After it was all over, why the heck did nobody think to go back to Tatooine and buy Anakin's mother? She would probably have sold for less than the cost of one of Amidala's fancy dresses; it would seem like a small price to pay to reward the kid who saved their world. (Why? Because without Shmi dying horribly several years later, there's no Darth Vader, that's why.)
But...they didn't *know* she was going to die and turn Anakin into Vader. Or if they somehow did, wouldn't that give them extra incentive to go rescue her?
Even without the forsight of her death it still seems like a dick move to forget about Shmi and have Anakin be chatised every time he confesses to worrying about his mother. Even if he never got to see her as often, knowing that she was safe and not a slave probably would have made Anakin less of an angry jerk and more of the noble jedi that he was supposed to be. That way, Anakin's story can actually be tragic when the character isn't a jerk.
Actually, none of it would have mattered. Shmi wasn't killed because she was a slave- she had been freed and was married at that point. While it still would have made sense to free her at the time as a reward for helping save Naboo, her being a slave ultimately had nothing to do with being kidnapped by Tuskan raiders.
But if she wasn't on Tatooine, she wouldn't have been kidnapped and killed by the Tuskan Raiders. Problem solved, series over.
For all the Jar Jar Binks haters out there, consider this. If he didn't survive this movie, he would have never started the vote to put Palpatine into power, and Anakin would have lived his life as a Jedi. In other words, we have every right to hate Jar Jar, because he caused the rise of the Empire.
While I fully support Jar Jar hatred, I'm not sure we can say that without him the Empire wouldn't have risen. He was there because Amidala needed someone to act in her place while she was gone, and surely there would have been someone else there without him. I suspect that Palpatine would have been able to manipulate the replacement.
Meta-example: George Lucas stated the film was intended for kids. Which explains taxation, trade federations, Senate hearings...
George Lucas stated the film was intended for kids. Which explains the several plotholes, annoying jokes, and Jar Jar.
Lucas meant that the intention of the movie was to get hold of kids' money. The sloppy writing was just a bonus.
The Phantom Menace, like all of the Star Wars films, is a family movie. They're targeted at kids (Mark Hamill himself said the original's target audience was 5 year olds in this interview [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byLUK7mdc00] at 13:09), but there's material there for preteens, teenagers, and adults to enjoy as well.
The parade music at the end of the film is a jumpy enthusiastic tune in a major chord sung by what sounds like a children's choir. Put it in a minor chord, slow it way down, and replace the kids with a choir of depressed old men, and you get the Emperor's theme in Return of the Jedi. Consider that Palpatine (featured in the Parade sequence) and the Emperor are one and the same, and you begin to wonder how old and in what emotional state the kids in Phantom Menace would be at the time of the Battle of Endor...