The Phantom Menace is the first Star Wars film in George Lucas' trilogy of prequels, making it the earliest film of the series, chronologically.
Establishing the SW universe and introducing Anakin Skywalker as an ultra-irritating young kid, the film is widely considered to be the nadir of the franchise as a result of its less-than-gripping 'taxation routes' plot and the introduction of Jar Jar Binks.
Ewan McGregor plays the younger version of Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi, and he travels with his mentor Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) to Tatooine, where they run into Anakin, and think that he might be the chosen one to bring balance to the force. Pod-racing, droid-battling, three-way-lightsaber duelling ensues.
Written and directed by Lucas, The Phantom Menace opened in the UK on 19 July 1999, and had a 3D re-release on 9 February 2012.
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