STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D (Lucasfilm/ 20th Century Fox, 2012; Original theatrical release, 1999)
George Lucas has done a tremendous job reaching children, with the Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network and the bombardment of billboards on the commute to and from pre-school. My 5 year old son kept letting me know that this was coming out on February 10. I have passed the torch to my son, as well as the original 66 action figures from '78-83. (I quit after the first wave of Jedi (65) and mail-in Emperor (66). G.I. Joe seemed cooler to my then 10 year old self.)
CGI and 3-D are no longer anything special or extraordinary. Indeed, they are the norm and are expected to be spectacular, so the ooh and aah factor is non-existent for me. My son is still blown away by it, so perhaps I am jaded. The 3-D in this re-release is tastefully employed, but I have seen so many movies in 3-D that the novelty has long since worn off. It doesn't really add anything to the film, nor do the few added snippets and background things. Most folks would be hard pressed to tell the difference or notice them.
I saw this at the theatre 10 times during the original theatrical run. I loved it the first time that I saw it, and less and less with each subsequent viewing. Jar Jar Binks is the worst character in the Star Wars films, but my son loves him. I enjoyed it this time, though. It could be any number of reasons. I'm older and more mellow. My standards are lower. I enjoyed it because it was something that my son loves and I can share it with him. Maybe the film doesn't deserve the venom that middle aged basement dwellers have given it. I'm a sellout. You pick.
So is it worth leaving the house for to see again on the big screen? I thought so, and so did the near capacity crowd. I was shocked to see so many people come out to a 1PM Sunday afternoon showing. It was more like a Friday night crowd for a major release, sans rude people. The crowd was very civil and polite, and almost restored my faith in humanity. I am in for the remaining five movies in 3-D, ditto my son except for Episode 3. He is not ready for that one yet.
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