In Defense Of…The Star Wars Saga

by Michael Bird on September 22, 2011

in Columns,The Contrarian

Film criticism in a bubble is irrelevant to the modern filmgoer and arguing taste is only gratifying to the writer. Michael Bird‘s new column The Contrarian seeks to justify those who find their Tomatometers out of calibration with the critical norm.

I am a lifelong fan of Star Wars. I was four and half when I saw the first film’s original run in theaters. In some ways, I can recognize more of my DNA in the saga than in some of my ancestors. I know without question that Star Wars planted seeds in me that would eventually make me an artist.

I’m not unique. Star Wars had that effect on a lot of people and no one needs another testimonial to the transformative experience of seeing it. The reason that proclamation is so trite now is because, as a truth, it initially bore very little subjectivity. Having your mind blown by Star Wars in 1977 was a reliable service exchanged for your ticket-buying dollar. And it’s kind of hard for some people to believe or even remember that now.

This past weekend, the Star Wars saga got released on Blu-ray. And with another format release comes a new round of tweaks to the films. Beginning with the Special Editions released to theaters in 1997, Star Wars creator George Lucas has regularly tinkered with the effects, dialogue, music and film structures, while refusing to bring older cuts forward. This has caused no small amount of rancor.

Each time Lucas makes these adjustments, an unending argument is dredged up. Those with the time to feel passion about such things bleat their familiar refrains: “Lucas has gone too far this time — he’s changed the films beyond recognition!” screams one side, as the other defends, “Well, they’re his films to change!”

I have to admit, I’m well beyond tired of the debate.

A Vocal Minority

Lucas’s detractors will tell you that he has monkeyed with the films to the point that they’ve lost their magic, while his proponents obviously feel quite the opposite. One side feels their specific memory of the films ought not be tinkered with, while the latter feel the new editions keep the saga fresh. The complainants swear they’ll never spend another dollar on Star Wars — and some of them will actually keep their promises, though most won’t. Meanwhile, an abiding pool of the pleased and loyal keep Lucas flush with cash.

And that is the real reason that Lucas is indifferent to the complaints — they come from an excessively vocal minority. That’s something that people who complain about the revisions seem to forget — they’re a minority. If a third of the potential market for these films truly stood their ground and refused to buy them, Lucas might stop changing them. And even if that weren’t true, how much could one respect Lucas for making the revisions despite the potential financial ramifications? That certainly doesn’t fit the familiar, greedy caricature Lucas’s critics paint of him.

To my mind, neither camp is right nor wrong absolutely. Some people welcome some of the changes but curse Lucas for others. The heart and essence of the films remain the same and their charm is still deeply embedded for me. I agree with some of the complaints, while others seem petty and, well, overblown. Watching the original saga again this weekend (for the several-hundredth time), I was struck at how my awe and appreciation were still close at hand. Yes, it has become a rote experience to some extent. I know the dialogue by heart, but somehow my love for the films was nonetheless still right there, unwavering.

It Still Works

Certainly complaints over the use of CGI elements to mask poorly-executed effects from the past has hit-and-miss resonance with fans. Some of the effects were pretty dodgy, despite being groundbreaking. They were reaching beyond their capabilities and they didn’t always make it. I can personally testify that watching Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder roll across the desert via a mattress of vaseline smeared on the camera lens used to pull me right out of the drama. It has since I purchased my first VHS copies. Those days are gone and I couldn’t be more pleased to be rid of them.

But I hear you ask: Don’t I care that Han shot first? I could weigh in on the debate with my opinion (and trust me, I have one), but it truly doesn’t matter who fired first. A split second of effects timing doesn’t change the performance that Harrison Ford invested in the role or the character arc he crafted over the course of his three performances. Let’s just remember that Han Solo won that duel, no matter the timing.

I watched especially closely the most-changed of this re-release, 1983′s Return of the Jedi. Don’t I care that Darth Vader screams “Noooo,” at the end of Jedi, just as he did at the oft-mocked conclusion of 2005′s Revenge of the Sith? I didn’t mind the scream in Sith and I barely noticed it in Jedi. It neither depleted the scene of its drama for me, nor enhanced it. It was just different than what it was before. I have to admit, I actually teared a tiny bit at Darth Vader’s death. I cannot recall the last time I did that, if ever. Were the changes made to it what tipped it over for me? No, I’m sure they weren’t, but it did happen and if the films had been substantively depleted of their original punch, or at least compromised by the changes, should that be possible?

