So I was very excited to see Star Wars: Episode 1 in the theater for it’s re-release in 3D. Not because of the 3D, because I think 3D is the worst fad since parachute pants, but I wanted to see it because….well it’s Star Wars and I’m a huge Star Wars geek. And even though I knew what I was in store for with the terrible Jar Jar Binks jokes and horrible performance by Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker, I was paying that admission price to at least watch the pod race scene and the Darth Maul v.s. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon.
Aside from mediocre acting from everyone except Liam Neeson and sometimes Ewan McGregor, the movie suffers from the same problems that it did almost 13 years back. The pacing was just God awful. You get a little bit of action and then some terribly long wandering around Tatooine and then an albeit cool yet ultimately too long pod racing sequence. After the pod race and short Qui-Gon/Maul skirmish we are treated to yet another extended lull in the story to deal with politics before the last twenty minutes of action finale. The political aspect is necessary to set Palpatine up as Supreme Chancellor, but one might wonder why Lucas didn’t just start the saga with Palpatine already as Supreme Chancellor. And while the political scenes are intriguing and moderately well done to a first time viewer, those who have seen the movie numerous times aren’t very enamored by them. I kept fighting the urge to go take a pee break during the senate scene because I didn’t want to miss the Jedi Council scenes with non-puppet Yoda.
I’m kind of interested to see how the Phantom Menace re-release does in the box office after it’s historic $933 million dollar worldwide gross back in 1999. I’m also wondering just how people nowadays who haven’t seen it would react to the mediocre acting and Jar Jar hijinx, because I think we can all agree that there are blockbuster hits out there with far worst acting and way stupider shit that Jar Jar Binks plaguing our movie screens. (Twilight anyone?) After watching the movie in theatres again I recall feeling a little bit bored with the segments in between the action sequences, but I overall was glad that I went because of the nostalgic feel I get and watching the epic lightsaber fight at the end. And I also now have a sweet pair of Darth Maul 3D glasses to wear anytime I want. I give the re-release a 2 out of 5 grizzlies. Definitely one point off for the 3D fail aspect of the movie, but at least the experience didn’t suck anymore than it did thirteen years ago.