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Boo George, Boo

September 8, 2011

I have just read this article from the Independent Florida Alligator by Andy Maroon.

How would you feel if someone re-painted the “Mona Lisa” to have a big smile? Or added pants to Michelangelo’s “David”? You’d be pissed because, hey, those are works of art and should be left alone.

Shouldn’t we have the same impulsive desire to preserve films as they were originally created? In 1988, there was a movement through Congress asserting the need to federally protect films from being altered. George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars series, spoke directly to Congress saying, “People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians.”

It’s funny how things work.

Fans are up in arms against Lucas for doing exactly what he was fighting against. Lucas has taken a paintbrush to his masterpiece with a slew of “improvements” to the series.

For the second time since its theatrical release, he’s changed the sound of the Krayt Dragon cry that Obi-Wan Kenobi uses to scare away some Tusken Raiders from Luke Skywalker. Darth Vader now shouts the same infamous “Nooooo” from “Revenge of the Sith” as he tosses the Emperor down the shaft. Ewoks now have digital blinking eyes, puppet Yoda from “The Phantom Menace” has been replaced with a CGI one and Greedo, clear as day, shoots first. This may not mean much for the average Star Wars fan, but for the die-hards, it’s something to get riled up about.

Cheyne Delaney, a senior marketing student and Star Wars enthusiast, isn’t fond of the changes Lucas is making.

“I just don’t see the reasoning behind it,” Delaney said. “I loved the films as a kid, as did a million others. I don’t think he should be changing things we already love.”

I can understand some of the changes. Adding the blinking eyes to the Ewoks will make them more believable and less like walking teddy bears. Replacing the puppet Yoda with a CGI one in “The Phantom Menace” will irk some purists, but puppet Yoda was a bit out of place to begin with. Why the rest?

In an open letter to Lucas, International Business Times copy chief Shawn Moynihan wrote, “These aren’t effects shots that were added to help expand the films’ visual scope or help tell the story. They’re just tweaks, done for the sake of tweaking.”

Moynihan hit the nail on the head. Lucas isn’t changing his films because he thinks they’ll be better from it. He is doing so because he can and because he knows Star Wars fans will still line up to buy them.

If you’re upset with the changes, vote with your wallet. Don’t buy the Blu-ray release (available Sept. 16). Don’t give Lucas a reason to continue to “update” his movies.

I think this is a well written article so I’m not bothering to repeat what Andy has written. I agree with him. I just want to make sure everybody else is made aware of this.

I had no intention of purchasing this blu-ray package because I didn’t want the lesser trilogy in my home. Those are three awful movies. But now, I’m going to avoid it for a whole other reason, George Lucas isn’t just a fool for updating his films, he’s also a hypocrite.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2011 1:24 pm

    Interesting point of argument. Does an artist lose the ethical or aesthetic right to edit his or her own work once it has been published? It is, after all, his film. The article opens with examples stating that “someone” alters a famous work of art. What if Michelangelo himself had a change of heart and wanted to put David in skinny jeans?

    art belongs to everybody, it is no longer his art.

  2. September 8, 2011 2:11 pm

    Wallet-voting is the best way. Problem is, fanboys won’t. They’d rather complain and put on their costumes and make-up and buy those Blu-Rays anyway, because they secretly know the movies can only get better.

    I guess the one I don’t get is Greedo shooting first. Shouldn’t Solo be dead then, since they were separated by the distance of a freakin’ bar table? Even I could hit someone at that range; why wouldn’t a bounty hunter be able to? And was it done so Solo isn’t a murderer? Just firing in self-defense now? It’s a weird one.

    And Darth Vader’s “NOOOOOO” sucked eggs. Sheesh.

    So what if Han Solo killed Greedo? Life on Tatooine is not like life on Earth. Our rules don’t apply over there.

  3. Riot Kitty permalink
    September 8, 2011 6:31 pm

    THANK YOU! I was going to post about this and then forgot. Boo is an understatement. Guy has an ego the size of a fuckingfootball field.

    Size of a Canadian football field. Those are both longer and wider.

  4. Riot Kitty permalink
    September 8, 2011 6:32 pm

    Oh yes – true story – when The Phantom Menace came out, my brother was working in a movie theater. Unlike every other movie, this one was one that the staff was not allowed to view gratis. The manager said, “George Lucas doesn’t want anyone seeing this movie for free.” At the same time, Star Wars themed Borders gift cards could (for a time) only be spent on Star Wars merchandise. Dick. Like he isn’t rich enough.

    When Phantom Menace came out, I had several friends who worked at the local theatre too. I heard all about that. When I saw the film, I thought about mailing Lucas a letter asking for my money back or at least apologize to the Japanese and African-American communities he parodied and ridiculed throughout the movie.

  5. September 10, 2011 2:24 pm

    Lucas has always creeped me out for some reason. Like, wouldn’t want to be in an elevator with him, creepy.

    Afraid that if the elevator broke down and you two were stuck that he’d eat you. Yup. Lucas and Coppola have that vibe. Rob Reiner too.

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