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Just got back from Star Wars Episode 1, due to come out in a couple of days... My wife works for Lego group and we got a pre-screening at the local cineplex. The movie was shown on a film projector.


In a word the movie was disapointing. The PQ was awful. It was almost as though it was a high end CRT that was set up completely wrong. In terms that us CRT folk understand, it looked to me as though the G2 was set too low ( no shadow detail), the contrast was set too high (bright whites looked crushed), there were artifacts that made shin tones look 'crawly' on the close up shots, and Yoda looked as though his voice over was a half second off synch. In adition, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio made it neccessesary to cut the heads offo f actors on more than one scene.


The plot left much to be desired as well. There are few action scenes and the bulk of the movie focuses on a love story between Aniken and Abdula. My wife and I looked at each other and actually considered leaving 1/2 way through. The only thing that kept me in my seat was the fear that as soon as I left it would pick up. I should have left. The best part in the whole movie is when a certain droid gets his head stuck on the wrong robot...


So seriously folks, my advice is to stay home on this one and hope the transfer to DVD is better that what you see in the theater.


You've been warned,

Sean
 

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-- trust me , you had a bad theater projection system on that private screening .

-- Jason Berg
 

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Wow, you just saw Episode 1 recently? Hasn't that been out for a couple years now? :)


Actually, I really enjoyed Episode 2. Very little Jar-Jar makes for a better Star Wars.
 

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I've been very disappointed with Star Wars episode 1, 'the phantom menace', and I wouldn't be surprised to be bored by 'attack of the clones'. The first trilogy was in keeping with a long tradition of epic fictions, in literature as well as cinema. It seems that the new trilogy has much in common with videogames and special effects, but does not recapture, in any way, the magic of the first series. But maybe George Lucas has deliberately done so, in order to attract teenagers, who will prefer 'Matrix' to 'Conan the Barbarian'...
 

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Yeah, I'm a little ashamed to own The Matrix on DVD. 'Conan the Barbarian?' How about 'Conan the Destroyer?' Yeah, I get the same feeling that this trilogy is a fixation on special effects. I'm a techie kind of guy but the puppets of Star Wars Eps. 4, 5, and 6 still look better than the CGI characters of the newest trilogy. The CGI lacks a texture that the puppets had. I'm sure that the CGI will only improve yet Eps. 4, 5, and 6 still look incredible!
 

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Sean,

This is similar to the review by Ebert on both the image quality and the film itself. It is sad when such a legend is just an empty promise again. As I've said Episode I was bland, with very wooden characters and lots of CGI. What is interesting is for some reason the stop motion stuff of old like "Kong" and "Jason" still seems fresh in some ways compared to the CG stuff and I can't say why this feels that way to me.

Art
 

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Art, I know what you mean about the effects. I sometimes get a kick out of Star Trek TOS because of the cheesy effects. Could it be that we enjoy less "sophisticated" effects because they force us to use our imagination, which is a reminder of some of our more childlike feelings? Freud hat off.:p
 

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I watched the copy that is on the internet and liked it enought that I'm going to drive 7hrs round trip to memphis to see it in a digital cinema. But I guess its not everyones cup of tea.
 

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Don't mean to sound condescending, but why would anyone give much weight to the 'review' of someone who can't keep track of which episode he just watched and calls it '"attack of the clones" OR SOMETHING'.


I'm going to wait till Saturday (have my tickets already) to form my own opinions. I'll be watching it in AMC Van Ness, which is one of the 19 theaters in the US that will be showing it digitally.


Regarding the picture quality, it is possible that does not look good transferred to film and projected. It was filmed in 1920x1080P which is a far cry from film resolution. The main benefit is that when viewed with digital projection, the image will be 'perfect' and free of dirt, scratches, etc.


Bryan
 

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Hey-

Just got back from the first midnight show of Episode II. I thought it looked fine, for the most part. If anything, some scenes had that overexposed look that the DVD of Episode I had. Darkness certainly wasn't a problem. If I didn't know the source was digital I certainly wouldn't have guessed. My first reaction as the trailers started- this is the first film I've seen in a theater since setting up my pj- was, "Damn, somebody really converged that projector well." *lol* The CGI effects were spotty- some looked terrific and some looked, frankly, bad- a function of time and budget I suppose. As for the film itself- it's a darn sight better than the last one at least. Sure, there are things to criticize and I won't go into them here but at least a few times I felt like I was back in the Star Wars universe of old. The fan-boys I was with were in raptures. I only live four hours from Memphis- I'm not about to drive there for a movie but it sure would be interesting to compare the digital projection with the traditional. Brian, Trevor, report back and let us know how it is!!!


Fred
 

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Wow, I didn't know that ep. 2 was VIDEO! Yuck! I'll have to see if I can tell when I go tomarrow to see it. I mean, I use video, granted 480i, but only because it is what is cheap, easy, accessible, and yes, cheap. 1080p ain't cheap, but I bet it's cheaper than 35mm. 35mm film blows any video away. And 70mm! Holy picture detail Batman! Digital has it's benefits, yet I'm surprised that George went with video. There is no such thing as filmed in video. Ep. 2 was not filmed, it was, shot. Shot => video, Filmed => film. I bet doing it all digital made editing a breeze compared to with film. That and spewwing CGI all over it was probably easier if it's digital to begin with. I miss stop-motion in big films too. I saw a documentary on how they stop-motion animated the AT-AT walkers in Empire (I think it was Ep. 5!). Holy moly! Then again I'm a stop-motion animator so I'm bias! :D Honestly though, puppet Yoda is 10 times better than CGI Yoda. The puppet has a life texture to it that the computer software and/or CGI artistry lacks. Same with Jabba. Puppets rock! Though for explosions and things that go BOOM in general CGI has my stamp of approval.
 

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I just got back from a midnight showing, and I thought the picture resolution was incredible, but it looked like the brightness was set too high (not enough shadow detail). It was the cleanest film print I've ever seen that involved human actors, though. The sound was fantastic, and I'll agree that the effects did look unrealistic at times, but I think a lower-brightness picture would have done wonders for adding realism to the effects. The best way I can describe it is if you play a computer game with the gamma turned down to proper levels, it looks a lot more realistic than with the gamma jacked up.


As far as the movie goes (NO SPOILERS): I can't speak for non-Star Wars fans, but I absolutely loved it. The story is fantastic, and really makes the story of Episode I better and more clear (you'll go OHHHHH, that's why that happened after you see it). The acting is good for the most part. And there is so much action you'll be amazed. Admittedly, some of the moments are more poignant to those who have seen and remember EPISODES IV-VI, and who have EPISODE I's story fresh in their minds. If you didn't leave EPISODE I with questions (other than WHY JAR JAR WHY? hehe) you probably don't care enough to understand and appreciate Episode II for its story, but you'll still be satisfied with it's action. Well worth my $8.50.


Speaking of THE MATRIX, there was a teaser. I'm no fan of the first one so I only watched with mild interest, but everyone else seemed pretty excited.
 

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George Lucas really redeemed himself in my eyes with this film and in an earlier post someone said it will make you appreciate Episode 1 more. It does. You will finally see why Jar Jar was important in contributing to the future events. Action was great and they finally started to develop the characters, which the first one was lacking in. BTW, don't mess with Yoda. Isaw saw this in a standard film theater and plan to view it again in a digital theater to compare, but the theater I watched it in had good "shadow" ;) detail. Those who have seen the film will know what I am referring to.

Dan


Dan
 
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