I attended a packed midnight screening of The Phantom Menace last night. The Alpine Garrison of the 501st was out in force, my friends Jeff and Jimmy from The Big Movie Mouth-Off were on hand to officiate a costume contest, and I oversaw a trivia challenge. (The answer to the winning question was “Jaxxon.”)
It was a great event and a great night.
I was surprised to see as many little kids there as I did. Not because I thought little kids wouldn’t want to see it, but because even I left my kids home thinking it would be a waste of money to let them sleep through the movie. Hell, I was pretty confident I was going to fall asleep through it myself.
But it just goes to show that The Phantom Menace is still going strong.
As far as the actual movie is concerned, if you’re not already a fan of The Phantom Menace, there isn’t much about this release that’s going to change your mind. Unless you drop all your preconceptions and angst about what it wasn’t and just go in expecting to enjoy what it was, this release isn’t going to offer anything new for you.
For those of us who are fans and have been since day one, this is a great opportunity to see it on the big screen. I was wary of the 3D, but the conversion on these films was good. There was never a moment where I thought it was too overwhelming or too underwhelming, it seemed appropriate for the film.
Would I still rather just see it in 2D? Yes.
But I’m glad I’ve been able to see it in 3D. It really is like watching the movie for the first time again with a whole new layer added to it. It surprised me how much the shape of the sets and the set design really popped. The biggest winner in this conversion is Gavin Bocquet and his production design. The conversion made the sets and props almost seem tangible. If nothing else, they put on display the workmanship and creativity that went into them in a way that we’d never seen before.
This is certainly worth your time at least once. I’m going back (with the kids) to see it this evening and I couldn’t be more excited. They’ve never seen this film on the big screen and I can’t wait to see their reaction to it. My daughter has been begging for a couple of weeks to watch the Blu-ray of The Phantom Menace and I’ve staved her off, telling her we’d just wait for the big screen and now that the day is here, she can’t contain herself.
I’m doubly excited to see it again with with a refreshed head, not ready to fall asleep. And I’ll probably see it a few more times for good measure. It’s so hard to pass up a Star Wars movie on the big screen.
It is worth noting that it seems that in the 3D conversion process, they did significantly brighten the image of the film so that with the glasses on you’re not missing much of the original color or luminosity at all. That’s always a very frustrating thing when you’re watching a 3D film and I feel like Lucasfilm compensated for it beautifully.
The Phantom Menace 3D hits theatres today. If you like Star Wars, you’ll probably be there to see it. If you’re in the Salt Lake area, you might just see me there, too.