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‘Star Wars’ is spelled ‘3-D’

Posted: March 23, 2012 3:15 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2012 5:00 a.m.

FRIDAY -- My wife’s birthday is tomorrow (Saturday, March 24) and she’s decided to celebrate by leaving me ... to spend the weekend with a friend in Summerville she’s known since growing up in New York when they were kids.

That means it’s “boys’ weekend” at home. Now, ostensibly, we’re supposed to be working on her real birthday gift: cleaning up the house. However, there’s also ball practice and ... just maybe ... a little fun here and there?

In fact, one of the things I like to do is pick out a movie to see in an actual movie theater. I knew the “Star Wars” movies were being brought back to theaters during the next few years in 3D no less, so I started checking to see if it was still playing in the Midlands this weekend.

No such luck.

Ah, but it was playing in the Midlands through Thursday night. So, being the tech person that I am, I went online and bought tickets for Wednesday night.

That morning, I kept hinting to the boys that something might happen if they were good, cleaned up their room, that sort of thing.

The one mistake I made was that evening at dinner. I decided to give them hints in the form of coded messages from Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, the greatest Jedi master except Yoda.

The first message said to meet him in Columbia at exactly 6:40 p.m. The second message simply said:

“3”

“D”

They got it on the first try, but the reaction out of my younger son was a bit of a mystery. Instead of jumping up and down for joy -- he loves Star Wars -- he got all frustrated at not understanding why his best friend couldn’t go.

But off we went, with the two of them playing and carrying on all the way to Irmo.

We bought popcorn and Skittles (for the Jedi kid) and three bottles of water, thank you very much.

In we went, just in time to see a “commercial” for the animated Cartoon Network series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” They love that, too, of course. With 3D glasses on, we also saw the trailer for the new “Amazing Spider-Man” (great!), “Wrath of the Titans” (cheesy) and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” (silly, but it looked like fun). We also saw a trailer for the new Three Stooges movie. No thanks. Stooges are classic; I don’t think they translate well to the 21st century.

During all the previews, I pointed something out to the boys: no one else had come into the theater yet. I told them there would probably be stragglers as the movie started.

Well, the movie started and still no one else came. Ladies and gentlemen, I paid almost $40 for tickets, about $20 for food and in return I got to spend two hours and 15 minutes alone in an empty movie theater with my sons watching one of their favorite movies in 3D.

Priceless.

We actually have this movie on DVD and can watch it anytime we want. But there’s something about watching a big, sci-fi action flick on the big screen.

This is exactly the kind of movie 3D is made for (which is why “Avatar” worked so well a few years ago). It was very well done, too. Some 3D movies, especially older movies where they are converting it to 3D from regular movies, do only an OK job.

“Star Wars Episode 1” was pretty seamless. Sure, there are a few times when some of the effects look like, well, effects, rather than something you’d see in real life. Overall, though, it was great. If you have a fear of heights, watch out for a few scenes. There’s one in particular on the capital city-planet of Coruscant where a ship our heroes are using comes in for a landing at night. The platform it’s heading to is suspended in mid-air (anti-gravity, I suppose) and the view is from the top down. You can see the long, long drop “below” the platform and even I got a little dizzy looking “down.”

Some people can’t handle 3D movies. I don’t have a problem and really enjoyed watching things like young Annakin’s pod race on Tatooine or the space battle above Naboo.The 3D also enhances things like the ground battle on Naboo and any light saber moves by the Jedi and Sith.

Does 3D help Jar Jar Binks at all? No, not really, but here’s the rub for those of us who can’t stand the character: the kids love him. When they’re a little older, I might explain why he’s a pretty ridiculous character, even offensive to some people. Not right now, though. Let me wait until they get firmly entrenched in some other space fantasy. “Star Trek,” perhaps?

In the meantime, you might want to check online to see if Episode 1 in 3D is still playing elsewhere in the Southeast. I thought it might be in Charlotte or somewhere in Georgia, but I can’t find it now.

The 3D version of “Phantom Menace” came out in February. The rest of the movies will “follow shortly,” in story order -- meaning “Episode II: The Attack of the Clones” is next, followed by “Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith,” and then the “original” Luke and Leia trilogy after that. I couldn’t find anything that revealed exact release dates, but I’ve gotten the impression they might be as much as a year apart.

If true, that means my sons will be 15 and 16 by the time we get to “Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi.” Think they’ll still want to go?

In the meantime, what about the rest of the weekend? Well, there is this big drive-in theater about an hour away in Monetta....

Oh, wait a minute, aren’t we supposed to clean up the house or something? Maybe Sunday.

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