Star Wars in 3D? Not for all the shampoo on Kashyyyk
If I promise to stop watching Star Trek, will that convince Lucas to finally stop messing with Star Wars? I'd never stop watching my Trek, but I'd promise just about anything just to get Lucas to finally realize that he already made and released these movies and move on to some other franchise he can completely screw up and make fanboys hate.
Not that Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace was that much of a masterpiece to begin with, but come on!
This time there are two primary things to talk about. Obviously there's the conversion to 3D. Now regular readers know that I've tried so hard to keep my views of 3D conversion to myself, right? (Like here or here or here) But there's also the fact that, apparently Lucas felt that the presence of a puppet in his opus was nothing short of a fish-slap to the nether regions of his ego, and he's now inserted a CG Yoda in place of the puppet that was originally used.
Anyway, for those of you who need a synopsis, The Phantom Menace is a story about a young boy who dreamed of great things. Then he grew up and made one of the most iconic science fiction movie trilogies ever. Then, out of the blue, sixteen years later and apparently on a drunken bet to prove that his fans would swallow any lump of crap he force fed them, he turned around and made a prequel to his previous movies and lo and behold he did rake in the dough and did fill his swimming pool with it and he said, "I know! How about a crystal skull?"
More seriously, I don't think The Phantom Menace is a terrible movie on its own. It just doesn't compare to the original trilogy. And like it or not, that's a fair criticism and it ends up bringing down the rating.
Now, concerning the 3D here, I will simply say, "No!" It really adds little to no value for most of the movie. About 90% of the time, the image depth is barely more than that of a 2D movie. There are 3 primary distances that objects and people are placed in: Medium, slightly closer than medium, and slightly further than medium. Every once in a while there's something that passes close by the camera and you're reminded "Oh yeah. This movie's supposed to be in 3D. Look at that."
But remember this. Even when the 3D conversion is working at its best, you're still stuck watching The Phantom Menace.
That being said, it's one of the generally better 3D conversions I've seen. In other conversions, blurred objects gave the filmmakers no end of trouble. This one handles them well enough that they don't have that odd halo of dimensional distortion around them.
But since it's a Star Wars movie, there's another problem they have to deal with: holograms. Whenever they're talking with someone in a hologram, the hologram is being projected into the middle of the room, but you can also see through it to the wall opposite the camera. In converting that image into 3D, it ends up creating a very unusual distortion of that far wall.
3D conversion just doesn't work.
I'd love to see a Star Wars movie in 3D. Rather, one that was actually shot for 3D. You could really do some amazing stuff with it. This is not it.
This one gets a 6 / 10 from me.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is rated PG for action violence.