on December 30, 2004
I've only watched the last movie (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and was dismayed when he took out the Ewok song at the end of the movie (replacing it with a stupid ending where different worlds were celebrating the death of the emperor) and replaced an older looking Anakin with a younger one. The celebration didn't make sense at all; how is it that the entire galaxy could get the message so fast, so soon, and immediately celebrate? All this just to tie in to his already failing prequels (which I really don't like - since they pretty much screwed up the SW timeline with the novels). I really couldn't see the other movies after seeing what he did to the last one. I immediately broke out my VHS collection to feel the nostalgia again and remind myself why I fell in love with this classic in the first place. I have only one thing to say to George and that's: BRING BACK THE ORIGINALS; NOT YOUR CONSTANT REVISIONS!
The DVD special edition was interesting to see at first, but I prefer the classic movies over it (I'm glad I got the VHS originals). I really wished he released a double sided disc (original version on side A and revamped on side B). This way he would appeal to both hardcore original fans and interested people with the special editions.
The way these originals have progressed since his first 'tinkering', is telling me, he wants to forget he ever made the originals in the first place. Which is really sad, since it's what got him where he is today. The 'original' trilogy was original and compelling. The story was really well done and out of date special effects didn't affect it one bit. You could feel for the characters and there were constant developments.
I can only say one thing about Lucas, and that's being able to milk a lot of money out of the cash cow. He originally made a classic movie in which many have seen and cherished. He then re-released the special edition movies which interested people have seen. Then he went on again and redid the special movie editions for this DVD collection. And we all continue to pay him for it! Is that an excellent marketing strategy or what?
Unfortunately, for the die hard fan, this is a great disappointment. Any one who's open to the idea of remaking an entire movie and trying to forget the original existed, will definitely enjoy these pieces of work. As for me, I have to find a way of transferring my VHS collection to computer and burn to DVD so I can preserve this true classic tale.
on July 14, 2004
Forget the original effects, forget the original films...remember that real people worked on the effects Lucas deems "old and dated". Those people and "old" effects were what gave the movies so much charm and timelessness. Those people also slaved for hours and REDEFINED special effects as we know them. Now most of it is just CGI whipped up in about a years time. Replacing actors and effects that aren't even that poor is just a show that there is a pure monetarial motivation for doing this.
What was so magical and timeless about Star Wars was that you could return to them whenever you wanted and see exactly what you saw the first time. Now, we have so many different versions floating around no one can remember what's what. And that's what I find sad about this. It's deplorable that there is such a lack of respect being paid to the versions that made these films timeless.
As far as DVDs go, I'm sure this set will be the new standard. I'd expect nothing less from Lucasfilm. However, I just wish that Lucasfilm would expect something from us instead of putting out their product with no credence for the fans.
on June 27, 2004
Ah, childhood. I remember how excited I was when the Special Editions came out in theatres, how my friends and I would endlessly play with Star Wars action figures, how my dad bought me the ultra-rare "Slave Leia" figure for $25 off some fat dorky guy in the mall, how after seeing Episiode I, one of my friends showed me and everyone I went with how to find porn on the internet, how my action figures started collecting dust after 6th grade, how when Episode II came out I laughed out loud at it in the theatre, how all the stupid girls in my French class were obsesed with Hayden Christiansen at my expense, how I wanted to beat some sense into that [illigitimate offspring lacking a male reproductive organ], how I made a custom John Kerry action figure by melting Grand Moff Tarkin's chin a bit and made him have a debate with John Edwards (aka Han in Bespin Gear), while greedy corporate interest groups (Jabba the Hutt, Rancor Keeper, Greedo, and Yak Face) watched. John Edwards kicked everyone's butt, of course.
