It hadn’t started well. The Phantom Menace seemed too quirky a title, however the cast was good – Ewan McGregor as a young Alec Guinness, Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman were on board and Ian McDiarmid turning up to reprise his role as Palpatine.
And then there was Jar-Jar…
In many ways The Phantom Menace was a tipping point in our collective pop culture. Never before was the maxim ‘When the Gods want to punish you, they give you what you want’ more appropriate and we stumbled out of the cinema a little older, far wiser and wondering if The Matrix was still playing across the road.
Years later, and the trilogy complete, The Phantom Menace takes the stage once again, this time in 3D, and while the extra dimension was never going to change the film in any epiphanic way, it’s a shame that the 3D adds nothing to the film. For those who took issue with the film in 1999 you’ll find that time has not been kind and a dull curiosity may tempt you back into the cinema but the numerous problems of the film will always weigh this film down.
The final light sabre duel still looks great, though riddled with narrative oddities, and there’s no doubting that Darth Maul is an excellent addition to the Sithsphere, but the bloodless Jedi characters and feckless narrative drive are still like cinematic molasses. Dave commented during the early part of the film, ‘zzzzzzzzz’.
The 3D post conversion varies wildly in quality, adding nothing save for one soaring shot of a floating platform high above the surface of Coruscant which induces a moment of stomach-churning vertigo. The pod race has its moments when the vast engines of the racers loom large over the manically paced background but these are sparse exceptions to the rule.
This is not Clash of the Titans/Viewmaster bad 3D, but it is a far cry from what we’ve seen so far of James Cameron’s Titanic 3Ding which is due out in April.
Perhaps this conversion will set a new standard and the subsequent Star Wars episodes will make use of 3D, and I can’t deny I’m curious about seeing how the original trilogy will look in 3D but this isn’t the best advert for the process, nor will it convince many that the addition of a third dimension is anything more than another money spinner.
And The Muppets is out today. I think you know what to do.