By now, you may have read that the upcoming Blu-Ray releases of the complete “Star Wars” saga features a suite of visual and audio tweaks to the original and prequel trilogies, as part of director George Lucas’ apparently ongoing campaign to merrily widdle away whatever goodwill he may have accrued as the SF auteur of many of an 70’s/80’s kid’s childhoods.
This post at Topless Robot neatly summarises many of the inanities awaiting those who purchase the box set.
We’re used to Lucas feeling that he needs to update his saga every so often with digital tweaks, sound upgrades or the addition of footage left on the cutting room floor but surely the time comes when he can just put a full stop on his creation and move on with his life?
Short of doing away with the awkward, technically-dated but still well-loved analogue aspects of the films entirely, where does he purport to cease his ongoing campaign of revisiting the “Star Wars” saga? As one commentator on a forum which I frequent asked this week – is he going to wait until Ewan McGregor is old enough to play Alec Guinness’ role in “A New Hope” and thereafter graft on some Hayden Christensen for good measure, just to retcon the whole damn thing into even more absurdity?
Lucas seems unwilling to let things be unspoken, to be hinted at – every change that he seems to make wishes the underscore and highlight (in neon pink, if possible) moments which were subtle or underplayed in the original films – see the B.S. sound-effects now grafted on to the climax of “Return of the Jedi”, in the Vader/Skywalker/Emperor confrontation. It’s as though the ultimate theatrical presentation for Lucas would be the chance to show the films in your home cinema, replete with a telestrator pen, where he could show you what he actually wanted to do before the constraints of time, money and release dates upset his apple cart.
I can see the argument for creating a through-line to the movies that the new, young “Star Wars” fans can relate to and feel a kinship with but there’s also the inescapable truth that a great many fans would like to have access to the original, technically inferior but iconic films that they grew up with. Just keep them as ‘branching’ versions on the discs – Lucas doesn’t ever have to watch them again, but a great many of us would like to.
It isn’t as though any of this stuff is actually that important, in the grand scheme of things. The movies are Lucas’ to do with as he will, any informed consumer can decide to buy the new box set or not and the world will move on anon.
However, I may find myself at the point where the good ship “Star Wars” is abandoned once and for all. Insert your most apposite “You’ve Just Taken Your First Steps Into A Larger World” meme here.