wars) would begin with a seemingly inconsequential conflict about rich, greedy corporations trying to pay less taxes in TPM. That is what was presented as the beginning of the end of the great old republic. How brilliant!

    Along the way of the vast adventure across the galaxy we are gracefully introduced to all the key characters and important places of the saga and presented with breath taking scope and examples of amazing different cultures all while laying the solid groundwork and basic rules for the whole entire saga leaving viewers feeling exhausted from having SO MUCH to take in by the end of this epic and beautiful film!

    There is a sense of discovery in EVERY SINGLE SCENE of The Phantom Menace and it leaves (open minded) viewers who watch the film with a sense of amazement and wonder in the true fashion that only Star Wars can do.

    In this way I truly believe that the Phantom Menace is perhaps one of THE BEST and the truest Star Wars films out of all the Episodes in the saga even ANH in many ways.

    What things like this about TPM do you think people miss or might need to remember again?
    Last edited by obi-rob-kenobi4, Sep 19, 2012
  2. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I can't stand the whole "midichlorians" storyline or "Chosen One" prophecy, but you've made a good point about symbiotic relationships, along the theme of "no man is an island," represented by the alliance between the Gungans and the humans on Naboo. Cynically it could be viewed as a representation of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" but I prefer a representation of unity when two species realize that they really do depend on each other to an extent.

    I thought TPM did a very good job of presenting the head-in-the-sand complacency as well as dogma of the PT Order Jedi. And I love the political intrigue, how certain aspects of our government are caricatured and put on display to show how easily an evil person could use the corrupt system to his or her advantage. This theme continues into AOTC and ROTS.

    And yes, the introduction of Luke and Leia's parents, and their backgrounds, especially Anakin's background as a slave, which had a great impact on how he reacted to later events in his life.
  3. WIERD_GREEN_MAN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2010
    star 4
    There are so many good things about TPM.
  4. Samnz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    I liked the midichlorians, actually.
    I think they added some needed depth to the Force. We knew it was an energy field, created by all living things and that some people are strong with the Force, others aren't and it was suggested to be biological ("The Force is strong in my family", Luke).

    We didn't know why.
    It's duality, again. Humans and aliens need midichlorianer in order to comminicate with the Force. "Without midichlorians, life could not exist," because there would be no access to the Force that "binds the galaxy together".

    It was necessary to elaborate the mythological concept of the Force, imo, and Qui-Gon's scene with Anakin on Coruscant is one of my favourites of the film.
  5. HevyDevy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2011
    star 3
    I love The Phantom Menace. I think it is truely underrated. IMO It has a mythical aspect not captured by the majority of Hollywood films today.
    It really represents an age of innocence that lays some important groundwork for the whole saga. To me, a lot of ROTS' impact stems from the base established in TPM. The film just has a lot of the trademark Star Wars charm. I don't get why so many people dismiss it as the worst film... I get the feeling people just aren't embracing their inner-child... it is very easy to dismiss the film as immature. To me, stuff that critics see as contrived, with some suspension of disbelief, can represent a lot about destiny and will of the force which is greatly at work in this movie. People are just too cynical.

    About the midi-chlorians... I think they are a welcome addition to our understanding of the force. Personally, I feel that you need both the TPM explanation, and the ANH explanation to really be introduced to the concept. These movies were made to be watched together afterall. Qui-Gon quite interestingly explains it in one way, with comments like "The force will guide us" and "He sees things before they happen. It's a Jedi trait" and of course his explanation of midichlorians to Anakin. But to really understand, Obi-Wan's and Yoda's wise words in the OT are just as vital, for example Obi-Wan's first description of the force to Luke, and various other concepts displayed such as "The force can have a strong influence on the weak minded", and "Your eyes can decieve you, don't trust them". Plus Yoda's "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter..." speech, etc.
    I think some of the emphasis put on the midichlorians in TPM really pays off in ROTS, with the implication that the Sith may have created Anakin (although I think it is possible that he was just created by the midichlorians). Also, I think there is a parallel in Qui-Gon's widom in his lesson about passively working with the midichlorians , and Sidious' contrasting lesson about taking control over the midichlorians directly. It's a really interesting concept.
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Is this thread going to have Saga discussion, IE, across films? It's going to get moved if it doesn't.
  7. EHT Manager: New Films

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 6
    Well, @HevyDevy did a good job of tying TPM to the other films (OT included) in his comments about midichlorians. :p
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I suppose. Still want some in the OP, though.
  9. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    Its important to the saga in many ways. A major one being this whole symbiotic relationship theme and how it ties into SO MUCH of the rest of the saga and how important it is to the way George Lucas crafts basically everything else from all the mirroring in the events that happen in the rest of the films to the way shots are framed and executed.

