The Weekly Reel: Let it end or just make more!

As you are reading this, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace will have been re-released theatrically in 3D, beginning a series of 3D re-releases of the entire Star Wars saga. I don’t need to point out the faults of The Phantom Menace since Red Letter Media has already performed its autopsy of the entire prequel trilogy. As a result of these re-releases, people have become irritated with the risk-adverse film industry.

I know these re-releases can be enjoyable in certain circumstances, like marking the 50th anniversary of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves or a limited screening of Citizen Kane, but these 3D re-releases have simply become a way for studios to cash-in without actually doing any work.

While it may be tempting to pay those inflated 3D tickets prices, are you really getting anything extra by watching a post-converted 3D film that you could just as easily find and watch on DVD for a much cheaper price? Does converting a film with a messy plot, clunky exposition and bland characters into 3D make it any better?

We get it, making a feature-length film is a very expensive business. Given the current economic situation, it’s only natural that studios try to ensure success rather than take a risk, but literally recycling films is not the way to go.

How to fix it

If you’re so certain that re-releasing the prequel trilogy to Star Wars is going make money, why not use that vast fortune to simply make more? What about the upcoming live action Star Wars television series? A theatrical film that sets things up worked for the Clone Wars.

I know that George Lucas said he would no longer produce blockbusters, but the Star Wars brand still exists. Outsource the job to other writers and directors. The extended universe alone is a virtual gold mine.

Disney has proven that the 2D films still have value, but the biggest problem has been with how those films are marketed. Releasing Winnie the Pooh the same week as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was not a smart move on your part. 2D animated films need to be set raise the bar beyond the usual animated musicals that are produced.

All of the Disney fans from the 90’s are adults now. While these studios can and should still appeal to children, creating animated features that can appeal to these older audiences under a different brand may revitalize the stagnated market, in lieu of being beaten by animation studios in France and Japan.

Next Week: Given the recent announcement of Anime Salt Lake, we’ll be revisiting the Japanese film genre, Tokusatsu.