All the muck that’s fit to rake for the new STAR WARS Blu Rays

by: Chris Eaton   source: Topless Robot

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Yes, there is more than just digital Yoda now

So here we are.  Once again, another release of Star Wars on a new format.  You know what that means.  It means it’s time for George Lucas, the man who once spoke out about dicking around with other peoples works, is at it again. Screwing with what is technically his work.  The Star Wars Blu Ray release is right around the corner, and now that review copies have gone out, the changes made are starting to come in.  Some I really don’t give a shit about, but there are two that are just, wrong.

The other day I posted the new digital Yoda for Episode 1. Now, that’s fine.  That Yoda puppet in that film was just three kinds of terrible.  Also, it gave a better sense of conitnuity anyway to have a digital Yoda in all three films.  But, the it’s the original films that are once again being digitally washed, and as I said, some not for the better.
First up:

This picture of new digital rocks that R2D2 is hiding behind.  This is more a matter of practicality.  How the hell did he get behind them?

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Next, the door to Jabba’s palace has been enlarged by %200.

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Here, we have more tie fighters showing up during the final battle of the Death Star.

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Finally, yes, the Ewoks blink.

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Now, all of these are minor.  Hell, I don’t actually mind them, and having the Ewoks blink is some thing of an improvement if you ask me.  When these kinds of touch ups are done, they’re so insignificant that there’s no reason for people to really complain.  Below though, what you’ll see, is reason to complain.

We all know when Obi Wan shows up for the first time in New Hope. Classic scene.  He scares off the Tusken Raiders with his wild call and shadowy figure.  He made originally was a very unique, some what haunting sound.   Now, thanks to Lucas’ Skywalker Sound mix, it sounds like this!

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WHAT IN XENU’S NAME IS THAT?  The tech at Skywalker Sound should commit seppuku with this keyboard for coming up with this.  And George needs his ears checked if he honestly thought that noise sound good.  Bad!

So let’s move on to the worst change.  Possibly the biggest fuck you moment since replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen in the original DVD release.

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No.  FUCKING NO!  This is possibly the most pivotal scene in the entire series, when Vader makes his final choice and redeems himself.  The beauty of the moment is that we can’t see Vader’s face.  We can’t hear what he’s thinking.  When he finally picks the Emperor’s wrinkly ass up and tosses him off that ledge it’s the physical acting that let’s people know that Vader has made his choice.  Not saying “No” right before hand, then saying “NOOO” again.  All of this because Lucas had to have a really shitty dialog take of James Earl Jones saying “NOOOO!” in Sith and have it be a call back to a bad decision.  I’m fully convinced that the whole Star Wars series would have gone down hill if Lucas directed all three of the original series.  Empire and Jedi would not have been what they are today if Lucas was behind the directors chair, calling the shots.

If the first few bits where all that’s changed, I would be fine with it.  But Lucas continually dicking with everything is goddamn fustrating.  He knows what he’s doing, and he clearly doesn’t give a shit.  I give you this quote from the man

There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the “rough cut”, it’ll be the “final cut”. The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, “There was an earlier draft of this.” The same thing happens with plays and earlier drafts of books. In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned. At some point, you’re dragged off the picture kicking and screaming while somebody says, “Okay, it’s done.” That isn’t really the way it should work. Occasionally, [you can] go back and get your cut of the video out there, which I did on both American Graffiti and THX 1138; that’s the place where it will live forever. So what ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that’s what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20′ by 40′ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie.

“An Expanded Universe”, American Cinematographer magazine, February 1997.[2]

WRONG!  Look, my dad was artist for years.  He knew many other painters and I’ve talked to other writers and directors over the years.  Sure, everyone feels that they could have done something better in hindsight.  But that’s what it is, hindsight.  As we get older, we get wiser, and thus look back at what we’ve done  and wish we knew then what we know now.  But we can’t.  My dad would say that once he’s done with a painting, that was it.  The paint drys, and if he kept adding touches here and there, the paint is going to glob up and the picture contained in it will be unrecognizable and a mess.  This Mr. Lucas is what your doing to these films.  You keep adding more and more paint to them,and it’s not helping.  I get that there was stuff you wish you could have done in 1977 that you can do now.  When you went back the first time in 1997, it was fine.  Sans Greedo shooting first, it was a fun experiment.  But you started something, and it’s gotten out of hand.

I say this.  While the man has given us one of the greatest stories ever told on film, he might, one day, be one of the biggest boons to film making ever.  So for that reason alone, I won’t be buying these DVD’s.  I’ll stick to the 2004 set and my VHS copies.

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