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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, co-editor Ben Burtt, and special effects experts Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires Rating:7.2/10 (25 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Littlejerry 1.4 on June 17th, 2004:Find all reviews by Littlejerry 1.4
The first DVD I ever bought and still the best commentary I have ever heard. Just so informative on how to make a movie. I learned more in this commentary than I did in my college fim class.
Reviewed by Pete on June 18th, 2004:Find all reviews by Pete
Pretty good. Much better than the Attack Of The Clones commentary.
Reviewed by sdicht on May 28th, 2005:Find all reviews by sdicht
Not nearly as bad as some people say, but still there should be a separate commentary track for George Lucas. When he is talking, the commentary shines with discussion of the Star Wars mythos and storytelling. The other participants just keep on reminding you that what you see on the screen is a special effect, what is CGI and what isn't, which is most of the time boring. Thankfully Lucas gets more time.
Reviewed by The_Phantom_Menace on May 31st, 2005:Find all reviews by The_Phantom_Menace
I agree with sdicht. I would have liked to hear Lucas a bit more.
Reviewed by pat00139 on December 16th, 2007:Find all reviews by pat00139
I can only agree. This is one of the best commentaries I've heard. The crewmember capacity and name of the person talking is on the screen while the person is talking. It's nice of them to do that even though there aren't too many people. Coleman, Knoll, Muren and Squires seem to be together while the other two seem to go solo. There is an incredible amount of information on this track. It's the start of the saga so it's just full of tidbits. Mr. Lucas concentrates more on the story and character aspect, Mr. McCallum talks about the production part of the film, Burtt talks about the sound and editing and the rest talk about the many CGI elements that were put into the movie. The insane amount of work that went into the making of this thing is just mindblowing. Erasing or moving characters and changing takes is really surprising; the Jabba jiggle effect and the sound designs are very surprising. The imagination and ingenuity of the staff that worked on this movie really shows while listening to this. It's a very well-rounded commentary filled with information, anecdotes from the set and has some funny moments here and there as well. It's a shame that the Episode 2 commentary isn't as good, but you can't expect all commentaries to be like this one.
Reviewed by Agressor on August 11th, 2012:Find all reviews by Agressor
This is a solid commentary that actually makes me appreciate the film even more. Listening to Lucas and the others reminds one what a huge project this film was, and their comments are quite interesting. I listened to the commentaries for the original trilogy before starting on this one and that results in some repetition of facts. It's not too bad, there are a few instances where Burtt repeats some audio trivia from before (alright, he actually repeats them in the original trilogy commentary since this one was recorded first but it gets repeated whichever order you watch them) and Lucas talking about the themes and motifs of the saga is also repeated. Actually, here Lucas drones on a little too much about it. He goes into it several times, explaining how he devices certain scenes and dialogue so that it's like a musical motif that repeats itself. I guess it's kind of fitting that he keeps repeating that fact then, maybe he was making a point.

There's also a lot more focus on the FX in this one compared to the original trilogy ones. Naturally the ILM guys talks about it since it's their trade, but Lucas also devotes quite some time lushing about the digital effects and even McCallum mentions it. This makes for a somewhat less diverse commentary than the original trilogy ones. I would've liked to see an additional contributor the track, like an actor or a group of actors who could inject a little humor to the commentary, make a bit less stilted.

I'm not saying it's a bad commentary though, far from it. All the talkers provide valid and interesting information and it's edited together nicely without disturbing silent pauses. I especially like McMallums contributions, his apparent enthusiasm always comes over as somewaht hyperbolic, but it's quite entertaining. Like when he described a particular cgi shot so beautiful that it's "provocative":D
Reviewed by Pineapples101 on September 2nd, 2012:Find all reviews by Pineapples101
Good solid commentary track with a nicely edited mix of commentators covering their individual fields. Ben Burt is especially interesting. My only slight complaint is that this track appears to be mixed in surround. So When lucas talks he's in centre, then Burt comes in and hes left, then Muran comes in and hes in right... It can be quite distracting if you are listening with head / ear phones. Listening to the other prequel commentaries, it appears this is the only one to have a surround mix and to be honest i cannot think of any other commentary track mixed like this?
Still, a great track, well worth a listen and well worth returning to again.