A long time ago, in a theatre not so far away, Star Wars fans partied like it was 1999! Because, well, not only was it 1999, but also because of the release of Episode I — The Phantom Menace. For the first time in 16 years (since the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983) they were going to get a fresh fix of the Force, lightsaber fights and freaky aliens. They lined up days in advance, anxious to learn the story of how a cute little poor-boy from Tatooine would one day become the most feared and hated man in the galaxy.
When the time came, many entered the theater high on their hopes and dreams for the continuing Star Wars saga, but many left feeling as though they had been force-fed Tauntaun testicles. Poor acting, a hackneyed story, reviled new characters and a complete demystification of the Force would make The Phantom Menace the most controversial film in the Star Wars saga. Some loved it, some hated it, but most were somewhere in the middle, not willing to accept that the saga they loved so much had taken such an ugly turn towards the dark side.
To his credit, creator George Lucas has never backed down or apologized for Episode I. The way he sees it, it’s his ship to fly the way he wants, and damn the proton torpedoes. So hold on to your asteroid: on Feb. 10, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace will be re-released in theaters — and this time with state-of-the-art RealD 3D technology.
Despite the film’s flaws, and if for no other reason, I’m down with this just to see the podracing sequence in 3D on the big screen. And to sweeten the pot even more, Lucasfilm has teamed up with AMC Theaters to offer some “pretty okee-day” swag for opening weekend.
In the Valley, the participating theater is the AMC Mesa Grand 24 at 1647 S. Stapley Dr. in Mesa. It’s been rumored that Mesa was chosen due to its extraordinarily high levels of midi–chlorians. The opening weekend (Feb. 10 – 12) giveaways include Anakin-style Limited Edition 3D Glasses (first 400 guests) and Fighter Pod miniature collectible figures from Hasbro (ticket purchase required).
On Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the AMC Grand 24 festivities will include a Star Wars LEGO Feature Area, Xbox 360 Kinect Star Wars game demos, character appearances and face painting. Go to AMC Mesa Grand 24 to purchase advance tickets.