Star Wars SE's Why do people care?

Rusty Ray

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---just to add a bit here. I watched empire se this w/e and the scream of luke when he is plummeting down tubes, is exactly the same scream that the emperor has when he bites it at the end.. (oops i hope i didnt spoil the end of jedi!)

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Coressel

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"As for works of art being changed after they are done, I really can't agree..."
You know how many overtures Beethoven composed for Fidelio? Apparently he was never happy with any of them. Does the opera not work as well when the Leonore #3 is used instead of #1? Plays are written, produced and performed but then totally revised awhile later because the author decides it needs some brushing up, even after a successful run.
Beethoven did it. Walt Whitman did it. Tennesse Williams did it. They created works that went through endless revisions even after the audience of the time had gotten used to the original. Did Tolkein sit down one year and write all of Lord of the Rings from page one to the end and not change a word? Of course not.
Why isn't George Lucas allowed to do it?
[Edited last by Coressel on August 20, 2001 at 09:21 PM]
 

Seth Paxton

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I just wonder what someone would say if King went back and rewrote Christine, and then demanded that all future printings be only the new version.
What if Orwell had done the same with 1984 (talk about irony)?
Steinbeck with Grapes of Wrath?
Etc, etc.
I'm quite sure people would have problems with revisionist thinking by any great artist to their own work.
Go rent 6 Degrees of Seperation. There is a great line about how a 2nd grade teacher gets this amazing art out of her students. Sutherland, an art dealer, asks how she does it and she says "I know when to take the paintings away from them."
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Tom-G

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Yes, this backlash has always been perplexing. Consider the fact that most people in these parts are offended and outraged when a DVD doesn't contain extra footage and/or is a director's cut. Many will tell you that the original version has to be preserved, but out of the other side of their mouth, that same person will extol the director's cuts are of movies like Blade Runner and Aliens.
I "grew up on" (the mantra for every Star Wars fan over the age of 25), the original version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Does that mean that I can't enjoy the other versions of said film? No. It's simply a version of the film that the director preferred.
It is a lot of fun to see extra scenes incorporated into movies (or isolated), especially my favorite movies like Star Wars.
It mostly comes down to the fact that George Lucas is the favorite whipping boy because he hasn't released the original trilogy on DVD.
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[Edited last by Tom_G on August 20, 2001 at 10:43 PM]
 

Seth Paxton

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Coressel,
How firmly entrenched in the shared public conscious were any of those works when the revisions were being done? It's a large difference between SS making changes to Jaws after test screenings, quite another to remove guns from one of the most popular films of all time after 20 years of viewing by the world.
Also, and this is MUCH more important, it's is very different for an artist to tweek their art to give it a better flow, sound, hit closer to their true expression, than it is for them to make changes due to PERSONAL MORAL changes.
The Han firing 2nd has NOTHING to do with either VISION or TECHNOLOGY at the time, as either could have been accomodated long ago. That was "I think having a hero do something dirty like that is a bad message."
The biggest problem with that is that the public morals may shift yet again in 20 years making his change look stupid, or make some other change "necessary".
Even worse is that it steals the snapshot of the public conscious that art is, especially popular art. What Lucas and Spielberg had captured in those films was magical and to tromp on it while being 20 years removed from themselves as those artists is a disservice to both them and their audiance, even humanity.
If you are constantly tinkering or not really make a major public presentation of your work, then you are still in the creative process. Once you release your work to the audiance, especially for such a long period of time, it starts to become THEIRS as much as YOURS.
That's why THEY give YOU money for it. There is an easy way to avoid this problem...don't share your work with the public till you are ready to let go of it (this does not count screenings and test audiances which are part of the CREATIVE process and often FREE to the audiances which see the work).
But handing it to the world for a big chunk of change and then expecting to take it back from them just doesn't click.
 

