Star Wars Going 3D, Starting With Episode I

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 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?

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