Juice boxes, carrots, stuffed animals, and Star Wars. That pretty well sums up my childhood. I am blessed to have grown up in a house where my dad appreciated the classics from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, to Lawrence of Arabia, to the original Star Wars trilogy. Obviously the first two didn’t come until I was 10 or so, but the first time I saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was in 1996, at the age of 5 years old. I was hooked.
Growing up, we had the old school VHS trilogy box set – produced before George Lucas lost his mind and started altering the films. I must have watched at least two of them each and every week with little exception for years. By the time I turned 8, I was such a big fan that I would have marathons with friends, watching the whole trilogy in one sitting. You can imagine, then, my childish excitement when I found out that a new Star Wars movie was to be released in May of 1999.
I only vaguely remember actually seeing The Phantom Menace in theaters, but I certainly remember the following three years leading to the release of Episode II. As each movie came out, it would be added to my list of regularly watched films, and to this day I watch about one Star Wars film a month, usually flipping a coin to decide which one. The original trilogy is of course my favorite, and I now own an original unedited widescreen-edition box set on VHS, as well as the new trilogy on DVD. I boycotted the BluRay release of the films, because they came along with Lucas’ third round of edits on the original trilogy; an abomination in my view.
Of the new trilogy, Episode 1 is certainly my favorite – as it clung to more of its roots than did Episodes II and III – and while I might try to assassinate George Lucas if he attempted Episodes IV-VI in 3D, I think it’s a perfectly welcome change to the new trilogy. I was therefore pretty excited to find out that Episode I would be showing in theaters in 3D, and went to the midnight premier with my brother and two friends (my brother is the only person I’ve ever met who can challenge my knowledge of Star Wars).
We showed up at 10:20pm for the midnight showing, not knowing if it would be empty, or packed with costume wearing fans. As it turns out, the 3D premier of a 13-year-old movie doesn’t attract a crowd, even if it is Star Wars. This was especially evident when they didn’t want to let us past the ticket booth so early. When I spoke to the manager, he looked at me like Jar Jar Binks had just walked into his movie theater and asked us why the hell we were so early. I said, ‘to use the arcade for a bit’ – so as not to have to admit to my level of fanaticism – and that’s what we did. A few rounds or Buck Hunter and a lot of smart phone games later, the movie started.
I had been a bit apprehensive going into the movie. I was worried that wouldn’t translate well into 3D, since it wasn’t filmed that way, but it was superb. Even at the beginning of the movie, while you’re adjusting to the 3D, it was great. It added a lot of depth (no pun intended) to the movie and really added to the feeling of complete immersion in what was going on. A number of my favorite scenes were definitely enhanced by the 3D effect, and I stopped consciously thinking about the effect after about 20 minutes. By far my favorite 3D moment was actually at the very end of the movie, during the parade on Naboo. There are flower pedals raining from the sky and the 3D effect was extremely prevalent with them. Because they appear to be fluttering and flipping in the air, it is hard to track them with your eyes. This makes them appear very real and life-like, leading to that scene actually seeming the most real.
I highly recommend that skeptical Star Wars fans see Episode I in 3D, as well as II and III when the come out. If however IV, V, and VI are released in 3D, bare in mind… you are not a true fan of the films if you subject yourself to such blasphemy. I certainly won’t be.