EDITORIALS

Could 'Phantom Menace' Ruin Our Chance of Seeing 'Star Wars' in 3D?

by
June 15, 2011
Source: Flickchart

The Phantom Menace

It might seem like that headline is a bit of an oxymoron since The Phantom Menace has become part of the Star Wars canon for better or worse, but there's a chance that the 1999 prequel could end up ruining the chances of seeing the original trilogy in theaters in 3D. Back in March we learned that George Lucas' return to his sprawling space opera would return to theaters on February 10th, 2012 complete with the 3D treatment. While many of us have assumed that the rest of the films would follow suit, producer Rick McCallum recently had some words that call into question the certainty of seeing the complete saga in 3D.

Speaking with Czech Position (via Flickchart), McCallum says, "We're doing 3D versions of all six films, one a year, starting in February of next year. We start with [episode] one and go all the way through six, totally chronological. One a year, if they work. If they don't, then there will be just one [episode converted to 3D]." While that makes business sense, at least for Hollywood, it sounds pretty bogus to me on another level. First of all, Phantom Menace is widely regarded to be the worst movie in the entire series, and while it might be exciting to see that podrace in 3D next February, I don't think the audience heading to theaters for the prequel will be a flawless indicator of who will turn out for the original trilogy in theaters in years to come.

Second of all, consumers are getting tired of seeing movies in 3D already. A Deadline article analyzing the box office performance of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides points out that the high ticket prices and abundance of 3D screenings of the film actually hurt the film's box office (aside from the fact that the fourth installment in the series was quite boring). So if audiences are sick of seeing brand new films in 3D, how are they going to feel about seeing films available on Blu-Ray and DVD in 3D when ticket prices are so exorbitant? Combine that with the fact that Phantom Menace isn't really a fan favorite, and you may have some trouble getting bigger audiences into the theater to make releasing the rest of the films worthwhile.

Honestly, this is more of an argument about whether or not anyone cares about 3D re-releases, but with something as iconic and revered as Star Wars, there needs to be a better approach. Surely there will be plenty of hardcore fans returning to see the movies no matter what. In addition, people who were just kids when Phantom Menace came out in 1999 maybe have kids of their own, and they'll want them to have that experience. But if these fans don't turn out, we'll be stuck with what I consider to be the worst Star Wars film back in theaters in 3D, and that's it. Honestly, I wish they'd release them in the same order they first hit theaters, beginning with the original trilogy. Otherwise, suffice it to say, I've got a bad feeling about this.

