Feb 13, 2012

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D

I was lucky enough to be near one of the 10 theaters around the country that was hosting special events from 11am-6pm this past Saturday for the re-release. There was never a question of attending or not, but this was an extra bonus. We had tickets to the 1pm show but got there around 11 so we could check out the goings on. 

The first thing we did was go to the ticket taker and ask if we could get our limited edition podracer 3D glasses even though our movie didn't start for two hours. He was more than happy to let us take them. They had had other glasses which had Darth Maul deco on them but they'd gone through those on Friday. Also given out with ticket purchase were sample of the new Star Wars Fighter Pod toys, which are just like Squinkies. By the time our movie started, both glasses and toys were all out!

3D glasses with Fighter Pod toys of Jedi Luke and Porkins

Promotional items in hand, we went to see what else was happening. Microsoft was there with the new R2-D2 style Xbox running a demo of the upcoming Star Wars Kinect game. It looks fun but I think after awhile your arms will get tired because you have to hold them in position as if you were gripping the podracer controls. They also had a place setup in the lobby for face painting. Some kids got a Darth Maul face, one had Captain Rex, some had little Vader helmets on their cheeks and I even spotted a Queen Amidala style makeup.

LEGO was also there with a small mural that you could help build. They give you an 8x8 plate (that's LEGO stud size, not inches!) which is color coded. You then place colored 1x1 bricks to fill in the plate and give it back to them. Each plate has a number on the back corresponding to its place on the mural board. The LEGO employee would then rubber mallet it on to the board.
Darth Maul takes shape with a little help
And perhaps the most fun aspect, the 501st and Rebel Legion were both out in, er, force. If you're not familiar with these organizations, they are Star Wars fans that dress up as Imperials or Rebels and often do appearances at charity events as well as local Star Wars related events/conventions. They have members all over the world, doing good in the name of Star Wars. It was something to see the little kids, and sometimes grown-ups, react to the costumed characters

After a quick food court lunch, it was time to head in to the movie. As we approached the ticket taker station, we noticed there were already about 30 people in an area setup just to accommodate the Star Wars crowds.  It's not a Star Wars experience without a line! We settled in our seats and put on our glasses. After the 10-15 minutes of previews, the house lights came up.

A theater employee came in and thanked everyone for coming out to enjoy the festivities. He then introduced the 501st and Rebel Legion who put on a little show in the front of the theater before the movie started.
We were sitting up in the back, but you get the idea.
So with all this ballyhoo, how was the movie? The Phantom Menace is my least favorite of the Star Wars films but it was still Star Wars on the big screen and it was great! As the main theme and title burst on the screen people were applauding and cheering! As far as we've come with home theater tech, nothing can recreate being in a crowded theater with other people. The opening crawl was beautiful as it was receding through space. Kids were laughing at Jar Jar's antics. Kids that were too young, or not even born, seven years ago, to have seen even Revenge of the Sith in a theater. This was their first Star Wars movie going experience!

For a post production conversion, the 3D was mostly well done with only a couple of spots where it didn't quite work right. Instead of going the gimmicky route and having everything pop out at you, they added depth into the screen instead but there were some places where they should have brought stuff off the screen. CGI Yoda could have used a tune-up on his shading and lighting. He sometimes looked like he wasn't in the same scene as everyone else because of this. That said, he's a big improvement over the horrible puppet they originally used.

As far as I know, nothing new has been added since the Blu-Ray release. The movie still has the same problems and gets bogged down in the middle with politics. However, I did finish the novel Darth Plagueisthe week before seeing the movie. That, combined with the other material that has been released covering the pre-Episode 1 time, not only added to my enjoyment but also gave me more insight as to how the politics fit into the overall story.

There's a few more photos over on Flickr that I didn't show here if you want to see them.


  1. Sounds like a blast! I like that they gave away premiums too, how fun!!!

    1. I was surprised at the turnout, honestly. Very curious what the people were thinking that weren't there for Star Wars. The large lobby was overrun with kids and costumed characters.
      I love seeing kids being brought into the "family"

  2. Am waiting for parts 4 and 5 and then i might actually go and watch them again. : )

  3. either way you like or love this movie... it's a great family fun night... i would have totally had my jedi on... thank you for sharing your night.

    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    Visit The Madness: