“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie,” Lucas says, referring to fans who, like the dreaded studios, have done their own forcible re-edits. “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’ ”If the "script notes" he's referring to are the Red Letter Media reviews, well, it's heartening to know he at least saw 'em. They do an excellent job of deconstructing the prequel films, devoting an hour to each and explaining exactly why the storytelling failed, when they're not busy stopping the review cold to continue their storyline. (The crazy reviewer character Mr. Plinkett has a great voice and delivery, but the serial killer angle is a digression I just don't get. I do love it every time he offers you some pizza rolls if you email him on his webzone.)
Lucas seized control of his movies from the studios only to discover that the fanboys could still give him script notes. “Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”
Moving away from pizza rolls, my position on George Lucas' fiddling with the Star Wars series has always kinda been that while I find it kind of sad that a man who once spoke out against film revisionism himself then decided to start making changes to what some folks thought were perfectly good movies to begin with, it's honestly his prerogative. Creative types will always want to tinker with their babies. He has a right to be angry with fan edits, though that's half copyright and half pride there. The films ultimately have his name on it, even if he didn't direct Empire or Jedi (and sadly neither Irving Kirschner nor Richard Marquand are around any more to speak up, if they felt the need.)
It's a matter of adopting new attitudes as time goes on. Lucas' kids came up with the bantha poodoo jokes in the prequels, among other things. And why not? He was making the film for him and his family. Spielberg fiddled with E.T., gave the FBI dudes walkie-talkies instead of guns because he disliked promoting violence in a family movie, but has since reconsidered. He's now restoring the guns for the next release.
So if Lucas decided he didn't like the idea of Han Solo shooting the bounty hunter Greedo in cold blood after all, once he had the technology in the late 90s he could do something about it. Among other things. I thought some of the enhancements were neat but I didn't like other changes such as Greedo and the removal of the Yub Nub song at the end of Jedi (I liked it; haters gonna hate) but I didn't feel insulted. I felt as long as there was still the ability to see the original films as I remembered them in the theaters, I'd be fine.
I still felt that way, though through slightly clenched teeth, when I saw Hayden Christiansen saying goodbye to Luke as a ghost instead of Old Anakin Guy saying goodbye to Luke as a ghost. Okay there was something to do about all that lava scarring and stuff, but you'd think Luke would recognize the older guy (whom he just saw with his mask off, all corrupted and stuff) much more easily than the younger dude hanging out as a blue glowie along with Yoda and Obi-Wan.
Then I defiantly felt that way when I learned the next Blu-Ray release of Jedi is going to have Vader scream "NOOOOOOOOO!" when grabbing the Emperor in the climactic fight scene. Of course. Add the single-most mocked part of the prequel films, beating out Jar-Jar even.
But as long as I still had a way to see the original films as I remembered them in the theaters, I'd be fine. (I was too young to see Star Wars on its original release, but I sure as heck caught both Empire and Jedi first-run. Jedi on opening weekend, even, and it was one of those amazing movie experiences where the entire theater just banded together to cheer everything. Anyway.) Then I realized I didn't know how I could see the original versions (or "as close to", blah blah) again, since I don't have a laserdisc player nor the moxie to try and track down discs. That's the part of revisionism what sucks. Each new Star Wars release is now film canon. Brilliant. Why release several versions and have 'em floating around at the same time? O ALL IS LOST said I, and went to go be all nerd-complainy about other science-fiction franchises such as Doctor Who LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I REALLY THINK ABOUT RUSSELL T DAVIES.
But lo! Salvation. As it turns out there was a 2006 DVD release of the trilogy that did just that and it completely flew under this here radar. Had no idea that had come out! At least, I'd have thought that if I knew, I'd have gotten 'em.
Don't matter now, cause on Saturday I got 'em. Turned out to be a decent present, eh. The first opens with just "STAR WARS"--no Episode IV, no A New Hope--and Han shoots first (heck, Han shoots only.) And later on in the trilogy Luke still air-kicks the dude off the sand barge. All throughout the bad mattes are still there, the missing lightsaber effects on some frames are still there, it's not shiny CGI, and that's how I like it. These releases are as scruffy as the universe they show us. So now that I can go back and see my copies whenever I want, Lucas can do whatever he wants with his copies. Force you, got mine!
Sebastian Shaw approves.
PS. What's the story behind Threepio's silver right leg? I completely forgot.