LMGI Elects 2019-2020 Board of Directors

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) has announced the new Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 term. Newly elected members of the Board are Ken Haber (12 Strong, Suburbicon), Georgette Turner (Edge of Tomorrow, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them), Edward Mazurek (Too Old to Die Young, The Circle) and Walter Roshetski (Criminal Minds). […]

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Three Ways to Ignite Your Creative Spark and Boost Your Productivity

Three Ways to Ignite Your Creative Spark and Boost Your Productivity

Hearing photographers talking about creative burnout or feeling in a creative slump is not rare anymore. It seems like everyone is dealing with it on a regular basis. What if I told you there are easy techniques to get more productive and creative at the same time?

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Edelkrone now offers a 3D-printed DIY solution for its FlexTILT tripod head

Meet FlexTILT Head 3D, a version of Edelkrone’s popular tripod head that can be 3D-printed and pieced together as a DIY project for a fraction of the cost of Edelkrone’s FlexTILT Head 2.

As we noted in our review, the Edelkrone FlexTILT Head 2 is a wonderful little tool for both videos and stills. The articulating head allows for unique possibilities, especially when paired with dollies and other motion units—but it doesn’t come cheap.

The areas in red are the components that are 3D printed, while the dark grey components and silver screws are those Edelkrone ships to you for $29.

Edelkrone’s solution to this is a new line of products called ORTAK. The ORTAK lineup is a co-manufacturing collection that will allow you to 3D print the basic components of Edelkrone products and buy the more integral pieces from Edelkrone at a much lower cost than the fully-produced version.

For the FlexTILT Head 3D, Edelkrone will handle manufacturing the metal components required, including the hex screws, washers, brackets and mounting points, which will sell for $29. The body of the FlexTILT Head 3D is up to you to print using the files provided, for free, by Edelkrone on its ORTAK webpage. In addition to a document detailing the building process, Edelkrone has also created a detailed video:

Edelkrone specifically mentions the ORTAK FlexTILT Head 3D has been tested on the Ultimaker S5, Ultimaker 3 and Zaxe 3D printers. However, the STL file Edelkrone provides is more than capable of being printed with other units. Even if you don’t own a 3D printer yourself—or know someone who does—there are other options, including online platforms like Shapeways—not to mention many libraries now offer access to 3D printers at low or no cost if you’re a member.

Regardless of how you get the components printed, it’s safe to say the end result should come out for a good bit less than the $149 Edelkrone’s FlexTILT Head 2 retails for.

Negative Lab Pro 2.0: C41 Scanning Heaven!

Negative Lab Pro 2.0: C41 Scanning Heaven!

Scanning film has always been a bit of a pain. However, with time comes progress, and Nate over at Negative Lab Pro has been doing some awesome work, making scanning C-41 film using a DSLR or mirrorless easier than ever. However, using Negative Lab Pro with a flatbed scanner has always been a bit lacking. That just changed with Negative Lab Pro 2.0 and an unlikely partner: Vuescan.

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Frank Hurley With Ernest Shackleton: Photographing Antarctic Adventure

Frank Hurley With Ernest Shackleton: Photographing Antarctic Adventure

“Men Wanted For Hazardous Journey: Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.” Do you think you’d answer this ad if it popped up on Indeed or Monster?

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Three Things I Appreciate About Fujifilm X Series Cameras

Three Things I Appreciate About Fujifilm X Series Cameras

Fujifilm, in their eight years producing X Series cameras, have developed a reputation for producing digital cameras with a tactile feel and a few features that no other manufacturers are offering. While they still remain the underdog in terms of market share, their cameras have a loyal user base. In a concept straight up stolen from Alex Cooke’s series (with his blessings, of course), today, I’ll talk about three things I appreciate about Fujifilm’s cameras.

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Things to Consider Before Involving Friends in Your Business

Things to Consider Before Involving Friends in Your Business

Hiring your friends or involving them in your business can be a mutually beneficial arrangement, but equally, there are a few things you should consider before you start mixing friendships and business.

