Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace parents guide

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Parent Review

Overall B+

Categorized as a "prequel," The Phantom Menace introduces us to the characters and a plot that are featured in the first Star Wars franchise. In this episode, a youthful Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) meets the boy Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and unwittingly starts him on the path to becoming the tyrant Darth Vader.

Violence C+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A
Substance Use A

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is rated PG for sci-fi action/violence.

Movie Review

What did the Y2K bug and The Phantom Menace have in common? The anticipation generated more excitement than their actual arrival enjoyed. Despite this, I'm sure the release of 'Menace' will cause many parents to be bugged by children pleading again for the associated licensed merchandise.

Categorized as a prequel, meaning it begins prior to the proceeding three films, this first edition introduces us to characters and a plot that will tangle and weave through two more movies until it becomes a perfect fit to the initial release back in the disco 70's. The fact that George Lucas has kept the look of this film so similar to those earlier productions is a feat in itself.

Star Wars - Official Site Meeting the youthful Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd -- whose character, of course, will become the tyrant Darth Vader), is almost as fun as going back in time to discover your spouse in grade school.

Skywalker and Kenobi, along with master Jedi trainer Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and a completely digitized character named Jar Jar Binks (voiced by Ahmed Best) become the team to root for. They attempt to save Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) from a bad hair day, and her planet from being overrun by the Trade Federation.

Conflict is the core of any movie with the word war in its title, and The Phantom Menace is chock full of space-aged digital violence -- but no gore. Thousands of those killed are robotic droids or of a non-human descent (that makes it okay?). With the exception of a high-speed pod-race, which is organized for recreational/gambling purposes and results in needless loss of life, the rest of the action depicts individuals fighting for freedom after other attempts at negotiating have failed.

The lack of profanity and sex (other than a brief shot of a woman in just as brief a bikini) impressed me more than the effects, which is bound to make this film a huge hit with many families. The good news is, if the old Star Wars movies met your family's standards, this will too.

Directed by George Lucas. Starring Liam Neeson Ewan MacGregor Natalie Portman. Running time: 133 minutes. Theatrical release May 19, 1999. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace here.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Parents Guide

Is it more acceptable to kill non-humans (robots, aliens, etc.) than human beings?

This movie has been criticized for its simple, almost innocent story line. Yet it is very much like its predecessors. Is this a reflection on the evolution of the movie industry over the last 20 years?

Re-releasing blockbusters in 3D to the big screen is big business in Hollywood. Learn more about the this film’s digital conversion here: http://www.primefocusworld.com/news/2011/03/lucasfilm-works-prime-focus-convert-star-wars-episode-i-phantom-menace-3d.

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