The Phantom Menace 3D (Movie Review) & Other Star Wars Rants

It was only a matter of time before FX guru and Star Wars creator George Lucas jumped on the 3D bandwagon. This past Friday, Episode I: The Phantom Menace made its arrival in theaters. With massive cardboard standups in cinemas months ago promoting the upcoming release/re-release, hopes were high that Lucas would deliver on the conflicted visual technology. At the end of the day, however, the only thing that was high was the ticket price.

I have said from its original release back in 1999 that The Phantom Menace (TPM) is great sci-fi but terrible Star Wars.  If you didn’t care for it then, the 3D release isn’t going to make you like it any more than you did 13 years ago.  Let’s cut to the chase.  The use of 3D here was nothing short of offensive.  It was dispicable and an epic fail at an attempt to use 3D on a mega-blockbuster such as Star Wars.  Basically, you are watching the Blu-ray release of TPM, which means minus the puppet Yoda and replace him with the much better CGI Yoda.  A lot of the visuals were cleaned up, but the 3D effects were lackluster at best.  They merely added minor subtle depth to the existing scenes while failing to provide that in-your-face sense that 3D is very capable of.

For a $13 ticket, I felt ripped off, plain and simple.  Sure, TPM is my least favorite of the six films, even though it has the best sword fight in Hollywood history, but the application of 3D here didn’t alleviate my woes with this movie at all.  It wasn’t even a laughable attempt, but rather, tear-inducing.  Shame on the team that worked on this movie and its supervisor.  When the best 3D effect in the film is the big ‘Lucasfilm’ marquee at the very beginning, that speaks extremely anemically for the rest of the film where the actual content is.  One word to sum this up…Booooooo.  If the capacity crowd of 7 (including me) in the screen I was in is any indicator for how TPM in 3D will do, well, it goes without saying that I predict poor returns at the box office for this film, which I wouldn’t even call 3D.

While we’re on the subject of Star Wars, let’s talk about George Lucas’ recent comments that he’s done making movies in lieu of the legions of fans tearing him down for his original trilogy additions and changes.  Yes, they are his films and he can certainly do whatever he wants with them, but who else does that and where do the changes end?  Star Wars topped my Blu-ray list for 2011 and I would never change that.  However, that doesn’t mean I can’t say I wasn’t 100% satisfied.  Let me put it to you this way.  Take a masterpiece painting in an art museum.  It has been there several decades and everyone truly admires it.  Then after 30 years or so, the artist takes it down and adds to that very same canvas.  Another stroke here, a new color there…what in the world would the original artist expect when fans say, “What the heck are you doing?”  I’m not saying that’s right or wrong or good or bad, and yeah, it’s his or her painting and they can do whatever they want to it, but now what made it great has been paved over, at least partially, and that original feel is no longer present.  That’s not opinion, that’s reality.

Sylvester Stallone acknowledges that movie-making is part creative process from yourself and part for the fans (hence his comments on Rocky V when he said he screwed up and should’ve listened to the fans).  After all, unless you’re Howard Hughes and have near endless amounts of cash to make sub-par pictures, you need to make something people want to see.  Otherwise, what’s the point of making the movie?  Lucas is a pioneer in the film industry and created some of my all-time favorite films like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and American Graffiti, and while it’s too late now, he needs or needed to recognize and listen to his fans.  That goes for any business and movie making is indeed a business.  If all Why So Blu readers wanted more music postings, why would we as the content providers not listen simply because it’s our site?  Sure, critics will always exist in any capacity, but why go out of your way to scare everyone off?





6 Responses to “The Phantom Menace 3D (Movie Review) & Other Star Wars Rants”

  1. Brian White

    The images in this review are more 3-Dimensional than this theatrical release. Haha!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    …and then it opens to $20+ million at the box office, as part of a record February weekend.

  3. Matt Goodman

    In my theater, I hated that:
    – The audience clapped when Anakin won the pod race
    – The audience clapped when Jar Jar and the other lizard race beat the droids
    – The audience clapped at the end
    – I actually paid extra for 3D
    – Nobody clapped for Liam Neeson
    – NOBODY clapped for Liam Neeson

    Otherwise it was pretty good!

  4. Brian White

    How did you like the 3D, Matt?
    I will clap for Liam right now. Feel better?
    Is the 3D worth it? Movie aside, was the 3D of quality? Or was it just on par with just being a little deeper in visual terms?

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    What’s wrong with clapping at the Pod Race?

  6. Matt Goodman

    The 3D was awful. Took my glasses off multiple times throughout, couldn’t notice a difference. I’m pretty sure they didn’t do anything with the parts with Yoda, as no difference was found.