Without George Lucas having his way, the original “Star Wars” trilogy might have remained a truly excellent series, instead of one with overmilked potential.
Every scene in the newly revamped 3-D version of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” reminds the audience of the depressing contrast between the good actors, the good scenes and the good bits of writing in comparison to all the really, really bad ones.
There was so much potential in this prequel trilogy, and the first installment was full of hope. Despite quite a few stumbles, many of which answer to the name Jar Jar Binks, the movie still held aloft the faint possibility of a truly excellent successor and predecessor to the Star Wars trilogy. It wasn’t that bad.
The important draw to the populace at hand here is, aside from the desire to see Star Wars in theatres again, the 3-D presentation that has been gripping the movie industry as of late. In this case, the 3-D was fairly tasteful and well-done, but in no case amazing. It only functioned as an exclamation point for the experience, as usual, rather than a foundational part of the piece. This is to be expected from a decade-old movie that has been doctored up for modern technology.
Regardless of the actual quality of the film, it is difficult to overlook the history of Lucasarts studio and their associates milking everything they can out of the Star Wars franchise.
Their merchandising, re-releasing and constant repackaging makes it hard to see this move as anything but a desire to get even more money out of what they’ve already made. Even by the third original Star Wars movie that got made, “Return of the Jedi,” Lucas was personally becoming quite obsessed with merchandise sales and was compromising the quality of the work in order to sell more toys.
This sort of behavior is debatably reprehensible among artists, as it is considered quite poor form to make a lesser piece in order to sell more or more things associated with it, and George Lucas is one of the worst offenders. Just taking advantage of one of the most important science fiction series in existence might be excusable, but he does so at the cost of quality.
Making money off of a product is one thing, but when the desire to make money trumps the creative effort, things get into Michael Bay territory quite quickly.
In the end, this re-release only served to reinforce all the problems that drug Star Wars down from something great into something that could have been great, but focused instead on sales.