If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ve obviously seen or at least heard about the changes that George Lucas and company has made to the soon-to-be Blu Ray release of the series.
Instead of you reading a crappy typed summary of every change he made just watch this attractive blonde woman briefly give you the low down:
What? Yeah, she has nice eyes. Anywho…
I feel as though I’m not as upset about these changes as I should be.
George Lucas has become the butt of many jokes for over 10 years. And I can’t help but feel bad for the guy. But I shouldn’t. He’s probably sitting in his miniature death star golf cart counting thousand dollar bills right now.
I’m not too angry about all this because, frankly, I don’t plan on getting a Blu Ray player anytime soon so these versions pretty much don’t exist to me. But I’ll try and look at the big picture here. And when I do, it’s not really surprising.
George Lucas is a business man. He’s not a filmmaker. He hasn’t been a filmmaker in over 30 years. He’s directed THX 1138, American Graffiti, and A New Hope (Which basically killed him) and the 3 Star Wars prequels that everyone just loves.
He got too big too fast. THX was something experimental and cerebral. It made you keep an eye on him and introduced him as rising talent. American Graffiti was just a solid film that showed you he was capable of being a great director.
Then Star Wars came.
Something that was too big for him to handle. I honestly think the first Star Wars would’ve been even better if George had a couple more films he directed beneath his belt. But he made it work. It was a major pain in the ass but he made work. And Star Wars was the first day of the rest of his life.
It was such a big hit that it became all about marketing. And that what’s really ate Lucas up. T-shirts, buttons, action figures, coffee mugs, hats, costumes. We can seriously get a Star Wars themed ANYTHING nowadays.
And look at it through Lucas’s eyes. You’re a pretty new director filming A New Hope. The actors, and even some of the crew, have little respect for you. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. The pressure from the studio is on because, man oh man, did they give you a fuckton of money. The hype for this film is going through the roof. Everyone is banking on you. And it HAS to be good.
This lead to George Lucas being diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion during production.
Why go through all that again? Why not just write your story and pass it off to some other schlock to direct it? Meanwhile you’re getting a ton of money from all the merchandise these films rake in.
Not a bad idea.
If Lucas would’ve kept doing this until the day he died and NOTHING ELSE, I wouldn’t necessarily want to slap the guy. Got to make a living, right? And he did create Star Wars: a cultural phenomenon that has existed like no other and nothing will ever replace it.
But the bad thing about all this is how Lucas keeps going back and altering everything. That’s why he loses so many peoples’ respect. And now he’s starting to lose mine.
I remember seeing the rereleases of the Star Wars trilogy back in the late 90’s when I was a kid. I had no problem with them. But then again, I was a kid. Did I really notice how Cloud City was more populated? Or how the AT-ATs walked a little better? Hell, I loved The Phantom Menace when it came out. I remember seeing it in theaters (wearing a giant Jar Jar Binks button on my shirt mind you) and loving it. And I still enjoy it. Rose tinted glasses I presume.
It’s the fact that Lucas has become a hypocrite in his old age. Back in 1988, when George was able to comfortably button his own shirt, Lucas delivered a speech to Congress declaring the need to federally protect films from being altered, because, as he saw it, “People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians.” This speech was delivered before any re-release or special edition. There was only one version of the Star Wars trilogy at the time.
Here’s the actual speech. I insist you read it:
“My name is George Lucas. I am a writer, director, and producer of motion pictures and Chairman of the Board of Lucasfilm Ltd., a multi-faceted entertainment corporation.
I am not here today as a writer-director, or as a producer, or as the chairman of a corporation. I’ve come as a citizen of what I believe to be a great society that is in need of a moral anchor to help define and protect its intellectual and cultural heritage. It is not being protected.
The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created.
A copyright is held in trust by its owner until it ultimately reverts to public domain. American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as “when life begins” or “when it should be appropriately terminated,” but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.
These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tommorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.
In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be “replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.
There is nothing to stop American films, records, books, and paintings from being sold to a foreign entity or egotistical gangsters and having them change our cultural heritage to suit their personal taste.
I accuse the companies and groups, who say that American law is sufficient, of misleading the Congress and the People for their own economic self-interest.
I accuse the corporations, who oppose the moral rights of the artist, of being dishonest and insensitive to American cultural heritage and of being interested only in their quarterly bottom line, and not in the long-term interest of the Nation.
The public’s interest is ultimately dominant over all other interests. And the proof of that is that even a copyright law only permits the creators and their estate a limited amount of time to enjoy the economic fruits of that work.
There are those who say American law is sufficient. That’s an outrage! It’s not sufficient! If it were sufficient, why would I be here? Why would John Houston have been so studiously ignored when he protested the colorization of “The Maltese Falcon?” Why are films cut up and butchered?
Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.
I hope you have the courage to lead America in acknowledging the importance of American art to the human race, and accord the proper protection for the creators of that art as it is accorded them in much of the rest of the world communities.”
WOW. That was a speech made by George Lucas. The creator of Star Wars. THE George Lucas. And it wasn’t comedy night either. He was serious.
Talk about going back on your word. Talk about doing the complete opposite. Talk about turning to the dark side.
You could say Star Wars is George’s creation and he could do whatever he wants with it, but when you create something as devastatingly popular as Star Wars and unleash it on the people…it becomes ours too.
10 years from now if Christopher Nolan announced he was going to digitally enhance The Dark Knight by adding in a CG Heath Ledger or toning down the horror of Two Face or adding more Gothic looking architectural buildings in Gotham wouldn’t you be pissed too? I mean, he co-wrote and directed the film…but he doesn’t have the right. It’s ours now.
And I know I always stand by the ‘ol, “Well, we’ll always have the originals.” But enough is enough sometimes. Yes, the Yoda puppet did look goofy in Episode 1, but that doesn’t mean I want a CG version of Yoda.
Anybody who knows me knows I love Indiana Jones, so it would severely piss me off if one day Lucas and Spielberg went back and “enhanced” it. Belloq doesn’t eat the fly anymore? The pyramid boulder doesn’t bounce? CG head explosion? WHY?!
If I loved these movies since I was a kid, I’m not going to all of a sudden start hating them because the Ewoks don’t fucking blink or the Death Star explosion wasn’t big enough. If anything, I’d have a problem with that because that’s not the way grandma used to make it.
George Lucas is now distracting me from enjoying Star Wars.
That’s the simplest way I could put it. He putting in such silly needless bullshit, that I can’t even focus on the story or characters anymore.
Lucas became too powerful too fast. His success hit him early on and it hit him hard. And when you get that famous and that successful that quick, you start to move away from reality. You’re getting too much money. You surround yourself with yes men. Your ego inflates.
You start drifting out of touch.
So George sits around in his mansion bored with his money and power and instead of being an ARTIST, instead of being a FILMMAKER, he keeps going back to the same old 3 fucking movies of yesterday and fucking with them.
If George would’ve kept himself busy with other projects and films I’m sure we’d only have ONE version of the Star Wars films.
He’s not an idiot. Obviously. When he took a break from Star Wars his mind shit out Indiana Jones. Imagine what more his mind could’ve created if he’d of just left Star Wars alone.
But in the meantime…
I never wanted to say it, But George Lucas, you’re living up to the jokes and cracks that people have been making about you. You were once seen as a creative genius but now you’ve become a joke. You have truly become a shell of who you once were, and a stereotype of what everyone has always said you were.
You’ve become a punchline, Mr. Lucas.
And that sucks.