Great review, episode 1 is one of the worst films I've ever had the misfortune to see. It's so bad that I start the series at episode 2. There are so many points in the review that so clearly explain why the film is bad. The most important point that I like to emphasize is the following:
"We need a deeper meaning to things, without it none of it really matters"
During the contrast between the original films and episode 1, you can see a worrying shift in how they make movies now vs how they made movies back then. It's all about meaning and without it, the films are just empty. 3D projection won't put it back in, CGI won't put it back in and celebrities won't either.
I really feel Lucas needs to be made to do episode 1 all over again because as the review says, this franchise is huge and this tragic waste of space will be around forever.
This trend creeps into so many films and there's this tendency to try too hard to create epic movies. You can see it all the way through the Avatar trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ
Genuinely epic material doesn't need overly patriotic undertones, sweeping camera pans, slow motion shots at an action scene and worst of all, over-emphasized weak dialog:
"We will send them a message that this... this is our land"
Give me a break. I can't judge the film yet as I haven't seen it but the trailer is weak. So many franchises are being ruined - Terminator, Transformers, Indiana Jones, Superman, X-men, Spiderman, GI Joe, The Watchmen - by trying too hard to stick to a formula. It's as if they have a team of people who think they know how to shoot action scenes and you end up with shots like the one of General Grievous and the 4 light sabers where there's lots going on and you care about none of it. In the older films, they couldn't put all that junk on screen so they had to make you care about what was there.
I don't think it has to be one or the other - CGI can add so much to great stories but filmmakers need to put more care into the content first and make sure the CGI people are aware of what they are trying to convey so it doesn't end up as another mishmash of fake dialog and totally unrelated stunt sequences.