Although it's only been a year since we were last treated to a Star Wars movie thanks to Rogue One, it's been double that time since we left off with the players of the new main trilogy. Picking up immediately after The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters, and it leaves the galaxy far, far away in an intriguing place that we'll return to in Episode IX. But for right now, one of the questions you may be asking yourself going into The Last Jedi is what kind of ticket you should buy. In other words, to 3D or not to 3D?
That's what we're here to discuss. For those of you who are interested in our thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a whole, you can read our review of the movie. Right here is where we'll be discussing whether it's worth putting down a little extra cash to enjoy Episode VIII in 3D. With that in mind, let's delve into the criteria so you can determine just how you'll enjoy the latest Star Wars movie during its theatrical run.
Not every movie deserves the 3D treatment. It's not worth going down this route for a theatrical tale that isn't delivering a visual spectacle. Fortunately, this is Star Wars we're talking about. Just like its eight predecessors (nine if you want to include the animated Clone Wars movie), Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn't lacking for impressive visuals, from lightsaber combat to space battles to sprawling alien environments like Canto Bight. The Last Jedi lends itself well to being watched as a 3D experience, making these space opera moments feel more realistic, at least to your eyes.
Just because a movie lends itself well to the 3D treatment doesn't always mean that said movie takes advantage of this approach. Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn't suffer from this. Obviously not every single scene in this movie delivers a 3D spectacle, but it's clear that the minds behind the 3D process spent a lot of time on the moments that counted, whether it be delivering an increased depth of field or making certain elements look like they're jumping out of the screen and right into your face. Admittedly, there are certain action sequences in The Last Jedi that would have benefitted from extra 3D attention, but for the most part, it in no ways feels like this was an afterthought during the post-production process. Overall, it's a satisfiable experience.
As mentioned in the previous section, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has plenty of moments where certain things just fly off the screen, which is key to a 3D presentation. It's what most people think about when imagining a 3D movie. From a giant Star Destroyer blast flying towards a Resistance cruiser to Kylo Ren simply pointing his lightsaber forward, many of the action-fueled moments had that extra 3D flair that made paying a little extra money for your ticket so worth it. It's important to point out that not all the action scenes in The Last Jedi take advantage of that popping out factor, but for the ones that do, it makes the movie all the more thrilling.
3D isn't just about making things in the foreground more visually captivating. It's also important to make sure the background looks crisp. This is especially integral to a Star Wars movie, as this is a franchise that thrives on introducing fans to interesting planets and environments. Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivers on this through our time on Ahch-To, Canto Bight and Crait, and even places like the bridge of a Star Destroyer or Snoke's throne room look captivating. Thankfully, because The Last Jedi doesn't spend too much time in enclosed spaces, the 3D helps add incredible depth and make the landscapes where our heroes and villains are operating more visually appealing. There are times where it feels like the backgrounds could be a little less blurry, but they're few and far between.
Because the glasses you're wearing while watching a 3D movie add a thin layer of shade over your eyes, that makes it all the more necessary that this particular presentation of the movie is slightly brighter to compensate for the added darkness. Compared to The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi certainly feels like a darker movie, not just in terms of tone, but also because there are more nighttime scenes, such as Rey exploring Ahch-To and Finn and Rose navigating Canto Bight's outer perimeter. Thankfully, during these dark scenes, it's usually easy to make out what's happening, though there are one or two moments where there was need for improvement (though this could also be due to projector issues). But don't think that The Last Jedi is all darkness; when the movie takes us to brighter places like a Resistance ship or the wide plains of Crait, the colors are vibrant and solid.
If you remove your glasses during a 3D movie, you'll immediately see that the screen is blurry. This is one of the ways you can assess the 3D quality of said movie. The blurrier the image is, the image manipulation is occurring, and thus means that you're getting more depth of frame. For Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you could take off your glasses during the quieter moments, i.e. when people just chatting, and would see that there's little blur. This is somewhat disappointing, as it feels like a little extra time could have been poured into making use of the 3D technology. Fortunately, during the pulse-pounding, exciting moments, there is significant blur, meaning the 3D presentation is doing its job. So for this particular category, we fall right into the middle of the spectrum.
Watching a 3D movie is always going to be a different experience for each person. Some people can handle the enhanced visuals just fine, others might feel nauseated. Generally speaking, you don't need to worry about falling into the latter category with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There are few frantic cameras movements, and while certain things jumping out of the screen may feel jolting, they likely won't be enough to make you feel sick. Again, this will vary on how your own body reacts, but if you usually do well with 3D movies and can handle straining your eyes a bit during the darker scenes, The Last Jedi shouldn't be an issue either.
Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi benefits from the 3D format more than it's hindered from it. It's by no means perfect, and you could certainly enjoy the eighth live action Star Wars installment in a standard 2D format and still have a good time, but if you're looking to spice up this theatrical experience, you should definitely considered setting aside a little extra money for that 3D ticket. The effects enhance the middle chapter of the current trilogy, and for those of you who appreciate feeling like you're actually within the Star Wars universe when watching one of these movies, you won't be lacking in that department seeing The Last Jedi in 3D.
Don't forget to check out our full To 3D archive.