Nostalgia is Dangerous

At this point, Star Wars isn’t only a vehicle for revisiting one’s childhood and I do not understand how fans of the original trilogy can be confused over this point. To me, it seems they are engrossed in an intractable love affair with their own nostalgia. I can recognize why they’d like him to, but it seems silly to resent Lucas for not being respectful of their sentimentality.

As it stands, 30-odd years later, the Star Wars experience exceeds the comfortable, warm little corner of their childhood they wish would go undisturbed (or “raped” as the also oft-mocked expression goes). It has more than doubled it, if you are to count TV shows and whatnot. While I sympathize with them, because I recognize who much of a touchstone this film is for a lot of people, there were never any guarantees that change wouldn’t reach even that which one might normally take for granted. As we get older, we are regularly asked to adapt to change. This is such a short curb compared to most of what life deals us.

What Lucas is Afraid Of

Now, I did mention that I didn’t feel either side was entirely right or wrong and I do think Lucas deserves to be called out on the carpet for at least a couple of shameless displays of hubris. In one of the commentary tracks for A New Hope, Lucas justifies his modifications, saying that painters and other artists commonly make tweaks to their paintings over the years, correcting and adjusting as time moves forward. This is patently wrong, if not altogether dishonest. Few artists if any do this, and those that do certainly don’t have an option to do that after the painting has been sold. Imagine paying several thousand dollars for a painting to have the artist show up at your front door one day to ask if they can touch up their piece. Would you trust them? I’m an artist and I wouldn’t let them in the door.

Lucas is fixated on changing/perfecting these movies because he is afraid of failing at making new films. Artists don’t change their past work — they accept their mistakes, learn from them and put their energy into making new films. That’s how filmmakers grow over time. Lucas has directed a total of six films and only two that weren’t in the Star Wars series. And even those came before Star Wars. At that, if you take Lucas at his word that he was only executive producer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, how do you suppose the deceased Richard Marquand would feel about his aesthetic decisions being revised posthumously? The most generous way to even regard it is that Marquand was only meant to be the puppet of the producer. From this point of view, Lucas’s actions seem perhaps very wrong and certainly disrespectful at least.


About Those Prequels…

I do love the prequel trilogy, but I would readily concede that Lucas’s aesthetic was damaged by his long lay-off. The prequels admittedly lack some of the character-driven charm of the original trilogy, but they do expand the scope and tell a story that is engaging for me (if not always well-acted). I could put together a fairly cogent defense for each of the films, but that’s sort of outside the scope of this piece.

For those who would grumble about the films, they should bear in mind that most children who grew up in the era of the prequels hate the original trilogy with almost the same derisive impatience that their parents have for the prequel trilogy (especially the plodding pacing of A New Hope). And these aren’t just Jar Jar apologists; they’re ardent fans of the newer movies most old-school fans don’t bother to watch anymore.

New Blu-ray Box Set Delivers 

All of this quarreling aside, I’m very happy with the films on Blu-ray, and the long-requested deleted scenes alone will have many of Lucas’s detractors lining up to shell out for the new set. The sound is fantastic, the picture is much-improved (while not perfect) and the supplements are rich. Not all of the deleted scenes from previous releases have been ported forward, so if you have the original DVD releases, you will need to hang on to them. Those original DVDs also contain fantastic documentaries (especially the superb Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy which was included in the 2004 DVD box set) that haven’t been included here either, though there is a wealth of new documentaries to compensate for their exclusion.

Lucas has always been conscious that the Star Wars films were derivative of the B-movie serials of his youth. They have never been fine art. They are melodrama. They are fantasy. They’re certainly not Biblical texts to be handled with reverence, though that’s another classic saga that’s seen numerous revisions over the years, and has had extremists lose the plot for the trees. No, Star Wars is entertainment. Ask yourself: Did you love Star Wars because of Vader’s silence at the end of Jedi? If you did, then truly — it sucks to be you.