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What Should We Expect From the Nikon D760?

What Should We Expect From the Nikon D760?

The D750 is Nikon’s solid, reliable, entry-level full-frame DSLR, but at almost five years old, it’s due for an update. The D760 is slated for release early next year, but what specifications should we expect when Nikon’s Z series of mirrorless cameras is getting all of the attention and the D850 has set the bar so high?

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Are We About to See a Budget Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera From Nikon?

Are We About to See a Budget Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera From Nikon?

With Nikon expected to make a series of bold announcements in the next 12 months, one of the most exciting might be the prospect of an affordable, entry-level, full-frame mirrorless camera for under a thousand dollars.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Camera Settings

A Beginner's Guide to Camera Settings

When you are new to photography, your camera’s exposure settings can seem like a confusing maze of abstract parameters, but getting to know them is crucial to taking control of your images and improving your work. This helpful video will get you acquainted with the three fundamental exposure parameters and show you how to use them in different shooting scenarios.

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Nikon D3500 vs. Canon T7: Which is better?

Nikon D3500 vs. Canon T7: Which one should you buy?

You don’t need to know much about photography to know that Canon and Nikon are two of the major brands in the business of selling photographic equipment. And there’s a good reason why those names have so many fans: they make really good cameras and lenses, and have done so for generations.

It makes sense that many beginning photographers would turn to those same companies when looking for an inexpensive DSLR for the first time. The Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D and Nikon D3500 are certainly two of the least expensive interchangeable lens cameras (meaning the lens comes off as opposed to being fixed to the body) you’ll find on the market now: at the time of writing, they’re each selling for about $400 with an 18-55mm kit lens.

So which one is better for a beginning photographer? We think that the Nikon D3500 will be the better choice for most people. The bundled 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is superior to Canon’s, battery life is more robust and users who plan to do significant post-processing will find Raw files more malleable. But as usual, there’s more to the story than just that.

Read on for a detailed feature-by-feature comparison and find out how we came to our conclusion.

Photo quality vs. a smartphone

If you’re considering either of these cameras, there’s likely one question at front of mind: How much better will it be than my smartphone? The answer is a bit complicated.

Both the D3500 and T7 use 24 megapixel APS-C sensors, which are many times larger than anything found in a modern smartphone. Bigger sensors come with benefits: more flexibility processing image files, and all things being equal, better low light performance.

But things aren’t exactly ‘equal’ anymore. Smartphones are now using computational techniques to reach beyond the limitations of a smaller sensor: Night Sight in the Google Pixel is an example of this. In short, the advantages of a big sensor are somewhat diminished, especially if your photos will only ever be viewed on a computer screen or a mobile device.

However, 24MP of resolution comes in handy if you’d like to make large prints, or if you plan on making substantial post-processing edits. And there’s the potential for zoom: the bundled kit lens provides a bit more reach than the telephoto lens on most smartphones, and there’s always the option to buy additional, longer zoom lenses.

The advantages of a big sensor are somewhat diminished, especially if your photos will only ever be viewed on a computer screen or a mobile device

And then there’s bokeh: the lovely blurry background effect imitated by portrait mode. Without getting too in-depth, smartphones with portrait mode will generally produce synthetic bokeh that looks close enough to the real deal to satisfy most users, and in many cases will produce a stronger blurred effect than either camera’s kit lens is capable of.

If highly convincing bokeh is a priority though, you can add an inexpensive 50mm F1.8 lens to either camera and the results will (for now, at least) outperform a smartphone. And if you don’t have a recent smartphone with a good portrait mode, a camera with additional lens will cost quite a bit less than a $1000 flagship smartphone.

This is a long way of saying that yes, the 24MP sensor in either the D3500 or T7 is better than what’s in your smartphone, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the image quality advantage that you might expect.

