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Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace 3D: Movie Review

By tvnz.co.nz's Darren Bevan

Published: 12:49PM Tuesday February 07, 2012

  • Star Wars Episode One - The Phantom Menace - 3D

Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace - 3D

Rating: See below

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid

Director: George Lucas

So, the Lucasfilm cash cow finds another avenue to use the Force for financial income.

With marketing posters splashing the word 3D everywhere, it's clear that this is another chance to enjoy the saga in a re-versioned form.

For those who've forgotten the Phantom Menace, it's the story of how a trade routes war forces two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and Obi Wan (McGregor) into negotiations on behalf of Naboo and its oppressed inhabitants.

But their intervention uncovers a wider conspiracy and a return to darker times as evil forces rally&

It's fair to say that Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace - 3D isn't the best of the franchise, but this re-release signals the fact Lucasfilm's polishing up the rest of the series for a 3D release, which, to be frank, many fans will be excited for.

The 3D in this - is to be honest, a little hit and miss.

Sure, the opening space scenes and dogfights benefit from a greater depth - but there's little new to add to a film which was made 12 years ago with improved CGI. Maybe the powers that be have gone for a more subtle approach with the re-versioning with a few tweaks here and there that aren't radically noticeable (though it'll be interesting to see what the original series, made in the 1970s, looks like in 3D) and won't set your world alight.

The Jedi fights with Darth Maul have a bit more life and depth though with this rendering; but it has to be said, 3D or not, Jar Jar Binks is still incredibly annoying.

Interestingly enough, I think there will be another generation of fans who will flock to watch this simply because they've never seen it on the big screen; and sure, it's fair to say, confused story aside, this is still an iconic film and sounds sensational with its stunning score.

But in terms of whether it's better for the 3D re-release, to my mind, I don't think so - the pod racing sequence is still breathtaking and while it may have a little more depth, it has nothing majorly new to offer - regardless of whether more debris is flying out of the screen.

Ultimately though, I think the Star Wars fans should have the say on this - Darrin, a die hard Star Wars fan, father of two Star Wars fans and somewhere in his 40s, and his 18 year old son Connor. We also had teen Jackson along too, but he's missing somewhere in space after the whole experience.

Darrin rates the 3D transfer 4/10 - and while he loved the whole experience of Star Wars back on the big screen and the sound, felt it was a little lacking in spectacle. "It was a pleasure seeing the film on the big screen, with the movie sound system. The 3D was a bonus attachment to the movie but not the driving force to go and see it."
He says if you want to see the movie because it's in 3D, don't go but adds: "If you want to see it because you've never seen it on the big screen, it's a must."

Connor (18) goes for a 5/10, saying: "The 3D looks cool, but the main attraction here was not seeing the digitally remastered Star Wars, it was seeing Star Wars on the big screen - for the first time in the case of some. The 3D certainly looked impressive, but since the Phantom Menace is still a reasonably modern movie made with cutting edge tech, it couldn't add too much.  One notable big improvement was the perception of space, which appeared with far more depth and on the big screen certainly carried a certain sense of vastness that wasn't as evident in 2D."

Somewhat perceptively he adds: "The original trilogy will, in my opinion, do far better at the box office because of the vast pool of middle aged fanboys who want their sons and daughters to be as obsessed with Star Wars as they were and because with such old SFX, the transfer to 3D will be far more noticeable."

Jackson (12) has probably watched the Phantom Menace about 30 times, but always on the small screen. He says the chance to watch it on a big screen was more attractive than the 3 D element.
Unlike Avatar, in which he says the 3D was great to the end. Seeing it in the theatre was brilliant though, and he'd go and watch other Star Wars films at the cinema. Best thing was the sound, which shook the place. 3D was "horrible" though in his view...

Overall average rating - 4/10

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