Walter Kittel

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I'll respond to Tom's statement regarding Aliens and Blade Runner. As I mentioned above, I would gladly forgo the pleasure of the ocassional director's cut that actually enhances a film if the practice of cinematic revisionism were discontinued. Of course, as long as folks can make money with this mechanism ( and despite all the rhetoric, IMHO this is all about the marketing and re-selling of all of these films ) the practice will continue. ( Personally I don't find it surprising that all of the films that have been subject to these types of changes have all been popular films or have achieved cult followings. )
I do believe that there is one crucial difference between films such as Apocalypse Now REDUX, The Abyss, Blade Runner, Aliens, etc. and the SEs of the original trilogy. All of the other films in the list represent alternate cuts of the film using footage that was shot at the time of the film's creation. The Star Wars SEs represent entirely new changes created some 20 years after the films were made. Which, agreeing with James, creates something of a disconuity in the effects, without even getting into the historical aspects of the film yet again.
However, I will agree with you Tom that only criticizing Lucas for the practice is somewhat unfair when Ridley Scott and James Cameron have certainly contributed to the practice.
BTW, if they are going to spend all of this time on the Star Wars Trilogy why the heck don't they fix a) Obi-Wan Kenobi's amazing fizzling light stick when he faces Vader, and b) the continuity error between the countdown on Tarkin's display and the voiceover as the Death Star prepares to toast the rebel base? Maybe when Mr. Lucas releases the Star Wars Trilogy: This Is Really, Really, Really the Last Version, I Swear edition on HD-DVD in 10 years?

- Walter.
Edited for spelling
[Edited last by Walter Kittel on August 21, 2001 at 12:04 AM]
 

Tuomas Maattanen

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Everytime one of these threads comes up it makes me wonder one thing:
  • Robert Wise gets praised for his work for the upcoming Star Trek: TMP DVD. As I understand, the movie has been recut, the soundtrack remixed and some of the special effects redone.
  • Lucas gets whipped for releasing Star Wars trilogy recut, the soundtrack remixed and some of the special effects redone.
Didn't you guys grow up with Star Trek as well?
My biggest beef with the SW Special Editions is the Greedo scene. The CGI Jabba looks quite bad, too.
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Rob Gillespie

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The thing is, if Lucas hadn't changed any of the films, if maybe he'd just restored the negative, maybe redone the matte shots with digital compositing (to get rid of lines - only), cleaned up the sound - but left the actual content the same, no one would have accused him of leaving the films unfinished. Even if we'd have had the original, unchanged movie but with the visual 'sparkle' of the SE's restored splendour I'd have been a very happy chappy.
I don't mind that he wants to go back and do this or do that, but the point of such projects is usually to improve the end result. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here. Bits are patched up or replaced entirely, giving an uneven look to much of the film. Sections are changed which had nothing wrong with them to begin with. If he'd actually gone back and corrected the the effects that really did have problems rather than mucking about with stuff that worked out OK I'd give him a bit more respect. The end result of the SEs is a slightly ham-fisted '.01' patch to a piece of work with which I've found little fault for over twenty years.
But there are parts I really liked. I was never a fan of the original Ewok tune in Jedi. The word 'pathetic' springs to mind there. I much prefer Williams' new piece to that scene, far more grandiose and befitting. But Lapti Nek was always an utterly embarrassing scene anyway and the new song, with it's CGI characters that still look like crap rubber costumes is just as bad. I liked seeing more of the Wampa, but I hate the "Bring my shuttle" change in Empire. What a totally misguided and unnecesary alteration that was. Awful. Just awful.
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[Edited last by Rob Gillespie on August 21, 2001 at 07:43 AM]
 

