The credit crawl
Apparently, if we want to see the proper Star Wars trilogy in 3D, we're going to have to sit through the original prequels first. Because according to early reports, George will only release the rest of the franchise in 3D if The Phantom Menace does well. We know, it's madness.
But we're going to try to look on the bright side by imagining what Menace scenes we actually might be a bit excited to see in 3D. It's been a struggle.
Yeah! Bring the taxation of trade routes, baby!
Alright, so the words themselves are inexplicably tedious considering the sixteen-year wait between movies, but the angled crawl is what tells everyone ‘You’re in a Star Wars movie.’ And in 3D it’s going to be, like, so angled.
The beautiful moment in which it seemed – just for a second – like Qui-Gon might rip Jar-Jar’s tongue out of his big-eyed face or slice it clean in two with his saber.
Not to be – but the scene, in which the Jedi snatches the Gungan’s organ as it flicks across Anakin’s dinner table, has all the ingredients of an eye-poking highlight.
The best star pilot in the galaxy
Dramatically… let’s not talk about it. But visually, Anakin’s sneaky starfighter joyride is one of the film’s big highlights.
Thanks to the new plot-chronology of the two trilogies, it’s the first Star Wars dogfight-in-space that we’ll get to see in 3D. Would we rather see the Death Star battle from A New Hope? Yeah, but in the meantime, this’ll do nicely.
George Lucas’ prequel trilogy has been hammered for its unimaginative over-use of digital effects.
But utilised correctly they can bring something special to the film – like the first time we see the Gungan’s underwater city and its glittering display of luminous orbs.
Trade ship escape
The prequel trilogy’s first proper action scene – Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan pull out the lightsabers and take on a cadre of droids as they realise they’ve been betrayed by the trade federation.
Bam-bam-BAH! We said trade federation. Still – the rolling destroyer droids rock, and being in the cinema the first time the lightsabers fizz into action is going to be special.
Perils of the deep
As Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and (breathe, breathe) Jar-Jar are leaving the city their craft is attacked by a huge predatory fish – which is then attacked in turn by an even bigger fish.
The first time round it seemed like cartoonish madness, but it’s also the sort of showy spectacle that can make 3D really fly.
The battlefields of Naboo
The big-ticket action sequence that was such a clear stand-out Lucas used it during the film’s very first teaser trailers (Remember those? Oh, the sweet tang of hope).
And it still looks the business – huge hovering tanks moving over the windswept green fields of Naboo as the droid army marches to meet the Gungans.
Things that make you go boom
What Star Wars movie would be complete without something exploding dramatically and impossibly – SHUT UP, SCIENCE – in the cold vacuum of space?
In this instance it’s the trade federation’s droid control ship, which goes the way of the firework thanks to Anakin pressing all the buttons in his starfighter like a bored kid in the car park at Sainsbury’s.
Party like its 1999
It strikes us that a lot of the key scenes that we’re pumped for seeing in The Phantom Menace are echoes of moments we’re super pumped to see when A New Hope gets the extra-dimensional treatment.
And that includes the fanfare and smiles ending, in which a shiny crowd of cheering Naboolians applaude our heroes and, relatedly, we think warm thoughts about a young Carrie Fisher.
The pod race
Ah go on then – the twin-engine super kart dune burner one of the best scenes in the original format.
In 3D it’s set to be authentically sensational – brilliantly choreographed, and full of savage speed and first-person thrills.
By the time The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 Star Wars geeks had been living on plot fumes for over a decade.
Picked up from games and novels was the crucial importance of Coruscant City – the capital of both the Empire and the Republic – and with our first, sweeping look at the impossibly intricate metropolis, Lucas doesn’t disappoint.
The duel of the fates
If there’s a scene which redeems not just The Phantom Menace but the entire prequel trilogy – and probably Howard The Duck and Lucas’ cameo in Beverly Hills Cop III as well – it’s the climactic three-way saber throwdown between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul.
It’s incredible, and the acrobatic intensity – ‘Holy shit we have never seen a duel like this before’ – not to mention Obi-Wan’s chasmous fingertip near-miss will look incredible in 3D.