12 and 3/4 years ago I emerged from an all-media screening of The Phantom Menace at the now-vanished National in Westwood. I looked up at the night sky and vowed to expel Jake Lloyd from my movie-watching realm for the rest of my days. The film industry came to the same conclusion so keeping the pledge wasn’t difficult, but re-experiencing The Phantom Menace in 3D is still forbidden. Even if the 3D is relatively decent, as I’ve read.
For me it was always Lloyd, Lloyd, wretched Lloyd when it came to summoning the fury. Jar-Jar Binks not so much. He was so ludicrous he barely made a dent.
Movieline‘s Alison Willmore manned up, went, saw and filed this response. If any HE readers went, please have at it. Though I can’t imagine anyone outside of the haggard remnants of the Star Wars faithful shelling out for this.
I will, however, pay to see The Empire Strikes Back in 3D, if they ever release that in a first-rate, retro-fitted way a la James Cameron‘s Titanic 3D. Which they probably won’t. The idiots and family audiences who are paying this weekend to see Phantom 3D would probably regard a 32 year-old Star Wars film as too familiar or quaint.
At the very least The Phantom Menace launched the beginnings of an industry-wide realization — a process that took many, many years to reach fruition and maturity — that George Lucas was creatively over and had in fact become a kind of malevolent force. Whatever genuine inspiration he had inside him during the making of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back had escaped, leaving him more or less hollow and adrift and adept only at marketing and manufacturing and screwing up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.