I caught Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D yesterday at the theater. I had read quite a bit of praise for the post-conversion 3D and was really looking forward to seeing how good it looked. Unfortunately, I was let down.
After watching 15 minutes of wiz-bang previews in 3D, I was primed for a something great on-screen. I kept waiting and waiting until 30 minutes or so into the film I realized I was never going to see the solid 3D imagery I had hoped for.
Sure there were a couple of scenes that looked nice with apparent depth; however, the overall film was flat as a 3D offering. At no point did I feel immersed.
I think this is going to be one of the problems we see going forward with 3D conversions – they aren’t shot with 3D in mind. We are starting to see directors and cinematographers pay attention to camera blocking, depth of field and movement from a 3D point of view. As a result, the reasons to do certain things with cameras are becoming more refined for 3D usage. Ultimately, this really separates the intentionally-shot 3D scenes from the ad-hoc post conversion of scenes that were never intended to be viewed in 3D.
Lucas can have hundreds of VFX artists rotoscope for hours on end; however, it’s not going to set Star Wars apart from the rest of the poor post-converted films out there. If Lucas wants a Star Wars film to look great in 3D, he needs to hand over the reigns and let someone actually shoot it in 3D.
If I can get out of it, I’m going to pass on the next five Star Wars 3D films.