Star Wars Episode I:
The Phantom Menace on DVD!
2 Disc Collection

Click the box to purchase this,
the first Star Wars DVD!

A.J.'s Rating: 5 Stars in a galaxy far, far away
The Technical Stuff

Format:  Region 1 (USA and Canada)  2 DVD Set

DVD #1 Star Wars EP I: The Phantom Menace
Newly Remastered Director's Cut; Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation  (2.35:1)
DVD #2 Star Wars EP I:  Supplementary Features Disc

Audio:  All sound THX Certified
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
English 2.0 Dolby Surround
Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
The Usual Stuff
Sound and Image Quality:
     They're good.  Damn good.  THX certified, 'nuf said?        
Trailers & TV Spots:
  Trailers include the original teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer and the wonderful 'Duel of the Fates' music video. 
   TV spots featured are the five 'Tone Poems' themed spots, along with the more mainstream 'The Saga Begins' and 'All Over Again' commercials.

   Audio is presented in English or Spanish.

   Includes an English subtitle option for the hearing impaired.
I've Got a Very Bad Feeling About This A.K.A. The Complaints Department:

    My only complaint is that the DVD box is kind of flimsy.  One of the hinges inside had snapped off my copy before I'd even opened it! - (Probably an Imperial design!)
The Jedi-Worthy Stuff
Best Features:

    Tied for best feature are the fact that this is an extended Directors Cut (or, as some would call it, a Special Edition, that is, until someone decides not to call it that anymore, but I digress...) of the film, and that George Lucas has gone back and finished all post-production work on seven scenes which had previously been abandoned, just so they could be viewed as part of this DVD release.  Thanks G.L.!

Deleted scenes:
   (available on supplementary Disc)

    As stated above, seven completed scenes are included.  They include extended pod race sequences, the famous waterfall scene, the air taxi sequence (which Lucas has also incorporated into this edition of film), Anakin's scuffle with a local bully named Greedo and much more!  These scenes can be viewed individually, or as part of a Deleted Scenes Documentary described below.

Menu Screen Presentation:     
       The presentation begins with the familiar Star Wars title graphic, inlayed with a montage of scenes from the film.  Accompanied by John Williams' main theme, the Episode I titles are added and the logo recedes into the distant starfield. As the theme continues, the view pans to reveal Queen Amidala's ship arriving at the city planet of Coruscant.  Upon landing, Main Menu text buttons for PLAY MOVIE, CHAPTERS, OPTIONS and STARWARS.COM appear, and a montage of scenes from the film plays along the platform beneath the ship.  The music and scene montage repeats on a 20 second loop.  Each menu screen features snippets from the film's score and animated backgrounds depicting different areas around Coruscant .  CHAPTERS menu features motion images.  Cool Star Wars sound and 'wipe-cut' effects accompany transitions between different menu screens.  *See 'Hidden Stuff' below for more! 
    Supplementary disc menus each feature different settings, music and animated backgrounds from the film.
Commentary Track:

    Audio commentary features writer/director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, sound designer and film co-editor Ben Burtt, ILM animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires.  Note, however, that this is not a seven person group commentary, with everyone participating in a conversation about the movie.  Each individual technical commentary was recorded separately, then edited together (by you-know-who!) to present a tightly constructed audio track full of interesting information and a minimum of 'fluff'.  Lucas handles about 50% of the total commentary.
    (available on supplementary disc)
   1)  Featurettes:  Five short 'making of' documentaries, each highlighting a different aspect of the film.  Topics covered are Visual Effects, Costumes, Design, Fights and Story.
    2)  Web Documentaries:  Twelve short documentaries produced and presented over two years during the making of the film, originally available to view only at starwars.com.  More than an hour of behind the scenes footage, from the fan's perspective.
    3)  "The Beginning" Making Episode I: This is a 65 minute, down & dirty making-of documentary, complete with hand held cameras and background tape hiss.  A fascinating look at the low-tech end of the Star Wars universe.  Includes production meetings, test footage, auditions and a visit from some guy named Steven Spielberg.
    4)  Deleted Scenes Documentary: A very cool documentary which includes insight from filmmakers George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Phillip Kaufman, Walter Murch and others about the process and reasoning behind deleting scenes from any film.  This great background information leads to introductions and presentations of the seven completed scenes which had originally been deleted from The Phantom Menace.  Also, the end-credit sequence for the documentary includes some very amusing moments which were fortunately not included in movie.  *See 'Hidden Stuff' below for more!

