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Save Star Wars!


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#41 of 207 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 03 2011 - 02:36 AM

We already have a number of laws dealing with the preservation of historical building and landmarks. I don't think it that unreasonable that in order to preserve our cultural heritage some new laws be writtten to extend that sort of protection toward films.

Like I've said before though, how does this work in a real world scenario? With a building or battle site, etc., that's something that is usually open to the public and can be seen. How do you do that with a movie? Does Lucas just not have to destroy every copy of the original and he'll be OK legally? Does he have to make it available for sale to the public? Does he have to make every version (1977, 1981, 1997, 2004 and 2011) available for sale? Since people are trying to say that it isn't just about getting the version of Star Wars that they want, this law should extend to every version of every movie so can the law now force a company to release something that it might lose money on because they legally have to release every version of it?

#42 of 207 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 06:59 AM

I can't think of anything more frightening then creating a law that forces the owner of a piece of art to show a version of that piece of art that they consider unfinished. It's incredibly wrong headed in my opinion and opens up a legal can of bees about ownership that really should never get opened.


The LoC has the original versions of Star Wars preserved. Nothing is rotting away to dust. Lucas as a creator has released the versions he prefers. You don't have to like that, but you do have to respect it. It's not his job to serve a fan base. I know when it's a mega-billion dollar property that may be hard to wrap your head around but it's true.


As far as George Lucas suppressing them, well, I'd guess that movie studios have thousands of films that you're not able to rent prints of. Are they all too supposed to make these available?


Don't get me wrong, I'd like to relive my childhood and see the original trilogy as they originally played in the theater as much as anyone else. Actually, that's not true, I'm not willing to take away a persons rights and freedom of choice in order to have a nostalgia trip for one afternoon. So I guess I'm a lesser fan. I'm guessing that I will outlive Lucas, and when that happens, the people who look after Star Wars will see value in releasing the original versions. Kind of like how Kubrick didn't want the original theatrical ration version of his films released based on 4:3 televisions.Immediately after his death the rights holders where pretty hard line about the 4:3, eventually cooler heads prevailed and we have nice HD versions in the original ratios.



#43 of 207 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted October 03 2011 - 07:33 AM

I can't think of anything more frightening then creating a law that forces the owner of a piece of art to show a version of that piece of art that they consider unfinished.

Funny how he didn't consider them "unfinished" when they were released in 1977, 1980 and 1983. And that's from a filmmaker who had complete ownership of the latter two and had final cut on the first film. But then again, he also said the public's interest is dominant over any other interest, so clearly he's full of it.
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#44 of 207 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 07:36 AM



Originally Posted by Worth 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell G 

I can't think of anything more frightening then creating a law that forces the owner of a piece of art to show a version of that piece of art that they consider unfinished.


Funny how he didn't consider them "unfinished" when they were released in 1977, 1980 and 1983. And that's from a filmmaker who had complete ownership of the latter two and had final cut on the first film.


I'm pretty sure that Lucas has stated many times that they did the best they could with technology but that he had to settle with what he had instead of doing them as he wanted..


Seeing how movies are a technology based artistic medium with an ever expanding tool box of technology to use, I'm more surprised that other film makers haven't revisited their work then I am that some one who love technology like Lucas clearly does is one of the few to "take advantage".




#45 of 207 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted October 03 2011 - 07:44 AM

I'm pretty sure that Lucas has stated many times that they did the best they could with technology but that he had to settle with what he had instead of doing them as he wanted.

Something that no doubt every filmmaker feels about every film ever made.

Seeing how movies are a technology based artistic medium with an ever expanding tool box of technology to use, I'm more surprised that other film makers haven't revisited their work then I am that some one who love technology like Lucas clearly does is one of the few to "take advantage".

I, for one, am thankful that most filmmakers would prefer to make something new rather than trying to "fix" work they did decades ago.
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#46 of 207 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 07:50 AM



Originally Posted by Worth 


I, for one, am thankful that most filmmakers would prefer to make something new rather than trying to "fix" work they did decades ago.


Which is why freedom of choice is such a great thing.





#47 of 207 OFFLINE   SilverWook

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Posted October 03 2011 - 10:52 AM

I can't think of anything more frightening then creating a law that forces the owner of a piece of art to show a version of that piece of art that they consider unfinished. It's incredibly wrong headed in my opinion and opens up a legal can of bees about ownership that really should never get opened.


