Despite George Lucas’s best efforts to suck the life out of the Star Wars saga through re-releases with minor “improvements,” “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D” is surprisingly a joy to watch.

Set thirty years before “Episode IV- A New Hope,” “The Phantom Menace” tells the origin story of Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), the virgin-birthed messiah prophesied to bring balance to the force.

Aside from pint-sized heroics, “The Phantom Menace” also introduces the droid armies of the Trade Federation and the nefarious Darth Sidious.

The journey begins with negations between the Trade Federation and Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Before the opening credits have filtered off, the screen of diplomacy deteriorates in a squall of blaster fire. Hokey religions prevail and the Jedi escape to Naboo, where they must then rescue the hostage Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) and restore peace to the galaxy.

If this so far sounds suspiciously like the plot of “Episode IV – A New Hope,” then you’ve been paying attention to your pop culture.

“The Phantom Menace” is not so much the exercise in myth building that the previous films were, but rather an excuse to reintroduce a younger generation to the fantasy epic. By redoing the films in 3D, yet another set of kids is indoctrinated into the fold.

Star Wars and the 3D fad were bound to collide one day, but who knew the result could be so spectacular. Watching a ship jump to hyper speed in 3D will make you feel like the little kid who first rooted for Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia in the original trilogy.

The depth of field offered by 3D makes all ship based scenes seem tangible. Pod racing in particular is given new vibrancy through this technique. Throughout these scenes, you truly feel as if you’re in the cockpit with Anakin Skywalker. Every hairpin turn and magnificent blowout comes at you with the force of a rampaging Wookie.

Even more mundane encounters like Jar Jar Binks’s return to the underwater Gungan city have renewed grandeur with 3D imaging. It feels as if you can get up and walk through the translucent bubble domes that comprise the city.

While the 3D treats are mouth watering, this re-release has none of the bonus content that previous Star Wars releases have had. The lack of new content will bother diehard fans looking for a new experience from the galaxy far, far away, while new fans will swoon at the ways of the force.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.