A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, aspiring filmmaker George Lucas made a trilogy that redefined the movie going experience. That trilogy was Star Wars. Now, 27 years after the release of A New Hope (aka Episode IV), these influential films finally made their way to DVD last week. But something’s different.
Instead of releasing the original films that captured the attention of a generation and became a pop culture phenomenon, Lucas has decided that the special effects-laden 1997 special editions are the better works.
Well, Mr. Lucas, they may be your films and it’s only fair you should be allowed artistic freedom, but your infatuation with computer-generated graphics has turned this once-moving series into a giant advertisement for the far less impressive prequels. Going back and enhancing the sound and look of the franchise is one thing, but you’ve crossed the line of what’s acceptable by completely altering major characters. As though the Ewoks weren’t enough, a CGI Jabba the Hutt and the newly christened Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) appears in the final segment of Return of the Jedi, forever damaging the concluding chapter.
The recently released Star Wars box set has met with harsh criticism for Lucas’ refusal to release the films as they originally were. Already many fans have begun to circulate online petitions begging Lucasfilms to consider a package with the original versions.
A New York Post reporter inquired as to why he was hesitant to release both the originals and special editions on DVD for fans, his response was that of a child wielding some kind of control over a mass audience.
“The special edition is the one I wanted out there,” Lucas said to the New York Post. “The other movie, it’s on VHS, if anybody wants it … I’m not going to spend the millions of dollars and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it really doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like … I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be.”
He complains that the original trilogy was a work in progress. Maybe he should recall the first two chapters of the prequel. Both Episode I (The Phantom Menace) and Episode II (The Attack of the Clones) share the same dismal qualities: amazing special effects, horrible screenplays, unfocused direction and some of the worst acting in the universe. Hey, Mr. Lucas: These are the films you should be refusing to release.
Perhaps Lucas shouldn’t have control of Star Wars if he plans to make these moronic changes and taint a legendary sci-fi epic. If that wasn’t enough, the Indiana Jones franchise is next on Lucas’ list of great films to ruin by adding an unnecessary sequel. Harrison Ford is set to reprise his role in this sure-to-be-lame fourth entry in the series. To continue his hack job, 1971’s THX 1138 has been re-released with a Lucas-approved cut, which in layman’s terms means he’s beefed it up with special effects and made numerous subtle changes to the film.
For the many that have had their fill of this arrogant director, The Revenge of the Sith has been officially declared the end of Lucas’ continuing mission in creating half-decent flicks with the Star Wars banner over them.
Give it up, George. The original Star Wars was the only great film you’ve ever made and Indiana Jones was all Steven Spielberg. Thankfully, he won’t let you wreck that series, but Star Wars fans are out of luck, as the original versions may never see the light of day under this tyrant.
Contact Entertainment Editor Pablo Saldana at firstname.lastname@example.org