The LoC has the original versions of Star Wars preserved. Nothing is rotting away to dust. Lucas as a creator has released the versions he prefers. You don't have to like that, but you do have to respect it. It's not his job to serve a fan base. I know when it's a mega-billion dollar property that may be hard to wrap your head around but it's true.


As far as George Lucas suppressing them, well, I'd guess that movie studios have thousands of films that you're not able to rent prints of. Are they all too supposed to make these available?


Don't get me wrong, I'd like to relive my childhood and see the original trilogy as they originally played in the theater as much as anyone else. Actually, that's not true, I'm not willing to take away a persons rights and freedom of choice in order to have a nostalgia trip for one afternoon. So I guess I'm a lesser fan. I'm guessing that I will outlive Lucas, and when that happens, the people who look after Star Wars will see value in releasing the original versions. Kind of like how Kubrick didn't want the original theatrical ration version of his films released based on 4:3 televisions.Immediately after his death the rights holders where pretty hard line about the 4:3, eventually cooler heads prevailed and we have nice HD versions in the original ratios.

Studios sometimes don't have prints of certain films to rent out, or the desire to have a new print made. It wouldn't cost Lucas a dime to allow a privately held print to be screened. I wonder if somebody told him about that little rogue screening in Boston? And what good is a movie sitting in the vault if nobody is ever allowed to see it?

#48 of 207 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 03 2011 - 11:52 AM

It's unfortunate that the Star Wars films are generally unavailable in their original forms, but at least they're available. I'll take relatively minor touchups supervised by the filmmaker over an hour of footage deleted by the studio.

#49 of 207 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted October 03 2011 - 02:19 PM

1. Very well put, and that's exactly what I was alluding to by my original post. And this isn't a case of 'fanboys creating a stink to get the version they want'. This is a case of film fans making sure that important works of art are preserved ALONGSIDE the changed/altered versions, particularly with films as important as Star Wars. I think a law needs to be passed which protects without exception the original screened (to the public) versions of ANY film, as a matter of course. This just happens to be about a film called Star Wars, which unfortunately does carry rather a lot of baggage with it. 2. Ethan Riley: "Doesn't matter who's right or wrong because no crime has been committed" - in YOUR opinion..... There are plenty of crimes which are committed legally, especially against art. "A better option would be to write polite letters to Lucasfilm, asking them to kindly release the original versions on bluray. " - Do you not think that this has already been happening for at least a decade now... 3. "So who the hell does this dork think he is, trying to get some stupid law passed?" - Nice..... 4. "I'm not having any of this" - Fine! Stand back and let important works of art get steadily mutilated over the years. It's your cultural history... :rolleyes: I've had my say folks, and will bow out now. I just hope that when Lucas finally makes that one future change that pisses even the most casual/laid back film fan off, one will perhaps remember this discussion...

