web analytics
Home > Star Wars > Okay, Maybe Not

Okay, Maybe Not

September 1st, 2011

Look, I know what I just wrote in the post below. But since then, leaked copies of the Original Trilogy from the Star Wars Blu-Ray set have hit the Interwebs. As expected, there have been additional tweaks, ranging from benign and pointless to pointless and silly. And pointless.

Among them:

  • The shot of R2-D2 and C-3PO approaching ┬áthe entrance to Jabba the Hutt’s palace has been extended to make the door appear more massive.
  • A Dug alien (think Sebulba from Episode 1) has been added to Jabba’s court.
  • The Ewoks’ eyes have been given pupils and the ability to blink.
  • Rocks have been added in front of R2-D2 to help him hide from the Sandpeople.
  • The noise that Ben Kenobi uses to frighten off the Sandpeople has been changed to a weird, reverberating cry.
  • Vader now says, “No. Nooooooo!” as he tosses the Emperor into the pit.

Of all the changes, that last one seems like the biggest “fuck you” to the fanboys, as Vader’s shouted “Noooooooooooo!” was one of the most mocked moments of the prequels.

Again, many of the changes seem benign. And I always thought that the Ewok costumes looked dead-eyed.

Still, there’s a point where one has to call “bullshit” on the oft-repeated Lucas mantra that the special editions reflect his original vision unconstrained by technology. So, he originally intended for there to be a Dug (an alien not even conceived of until the late ’90s) hand-walking its way around Jabba’s throne room?

Or, as one Internet wag put it: “It was always his intention to have rocks around R2 there but dammit, rocks are heavy and we needed to wait until we could make believable fake rocks.”

Of course, the real problem isn’t blinky Ewoks, it’s that Lucas has kept the original, unvarnished versions of his films out of circulation.

George, if you’re listening–and truthfully, I have no reason to believe that you are–I have a message for you.

Stop being a douche.

No one would care if you made R2-D2 fuchsia or had Vader quoting Monty Python if the original versions were out there as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re keeping them in the vault out of artistic integrity or sheer cussedness. Let them out. Grant them a full restoration and a fresh HD transfer. Give them the love and respect that they deserve.

There’s an article on the Time website in which TV critic James Poniewozik asks who “owns” Star Wars, Lucas or the fans? I argue that there’s a third party: history.

There’s a simple fact obscured by the debate over whether Han or Greedo shot first: the special edition of Star Wars is not the film that won seven Oscars and, by the way, changed how movies are made and marketed. Film historians and students are being denied the opportunity to evaluate it as a cultural artifact from 1977. While there’s enough original material to at least get some sense of what the fuss was all about back in the day, the lather of CGI obscures the groundbreaking movie technologies innovated by Lucas, John Dykstra and others.

Let go, Lucas. Put away your insecurities and frustrations and recklessness. Isn’t that the Jedi path?

Comments are closed.