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William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace…

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

by Ian Doescher

Other authors: George Lucas (Inspiration)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: William Shakespeare's Star Wars (Part the First)

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This whole series is an amazing twist on one of the most famous and revolutionary film trilogies in history. You don't need to be an expert on Shakespeare to read these plays. They are fast reads and full of fun. While the plot is the same, some of the characters have interesting twists like Jar Jar. He goes from a bumbling idiot to an intelligent strategist. Overall, these plays are phenomenal twists on the original Star Wars trilogies and I highly recommend it to any Star Wars or Shakespeare fan. ( )
  BJH2016 | Dec 9, 2016 |
  CarsonHaupt | Sep 25, 2016 |
Largely unlike the film on which it is based, Ian Doescher's The Phantom of Menace (surely a play on The Merchant of Venice?) is a worthy successor to earlier instalments of the series. I was worried, after loving Doescher's first three Shakespeare mash-ups based on the original Star Wars trilogy, that trying to alchemize 1999's disappointing The Phantom Menace into Shakespearean gold would be a step too far. Happily, this isn't the case.

The book is just as fun as any of the other three previously released (you just know that Transmission hath been wholly lost, my liege!" (pg. 16) was written with a smile on the face); a key element in the series' success has been that it wears its learning lightly. Doescher recognises that Shakespeare was a populist in his day, and his plays were meant as entertainment rather than something to be studied in excruciating detail in a classroom. Consequently, the book barrels along nicely; it really reveals just how misguided we have been to be daunted by the iambic pentameter employed by Shakespeare. Following on from the delightful genre-savvy mooks in his original three books, here we have two nameless Jedi lampshading how it is that the prequels seemed to have more advanced technology than the men, women and Wookiees of the original Star Wars (pp128-31). I always enjoy these contributions; it makes a book even more special when you know that the author is enjoying himself too.

Doescher's wit and wordplay is in fine fettle, and what's more, he actually goes some way to redeeming – or at least emphasising the merits of – the film. The Phantom Menace film came with a perhaps unprecedented level of excitement and pre-release buzz (Doescher describes it thus: "E'en groundlings, waiting weeks to be let in, Look forward to the wonders they shall see. Starts now what you have long'd for, sans delay: Attend – a phantom menace comes anon!" (pg. 10)) but quickly became a byword for disappointment. Right from the iconic title cards outlining the story (economic blockade? taxation? trade routes? Hardly rousing stuff…) to the poor acting and delivery (and not just wee 9-year-old Jake Lloyd – the poor lad didn't know just what he was getting himself into) and the three words that make every Star Wars fan curl up into the foetal position in the corner of a darkened room and sob quietly to themselves: Jar Jar Binks.

Yet Doescher's prose allows the tropes of the story to become clearer, and from this point of view one begins upon a process of rehabilitation of the Star Wars prequels. In design, if sadly not in execution, the prequels are a good example of film storytelling, planting the seeds for the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. Doescher's attempts to win us around to Jar Jar by reimagining the character's motivations aren't entirely successful (he is only human, after all), but by and large you will look at the film with a more considered appreciation. And given the film's reputation, that's no mean feat on Doescher's part. Now I am looking forward to see how he breathes life into the most uninspired of the Star Wars films: Attack of the Clones. After reading the achievement that is The Phantom of Menace, I am now much more confident that he will do so." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Author Ian Doescher achieves the impossible in The Phantom of Menace: he manages to make Episode I good. Well, if not good, then at least enjoyable. The basic story follows that of the movie, but Doescher takes a freer hand with the prequels than he did with the original trilogy, employing the character of Rumor, lifted from Henry IV, Part 2, in order to set up a galaxy on the edge of turmoil. This successfully captures the spirit of what George Lucas had attempted, and failed, to convey in the film. Additionally, Doescher makes Jar Jar Binks likable, with the character only playing the fool for the benefit of the human characters so that he might better play on their expectations in order to persuade them to his cause of uniting the Gungans and the Naboo. In this way, The Phantom of Menace is further proof of Doescher's limitless creativity. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Dec 23, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Much like the movie, "William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace" cannot quite compare with it's preceding volumes. I think most of the fault lies with the original source material. From excusing Jar Jar Binks' behavior as that of a visionary playing the fool to having fun with Mace Windu's lines by trying to fit in as many references to Samuel L. Jackson movies as possible, Doescher tries to improve Episode I which lacked a cohesive plot itself. You can only do so much though. Still, it's a valiant effort and enjoyable in the end. ( )
  Nextian | Dec 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Doescher, IanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lucas, GeorgeInspirationsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Delort, NicolasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Ethan Youngerman, Bard of New York,

And to Chris Martin, Jedi of the South.

To Heidi Altman, Force in old D.C.,

And to Naomi Walcott, far-flung muse
First words
Alack! What dreadful turmoil hath beset

The strong Republic and its bonds of peace.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: Episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

’Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance . . . all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians: The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin! [retrieved 10/22/2015 from Amazon.com]
Haiku summary
Whiny kid and dumb

alien don't give Force a

powerful ally.


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A retelling of The phantom menace in the style of Shakespeare, featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

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