Just finished watching The Phantom Menace on the Star Wars Marathon. I think that after seven years, I have forgiven the film. When it came out, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I was expecting. It could not possibly live up to the hype. It wasn't the like the original films.
There are two things that really jump out at me. First of all, the special effects and CGI is just absolutely amazing. Jurassic Park showed Lucas that the technology had arrived to make his first trilogy, but Phantom Menace is light years ahead of JP in terms of effects. The second thing is that the film was really well cast, but, the dialog is choppy. I use to think that it was bad acting, and that accounted for the cheesy dialog. But let's face it, Star Wars has always had cheesy dialog (Power Converters at Toshe Station, anyone?). However, it's the pacing of the dialog that doesn't seem natural. Take the dinner scene in Anakin's hovel. It seems like it was years between each bit of dialog. It doesn't flow.
Seven years later, watching it at home with the kids, it was a blast. Well, Attack of the Clones is about to start, so, gotta go.