First of all, TPM I think was kind of the first movie to be the pioneer in integrating CGI in all aspects of filmaking. Before then, most movie productions used CGI in one area of the making of the movie but didn't really incorperate it into all aspects. So even if it wasn't a great movie it was stilll the first movie that intergrated CGI work into every aspect of cinema (which may or may not have been a good thing). But without CGI, we could not have gotten action sequences like in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films or Chris Nolan's Batman films without the help of CGI, because trying to do action sequences like that with all stuntmen, physical gags, and real life sets and models would've been too dangerous, difficult, and expensive. Frankly, I find that some of the greatest action sequences commited to cinema have been the ones that were limited to the boundries of stuntwork and physical gags in the real world, like the action sequneces in Die Hard, Heat, they're smart, engaging, beleivable, and not over the top, like we often see with CGI action work. But without the advancements in CGI it would be impossible to bring comic books to real life movies as engaging as we have seen a lot of over this decade.
Second, I find this movie to have a very epic feel, something I don't feel like episode 2 or 3 pulled off as well. I think part of the reason of that was John Williams score. I thought it was great in this, on par with the OT. His score was not as good in episodes 2 and 3. His score sounded too simple, forced and condesending. It was trying to provoke too much emotion in places where there was too little. Of course he didn't have the greatest material to work with.
They "filmed" this movie with actual "film," which I think helped blend the CGI work in with the real life work making it look more natrual.
I thought Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor made a good duo on screen. A lot better than Obi Wan and Anakin in episodes 2 and 3. I though Liam Neeson's acting was good and Ewan worked well as Neeson's sidekick. I found Liam Neison to be on par with with Alec Guiness in terms of bringing life and spirit to the movie, although I would still say Alec was better. There was actually some good lines of dialog and I found there to be a heart and some intelligence in the dialog and screenplay. The way GL seemed to handle provoking emotion and heart into the actors in the next two films seemed more like he was working with a checklist. Anakin shows he has desires for Padme here: check. Anakin makes an angry face here: check. Anakin shows he is confused here: check. Anaking says he doesn't like sand: check. Anakin says I love you: check. Anakin shows he's torn: check. They have a first kssing scene: check. Anakin shows he's frustrated: check. Palpatine shows a maschivious face: check. And so on...
Seeing Ewan and Liam work together at kicking ass with lightsabers was fun and something we hadn't seen quite anything like before. In episodes 2 and 3 it seem like the action was less engaging and just became tired and tedious.
Sure Jar Jare Binks was rediculous and annoying, but I thought he worked for the picture. I think Lucas deserves more credit than what he has gotten for Jar Jar, he was a risky move and GL had the balls to push him all the way through the film. He kind of plays the side kick role Chewbaca played in star wars or c3po or r2d2 played and adds a good contrast to the film between Qui Gone and Obi Wan. And it's not like the characters were oblivious to the stupidity of him or characters like him like they were in episodes 2 and 3.
I just found even though some of his ideas for the film were radical, at least he tried some originality and I think some things worked. In episodes 2 and 3 it just seemd like he was just going through the book of cliche plot devices to bridge his story from the PT to the OT. TPM almost seems like the movie Disney would make if they bought the rights to Star Wars, so as a Disney Star Wars movie I would give it a 10/10, but since I prefer a realer, darker, gritter, tone like the OT, I would give it 6/10, which is above what I would give episodes 2 and 3, obviously.
Something I notice is PT lovers seem to dislike (or like the least) TPM the most of the PT and their excuse is usually Jar Jar Binks and Jake Lloyd's wooden performance. But I think smarter film veiwers (like us OT fans) find TPM to actually be the smartest of the PT and the best. Because Jar Jar and Jake Lloyd were just two characters who were not the center of the story. For all the reasons I stated above the film is smarter than the next two. And I prefer Jake Lloyd's performance to awful Hayden Christensen and Hayden was the center character of the next two films.