They must not have 3D in Switzerland, because nobody seems to be neutral about it. I will completely agree it’s been overused, abused, shoddily applied to unnecessary films, but I also believe it has its place. Despite mixed opinions about its narrative and message, Avatarlooked gorgeous in Cameron’s 3D cameras. Even the converted Thor benefitted, adding a layer of wonder to the Asgard sequences. The concerns about converting classic films – “ruining” them – are understandable, but come on… Spielberg patterned Indiana Jones after the old cheesy pulp serials of the 30s and 40s: can you honestly tell me that giant boulder rolling at you in 3D wouldn’t make for a fun cinema revisit with a bunch of friends? (Just make sure to follow Indy’s advice and close your eyes when the ark is opened in 3D. I won’t be held responsible.)
Citizen Kane doesn’t need to be in 3D, we can all agree. But an X-Wing roaring down a narrow trench to put a proton torpedo into a thermal exhaust port that’s only two meters wide just begs for it. I think the fan frustration with the 3D conversion of the Star Wars films stems more from all the other tampering and outright ruination George Lucas has done with his once-great movies. If the only “special edition” he’d ever done was add some 3D conversion, we’d thank the Maker and happily watch a 3-dimensional Han shoot Greedo first over and over again. The asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back, the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi… the list goes on and on. So much of the film is throwing things at you, if 3D had been in vogue back in the late 70s/early 80s I’d wager George would have done it.
Sadly, it’s not the original films that will be bursting through the screens anytime soon. The Phantom Menace (or The Fandom Menace, as I and many like to call it) is menacing theaters first, followed by the other prequels faster than you can say roger-roger. I’m uncertain whether I’ll revisit the first three films in the theater, since I personally think Tauntauns carry less stench, but sooner or later the originals will come out and I’ll make the jump to hyperspace.
George Lucas cross-pollinated fantasy films, spaghetti westerns and Greek myths into a hybrid that has now won the hearts of multiple generations. As a Christian, and a “Star Wars Baby” (perhaps a more apropos term for my age group then “Generation X”) I can’t help but reflect on the impact these films have made on peoples lives, and mine in particular. In light of that, I thought it would be interesting to revisit Star Wars with a multi-part piece on The Force, Anakin Skywalker, and the theme of redemption that courses through the films. The Phantom Menace hits theaters February 5th, but “The Phantom Message” hits Cinemagogue tomorrow with part one: Confessions of a Star Wars Junkie.