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TPM as a Swords-and-Sandals Epic

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Jaxxon, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Green Space Rabbit

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    I've been rewatching the classic Kirk Douglas "Spartacus" recently, and I'm struck by some of the similarities to TPM.

    It's well known that the original Star Wars films mishmash various genres: obviously classic sci-if, but with a healthy dose of Western, WWII war film, samurai film, and fairytale.

    The Phantom Menace, I would argue, takes inspiration from another classic film genre: the swords-and-sandals epic. Some of the borrowed elements:

    1) Desert Aesthetic. The desert scenes feel much more like a classic epic than those of the OT. This version of Tatooine has sandstorms. Note the clothes. Qui-Gon's tunic and ponytail are almost ripped straight from Spartacus.

    2) Classic Aesthetic. Note the Greek/Roman seeming classic architecture and beauty of Theed. It's even filmed, I believe, in Italy. It's a classic epic setting.

    3) Themes of slavery/freedom. Anakin's slavery and freedom--and his desire to free the slaves--reflect similar themes in movies like Spartacus, Ben Hur and Gladiator.

    4) Politcal focus/senate politics. All those drawn out sitting-and-talking scenes make sense when viewed in the context of swords-and-sandals epic. Compare the senate scenes in Spartacus to the senate scenes here. The political machinations.

    5) Massive land battle. For the first time in SW, we see two massive ground armies meeting on the battlefield, marching toward each other. It's a classic epic film trope.

    6) The "chariot race." What genre besides epic halts the story to show a sporting event? The pod race plays exactly like the chariot race from Ben Hur, down to the two "chariots" getting locked together.

    Many parts of TPM fall into place when seen as elements of a swords-and-sandals epic. Do you see any more connections?
     
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  2. Messi

    Messi G.O.A.T.

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    Great post. You're so right.

    Screenshot_20200329-082320_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20200329-082526_Chrome.jpg

    Ps. Probably that's why I only really enjoyed TPM of the PT. That feeling of old epic movies from the 50's.
     
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