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Star Wars 3.0

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  • Star Wars 3.0

    Has anyone been following this story?

    Apparently there's a lot of outrage about an announcement that George Lucas has made yet more "amendments" to his Star Wars films, including one which changes a pivotal scene.

    Orwell references are ten a penny, but what Lucas is doing reminds me a heck of a lot of 1984 and the department that rewrites published works and throws away the originals.
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

  • #2
    Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
    Has anyone been following this story?
    No, sorry, completely passed me by (but then I'm not eight-years old anymore and SW long ago lost any mystic it once had).

    However, is it necessarily different to what Mike does with his various revisions? One could argue that the revised thirty-fourth chapter of Gloriana "changes a pivotal scene" of that novel - and rather more significantly than the rumoured change in RotJ. ("One of the most iconic scenes in American film history"? Really? More iconic than the end of Casablanca or The Searchers or the final shoot-out in The Good the Bad and the Ugly? Sheesh, I can barely remember it.)

    No, if it's okay for Mike to revise his books I've no qualms about Lucas revising his films. No-one's forced to buy them and it's not like Lucas will be sending the Imperial Stormtroopers around to confiscate everyone's old DVDs, is it. (And that's where cries of 'Orwellian' revisionism really fall down, because people will still remember/be able to watch the original versions. We're not all going to sudden suffer from some form of collective amnesia - however much Lucas might wish we would. )
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment


    • #3
      I gave up on Star Wars years ago. As for the changes what the hell, he's allowed tho they seem pretty puny to me and seem only to be made to give the fanatics a reason to buy another collection rather than because they actually make the story any better. Anyway he changed the whole tone of the original story between the first and second movies (anyone who believes that Luke and Leia were supposed to wind up brother and sister and Harrison Ford was intended as the romantic lead I got waterfront property in Fl for sale) and again between the original trilogy and the second one (there are more inconsistancies between the tales told that you wonder if anyone actually went back and looked at the details in the original) so what does it matter if he's making changes in the rereleases. People may bitch but they'll buy.
      herb

      Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

      http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


      http://www.wolfshead.net/books

      Comment


      • #4
        My son was trying to get me excited about this story. But, I told him, I've got more important things to worry about these days, than if George Lucas is still tinkering with his pet projects after all these years.

        I though the original three movies were fun, but derivative and even a bit old fashioned, when I first saw them, back when they came out. I haven't actually watched the subsequent prequels. Too boring and tired. What is there in a rambling plot about trade treaties to get 9, 10, 11, or 12 year olds excited?

        So far we've had Star Wars and now we've even had Green Lantern. I wonder if they'll ever make a movie that's actually based on E.E. Doc Smith's original Lensman novels?

        Comment


        • #5
          This thread has been such a relief for me - I thought I was the only person in the world who got annoyed when grown-up people go on about Star Wars like it's the cornerstone of our culture

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tom Murphy View Post
            I thought I was the only person in the world who got annoyed when grown-up people go on about Star Wars like it's the cornerstone of our culture
            I will quite happily hold my hand up and say that on a strictly personal level Star Wars was the film that changed my perception of Film as a medium and, more specifically*, what Film as a medium was capable of and in that specific context was 'the movie that changed my life' - but only ever in the way I came to understood Film as an Art Form rather than mere entertainment. Narratively, however, Star Wars is very thin stuff (pretty much a fairy tale really) and there have been considerably better - and more important - films both before and since. It wouldn't even make my Top Ten list these days.

            *Specifically, the POV shots into/along the Death Star Trench (starts 0.15 in the clip below) that put me, the viewer, into the film rather than simply watching as a spectator:
            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

            Comment


            • #7
              Well I'll go as far to say the original Star Wars was important in that it introduced Sf to the general public in a big way. one wonders if a lot of the sf and fantasy films we have seen since would have even been bothered with if Star Wars hadn't shown that such films were capable of appealing to the masses rather than just a niche market. OTOH I think its appeal has downgraded the book market in those fields as way to many books in the style of the Star wars books seemed to have cropped up in place of authors who can tell a better story.
              herb

              Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

              http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


              http://www.wolfshead.net/books

              Comment


              • #8
                People have a love it or hate it relationship with Star Wars. Admittedly the films are for kids, but the original trilogy are film classics in their way and landmark in the sense of how they changed the American film industry.

                I think it's interesting that no other director (that I can think of) does this to their films. Sure, director's cuts of numerous films have been released years (decades even) after theatrical release - but they are usually left at that (and both versions are usually available), it's not a never-ending process of minute revision.

                Blade Runner for instance has 5 had different edits over the last 25 years - and despite there being a 'definitive' final cut from the director, you can buy a DVD/blu ray set that contains them all. The various edits are a part of the history of that film, just as they are with Star Wars (or with say, the restoration of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that added deleted scenes to the film with newly recorded dialogue).

