Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Perhaps You Feel You're Being Treated Unfairly?

Lucas revisits his Star Wars empire for box set
Star Wars trilogy gets a makeover

It it were happening during any other time of the year, I would already be in a frenzy over the release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD, which happens in less than two weeks, on September 21. With football season just getting underway, I have that to keep my mind occupied, but suffice it to say that I'm still managing to grow more and more excited about the release date as it approaches.

Of course, calling these movies the "original" Star Wars trilogy is something of a misnomer, as the movies are no longer in the original form in which they were released in theaters in 1977, 1980, and 1983, respectively. These aren't even the "Special Edition" films that were re-released in 1997, as franchise owner George Lucas has continued to tinker with them cosmetically. Some changes, such as scrubbing the film and cleaning up the special effects, make perfect sense. Others, such as inserting a replacing a shot of Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi with one of Hayden Christensen, are totally unnecessary.

While I liked some of the enhancements of the Special Editions, some of the changed seemed out of place and just didn't make much sense. Even some of those changes reportedly have been updated in these most recent versions of the films, so perhaps they'll fit in better this time around. However, it seems like Lucas could give fans the best of both worlds by presenting these films in two versions--the original theatrical releases (with only necessary changes, like scrubbing the original film), and the new "director's cut" versions.

On the other hand, as something of an artist myself, I can see Lucas's point of no longer wanting the original versions in circulation. I'm sure not too many writers would want first drafts of their work available after the finished product comes out. Of course, not too many "first drafts" explode into such a phenomenon as the original Star Wars trilogy did, with both a technical impact (on filmmaking) and a cultural one. In this case, I think Lucas should have given in and presented both versions. Plenty of Star Wars fans (myself included, sadly) would be willing to shell out the extra cash to have both. Lucas has never seemed allergic to making extra money, so it's puzzling now that he's missing out on this opportunity.

At any rate, I'm just glad these movies will soon be out on DVD, in whatever form. I can't wait to get the set in my hot little hands, and from there into my DVD player. I have a feeling the time between that Tuesday and that Friday will pass by rather quickly, as I immerse myself in the films and all the bonus materials that come with them.

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