I will go on record stating that I like the story of the Phantom Menace in general. I like the politics, the Trade Federation, the Intro to the Galaxy and the meetings of Obi Wan & Anakin and Qui Gon, etc. I even like Jar Jar Binks if he was toned down a bit. And Keira Knightly, but that is for a different discussion.
My question is could TPM been saved with same story but better writing? Or is the story just weak in itself? In my opinion the overall story was very good but could use a few tweaks to make it flow better and remain consistent with the OT. As far as story improvements:
Anakin should have been 11 or 12 not 9. There are very few good 9 year old actors and it frightens me that George that Jake was the best of the lot. Combine that with poor dialogue for the kid and it leads to nothing but groaners. "Yipee" and "Sandstorms are very............very........dangerous". Make the kid a little older and you also would not have the uncomfortable feeling of 14 year old Padme being hit on by a 4th grader.
Jar Jar Binks could have been an excellent character had he spoken normally. He is a character that suffered from kid humor that GL thought would be funny. It was embarassing. The crazy jump and yell into the lake was painful to watch and unnecessary. Jar Jar's character could have been funny and I think was a victim to poor writing.
The Taxation issue while interesting to me because I enjoy politics and the like is not explained well in the movie. Cloak of Deception lays it out beautifully and should have had some of that backstory adressed. It took me a few times watching TPM to figure out why the Trade Federation was even blockading Naboo.
Queen Amidala was too formal. The character needed to be a little more fun. Again, writing.
Don't get me started on Anakin building C-3PO.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on whether the story had potential or if it is just a complete disaster. And what was the cause? Story or writing or both. Or even casting?