For all the other aspects of Star Wars that I love, it is a very good time to be a fan. I watched nine Blu-rays worth of material over the weekend and I assure you I enjoyed every minute.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xavier September 22, 2011 at 4:38 am

I really like your defense of the revisions here, I feel somewhat in the same boat, I really don’t mind tweaking the effects and sound etc that came across poorly in the originals as they remove things that were ultimately detracting from the experience.
I do think that the han shot first and vader’s nooooo, changes are a mistake, as you said it doesn’t add or take anything away from the movie so why bother at all, I agree it doesn’t ultimately matter whether it is one or another but I think that should be left as is.
One of my pet peeves of the original trilogy are the ewoks. Now that is an aspect I wouldn’t mind seeing go, they are tiny little teddy bears that defeat stormtroopers in battle, soldiers that brought fear in the rest of the series were suddenly slapstick clowns.
I also liked quite a lot of the new trilogy, the acting was pretty bad and there were definitely a lot of missteps (mostly character) wise, but most of the story points they hit were good and the politics of the jedi council and the senate were very intriguing on face value, if not in execution.

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2 Trey Hock September 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

Michael,

I loved your article here. Really well thought out and even keel, but based on this and your previous Tron entry perhaps The Apologist and not The Contrarian.

I too am/was a lover of Star Wars. Here is the link to my review of Star Wars for my column, and you can ask Eric, my devotion, prior to the prequels, knew almost no end.

But I believe that being a fan and being a critic are distinct roles that should be separated. If you are a fan of a style/director/writer then you go in with a positively skewed perspective, and become like a scientist looking for specific results in their experiments. It becomes easier to find what you’re looking for when you’ve got your mind made up prior to sitting down and watching the movie.

So in the midst of an excellent column that was well written and exciting, I want to scrutinize the few moments where I think your argument is unsound, and a couple where I am in absolute agreement with you.

“A split second of effects timing doesn’t change the performance that Harrison Ford invested in the role or the character arc he crafted over the course of his three performances.”

You are right, it doesn’t change Ford’s performance, but every single thing that falls within the frame of a film changes the content and the meaning. If Han fires first than he’s unprovoked, a killer, cold and unrelenting, basically he’s a gun-slinger. Firing first makes him more self-interested at this moment and a more complex character overall. If he acts in self-defense, then the change that occurs within this character from beginning to end is minor. If however he guns down a threat in cold blood, then by the end of the film Han has become a new person, redeemed by his willingness to assist the Rebellion. Ford’s performance, in this instance, has nothing to do with any of this.

“I didn’t mind the scream in Sith and I barely noticed it in Jedi. It neither depleted the scene of its drama for me, nor enhanced it. It was just different than what it was before.”

Leone’s Man with No Name is strong enough to not scream. Vader as black-clad badass of the galaxy should be silent as well. We understand the content through the visuals. The scream becomes a redundant gesture, unnecessary and heavy handed. It’s silly in a moment that could be and once was powerful.

“It seems silly to resent Lucas for not being respectful of their sentimentality.”

I am in absolute agreement with you here. Lucas shouldn’t have to take my childhood into account when making or changing anything. His alterations may change my assessment of his work, but how crippling it would be if we all had such crazy restrictions placed on our work. Lucas gotta do, what Lucas gotta do, and we can only respond.

“Lucas has always been conscious that the Star Wars films were derivative of the B-movie serials of his youth. They have never been fine art. They are melodrama. They are fantasy.”

But why should a genre film and fine art be exclusive terms. As we can see in the recent release of “Drive,” a genre film that easily could be touted as art, the two are not exclusive. There should have been more care and reverence given to Star Wars, because it sat on the fence between pop-consumable and art. That reverence wasn’t given, so all we can do is shrug it off.

“Did you love Star Wars because of Vader’s silence at the end of Jedi? If you did, then truly — it sucks to be you.”

In part. The individual pieces make up the whole. Every single choice that goes into the film subtly (or in this case less subtly) shifts our perception of the characters and story. So did I love Star Wars because of Vader’s strong silence at the end of Jedi? Not entirely, but in part, absolutely.

And believe me – It rules to be me.

“I enjoyed every minute”

I am happy for you, but your enjoyment (or mine) is no argument for or against this or any film.

Man, awesome article. You really made me think, and I hold your feet to the fire, because I’m sure you’re up to the task. Please keep these coming.

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3 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 8:26 am

I absolutely agree with you on one point Trey: I’m not a film critic. I am a film fan. Well-spotted.

It isn’t a point I would have gone out of my way to make, but now that you’ve underlined the distinction, I’ll wear that t-shirt. Star Wars is as mid-cult as mid-cult gets, so if liking it (in this form or any other) calls into question my taste level, I’m okay with that.

I assure you, should any charitable doubts remain, by the time I finish writing this column, just about everyone will feel the way that you do.

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4 Trey Hock September 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

Michael,

Well I for one am excited for many more of your columns.

