Count Me Among The Most Stubborn Critics DVD: Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)
Everything that’s been done to the Star Wars movies in the last seven years is, without a doubt, the biggest pooch screw in the history of cinema, and yes, I’m including Ishtar and Heaven’s Gate. From an Amazon editorial review of the upcoming DVD release:

Years later, George Lucas transformed his films into “special editions” by adding new scenes and special effects, which were greeted mostly by shrugs from fans. They were perfectly happy with the films they had grown up with (who cares if Greedo shot first?), and thus disappointed by Lucas’s decision to make the special editions the only versions available on DVD. Still, the Star Wars trilogy was one of the last remaining DVD Holy Grails, and only the most stubborn critics won’t welcome its release.

I care that Greedo shoots first and changes the introduction to Han Solo. It screws up his transformation from being a self-involved hardass into a good guy during the film. I care that in the best of the original films, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is now heard yelling as he falls into the chute in the city in the clouds. In the original it was a stoic silence and much more befitting a Jedi in training. Irvin Kershner must be horrified at what Lucas has done.

I saw the Special Edition films when they were re-released and was happy to see them just because I hadn’t seen the movies on the big screen in so long, but I will not buy the SE DVDs. The only one I might consider buying is TESB if it is sold separately because the damage that Lucas did to the original movie is minimized. Yes, there’s that stupid yell, but the other changes are pretty innocuous as I remember them; mostly filling in backgrounds that had been blank and making the snow monster more life-like.

As for the new movies that have been released: Lucas should never be allowed to direct again. He did himself a big favor by handing over the direction of Episodes 5 & 6 to other directors and should have continued in that tradition. Even the Ewoks were tolerable – though they were the worst part of Return of the Jedi – because they were handled by another director. Lucas would have had us up to our ears in the damn things.

Lucas has, either out of idiocy or ego, alienated the most loyal fans he has ever had. Some of my best memories growing up – well, before high school – involve those films and the Indiana Jones movies. Thankfully the only thing Lucas has managed to ruin in them is the original name for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was the only kid that thought TESB was the best Star Wars movie and got into a lot of fun arguments over why it’s better than the first one. I enjoyed being a contrarian – even at the age of eleven – and I was, after all, right. I can’t even imagine why Lucas refuses to release the original Star Wars movies on DVD but I won’t forget it and I will not be buying the mutilated versions on DVD, unless I can get TESB alone.

Michele has been obsessing over this for a good while. See here, here, here and here.

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