We remain unconvinced that converting 'Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace' to 3D will make the film any less boring than it already is, but that isn't stopping George Lucas from forging ahead with plans to bring an eye-popping version of the feature back to theaters next February. Just think how exciting all those Galactic Senate scenes will be in three dimensions!
Last night, Lucas finally spilled the beans on who will handle the movie's 2D-to-3D conversion process: post-production firm Prime Focus.
Hit the jump for why that makes us nervous.
Prime Focus utilizes a proprietary technology entitled "View-D" to produce stereoscopic 3D films from a 2D source. This sounds great on paper, but some of the recent 2D-to-3D conversions the company has done haven't exactly been lauded in the film community.
The Hollywood-based company was responsible for the conversion on last year's 'Clash of the Titans' -- work that was panned almost universally by critics and fans alike. In Prime Focus's defense, the decision to make 'Titans' a 3D feature came right before release and the firm had only 10 weeks to convert the entire film.
The company then did work converting Wes Craven's 'My Soul to Take' -- where the technical aspects of the process were better, but again, the 3D was underwhelming. At least their work on 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' seemed like an improvement. Still, the track record on post 3D conversions isn't something to get excited about.
Despite this, LucasFilm and ILM have chosen the firm to handle the 'Phantom Menace' duties after what Prime Focus calls "an exhaustive testing process." Say what you will about Lucas' storytelling abilities, but he and ILM tend to make sound decisions when it comes to technical elements in film.
For his part, Lucas is pleased at this early stage of the process. "It was incredibly important to me that we have the technology, the resources and the time to do this right. I'm very happy with the results I've been seeing on 'Episode I.'"
John Knoll, the visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light and Magic, is overseeing the project. He echoes Lucas in stressing how important it is to take the time to get such a conversion correct. "Getting really good results from stereo conversion requires a lot of attention to detail, and it is imperative that you take the time to get it right -- and that's just what we're doing."
He goes on to reassure fans concerned that the film will be gimmicky by stating:
"We're taking a different approach than you might expect. George's vision has been to add dimension to the film in subtle ways. This isn't a novelty conversion, with things jumping out at the audience; our goal has been to enhance the classic 'Star Wars' theatrical experience, utilizing the latest cinematic tools and techniques."
Prime Focus will run the conversion process from their Hollywood offices, but contributors from their global branches will offer assistance as well.
Are you willing to give Prime Focus and 'The Phantom Menace' another shot, or is this just a bad idea all the way around? The allure of Jar-Jar Binks in 3D is very compelling ...