|Star Wars Episode I:|
The Phantom Menace
20th Century Fox
May 19, 1999
133 min. (theatrical)
It is the year 32 BBY, and a trade dispute between the Trade Federation and the outlying systems of the Galactic Republic has led to a blockade of the small planet of Naboo. Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, leader of the Galactic Senate, has secretly dispatched two Jedi, Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as ambassadors to the Federation flagship, Saak'ak, in order to meet with Viceroy Nute Gunray and resolve the dispute. Unknown to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the mysterious Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, who secretly orders Gunray to invade Naboo and kill the two Jedi upon their arrival. Their ship, Radiant VII, is destroyed and the two Jedi escape the assassination attempt by stowing themselves aboard two separate Federation landing craft leaving for the surface of Naboo.
On the planet's surface, Qui-Gon Jinn saves local native outcast Jar Jar Binks from being trampled by a MTT. Later, STAPs attack but are destroyed by the two Jedi. Jar Jar Binks shows the two Jedi the way to an underwater Gungan settlement, Otoh Gunga, escaping the Trade Federation army. Meanwhile, the Trade Federation invades Naboo and captures their leader, Queen Padmé Amidala. The Jedi meet the Gungan leader, Boss Rugor Nass, and ask him to help the people of Naboo, but Nass refuses and sends them off in a bongo submarine. The are attacked by an opee sea killer but the fish is eaten by a sando aqua monster. The Jedi, with Binks in tow, reach Theed, the capital city of Naboo, and rescue Queen Amidala from the Trade Defense Force. They depart for Coruscant, the Galactic Republic's capital planet, to ask for help from the Senate. An astromech droid named R2-D2 manages to repair the Queen's starship and they narrowly escape an attack from Federation battleships.
Due to the damage the ship's hyperdrive sustained in the attack, the Queen's party is forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine for repairs. While searching for a new hyperdrive generator, they befriend young Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy, whose master is Watto, a Toydarian junk dealer.
Anakin is gifted with piloting and mechanics, and has built an almost-complete droid named C-3PO. Qui-Gon Jinn senses a strong presence of the Force in Anakin, and feels that he may be the Chosen One who will fulfill a prophecy by bringing balance to the Force. By entering Anakin into a podrace, Qui-Gon orchestrates a gamble in which the boy (alone, since Qui-Gon was unable to include the youth's mother in the bargain) will be released from slavery and they will win the parts needed for their ship. Anakin wins the race and joins the team as they head for Coruscant, where Qui-Gon plans to seek permission from the Jedi High Council to train Anakin to be a Jedi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to kill the two Jedi and capture the Queen. Maul appears just as the group is leaving the planet, and duels with Qui-Gon. The fight is cut short when Qui-Gon manages to escape his black-robed assailant by jumping onboard the Naboo Royal Starship as it takes off.
On Coruscant, Qui-Gon Jinn informs the Jedi Council of the mysterious attacker he encountered on Tatooine. Because of that being's obvious mastery of the Jedi arts, the Council becomes concerned that this development may indicate the reappearance of the Sith, a religious order who were followers of the dark side of the Force and thought to be long gone. Qui-Gon also informs the Council about Anakin, hoping that he can be trained as a Jedi. After testing the boy and deliberating with one another, the Council refuses, deeming him too old for training according to the Jedi Code. They are also concerned due to their sense a seemingly clouded future and a strong presence of fear in the boy. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine (of Naboo), warning of the corruption in the Senate, advises Queen Amidala to call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum. Seeing no alternative, the Queen takes this advice when she addresses the Senate. Palpatine is among the candidates to replace the Supreme Chancellor, and the Queen later announces to Palpatine that she herself will return to their home planet to repel the invasion of her people. She is frustrated by the Senate's deliberation and lack of action, and feels that even if Palpatine is elected Chancellor, it will be too late. The Jedi Council send the two Jedi to accompany the Queen back to Naboo, hoping to shed light on any Sith involvement.
Queen Amidala, back on Naboo, forms an alliance with the Gungan people, uniting in battle against the Trade Federation. Nute Gunray is ordered by Darth Sidious to wipe out the Gungans and the Naboo as the Trade Federation prepares for battle. Captain Roos Tarpals orders the Gungan Grand Army to start up their shield, to protect them from ranged attack. OOM-9 has his tanks fire first, but seeing them fail to penetrate the powerful shield, orders them to cease fire. Daultay Dofine gives the command to activate the battle droids. These droids march through the shield, and its generator is destroyed. After much fighting against the Federation's droid army, defeat for the alliance seems imminent.
However, victory comes when young Anakin Skywalker accidentally takes control of a starfighter and goes on to destroy the Federation's Droid Control Ship, killing Daultay Dofine and rendering the droid army useless. Meanwhile, Queen Amidala and her force fight their way back into the royal palace and capture Nute Gunray.
At the same time, in a Theed hangar bay, Darth Maul has been engaging in combat with the two Jedi, using a double-bladed lightsaber. The battle moves from the hangar, across a series of catwalks, to the Theed Generator Room. During the fight, Obi-Wan is separated from his master when he is kicked off of a catwalk and falls. He grabs the edge of another catwalk below and jumps back up to where Qui-Gon and Maul continue to fight. By this time, Qui-Gon and Maul have become separated by a force field in the entrance to the Generator Room. Obi-Wan catches up to them, but is divided from his master by several force fields. When the force fields deactivate, Jinn and the Sith continue their battle while Kenobi remains divided from the battle when the force fields reactivate. Maul suddenly hits Qui-Gon Jinn on the chin with his lightsaber handle, stunning him, then rams his lightsaber straight into Qui-Gon's chest, mortally wounding him. Enraged, Obi-Wan redoubles his assault upon Darth Maul and chops Maul's lightsaber in half, but the Sith almost kills Kenobi when he Force pushes him to the edge of a melting pit. Obi-Wan saves himself from falling when he manages to grab onto a pipe protruding from the wall of the pit. Darth Maul kicks the Jedi's lightsaber into the pit and prepares to finish him off. The Padawan calms himself, using the Force to jump out of the pit and summons his fallen Master's lightsaber to his hand. Within an instant he lands behind the surprised Maul and cuts him in half, the Sith's body falling into the pit.
Just before passing away, Qui-Gon instructs Obi-Wan to train Anakin to become a Jedi. Obi-Wan gives his word that he will. The newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine arrives to congratulate Queen Amidala on her victory, as Nute Gunray is sent to stand trial for his crimes.
After the battle, the Jedi Council names Obi-Wan a Jedi Knight. Kenobi conveys his Master's wish regarding Anakin Skywalker to Yoda, who reluctantly allows him to become Obi-Wan's apprentice. Qui-Gon's body is cremated, and Mace Windu and Yoda agree that the Sith are definitely to blame for the tragedy. Being that there are only ever two Sith at any given time (a Master and an apprentice), both Masters believe that one must still remain.
The Naboo and Gungans organize a great victory celebration on the streets of Theed, in front on the palace. Obi-Wan and Anakin are present, the younger now wearing in his hair a special braid: the mark of a Jedi Padawan. Queen Amidala presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to Boss Nass and the Gungan people.