This has been a big season for Star Wars fuckwithery, and George-hating licenses have been temporarily suspended for a new system where we can just be mad all the time. News, uproar. News, uproar.
Star Tours is gone now, they're fully underway installing hardware and finalizing footage for the 2.0 version of the ride. News, uproar.
The Blu-Rays are coming out, featuring tweaked special edition cuts of the movies. (I'm not being redundant - tweaked versions of the special editions.) No original release in Blu-Ray. News, uproar.
And now, an official announcement about the nature of Star Wars in 3D.
So why the Phantom Menace first? ...honestly, that's kind of a good fucking question, even for George, who is plainly proud of his prequels. I follow the logic out of context, it's the first movie. But re-releasing in 3D to make money - not judging! - you'd think he'd start with Star Wars, guaranteeing half a billion at the Box Office and headlines of success. My best guess for why The Phantom Menace comes first is, he knows you're going to see Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi when they come out - and if you saw them first, you'd never go back to watch Phantom, Clones, or Sith afterward.
Fans of the show know that I'm an apologist of The Phantom Menace, it remains my favorite prequel, despite it objectively being the shittiest movie of the saga. (Followed by Clones, Sith, and Jedi, respectively.) It came out at the right time in my life, and it has a grounded reality to its aesthetic. It has Darth Maul. Come on.
My forgiving stance on the movie makes me an easy mark for accusations of slavish fanboyism, but let me be clear: this is not why I'm already sold. Barring death or losing my ass somehow, that ass is in the seat already. And it's not because I miss Jar Jar.
I'm not a fan of 3D in general, it doesn't bother me, I don't experience the headaches that folks sometimes complain about and the dimness isn't a big deal - it just doesn't add much to my experience, seeing a new movie. I'm of the popular opinion that it works best when the project was shot with 3D cameras, or animated in 3D to begin with, and post-conversion is an expensive way to emulate that effect to varying degrees of success.
But I've never been in a situation where a movie I already know intimately from a decade of television viewings is being re-released in full 3D on a giant screen with Dolby surround.
Reason I'm sold number one: imagine the fanfare and logo as a bombastic 3D experience.
It doesn't matter which film you're watching until the scroll comes up - that first moment I want to experience as soon as I possibly can, and if that means midnight
Reason I'm sold number two: the podrace.
This has been the "maybe that part will be okay" statement on Twitter for the past 24 hours, and of course it will be okay, it'll be fucking awesome. It's the only good part of the movie. (Allowing that it has any legitimate reason to be in the movie to begin with, which it doesn't.)
Reason I'm sold number three: I'm a big, floppy, sentimental child.
Here's the thing about this. The prequels, while boring to an adult, do a good job of entertaining children. (Clones and Sith more than Phantom, but Phantom worked on me as a kid, as has become obvious.) They're poorly written, poorly acted, poorly conceived stories. But they're imaginative as hell, there's distant planets and aliens and monsters and sword fights and chase scenes, they're a rockin' action adventure fantasy that's safe for even young kids.
I'm a deeply cynical, terrible person, but my cynicism doesn't extend too far into what counts as Star Wars, especially what counts to an eight year old. If I had children, I'd bring them with me to see this movie in 3D, because frankly, they'd like it. Way more than you do. And while I'd frown upon them favoring the prequels past puberty, I would never rob them of having as much Star Wars as possible as they're growing up. I would have killed for the prequels when I first discovered Star Wars, and if you watched the Ewok movies just to get a little more of that universe when you were a kid, you would have, too.
Of course The Phantom Menace is a bad movie. But how many times as a child did you stop and ask yourself if TRON was really all it was cracked up to be.
(However, it is worth mentioning that smack dab at the end of The Phantom Menace: 3D is a grinning man with a