Hi peeps, Joel here with an extra special review of the new old Star Wars in 3D!
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (3D)
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman
Running time: 140 minutes
Age restriction: 10 MV
The Phantom Menace hasn’t really found a following over the years, neither has the entire prequel trilogy for that matter. There’s no getting around it, Episode I is the ugly duckling of the Star Wars saga…but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t entertaining. I won’t go into the story as I’m sure all of you must have some clue as to the first chapter of the series, if not, well then you might be the only one.
Episode 1 isn’t a particularly bad film, it just had the misfortune of being made when it was. Before Jar Jar’s debut film, Lucas had last directed A New Hope – that’s a whopping 22 years since the bearded one was in the directors seat. We all look back on Luke’s first adventure with much fondness but through these rose coloured lenses we fail to see the all the Star Wars chapters are just as campy as Episode 1. The Public accepted it back then because it’s what they were used to but on the verge of the 21st century people had become used to sensitive tales rendered with realism in both story and acting. Unfortunately Lucas as a director still lives in the ’70s but his idea of visuals always remained current. This is where it all fails but we have to enjoy it for what it is.
The draw card this time around is the 3D effect. I’m not mad about 3D for the most part, I’ve only seen a few films that have benefited from the effect. Thankfully the Phantom Menace uses it in a very practical way with George Lucas making sure that the 3D not only enhances the visuals but doesn’t destroy the film.
The effects are used well for the most part, with special attention going to the pod racing scene that just gets blown out the water with it’s hyperkinetic stereoscopic prowess. The 3D isn’t just emphasised in the action scenes though, Lucas and ILM add the effects albeit more subtly to the entire film ensuring that we get our money’s worth but not the eye strain. While it may be nearing it’s 15th anniversary, The Phantom Menace’s visual still hold up nicely and have only aged in slight but noticeable ways, the production values are still out of this world though.
Unless you haven’t seen it in cinema before or you’re a fan I can’t imagine the reason for a second viewing. Many kids and (subsequently) parents will be lining up for this but even with the added 3D it seems silly to put yourself through over 2 hours of Jar Jar Binks. However, the Pod racing is worth a look and it will probably be a while before you’ll get to see it in 3D on the home circuit. That said, the future of the rest of the Star Wars 3D conversion rides on the success of Episode 1 – if you want to see Luke kissing his sister and Obi-Wan taking one for the team again, you’ll have to get your ass to see this film now.
The Bottom Line
Star Wars is like wobbly marriage, you mostly remember the good parts but there are the rough patches and bitch slaps that leave their mark. In the end though it’s still a marriage and it is great to see it again. Sure the story isn’t as tight as the original trilogy but the ethos behind the whole shebang is just to enjoy the ride and not take it too seriously. Star Wars was made for big screen so go see it now before it returns for a special edition.