    As a human being this whole "balance" and "mirroring" and "echoing" thing is something of a philosophy that Lucas genuinely believes in and puts into all of his films, none more so than The Star Wars Saga. I truly believe that a big part of the creative process and planning done on the saga was determined by this almost as a principle of sorts.

    I think some more light needs to be shined on this aspect of TPM in order for people to have a better understanding of the saga the way Lucas does. TPM is the film that sets much of this up and so understanding and exploring this aspect starts with TPM.
  10. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Its a good discussing.Don't move it yet.
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  11. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    I don't know if the scene was done right, but no one ever talks about the awkward introduction on the Naboo ship. Knowing that oneday the lil boy was going to kill the young jedi padawan. It was the first thing I thought of when Qui Gon introduced them. The Fight on the Deathstar. I stll say the OT does not official start or should I say Lukes story does not officially start until they get to the Yavin 4 base. From Qui Gons funeral to the escape from the deathstar its about two people.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Not going to.
  13. Mystery Roach Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2004
    star 4
    I'm not sure how this ties into a larger saga discussion, but I was just watching TPM after reading this thread today and I noticed something that I never really got before. It was when Qui-Gon said, "This Gungan may be of help." It suddenly struck me that the reason Qui-Gon brings Jar Jar along is because he knows it will ultimately be beneficial to introduce the Queen to a Gungan, especially one who's humble, clumsy and innocent as opposed to proud and warlike. Qui-Gon realizes that the very qualities that make him a pariah are the ones that will most impress the young Queen of a peaceful people, who has never before encountered Gungans. He knows that these two cultures need to find a way to come together, and that Jar Jar was actually poised to be the perfect link to connect them.
  14. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    Another important thing I think many people miss is the whole symbolism behind the "energy plasma" being mined and utilized on Naboo. Im talking about the stuff that the gungans use as shields. George Lucas and Dennis Muren talk about it in the commentary of TPM and on some SW.com videos. It is intentionally very symbolic. In fact it drives the whole film in a way.

    In the big duel between Maul/Qui-gon/Obi-wan the fight takes place in none other than the power generator room that "powers" theed and the three combatants are fighting among the very thing that is the source of all the trouble behind the trade dispute which drives the film. The plasma/energy is presumably the precious thing that the naboo exports. The thing that the Gungans and Naboo people both mine from the "planet core". The reason why we see it all throughout the film is to remind the viewer of what all the characters are tragically overlooking which is that this is the stuff that makes the planet run smoothly -and by extension the galaxy, run smoothly and when you can get along and share it there will be balance (!). This crisis in not sharing and not being passive is what the Sith (the phantom menace) take advantage of.

    It is a large statement about sharing.

    This is why we are taken down to the planet core at the beginning of the film and constantly shown how the Gungans and Naboo use and depend on this "energy plasma" weather it be for their windows or their shields or their weapons or the power source that powers their ships and submarines (which in the film it does all of these things). It is a large metaphor that the whole film relies on. George Lucas made sure that this stuff had a strong, silent presence throughout the whole film. This is why in the epic duel at the end they are fighting among this plasma in the generator room. Its there hauntingly, almost mocking them. Its there without them realizing it in the same way that the Gungans dont realize the whole thing with the green grassy plains being destroyed and blackened by the war between them and the battle droids and these things ALL tie into this sharing theme that Lucas has sowed into the fabric of the whole film as the foundation of the whole Saga itself.

    At the end of TPM what is the last word spoken? "Peace!" What is Boss nass holding up? A ball of the energy! Because both society's now finally understand the importance of sharing.

    In the first and last films of the PT we see people mining energy from their planets. On Naboo (the paradise planet) it is "light" energy. On Mustafar (the hell planet) it is "fire" energy from the lava. This is done in ROTS to mirror TPM.

    Its all about BALANCE. Its about yin and yang. In fact there actually is a yin-yang symbol in AOTC in the middle (!) of the film: http://imgur.com/oQPT3

    So we now understand that in the first film we have "light" in the third film we have "dark" and in the film that is in the middle we (literally) have a "yin-yang" symbol.@};-

    Please, please do discuss....
    Last edited by obi-rob-kenobi4, Sep 22, 2012
  15. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    I always though the role of the Gungans in the battle was to weaken the stronghold in the palace so they could capture the viceroy. I think it was a dumb move to send all those droids to a field when there was no value in the field.
    Without Jar Jar they may not have gotten the gungans help. In Esb Han makes a comment that Luke looks strong enough to pullthe ears off of a gungar...is that the same thing as a gungan?
  16. Mystery Roach Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2004
    star 4
    When they found out that the Gungans were amassing in the swamps, they thought it was just an act of desperation by primitives who thought they could reclaim their territory. They were fully expecting a slaughter, which would create even more sympathy for Naboo in the Senate and thus go even further toward ensuring Palpatine's election. They didn't expect the Gungans and the Naboo to be working together, and so they didn't realize that the battle was a diversion, meant to draw the droids away from the city so that the Naboo could get into the city to access their starfighters as well as capture the Viceroy.

