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Saga Best PT/ST opening episode: TPM or TFA? *POLL included*

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth Downunder, Mar 5, 2016.


TPM or TFA. The better movie is:

  1. The Phantom Menace

    100 vote(s)
  2. The Force Awakens

    117 vote(s)
  1. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    Yeah I know there are alot of polls in this forum but this one is relevant to several discussions currently underway in both the PT & TFA forums. Discussions that continue to make comparisons between TFA & the PT. IMO the only fair & relevant comparison is strictly between the two opening episodes of each trilogy. Both sought to introduce new characters & establish a new story. Both "mirror" ANH in different ways & to varying degrees. It's a simple & appropriate comparison between two movies.

    So...which of the two, in your opinion is the better movie? Feel free to explain why.
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  2. miasma

    miasma Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 29, 2013
    I voted for TFA for several reasons

    1. Characters. I simply cared about the characters far more in TFA than I did in TPM.

    2. Pacing. While I would have appreciated a little more exposition in TFA, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the way it kept the story moving. TPM, by comparison, stalled several times (the pod, for example, was a cool action sequence, but it brought the story to a halt for far too long.)

    3. Tone. TPM felt a bit scattered with its tone. On the one hand, it was trying to appeal to very young children with Jar Jar, the Neimodians, etc. On the other hand, there was too much political talk for that audience. So at times, it felt unclear who it was aimed it. TFA had a far more consistent tone. And, on a related note, I felt its humor and emotional moments worked much better than in TPM.
  3. Chancellor Yoda

    Chancellor Yoda Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 25, 2014
    I voted for TFA as well and here some brief reasons.

    1. Acting, probably some of the best acting we've had in the series.

    2. New Heroes. The new characters were interesting and I really what to know what's gonna happen next to them.

    3. The Villain. Kylo Ren is a interesting villain for Star Wars, and not just a Vader knock off.

    4. Cinematography. Some of the best cinematography we've had in the movies.

    5. Special Effects. Nice mixture of practical and CGI which should help it stand the test of time.

    Again just my reasons for why I prefer TFA.
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  4. cubman987

    cubman987 Friendly Neighborhood Saga/Music/Fun & Games Mod star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 7, 2014
    TFA for me as well. I echo the reasons above but another reason is because TFA left me wondering where we go from here and what will happen next. With TPM we mostly knew how that trilogy would end and what we could expect to see so I wasn't quite as excited for the next episode like I am after TFA. Also TFA had BB-8.
  5. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 1, 2011

    I know TFA is only part 1 of a trilogy and we still haven't seen parts 2 and 3 but I don't like any TFA characters as much as Qui-Gon Jinn, so TPM for me.

    Plus, TPM had better music and a more interesting story, characters, and world-building in my opinion.
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  6. {Quantum/MIDI}

    {Quantum/MIDI} Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2015

    Qui-Gon was by far one of my favorite character in the saga. I was really sad to see him go as he did so much yet nobody seemed to recognize it. A father figure, a loving, caring yet a very strict man.

    He was calm, insightful and one with the force. Truly, he was one of the biggest losses in the galaxy.
  7. PymParticles

    PymParticles Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 1, 2014
    It's hard to tell, considering we haven't seen Episodes VIII or IX, but I'm going with The Force Awakens. Not only do I think it's a much better movie overall, but VIII seems to pick up directly where it left off. On the other hand, there's a massive 10 year gap between Episodes I and II. Qui-Gon is gone and mentioned, like, once. Darth Maul is mentioned not at all. The Galaxy is in a completely different state. Anakin is being played by an entirely new actor. It feels like Episodes II and III are the real prequel story (they are, for the most part), whereas Episode I is more of a prologue to that two-part story than a true start to a trilogy.
  8. Samnz

    Samnz Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Sep 4, 2012
    TPM. Clearly.

    TPM did a much better job with both its characters and the overall story. It found a balance between setting the whole thing up (basically not just the PT, but the whole saga) while still telling its own rather small story. TPM had an esemble cast and gave me the time to get to know and appreciate each character. Qui-Gon was a guide though the movie, we saw Jar Jar moving from a disruptive factor to the story's crucial factor, we were allowed to see Obi-Wan becoming a Jedi Knight through a test following his master's death, we witnessed Padmé's world being invaded and her desire to get their home back. When considering Padmé's struggle over two-third of the movie to "overcome" the cultural background of her home world (relying on a peaceful situation at all costs, even to naiveté) in contrast to Finn's non-struggle to leave the Stormtroopers although he had been conditioned from a very young age, it's hard to see him as anything than a cliché or fictional creation.

