It is appropriate timing here in the McWeeny house for a “Phantom Menace 3D” poster to show up. After all, we’re exactly halfway into our six-part “Star Wars” series on Film Nerd 2.0, and the film we just watched on Monday was, indeed, the controversial 1999 film that brought “Star Wars” back to the bigscreen.
So it was that today when the boys got home from school and I showed them both the poster, there was much rejoicing. These kids simply accept that 3D is part of the theatrical experience today, so much so that when a film comes out that is not in 3D, they think something’s wrong. I’m shocked at how closely Toshi pays attention to the fine print in the movie trailers and the TV spots that he watches. He’s been seeing 3D movies as part of his movie diet since he first started going to the movie theater. I remember taking him to a press screening of “The Ant Bully” where we got seated next to the film’s executive producer, Tom Hanks, who seemed quietly delighted when Toshi ripped off his glasses and hurled them about six rows away three minutes into the film.
Today, though, he loves 3D and he loves “The Phantom Menace,” and the notion of seeing “The Phantom Menace” in 3D is almost too much for his little brain to handle. Allen’s the same way. He now thinks the movie is opening in theaters this weekend, and has already asked me five times if we’re going to see the film tomorrow. No matter how I explain it to him, “February” seems like some impossible thing to him, and he refuses to accept that he’s got to wait to see this. I do think it’s odd that the poster doesn’t emphasize Anakin Skywalker at all, but it looks to me like whoever put this poster together knows exactly what kids like about the movie, so maybe that’s by design.
If Lucasfilm really does do one of these a year, it could be a cash cow for the company, at least as successful as the “Lion King” release right now. While older fans may gripe and grumble about the “Star Wars” prequels, there is a younger generation to holds that film just as dear as any of the others, and they will show up for it. I’ve seen early test footage of “A New Hope” and “Attack Of The Clones” in 3D, and the results are dazzling. I look forward to having an excuse to revisit one film per year from the series in the theater with my sons, and it would not shock me at all if we see there are even more new surprises and changes in the films in these new formats.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing the trailer for the 3D release in front of “The Three Musketeers” later this month.
“The Phantom Menace” returns to theaters February 10, 2012.