"In a galaxy notsofar away comes a new gem in a great epic."
Do not fall victim to the Dark Side. The force is still with Lucas.Obviously many people were so afraid that this new addition to the Star Wars epic would stain it's saint-like perfection, and perhaps that is why some come back a little disappointed. Their fear has lead to anger and anger to hate. But the simple truth here is that this movie goes far beyond any Hollywood film out there. You cannot compare a movie that has such complex storylines and interwoven characters with the all the formula trash we've been force-fed in the cinema. George Lucas is a genius for story and I find it insulting that anyone mocks his writing at all. Sure, on an individual moment to moment level, there are a few sticky lines and some sour acting. Maybe the special-effects are a little smothering to the senses the first time. However, Phantom Menace never loses sight of its universal themes on good and evil, and fate. It has two extremely well-timed out segments of pure adrenaline and gratifying conclusions. The light-sabers scene was received with full out applause from the entire audience at the show I attended. George Lucas plays on our knowledge on what is to come with some sudden appearances by characters and a few well-placed remarks for humor. He manages some surprises despite. I was also quite pleased with the ending which had a brilliant concluding line followed by an amazing rack focus. And the set-up for the next two movies was both powerful and subtle. All in all the Star Wars galaxy still holds it's ability to suck you in so deep that you forget everything, but wanting to be a Jedi knight. And a final note on all those effects . . . don't tell me they weren't damn good.It raised my expectations and my excitement for the next episodes more than I thought was possible. Don't be ridiculous, see it in the theater as many times as you can while you can.