Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review: Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace (3D)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D  poster

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (3D)
136 mins / Dir. George Lucas

I'm a little lost for words here, largely because I can't objectively review a film I've loved for the last thirteen years, but also because you, dear reader, have already made up your mind about going to see The Phantom Menace in the cinema.

Most people don't like The Phantom Menace. I'm not most people. I've written about why I love it here, so the rest of this post will be about the 3D conversion…

I'll be honest, I wasn't holding up much hope. The only time I'd seen the tPM3D trailer in actual 3D, it's so fast-cut that you don't really get any sense of depth, and I was worried that the conversion on the film would result in the decoupage-effect. Real-D is a system that works best for animation, not live-action (however CGI-enhanced it is), and movies that have been converted to the format from a 2D shoot are notoriously ropey.

With the best will in the world, 3D really is just a gimmick; not a reason for going to see a film in the cinema, just an enhancement. If it's done well.

In my humble and often misguided opinion, The Phantom Menace falls into that category. I liked the 3D; there's plenty of it and for the most part it works very well (although I couldn't get on with the Otoh Gunga underwater sequences). A common occurrence with conversion is that in the quieter scenes, you can lift up your glasses and the image on the screen isn't actually 'three dimensional'. tPM is constantly in 3D at some level, which I appreciate. It gives a sense of depth to all the scenes and isn't overbearing. And because the movie was made without people waving things at the screen, there's only one moment that looks deliberately 'Ooh! 3D!'

The standout sequence in the movie is the podrace. I've never been a fan of that, so anything that can make me actually enjoy it has to be good, in my book. The final saber fight looks great, but not really because of the enhancements. Most of the movie wasn't really shot to accentuate the extra dimension, so there's not a lot you can do about that.

At this point, I don't know if the 3D version will get a home release, and it's too early to tell if this experiment has been successful enough to get Attack of the Clones released at this time next year. I guess we'll see.

Ultimately, this project means that I can go to the cinema and see Star Wars again. That's all I want. I don't mind that it's in Real-D, and I wouldn't mind if it wasn't.

What can I tell you? I love Star Wars.
But you knew that already.


Phantom Menace 3D: Midnight showing! Well, 00:31, but the point still stands...

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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