Animatics and Stills Galleries:    
    (available on supplementary disc)
   1)  Animatics:  An introduction and two scene breakdowns are offered.  The introduction defines what an animatic actually is, and the scenes are of the pod race (lap 1) and submarine sequences.  By toggling the ANGLE button of the DVD remote, it is possible to view the storyboard, animatic, completed scene or a triple split-screen comparing all three for each sequence.  Fun stuff!
    2)  Exclusive Production Photos:  Great behind the scenes photos from the making of The Phantom Menace.  By pressing the down arrow of the DVD remote, each image can be viewed either with a descriptive caption or as a full-screen photo.
    3)  Print Campaign:  Nice collection of billboard and bus-side teaser placards for Episode I, themed to highlight the idea of 'One'.  Pressing the down arrow of the DVD remote shows different permutations of each placard.

    4)  Posters:  Includes the teaser poster and international versions of the official release poster.  Pressing the down arrow of the DVD remote presents closer detail for each.
     5)  Star Wars Starfighter- The Making of a Game:  It's not an animatic or stills gallery, it's an advertisement for the Lucasarts video game.  Why is it in the Animatics and Stills Gallery section of the DVD?  I have no idea.
The Phantom Menace
George Lucas
George Lucas
Director of Photography:
David Tattersall
Ben Burtt
George Lucas
Paul Martin Smith
John Williams
Executive Producer:
George Lucas
Rick McCallum
Production Designer:
Gavin Bocquet
Art Direction:
Phil Harvey
Fred Hole
John King
Rod McLean
Peter Russell
Ben Scott
Set Decoration:
Peter Walpole
Costume Design:
Trisha Biggar
Special Effects:
Industrial Light & Magic
Star Wars Images (C) 2000
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Liam Neeson
Ewan McGregor
Natalie Portman
Jake Lloyd
Ian McDiarmid
Pernilla August
Ahmed Best
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Frank Oz
Terrence Stamp
Ray Park
Samuel L. Jackson
A.J.'s DVD Reviews
Review published
October 16, 2001
How Rude!
In Association with Amazon.com
Final Thought:

    Broken box aside, this is a fantastic set.  Hours of great content for fans of the Saga.  I can't wait for the original trilogy to be released on DVD!  In fact, I couldn't wait to review it either, so...

Hidden Menus:  Not satisfied with only one Main Menu screen,The Phantom Menace includes two more!  The second features the Tatooine Pod Race and the third features the underwater Gungan City on Naboo.  Sub-menus are also different for each location, featuring full-motion chapter search and appropriate sound bites from the film!

Menu I: City Planet of Coruscant:  Plays as default, or by pressing '1' on your DVD remote during the FBI or ATTENTION warning.

Menu II: Pod Race on Tatooine: Press '2' on your DVD remote during the FBI or ATTENTION warning screen.

Menu III: Gungan City on Naboo: Press '3' on your DVD remote during the FBI or ATTENTION warning screen.

Hidden Deleted Scenes Interviews: First, access 'Deleted Scenes and Documentaries' from the Main Menu of Disc II, then access 'Deleted Scenes Only'.  Bring up the option for the 'Complete Podrace Grid Sequence' or 'Extended Podrace Lap Two' scenes, highlight 'Doc Menu', then press the 'right' arrow on your DVD remote.  A small box below and to the right of the 'Doc Menu' will become highlighted, allowing you to access one of two making-of  segments not included in the Deleted Scenes Documentary...  yes, it's deleted scenes from the Deleted Scenes Documentary!!! 
Hidden Goof Reel:  This is a two minute gag reel which also serves as a credit reel for those responsible for this great DVD set!  On Disc I, access the 'Options' menu from the Main Menu, then enter '1-1-3-8' on your DVD remote.  This is one of those tricky codes that only works if you allow the DVD to register each number input, so don't press too quickly!  Those with a '10+' button on their DVD remote can access this reel by pressing '10+', then '1-3-8'.  When entered correctly, the goof reel will automatically play.   Funny stuff, especially since Lucas & Co. have gone to the trouble of finishing many scenes, complete with sound effects and fully rendered Jar-Jar, who reacts to the flubs along with the other actors.  (Oh boy, did I just refer to Jar-Jar as an actor?!)
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