The ‘force’ is now even stronger – in 3D
On desert planet Tatooine, a long time ago in a galaxy far away, a young Anakin Skywalker is hard at work fixing up the engines of his pod racer, preparing to blast off into a race for his freedom. Meanwhile, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin and his apprentice Obi Wan Kenobi, are stranded on the barren planet and in search of parts to repair their ship.
As the two parties meet again now in 2012 on the silver-screen and in state-of-the-art, three dimensions, “Star Wars” has begun anew. The epic saga that is responsible for virtually every American’s imagination – admitted or not – since the release of “A New Hope” in 1977, is back in stunning, cinematically cutting-edge 3D glory.
Audiences are now absorbed into the action like never before as “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace” takes ahold of viewers back in theaters for the 3D update. It is the beginning of an ambitious project to convert every installment in the series into 3D starting controversially with the prequel trilogy.
Often panned by fans as the weakest in the epic space opera series, “The Phantom Menace” was given all new life in what threatened to be an obvious re-milking. What ensued turned out to be a truly updated cinematic experience for the underrated first film of the 90s prequels.
Comparable to the immersion effects of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” “The Phantom Menace” looked sharper and more refined than past releases, bringing audiences into the scenes rather than attempting to breech the fourth wall itself. The best “Real-D” lets your mind do the walking.
Fans felt as if they were sitting alongside each of the many pilots in the Galactic Republic’s fleet during a final dogfight at the film’s climax. Transfixed as they rapidly sucked in air from their breathing tubes, they begged to get out of the battle unscathed by airborne blaster cannons.
The classic scores by John Williams sounded updated as well with more resonance and clarity to the strings and horns of Williams’ orchestra. Sound effects also had more detail added, taking full advantage of the cutting-edge speakers and amplifiers in today’s theaters.
This re-release marks a chance for “Star Wars” fans to swallow their pride and give “The Phantom Menace” another shot. The excitement and beauty of “Star Wars’” first chapter is now fully realized on screen.
Runtime 136 minutes
QUALITY 16 $7