The mother of all 3D releases will be upon us soon. According to Variety, all six of the original Star Wars films are set for a theatrical 3D converted re-release. That's right, after years of hints and teases, it seems that the monumental success of Avatar last year, which has since spawned an ungodly fad of 3D releases, has served as the catalyst for the most celebrated mega-movie franchise of all time to finally break the second dimension. Starting at a date to be determined in 2012 (as if there aren't already enough movies we have to see that year,) the films will be individually released, beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (Or as it's titled in Bulgaria, "Mentally Deficient Lizard Bunny Breaking Things in Space.") The releases ensure a healthy re-injection of the Star Wars mythos into the veins of pop culture for yet another generation of viewers to experience.
Conversion naysayers may not be so quick to pull the "Clash of the Titans Card." This is Lucasfilm, after all, so don't expect some fly-by-night quickie. Not unlike the THX digital remastering process in the 90's which significantly cleaned up much of the sound and picture quality of the original trilogy, this will be a major operation. While the actual process will be done by outside vendors, it will be closely overseen by Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisor John Knoll. According to Knoll, they are committed to "ensuring that the 3D conversion delivers results as good as a movie shot and authored in 3D." Apparently, what is being referred to as "jarring, exaggerated" features typically used in 3D will be avoided. As Knoll told Variety:
"Having seen a lot of stereo material, I have very strong opinions about what I like and don't like about stereo," Knoll told Variety. "I'm going to be applying my aesthetic. It's not going to look like (conversions) we've seen in the past."
In what may be taken as good news to the segment of fans that couldn't quite stomach the addition of over-the-top digital creatures roaming Mos Eisley, Greedo firing first, and an undersized off-color Jabba with anime eyes, there will be NO additional updated visual effects. However, with the prospect of long-lost cut scenes making their debut in next year's Blu-Ray release of the Star Wars sextet, one could speculate that we may be in store for an all-new cut of the films. (Again, pure speculation.)
I've got to say, as someone who reluctantly accepts the Prequel Trilogy (well, some of it's okay,) I am actually excited at the prospect of an odyssey to even see each of them in theaters again. And as for Episodes IV - VI, you should probably be legally-required to return your Geek Card if you don't want to see them in 3D.
So, does the prospect of 3D raise your enthusiasm for pod races, awkwardly-elaborate lightsaber duels, and tons of dialogue about trade blockades? Besides, Jar Jar can be sort of acceptable in an ironic, avante-garde kind of way...right?