Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3D Review

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victorville) The pop culture phenomenon known as Star Wars has run rampant since the first film released in 1977, where lightsabers and star ships captured the imagination of the world. From special edition film releases that populated the 90’s, the franchise dared to create something new from the Star Wars universe, and thus the prequels trilogy was born. In 1999, the first film from this new trilogy, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was met with mixed reactions, as the rest of the new films were.  Now in 2012, The Phantom Menace is back in 3D: is it worth the revisit to land of Jedi, Sith and the Force?

For the few who haven’t seen The Phantom Menace, I will try my best to explain the film without giving away anything: the story takes place when Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), the future Darth Vader, is just a kid living with his mom on a desert planet. His world changes when the Jedi Qui-Gon  (Liam Neeson) and Obi Wan (Ewan McGregor), along with the planet Naboo’s Queen, Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) land on the young Vader’s planet. Of course, a meeting ensues that sets the to be Jedi on the path to destruction and in the end, redemption. The antagonists of the film are the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid), as well as his dual lightsaber wielding apprentice, Darth Maul (Ray Park).  Of course, the Jedi and Sith battle in grand fashion, causing events that lead up to the original trilogy we have all come to love.

The film has a lot of politics mixed in, a little too much if you ask me. The highlight of the film has been, and remains, the showdown between the two Jedi and the Sith warrior Maul. The lightsaber battle, in my opinion, is the best lightsaber clash out of all the films. Fast paced, high energy, and epic in scope, the fight alone is worth any of the slow parts of the film, or parts that leave you wondering why, like Jar Jar Binks. I am a Star Wars fan, but I have no problem saying that the Phantom Menace is a flawed film. The reason for this re-release is the addition of the 3D, so how did the effects enhance the enjoyment of the film?

When it comes to 3D in films these days, a film usually falls into one of three categories: underwhelmed, overdone or a perfect balance. This film falls happily right near the perfect balance, to where the effect is subtle but extremely well done. Not one part of the film has the feeling that something is “flying” out from the screen, but just about all the scenes have that added depth to them, giving a nice layered effect. Though some may be disappointed by the lack of eye popping 3D, this is a well-done film conversion, and should be looked upon with such honors.

The feelings you have for this film won’t change with this release, but the way you look at it should. Seeing a Star Wars film on the big screen is something all should partake in, whether it is the original trilogy or the prequels. The lightsaber battle, the iconic Darth Maul, and the beginning to the whole Skywalker lineage are reasons enough to see it, and the 3D conversion is one more reason to make sure you catch it while it’s still at theaters.

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