Star Wars Going 3D, Starting With Episode I


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Just when you thought Jar-Jar Binks couldn’t possibly be any more annoying: Lucasfilm has announced that the Star Wars films are going 3D. Yes, the latest Hollywood trend seems to have infected the folks over at Lucasfilm, and why not? Seems as if there’s been plenty of movies in the last two years that have gotten by simply on the 3D gimmick. (Wait, did I say gimmick? Yeah, I totally did.)

The official word from LucasFilm is that they’re doing everything in their power to make sure that the 3D rendering is top-notch. In fact, the official word at StarWars.com from John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic, reads in a very calming, faith-affirming way:

It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful. It is not something that you can rush if you want to expect good results. For Star Wars we will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new Star Wars experience.

And that sounds fine. Sure, we know, they’re good at special effects over there at ILM, and hopefully the post-release rendering won’t suck. But there was a lot of buzz about the mind-blowing special effects in the prequels and, well, there was a great deal of disappointment there, too. (Disappointment, okay maybe that’s a bit gentle: more like childhood-destroying, soul-smashing, hope-extinguishing disappointment. There. Better.)

And which film are they starting with? Why, The Phantom Menace, of course.

Yeah. So at this point we’re all well aware that LucasFilm is no longer interested in placating their original audience in any way. The 3D craze is not ours. Sure, it’s cool. But I’m willing to bet most die-hard Star Wars fans from the 70s and 80s are perfectly happy with the original Star Wars films and versions. Ever since the “new and improved now with 100% more Jabba the Hutt” fans have been, well, skeptic. And grumpy. And vocal. And with good reason!

Sure, Lucasfilm is a business. And there’s nothing wrong with a business wanting to make money. That’s what they do, folks. But when it comes to the point that business decisions alienate fans (no pun intended) it starts to feel a little sinister. Especially considering the whole Star Wars oeuvre is about good and evil and making the right choices.

Does this choice to go to 3D make Lucasfilm part of the dark side? Probably not. But it sure feels like a cheap way to just get even more cash out of the fan base and appeal to a generation that doesn’t know any better. And that is sincerely not cool.

Do I think that the Millennium Falcon will look badass in 3D? Yes. Am I going to spend the money to go see the original films in the theaters? Maybe. Do I hate myself a little for that admission even though I should totally know better? Absolutely.

How about you all? Will you be able to resist the siren song of a 3D Star Wars experience, or are you done with Lucas altogether?







22 Responses to Star Wars Going 3D, Starting With Episode I

  1. I don't think you're entirely being fair to the young star wars fans.

    I was born in 1986 and introduced to star wars at an early age (both of my parents are major geeks…as they say, I was "doomed" from birth. I just find it funny that they thought I'd see it as being doomed…um, anyways:), starting with The Ewok Adventure and moving on from there.

    To make a long story short: I was indoctrinated. Sure, I do like the first, second, and third episodes a lot more than many of you older fans, but so does my dad, because he's a supertech geek and he thinks about the work that goes into the special effects, rather than just the end result.

    And this 3D thing? Pisses me off. You can always tell when a movie has been filmed for two dimensions and then the bigwigs at the studio told the director that they want more money and a 3D version must be made. Case in point: Monsters vs. Aliens. That movie didn't take advantage of half the shots they could have–spacecraft flying around, projectiles flying at you–because the three dimensional effect was an afterthought! I was angry I'd wasted my money.

    I will not repeat that mistake.

    3D Star Wars films? Not for me.

