Star Wars, Comin’ Right Atcha!

In case you missed it, the official site announced that the six live-action Star Wars films will be returning to your local theater, this time in 3-D starting in 2012.

My immediate response was one of apathy.  However, after a few hours of thought and sleep, I’ve slightly adjusted my position.

First, in the world of 3-D films, I’ve only been able to see the effect once or twice.  The first one that came to mind was during the stellar Space Station 3D IMAX film, which I caught last year.  In that documentary, there is a long shot along the axis of the International Space Station that looks out into the depths of space, and that shot stood out very well behind the 3-D glasses.  I remember taking off the glasses to look at the screen and get the full effect of what technology was doing.  Unfortunately, the only other time the effect returned was when the astronauts were demonstrating weightlessness with a ball, and that was intermittent for me.

The second time I saw a 3-D effect work was at the fun but intellectually vacuous 4-D “ride” based on A Bug’s Life at Disneyworld, and that was during the typical “coming right at you” moments.  I tried watching Up in 3-D, mostly because that was the only way our local theater presented it, but nothing ever looked three dimensional.  I know there were moments, because the audience was “ooh”-ing and “ahh”-ing at those points.

My second big concern is in the technology side.  If a movie is made in 3-D from the ground up, the effects tend to work better than if the movie is 2-D initially and rendered to 3-D later.  Unfortunately, the Star Wars saga was born in 2-D, which makes me apprehensive at the quality of the end 3-D result.

I think my problem with 3-D is because I know that it’s a visual trick.  In the sparse moments when I’ve forgotten where I am with a 3-D movie, the effects work, but if I’m thinking about the movie and the experience, all I see is a flat screen.  So, the next response is, “don’t think about it.”  Space Station 3D was a documentary about something I know quite a bit about, and honestly, was a significant chunk of eye candy.  Like I’ve already said, A Bug’s Life 4-D was low on substance, lasted about five minutes, and was broken up with the “fourth dimensional” effects of rumbling chairs and blowing air to represent things that happen to the viewer in the show.  Both instances involved distraction from thinking too much about the material presented on screen.  The problem is that I can’t switch off the analysis during Star Wars movies.  They’ve been a big part of my life since I was kid, and it’s hard to separate that.

Now, I don’t want to seem like I complete “Debby Downer” on this.  I am excited for the saga to get another big screen release for another generation of children, but if Lucasfilm uses the current 3-D technology, I won’t play.  I would love to see the films again with the theater experience, but I don’t want to sully that experience by filtering the imagery with 3-D glasses that don’t work for me.  Like any other visual filter, the glasses tend to remove a portion of the vibrancy that I expect on the silver screen.  Watching the 3-D films without the glasses is completely out of the question for obvious, headache inducing, reasons.

My opinion is tempered with the fact that George Lucas is an innovator.  If anyone can create a method for three-dimensional filmmaking that is revolutionary, it is Lucas, and to paraphrase Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, I’ll be watching the developments on this project with great interest.  If it looks like something I can enjoy, my butt will be in the seat for all six films.  Until then, I have no choice but to remain cautiously optimistic.

Either way, we all know what the end result will be:  A metric Bantha load of money deposited in the Lucasfilm coffers as fans either re-live or discover Star Wars again.

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10 thoughts on “Star Wars, Comin’ Right Atcha!

  1. Interesting take. My response was one of apathy to “oh, seriously? Again, George?”
    I know I won’t watch the prequels. I have a spark of interest in the OT, but I’m just not sure. They’ll be the SE, which makes them less appealing for me, and the whole 3D thing just worries me. I generally don’t do it. Headaches and all that.
    But…as you say, another big screen release is fun. And if they can pull it off and have it not look cheesy, well…maybe. Then again, well, Han shot first.

    • That’s one bright spot in the re-release: The movies are fun to watch in theaters. I’m also excited for the kids who haven’t experienced them in full theater. The Special Editions were my intro to Star Wars in theater, and I caught each of the prequels on opening night. Before that, it was just the pan and scan VHS presentations.
      Blew. My. Mind.

