The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday June 27th

Characters still fall ?at in Star Wars 3D

With the change in the dynamics of movie making and the improvements in special effects, “Star Wars: Episode I ­— The Phantom Menace,” was expected to be a film of great magnitude.

Yet greater than the emergence of a new film in the Star Wars saga is the reappearance of the same film featured in 3D.

MOVIE REVIEW

Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace 3D

Dive Verdict: 2 of 5 stars

Coming out years after the original Stars Wars trilogy, “Episode I” had a lot to live up to in order to be as extraordinary as its predecessors.

Thirteen years from its original release, “The Phantom Menace” has been brought back into theaters to be seen by a plethora of new viewers who have never experienced the world of Star Wars.

“The Phantom Menace” follows the story of the Galactic Republic. More specifically, the film follows the struggle occurring on the planet of Naboo: the blockade of space ships inhibiting any form of trade by the planet and the eminent invasion by the Trade Federation.

To resolve the brouhaha resulting from these turn of events, the Jedi Council sends two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), to the aid of Naboo’s ruler, Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). Their journey leads them to a foreign planet, where they run into young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) as well as many more perils.

The movie consists of only two examples of brilliant acting — from Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor — compared to the poor attempts at “acting” by Natalie Portman and other stars.

Even though there was no change in the unfortunately flat characters, by re-releasing the film in 3D, director George Lucas was able to see his creation brought back into the view of the public in a manner never before seen in any of the previous movies of the saga.

“The Phantom Menace” in 3D presents itself with a new opportunity to change the bland and sterile ambiance that encompassed the movie when it first came out in 1999. The 3D effects in the movie were done very well compared to other 3D movies, but fall short of the experience that “The Phantom Menace” truly deserves.

In the application of 3D, Lucas was attempting to turn his sci-fi epic into something much greater — a legend. With the new array of color and sound that comes from the 3D effects, “The Phantom Menace” was designed to reveal a new movie with better scenes that are much more attuned to the eyes and ears of the viewer.

The reemergence of “The Phantom Menace” falls into the long line of movies that have been re-released in 3D: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Titanic and more. In all likelihood, this is just another profit-driven re-release. But it’s not like fans don’t want it — the film grossed $64 million in its opening weekend (eerily close to the 1999 debut).

The question that comes to mind is whether or not a movie should be seen in 3D solely due to the fact that it is in 3D.

In regards to “The Phantom Menace,” the answer is no. Besides scenes such as the pod race, where crashes and races truly feel more dimensional, the 3D adds no real value to a movie that otherwise has the same dull plot.

Lucas manipulated the fact that audiences would go see a movie in 3D, even if they have already seen it, to his advantage. “The Phantom Menace” in 3D seems like an attempt to put more change in Lucas’ pockets — a convenient attempt considering the only effort comes in post-production.

All in all, the original “Phantom Menace” was a disappointment to the world of Star Wars. With the only real difference between the two versions being the 3D effects, there is no reason to go see the movie.

For someone who has never experienced Star Wars before, they should start at “Episode IV” and certainly not “The Phantom Menace.” “Episode I” needs to be seen eventually, but it should only be watched in the comfort of one’s own home, where they can experience it at the cheapest price possible.

Contact the Diversions editor at diversions@dailytarheel.com.

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