Although I grew up watching these movies and have almost no problems with the special editions, I will not buy this box set when it came out. Star Wars just isn't fun to watch anymore. I'm no longer the kid I used to be. I know enough of physics to realize that the speed of light is unbreakable and sound in space is an impossibility, enough of biology to know that any sort of extraterrestrial life form would probably not look anything like life as we know it on Earth thanks to evolution. Episode II is the only Star Wars movie I can bear to watch nowadays, only because it is one of the best parodies I've seen in my life (albeit unintentionally). If you have kids, or are pretty young yourself, then by all means, buy this. These are classic children's films. Otherwise, GROW UP and GET A LIFE. There was a reviewer below me who suggested buying the Stanley Kubrick collection instead; I agree with him wholeheartedly. Some movies are deep and filled with artistic meaning. Anything "Star Wars" is not. Try analyzing the Jedi Code philosophically; it's full of contradictions. Ask yourself if Darth Vader is a good man at the end just because he saves ONE PERSON (who, may I add, he has a vested genetic interest in) from death despite his cold-blooded murder of thousands. Then there's the matter that this murder spree was apparently caused by the natural human desire to have a family, to remain close to one's kin. Philosophically, Star Wars makes no sense at all. As a child, I was able to overlook this, but now, as a young adult, I simply can't ignore it.
The magic has died for me. In a moment akin to Dorthy realizing that the great Wizard of Oz was nothing more than a man behind a screen, I realized that Star Wars is at best, an immature, escapist melodrama and at worst, nothing more than a giant marketing ploy by George Lucas. A brilliant one, a fun one when you're young, but still a marketing ploy. Go ahead and show this to your children, but if you're over the age of 14 and still enjoy this, I feel very very sorry for you.
on May 24, 2004
Just adding my two cents to the ranting and raving pro and con the DVD release of the Special Editions of the trilogy. A few points:
A) George can certainly do whatever he wishes with these films, doesn't mean the fans who made him rich have to like it or buy it. I liked the original films and won't be buying these... I guess I will never get to see the films I loved as a kid again.
B) George is a hack film maker and a hypocrite. In an interview from the early 80s, George makes comments about how "some directors get so wrapped up in creating SFX and worlds that they spend film time on it" and how that's a bad thing. Now who's guilty of that these days? (The doc is "From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Trilogy")
C) Greedo shooting first, Han stepping on Jabba's tail, Luke screaming as he falls at Cloud City... those are my major complaints about the "improvements." Each of these scenes or changes alter the meaning of the shot/sequence and thereby change the film. Let's face it on Jabba's dancers though, that musical sequence ALWAYS sucked.
Don't buy these DVDs... eventually, if Lucasfilm has ANY business sense, they'll release the first three films unadulterated.
on May 14, 2004
Like every fan of Star Wars, I was excited to see that the original trilogy was finally coming out on DVD. At last I thought we would be able to see a box set that would have met the expectations that the orginial trilogy deserved. My God! just alone,episode IV, A New Hope, deserves better. This is the episode that made Lucas his money and fame. The features that I would have put into this set would have been the original and special edition versions, (so the fans could make their choice of what they wanted to watch), the makings of all three of the trilogies, the deleted scenes from the cutting room floor and given you the option to intergrate them back into the movie so you could see how they would have added to or detracted from the movie, screen test that you have to hunt for on the internet, all the original theatrical and special edition trailers, the original story boards artwork, etc., interviews from then and now of the cast and crew (this does not mean Lucas sitting in front of a camera for 30 minutes boasting about himself). Yes he did do a great job, but could not have done any of it without the talent and support of people you rarely ever see. I know why Lucas did not put the original version on this set. It is a marketing ploy so he can re-release the original version of the trilogy for the 30th anniversary. He is only listening to the voices in his head, instead of the creative driving forces that made it great prior to the prequels. To him it's not "may the force be with you" but "may the MONEY be with him"!!! To all the true fans such as myself, I wish he had done better for us.
on May 7, 2004
Lucas has been raised upon the shoulders of fanboys for ONE movie he directed, "Star Wars; A New Hope". He can't write well and he can't direct. Why did the first 3 (yes the FIRST) do so well? Fox had control. He didn't write the screenplay for "Empire" or "Return" nor did he direct either of them.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" you say? Sorry, but Lawrence Kasdan (writer of Empire Strikes Back and ROJ) wrote the screenplay and Spielberg directed it. Lucas deserves credit for the idea and many details but it ends there.
With SW he knew what the story was, but he didn't tell it-better men did, which is why the original Star Wars was the franchise it was, and not a laughable joke like "Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones" and most likely the next one.
