Star Wars: Episode One
The Phantom Menace

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson
Fox Home Entertainment
Certificate: PG
Available now

Luke and Leah are not even born yet, Darth Vader is a little sproglet and Yoda is still looking like a month old lettuce. There are lots of effects, a pod race and an annoying creature called Jar Jar...

That, basically, is a bluffers guide to Star Wars: Episode One and the release of the DVD has got to be one of the most anticipated cinematic events ever. From one of the most well known franchises in the world, fans were expecting big stuff - and big stuff they get.

As for the film, well the special effects are amazin. The movie is populated with a wild range of creatures, flora and horizons, all rendered in absolute detail. You get to see more of the Jedi's, a world pre-Darth Vader, kick-ass saber battles 'tween Obi, Qui Gon and Darth Maul, and the epic War and Peace Naboo/Trade Federation battle scenes rocked!

To be honest, not everything in Episode 1 is great, take the weak story for one. I found the pod race very boring, and that little Anakin is just a bit too cutesy. As for Jar Jar Binks, many will say he was the most annoying element of sci-fi ever to be created and I just cannot disagree.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the DVD, for me, was seeing poor old George Lucas in one of many 'making of' documentaries explain how the fans would love Jar Jar as he brings such great humour to the film! Oh the irony. Still, I gotta say there could well be some converts - as a DVD it excels.

The menus are amazing, and contained within are some great examples of what can, and should be done with DVDs. Over six hours of additional material are concealed including an audio commentary by George Lucas et al, and there are seven never-before-seen deleted scenes with full visual effects (300 shots) completed solely for this DVD.

This is still the tip of the iceberg, and you can spend many happy hours delving into the hidden world of LucasFilm and Star Wars and not get bored. As DVDs go - it's a winner.

Keri Allan

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