May the 3D Be With You…

Just call it the “Avatar” effect. The 3D monster descended on this planet about a year ago and has since devoured the minds of Hollywood. And that now includes one of its best, George Lucas.

The “Star Wars” movies are once again coming to a theater near you, but this time in 3D. Normally, I slam Lucas for his constant tinkering with the films and apparent disregard for fans of the the original trilogy. But I’m not going to do that this time. Why? Because with this move, I think I finally get it. Lucas is a businessman. Bottom line. And I can respect that. I don’t have to like it, but I respect it.

Over the past 33 years, the universe he created has expanded and morphed into a juggernaut cash cow with aging fan boys willing to fork over their life savings for anything Mr. Lucas decides to throw at them. But his marketing genius doesn’t stop there. When he re-released the movies back in 1997 with new CGI and scenes that didn’t make the cut the first time around, it wasn’t just to grab nostalgic fans. That also introduced Star Wars to a whole new generation of children. Most of those people are probably in college now, but for them it’s been a different experience all along. They have never known that Han shot first. They have never known the Death Star exploded in a starry-blast, instead of a giant ring. And they have never known Jabba was not always entertained by unrealistic computer-animated jazz singers.

And the same thing happened with the prequels. There’s no Stormtroopers, there’s Clone Troopers. Yoda isn’t a sage-like puppet living in a swamp, he’s a swashbuckling whirling dervish who takes on Darth Sidious. And Darth Vader, well he’s just a whiny kid who lost his mother to the Sand People then blamed it on Obi Wan instead of being a galaxy-ruling, force-choking killer. But, none of the plot holes or horrible acting matters because kids don’t care about a storyline and Lucas understands that. It’s all about the visuals.

That’s where 3D comes in. To me, it’s just a bit of depth perception provided by some cumbersome, clunky glasses, but for the younger generation it’s probably akin to seeing “Jurassic Park” for the first time back in 1993. At the time, I thought that was the best movie I’d ever seen. But looking back at it now, the acting is weak and the mistakes are many. But it goes back to the visuals, which were amazing. It’s the same situation with “Avatar.” I could have written that movie on my lunch break.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this. 3D is not the answer…for me and millions of others. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in this case, one kid’s three-dimensional Jar Jar is another man’s Han Solo. Good luck, Mr. Lucas, you’re gonna need it.

Here’s Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll talking about how the conversion to 3D will happen.

The first one to get the 3D treatment will be “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” You’d think Lucasfilm would start with one of the best films not the worst, but what do I know. Here’s the trailer to refresh your memories of this disastrous movie. It’s actually much better the film itself, barely shows any scenes with Jar Jar or young Anakin. Good work marketing department!

posted by Seth Szilagyi in 3D,Avatar,Star Wars and have Comment (1)

One Response to “May the 3D Be With You…”

  1. pop says:

    i’m sure your nephew agrees that the original films, unedited, are the best. he is strong with the force – a future jedi knight, no doubt.

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