Photo quality vs. each other

Comparing the two cameras, you won’t see any dramatic differences in image quality. The Nikon offers a higher ISO sensitivity, which will allow for shooting in very dark conditions without a flash (and quite a bit of unpleasant splotchy noise as a result). Some people prefer Canon’s out-of-camera color rendition and tendency toward deeper reds, but the differences are subjective and subtle.

The Nikon does offer more malleable Raw files if you intend to push shadows in post-processing, but it’s not something we find a lot of beginning photographers wanting to do.

Each camera sells with an 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens, which will be wide enough for landscapes and long enough to frame a head-and-shoulders portrait. While they both offer stabilization and cover roughly the same focal range, the lenses are quite different in age: Nikon’s 18-55mm is about three years old, surprisingly sharp and collapsable when it’s not in use. Canon’s lens dates back to 2011 and isn’t as sharp.

Viewfinder and Live View

Both the T7 and D3500 offer 3″ 921k-dot non-touchscreens primarily for image review and navigating menus. It’s possible to use the screens for still image composition and shooting, but live view (as it’s called) on both cameras uses a much slower autofocus system. Shooting with your eye to the optical viewfinder means you don’t get a live preview of your exposure, but you do get a faster autofocus system.

The viewfinders on these cameras are comparatively small, and less comfortable to use than that of a bigger, more expensive DSLR. There’s plenty to be said for having an optical viewfinder at all: they’re much easier to use in bright light than a rear screen, and provide a sense of ‘being there’ that many photographers prefer.

There’s no clear winner in this category: neither provides a great viewfinder, and for live image composition on an LCD (perhaps even with tap-to-focus!), you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Video

There’s not much to separate the T7 and the D3500 in terms of video recording capabilities. Both offer 1080p recording; the T7 provides up to 30 fps, the D3500 records up to 60 fps, which will represent fast motion better. However, you’ll be using live view to record video on these cameras and as we’ve already established, autofocus while shooting via the rear screen is not very good.

Both will record decent video clips, but if you own a smartphone that was launched in the last couple of years, chances are your phone will do just as well (or in some respects, even better).

Wireless image sharing

As is required of a digital camera in 2019, both the T7 and D3500 provide the means to beam images wirelessly from your camera to your phone. They go about this in slightly different ways. Canon has built Wi-Fi into the T7 which will connect with the company’s app. If you have an Android phone with NFC, the connection process is made even simpler.

Nikon takes a different approach, including only Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi. This allows the camera to maintain the wireless connection and transfer 2MP images as you’re shooting, something not possible with Wi-Fi. The downside is that 2MP is your only image size option: which to be fair, is big enough for social media and 4×6″ prints.

For most users, the benefits of the constant connection will probably outweigh the need for high-resolution images, and we’d recommend the Nikon if easy image transfer and sharing is a priority.

Battery

At last! A category in which either of these cameras will run circles around a smartphone. If you rely mostly on the optical viewfinder for shooting, the T7 or the D3500 will get you through days of shooting without ever flashing the dreaded low-battery signal. The T7 is officially rated to 500 shots per charge (which tends to be lower than most people’s real-life results) which is quite good, so the D3500’s 1550 shots per charge rating is insanely good.

Relying heavily on live view or recording a lot of video footage will drain the battery faster, but as we’ve established, these aren’t strong suits for either camera so that’s kind of a moot point.

The D3500 comes out on top but both cameras are really winners here.

Conclusion

If you tally up the ‘points’ for the D3500 and you’ll see how we drew our conclusion that it’s the better pick between the two. However, the two cameras are incredibly similar in most ways, so it’s really only details like a nicer 18-55mm kit lens and incredibly robust battery life that tip the scale.

It’s pretty remarkable what both of these cameras offer for their price, but it’s also worth noting what you aren’t getting, like a touchscreen, faster autofocus in live view, robust continuous autofocus, subject tracking for sports and action photography, 4K video… you get the idea.

It’s pretty remarkable what both of these cameras offer for their price, but it’s also worth noting what you aren’t getting

If any of those features strike you as important, and you aren’t too attached to having an optical viewfinder, then it would be in your interest to consider options like the Canon EOS M100: we think it’s actually your best bet for under $500.