Chuck Mayer

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I posted much of the same thoughts earlier, but not in this thread. This topic is extremely interesting. Who "owns" Star Wars? Lucas? The fans? Pop culture? Are they art? Entertainment? I will throw in my 2 cents. Entertainment and art are a two-way street. An artist creates his work, bringing to the table his talent and vision. But that is only half of the task. The viewer (or listener) must bring his feelings and (most importantly) his experiences to the table as well for the art to "work." So we all "own" Star Wars. Take away the magic of our youth, and the SW trilogy is just a well-executed, poorly-written soap opera. Collectively, we injected SW into the culture. Lucas simply (and brilliantly) tapped into age-old dreams when he crafted his films. But according to the laws of our country, Lucas owns SW and can change it as he wants. Which is right and fair. Lucas can't make me like his new versions. If the SE's are what he INTENDED, as others have suggested, then he is more of a hack than a visionary. He sacrificed story for presentation in some cases. I admire his ethic and vision, but he does the greater myth a disservice with some of his changes...IN MY OPINION. But it's his choice to change them. And it's my choice to remember them how I want. Like I said in the other post (in so many words), nothing he does can change how much I loved Han Solo as a nine-year old boy. I believe that we have as much to do with the original's success as Lucas. Maybe more.
Chuck
 

Eric Bass

Second Unit
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Apr 13, 2000
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It's really quite simple. If Van Gogh were to waltz into an art gallery and take down one of his works and repaint it people would be upset too. Once you release a work of art to the masses and it becomes appreciated you really can't then take it away without people geting upset. Star Wars was done and everyone loved it. Why take that away from people? I think what bothers me about it is that it's control. It's not like Lucas released an updated version and then let people choose which one they prefer, he's taken it upon himself to decide for everyone what they will be watching from now on. It just has a "They'll like what I tell them to like" ring to it to me. Either way, no biggie to me. Since the SE and Ep I came out I hardly watch the originals anymore anyway. I'm thinking all the controversy and such surrounding Star Wars of late has destroyed my appreciation for the films to an extent. At least for now.
On a side not I agree wholeheartedly that this rework of films is not a good thing. You have extra bits of a movie that were cut out, fine throw them in with seamless branching and let the viewer choose 2 or 3 versions of the movie to watch. Or at least include both versions aka the Abyss. But this digging up perfectly fine movies and screwing with them because someone has this idea they can make it 'better' it getting tiresome. What I'd give for a DVD of JAWS with the original soundtrack. Here's hoping when we finally see Raiders of the Lost Ark it doesn't have a new 15 minute CGI expo at the end rather than the original ending.
 

Brett_B

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For the most part, the SE's aren't that bad. Bad editing, Yes. My biggest gripe about the SE is with the "Greedo shoots first". I don't have a problem with Greedo shooting first, but I do have a problem with how it was edited into the movie. For one, there was absolutely no visible reaction from Han. If Han had flinched, or even showed some sort of reaction at being fired at, it might not have been as bad (if at all). The only thing that was done with this edit was put a CGI laser coming from Greedo's gun (which is already aimed at Han) and hitting the wall only inches from Han's head.
 

Michael*K

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It's a large difference between SS making changes to Jaws after test screenings, quite another to remove guns from one of the most popular films of all time after 20 years of viewing by the world.
Ironic that this argument also applies to Star Wars (I don't acknowledge the title change to ANH) because I just read recently that Spielberg plans on making alterations to E.T. for its 20th anniversary release next year. Apparently, he always regretted that the federal agents were running around with guns...I guess they would be too frightening (hell, they're supposed to be!) Anyhow, I guess through editing or CGI, he plans to "remove" the guns from the federal agents. Can you believe that? The scene just before the bikes take off where the agent pumps the shotgun...GONE! That will seriously piss me off if those reports pan out!
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James Q Jenkins

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quote: The scene just before the bikes take off where the agent pumps the shotgun...GONE! [/quote]When was the last time you saw ET? No agent ever pumps a shotgun. There's a quick flash to a shotgun in an agent's hand and that's it.
It's stupid and unrealistic to have federal agents go after 10 year old suburban kids on bikes with shotguns and IMO the change will be for the better. That's always "taken me out" of that movie.
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-JQJ
[Edited last by James Q Jenkins on August 22, 2001 at 08:07 AM]
 

