The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D


Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd

Yesterday "The Muppets" reminded me what a fun place a cinema auditorium can be, today this showed me it can also be depressing and soul destroying.
In order to put an eighteenth generation of his family through college, George Lucas now presents the "Star Wars" movies in 3D. All that jumps out of the screen is sheer unbridled cynicism, this is the worst 3D I've ever seen and that's saying a lot after some of the shoddy affairs Hollywood has thrown at us lately. 3D gives most people a headache and when it's your beloved "Star Wars" being butchered you'll have your heart broken too. The awful retro-fitting of 3D here makes everything look like it's made out of cardboard. Scenes involving actors standing in front of a greenscreen look exactly like that, it's akin to watching an intergalactic weather report.
I've been sitting on the fence regarding 3D but this has cemented my opinion, it's not just a gimmick, it's a scam, one which adds nothing to a film other than an extra few dollars on your ticket price.
Likewise I've been passive about Lucas, always giving him a bye for making my childhood so much richer, but no more. This man is ruining cinema! That might seem like an over-reaction but consider this; in 2005 at the ShoWest movie exhibitor’s convention in Las Vegas, he along with James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis made a presentation which ultimately convinced the owners of cinemas worldwide to switch from film projection to the digital alternative. The result of this has been the redundancy of thousands of projectionists across the world, skilled professionals, some who had been in the business so long as to have handled thick crispy 75mm prints of "Ben Hur". Now cinemagoers place their faith in IT specialists who control eighteen separate screens from one control room and think celluloid is something women get on their asses when they eat too much Haagen Dasz. The switch to digital was mainly to facilitate 3D but also to give more power to bearded butchers like the three mentioned. Some cinema chains literally "dial-up" Hollywood and stream the movie from a server somewhere in Silicon Valley. This gives the suits at the studios a scary amount of power. Let's say a movie is released with a downbeat ending, I'll use David Fincher's "Seven" as an example. It opens poorly on it's first weekend so the studio decide to give it a happy ending using footage the director was forced to shoot as a backup. See it on Friday and Paltrow's head is in a box, see it on Tuesday and she's walking off into the sunset with Brad Pitt.
As for the movie itself, it's in no way a good film but viewed in the context of the prequel trilogy it's watchable, I recommend the Blu-ray release from last year if you have to see it.
I've spent a fortune on "Star Wars" over the years and despite Lucas' constant tinkering they've always brought me joy but this is the end of the road. Should you go see this? To use a word Lucas seems all too fond of: Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!
1/10