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22 July 1999 Edition

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Cinema: May the Hype be with you

It's here, after many months of hype - the first installment of the Star Wars' presequel, directed by George Lucas, has been delivered to movie goers. Some of the older fans have an almost religious devotion to the ortiginal movie and new fans will flock to if believing it to be the New Messiah of science fiction films.

The film is set about 32 years before the original Star Wars movie. Throughout the Republic, there is unrest, and the small peaceful planet of Naboo is threatened by an invading android army under the control of the ambitious Trade Federation.

The heroes of the film are a Jedi master Qui Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his young apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) who are sent to negotiate a settlement which leads to many exploits, including a meeting with a young slave boy Anakin Skywalker (played by an irritating young Jake Lloyd) who has the potential to be a Jedi Knight, according to the senses of Qui-Kon. It is well documented that his senses are wrong as the young Anakin grows up to be the evil Darth Vader - but that will be explored in Episode 2.

The old favorites make a return including Yoda , Jabba the Hutt (who looks very similar to our Unionist friend, John Taylor), R2D2 and the loveable robot C-3PO, who is still in the transitional stage of completion by the very versatile Anakin.

Playing the distinguished Jedi master, Neeson's performance is flawless, bringing a regal and philosophical element to his character. McGregor's acting abilities are somewhat restrictive because he has to echo the performance of Sir Alec Guiness, who starred in the original.

Lucas ensures that the film moves at a pace of light speed; the special effects of the space battle and the pod race leaves the audience caught for breath, and the introduction of the new satanic villain, Darth Maul, signifies the introduction of evil into the galaxy. More time should have been given to exploring Maul's character than that of the computer generated Jar Jar Binks, who speaks in pidgin English and has the role of a village idiot.

But if you can forget the hype and ignore the film's consumerism, this is enjoyable space romp that will appeal to followers of the original and will enlist new converts to the Force.

By Danny McCloskey

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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