I must preface this article with an admission: I am a Star Wars fanatic.
My opinions are obviously a bit biased, and if you are questioning whether or not to go see the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D, let me give you some advice: GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
Take the kids. Take your parents. Take your girlfriend, boyfriend, babysitter, imaginary friend or even your dog if you can get away with it.
Now to actually tell you about the movie: The plot, characters and settings are all the same. I wish I could tell you that Jar Jar Binks and the Gungans got cut out — but I can’t. Another let down was that my very high hopes of seeing lightsabers and starships pop out around me in 3D were sadly underwhelmed.
Even the podracing event — an amazing feat for special effects when the movie was released in 1999 — was incredibly underwhelming. George Lucas has always been on the cutting edge of special effects technology, but his implementation of 3D only added a little depth to his rich world. It didn’t bring it off the screen. (To be honest, I’m pretty sure 3D is a letdown no matter what movie you see).
If you have never seen the The Phantom Menace extended edition or remastered version, then there are some treats for you in the new movie. The second lap of the podrace actually has a few events to go in between the first and third laps.
Also, the awful Yoda puppet has been replaced with the CGI Yoda from Episode II — which looks immensely better. A couple other alien characters got a CGI makeover as well. The movie was also made less ‘choppy’ by these new additions because it added more scenes of starships or speeders traveling about at the end of a movie sequence, keeping the scenes better connected.
The greatest advocate for going to see The Phantom Menace in 3D is that it was an awesome experience. The atmosphere of the movie theatre was mixed with the child-like excitement of Star Wars fans from five to 50. It is an experience for everyone — families, teens and even the lightsaber-wielding Star Wars fanatic (I greatly appreciate these Star Wars devotees but I have yet to join the costumed ranks).
All in all, the experience and atmosphere alone are enough to give any movie-lover a reason to see this newest re-making of the Star Wars saga. Events from the first release are still inspiring: podracing, lightsaber battles, etc. And I’m going to indulge my nine-year-old self and say that the scene where Darth Maul throws back his hood and ignite a double-bladed lightsaber … well its took Star Wars to an amazingly new level.
In the end, that is what Star Wars is all about. That burst of excitement and amazement in seeing the most incredible and creative fuel for imagination. And Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D continues that immersion into an awesome new world.
Adam Sharpnack is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW