Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Screw Joseph Campbell! Oh wait...
Yes Jar-Jar is dumb, Gungans are the new Ewoks, the pop culture injections are distracting (e.g. the announcer(s) at the pod race, and immaculate conception via mitichlorians just seems to be a too-obviously invented device. That said, the first of the series shows a hint of the genius for story telling that we all grew to love.
This is supposed to be movie about Anakin, yet he is not introduced until halfway through the film. So who is it about, really? I contended for a while that it was really about Obi Wan, but did he really change that much? Probably more than most as he became a Jedi and witnessed the death of his mentor. But it's obviously not Obi Wan's movie.
It's not Anakin's story either. He's not in much of the actual movie; mostly just in an interminable podrace.
It's not Qui Gonn's or Amidala's or Jar-Jar's story.
It's Lucas' story.
This movie assumes that you're already familiar with the Star Wars universe and that you will see the next two. That's lazy and pretentious. This story (and the next) do not stand on their own. And that fact is what made Episodes IV and V (and VI although it was weaker) so great -- not only did they stand on their own, but they followed a hero who followed his own different journey in each. And the stories built on each other and made an overall story that everyone understood. And it was beautiful.
This film was not only bad in its own right but it took so much away from the original that we waited 30 years for that Lucas should be brought up on charges of crimes against humanity.