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  • Anonymous
    I'm pretty sure a large segment of fans prefer The Phantom Menace to Attack of the Clones.
    • xamel
      I do. Actually I liked Episode I a lot.
    • Jack the Riffer
      It's true. Actually, Ep. III is the worst of the series. Then II. Then I. I actually didn't mind I. Hayden was just terrible, especially in III. You have to watch him stand there brooding the entire movie, and I'm pretty sure Lucas directed him to deliver his lines as lifeless and vapid as possible. I.e., "What-a-bout-the-other-Jedi-spread-a-cross-the-gal-ax-y?"
      • Anonymous
        I agree hayden Christensen is an annoying actor who makes me cringe when I see him as Anakin. "I will be the most powerful Jedi" etc... But common! The phantom menace? Really?! There are so many things wrong with that movie (mainly Jar Jar). AT least Clones and Sith feel a little like the Original trilogy. 
        • Elljawa
          ...I mean....idk i felt like episode one was much more in touch with the OT than attack of the clones.  Clones was bad for more reasons than hayden: the script sucked, the plot sucked, and most of all it lacked the magic that to me is starwars, which I, for one reason or another, still feel to this day watching episode one.  which i like a lot.  In all honesty, I think Return of the jedi is one of the worst star wars movies (if not for Jar Jar episode one would be above it)
    • HJN527
      NO, not really, I'd take seeing Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (PREFERABLY again, in a theatre) rather than Phantom Menace.  I mean really, who else could have gotten away with a movie about a kid and a pod race and make millions in it except George Lucas?  I LOVED Hayden Christensen and still admire all his films including his latest "Takers" which was number one at the box office in it's opening.  He's a wonderful actor and one that I will follow...one sexy, talented and amazing man!
  • Anonymous
    bOOOO down with this 3d fad, get them to fix those uncomfortable 3d glasses then maybe
  • http://twitter.com/zengrrl Michelle Snow
    As much as I love the Star Wars movies, even if they did Empire instead, I still wouldn't pay the 3D surcharge to see it in theaters. Lucas needs to stop with this continuous overhaul of the films that are already done and get to work on the last trilogy 7-9. 
    • Jeremy
      Although I've disagreed with everyone arguing that the prequels are terrible (they were different but still amazing movies that added a lot of new history for the saga) but I agree 3D is kinda a waste. Seeing the New Republic Order after Luke started training a new age of jedi knights would be an awesome trilogy.
    • Baccsk
      If he's going to re-release these movies yet again it should be 3 this year, 3 next year. There it's no reason to make the fans wait. I'm not really a fan I just don't want to spend the next 6 yrs having to hear about it we finally got rid of harry potter and twilight is almost gone, I need a break from crappy movie franchises. Even if he ever gets off of his fat ass to make 7-9 he'll just spread them out 3yrs apart like always because he thinks his shit doesn't stink, and that everyone will happily wait around for them. And why does everyone bitch about jar jar when c3p0 has been allowed to make those awful puns for 6 movies, flush that turd already.
  • Anon
    Just look at the comicbooks and the novels. Star Wars universe has some of the greatest stories that can be told. MUCH beyond what the 6 movies could ever establish. each of them would make a gem of a movie. instead we get crappy 3D converted re-releases. Who the hell cares about 3D. If you cant use 3D like cameron does please STOP using it as a gimmick to make more money. We want more Star Wars movies. Lucas is clearly a businessman rather than a film maker. Im sure there are loads of directors who grew up on star wars and would want to do these movies.
  • Horseflesh
    It just seems that the people who surround Lucas don't have the balls to tell him what seems to suck and not suck , of course he wants to do the new trilogy first cause he knows he can drag us all the way to episode six ,and he knows we all want to see episodes 4,5 and 6 more than anything , but he can make money , if he did those first who would pay for 1,2 and 3 on blu-ray 3D nevermind the theatre. some would but not all , i'm sick of Lucas doing things from an overly business sense , we all waited 25 somethin years for the new trilogy and what we got was ILM and THX demos. Only durin EP 3 did things seem to finally look like a SW movie and tone. p.s. Rick McCullum needs to go , he shoulda had spielberg helping him the whole time with 1,2 and 3 
    • CapnEOCrowley
      HEY GUYS...I DON'T THINK THAT THIS WAS ENTIRELY "GEORGE LUCAS'S" DECISION THESE FILMS WILL BE GOOD, JUST LEAVE IT AT THAT.
  • Alboone
    Episode 2 has emerged for me as the worst of the saga by far. There's things in Phantom Menace that I like and can take with a grain of salt. Not so much with AOTC. The speeder chase over Coruscant was great, but that's it. Looking at it now makes my eye balls bleed. The acting. The special efx. The editing. Everything, it all just reeks of toxic stinkage. Even the Yoda fight doesn't hold up. If Lucas was smart he would start with A New Hope and work his way back from there.
