Today's the day that Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace hits theaters in 3D, and if nothing else, the re-release has re-ignited the fan debate over whether it's a worthy film. Some people actually like the flick, while others make the "at least it wasn't as bad as Attack of the Clones" or "Hey, Liam Neeson's cool" arguments.
As for geek actor extraordinaire Simon Pegg, he thinks it's just plain "dreadful."
In an interview with MTV Geek's Josh Horowitz, Pegg is asked to play a game of "Right or Wrong" centering on Episode I. You see, Horowitz happens to be one of those elusive Phantom Menace defenders.
"I claim it is a worthy addition to the canon; it stands up alongside the rest," Horowitz said.
Pegg is having none of it.
"What's wrong with you? It's a dreadful film," he said. "It's stylistically, structurally ... it's terrible. There's no main character in it. Everything that was cool about Star Wars is destroyed, abused and left for dead by this ponderous, meaningless story."
It's a short interview, so Pegg doesn't have time to get into all the points he might like to cover about why Phantom Menace is terrible. He does, however, make time to rip into the new characters that George Lucas introduced into the saga.
"The characters are awful. The characters in the original Star Wars are really clear-cut. They're sort of very easy to understand. These ones, there's some guy who's like a politician (Senator Palpatine), and there's a Japanese alien (those guys from the Trade Federation) who's bad ... politically terrible."
Now Horowitz is seriously on the defensive, trying to find any point about the flick that Pegg will agree was at least somewhat appealing. So he goes for that Qui-Gon-and-Obi-Wan-versus-Darth-Maul lightsaber duel. No luck there. Pegg dismisses it as "just lights to fool boys."
Now it's just becoming futile for Horowitz to go on, but he tries anyway, attempting to at least get Pegg to agree that there's something "hypnotic and wonderful" about Jar Jar Binks. He even launches into a shockingly accurate Jar Jar impression, which only serves to freak Pegg out.
"That's nothing to be proud of! That's the only reason that you're actually supporting The Phantom Menace, is because you can do Jar Jar and you need a reason to do it," Pegg said.
The final straw comes when Horowitz dismisses Pegg's Phantom Menace hatred as some deficiency in his midi-chlorian count. Pegg—like so many Force-loving geeks before him—is not a fan of the "Force as microorganism" concept.
"Don't reduce the Force to some sort of viral blood condition," he said.
It's all in good fun, of course, but that doesn't make Pegg's dismantling of the prequel any less impressive.