Worthy Ways to Spend Time with Star Wars Without Seeing ‘The Phantom Menace’ in 3D

Posted 8 years ago by Movies

Friends don't let friends see The Phantom Menace in 3D
Back in 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out, I really wanted to like. And I did like it at first blush. I’m sure seeing my beloved Star Wars universe back on the big screen played into my initial embrace of the prequel.

Just as the hate slowly grew in Anakin Skywalker as he turned toward the Dark Side, so too did my resentment for The Phantom Menace. The film had so much promise. Many of the right pieces were there: a spry Obi-wan and Yoda, glimpses of R2-D2 and C-3PO, a bad-ass villain with a double light saber, the exciting podracing.

For all the fun elements, there were numerous pieces that pulled it down: that whiney kid Anakin, the stale Queen Amidala, slapstick courtesy of Jar Jar Binks, the overly political storyline… I could go on. (See Red Letter Media’s thorough review if you need more examples.)

The film resurfaces this weekend in 3D. As if three dimensions could shine that turd into something worth seeing. Instead of spending an ungodly amount on premium, 3D movie tickets, I have a few Star Wars-related alternatives for you.

Buy all six Star Wars films on Blu-ray. Yeah, buy the very movie I’m dissuading you from seeing in 3D. Obviously the original trilogy is the trophy here. Having it in pristine (albeit altered) condition is worth the discounted price of the full set. Just consider the prequels supplemental material.

Explore the expanded universe. The world of Star Wars is immense, thanks largely to talented authors building upon the foundation George Lucas and others set forth. I highly recommend The Thrawn Trilogy of novels. These establish a post-Return of the Jedi storyline that could have made for Episodes 7, 8, and 9.

Build a Star Wars LEGO set. Building LEGO sets are a great way to pass the time, either alone or with family. Pick out one or two of the more moderately priced Star Wars sets and make an afternoon out of building them. If you’re feeling really ambitious, I recommend the Millennium Falcon (set 7965) or X-Wing (set 9493).

Share Star Wars with kids. Those who defend Episode I say it needs to be treated as a kids movie. Making The Phantom Menace a kid’s first experience with Star Wars is no way to build a fan. After showing them the first three movies, give kids a better understanding of the characters. There are two books geared for kids that I highly suggest: Star Wars: Battles for the Galaxy and LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. Both will entertain your younglings for hours.

Simply peruse the Wookieepedia. You think you know all there is to know about Star Wars? You don’t know the half of it. Browse through the online encyclopedia for everything Star Wars. For example, read through the entry on Stormtroopers. There’s more to those boys in white than bad aim. And, hey, it’s free.

And I haven’t even scratched the surface… Video games, the Star Wars radio dramas, Star Wars podcasts, the decent Star Wars Clone Wars animated series, the long run of Star Wars comic books—all are worth the time.

There’s a lot of great Star Wars stuff to explore rather than stooping to an overpriced 3D showing of a mediocre movie.

  • Great list! The Thrawn Trilogy is a great read, and I would add the Han Solo Adventures to that list as well. Those books were some of the first expanded universe novels and are really fun.