    • While I agree with most of what you say, I disagree with your points about the actual 3D thing. Things flying at you are what makes it a gimmick and not simply another level of cinematography.Look at Avatar, look at Toy Story 3. Both were amazing because the 3D simply gave better depth to the 'locations', which in turn made the story much more believable. In Avatar the 3D was more obvious, sure, but I walked out of Toy Story 3 complaining about it, because I, like you, thought it was a bit of a boring use of 3D.I then went to see it again with a different bunch of friends and saw it in 2D. It felt..empty. Shallow. And then I realised, while I didn't realise it at the time, my eyes, if not my conscious brain, took in the extra layer of cinematographic depth.So yes, 3D is like color: Our eyes, very quickly, take it for granted and wish there was MORE MORE MORE, but the second we see the same thing in black and white, or 2D, it feels as if something is missing and realise the amount it was used was actually perfect for telling the story in the first place. Toy Story didn't need a toy pea-shooter coming to life just to show off something flying at our face. It just needed an extra level of optical depth to let us get deeper into what's most important: The story.

  2. I don't think you're entirely being fair to the young star wars fans.

    I was born in 1986 and introduced to star wars at an early age (both of my parents are major geeks…as they say, I was "doomed" from birth. I just find it funny that they thought I'd see it as being doomed…um, anyways:), starting with The Ewok Adventure and moving on from there.

    To make a long story short: I was indoctrinated. Sure, I do like the first, second, and third episodes a lot more than many of you older fans, but so does my dad, because he's a supertech geek and he thinks about the work that goes into the special effects, rather than just the end result.

    And this 3D thing? Pisses me off. You can always tell when a movie has been filmed for two dimensions and then the bigwigs at the studio told the director that they want more money and a 3D version must be made. Case in point: Monsters vs. Aliens. That movie didn't take advantage of half the shots they could have–spacecraft flying around, projectiles flying at you–because the three dimensional effect was an afterthought! I was angry I'd wasted my money.

    I will not repeat that mistake.

    3D Star Wars films? Not for me.

  3. Seems that Lucas just doesn't get it – CGI was used sparingly in the first trilogy and had to be justified as it pertained to and supported the story. The CGI used in the second trilogy is just pure, adulterated eye candy fluff, bearing no connection to substance whatsoever.

    3D for Episodes 1-3 is just putting expensive lipstick on a pig. And even with Eps 4-6, I fail to see how 3D can really enhance the experience in a meaningful way.

  4. I'd download it. In fact, I probably will. I'll buy it if it's not complete and utter crap. But I'm not paying up front only to be disappointed. Not again, Mr. Lucas. Not again.

  5. Well, it seems that it would be a good way to get the kids into it, because starting them off with the original series might bore them, saying it's "too long". Which is not going to happen, cause I've been hooked since I saw episode 4 on spanish television when I was little.
    Money gimmick? Perhaps
    A good idea for getting young ones introduced to geekdom? Yeah, sure.
    Couldn't they have started with Episode 4 instead? It seems to me like that should be a better way to start. Rather than the first episode because then Lucas Film will lose all the adult crowd.

  6. "Alienate the fan base?" Anything Lucasfilm does that isn't just re-releasing episodes 4-6 in another collectors edition box set will alienate the "fan base" that you're talking about. Don't like episodes 1-3? Spoiler alert: you won't like them in 3D either, save your money and quit complaining.

  7. Honestly, I'd prefer to see something AFTER the whole Darth Vader & Son Save The Galaxy scenario. you know… Something NEW. Perhaps something from all those BOOKS that have been released, focusing on new characters, new event, new places.

    Quit releasing the same crap over and over and over again. I mean, how many definitive versions of George Lucas' original vision do we REALLY need to see?

    • Entirely agree, even something before. And I mean some 100 years or more before the events of Jar-Jar's legacy started.
      I have entirely given up on all things written by Lucas. I don't enjoy any of the Star Wars movies anymore and I dare not try to watch Indiana Jones 1-3 after having seen the abysmally bad Crystal Skull fiasco.

  8. Oh no. No, no, no! Please tell me this is a nightmare. Tell me I've lost track of seven months and it's April Fools Day. Just tell me this isn't real! Tell me George Lucas isn't raping us all AGAIN! D:

  9. My next-door neighbour was producing a documentary about the Star Wars cinematographer, Gilbert Taylor, until his death (my neighbour's, I mean, sadly), in tribute, because it was Taylor who got him his first break in the industry. My neighbour's partner has since taken on the job and it'll hopefully aired on television soon.Personal tangent aside, what I found from watching an early cut of this documentary was that so many other filmmakers (and general celebrities) who gave interviews for it were saying how distinctive the look of the film was and how, if even the lighting was altered much, it probably wouldn't be quite as good; even the color-regrading on the recent remasters was shunned almost universally.Whether this is because it's actually true or simply a case of nostalgia for the original cut, the point still stands: Mess with Star Wars and you will face wrath, not because the film itself is revered (which it is, anyway), but because it tarnishes the respect of the people who were originally involved.

  10. People need to remember that Star Wars is a kids franchise. My 3 boys all enjoyed them and I (born in 1982) found Eps 1-3 a lot more appealing than 4-6.
    Sure I'd rather see Eps 7-9 but I doubt that will happen anytime soon (maybe 2020?)

    I remember when they were filming Ep1 I saw an interview with Lucas. He was asked why they were NOT filming in 3D. He said he thought it was too expensive and was always something you could do in post-production if he wanted to.

    IMHO I'm just glad I get to see them on the big screen again. In fact I've never seen the original trilogy at the cinema so that will be an experience in itself :)

    • I'm afraid not.Like Toy Story, while it was originally envisioned as a film for kids (though I'm not even completely sure of that, in regards to Star Wars), it has grown into much more than this and people who have since grown up still love the films, because they WERE kids when they saw it.You're basically saying that when you grow up, you should forget about films you saw as a kid and hold no nostalgia for them and not want them to be the same the next time you watch them, simply and only because your birth certificate is a little more degraded.For Lucas to shun his previous audience to make a quick buck off new kids, while admirable in some businesses, is not so admirable in the actual industry he chose to work in, and so doesn't quite understand the world of filmmaking and it's effects on audience.It isn't the same as, say, Kevin Smith working on a family film or horror film, trying to find a new audience with a new story. It isn't the same as Jennifer Lopez going from acting to releasing a record. This is George Lucas taking something he's already done and changing it. For no real artistic reason, because as has been already stated in my comment above; the cinematic look of Star Wars is already one of the most respected in the world of film.Not only this, but despite being, objectively, a kids' film, the main ticket-buying audience for both the prequels, and probably the projected re-releases, were and are old Star Wars fans of the original trilogy. Which kinda defeats your point anyway.Don't get me wrong, I'm no massive Star Wars fan, but I can totally understand where the complainers are coming from.

  11. "applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically"

    Well, looking at the prequels, that would be slightly less than nothing. A negative value that sucks what others know both aesthetically and technically out of existence.

    I am one of those people that look at the prequels and see how you could have had the exact same story and it would have been awesome if properly implemented. What we got was a mound of horrible acting, detritus, and visual garbage.

  12. What i really want are a movie setted in the Old Republic time. A movie about Revan!!!!!!! *–*

  13. I'm just amazed that so many people can judge a whole series of films before the first one is even released. Very impressive.

  14. I see your points but realistically, and I understand the original release order, but doesn't it make sense to release the 3D version in chronological story order?

  15. Dont care what you trolls and haters say, i saw Episode 1 in the theatre with my dad as a kid and loved it, shoot me. Its nostalgic FOR ME, i dont give 2 shits if it is for you or not. They are all good in their own little way. SO SHUT IT.

  16. Dont care what you trolls and haters say, i saw Episode 1 in the theatre with my dad as a kid and loved it, shoot me. Its nostalgic FOR ME, i dont give 2 shits if it is for you or not. They are all good in their own little way. SO SHUT IT.

  17. 3D is gimmick and will be as dead as HD players if a few years. don't buy into the BS. it's all fluff Phantom menace was not great in 1999 because of fluff, (i.e romance garbage, jar jar ridiculous C.G.I)and it wont be great in 2012 with extra 3D fluff. I don't remember who said it but i agree, i have like two hundred star wars novels in my library, most of which are movie worthy. make something new George, we're done with your crap; stop trying to make C-3PO the next Elmo, stop marketing towards children.