So with all of this said, I'll go ahead and address the main point
here: George Lucas can release all the Blu-Ray versions of his "Special (and
by Special, I mean "special" in the way you describe child that drools a
lot and bangs its head on doors voluntarily) Edition" he wants, and he
won't get a dime from me for 'em. There are tons of people excited about
this release announcement, but I ain't one of them. I'll stick with my VHS
copies of the original trilogies. I think I have enough copies of them to
get me through a few decades.
AROUND THE EXPLODING PLANETS
Digital enhancements can be a plus, but they can also make you roll
your eyes. Take, for instance, the destruction of Princess Leia's home
planet of Alderaan in A New Hope.
I was perfectly content with the
old-fashioned explosion from the original trilogy, but Lucas said "that ain't good enough". In the Special Editions, he enhanced this explosion
with a shock wave ring blasting away from the planet. You probably said to
yourself, "Where have I seen that before?" I'll tell you where:
VI, when the Klingon moon Praxis gets blown up. The day that Lucas starts
lifting ideas from Star Trek movies is the day he first starts showing
signs of being creatively bankrupt.
Lucas wasn't content just to use the
effect on Alderaan, either. Both Death Stars being blown up were given the
WINDOWS IN BESPIN
As we move on to The Empire Strikes Back, we see the film least altered of
the trilogy. The reason behind this is simply because it's the superior
film of the trilogy to begin with. There were a few minor alterations,
though, one being the "new and improved" Cloud City on Bespin.
Particularly, the addition of windows within the city
to allow for more views of the colorful backdrop. Now, I'm not totally
against the idea of adding these windows, but if you're going to do it, at
least try and maintain a modicum of continuity. The windows have a "now
you see it, now you don't" thing going on, where they appear and then
disappear within seconds.
SCREAMS AS HE FALLS
Like I said, Empire has fewer changes made to it, but this one's a doooozy.
You see, there's this huge scene at the film's climax where Darth Vader
reveals to Luke Skywalker his true identity. Luke, knowing that his father
has been consumed by evil, refuses to join him.
In fact, he'd rather take
his chances leaping into the unknown than join his father. Or, at least,
that's how it was in the original trilogy. In the
Special Edition, Luke slips. At least that's what the distressed
scream he lets out as he falls would have you believe. Either way, it
kills the momentum of the scene as dead as Alec Guinness.
THE NEW MAX REBO
The song performed at Jabba's Palace by Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band
in the original Star Wars editions, entitled "Lapti Nek", is utterly
cheesy. And frankly, that's the way us Star Wars fans like it. We love the Muppety™ special effects and the goofy song with the chorus that sounds
like it's going "Aaaaabe Vigoda!" over and over again.
We like the three-piece band consisting of the funny
elephant guy on synthesizer, the lumpy guy with the flute, and the
long-lipped singer chick with exposed alien boobies. We don't need no
Computer-generated dancing and screaming hairy thing joining in on vocals.
We don't need no 27-piece orchestra backing them up. We don't need no new
song called "Jedi Rocks".
need no steeenking Vaudeville numbers in our Star Wars movies, thankyouverymuch.
HAS A BEAK
Am I grasping at straws here? Perhaps. I mean, the addition of a mouth to
the creature that dwells in the Great Pit of Carkoon doesn't seem like a
big deal in the long run, but it was one of the things I really had to
shake my head at when I first saw it. Part of what made the Sarlacc
monster so menacing was the fact that you couldn't really tell what was in
There were tentacles to pull you in, but it was just this huge
mysterious gaping hole that had no visible end. The idea of being slowly
digested by the Sarlacc's digestive juices, as described by C-3PO, is much
more chilling than being snapped in half by a beak. Again, it may seem
like a nitpick, but it's a perfect example of adding things where they
just weren't necessary. And because I didn't have anywhere else to put it,
I'd also like to use this spot to mention how fucking retarded it was to
change Han Solo's cool line "It's all right. Trust me. Don't move" into
the ridiculous "It's all right. I can see a lot better."
The smart-assed Han Solo is toned down even at the
point where our hero's fate seems to be sealed.
As much as Star Wars fans bitch about the Ewoks, we realize that they are
indeed unavoidable. And over the years, we've come to enjoy our little
victory celebration song at the end of the trilogy. Sing it with me:
Yub-yub, ee-cha, yub-yub. So what the hell do they do in the
Editions, but replace the song with some stupid Yanni-sounding New Age
thing that, if at all possible, sucks worse than the original Ewok song
ever dreamed of sucking.
I think what cheeses me off the most is that they
took the time and effort to delete the Ewok song, why not just delete the
Ewoks altogether? If you're gonna change things, at least change the
things that need to be changed.
Special thanks to Noel Wood for permission to
use his article. This is part two of an article which originally appeared
Movie Criticism for the Retarded.
You can read part one here. The
article has been edited for the Blu-Ray release.