George Lucas has contributed to filmmaking like no other, with THX and ILM etc.-there is no denying that-- but the creative genius is in reality nothing more than an overrated idea man, who wants us to believe he's this maverick who had his whole story figured out. I guess that's why Luke's sister kissed him full on the lips in the Empire Strikes Back. Go ahead; argue that Leia didn't know Luke was her brother when she kissed him. Guess what, neither did Lucas until he began developing Return of the Jedi-but he continues to assert that it was all part of a well laid plan. Not.
A reviewer here decided to make comparisons to Lord of the Rings, stating that Lucas used elements of Tolkein's writings. I don't know about that, but I do know that Middle Earth (one continent on one planet) has more character, depth and creativity than Lucas' whole "universe".
One reviewer here asserts "It's Lucas' universe and he can do what he wants with it". Yes he certainly can and boy did he ever, but let's be honest. Lucas' worlds have little depth. One whole planet that is a giant planet-sized city, one that is nothing but a swamp, one that is nothing but ice, one that is nothing but a forest, one that is nothing but a desert, and one that is nothing but water and so on. The entire Star Wars universe, spanning galaxies far, far away is really just Earth all spread out in space.
The truth is to create whole planets with more than one land or sea variety would be too much for Lucas to wrap his brain around, and he probably doesn't have the patience, or the brains to work it out. So let's not compare him to JRR Tolkein, okay? Tolkien died while still developing middle earth. If Lucas croaked and didn't leave some kind of condition in his will saying no one but he can make Star Wars material (he probably did), then SW might have a real future. Now Lucas has to make a third prequel, and just get it over with. Hopefully he will have learned that, yes, he does suck and his own Star Wars fan base is telling him so.
As dull as he is, especially when he forces us to fast forward through his "making of" junk that he strategically placed before the actual movie starts rather than after (the VHS trilogy), he still can corral grown-up children wanting to relive their childhood and force their kids to sit through two HORRIBLE Star Wars "prequels". I watched "making of" materiel of Lucas shooting on a set with his little kids running around the set everywhere, getting in everybody's way, but who could argue with him?
If George Lucas wasn't such a control freak, and allowed better people than him to take over the production of these movies, and perhaps allowed others to continue his work they'd probably have been as great as Empire and Return, but no. It's HIS, and HE must control ALL aspects of his masterpiece, which is why the new films suck so bad regardless of the visual aspect.
He's made enough money from Star Wars. How much is enough? I own the original Star Wars trilogy, and I have no need of his special edition. I like the trilogy better when it had no connection with the crappy prequels. Adding CGI to the original Star Wars is the same as putting a bunch of CGI in The Wizard of Oz, and it doesn't serve the story and it frankly stains a movie that was fine the way it was, but Lucas wants us all to see his vision, so he'll jam it down our throats. I'm inclined to spew it back up at him and forget that there ever was a Star Wars.
Naturally, this didn't help anyone so click away on how it didn't. I know that it's all just sci-fi dorks flaming over how I mock one of their gods.
on April 21, 2004
Picture the original trilogy as a wonderfully rich and moist, homemade chocolate cake with sweet homemade frosting; like mom used to make. (As for me, I've been moved out of the house for quite a while now, so I don't enjoy that much anymore.)
Now... imagine the enhanced trilogy as a cheap off-brand cake mix. Yes it is STILL cake, and you can STILL eat it. But there's a part you(taste buds) that is left feeling unsatisfied and dissapointed because what you just experienced is definitely not what you remember or hoped for.
The enhanced versions are dissapointing, yet when you look at all the crappy movies being made these days, the new trilogy still beats many of them. As for original StarWars fans, this enhanced trilogy just wont cut it.
For one, the originals were perfect just the way they were. Secondly, among other misfortunes, the added animations were HORRIBLE- they looked like cartoons. ex. in A New Hope -Han walking/talking with giant 'blob-o-graphics'. Yeah, I know Lucas wanted that scene, but it was done very badly. I'll be waiting impatiently for the originals (I can dream can't I...) thanks for reading -Rob
on April 15, 2004
George Lucas never ceases to confound me. He was responsible for arguably one of the most important and influential science fiction films of all time (Star Wars, 1977), a film that broke down special effects barriers and helped show that sci-fi can be an incredibly fun, energetic and exciting genre to watch. Star Wars is a technical marvel and a joy to watch.
