FILM FANS: 3-D not needed for 'Star Wars: Episode I'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film fans features local residents reviewing the movie week: "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" in 3-D. Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com

2 and a half stars

I admit it. When I was a kid I was a Jedi junkie. Back then it was all about Luke, Leia, Han and a cast of interesting characters and an understandable storyline.

Today I watched "Episode I" again. This time around it was in 3-D. As much as I would love to tell you that this latest fad in filmmaking makes up for the muddled plot, it simply doesn't. Too much time is spent on exposition about taxation and treaties. Whereas we once willingly took a journey and felt the same struggles that each character endured, we're now forced to endure a confusing plot and annoying characters such as Jar Jar Binks.

While the cinematic beauty of this movie simply cannot be denied, the 3-D is largely wasted in a way that's not just sad, it's embarrassing. When you watch the previews and realize that those few shots outshine the main attraction, it causes something akin to pity for George Lucas, the man who can be thanked in a large part for the special effects of movies today. My advice? Save your money, pop your own popcorn, pop in the DVD and skip the theater.

-- Ron Adams, Statham

2 and half stars

I don't know how the 3-D aspect of this movie was created and I'm pretty sure that if 3-D becomes very commonplace, this movie would not garner much positive attention. It is the same movie that came out originally. While there are certainly some interesting aspects to the 3-D, for me it just seems that it was a way for Hollywood to capitalize on a new fad and try to make money without making a new movie.

For those who may have never seen the "Star Wars" movies in the original version, it may be worth your time and money. I have never been enamored with the series but my son really likes them, so I took him to see this one.

For the few viewers that have 3-D televisions at home, I'd recommend waiting to see it on disc later. For the vast majority of others, you have to decide if it is worth the extra money to see the same thing with a few more realistic looks at things. For me, it was just OK.

-- J. P. Zinn, Lawrenceville

1 and half stars

So the saga continues as we see the humble beginnings of the famed Luke Skywalker. In this installment, the target audience has not changed at all, as boys age 11 -1/2 plus or minus 1 year are the perfect victims. If you're an adult and can get into this flick, you may need a therapist. However, here the Jedis have a trade tax embargo fouling up peace. In addition, the senate is in disarray and evil lurks at every corner.

However, Liam Neeson, who plays the senior Jedi, is on the scene, so a bit of hope is maintained. We also see a transporter race for a fuel pump, men at war and a queen in real distress. Nevertheless, through it all Liam forges on to face every obstacle with his sidekick, Obi-Wan Kenobi played statically and stiffly by Ewan McGregor. We even have a queen double -- so talk about storyline, boys. The movie cost $500 trillion dollars to make, so should you have a young boy around your house, this would be a good thing to do, given our national debt and all. If you only have girls, consider yourself blessed.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn