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Movie Review: “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (in 3D)”

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“Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (in 3D)”

Grade: C

When I first heard that Star Wars would be returning to the big screen in its new 3-D format I instantly thought what many Star Wars fans were thinking: great, just another opportunity for George Lucas to whore out the Star Wars franchise and destroy our childhood memories of great films one rerelease after another. And I’ve got to admit Lucas did disappoint.

I’ve seen this movie many times and I really do enjoy it for the most part. But finally seeing it on the big screen for the first time, having missed it when it was released in 1999, I noticed something that I hadn’t before. “The Phantom Menace” has one major flaw and that is that the movie starts off very strong with an engaging story and interesting characters but halfway through the movie it looses its momentum and becomes a bit boring. We as viewers are plagued by an extremely long and unnecessary Pod Race scene and a trip to the city planet of Coruscant – all so that we can return to the starting point of the movie where once again the characters and story actually have some meaning. So why did that middle part really even need to happen? If you merely sat down and watched the beginning of the movie and the end you would be just as satisfied if you had sat through the whole thing.

The biggest problem for this rerelease however was not the story, which I’m sure has been picked apart many times before, but the 3-D aspect. I’ve seen many 3-D movies and have written reviews and columns about my feeling towards them and this time isn’t any different.

Three-D to me is still gimmicky and a waste of resources that could be used to produce new and original films instead of making the quick dollar on 3-D conversions. In the case of Episode 1, I would even go as far as to say that it made a good film very difficult to watch. There were several times when I could clearly see that the 3-D conversion process had either deteriorated the film quality to the point that the image became fuzzy or that it simply didn’t work at all. And in my opinion, if Episode 1 or any other Star Wars film does poorly at the box office in 3-D, than that will prove that 3-D films are a failure.

I love Star Wars, the films and the culture were a huge part of my childhood, but as a loyal Star Wars fan I don’t see the need to see the films in 3-D if it makes the viewing experience worse. Apparently other fans agreed with me, as the midnight showing that I went to didn’t even sell out. That’s something unheard of for a Star Wars release.

Did you agree with Nathan? Is 3-D wasted on Star Wars? Let us know what you thought in the comment section below.

 

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