It’s no easy thing to review a movie that has been out for over ten years. Anything that could be said about the Phantom menace has been said and then said again. The way it alters our perceptions of the original trilogy, whether there are buried racist themes throughout the narrative? How much better would the movie have been without Jar-Jar Binks? Or can George Lucas direct? These are questions that have all been debated and endlessly rehashed.
It really falls to me then to help you answer only one question, ‘is the 3D re-release of the phantom menace worth the price of admission’. The answer is yes!
Okay you probably would like some reasons. The truth is the added 3D effects bring very little to the table. Lucas Arts has added a few new scenes that take advantage of the possibilities that 3D provides and has digitally enhanced a few others. Pod Racers give off considerable more debris in this re-release for example and Lucas Arts has done a good job of making it fly at you through the screen. Still for the most part the movie is unaltered from its original and for large swathes of the movie the 3D effect is little more than a subtle addition of slight depth. I’m actually of the opinion that even movies that have been shot with the intention of 3D in mind are seldom improved over their 2D counterparts and the Phantom Menace was never shot with the third dimension in mind and so little opportunity is present to maximise its addition.
So why do I think this re-release is such a great thing then? It’s Star Wars! I hate to sound like a rep for the cinemas, as they coined the phrase, ‘but it’s better on the big screen’. For those of us which aren’t Hollywood A list celebrities or who had no part in building up the Microsoft brand this may be the last opportunity of our lifetime to experience the star wars films on the big screen. The truth of the matter is this, for those a bit older amongst us nostalgia is going to play a big part in why we enjoy this experience. For the younger it’s a chance to maybe experience the Star Wars Saga for the first time or at least to see it on the big screen. Even better this is one of those few movies that you can take your children, younger siblings, niece or nephew too and when it’s over it will be an experience you both enjoyed.
So new to the Saga or old time fan come February 10th head on out your local cinema, grab a big box of popcorn, a large coke don’t forget the little munchkins if you know any and have a good time. Try to imagine Jar-Jar was digitally edited out of the film if you can, but sadly he is still with us.