Ok, so you had your say and you're leaving the room. Fine. I have a few more things to say, however. Point by point: 1.) It is a case of fanboys trying to get the government to force George Lucas to do what they want. It's because that's what started all this nonsense in the first place. You're stirring up a huge international debate over film preservation with the end goal being George Lucas releases the original films, okay? That's what started all this, therefore, that's what you really want. 2.) In your world, it becomes a crime for artists to revise their works. Every classic author in history revised their works. Shakespeare did it. Dickens did it. Carroll did it. They are all now criminals, thanks to you. 3.) Thank you. But I notice you're in the UK and yet you're somehow trying to get the U.S. government to pass a law. It's kind of like an international incident! :rolleyes: And I'm not at all certain how copyright law works in your country, but here in the U.S. artists are not forced to do anything by the government, nor should they ever be. It's called the First Amendment--which protects freedom of speech (including works of art). Lucas has every right to revise his works. I can't put it any clearer than that. And for the government to force him to do anything flies in the face of this country's founding fathers, who--might I add--basically founded this country in order to get away from yours. No offense intended, but that's just the way things work in this country, so I have no idea why you're trying to meddle with our rights as they stand. So thousands of fans have asked Lucas to re-release the originals on home video. And he won't. So we have to go over his head, change standing laws and get the government to force him to do it, by making him into a criminal if he does not comply? What a bastardly idea. I can't believe anyone would even conceive of such a thing, yet here we are. 4.) Mutilated? Kind of an hysterical term. You wouldn't by any chance be one of those guys who go around railing against circumcision, now would you? That's the term they always use, in order to stir up public hysteria in what would otherwise be a non-issue: "mutilated." Forgive me--I am not trying to get personal here, but you really need to rethink your whole stance on this issue. Just keep this in mind: George Lucas, and other filmmakers who alter their works--are wholly within their rights as artists and Americans. There is no law--nor should there ever be--that can cause them to alter it in any way, shape or form due to public outcry. It's censorship. It's a revocation of an artist's freedoms as outlined in the Constitution. It's outright theft, if you want to go that far. Just the mere idea of any of this actually happening makes me sick to my stomach. You need to go back to square one. You already stated that fans have been writing to Lucasfilm, asking for the original films to be re-released on home video. And that's all they should be doing. If and when the time is right, Lucasfilm will do just that. If they don't--we move on. Because Lucas is both the author and the owner of those films and as an American he is free to do whatever he pleases with them. We don't have to like it, but if we remove those liberties from him, we have to remove them from everybody--including ourselves. We are not talking about a public work; we are talking about a work of art that is authored and owned by a private individual. There's absolutely no other way to look at this. The worst case scenario is that the First Amendment is simply revoked--because that's what it's going to boil down to, if all this comes to pass. I don't think it's worth it--revoking the First Amendment just so we can watch Star Wars. I hope this post clears things up my viewpoint a little better, and that you will understand where I am coming from.
 

 


#50 of 207 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 02:50 PM


Great post Ethan. I would like to add...

Originally Posted by Ethan Riley 

So thousands of fans have asked Lucas to re-release the originals on home video. And he won't.


Except he did. We got non-amorphic DVDs of the original films based on the 90's laser discs. That wasn't good enough for the fans. Many of these fans were of the "Just give us the original films! They don't have to be full blown special editions!" type. George Lucas gave them exactly that, spruced up laser disc transfers. Not perfect, not remastered, but basically as good as those transfers can get. Even though he made it really clear that such things would not be released since he prefers the current cuts. And what happened?


The fan base shit the bed and considered it another slap in the face since they weren't total remasters.


Lucas is pretty much in the damned if you do, damned if you don't camp since his hand gets constantly bit by the very fandom he created. It's so far gone, and he is so vilified that pretty much everything he does is considered a huge wrong.


Which brings me to:



Studios sometimes don't have prints of certain films to rent out, or the desire to have a new print made. It wouldn't cost Lucas a dime to allow a privately held print to be screened. I wonder if somebody told him about that little rogue screening in Boston?

And what good is a movie sitting in the vault if nobody is ever allowed to see it?



I agree with you, movies are meant to be seen. Star Wars is, as far as I know, available to rent. Just not in the unaltered original version. Seeing how Lucas is concerned about the best possible presentation for his films, I'm not too surprised that he's blocking showings of old prints that he has no control. You know that such a showing would result in 1000's of blogs complaining about how crap the film looks and how Lucas doesn't care and blah blah blah.


Again, he's damned if he does and damned if he don't.


And as stated previously, you don't need laws to force artistic change. the marketplace will dictate the direction the artist should go in. If you don't like it, then don't buy it.



#51 of 207 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 03:14 PM

Here's the thing. Until this letter is rewritten such that it extends to every movie, tv-show, book, video game, regardless of how insignificant, this letter is nothing more than yet another rant because Lucas prefers the special editions. It's hypocritical to demand that the US government foot the bill to preserve Star Wars and Star Wars only, and as an American taxpayer, I really have no desire for my tax money to be spent preserving everything, especially during a global financial crisis. I also find it interesting that the OP is from the UK, but demanding American tax-dollars be spent to preserve just Star Wars. I'd like to see the link to the British Parliment letter demanding they contribute?

#52 of 207 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 03 2011 - 03:55 PM



Originally Posted by Ryan-G 

I also find it interesting that the OP is from the UK, but demanding American tax-dollars be spent to preserve just Star Wars. I'd like to see the link to the British Parliment letter demanding they contribute?



Not only that, but if other posters from the UK who habit these forums are correct, Star Wars has never been available in the UK on home video in any of Lucas preferred cuts due to their own censorship board demanding additional trims to protect the British public (ridiculous I know). I believe the 2006 DVDs were the first time they got them uncut, it might of been these latest blurays.




