He Said, She Said – The Phantom Menace 3D

Welcome to He Said, She Said, a brand new Feature here on Word of the Nerd.  Nateal and Ben are a happily married, happily geeky couple who often have very different perspectives on all things nerd.  Some of this is due to their personality, and others may just be due to their inherent differences as man and woman.  Now, you have the chance to see how those opinions differ!

Ben and Nateal have just seen Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace 3D.


He says: This film was, in a word – incredible. Never gimmicky, never overdone, the 3D actually added to the overall enjoyment of the film instead of detracting.

She says: The movie was very good, though some of the 3D seemed a bit off to me.

I walked into this movie not knowing quite what to expect. I was excited to see Star Wars on the big screen again for the first time in nearly a decade, but I’ve had some bad experiences with post-production 3D in the past. However, I was confident that if there was one company that could handle it, and make it worth my time and money, it was going to be Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).

I also didn’t know quite what to expect, and to be honest, I’ve had a very difficult time adjusting to 3D films.  My eyesight is poor and, apparently, poor in a way that doesn’t adapt well to 3D on the Big Screen.  I’m always a bit nervous sitting down for a 3D movie – especially since ticket prices are much higher for that extra dimension.

I was more than a little nervous walking into the theater. There were long lines stretching from both ticket counters, something we didn’t expect when we left our apartment.

Turns out it was for some chick flick called “The Vow.”  Hilariously enough, that movie wasn’t even on my radar, and it was selling out like mad.  People were walking away angry because the showings were sold out!  Who knew?

We got through the line fairly quickly, got our concessions, and got into the theater, which was about half full. We sat through the previews, and then the main feature started. The 20th Century Fox screen rolled by with the familiar fanfare, we saw the Lucasfilm Ltd screen, and then the oh so familiar words:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

The opening scroll was fantastic.  I knew going in that the words would fade back in marvelous 3D, and it did not disappoint.  I was a bit nervous that it would be difficult to read, but even in those opening seconds, I knew ILM had taken their job seriously.  The lettering was crisp and clean; perfectly readable, and faded back seamlessly.

This set the scene for the care in which they were going to handle the 3D. I sat back in my seat at this point, content to enjoy the film, no longer worrying so much about the post-production work. As the opening scenes rolled by, I was able to notice little details that I had never picked up before due to the where the focus was on the screen. Droids I had never seen before, little bits about the Trade Federation battleship, things like that. It was like I was experiencing the movie for the first time all over again.

Jar-JarOh my Yoda, the battleships.  Can I just say that the space scenes were amazing?  Swooping down on smooth metallic hulls and watching droids and fighters zip by so close to my face was thrilling.  Absolutely thrilling.

Suffice it to say, the 3D element was very well done. But I’m sure that’s not why you’re all reading this. You want to know what side of the fence we fall on in the endless of debate in whether or not the prequels were any good.

Do we really have to go there?

Can we afford not to?

Alright, alright.  A bit of background, first, I suppose.  I came to Star Wars later in life than most people.  It wasn’t something I watched when I was very young.  I didn’t grow up with dreams of the Force and pod races.  In fact, I didn’t know much at all about Star Wars until I babysat an elementary-school boy for a summer who was obsessed with Episode One.  We watched it every day for three straight weeks.  And even then I didn’t continue with the series until watching Episode Three in theaters with a friend and then being sat down to watch the original trilogy a year or so later.  My experience is anything but typical or perhaps even desirable.  But it’s how I came to the franchise.  I’ve since watched the entire series through, and seeing as how there is no nostalgia factor for me, I’ve been able to enjoy the entire franchise for what it is – a lot of psuedo science-fiction fun.

As for me, Star Wars has been a huge, huge factor in my life from an early age. While I wasn’t old enough to have experienced the original trilogy in theaters the first go around, I did have them on TV. My younger brother and I collected a massive number of the action figures and beat the ever-loving snot out of the stormtroopers with the various heroes. We were in the theaters for the showings of of the Special Edition re-releases, and we waited in breathless anticipation for Episode One in 1999. I have had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with the prequels, but over the past number of years, I have become a completely unapologetic Star Wars fan. From the original trilogy, to the prequels, to the Clone Wars movie and animated series – I love it all, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Everything has it’s faults, but I’ve been able to move past those things as to make them inconsequential to my enjoyment (and that includes the numerous edits and re-releases that Lucas has put out over the years).

So I guess if you wanted to boil it down, I’m a bit more on the neutral side of things than my husband.  But we’ve both reached a point that puts us in the camp of thoroughly enjoying all things Star Wars.  It’s a lot of good fun if you can let go enough to allow the series to fulfill that in you.

Episode One: The Phantom MenaceThe only thing we haven’t been able to agree on (yet), is what order we are going to show the films to any children we have when they are old enough to experience them for the first time. 

I think that might be a topic for another edition of He Said, She Said.  Let’s wrap this one up first, Wookie-face.

Can’t blame a scoundrel for trying, can you?

Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace 3D was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me, save for a few minor issues with my ability to focus on some scenes because of the 3D.  I’m not blaming ILM for that, mind you.  I’m fairly certain it’s just an issue I have with all 3D films, post-production or not.  Seeing the pod races and the lightsaber duels was absolute heart-pounding, adrenaline-rushing awesome dripping in Star Wars goodness.  

If you had any reservations about going to see this re-release, I urge you to nerd up, pay the money, and let yourself drift back into the universe that has captured so many of us for a few hours, and as Obi-Wan Kenobi so famously said “let go of your conscious self.”

About the author

Nateal Erickson

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