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The Phantom Menace is more fun in 3D

Contributing Writer

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

It's been almost 13 years since Star Wars, Episode I was released in theaters. Depending on how old you were at the time (context: I was nine), your opinion on this movie is either that it was great, or that it was terrible. If you were under 12 at the time, I'd wager that you loved it. Why? Because it was perfect for kids. It had a hero our own age, a cute girl, childish humor, amazing effects, and tons of action.  

Now you're wondering: Why should I consider seeing this again?

Quick plot refresher first: The movie is a prequel to the original three films, set when Darth Vader was little Anakin Skywalker, a slave boy on the planet of Tatooine.

We first meet Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) in an attempt to negotiate with the Trade Federation, which has launched a hostile takeover of the planet of Naboo.

The two Jedis meet up with the young Queen of Naboo (Natalie Portman), and they escape the planet together in a ship, but not before taking on damage. They're forced to land on Tatooine to fix the ship, where they meet Anakin.

Oh, and before leaving Naboo they pick up an annoying character named Jar Jar Binks, who is one of the main reasons everybody hated this movie.

So that's the plot, or at least the general plot (I realized as I was typing how complicated it is). Let's talk positives first.

If you saw this movie in the theater, you probably remember how amazing it looked. The effects at the time were revolutionary, and I was very pleased to see that they don't look dated, even 13 years later. It's a credit to Industrial Light and Magic, the effects company, that their work still inspires awe and appreciation after all this time.

Every aspect of the film, from the thrilling speeds and terrain of the podrace, to the rooms of the palaces, the space battles, and even the CGI aliens, still look absolutely incredible.

The 3D really enhances it even further, and was never too distracting.  Another thing that never fails to impress are the lightsaber duels.

The finale of this movie was just incredible. I remember watching it as a kid and being completely in awe, and that same feeling returned again upon watching the re-release. George Lucas' world is still as visually stunning as ever, and is in fact made better by the addition of 3D.

The catch, as usual, is the horrendous writing. Lucas has never been able to write dialogue. The conversations were painful to watch, as the actors struggle to do their job because of the terrible lines.

Watching it as a kid, you don't really notice that stuff. I have to wonder now whether the kid who played Anakin would have been less over-dramatic if he'd gotten some good lines and better directing.

As it stands, he's kind of funny to watch now, the things they make him say are rather ridiculous, but it could have been an entirely different movie if his character had been well-acted, or even just a few years older.

So, why should you see this movie? Because it's fun. I had a good time seeing it, and remembering when I saw it as a kid. There's really nothing like seeing a movie in a real theater, and Star Wars especially is a series meant to be viewed on a big screen.


3/4 stars

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