Star Wars fans gathered in Cinemark Theater in Tulsa, Okla. for the midnight premiere of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” in 3D on Feb. 10. Many sported Jedi robes and light sabers. As the room grew dark, the light sabers lit up the room and the show began. In the middle of the movie, the theater had some trouble with the screen and actually had to stop the showing while they took care of the problem. One theater-goer cried, “Light saber duel after the movie!” Another shouted, “They can’t stop us all!” Two Jedi then made a scene of it battling it out near the big screen until the manager came out and the warriors decided to go back to their seats.
This was the scene as described by Andrea Good, witnessed by her and a group of other John Brown University students at the theater
According to “The Hollywood Reporter,” George Lucas intends to re-release all of the films in 3D, starting with Episode I, which was released on Feb. 10, and releasing episodes II through VI numeric order, one every year.
Over the years, George Lucas has made many changes to the films in previous releases, from musical interludes to small plot changes that would not necessitate additional acting.
Some changes have been fairly minor, like fixing a reflection in a window in Cloud City. Other changes have been more substantial and sometimes controversial. One of these changes occurred in one of the final scenes of Episode VI, when Luke Skywalker sees the ghostly presence of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker watching him as the people celebrate the fall of the Empire. Lucas chose to switch out Anakin Skywalker’s ghost, originally played by Sebastian Shaw – the man who plays the part when Luke Skywalker pulls off Vader’s mask – with the younger Hayden Christensen, the actor who plays Anakin Skywalker in Episodes II and III.
Senior Alicia Dill, studying digital media, said that she respects that a director can have something that he was not happy with and want to change it, but since the Star Wars franchise has received such wide acclaim as is, she said, “I think he should also respect that people like what it is now.” Dill largely derided Lucas’s controversial decisions. Lucas inserted Vader crying, “no” as he hurled Emperor Palpatine to his death. On this, Dill’s opinion was simple. “That’s just dumb.”
Dill also explained that she felt that Lucas’s greater access to technology in his later films and re-releases often hurt more than it helped. She said that she felt that great ideas on a lower budget can actually force creators to condense stories to a richer form.
Steve Snediker, a professor of digital cinema, talked about how Lucas was working with the new 3D. Basically, when “The Phantom Menace” was made, the normal technology that people use to create a 3D image simply was not there. So, those working on the movie had to improvise to create a 3D world.
“I think [3D technology] is a fad,” Snediker said. “I think it’s another phase of something new and innovative that sells movie tickets. They charge three to four dollars more per ticket for 3D, so they’re making more money.”
Junior Chase Skelton, studying graphic and web design, had a ticket to go with the JBU students who saw the movie in Tulsa, but at the last minute couldn’t make it. Skelton said when “The Phantom Menace” came out for the first time in theaters, his dad actually pulled him out of school to go and see it. Skelton was excited about the re-releasing of the films in chronological order. He also said he liked 3D, but that it could give him a headache if he watched it too much. “It’s new and it’s cool, but the film industry as we know it is still the same.” Skelton said he believed 3D would stay just an add-on and not a necessity for film.
Snediker said that it was a good time to be involved in digital cinema, since the technology is more accessible. Even so, he said, the greatest stories can be told without the newest camera or computer technology, as long as the creator knew how to tell the story well. “Story still trumps the technology,” he ended.