    And TPM had Anakin. Anakin leaving his mother is heartbreaking everytime I watch the movie. There is such a strong and clear sense of momentousness that I not once felt in TFA. You get to feel that this moment, this decision is going to follow Anakin through the rest of his life. There was something asked of the character. When Rey left Jakku, it was put into one of all too many action scenes and severely misused to create nostalgia with the Mullenium Falcon instead of highlighting Rey's )and to and extent Finn's situation) in itself.

    That felt symptomatic for TFA, imo. I'm still wondering what's been the point of blowing up the Republic's capital apart from feeding nostalgia? There is none, I didn't find it at least. Contrary to that, TPM masterfully intergrated Palpatine's rise to power and the fate of the whole galaxy into the story of a Queen and a young boy both seeking freedom. Overall, I got to know the galaxy in TPM. I knew the Trade Federations's goals, I saw how the Republic functions, I got see the Jedi Order working. In TFA, I'm still wondering what's the exact difference between the New Republic and the Resistance; and why the First Order is not just still called Empire.

    In conclusion, TPM felt like a richt, daring and complete movie while TFA felt like a collection of the OT's greatest hits and popular concepts that were all more or less succesfully put together for very obvious intentions. TPM had an idea and theme (symbiosis, duality) that was visible from the first scenes of two Jedi working in perfect harmony to the last scene of two societies celebrating their commonly achieved victory. I dont't see a signature theme in TFA apart from nostalgia.

    And TFA's lack of thought-provoking and artful wipe cuts was just as disappointing as it was to be expected.

    To be fair, I've only seen TFA once.
  9. Palp_Faction

    Palp_Faction Force Ghost star 4

    Feb 3, 2002
    Neither are particularly good films. TFA is a better movie. TPM had the potential to be a brilliant film, but it wasn't handled very well. The script felt like a first draft and the acting was poor. There is a good film in TPM trying to get out! The problem is GL hates writing and is not an actor's director. TFA had great chemistry between the actors and brought the fun back into SW. Its lack of originality really let it down though.
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  10. Darth Downunder

    Darth Downunder Chosen One star 6

    Aug 5, 2001
    TFA by a long way. Vastly superior in terms of the script, acting, humour, chemistry between actors, tension, effects. Almost everything & most importantly, sheer entertainment value. Which in the end is the purpose of these types of movies.
  11. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Chosen One star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    TPM. More interesting characters and story. More imaginative world-building backdrops. More gorgeous-looking in overall visual design. Much better action set pieces. Much better score by Williams (the best in the saga for me). Overall more of my preferred tone given that I tend to like quieter mood scenes more so than on-the-run-banter, and TPM had a few really good ones like sunset on Coruscant and any scene featuring August.
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  12. Darth PJ

    Darth PJ Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2013
    For a while I thought it was quite even. What TFA lacked in depth and story, it made up for in accessibility... what TPM lacked in accessibility it made up for in creativity and world building. However, on reflection, I now find TPM has re-watch value. Whereas I don't feel I ever need to watch TFA again, although I'm sure I will...
  13. Deliveranze

    Deliveranze Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 28, 2015
    TPM for me. Feels like a Star Wars movie to me compared to TFA. Like the planets more, like that the villains weren't just proto Imperials or soemthing, felt like something big was going to spill over and the duel! Soundtrack was great too. Young Anakin perfectly resembles a simpler time in my life and Qui-gon Jinn, of course. Also arrogant, boy scout Obi-Wan was a plus. TFA had a cool opening[face_dunno]Nothing got me excited really. All the characters seem very plain and simple. Kylo and Snoke were cool though. The First Order is just a lame Weaker Empire 2.0 to me. Not a very interesting political state and a very one dimensional conflict especially in a era where warfare has become more complex. Resistance groups don't exactly hold a bright spot in the public eye these days. If Episode 8 or 9 can create a 3 way war between The First Order, New Republic and Resistance, then I will be far more interested.
  14. Sebulba's Vendetta

    Sebulba's Vendetta Jedi Padawan

    Jan 2, 2016
    Err...the two worst Star Wars movies but I'll give it to TFA. Although I care for Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon MUCH more than Finn and Rey, TPM is a bad piece of filmmaking. It had so much potential :'(
    TFA is visually amazing and introduces a compelling villain. Also seeing Luke at the end and knowing he will play a part in the next one is enough to get me fully on board with the ST.
  15. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Chosen One star 5

    Mar 10, 2005
    This is really impossible to say without having seen what TFA leads into.
    Bloncket likes this.
  16. Too-Gon Onbourbon

