I love Star Wars. I have been watching since I was 5 years old. And like any upstanding, long time Star Wars fan I was upset about the newest round of changes to my favorite movies.
Then I went to dinner with my friend Jesse. We started talking about the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray and I mentioned that this would be the 5th version of the trilogy I have owned. Each time I have purchased it (save one - 2006 DVD) George Lucas has changed the films in some way.
It has gotten to the point where there is very little record of the original films. I’d bet that most people probably own either the 1997 VHS version or the 2004 DVD version. Neither of which contain the version I watched, on repeat, as a child. (the 2006 DVD release contains both the 2004 SE and the theatrical releases but it was never sold as a trilogy so it didn’t sell nearly as many copies)
In the midst of talking about versions and changes Jesse said something that totally blew my mind. “Lucas is this commercial director, who is inadvertently taking a hugely progressive and modern art take on these giant commercial movies. Star Wars is still in progress! It’s become modern art. It’s not about the movie anymore, the production is the art now.”
While this is an excellent post, I can’t help but disagree that Lucas should keep doing what he’s doing. It may be true that George Lucas is something of a “pioneer” in what he does with the Star Wars films, but I can’t help but be heartbroken by the constant adjustments he feels the need to make. I can relate to his obsessive compulsive perfectionism - when I’m recording and editing new songs, I can be a bit of a pill too. It’s hard to let go of a work of art.
The problem is, Lucas is so focused on his future vision of the films, he’s forgetting about the past, and the people who fell in love with them in the first place, exactly how they were. I too watched Star Wars on repeat when I was 7 years old. I could recite every line, but the fact that you can’t even find the old movies any more is almost like the Orwellian idea of rewriting history - I find it a bit creepy. He should at least give people the option of choosing between the classic version, and his disastrous revamps.
He probably doesn’t want the option, because he knows what most people would choose. I haven’t bought any of the Star Wars films since the 1997 Special Edition, but I’ve seen them, and it made me a little sad. We all love the feeling of reconnecting with a childhood nostalgia, and all these changes take it away. And seriously?
Obi-Wan’s Krayt Dragon call has once again been changed.
In the scene where Obi-Wan discovers R2 hiding in an alcove, rocks have been digitally inserted into the frame to hide the droid.
I mean, is this really necessary? Half of the Blu Ray changes are correcting changes from the 2004 DVDs. Jesus Christ. This is becoming less like modern art, and more like some kind of grand Andy Kaufman-esque, cultural comedy.