It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the changes that Mr. Lucas keeps making to the Star Wars saga. I understand that they’re his movies. I also understand that there’s a point where you have to stop tinkering with something because you wind up ruining what originally made it special. It’s a gift to know when to stop.
So, when I found out that George Lucas was planning on re-releasing the Star Wars saga in the theaters – in 3D this time – I was less than thrilled. “Someone needs to have enough guts to go up to the guy and tell him he needs to stop,” I remember thinking (and saying out loud to whomever might possibly listen). “But that won’t happen because he’s surrounded by ‘Yes-Men.’ This is getting out of control.”
Yeah. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of an Even-More-New-and-Improved-Special-Re-Release of the movies. And I was even less enthused about the idea of having to sit through Episodes I and II in any form whatsoever. In fact, I tried to do whatever I could to keep Aiden from finding out that the movies had been re-released until, maybe, the release of Revenge of the Sith in 3D. Alas, that didn’t happen.
Curse you, masters of marketing at Lucasfilm, I thought to myself…
While Episode II has become my least favorite in the series, The Phantom Menace isn’t far behind. The character development is nonexistent. The dialogue is wooden. Anakin feels too much like Steve Urkel, basically saying things like, “Did I do that?” when he blows up the droid control ship. You don’t really get to “know” Darth Maul and genuinely loathe him before he gets cut in half, never to be seen again. And there’s the acting…oh, the acting…
And let’s not even talk about the whole midi-chlorians thing.
So, it was with great reservation that I put on my big-boy Chewbacca shirt and took Aiden to see Episode I yesterday. I had to remind myself that this was the first time he had ever seen any of the movies on the big screen. I was determined to do whatever I could to make sure it was a magical experience for him.
I must say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t painful at all (minus the previously mentioned things that are still there and will never ever go away). In fact,
I kind of liked it.
The computer-generated characters – especially the droids – have a certain flatness to them in the original release. You watch it and you know it isn’t something “real.” They’re clearly added later. They lack visual depth, for some reason. Not so in the 3D version.
George Lucas has become known for having the subtlety of a sledge hammer. Now that he had a 3D world to play in, I was quite scared of having droids, rocks, ships, explosions, and only-God-knows-what-other-gimmicks “thrown” in my face. Fortunately, since this movie was retro-fitted for 3D viewing, there aren’t a lot of scenes that felt like I was being manipulated. I did hear one person complain after the movie that “There was nothing there that made it 3D.” I disagree. I was engaged the entire time. I just didn’t experience any gimmicks. That was a good thing.
And, for the first time, I think I really had fun watching the last 45 minutes or so of the movie. Yeah, there are some brutally awful parts of that sequence, but I still had fun watching it.
Is The Phantom Menace (3D) a masterpiece?
A stunning cinematic achievment?
Is it one of my favorite Star Wars movies now?
You’re kidding, right?
Was I glad I went?
Absolutely. But I did pay for a matinee. I’m not sure I would’ve been happy with paying full price. But I’m cheap like that.