Why then, does Lucas feel the need to disrespect the brilliance that went into the original film - brilliance from co-writers, advisers and most specifically the technical geniuses behind the effects - and spoil that artistry with computer graphic special effects that do nothing to enhance what made the film great in the first place? Turns out he's not the great film maker so many - himself included - believe him to be.
In trying to over-write cinematic history by replacing a classic version of a film entirely with a plastic-fantastic wannabe, Mr. Lucas spits in the face of everyone who helped make Star Wars the brilliant film it was. I would implore anyone with a sense of cinematic appreciation to reject this DVD release - let's see Star Wars released as we remember it, as it should always be remembered, in its original theatrical cut.
on April 5, 2004
George Lucas is such a pompous you know what that it is amazing. He is releasing this collection, but only with his modified versions, and not even the ones he released in the theater for the 20th anniversary. They are modified yet again here and he refuses to provide true fans with the original versions that were released in the theater in the 70's and 80's. What is up with that? I can understand that he has a desire to add things he believed were missing, but considering that our money and devotion is what made the originals such a massive success, don't you think we deserve to at least have the choice of viewing and owning them if we want? Unfortunately, the only way to own the true originals is to buy the old laserdisc versions or find some old VHS versions somewhere. Both are woefully inadequate in picture quality and sound quality. Therefore, I cannot give this compilation more than 2 stars (and that is generous) because it is not a truly complete collection and just another way for a pompous director to make more money from his built-in fan base.
on May 14, 2002
A friend of mine clued me into his pet term for the Star wars rerelease films, now reissued on video - the "very special" editions, as in the "very special" episodes of sitcoms or "very special" like Jason Biggs' trumpeteer is perceived to be in "American Pie 2". In short, the original Star Wars films were reduced to treacle when, in their rerelease form, they could have garnered a new generation of fans.
Let me qualify something here. You are not a bigger Star Wars fan than I am, nor do I "not get it". I was born in 1975. My earliest Christmas pictures have me standing next to a Death Star toy with assorted characters and playsets strewn about. I got Boba Fett, Yoda, and the Emperor in plain, small cardboard boxes via mail order. I saw Star Wars in rerelease when I was four, saw Empire at the Ziegfield in NY when I was five, and was first in line for both ROTJ and TPM on their opening days. In-between all that, add in the countless video games, comic collecting, book reading, and whatnot, it all adds up to one thing - I have a deep affection for the Star Wars franchise, but that doesn't mean a slavish devotion to George Lucas' decision-making.
People say Lucas has a right to do whatever he wants with his original trilogy films. This is incorrect. Technically, as he owns them, he can do whatever he wishes. However, especially fourteen years after the fact (1983-1997), the films have a cultural resonance and are beloved for what is in them. Fundamentally changing them would be like DaVinci adjusting the smile on Mona Lisa's face or Shakespere deciding that Ophelia and Hamlet ride off into the sunset together. There is a cultural point, that all artists usually have the good sense to recognize, when their art takes on a life of its own and is no longer simply theirs.
George Lucas doesn't seem to get this. So much of what he does in the Special Editions is strong - the tidying up of effects, the cleaning up of the negative and the sound, and even the addition of some scenes constitute a director's right to go back and try to make his film better. What Lucas does, though, is go beyond this. Whether by making Greedo shoot first, Luke scream after tossing himself into the void, adding Jedi Rocks while removing the original song, or even changing the end music and sequence for ROTJ, Lucas has done more than tweak the mechanics and flow of his film. He has, instead, fundamentally altered our perception of events and of how we process and experence the films. In short, he has taken something familiar and made it into something cold and alien. There is no excuse for this.
For a generation of inspired 20 and 30-somethings, along with their parents, Star Wars represented something familiar, something good, and something we wanted to be associated with. The '97 rerelease, represented here in this collection instead left us feeling unwelcome, as if Lucasfilm decided we had lived out our usefulness and was moving onto a new audience, one that had to have Vader's return to his ship at the end of ESB explained and shown step by step. Very special, indeed.
While there are aspects of the special editions that are good, the negatives far outweigh the positives and it pains me to say that this Star Wars collection is not worth having over the original versions. You would be better off finding those or getting copies of them than you would owning and watching the special editions.