#53 of 207 OFFLINE   SilverWook

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Posted October 03 2011 - 05:14 PM

Great post Ethan. I would like to add...

 

Except he did. We got non-amorphic DVDs of the original films based on the 90's laser discs. That wasn't good enough for the fans. Many of these fans were of the "Just give us the original films! They don't have to be full blown special editions!" type. George Lucas gave them exactly that, spruced up laser disc transfers. Not perfect, not remastered, but basically as good as those transfers can get. Even though he made it really clear that such things would not be released since he prefers the current cuts. And what happened?

 

The fan base shit the bed and considered it another slap in the face since they weren't total remasters.

 

Lucas is pretty much in the damned if you do, damned if you don't camp since his hand gets constantly bit by the very fandom he created. It's so far gone, and he is so vilified that pretty much everything he does is considered a huge wrong.

 

Which brings me to:

 

 

 

 

I agree with you, movies are meant to be seen. Star Wars is, as far as I know, available to rent. Just not in the unaltered original version. Seeing how Lucas is concerned about the best possible presentation for his films, I'm not too surprised that he's blocking showings of old prints that he has no control. You know that such a showing would result in 1000's of blogs complaining about how crap the film looks and how Lucas doesn't care and blah blah blah.

 

Again, he's damned if he does and damned if he don't.

 

And as stated previously, you don't need laws to force artistic change. the marketplace will dictate the direction the artist should go in. If you don't like it, then don't buy it.

Non anamorphic DVD's from 1993 masters may have been passable in the early days of the format, but not by 2006. There would have been complaints for any movie released in such a lazy fashion by a major studio. The guy who runs the local revival screenings in my area has complained he can't get any of the Star Wars films, no matter what version. Patrons keep requesting them. There doesn't seem to be a problem getting other popular films from Fox. The recent Return of the Jedi screening in Modesto, California, (Lucas' hometown) was the 1997 version, and apparently somebody called in a favor just to pull that off.

#54 of 207 OFFLINE   SilverWook

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Posted October 03 2011 - 05:25 PM

Ethan, do you really believe every fan who desires the original versions wants the government to twist Lucas' arm into getting what they want? :confused:

#55 of 207 OFFLINE   Rick Thompson

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Posted October 04 2011 - 12:43 AM

To all those who oppose a law telling Lucas to retain the originals as well, one word: Obamacare. If the government, under the commerce clause, can force us to buy a product, there's nothing Congress can't do under that clause (including a law requiring us to buy George's latest vision, whatever that happens to be). And by the way, I oppose any law requiring George Lucas to do or not do anything about Star Wars. He can change anything he wants. Personally, I'm waiting for Lucas to digitally replace Alec Guinness with himself, and Mark Hamill with Justin Bieber!

#56 of 207 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted October 04 2011 - 12:46 AM

Great post Ethan. I would like to add...

 

Except he did. We got non-amorphic DVDs of the original films based on the 90's laser discs. That wasn't good enough for the fans. Many of these fans were of the "Just give us the original films! They don't have to be full blown special editions!" type. George Lucas gave them exactly that, spruced up laser disc transfers. Not perfect, not remastered, but basically as good as those transfers can get. Even though he made it really clear that such things would not be released since he prefers the current cuts. And what happened?

 

The fan base shit the bed and considered it another slap in the face since they weren't total remasters.

 

Lucas is pretty much in the damned if you do, damned if you don't camp

Damned if he does what, exactly? If ANY other company in 2006 released a widescreen film using a 13 year old nonenhanced laserdisc transfer, it would have been roundly condemned, and rightly so. Yet somehow it's being "unfair" to Lucas to hold him to the same standard? You're being disingenuous in equating "full blown special edition" with "transfer using modern technology". They're not the same thing and you know it.

#57 of 207 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted October 04 2011 - 01:16 AM

Just keep this in mind: George Lucas, and other filmmakers who alter their works--are wholly within their rights as artists and Americans.

