It Lives!

I went to the midnight screening of TPM 3D last night. There was a nice sized crowd for a re-release weekday winter show. The place was 3/4 filled at least, with most people staking out their prime viewing territory at least 30 minutes before lights out. The crowd was in a good mood and mostly in their 20s. Apparently they misplaced the memo that they’re supposed to hate this movie.

The screen I saw it in wasn’t great. It was one of those dim 3D screens that muted down the vibrancy and brightness. It was like watching the movie, well, with sunglasses on. Too dark. But that’s the theater’s fault. I recommend you search out the best screen available for this.

The 3D conversion was WAY better than I’D expected. As others have said, it isn’t gimmicky but it puts you in the movie. The depth is layered and it brings the landscapes to life. The spaceship cockpit shots are really a highlight because space is now “out there” — you feel like you’re traveling in a void. That’s cool. I only wish George had put a POV hyperspace shot in the movie. That’s going to ROCK in ANH 3D!!! Coruscant, Naboo and Tatooine all feel like real places.

As for the digital characters, like Watto, Sebulba and Jar Jar, they’re now objects in the space. They walk around objects, characters touch them — they’re part of the reality rather than something matted in. The digital Yoda is terrific, especially when his head turns and his ear points out toward you. Way cool.

As for the movie itself, what you love about TPM you will LOVE. When this movie works, it WORKS! The pod race is outstanding in 3D. Again, it’s not so much in-your-face 3D as it puts you in the action. You’re in the cockpit, the soundtrack is pumping and the intensity is ramped up, up, up! The same is true for the Naboo battle, space battle and Maul fight. The movie just envelops you and you’re on a ride until the end. Say what you will about other parts of the film, but in its strongest moments TPM is Star Wars at its best. That being said, what people don’t love about TPM they probably won’t love any more here. The Oota Gunga scenes drag, though the 3D is impressive. The Nute Gunray scenes still seem stilted. Jar Jar is still Jar Jar — though there were laughs at the appropriate places, such as when he’s zapped in the energy beams.

The biggest surprise was that at the end of the movie, at 2:30 am, the credits rolled and the crowd clapped. Spontaneous applause for a 13-year old movie that self-appointed cinema anarchists have worked relentlessly to kill. Walking out, there were smiles and snippets of “that was cool” and “awesome” and “sweet.” The Phantom Menace 3D brings Star Wars to life. Tomorrow I’m taking the kids and living it again through their eyes.

Cool. Awesome.

Sweet.

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4 Responses to It Lives!

  1. taffysaur says:

    i saw it the other day, the 3d transfer is amazing. you pretty much forget you’re watching 3d after a while, you’re simply immersed. the cockpit scenes stuck out for me too, as well as environmental stuff like couruscant (the scene w/obi-wan + qui-gon on the balcony at sunset was *breathtaking*) + the swim to otoh gunga.
    i did get to see it in a great theatre, + even the glasses were compensated for. if it weren’t so naturally + unavoidably uncomfortable because i have to wear my regular glasses underneath, i would have forgotten i was wearing them.
    it’s awesome that everyone liked it. i’ve always loved tpm unreservedly; i love otoh gunga + nute gunray + jar jar’s one of my favourite characters. i loved seeing him in 3d. i’m as glad as ever that he’s in the movie.
    can’t wait ’til anh either, i’ve never seen the ot in theatres (was born the month after rotj’s release + missed the special editions’ few-month run). the death star trench will be something to see in 3d, but either way just seeing a print this clear, on that big a screen (we saw it on the xtremescreen; from the moment it started + our entire field of vision was consumed by the starscape + the crawl started floating out in front of us we knew this would be something amazing), w/the sound that loud + crisp is enough to get me (over-)excited. the 3d is gravy.

  2. lazypadawan says:

    I forgot to mention in my review how great digital Yoda looked, with his ears pointing right at you. In fact all of the digital characters looked better and more believable than ever. They did an excellent job.

  3. tatooinesand says:

    Woohoo!! I watched it and I LOVED it!! I never watched it on the big screen before, and it looks fantastic!! I didn’t think it’s possible to love this movie even more but I do now! It’s just all kinds of AMAZING!

    Can’t wait to watch it again tomorrow.

  4. There was applause for the opening crawl and the credits – seeing a full house give ‘directed by George Lucas’ an ovation in 2012 is something I’ll never forget. The transfer itself was absolutely spellbinding, like looking into an enormous moving diorama. And it didn’t hurt that The Phantom Menace is my favourite Star Wars film. From beginning to end I had the same big goofy grin plastered across my face as the six year-old a row back.

    Planning to go again before the week is out. The opening crawl alone is worth the price of admission!