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Anyone Else Ambivalent About the "Star Wars" 3-D Conversion?

By Christopher Campbell | Spout September 29, 2010 at 6:15AM

We knew this day was coming. Not just because it was inevitable, but because long ago George Lucas and company directly assured/warned us it would. But it's nuts that the announcement would have to occur only hours after I celebrated the coming re-release of "Back to the Future" as being the very opposite of a Lucas-type cash grab. And here's why: I honestly can not wait to watch the "Star Wars" hexology in 3-D. Yes, even the prequels. So am I a hypocrite? Most definitely. In the five years I've blogged professionally I've consistently knocked the prequels. And I still don't think I'll care much for them with the extra dimension. Yet I feel compelled. I feel a gravitational field pulling me in, and I'm not going to attempt to struggle. I'm just too damn curious.
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We knew this day was coming. Not just because it was inevitable, but because long ago George Lucas and company directly assured/warned us it would. But it's nuts that the announcement would have to occur only hours after I celebrated the coming re-release of "Back to the Future" as being the very opposite of a Lucas-type cash grab. And here's why: I honestly can not wait to watch the "Star Wars" hexology in 3-D. Yes, even the prequels. So am I a hypocrite? Most definitely. In the five years I've blogged professionally I've consistently knocked the prequels. And I still don't think I'll care much for them with the extra dimension. Yet I feel compelled. I feel a gravitational field pulling me in, and I'm not going to attempt to struggle. I'm just too damn curious.

Of course, after "Phantom Menace" arrives in the format in 2012, I could very well change my mind. Again. But I'll also have a year in between each subsequent episode to regain a childish wonder, as well as a need to be a part of the party -- because you know these re-issues will be a hugely popular thing, regardless of the criticisms. In fact, since it will take until 2017 before we've gotten all six 3-D converted installments, this venture could very well be the thing that keeps people at least occasionally still interested in the format. And with all Lucas' power, even if there is a next step in cinema invented (holographic projection, or whatever) over the next few years, he'll keep it at bay through the decade.

Speaking of lengthy spans of time, I must admit I don't know what's weirder to think about, that I'll be 40 when "Return of the Jedi 3-D" hits theaters (theaters will still exist then? hooray for Lucas if he's the culprit!), or that I will most certainly (hopefully) have a child or two by then (not that I'm trying to plan my life too logically, Katie Aselton) and may therefore finally understand Lucas' cyclical plan for the "Star Wars" universe. Either way, I'm looking forward to the Ewoks shooting their slingshots directly at my face.

Check out what the rest of the blogosphere is saying around the Film Blog Water Cooler about the 3-D-ification of "Star Wars" after the jump.

Steven Zeitchik at 24 Frames:

There's plenty to chew over here — the box office ripple to all the other tentpoles in the coming years not least among them — as a piece of cinema history will crash up against a piece of technology present. Yes, new generations and all that. But is it also true that part of our cultural memory is getting reworked for studio profit? Not since colorization has a technological advance been capable of creating such controversy.

James White at Empire:

While we’re not entirely sure any of the Star Wars series really needs 3D, there are a few scenes we could enjoy seeing with TIE fighters screeching over our heads and some extra depth in those big Hoth landscapes…

Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere:

The only Star Wars film I'd like to see converted into fake 3D is The Empire Strikes Back. The best of the bunch, certainly the most handsomely photographed, etc. You can have the rest of them. And how good is the fake 3D going to be anyway? We've seen what it is, and that it doesn't quite make it.

Eric D. Snider at Cinematical:

Knoll also says they're not going to tinker with the special effects, though I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, given Lucas' fondness of tinkering and his uncanny ability to annoy his fans no matter what he does. Even if they don't do anything new to the prequels, it's probably the "special edition" versions of the original trilogy that they'll be converting, not the original ones. Then again, the very idea of 3D-ifying 'Star Wars,' 'The Empire Strikes Back,' and 'Return of the Jedi' is probably offensive to a lot of hardcore fans, so if Lucas is going to desecrate them he might as well use the heretical "special editions" as his starting point.

Ethan Anderton at First Showing:

My issue personally stems from the fact that they're starting with The Phantom Menace. I think audiences should experience the Star Wars saga exactly as it unfolded over the course of history starting with Star Wars (no, I won't call it A New Hope) and ending with Revenge of the Sith. Oh well.

Russ Fischer at /Film:

Too bad they’re going in story order, because by 2014 perhaps 3D conversion would be good enough to add an extra dimension of character and story to the prequels, too. (Sad trombone.)

Ramses Flores at Collider:

If Lucas was planning on re-releasing the “original trilogy” in 3D, then I’m sure that a ton of people would go to the theater to watch them (myself included). However, Lucas is starting off with The Phantom Menace. I, personally, can’t see people lining up outside of the theater to watch The Phantom Menace in 3D. Can you?

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects (quoting THR's Heat Vision):

Lucas has said that the Avatar experience convinced him that Star Wars was ready for the state-of-the-art 3D treatment.”

What does that even mean? Avatar was filmed in 3D with 3D cameras. The Star Wars films were not. We’ve all seen major differences between films shot in 3D and films that have been post converted. There’s nothing comparable in regards to the 3D look betwe—

Oh, wait. By “Avatar experience” Lucas meant Avatar‘s box-office didn’t he. Now it makes sense. You may commence milking those Tauntaun breasteses…

Josh Tyler at Cinema Blend:

It's my hope that Star Wars fans will finally take a stand and simply refuse to buy tickets. It's the only way to end this cycle of greed. Do the right thing, right here, right now, and pledge not to show up at theaters for this re-release.

One last thing for those of you who got this far: I'd like to propose this more-personally involved cyclical plan, a sort of legacy that brings me and my family nothing more than happiness. If you must keep giving money to the Lucas factory, buy this print and this t-shirt of the poster artwork my father did for the first "Star Wars" 34 years ago. I don't know if Lucas gets the proceeds, or if they're bootleg merchandise. I know my father doesn't get any richer, but he does get excited continually seeing his legacy out there. As do I.

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This article is related to: Film Blog Water Cooler