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5 Antonio September 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

“Ask yourself: Did you love Star Wars because of Vader’s silence at the end of Jedi? If you did, then truly — it sucks to be you.”

Alright, you asked, so here’s it is!
Obviously the answer is noooooooo ;)

Having seen the clip of this change, it is patently absurd on surface.
It’s probably a point about vulnerability and the ‘good’ that Luke bet on. It’s also been said that it helps tie in with the prequels… Either way, it does change the drama a little I think.

Interesting writeup for sure. I’m glad you also point out that some of what Lucas says is rather hypocritical.

I already own the 2006 DVDs which, as some have noted, are slightly changed from the 2004 DVDs, which are further changed from the 1997 “remastered” editions, which are obviously not the theatrical editions (which are included with the 2006 DVDs as “bonus” discs).

…Personally, I’m glad they’re enjoyable on blu ray for some, and that the extras are extra-special, it’s just that I can’t justify buying them right now.
Being what I estimate to be a 5th generation of changes, on what I estimate to be 5th generation of media (film, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, blu ray), I’ve just kind of lost interest. The DVDs I own look and play just fine, even if ‘upscaled’ and not ‘native’ HD. My memory has already been bombarded with enough changes to really care at this point.

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6 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for the kind words, X and Trey. I’m sort of in uncharted territory personally and your encouraging words mean a lot.

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7 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Didn’t mean to leave you out Anotonio. Your comment didn’t show up on my screen until I posted mine.

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8 Eric Melin September 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Michael- You covered a lot of territory, and no doubt many of your points will resonate or piss off Star Wars fans. However, let me respond just to the things that sent me off thinking (like any good piece does–and this one’s very good).

I’m glad you mentioned nostalgia and the bit about fanboys saying things like their “childhood being raped.” I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, completely age appropriate, and in the days where you couldn’t watch the films over and over again (and nearly 4 months after theatrical release ran out), I owned the comics and storybooks and soundtracks so I could keep the fire burning in my mind. Star Wars stoked a whole generation’s imagination.

Yet somehow it didn’t stick with me. KISS, however, did.

So I’ll be using my KISS analogy for the remainder of this comment.

KISS alienated me in 1979 when they went disco, 1981 when they put out a “concept album,” 1983 when they took off their makeup, and 1987 when they started sucking real bad. The reunion tour got me excited again, but when Peter and Ace ended up getting replaced and history repeated itself once again, they were back in the shitter for me. Yet I still feel a HUGE rush when I listen to an old record loud, watch a video from the 70s, or see whatever version of them is touring at the time. Hell, I even bought their new album at Wal-Mart just like they wanted me to.

A fan? You betcha. An apologist? Absolutely. But also a DEFENDER.

There is magic in KISS the same way there is magic in Star Wars. But the KISS albums in the 80s don’t hold the same magic as the early 80s ones, and we don’t like to talk about the 90s or early 00s. At some point, they became a touring nostalgia act. And for that much, I am grateful. When they come to town I go, just like you buying these new versions and enjoying them for what they are: Compromised works of art that were always meant for mainstream consumption.

If it still floats your boat, more power to you! I would never recommend a casual rock music fan go to a KISS show without a series of caveats first.

Make sense?

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9 Eric Melin September 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

To wrap that all up then — Poking holes in Star Wars is easy to do, just like someone poking fun at KISS. It’s a big, easy target.

But there were moments of brilliance in each. Live big rock concert albums have never bested 1975′s “Alive!” in terms of energy, vibe, commitment, and sheer power.

I’d venture to say a true Star Wars fan might say the same thing about Darth Vader appearing across the table at Cloud City in “Empire,” or Vader constricting the throat of an officer in “Star Wars.” Or any number of moments. The movies never were perfect and never will be, no matter how much Lucas tinkers with ‘em.

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10 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Great analogy. I was just recalling my ’76 blacklight poster the other day. I went to put on some KISS and remembered how the first time I actually heard KISS, it was “Beth,” played on AM radio. I didn’t even know they actually made music initially. In my sphere EVERYTHING was a cartoon or comic book. I thought, “This is what those superheroes sound like?” I felt utterly betrayed and I was almost in pre-school.

So when I finally put something on, I have to admit, I went with the ’74 s/t. “Strutter” was the first thing I encountered after that and it put everything right. Every time a track from The Elder comes up on shuffle, it ends shuffle. And I should add I don’t have anything released after that.

