In case you missed it, George Lucas has gone in and made still more changes to the “Star Wars” movies, so they’ll be extra special when he releases them on Blu-Ray in a few weeks.
(George Lucas is also converting all 6 “Star Wars” movies into 3D, beginning with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. No word on whether he’ll do anything to make the 3D versions extra special, too.)
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the ways George Lucas is making the Blu-Ray edition extra special:
He’s replacing the puppet Yoda with a computer-drawn cartoon of Yoda in Episode I.
He’s replacing the scary howl Obi-Wan uses to frighten the Sandpeople.
He’s using computer animation to make the door of Jabba’s palace look bigger.
He’s using computer animation to allow the Ewoks to blink and look around.
He’s making it clear that Vader feels bad by having him scream ”NOOOO!” when the Emperor zaps Luke with lightning bolts.
Some people on the Internet are upset by this – Simon Pegg tweeted that having Vader scream “NOOOO!” was “another … clueless revision” and “a fucking shame” — but I’m OK with it, and I’ll tell you why:
- I loved the “Star Wars” movies when I was a kid, but I had an epiphany a few years ago, around the first time Lucas went in and messed with them. I thought, if George Lucas doesn’t care about these movies, why should I?
- There’s really nothing anyone can do to screw up the prequels or “Return of the Jedi,” because they’re pretty bad to begin with. (You could improve the prequels, though, by deleting most of Jar Jar’s scenes, which someone did.)
- George Lucas owns the negatives, so he can do whatever he wants with them, and there’s the fanboys can do about it, except stop giving him their cash, which they probably won’t do.
- I bought the original trilogy on VHS, and I bought them on DVD, and I refuse to buy them again, so I don’t care what’s on the discs.
- I kind of feel sorry for George Lucas. Seriously.
George Lucas has been talking for years about taking his profits from the “Star Wars” franchise and making personal, smaller-scale films, but he hasn’t, maybe because he doesn’t want to, or maybe because he’s forgotten how to make small, personal films since he made “American Graffiti.”
What he has done is produce the Indiana Jones movies and “Willow” and “Howard the Duck” and “Tucker” and make more “Star Wars” movies and cartoons. He’s also working on a live-action “Star Wars” TV series.
“You get sidetracked easily,” Lucas told The New York Times a few years ago.
George Lucas does have a non-”Star Wars”-related moving coming out soon, a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, called “Red Tails.”
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American aviators in the U.S. armed forces. The military was segregated, but they fought to prove themselves worthy of fighting for their country in World War II.
It’s a terrific story about courage and fighting for what’s right, but George Lucas, who’s been working on this movie for over 20 years, told the LA Times in 1990, “I see the movie less as a race picture than as an aerial action adventure.”
This is like saying, “I see ‘The Hangover’ less as a broad comedy and more as a look at how alcohol and drugs can destroy lives.” It sort of misses the point.
So, while there are some stirring speeches in the “Red Tails” trailer, what you remember most are the computer-animated dogfights that wouldn’t be out of place in a “Star Wars” movie.