    Too-Gon Onbourbon Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 23, 2016
    One has about everything that bugs in Star Wars - midichlorines, "Space Jesus", the prophecy, the rule of two, and the stodgy do nothing, bungling Jedi, Jar Jar, dodgy directions

    The other one just no comfort between Leia and Chewie and while i don't officially deduct for it the bickering is pretty light for my tastes. Good bantering but bickering was way too low. Also, only one instance of someone having a bad feeling about this and that was Han.
  17. Alienware

    Alienware Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 19, 2013
    Hard to choose for me, the poll could have a third option for a tie. But if I go into it briefly ... When it comes to world building I was frustrated with TFA explaining so little of what was actually going on with the galaxy, so I give the edge to TPM here. Politics don't bother me. TFA has a lot more flair and humor in its characters and there's a lot more panache in the dialogue. TPM is mostly stoic, but it has its own charm. Anakin's departure from his mother is a very touching moment and only Han's death rivals it in my eyes. I'll have to compare the movies minute by minute when TFA comes out on Blu-ray. :p
    Anyway, I realized that TFA is in front of TPM in my "official" ranking of the movies, so there's that I guess.
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  18. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer #2 Sabine Wren Fan star 7

    Mar 26, 2013
    TPM and it's not even close. I enjoyed TFA on a popcorn level but TPM had a lot more substance to it - plus it was visually more impressive
  19. thejeditraitor

    thejeditraitor Chosen One star 6

    Aug 19, 2003
    i like both the same.
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  20. ThisHurricane

    ThisHurricane Jedi Knight star 3

    Mar 9, 2015

    TPM by a mile. A more interesting era, better characters and script, and John Williams best soundtrack in a Star Wars film. The Phantom Menace really is a beautiful movie that sets up a great saga that ultimately is about Vader.

    TFA in comparison is a rehash of ANH and just feels like a popcorn movie.
  21. Palp Fiction

    Palp Fiction Jedi Master star 3

    Feb 18, 2003
    The poll is getting it right, not to mention b.o success, reviews, fan ratings & general acclaim. TFA is by far the better film.
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 10

    Oct 4, 1998
    For me, it all comes down to the characters. Qui-gon was a good character, but ultimately he went nowhere. The other TPM characters left me cold. Almost all the TFA characters were interesting and likeable; I care about them and want to know what happens to them.
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  23. Drewdude91

    Drewdude91 Jedi Knight star 3

    May 21, 2011
    I voted TFA because I misread as opening SCENE. I'm tired lol. Anyways, I like TPM better but I like TFA's opening scene better. TPM's was kind of underwhelming.
  24. Darthman92

    Darthman92 Force Ghost star 6

    Feb 24, 2016
    I enjoyed TFA, but I personally like TPM more. I prefer the world-building (in terms of not only just the much more unique designs and cultural layouts for each world visited, but also as others have said proper explanation of the political landscape) and the pacing (call me crazy, but for all the complaints I've heard about the PT being nothing more than effects/action driven spectacle over the years TFA felt much more in a hurry to get to each action set-piece than TPM did to me, with not as much like the quieter/softer stretches like say the ones on Tatooine for instance. Though who knows, maybe that could change after seeing the movie again on home video) which both lead contribute to it feeling like a more immersive experience to me personally. Also whilst I've come to appreciate Williams' score for TFA listening to it on its own, which seems to be a common trend around these parts, I still think his work for TPM was superior. In terms of characters the heroes come close enough I suppose (I do find the TPM characters genuinely interesting in spite of what many others would tell you), but with the exception of Kylo I found the rest of TFA's villains (Snoke, Hux, Phasma, Plutt) whilst not outright terrible or anything to be little more than less threatening/charismatic/interesting near Xerox copies of ones who came before who whilst in fairness could be improved in the future left little impact on me this time around. (Even Gunray whilst not particularly cool or threatening I thought in his own way, a character fully portrayed as being a corporate fatcat who thinks himself to be super-important and puts on airs when he feels he's in a dominant position but is ultimately a disposable cowardly pawn, to be more memorable in his role than say Hux. And don't get me started though on how much I prefer Palpatine to Snoke. lol) I also appreciate it's less blunt approach to mirroring ANH. Though naturally that's all just me speaking for my own opinion, not trying to bash anyone else's.
  25. jimmycrank

    jimmycrank Jedi Knight star 4

    Dec 29, 2015
    TFA fairly easily.....Better Characters.....though shout out to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, Maul was cool looking and had some leet saber skills, But not exactly a character full of Substance. TFA's story was more compelling and gripping, Far Superior Aerial battles.
    No mention of Midichlorians in TFA. TPM did have Duel of Fates which is one of John Williams' best scores, so it does have that to it's advantage.
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