But there is something quite appealing about an optical viewfinder, the ergonomics of a DSLR and the way a traditional camera engages you in the process of taking pictures that smartphones can’t touch. If it’s these qualities you’re after, then we think the D3500 is well worth your time.

Closer look on the new Sony 600mm GM lens: Sony’s statement for the Olympics!

USA Preorders: Sony 200-600mm FE at Amazon, BHphoto, FocusCamera, BuyDig and Adorama. Sony 600mm FE GM at Amazon, BHphoto, FocusCamera, BuyDig and Adorama. EU Preorders: Sony 200-600mm FE at Calumet DE. WexUK. ParkCameras. Calumet NL. Cameratools NL. Sony 600mm FE…

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10 Movies To Watch When You Want Something Suspenseful

Suspense is a difficult thing to achieve in film. Alfred Hitchcock said that suspense means letting the audience know more than the characters. However, while Hitchcock’s definition is very well put into words, suspense is much more than that.

To make suspense in films, you have to grab the viewer’s full attention and you have to create interesting situations which feel plausible and whose outcome is hard to guess. But more than all, to get a viewer to feel the suspense, you have to make him care about the characters he watches on screen.

In other words, you can’t feel anxious about something or someone you don’t care about. This is why many of the so-called suspense films fail. They have the best of ideas but directors forget that, first of all, you have to let the audience be invested with the characters.

If you do that and you have a good idea – be it a detective trying to find out who the murderer is, a woman trying to evade her abductors or a man finding out a dark secret – your film might not turn out a masterpiece, but at least it should keep the viewer interested.

But enough with the ramble, as this list contains 10 titles which are not only thoroughly suspenseful films but also great films in all respects. And before asking us where are the classics such as “The Silence of The Lambs”, “Se7en” or “Misery”, we’ll say that we’ve tried to select films which are (a little) less talked about when it comes to this kind of list. Of course, these are not obscure films no one’s heard about, but you still might have missed some of them.

Please let us know in the comments what other suspenseful movies do you recommend watching.

 

1. All Is Lost (2013)

All is Lost

“All Is Lost” is a one-man survival film which stars Robert Redford as an unnamed sailor who finds himself fighting for his life after his boat hits a stray shipping container and starts to flood. Redford’s character has to save the boat from sinking and to escape the dangers of the tempestuous Indian Ocean before all is lost.

If you are not afraid of deep waters, trust us, this movie will make you feel like the ocean is the scariest thing out there. For its entire 105 minutes length, “All is Lost” keeps you on the edge of your seat and gives a masterclass in suspense and acting. Robert Redford, who was pushing 77 at the time this film was made, gives one of the best performances of his career and he is even more praiseworthy considering that his character has virtually no lines to say during the entire film.

 

2. The Ghost Writer (2010)

Roman Polanski’s best work after “The Pianist” (2002), “The Ghost Writer” is based on Robert Harris’ popular novel “The Ghost” and stars Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer who gets hired to finish the autobiography of former British prime minister Adam Lang (played by Pierce Brosnan and based on real-life former British PM Tony Blair) after the initial ghost writer is mysteriously found dead in what seems like a drowning accident.

Soon after McGregor’s character starts working on the book, he starts discovering some dark secrets about Lang, who is suspected of having had links with the CIA and allowing the torturing of some prisoners suspected of terrorism.

“The Ghost Writer” is a suspenseful and intelligent political thriller that makes up for a top-notch adaptation of its original source material and (once again) showcases Polanski’s outstanding talent as a film director.

 

3. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Sidney Lumet’s final film before his death in 2011 didn’t receive as much recognition as his more famous works such as “12 Angry Men” or “Dog Day Afternoon,” but it is nonetheless nothing short of a masterpiece.

“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” film follows Andy and Hank Hanson (played by Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman), two brothers who decide to do some crazy things in pursuance of getting money.