How we experience something for the first time has a very resonant effect on us. We resist the implication that this experience could have been different because if it is somewhat important to us, we are somewhat defined by it. If it changes, we are angry because we think it somewhat changes the way we are defined or we lose what sense of definition we gained from it.

I get the disconnect, but this column isn’t really meant to critique or apologize for or defend the trilogy. The reason I came to this was more that, often, I find that my particular view of a given film isn’t reflected in the criticism circulating it. And given just *how* vocal the complaining about the saga has been, and how important the films remain to me, it seemed an ideal place to enter. I think the next column will be more of a mission statement for the column, lest anyone misconstrue what it’s supposed to be about.

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11 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I’ll make one more point and then I’ll turn this back over to responses. I cut something out of my initial drafts of this I really wish I had left in. Maybe I can release a special edition of this column later, with the point restored… I digress.

The point that I cut out was that if you show the average ten year old these cuts of the original trilogy, let them get used to them and love them, and then show them the original cuts, as they appeared in theaters, NO WAY will they tell you that they’re better. The only way they’ll say that is if they are trying to please their father who might be standing right there. And lest you debate the wisdom of that ten year old, remember what films we’re talking about here.

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12 Trey Hock September 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

“And lest you debate the wisdom of that ten year old, remember what films we’re talking about here.”

It may be made for adolescent boys (it’s debatable), but it’s not made by adolescent boys. It’s made by thoughtful “artistic” adults, and can be well crafted, well composed, and well made.

And most children are dumb, which is why we don’t allow them to drive, or hold public office.

I’ve got the double disc 2004 releases of the OT on DVD which has the original theatrical cuts, and that’s fine for the now very occasional moments when I revisit Star Wars.

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13 Michael Bird September 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm

My prediction: When those dumb ten year olds have grown up to be opinionated thirtysomethings, I wouldn’t be surprised if they take offense that you dare to question the wisdom of their preference. In fact, you should probably expect them to tell you that their opinion is the definitively correct one.

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14 Trey Hock September 23, 2011 at 3:32 am

Oh I’m the first to admit that most of my preferences as a ten year old were delightfully thoughtless and patently incorrect. That’s the wonderful thing about being a 10 year old, you can love crap and digest it with ease. That’s not to say that a 10 year old won’t occasionally stumble across something legitimate and worthwhile, but if I had been left to my own devices I would have worn pajamas to school at that age.

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15 Aaron Weber September 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Allow me to punch a hole in the KISS analogy large enough to stuff Gene Simmon’s ego through:

For all the shameless pandering the “live” act of KISS has become, there’s a crucial difference here: Fans go back and listen to unaltered versions of the songs via iTunes, DVD-Audio, etc. I can’t enjoy the original version of Star Wars on Blu-Ray.

George Lucas can photoshop in Na’vi, Transformers, or Ronald fucking McDonald in a cycle that puts out a new version every 18 months for all I care.

As long as he let’s me enjoy the version I want to enjoy via a modern format. That’s the big sticking point here.

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16 Trey Hock September 23, 2011 at 3:58 am

Aaron, I agree with you on that. It’s not that he’s changing stuff, it’s that he’s limiting options. Ansel Adams changed the processing on his prints of the same image throughout his life, but it only expanded viewer choice. He didn’t choose a definitive one and make only it available.

It’s the same with books. Various editions and translations may change content, but typically there is a publisher that continues to print earlier or different versions. At the very least there will be a collected volume that documents all versions.

It’s funny because I really don’t care what Lucas decides to do about Star Wars in particular, but I’m more concerned with the precedent it may establish later.

I would hate to see a trend of people reworking their older material, and not making original versions available. “Magnolia” is imperfect, but I don’t want P.T. Anderson tinkering with it and making only the new cut available now that he’s made “There Will Be Blood.”

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17 Xavier September 23, 2011 at 3:12 am

I do agree it would be nice to be given the choice of which version you would like to watch, whether you want it to remain as it was in your childhood or want to view the originals for comparisons and to see the quality of effects at the time from a more historical perspective.

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18 Eric Melin September 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

The KISS analogy was only meant to comment on the nostalgia aspect, Aaron.

So let’s consider this: If KISS had made “Alive!” unavailable in a digital format (somehow!) and released a remix album with added material from 2011 in its place, I’d be furious.

Bringing that concept into it really throws the anger into perspective.