                Personally it's not the changes that bother me so much (although the change to Darth Vader's sacrifice/death in Return of the Jedi adds nothing whatsoever to the scene that I can see) it's that they are meant to completely overwrite what has gone before and it's been made clear that these editions will be the only ones available. When noone remembers the original versions, they will be.
                Last edited by devilchicken; 09-06-2011, 03:40 PM.
                Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                Comment


                • #9
                  On the one hand, I'd love to have a copy of the original theatrical version with enhanced sound and widescreen picture. On the other hand, it's Lucas's movie, he can do whatever he wants with it, it is his right to offer his work or not offer it in whatever form he wishes.

                  I can't go out and buy a new copy of Glorianna with the original ending whether I felt it was better or not. I probably would if it were available. But it's Mike's book and his right to change it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In a way you are right dc. If he wants to revise it is his perogative but it's the originals that made their mark on the industry and, unlike book revisions, it's not just a changing of the story. Part of the importance of the films was the effect they had in the way they were made given the constraints of the technology available at the time. For this reason alone the original versions should be available because, again unlike books, where the original printing can be passed down through history, the medium on which the originals of the movies may become obselete and unplayable in the future.
                    herb

                    Man spends his time on devising a more idiot proof computer. The universe spends its time devising bigger idiots. So far the universe is winning.

                    http://www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl


                    http://www.wolfshead.net/books

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
                      People have a love it or hate it relationship with Star Wars. Admittedly the films are for kids, but the original trilogy are film classics in their way and landmark in the sense of how they changed the American film industry.
                      I would say the original Star Wars was a 'landmark' but I'd be hard pressed to say that the two sequels did anything more than re-tread already trodden ground. Like the first Matrix film, Star Wars didn't need any sequels or prequels; it already had a beginning, a middle and an end and personally I prefer to think of it as a standalone film.

                      Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
                      I think it's interesting that no other director (that I can think of) does this to their films. Sure, director's cuts of numerous films have been released years (decades even) after theatrical release - but they are usually left at that (and both versions are usually available), it's not a never-ending process of minute revision.
                      They say a film is never finished, only abandoned. The 'problem' (from the fans' perspective) is that Lucas has enough money - and time - that he can afford to keep tinkering with his films, although it's obvious by now that the only 'perfect' versions of the films exist in Lucas' head. In a sense what he's doing is cracking that perennial chestnut, how do you keep people buying your product when they've already bought it? It's like detergent, it's always being made 'newer, better, whiter, best ever' than the previous formula even though the old formula did a perfectly adequate job of cleaning your clothes. That's all Lucas is now: a detergent salesman.

                      Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
                      Blade Runner for instance has 5 had different edits over the last 25 years - and despite there being a 'definitive' final cut from the director, you can buy a DVD/blu ray set that contains them all. The various edits are a part of the history of that film, just as they are with Star Wars (or with say, the restoration of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that added deleted scenes to the film with newly recorded dialogue).
                      It's not entirely true to say that both original cuts and directors' cuts are kept in circulation. Take Welles' Touch of Evil for example. Some years ago, a 'director's cut' was issued based on a (long) memo from OW detailing how he wanted the film edited. Foremost among the changes was the removal of Henry Mancini's iconic music for the opening three minute long single-shot scene. Those original three minutes were how I first saw the film and how I knew the film, but when I tried to buy ToE on DVD in the UK the only version I could obtain was the new Welles' version. In the end I had to order the R1 DVD from the States in order to obtain the version I wanted, which I guess is one of the advantages of the Internet (because pre-Internet I almost certainly couldn't have done that, at least not as easily), but the fact remains domestically in the UK you can't get the original version anymore.

                      Originally posted by devilchicken View Post
                      Personally it's not the changes that bother me so much (although the change to Darth Vader's sacrifice/death in Return of the Jedi adds nothing whatsoever to the scene that I can see) it's that they are meant to completely overwrite what has gone before and it's been made clear that these editions will be the only ones available. When noone remembers the original versions, they will be.
                      I don't claim to know precisely how the process of preservation works, but Star Wars was one of the inaugural twenty-five films selected for preservation in the Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being of 'cultural, historical, or aesthetical significance' in 1989. That date is notable because it pre-dates the Special Edition versions that were allegedly fabricated by cutting up the original negatives of the original films - hence why for years Lucas claimed it wasn't possible to release the original versions on DVD - which was arguably an act of cultural vandalism if indeed that were true. Anyway, from a cultural and historical perspective it is the original version which has 'significance' rather than the revised versions, and one presumes that that's the version which is (hypothetically) preserved in the LoC. ('Hypothetically' because there isn't an actual requirement for the Library to hold a copy of the film aiui.) But assuming the Library does hold a copy I wonder whether Lucas could pop down and swap out the current version for his latest revision?

                      And harking back to what I said at the top, this post isn't finished; it's merely been abandoned.
                      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd be curious to know what version is stored at the Library of Congress (if at all) - if it was the version from 1989 it would have been the 1981 re-release version that had the text crawl at the start amended to Episode IV. The original 1977 release didn't have it. So still not 'original'.

                        Interestingly the reason Lucas cites for not releasing a Hi-Def transfer of the original cuts is that it would be too expensive. I'm not sure I see how that works...
                        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm pretty sure it will come out eventually.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Star Wars is only good in the era of eps 4-6 when the good guys are low-tech and down to earth. Before and after that, they are too powerful and rich to be interesting.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                              Comment

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