The siblings decide to rob their own parents’ jewelry store and in order to do so they hire an experienced thief to help them with their scheme. However, things don’t go according to plan when their mother accidentally gets shot. From there on, everything in the brothers’ lives falls apart.

This film amazes, not only through the award-worthy performances from its talented cast but also through the unconventional, utterly captivating nonlinear storytelling. It feels like a puzzle, always taking you back and forth in time, and in the end constructing a perfect observation on the downfall of a family.

Thrilling, dramatic and funny at the same time, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is one of the most suspenseful films of this century.

 

4. Hounds of Love (2017)

Set in 1980’s Australia, “Hounds of Love” tells the harrowing story of a teenage girl from Perth who is kidnapped and terrorized by a sick couple. The film pretty much follows the kidnapping movie formula, but it’s the execution and the terrific performances that take it to another level.

After critically acclaimed films such as “The Babadook,” “Snowtown” and the “The Loved Ones,” it seems that Australian filmmakers have a knack for producing great small-scale thrillers/horrors, and “Hounds of Love” doesn’t disappoint, either.

While it has its flaws, mainly some unrealistic decisions the main character makes throughout the film, and the exaggerated lack of interest from the police, as an overall experience “Hounds of Love” remains a very gripping thriller that benefits from a riveting lead performance, great cinematography, and enough suspense to deserve comparisons to the likes of “Misery”. If you are into small-scale, single location thrillers, you definitely shouldn’t miss this one.

 

5. Prisoners (2013)

prisoners movie

In Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners”, Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a man whose daughter is abducted while playing in the neighborhood on Thanksgiving day. When the police led by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) fails to come with answers, Jackman’s character takes the matter into his own hands and, desperate to find his missing daughter makes some frantic decisions.

“Prisoners” is a gritty, brutal thriller which perfectly mixes suspense with drama and benefits of two superb performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal. It is the kind of film which will take a toll on you – not an easy watch at all – but definitely a rewarding experience.

The 10 Most Disappointing Movies From Great Directors

Filmmaking is all about chemistry. Apart from the chemistry between the actors that is always evident on the screen, there are other kinds of bonding that must happen if a quality film is to be made. The technical crews should bond with each other and with the director of that film, the casting has to be perfect so that it matches the script’s demand, and all of the related persons should be in the highest order of their energy. If it doesn’t happen, the film is bound to be mediocre at best.

This has happened with the best of directors through the decades where a genius made a very bad film according to their repertoire. Another reason could be the inexperience of a legendary filmmaker in their rookie filmmaking days; the chaotic atmosphere on the set could cause even emotional and mental turmoil. The weather forecast may not be right, the dates of the lead players might have clashed, and it also adds to the struggle of the film that has to overcome.

 

1. Aloha – directed by Cameron Crowe

Cameron Crowe has built a solid reputation as a renowned American filmmaker with “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous,” and the controversial American remake of “Abre Los Ojos” called “Vanilla Sky.” After a gap of four years, and after making the small niche film “The Union” based upon the collaboration of Elton John and Leon Russell in 2011, Crowe made  “Aloha” in 2015 with a stellar cast featuring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski and Bill Murray.

All of the compliments for gathering so many wonderful actors in the same space end there. Blatant accusations of whitewashing came about because apart from the talented actors, the casting was a mess, especially with Stone as a native Hawaiian female. 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures marketed the film as a rom-com, but all the easy-breezy fun of a romantic comedy was nowhere to be found in this film; it was backgrounded under an uneven, lackluster script and illogical events.

There are frequent mentions of Cooper’s changing profession,, while the female characters are underdeveloped, maintaining Crowe’s stereotypical egotistical male character who falls in love with fellow women in an instant, then rethinks his decision. Cameron Crowe misses the point here.

