Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Well see I don't CARE if an artist or author wants to go back and revamp their work a decade or so later to how they want it. As long as they give the public the option (because now the work has become part of the public, in a sense, especially in the case of Star Wars) to continue to buy/own/watch the earlier version if they choose.
That's why I'm glad Lucas if FINALLY releasing the original original trilogy on DVD (though he's being a little bit greedy about it by making it a LIMITED TIME RELEASE, and forcing people to buy a copy of his revamped 2004 Editions with it if they do, and knocking off Anamorphic support, which has just been standard for DVD's for many years... it's like he resents his fans or something, and can't bear to quite give them what they want without one more snicker... oh well, eccentric millionaires!).
The thing with the Special Editions was it took me a lot of training to not jump up and point and go "whoa, there's a new scene!" Many others I watch with are the same way. And the more you watch it the more you notice.
The first few times it was like "wow, cool" then it was like "how did they do that" then it was like "okay that doesn't look so good anymore they can do better" and finally "that's so dumb" and "I wish it were back to the way it was before."
Most of the stuff was not really necessary. It was done "because he can." Lots of us assumed this was being done as "practice" for the Prequels, to try to make "StarWarsy" stuff and practice CG tech. So we ended up with a CG Yoda, CG Stormtroopers, CG aliens, and full CG realized main characters. As high an improvement as these elements were in Episode III from the first special editions, they still don't quite look "real" compared to puppets or actors in suits, who at least, in most cases, are actually tangible and in the same scene with the other actors, having weight and such. The CG in the prequels doesn't bother me, since the movies were made with it originally in mind. In the OT, it just sticks out. The places it works best is in the space scenes, because there's nothing living, and it's more like a video game anyway. As long as its pretty close to what we'd expect, it looks fine, and it actually looks great in most places. They did make a few goofs, like making all the new X-Wings have the same markings and same pilot inside them (one of the development guys served as the model), but only very observant "nerds" will notice things like that.
Still. The SE's are fun for what they are, but I want the originals. Ultimately, that's the meat and potatoes, the SE's are just the twinkie for dessert.
The graphic clean ups and such would have been fine, but they didn't go far enough. It seems Lucas could have spent the millions he wasted on unnecessary CG insertion, on actually getting the color timing correct, normalizing the lightsabers properly, and cleaning up the garbage mattes around the objects in space and other flying things. Instead he just seems to have modified stuff that would wow people on the big screen (the matte boxes for example become MUCH more prominent on home screens).
In this the digital age, many fans have taken to even making their own customized versions of the movies and putting them on DVD to watch. Taking the "best of" all versions to make their ultimate version, even doing stuff like correcting the Death Star plans (so they actually match the model of the Death Star scene in the rest of the movie) and taking out Vader gesturing with no lines in Tarkin's ready room, etc. If these amateurs can do this, then it proves there is no excuse for Lucas not doing it.
So anyway, that's cool. But fans shouldn't have to rely on other fans to do Star Wars right... right?
It's sort of like if LucasArts releases a bad game, people are like "well, we'll just make good mods to make up for it." :P
I think we can safely say that the 2004 DVD editions, as great as they are, could have been much MUCH better, had they given a little more time, rather than rushing them out as quickly as possible (and then re-releasing them twice to milk as much money out of it as possible)... plus they way they tried to artificially boost the sales figures of the Battlefront games with the sale of SW DVD's just seemed a little underhanded.