It had been 13 years since I saw Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in the movie theaters. 13 years ago I was filled with as much excitement as anyone else to see the prequels. While the movies didn’t necessarily live up the original trilogy, I still enjoy them and, as I wrote about here, don’t really have any nerd rage over them.
Rage-free, I happily handed my money to AMC Theaters and George Lucas to experience The Phantom Menace in 3-D. The 3-D wasn’t that spectacular since it obviously wasn’t filmed in 3-D. But, as far as the movie goes, the 3-D didn’t make the bad parts any worse and it made the good parts a little better.
Here are some thoughts on the movie.
13 years ago I loved the podracing scene and I still do today. The podracing had a lot more depth in 3-D and was wonderful to experience again in the theater. I was struck by how many of the drivers died in the podrace. There were a lot of drivers and only Anakin finished. And, unlike Sebulba, a lot of those drivers didn’t walk away from their accidents. It’s hard to walk away from a crash that leads to an immense fireball. I also like the application of Anakin’s slow start compared to how he finished. Very often in life it’s not how we begin that matters but how we finish. Just like Anakin finished his race well, it’s God’s desire for us to run our race strong and finish well.
As I’ve written about before, our culture is filled with so many messianic figures because the entire universe revolves around the one, true Messiah. Anakin Skywalker is definitely the messianic figure in the Star Wars universe. Not only is he “the chosen one”, but he is also the product of virgin-birth. He was conceived by microscopic Force entities and it was prophesied to bring balance to the Force. Jesus was the product of virgin-birth and it was prophesied that he would set everything right. Fortunately for us, though, Jesus didn’t turn to the Dark Side and plunge the galaxy into a decades-long civil war.
I was amazed at the number of kids in the theater with me. I thought the theater would mainly be populated by older nerds like me. While there were plenty of awkward looking adult nerds, the majority of the audience was kids with their parents. Kids today love Star Wars just as much as I did when I was a kid. And, in their minds, there’s no distinction between the prequels and the original trilogy; it’s just all Star Wars to them. Star Wars’ popularity with kids just goes to show that, no matter how young, we’re all looking for a narrative and story in which to participate. That’s part of the reason why Jesus called children to himself. In their youth and innocence, they’re ready to accept a larger story for their lives. We as adults just need to be willing to come alongside them and show them that story.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Phantom Menace 3-D. As soon as the lights dimmed and John Williams’ score kicked in, I was fully transported to that galaxy far, far away. I certainly hope that enough people see Episode I in the theater so, in a few years, we can see the original trilogy in 3-D on the big screen.
Until then DVDs, Blu-rays and arguments about Greedo shooting first will have to tide us over.
What are your thoughts about The Phantom Menace?