    • Jericho
      i agree with doing only the original trilogy first THEN maybe do the new one...there is still the chance that not everybody knows who Vader is *like those that live under rocks* and seeing it unfold in 3D will be nice...
    • Andresfsanc
      Man that "eye ball bleed"theory is so true with so many fx films from the beginning of the 2000's. Films like deep blue sea, Attack of the clones and many others suffer from this, i'ts like they are unwatchable now  a days, the fx seem faker than in films done in the 90's on back.
  • Xerxexx
    No 3-D is good 3-D.
  • Voice of Reason
    DAMN YOU, GEORGE LUUUUUCAAASSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!
  • David Banner
    Ah, so you like Episode I ? Plz watch this, all parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKtZmQgxrI Imo, there is no 'need' for Episode I-VI in 3D, I doubt it will look any good, and I wont be going to se Episode I-III anyways. IV-VI? Hmm, if I am borred one afternoon, maybe. I'd rather that they focus more on the upcomming Star Wars Live Action TV-Series. And maybe shoot it in 3D for Blu-Ray/future TV ?
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-S-Dewater/100000892037805 Adam S Dewater
    Phantom Menace was the best of the 3 prequels, the other 2 with bad actor Hayden Christensen sucked. I would see all 6 3-D re-releases in theaters! 
    • HJN527
      It was NOT Hayden Christensen that "sucked" as an actor.  He wanted to present Anakin much differently, and Lucas' reply was "Look at your contract kid, you'll do it MY way", and, of course, he did.  To do such a disservice to a Golden Globe nominee and Best Actor winner for Shattered Glass is more than immature.   Find out your facts before you voice about another man's way of earning a living!
  • http://twitter.com/wisoka Jacob
    I believe you meant to put quotations around "ruin" also.
  • Nah Olos
    When Ep. 1 comes out in 3D can we please have the biggest boycott ever.  I would rather not see Ep. 4,5,6 in 3D than allow the turd that is Ep. 1 make anymore money.  Don't just say it, talk with our money.  Do NOT go see that film.  Not out of curiosity or nostalgia or any other reason.  I have tried to watch it a few times on DVD, there must be something good, but no, there is nothing, nothing good about it. 
  • http://twitter.com/El_MUERkO El_MUERkO
    Sounds to me like George & Co. are holding a gun to the head of the original trilogy saying "Watch the prequels or the this lot gets it!". Fuck'em! I have a 3D TV but I've zero interest in seeing the original trilogy in 3D and would be openly hostile to seeing the prequels. Star Wars is very firmly in the past, if I see them again it'll be with my kids, to whom I will explain "Han shot first.".
    • Xerxexx
      Well said! Han always and forever will have shot first. No digital altering will suffice.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5111584 Nate Carroll
    Yeah Episode I was easily the best out of the three, so I don't what you're talking...but when it comes to you, I never do. Still, if they want to secure ticket sales for at least 3 movies release them how they came out. I will reluctantly go see Episodes II and III with 3D Anakin crying at the Jedi Temple, but I'm psyched for Episodes I, IV, V, and VI!!! -Tra la la la la di da
  • Spazecowboy
    Ep I was amazing.  Honestly anyone who calls themselves a fan of Star Wars and is not a fan of Ep I is not a fan.  You can't pick and choose what you like and still call yourself a "Fan".  Last I checked fan was short for fanatic, and anyone who is a fan of the Wars is a fan of all of the films.  Otherwise you just like the films you like and the true fans enjoy them all and the time they get to spend in the SW universe.  Vote with your dollars folks, if you don't like the prequels, don't go see them.  The fans will fill the seats for you...
    • http://twitter.com/strmmrrr AP
      Yes it's funny how some "Batman fans" hate Batman & Robin.. And some "Simpsons fans" don't like new episodes!
      • Matt C
        Doesn't that mean there are no fans of Batman? Last time I checked, everyone hates batman and robin...
    • brainy435
      Yeah, true fans pay for whatever crap Mr. Lucas wants to peddle and LIKE IT.
    • Richard C
      "fan" is not a synonym for "blind."
    • Pq55sjh123
      Couldn't have said it better! And all you haters think of it as a chance for the younger fans to see the movies like me. If you don't want to see the movies then don't be a jerk to those to do want to see them. If you are rude to someone because they want to see the movies all you are is a bully.
  • SV7
    Sounds a little like a ploy by McCallum to scare us into seeing 3D Phantom Menace at the theatres... or we won't get the original trilogy in 3D...? There is no way I am spending my hard earned cash to watch any Star Wars prequel on the big screen again. Certainly not in 3D where I have to spend even more. No way.
  • Gemma
    Ah, fanboys. Can't live with them. Can't live without them. ;-)
  • Chucho
    It seems like the majority thinks Ep I was the worst of the prequels. I guess that makes me one of the minority that thinks the opposite. Furthermore, I did like the SFX of the race, but I think it was the most boring part of the movie. I loved the light saber duel between Obi-wan and Qui-gon vs Darth Maul. And, in my opinion, I hated how cheesy and stupid Anakin/Vader was in Ep III.  Regarding the 3-D deal, well, I hate 3-D movies, but I love Star War so much that I'd definitely go and see them in theaters again, even though they go out in 3-D. AND YEAH, HAN SHOT FIRST!
  • SkaOreo
    I'm not even a fanboy; I just don't understand the decision to start with the Phantom Menace.  Isn't it common knowledge that most people prefer the original trilogy?  Why start with the prequels?
  • Towaway
    Boycott the 3-D release. This is the worst idea since "Greedo shot first"!
    • Anonymous
      Do Crystal Skulls count? Or lead-lined refrigerators? Why not throw in bailing out the money lenders and taking & emailing photos of your Obi Wand with your phone.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3UDJOGISZL63RCFDMJNPOJEDFY PyroDark
    I will happily go see a Remix of Episode I, In which JarJar gets run over by an AAT before Qui-gon can help, and Darth Maul gets more screen time. but 3D is just not enough. If Lucas wants my money he needs to get someone back to work SW:Battlefront III !!!
  • Anonymous
    Saying Phantom Menace is the "best" of the prequels is like eating three fresh dog turds and deciding which is the tastiest.
    • HJN527
      You can "thank" George Lucas for those three "turds".  He got you anway, as you saw them all...so who really is the "turd" here?
  • REPLACE-JAR-JAR
    Considering Jar-Jar was 100% CGI, Lucas could take this opportunity to REPLACE this character with perhaps a wise-cracking, tough-talking, hunky alien (e.g: Pandorian-like) cynical of both the Jedi and the Empire... instead of the doofy-looking, doofy-talking doofuss we've had to live with...then as he 3Ds the others All the others can be fixed as well (as he did to Jaba the Hutt in IV).  The idea of seeing Jar-Jar in 3D and enduring his poor Roger Rabbit voice again is not something I am looking forward to.
    • Anonymous
      Uuh you do realize Jar Jar was the kids-best-friend/comic relief role. He basically took the comedic duo of R2 and C3PO and turned it into a walking puppy. Unfortunately he forgot his fan-base were kids in the 70s and 80s and as any parent knows, no matter how awesome the stuff you watched/loved when you were a kid was... your kids will hate it.
    • Anonymous
       The worst nightmare I ever had was seeing Jar-Jar in 3D.  I hate that character with a passion.  The only way I would go see this in 3D is if they cut every Jar-Jar scene. 
  • Hallospaceboy
    I have no need to see Ep 1 in 3D.  Nor do I need the OT in 3D. So thanks but no thanks George. If you are using Ep 1 as a barometer for 3D conversion success then you should just quit before u begin , George.
  • lando
    as a fan, im willing to watch any of the 6 in 3d, however..Im shocked to see so many people loving ep1! TPM has so many flaws in it it hurts to watch some times! Id be afraid that a 3d conversion would only magnify those mistakes and create a new backlash or return to phantom menace hating! I really dont want to see that horrible stoned looking yoda puppet ever again!! I dont know what he (GL) is thinking anymore..did he not notice that yoda was no where near up to the quality he was in Empire?  bring them On, Id watch them all again (Ive seen each one in its original release)
  • REPLACE-JAR-JAR
    He could fix yoda, too...fix Jar Jar creating new funny dialog, like a lot of wise-cracks that the Jedi and Anakin would normally ignore...an Eddie Murphy voice over would do the trick...
  • BinaryChaos
    Why in the world would anyone pay to see a movie they can already watch on their widescreen HDTV at home especially when ticket prices are soaring? They already have programs that can convert a movie in 3D and all you have to do is hook up your computer to the tv and you have your 3D experience. Technology has advanced a lot since the release of episode 1 and the special edition of the previous trilogy. There are more things consumers can do at home now that theatres can't provide. I'm surprised George Lucas hasn't started milking the Indiana Jones franchise with a re-release of those in 3D.
    • HJN527
      No, finally, some real sense...
    • Anonymous
      I don't care if it's not in 3D, except for Jackass 3D and yes Avatar... a little bit. But not everyone has an HDTV, and for some of us our HDTV is dominated by the kiddies; and they'd rather play Lego Star Wars than watch the original trilogy.
  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyNeat Johnny Neat
    I agree with Alex, this sounds like a mess waiting to happen. Anyhow I'm still bitter over the reluctance of Lucas to respect the theatrical releases of the original trilogy on Bluray alongside his updated Special Editions.
    • Anonymous
      True, it's RARE that a revised movie is better than the original, even Director's cuts. I'm sorry but once it's put out there that 'version' does deserve to remain intact, if at least via special features/editions/box sets.
  • Retentive
    Where I see that the 3D industry got things wrong. It was suposed to be the new added value to the decaying movie business. But FREE of charge. Instead they charge premium for these experiences that, and lets be honest people, works not even half of the time. Piracy is huge overseas, but 3D aint helping if its overprice.
