Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones 3D Review! Plus see I-III in 3D at Celebration!

First up, our friends at Yak Face are reporting:

I received my latest issue of the Star Wars Insider today and was surprised to read that Revenge of the Sith will be making its theatrical 3D premiere during Celebration Anaheim in April. Attendees will be able to view the entire Prequel Trilogy in 3D (along with the Original Trilogy in non-3D) over the course of the four day event.

Its a very good thing. The prequel trilogy 3D wasn’t something that was just a conversion done without love. Filmmaker legend Dennis Muren recently had a film festival held in his honor which culminated in the first American screening of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones 3D. During the Q&A which you can hear on Now, This is Podcasting! Muren goes into great detail about how this was not just a conversion but a labor of love. They literally recreated the actor’s faces digitally to make sure the shots worked. Natalie Portman was filmed in a way that when converted into 3D was not flattering to the insanely beautiful actress. When they used the 3D scan of her and composited it over the initial performance, they were able to construct the shot for 3D. You cannot tell they did this, it just looks like the film was made to be seen in 3D and shots you wouldn’t expect to look stunning really do. Muren also noted that they did the same thing for Revenge of the Sith. So when Anakin turns to Darth Vader and his eyes glow, they made his eyes set deeper so the glow and the creepy factor was increased. The movies are actually enhanced with the 3D technology which goes beyond it being a simple gimmick.

I absolutely loved Attack of the Clones in 3D. I love the prequel trilogy a lot. But I find the speeder chase at the start of that film to be the weakest action sequence of all six Star Wars films. It just doesn’t connect well with me. Visually, I feel like I’m getting a lot of the same, over and over again. In 3D I actually enjoyed the sequence a lot . With the backgrounds brought to life and the focal points changed during the scenes thanks to the three dimensions displayed, it was a little easier to see exactly what the director intended for us to look at. It did not make the chase sequence Podracer sequence good, but it did make it more engaging and the various districts the speeders race through during the sequence was a lot easier to sense.

It was really refreshing to see the movie shown in a new light. Sequences like Dex’s Diner had a life-like quality which excelled in this format. The cynic will have a harder time picking out CGI from practical set in this medium. 3D actually marries the two together in a way that makes the backgrounds and actors work together in a very convincing way. I’ve seen Attack of the Clones on film, digitally projected, in IMAX, and now in 3D. While I do think the IMAX cut was somewhat superior, the best way to see Attack of the Clones is in 3D. Why? The arena.

The arena sequence thrived in 3D. Little shots stood out to me. Padmé jumping on the pillar when she fights the nexu was particularly great to see. Most of all those backgrounds, all digitally created do not feel flat. The arena feels more tightly put together and consistent from shot to shot. It makes the eye candy of little Geonosians flying around and laser blasts that much nicer to see. Strangely the Obi-Wan and Jango Fett fight was really strong while the Yoda fight didn’t see to benefit from the 3D upgrade due to the intensity and speed of the sequence.

Don’t get me wrong, I might appear heavily critical of Attack of the Clones, I’m actually not. I really love the movie. But the amount of CGI work thrown at it in 2001 did give the film some uneven CGI shots and the consistencies between them was notable to me. I also think if you don’t like Lucas’ take on film noir and romance, you’re not going to like or dislike it anymore here than you did in 2002 onward. The heart of the film is not touched. 3D simply offers a superior and visually consistent vision of the film.

Attack of the Clones 3D was a superior undertaking compared to The Phantom Menace 3D. For Attack of the Clones 3D, to paraphrase Muren, they didn’t listen to the scientist, they trusted their eyes. Each shot looks great regardless if it makes scientific sense based on depth of field and things of that nature. It looked great. The work on Clones made Muren and Lucas tempted to go back and redo The Phantom Menace 3D. I can see why. Honestly, your luck with the efficacy of The Phantom Menace depended on your theater and the your position in that theater (I saw it nine times over the span of its release and can personally attest to this). I will say, I sat near the front for Attack of the Clones 3D but purposely got up and watched the end near the back of the theater and the picture was very much improved and it looked stunning and cohesive.

I hope to see you all at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. I also hope to see you at the screenings of all six Star Wars films and the prequel trilogy in 3D. It is pretty fun and a shame it didn’t get released. Under the original plan, I can see why the powers that be did not want to have Star Wars films in theaters before Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It makes total sense. The Phantom Menace ended up making about 100 million in 3D but it was more important to not quench the thirst for theatrical Star Wars before the release of that film. Its a shame, a sensible shame, but still a shame this film didn’t get a release that allowed Star Wars fans to see all the spectacle, beauty, and work that went into making Attack of the Clones a new theatrical experience. I look forward to watching it in 3D again and I can’t wait to see Revenge of the Sith in 3D and discuss it here next April!

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