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19 Michael Bird September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am

There’s extenuating circumstances that go with putting a release like the one requested to market. First and foremost, this Blu-Ray release is cut from the same master as the previous DVD release. That means that they did not do a new transfer of the films. That said, the DVD release Trey has with the original cuts was made from the same transfer that was made for the laser disc. Which is why they are paltry full-frame, nonanamorphic, 480p pieces of garbage. I have the laser discs, but I did not buy those particular editions. They may be the only editions I don’t own.

New transfers would be expensive to create and while anyone could make the case that there *is* some kind of market for them and that Lucas has plenty of capital to create them, he knows better than anyone how large that market is.

Further, it would be rather self-damning to have to promote them: “At last, because so many people disregard Lucas’s continued creative revisions, the original versions of the saga are at last available! But them now!” …It just isn’t something you could logically expect.

In that, the KISS analogy doesn’t quite fit. Because transferring audio to digital and releasing digital doesn’t cost hardly anything at all. Remastering seems to be getting cheaper all the time (with a quality befitting the cost).

But I should cop to a small detail: when listening to Alive II, I prefer to listen to my bootleg of Alive II with the lost Japanese tracks… Hey, if nothing I’m consistent.

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20 Antonio September 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I think the analogy is fair enough, whether or not it’s perfect ;)

From what I’ve read, the original film was “destroyed” by adding the 1997 changes, which have then been used in further revisions/upscaling to HD etc.

I suggest reading this for a perspective on the originals vs. the remastered editions

http://savestarwars.com/gout.html

…This is why people are upset. Less so about whatever changes there have been, and more so that Lucas is lying through his teeth about being able to give fans a decent version of the originals that is barely better than VHS.


“”As you may know, an enormous amount of effort was put into digitally restoring the negatives for the Special Editions…The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition. So many fans have requested the original movies, we wanted to find a way to bring them to you. But since these movies do not represent George’s artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions. The 1993 Laserdisc masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD bonus material.”

Um, hogwash… as the author of this piece points out later…


“…basically, the official Lucasfilm stance is a lot of crap, designed to confuse people who don’t have a thorough knowledge of how post-production works.”

Further:


“…making a new transfer from a 35mm source is not expensive. It literally costs thousands of dollars, which is why stuff like Revenge of the Nerds 2 are presented in modern, anamorphic transfers from 35mm material. Lucas has convinced some people that one would have to totally restore the films for them to look good and spend millions of dollars, but they would still look acceptable if taken from existing prints and materials, and certainly many times better than a master made in 1993. As I have written in other articles for this page (most recently here), Fox restored the negatives in 1995-1997, and almost all of the work is already done. But of course, given that Lucas is a billionaire, this is a moot point, isn’t it? Which is why his using this 1993 master is likely a deliberate attempt to create an unfair advantage for his Special Edition.”

…This is my problem with all of it…

Although a version of the originals exists that is legal, it’s barely better than VHS, when viewed on an old 19″ TV.

There could easily be a blu ray edition of the ‘originals’ at least for the sake of those who would want it, which is the entire reason people are upset.

They/we know Lucas is full of crap when he claims it’d cost too much to present a worthwhile transfer that is NOT a ‘remastered’ versions, from which he has already made bank.

10 yr. old opinions aside, it isn’t them who made him rich ;)

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21 Michael Bird September 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

We are the 10 year olds. And we are the ones who made him rich. Moreover, more 10 year olds are made every day. And those 10 year olds have no respect or nostalgia for the versions you love. Sorry.

For those genuinely despairing about this, you may take heart in the Bill Hunt’s review on Digital Bits. I tend to agree with him about this. Have a peek: http://www.thedigitalbits.com/reviewshd/bdreviews091611.html

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22 Michael Bird September 23, 2011 at 2:27 pm

In my rush to post, I left out an important dependent clause in that second paragraph. Should have read: “…you may take heart in the last couple of point in Bill Hunt’s…”

For what it’s worth.

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23 Aaron Weber September 24, 2011 at 1:56 am

Just as an aside from a parent of two four year olds who have just been exposed to Star Wars (which I find fitting, since that’s the age this little monkey found himself sitting in Mann’s Chinese Theater absolutely awestruck by the opening sequence of Star Wars):

I started the girls with the Phantom Menace blu-ray. They could barely sit still; getting up and wandering off before the Pod Race segment. Star Wars? They never left the couch. They were absolutely entranced. “That was COOL” was a refrain I heard again and again. About mid-way through Jedi, I asked Ella what she thought of the movie and she said “This is the coolest movie EVER”, while her sister nodded, wide-eyed.

That says something, I think.

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