RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace

It's one of the worst-reviewed Star Wars movies ever released, but was the Prequel Trilogy kickoff dismissed too quickly? We're journeying back to a time of epic pod races, double-bladed lightsabers, and... ugh... midi-chlorians.

by | May 4, 2021 | Comments

Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
(Photo by ©20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

With the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy complete – satisfactorily or disastrously, depending on where you stand – and an Obi-Wan Kenobi series heading into production for Disney+ with Ewan McGregor returning to the title role and Hayden Christensen back as Vader, fans have been looking back at the once-derided Prequel Trilogy with fresh eyes… and coming out of the experience offering fresh takes.

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There is a growing sense, in some corners at least, that episodes I through III aren’t quite as bad as their reputations would suggest; in other corners, there is even the idea that the Prequels are good. Very good. At the very least, they were cohesive, and popped with awesome set pieces and some memorable characters.

But are some fans looking back with rose-colored glasses at the story of Anakin’s Dark Side seduction? Or has a couple of decades’ distance helped us see more clearly now what got lost in a blur of Jar Jar Binks and “I don’t like sand” and C-span–style senate debates at the time of their release: That the Prequels kinda… rock!?

For the next three episodes of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong, hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley will be journeying back to a galaxy not all that far away – the dawn of the Millennium – and asking whether the Tomatometer score is right for each prequel, beginning today with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Does it really deserve its title as the second-worst reviewed Star Wars movie ever? We’re diving in.

Joined by unabashed Phantom Menace fan, Joseph Scrimshaw, comedian and co-host of the Force Center podcast, our hosts recall the anticipation and excitement that surrounded Episode I’s release, break down the movie’s epic finale, consider the film’s place in the evolution of online fandom, and debate whether this Prequel Trilogy kickoff was actually an indie flick in a blockbuster disguise.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

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