For a movie that came out over ten years ago and was critically panned, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 3D looks pretty good on the big screen. I'm not going to waste any time on the film's story, as that has been covered in other reviews by myself and a multitude of others. What I'm going to focus on in this review is the 3D conversion which was hit-and-miss.
For the most part, the 3D conversion looked wonderful, albeit very subtle in most cases. I was excited to see the trip taken by Obi-Wan, Qui Gon, and Jar Jar Binks through the core of Naboo, but it was murkier and harder to distinguish in 3D than I expected. The podrace, a highlight from the first film for many people, looked very good, especially the explosions of a few of the pods themselves. The senate room had a lot of promise thanks to its massive size, but it lacked the punch I hoped for. The battle in the stars above Naboo looked brilliant, and made me that much more eager to see the Grievous/Skywalker/Kenobi space battle at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. If that battle comes out looking half as good as the one in Menace, it will be epic.
Darth Maul's presence was powerful in this film. He popped out of the screen with brilliant villainy. Perhaps it is just me, but I felt that his scenes got more attention as far as the 3D conversion is concerned. He appeared sharper and stood out more from the background than other characters did.
Scenes on Coruscant, which was made for 3D in my opinion, looked great, but not as stellar as expected.
To be quite honest, I was shocked at how slight the use of 3D technology was. It looked good, but I expected George Lucas to go a bit overboard. Instead, the viewer is given a fairly clean transfer of Menace, with almost no changes at all. In fact, the only change made to the film outside of its 3D conversion was the addition of a CGI Yoda in place of the puppet originally used in that film. That's one change that was actually for the better in the prequels.
Will I go see Attack of the Clones and the rest of the Star Wars films when they are released in theaters? You betcha. The primary reason I went to the theater to see this film again anyway was to watch my son see his heroes on the big screen for the first time. He's seen all of the Star Wars films, but never on a screen at the theater. His face lit up when the film began and he looked my way every time Darth Maul (his favorite prequels character) showed up on screen. He hummed the theme song all the way home and played Star Wars once we got home.
That's the best thing about Star Wars. No matter how cheesy some of it might be, it's a film series that you can enjoy with the entire family.
What did you think of this review?
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