    You are quite right, however, that without Jar Jar they would not have gotten the Gungans' help. They wouldn't have even known where to find them. This is exactly the point I was making about why Qui-Gon knew it would be a smart move to bring Jar Jar along to his encounter with the Naboo. He knew it would be beneficial for these societies to come together, both in the short term to reclaim their planet since the peaceful Naboo couldn't do it without the Gungan Army, and in the long term for stability of the planet.

    And was that last part a joke? If so then sorry for my daftness, but Han said "Gundark", not "Gungar". No relation to Gungans.
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  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Gundark. And no:

    [IMG]

    A Gundark.

    OTOH, if these had formed a civilization on Naboo, I'm pretty sure the Neimoidians would've had a good old laugh at the idea of blockading and then invading the planet. :p
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  18. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Indeed, Trade Federation battle droids already had problems dealing with gundarks during the Battle of Alaris Prime several years before the Invasion of Naboo.
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  19. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    I've said this before, but the single most fascinating element to TPM, as it relates to the series proper, is that the tormentor of Luke and Leia was ushered into power by their mother. I've always been intrigued by this theme, of how the young are betrayed by their elders, well-meaning or otherwise.

    In a sense, Luke and Leia weren't merely struggling and suffering for the sake of their evil father, but for their fallen mother as well.
  20. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Well Luke was intended to be hidden. Leia was in plane site. Anakin never had any beef with Bail. They seemed to get along. How long was Obi Wan going to sit around & watch over luke? Obi Wan only seemed to want Luke to join him as his dads replacement. What if the droids landed somewhere else? All Vader-Leia scenes are interesting because he never semed to sense her at all.
  21. Yunners Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 2
    Obi-Wan apparently tried to talk to Luke a few times over the years, but he was shoo'd away by Owen Lars. I guess he eventually decided to wait until Luke was old enough that Owen no longer had any say in what Luke could and couldn't do.
  22. Eternal_Hero Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 1
    TPM is my 2nd favorite. I love all the layers of metaphor, symbol, reference, mirroring etc. It's a deep film. Visually, it is easily one of the greatest films I've ever watched.
  23. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    Another beautiful thing about The Phantom Menace is the title itself. Perhaps the title with the most ironically dark meaning behind it out of all the films (except maybe AOTC).

    In contrast to the more self-explanatory titles of the other films, the title, "The Phantom Menace" is ambiguous and brilliant. The title refers to the Sith.

    It is important to keep in mind Darth Sidious's name, which is the adjective insidious. The Oxford Dictionary gives the following definition of the word "insidious":

    Full of wiles or plots; lying in wait or seeking to entrap or ensnare; proceeding or operating secretly or subtly so as not to excite suspicion; sly, treacherous, deceitful, underhand, artful, cunning, crafty. (Of persons and things.)

    The only way to help you understand why actual Star Wars fans appreciate this so much is based upon the understanding that the central "menace" of the film, the greedy Trade Federation's blockade and invasion of Naboo, is itself nothing more than a phantom, a piece of political misdirection thought up by Darth Sidious as part of his master plan designed to get him elected Emperor. One must understand that the key outcome of this movie is the elevation of Palpatine to the office of Chancellor—an outcome that would have resulted had the Trade Federation's gambit succeeded or failed because the hero's never find out the truth.

    The true keystone of the plot is really the Naboo people being threatened and arousing a sympathy vote in the Senate of the decaying republic so Palpatine can get into office. While the heroes are being introduced throughout the film on their adventure to combat the invasion of Naboo, they are actually unwitting pawns in Palpatines master plan for that film. This makes the sub-plots of the movie (like finding anakin, introducing the characters and establishing the setting) more important than the main plot of saving the planet naboo witch is just the brilliant ruse or the "phantom" of the film. But at the same time having that main plot still makes for a great "first adventure" to show in order to ease the audience into the overwhelming journey through the galaxy far,far away that is the star wars saga and making the movie able to work unto itself without having to see the next episodes right away. It works perfictly and makes for a beautiful fantasy film.

    The title "Phantom Menace" is a simple allusion to future dark events that are unclear and understanding this makes one see how dark TPM actually is and thats what is so beautiful about the film, it comes off as a very light film but underneath is also truly dark overall witch is exactly what perfect fantasy is at its core.

    =D==D==D==D=

    @};-
    Last edited by obi-rob-kenobi4, Sep 27, 2012
  24. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

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    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
  25. Bacon164 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2005
    star 7
    The rhetoric of this thread has a wonderful way of making me despise movies I love. Let's see you tackle Vertigo, The Human Condition, or Harold and Maude so I can declare my interest in cinema void and null.
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