Sixteen years after producing Return of the Jedi, George Lucas once again presented the world with the next installment in his STAR WARS saga. However, this was no mere continuation of the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. This story, followed by installment II and III, tell the story of Luke & Leia's father, Anakin Skywalker, who would one day become the right hand man of the Emperor, Darth Vader. The Phantom Menace would also introduce us to a very young and outspoken Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the final period of his Jedi training under his master Qui-Gon Jinn. We meet Queen Padmé Amidala, who becomes the object of future affections for young Anakin.

While fans of the epic film series rushed to the theaters to get their latest fix of this space opera, many fans came away from this episode shaking their heads. A most annoying character has been introduced - even more insipid that the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi - Jar-Jar Binks. His double-reverse slaughtering of the English language would be the butt of many a joke and the target for much of the criticism placed on the film.

Further issues were raised by the concept of somehow measuring the Force. The symbiotic relationship with the midi-chlorians. No mention of this had been made in any of the previous film installments - and none was made in Episode II. References to the Christ-like conception of Anakin did not help matters either. While I'm not the first to come up with this theory, there is strong evidence that supports Senator Palpatine, whom we know is also Darth Sidious, is actually Anakin's father.

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