A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Star Wars started its reign as a pop culture and science fiction genre staple that has persisted in moviegoers’ hearts and minds ever since. Now, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker heading into theaters for all of the public to see, it’s time for the Skywalker Saga to come to a close.
Questions abound when it comes to this experience: What’s going to happen to Rey? Will Luke show up with some more guidance? What do I need to remember for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to make any sense? Perhaps most importantly, at least for our purposes, is that one query we love to ponder so much: To 3D, or not to 3D?
If you’re curious how we felt about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as a film, head over to our official review for all of the details. But if you want to know if you should spend the extra ticket money on a 3D showing or if you’re better off purchasing Darth Vader’s remains on eBay, you’re in the right place. Begun this To 3D has…
If you’re going to make a Star Wars movie, chances are it’s going to be a 3D spectacle worthy of converting into a premium format. As the franchise’s history with special 3D conversions has been solid throughout the current run of films, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an absolute fit for 3D. It also helps that the action of any run-of-the-mill movie from this series would probably fit into the 3D realm comfortably, but history has definitely proven us wrong in the past, so the question of the film's fit still had to be asked.
If your movie includes long sequences of darkness, with intermittent strobe lighting, you should plan for how that’s going to affect your 3D presentation early and often. The brightness is perhaps the greatest hinderance to the enhancements made to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as swaths of this film are barely watchable in the format. While the usual 3D trickery is sometimes present and enjoyable, the dim quality of the overall film really does hinder the normally colorful experience that is a Star Wars movie.
Lightsabers clash, ships fly close to the screen, and various objects and planets explode during Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. So it checks out that this is indeed a Star Wars movie, and in that grand tradition, a lot of stuff can be thrown out into the audience during any given scene. Surely enough, there are aspects that pop out of the picture from time to time, but the effect isn’t used as much as it can be throughout the film in question. At its best though, atmospheric effects like snow and debris pop out at the audiences, as well as the occasional lightsaber or debris from a crashing TIE Fighter.
When it comes to the depths of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s 3D image, things start to look up for the conversion on the whole. An almost limitless field of vision is shown throughout director J.J. Abrams’ visual storytelling, which really compliments the moments when the film takes full advantage of its “Before The Window” aspects. Strong, clearly defined spatial reasoning is in play as well, with characters being properly separated from their environments and each other. You can see the limits to the depth of the images, but it’s drawn in such a way that it doesn’t hinder the film’s 3D illusion at all.
You can tell very early on when some movies are going to have a problem with brightness, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is definitely one of those films. While your mileage will vary in this factor, based on how well your local theater maintains their 3D projection rigs, the new planet of Exogal is the setting that sinks this brightness score down to the level it sits. That portion of this film is so dark you can’t see anything, except when the lights start to strobe, which is totally on purpose. In a 2D presentation, this wouldn’t be a problem; but in a 3D context that ruins the effect, and just confuses the eye. As for the rest of the film, it’s still washed out in even its’ brightest of circumstances.
3D conversions need points of 2D data that anchor the image on the whole. It’s basically a natural law in making things pop in a movie like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. So when you take your glasses off during a 3D enhanced film, you’ll notice both blurry bits and non-blurry sections. But in this particular case study, there are too many of those non-blurry 2D moments to feel like they’re just anchors to hold the picture together. There are good amounts of blur in the background, but there are a few pieces of this movie that look flat out 2D not 3D.
For a series that shows off a lot of action and adventure in its epic scope, you’d think Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might be a bit hard to follow with your 3D-trained eye. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t the case at all, as the picture is easy to take in, even in this sometimes visually confusing format. Even fast-moving scenes like the aerial battle towards the end of the film are presented in such a way that it doesn’t wonk out the effect. Still, with the Brightness factor being what it is, you might find yourself straining a bit when watching the film over a prolonged period of time.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the worst 3D conversion in Star Wars history, but it certainly doesn’t hit the lofty heights of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ 3D conversion efforts. A decent end to a saga’s third dimensional run, there are stumbling blocks that could have been avoided, but weren’t.
If you’re a 3D fanatic, this presentation isn’t a total waste of time, but it won’t rival some of the best examples of the medium we’ve seen in recent years. However, if you’ve been catching up on all the other films in 2D, you might not want to dive into the world of Star Wars’ 3D universe with this particular film.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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