Rob Gillespie

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quote: It's stupid and unrealistic to have federal agents go after 10 year old suburban kids on bikes with shotguns [/quote]
If it was just the kids on bikes then I'd agree, but they're carrying an alien.
[Edited last by Rob Gillespie on August 22, 2001 at 09:40 AM]
 

Cees Alons

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Some of these discussions span at least two "meta"levels.
One is: Do you think Lucas is allowed to change his art products?
Another is: Do you like the result?
You cannot criticize someone about not liking the result by saying he liked Ridley Scot's result.
Now my opinion on both:
(1) I think the keyword here is "published".
As soon as the artist has published his/her work, the public (hence the word
) have been exposed to it. They may have absorbed (part of) the art, had themselves changed by it, love it (or hate it, or whatever). It is no longer the sole property of the artist (or the legal owner), but of humanity as a whole. If he "changes" it, he creates another piece of art, so he should not make the other piece of art unavailable (if the person changing it is not the original artist, it is probably plagiarism - unless they changed A LOT).
So I agree with those who say: Lucas is entitled to create a new version, but he should provide us with the original as well. I have some personal interpretations of the original Star Wars within the freedom the films leave me. When Lucas jeopardizes those interpretations by adding scenes, or altering them, I have every right to be angry.
And every moral and artistic right to request I may watch the original again.
(2) Some of the changed scenes are definitely not an improvement. The Greedo scene is pathetic. It's a cover-up.
Han Solo shot first.
Cees
 

chris rick

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Give me the originals...episode 4 A New Hope looks like shit when Jabba is talking to Solo, it is not a seamless transition with the new Jabba added in...cleaning up the others digitally is one thing, but adding new footage in this many years later (while it is certainly within Lucas' artistic rights to do so) is idiotic IMHO...it is just a way to make more $, and Lucas loves the fact that people will eat it up.
 

ShaneP

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I agree that George has every right to alter the film that he created. I, however, will always think of Star Wars in the context of what I saw when I was seven years old. The only copy of Star Wars that I have purchased was the Star Wars Trilogy - The Definitive Collection Laser Disc Set. IMHO, scenes like Greedo, Jabba, and the "contemporary CGI space explosion" Death Star explosion just reinforce that I am not watching the movie I grew up with.
Han Solo was a smuggler. He didn't play by the rules, and given the environment he lived and worked in, I don't think that he would be above shooting someone preemptively to save his skin.
I was perfectly happy not meeting Jabba until ROTJ. Only meeting Jabba after Han had been delivered to him helped to paint the situation as dire. And, to me, neither of the CGI Jabba in ANH or TPM look as three-dimensional as the anamatronic/puppet in ROTJ.
As for the end of A New Hope -- I mean really, what's with that 'ring of fire' coming from the explosion? Shouldn't it radiate in all directions? Wouldn't there be big chunks left with an explosion like that?
I liked certain parts of the additions that make up the SE -- those that blended well- nearly seamlessly with the original film. And I guess that is my point. If I easily notice that a scene (or something in a scene) doesn't fit, it really makes me think more about what is wrong rather than just enjoying the movie. If I don't get the original version when the DVD comes out I think I may throw a hissy fit. I want to relive my childhood when I watch this movie =)
 

Dave H

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The new effects were okay to see, but I want the original films on DVD. IF Lucus wants to include or create the Special Edition films from '97, so be it. But, the originals are a must and a primary! (Can you imagine how cool it would be to have the DVD cover contain the main, original Star Wars poster - the one with Skywalker holding his lightsaber above his head and Leia by his side.)
While I didn't mind seeing the new effects, I do think they looked more sophisticated than the original effects of the film. As a result, I do think the continuity was disrupted - to at least some degree. You could see how they stood out.
P.S. The thought of a "Special Edition", CGIied, Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD makes my stomach turn.
 

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