    • Anonymous
      No I'm sure 3D is actually hurting things, just like Blu Ray first did. I was so happy DVDs were finally dropping down to reasonable levels, and started buying again. Then Blu Ray/HDDVD and the *%$)#& regular DVD prices jumped back up 30%!!! And like everyone else, I went back to rentals again.
  • Andiana97
    Pirates 4 was NOT boring, wtf?
  • Jedibilly
    The moving seats in the selected theaters would make it worthwhile and fun. Otherwise i'm going to have to see this a 100million times just so it'll be successful enough to make it to the original Star Wars. LOL!
  • Irishjedi71
    I soooo can't wait. Never saw anything in 3D so I might make my first time seeing one of the 6 BEST films ever put on the screen.
  • Dean
    Ah, and the fanboy pissing contest continues as no one listens.
  • SW
    I think all the Star Wars movies were almost equally good and releasing them in proper order for the 1st time is a good idea. Each of the films have a unique Star Wars feel. But II was not that good, I admit.
  • Kat_xk8
    im a consumer and i am not getting tired of 3d at all - one article isnt representation of anything and what consumers did they ask - i love 3d bought a 3d tv and cant get enought of the movies - um i hate how others consumers seem to "speak" for me yet they dont at all - geez! ok some consumers - cant say consumers though
  • Kat_xk8
    i dont care what "audiences" are sick of seeing or not - and define audiences - thats a number based on - because last i checked - 3d has done very well with transformers3 -will do very well with harry potter = um those in the audiences who dont like 3d arent the ones who do!!!!!! geez that article bases all movies and all audiecnes based on pirates - lol
  • Haaris Qureshi
    "In addition, people who were just kids when Phantom Menace came out in 1999 maybe have kids of their own, and they'll want them to have that experience." The term 'kid' is ambiguous, but let's presume it means someone between about 6 and 12. That means, that in the eleven years since PM, they'd be between 17 and 23. And then, to have kids between 6 and 12, then the kid would have been born when they're parent was between 5 or 17 themselves.  So, basically, you're saying people who are gonna wanna watch this, are people who got themselves or someone else pregnant at a very young age. lol
  • Croc904
    I disagree with anybody who says the three prequels are bad. I used the prequels, not the originals, to teach my 6th grade Reading class about conflict, theme, foreshadowing, love themes, anti hero, classic hero, novel study, characterization, setting, character choice, climax, and plot, as well as the fall of a hero.  I wrote up short chapters from the movies and then showed the movies to the kids. They loved them.  The girl's in my class thought Padme  was the best thing since sliced bread and they hated Anakin with a passion.  When they heard she was pregnant that is all they talked about at lunch.  For those of you who say the prequels are bad you know nothing about story telling.  The prequels are the greatest anti-hero story of all time and Jedi is the greatest redemption story of all time.  So for the haters learn a little bit more about literature before you comment.
    • Anonymous
      Why are you using movies to teach a READING class?
  • http://profiles.google.com/wmarkjones7 Mark Jones
    I think McCallum's explanation makes sense.  LucasFilms knows full well the unpopularity of Episode I and the reasons for it.  If they can make even a decent profit on this first 3D release, their chances on the subsequent episodes are even higher.  Even if they don't make much of a profit this go-around, they make look at their net revenues on this first release and factor in past 2D revenues to project profit on subsequent releases.  So I don't agree with the premise that starting with Episode I will endanger our chances of seeing the subsequent episodes in 3D.  Besides, if they get the 3D conversion "right" on this go-around, the production costs will be lower on the subsequent projects, increasing the chances of a good profit.
  • Droid
    I always enjoyed Ep 1 for the droids and the light saber combat. I will see Ep I because I was a child when it originally came out in the movies and I never saw it, now I can fix this wrong, and hopefully see them all. I can't see them about to shoot themselves in the foot and *not* re-release the original trilogy at least.
  • Justin Allen
    3D will come and go as it did many years ago. With 3D TV's getting better and better, what will the theaters come up with to make people actually want to go there? I do like stereoscopic films, though. The sound it puts out is better than any 3D trickery. On another note, I liked Revenge Of The Sith much better than I and II, and Hayden is a decent actor. I prefer him over the terrible kid actor who played little Ani.
  • Marcel
    Yes, but on the other hand-- if they release the original trilogy first, nobody will turn up to see the terrible prequels. I think the original trilogy is guaranteed, no matter what.
    • CapnEO-Crowley@GMAIL.COM
      Hey, Just Go And See, THESE films, it IS gonna be worth it, In The Long Haul.

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