Long Live the Original Trilogy, Pt. 1

If obsessing over fanboy minutia isn't your thing, these aren't the posts you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along.

You could say that I'm "invested" in Star Wars. By my count I have purchased (or had purchased for me) seven different releases of these movies in the last 15 years. Well, somebody hide my wallet because a new mega Blu-ray set is coming out next month. Of course the one thing I really wanted to be included—the original trilogy in its unaltered theatrical form—won't be there. Not that I really expected it to be.

George Lucas has tinkered with Star Wars ad nauseum. I get it. They are his movies. He can modify them as he pleases. But I see absolutely no reason to not give the theatrical versions the same care and preservation as his updated versions and let them stand side-by-side.

Look, back in 1997, I fully embraced the Special Editions. At the dawn of the CG era, the prospect of enhancing Star Wars with cutting edge effects was exciting. But here's what we didn't know back then: CG tends to have a short shelf life. Digital effects are constantly getting better, and even movies that came out just a few years ago (including the Star Wars prequels) have already started to look dated.

Compounding the matter is that these now dated CG effects were used as the main selling point of the Special Editions. I come from the school of thought that the best special effects are seamless, but these effects desperately want you to notice them: "Hey, I'm new! Stop what you're doing and look at me!" It's a little like trying to watch a movie while an attention-starved toddler periodically jumps in front of the screen (trust me, I know what that's like). But it seems that we're stuck with these revisions forever, or at least until George Lucas becomes one with the force.

The farther we get from 1997, the more I long for the unchanged films. Yes, many of the original effects are of course dated as well, but by leaving them intact, you honor the ILM artists who pioneered them, and you show the proper respect for film history. Not to mention it's what I grew up with, and that can be a powerful thing. Am I right, George?

Next: My picks for the worst Star Wars changes


Ben said...

I am very much looking forward to this series

ScottBoomer said...

This is your best post in a long time.

I really miss the original musical numbers from Jedi.