'Star Wars' in 3D Is for the Next Generation -- But Old School Fans Can Enjoy It Too!

3d glasses boy movie theater Star Wars
Seeing The Phantom Menace in 3D
In 1977, over a bucket of buttery popcorn in a dark movie theater, I saw the original Star Wars with my family. I was only 6, and I had no idea I was witnessing the start of a long-lasting, ever-beloved phenomena, but as soon as that prologue rolled up the screen on a field of stars, I was hooked. I desperately wanted a pet R2-D2 (like you didn't), and by the time Return of the Jedi came out, I was 12 and wanted to kiss Han Solo, marry Luke Skywalker, and then leave them both behind to tend the baby Ewoks while my BFF Princess Leia and I blasted off for galaxy do-goodery. Oh yeah, the Force totally got me.

More than three decades later, my own son's Star Wars mania has far surpassed my own, thanks to the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series and its coordinating books. So imagine our excitement when recently we both were invited on a Star Wars excursion of a lifetime -- an amazing Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace 3D preview weekend.*


The weekend trip started with a visit to the Tech Building at THE ONE AND ONLY Skywalker Ranch in Northern California (where George Lucas keeps an office!). Believe me, I know how lucky we were to visit, and we loved every single minute of it.

The tech building skywalker Ranch
The Tech Building at Skywalker (as in Luke) Ranch

kids lightsabers light sabers
Lightsabers, check!
We first met with Sound Editor Matthew Wood in THE sound room where my son got to have his voice dubbed into a Phantom Menace scene with Liam Neeson and a droid. AWESOME.

Matthew Wood
Matthew Wood is super cool.
We then chatted with Concept Model Artist John Goodson who gave us tons of cool behind-the-scenes dish and showed us Anakin's pod racer.

Anakin Skywalker pod racer
That's Anakin's pod racer, yo!
Later, we got Lightsaber Training with Stunt Coordinator ObiShawn and tried out the forthcoming Star Wars Kinect game -- hello? Who in the world doesn't want to go head to head with Darth Vader in a lightsaber battle?

Light saber training!
The next day we toured LucasArts in the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco's Presidio where we walked hallways full of memorabilia from Star Wars and beyond. My brain was exploding. Especially when I saw my dream dude roll in -- R2-D2!!!

R2-D2 kids LucasArts
R2-D2 -- my dream guy

stormtroopers LucasArts
Stormtroopers keep breakfast eaters in line
It was not only one of the coolest days of my life, but I was also ranking seriously high for creating one of the coolest days of my son's life. Mother of the Year, right here, baby.

When it came time to see the film, I had no idea that I'd be smacked with such a teary wave of nostalgia. You see, as my son and I slid on our 3D glasses, it dawned on me that my son had never seen a Star Wars movie IN A THEATER before. Here he is, an insanely versed Star Wars maniac, and I was able to share this moment with him from the other side of my own experience. I had my moment three decades ago. Now it was his turn. And someday he will look back and ... well, you get it. Sob!

I know what you really want to know -- but was the 3D movie any good? True fanatics, I know, weren't all that hip to the idea of 3D remake of all six films; however, I have to say it was amazing to share the brand new upgraded version with my son (sadly, they didn't take out the part where Anakin's ridiculous mother lets him blast off the planet with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi heading straight for destination Dark Side -- woman, what is wrong with you?).

For me, the original movies will always be the best; however, this is the next generation's time. This movie is for them, and I was so happy to come full circle in my life to be able to experience a Star Wars first all over again.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D opens in theaters today -- Friday, February 10th. Check out the Phantom Menace trailer.

Are you planning to go see Phantom Menace in 3D?


* Our Star Wars weekend was courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

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