      • Ah, yes. Different perspectives.
        My mind was blown in 1983. Yes, ROTJ. I’d seen Star Wars and Empire already, on television and in old drive-through movie theaters that played them for years. But I was a little young to appreciate them, I think.
        But Jedi? Oh, Jedi. For so long my favorite film, despite the Ewoks (I will throw Jar-Jar jokes around, and I see from Twitter that you like him, but rest assured it is in good fun, as I have to take them as an Ewok-liker). Empire can’t be beaten with adult eyes, but as a child? It was all about Jedi.
        Like the night after I saw E.T. and came home with a burning desire to be Eliot, ROTJ changed me. This is a copy/paste from an old LJ entry.
        As I think you know, the moment when Luke steps calmly out over the Sarlaac pit and then springs upward to catch his lightsaber, launched by R2-D2, on the skiff and then proceeds to kick some ass changed me. The only word I have for it is “smitten.” I was smitten by Luke (and that green blade) in that moment. I had never in my whole life seen anything as cool as that ever. EVER! I didn’t have a crush on Luke or anything so mundane as that. I just wanted to be a Jedi more than anything in the world, and again, I’d just never seen anything that amazing, ever, ever, ever.
        And I’ve been here in fandom ever since. Won’t be leaving anytime soon.
        I did see all of the SEs in the theater, and I took a friend who had never seen The Holy Trilogy, and I enjoyed that a ton. For this release, same deal. I appreciate that it will be another opportunity to bring in new fans and introduce friends to the magic of Star Wars on the big screen.
        But for me personally? Well, I think I’d rather watch my old VHS or now DVD originals. 3D worries me and does nothing for me usually, and I’m just not sure I can stomach another change to the films I so love. While I’m never going to get into a fight about it, Han Shot First, dammit!
        Also, I camped out for three days for Episode One. I saw the other two prequels on opening night, too. Midnight premieres for all.
        I’m unlocking to f-locked entries for you for a while. You might enjoy them/it’s easier than retyping things.
        http://jackwabbit.livejournal.com/52394.html
        http://jackwabbit.livejournal.com/254365.html

  2. Interesting take. My response was one of apathy to “oh, seriously? Again, George?”

    I know I won’t watch the prequels. I have a spark of interest in the OT, but I’m just not sure. They’ll be the SE, which makes them less appealing for me, and the whole 3D thing just worries me. I generally don’t do it. Headaches and all that.

    But…as you say, another big screen release is fun. And if they can pull it off and have it not look cheesy, well…maybe. Then again, well, Han shot first.

    • That’s one bright spot in the re-release: The movies are fun to watch in theaters. I’m also excited for the kids who haven’t experienced them in full theater. The Special Editions were my intro to Star Wars in theater, and I caught each of the prequels on opening night. Before that, it was just the pan and scan VHS presentations.

      Blew. My. Mind.

      • Ah, yes. Different perspectives.

        My mind was blown in 1983. Yes, ROTJ. I’d seen Star Wars and Empire already, on television and in old drive-through movie theaters that played them for years. But I was a little young to appreciate them, I think.

        But Jedi? Oh, Jedi. For so long my favorite film, despite the Ewoks (I will throw Jar-Jar jokes around, and I see from Twitter that you like him, but rest assured it is in good fun, as I have to take them as an Ewok-liker). Empire can’t be beaten with adult eyes, but as a child? It was all about Jedi.

        Like the night after I saw E.T. and came home with a burning desire to be Eliot, ROTJ changed me. This is a copy/paste from an old LJ entry.

        As I think you know, the moment when Luke steps calmly out over the Sarlaac pit and then springs upward to catch his lightsaber, launched by R2-D2, on the skiff and then proceeds to kick some ass changed me. The only word I have for it is “smitten.” I was smitten by Luke (and that green blade) in that moment. I had never in my whole life seen anything as cool as that ever. EVER! I didn’t have a crush on Luke or anything so mundane as that. I just wanted to be a Jedi more than anything in the world, and again, I’d just never seen anything that amazing, ever, ever, ever.

        And I’ve been here in fandom ever since. Won’t be leaving anytime soon.

        I did see all of the SEs in the theater, and I took a friend who had never seen The Holy Trilogy, and I enjoyed that a ton. For this release, same deal. I appreciate that it will be another opportunity to bring in new fans and introduce friends to the magic of Star Wars on the big screen.

        But for me personally? Well, I think I’d rather watch my old VHS or now DVD originals. 3D worries me and does nothing for me usually, and I’m just not sure I can stomach another change to the films I so love. While I’m never going to get into a fight about it, Han Shot First, dammit!

        Also, I camped out for three days for Episode One. I saw the other two prequels on opening night, too. Midnight premieres for all.

        I’m unlocking to f-locked entries for you for a while. You might enjoy them/it’s easier than retyping things.

        http://jackwabbit.livejournal.com/52394.html

        http://jackwabbit.livejournal.com/254365.html

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