And that's a crock. Lucas is able to make changes because he financially controls the films, not because it's within his rights as an artist to do so. With one or two exceptions, it's a privilege that no other filmmaker is afforded. This isn't about freedom of speech - it's about a billionaire mogul wielding financial power.
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#58 of 207 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted October 04 2011 - 01:40 AM




Originally Posted by Worth 


And that's a crock. Lucas is able to make changes because he financially controls the films, not because it's within his rights as an artist to do so. With one or two exceptions, it's a privilege that no other filmmaker is afforded. This isn't about freedom of speech - it's about a billionaire mogul wielding financial power.


Whoa, step back a second.  There are a lot of filmmakers that have the privilege of to control what they make.  Robert Wise stopped the colorization of THE HAUNTING (1963) back in the 80's because his contract said he had control over any changes made to the film.  David Lean, Stanley Kubrick Woody Allen, Stephen Spielberg are just a few of the directors that have control over what they can or can not do with the film they make.  Not all of of their films but most of them.  Just about every major director has some, if not complete control over their product now as does the big named stars.  Lucas has control because he spent his own money to make the films and he owns them, every exposed frame of film and every digital frame.  Again, I do not see how holding back the release of the OT has anything to do with financial power, for not releasing something does not gain you any money.  IMHO it is all a creative decision for him as this is the way he wants the series to be. as seamless between the episodes as possible.  To us who grew up on the back three, that will never happen, but the generations behind us, that will be the way it is.



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#59 of 207 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 04 2011 - 01:46 AM

Again, I do not see how holding back the release of the OT has anything to do with financial power, for not releasing something does not gain you any money.

I think it relates to Lucas' financial power because if Fox owned them, they'd have most likely released the originals by now because there's enough money to be made from them that they'd just ignore his wishes for the movies. As it stands, Lucas owns them and he doesn't care or need money so he can release what he likes.

#60 of 207 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted October 04 2011 - 02:05 AM

Just about every major director has some, if not complete control over their product now as does the big named stars.

There are very few directors who have the right of final cut, let alone the ability to make changes to an existing film years or decades after the fact. This is a few years old, but things have only become more restrictive for filmmakers in recent years: http://www.stevehoff...hp/t-24315.html

A decade ago, final cut — the right of a director to edit a film exactly as he pleases and have it released in theaters that way — was almost mandatory for any filmmaker who wanted to prove that he had arrived. Today, many directors say it is almost impossible to get final cut from a major studio, and if they are lucky enough to get it, it is a concession laced with provisos, often stipulating that the director’s cut will stay in place only if test screenings prove highly successful. A typical contract, obtained from one major studio, reads as follows: The director will have his “Artist’s Cut(s)” so long as: “(a) Artist delivers the Picture to the studio in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 8 below; (b) the final negative cost of the Picture does not, or in the studio’s sole opinion will not, exceed 110% of the final below-the-line budget approved by the studio (excluding costs due to force majeure, changes approved in writing by a Business Affairs Executive of the studio, retroactive union scale increases, and losses to the studio reimbursed by insurance); © production and/or post-production of such Picture is not over-schedule by the lesser of three (3) days or ten percent (10%) of the total number of days of principal photography of such Picture; and (d) Artist is not in breach or default hereunder.” Then, and only then, “subject to the studio’s release date plans and release exigencies, Artist shall be entitled to have final United States Theatrical Cut (‘U.S. Final Cut’) of the Picture.” This language is not reserved for newcomers or unproven players. Michael Bay, one of the highest-paid helmers in the business, only received final cut on “Pearl Harbor” in exchange for promising the Walt Disney Co. that the budget of the film would not exceed $145 million. He also had to accept that overages would come out of his fee agree not to take any upfront salary. Even then, he shared final cut with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Some studios never give final cut at all — although exceptions can be made if a Spielberg or a James Cameron wants to sign onto a project. Most would rather offer a top director an exorbitant salary than surrender ultimate control of a film. “The studios are more willing to throw money at a problem than give up control,” notes Jay Roth, national executive director of the Directors Guild of America. “In this sort of ‘tentpole’ world, as you move toward a slate where you have $100 million-plus investments in (a film), not counting marketing and prints, the director may have much more economic power — because you need that director to bring in the project on time and with a vision and for a budget — but you are probably more reluctant to turn over final cut to him. Where the power is has shifted.” Even if a director has final cut, he or she still must accept the reality that final cut has become a moot point for most studios, which can withdraw their full backing when it comes to marketing a film if they don’t like the cut the director has given them — or worse, never work with the director again.


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