Posted in Entertainment, Technology

Star Wars in 3D – Back to Lucas’ Cash Cow

George Lucas has announced his retirement – from the mainstream, at any rate (http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-01-10/news/30609473_1_red-tails-george-lucas-sequels).  It’s looking like the reception of his newest big budget adventure – about the Tuskegee airmen in WWII – is less than enthralling, and GL seems to be blaming it on Hollywood.  Um, Mr. Lucas, I would recommend that you take a look at the REVIEWS of this film – it seems that many outside of Hollywood don’t like it either (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red-tails/).

So, now he wants to focus on smaller budget films – stuff that would entertain him.  Funny, that’s what I thought American Graffiti did (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/american_graffiti/), along with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones sagas.  We can’t help it if, over the years, they got old, while our expectations did not.  We want to go to movies that are feel good, and exciting, and adventuresome. In order for that to happen there has to be a chemistry between the screenplay, the production, and the cast.  Much of his stuff has felt forced or wooden (e.g. the prequels), as if they were done because of a need, instead of a desire. Maybe there’s just no heart left.

Now, George has gone back to his “cash cow,” – Star Wars.  Having not yet exhausted every media outlet that there is to exhaust, he is now releasing “The Phantom Menace” back to the theaters, in 3D.  He has indicated that he’ll release one a year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars).

So, there are now new trailers, new posters, and new hype all surrounding this 3d event.  Of course, you don’t just release a 3d movie to a 2d theater – the theaters have to be converted with new equipment.  I imagine that they also have to be backward-compatible.  That all costs money; puts a demand on new equipment, and renovations, and new buildings.  Lucas, and filmmakers like him, can actually stimulate the economy with this effort – assuming that 3d isn’t another flash in the pan.  If 3d hangs around, which it hasn’t previously (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_film), then we’d be looking at a revolution in film making. Actually, “film” is no longer accurate, since just about everything is recorded directly to a digital form.

3d is nothing new. Film makers have been trying to bring a 3d effect to movies and theaters almost as long as the motion picture’s been around.  Every few years someone produces a new wrinkle or technology that makes it tempting to “test the waters.”  I think this time the release of Avatar in 3d was the catalyst (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(2009_film).  It takes a few years to run its course, since the market has to see if the 3d movie is financially successful, and then filmmakers start throwing ideas at the studios.  The studios, caught up in the new wave, green light almost anything remotely feasible, and hope it pays off.  Many that just want to cash in on Avatar’s shirttails will release some cheap knock-off, probably direct-to-dvd.  Others will take a couple of years to develop, but if they take too much time the novelty may wear off before the movie’s released.

Here’s a clue with the success or failure of 3d…  If you are issued glasses when you arrive at the theater then 3d is nothing more than a novelty.

Maybe a theater will be able to provide a dual screen system, one behind the other, perhaps with just the slightest angle of difference, similar to what we would see from each eye, and our brains combine those images into a 3d projection. No glasses required, except for those who wear them now for corrective purposes. Of course, the seating angle (i.e., where you’re sitting in the theater) would alter the images seen on the screen, so that there would have to be something to correct that.  That’s for the industry to figure out.

In the meantime, even if you’ve purchased the entire series on Blu-ray just a couple of months ago, along with the video tapes, laserdiscs, lunchboxes, dvds, and other materiel sold over the years, you’ll still line up to watch TPM, AOTC, ROTS, ANH, TESB, and ROTJ at the theaters.

You know what, I probably will too.  

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Author:

Retired Army, living in Washington. Grew up in California.

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