 

2. Vicky Cristina Barcelona – directed by Woody Allen

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Prolific filmmaker Woody Allen has a delicate balance in his filmography with an equal number of hits and misses. There are films that are arguably worse than his 2008 Spain outing “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” but this film is the biggest example of exploiting and playing with the audience’s expectations because of the good reputation he has built throughout the years. At least Allen was honest and admitted that he made this film for money and for a holiday in Spain: it is the only relief.

The Spainish government asked Allen to make a film based on their country and he grasped the opportunity to cast sultry beauties in exotic locales. Javier Bardem acts with his omnipresent charisma and talent, while Penelope Cruz surprised with her excellent turn as painter Bardem’s alcoholic self-destructive wife.

Cruz was the best part of the film, eventually winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2009, but the rest of the cast had nothing to do in the film other than travel and bicycle in the exotic locales. The narrative device employed by Allen backfired; the voiceover present in the film in the style of an audiobook to emotionally guide the viewers is just bad, and the plot is very predictable. When the film ends, no special moment can be taken home by the viewer.

 

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – directed by David Fincher

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Using his popular repertoire as a manipulation device, David Fincher ripped the soul out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in his 2008 romantic drama film of the same name. It tries the use the long running time to its advantage to discuss and analyze the tragic philosophy of a unique experience, but fails to strike the right note with its overly sentimental tone.

As a film, Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” most likely will be considered a cult film because of the strangeness of the story, but as always, his previous reputation caused it to become a classic. This could be a tragic love story, and the audience would likely weep if real chemistry was shown shattered in unfortunate events, but Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett share no chemistry in the film.

The execution of the doomed relationship is absolutely pretentious, which is extremely difficult to explain in words. It was never a good decision from the start to stretch this classic short story for a feature film and ruin it; it’s a bad entry in one good director’s filmography.

 

4. Hannibal – directed by Ridley Scott

Hannibal movie

It’s always difficult to make a successful follow-up film to a commercially and critically beloved original movie. In 1991, Jonathan Demme broke a record: he made a horror film based on the novel by Thomas Harris of the same name, which won five Oscars including Best Picture. It was the first time a movie from the horror genre won this prize. Naturally, anticipation was high for a sequel, which was adapted from Thomas Harris’ novel and helmed by Ridley Scott.

Scott failed to made “Hannibal” an interesting film, with a bad script and characterization. He tried to replicate the philosophical intrigue and the dark comedy of the first film but failed. Hannibal Lecter was a genius psychologist and master manipulator, but the events that would lead to his first close capture is stupid.

The use of smelling experts is perfect meme material and Julianne Moore, the great chameleon, had one the worst roles in her career as Clarice Starling. In “The Silence of the Lambs,” Lecter was not the focus of the story; in “Hannibal” he is the protagonist. Still, it can’t match the genius fright fest of the original film and is a sore entry in the filmography of genius Ridley Scott.

 

5. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace – directed by George Lucas

Jar Jar Binks - Star Wars I The Phantom Menace

The sheer brilliance of the original Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas is always diluted with the notoriety of the prequels. Lucas made the prequel trilogy decades after the original films, and this could be the reason for the degradation of quality.

Lucas is a gifted filmmaker, there is no doubt about that with his films “American Graffiti” and “THX 1138,” but he is also more inclined for commercial success, and that backfires in this case. The inclusion of Jar Jar Binks is strictly a business decision to start a profit scheme surrounding merchandise, and he annoys us big time without any comedy or laughs.

Even if we excuse the bad CGI because of the film’s production year, which was only a year before the 2000s, the film still has its problems. Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into a devil from an annoying nine-year-old child is redundant and could have been exposed through minimal dialogue; you do not need the extra time and space to tell the audience that Anakin was a good boy in his earlier life. The action sequences in this first prequel entry feel clumsy and non-innovative, the casting is bad, and the filmmaker forgot its target audience.

A film series that is popular among the teenage population for its fantasy elements unnecessarily introduced galactic politics in its plot. Sadly, this is the one where, and not by the twist of politics but rather because of it, the innocent teenage populace as well as the older  audience discards “Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace” as a good film.