Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Star Wars, Fascism, Tinkering with the classics

Box Office Mojo has a very interesting article about fans and reporters criticising George Lucas for continuing to tinker with Star Wars. It relates areas of the criticism to fascism, specifically the idea that the artist (Lucas) does not own or have the right to change his own creation.

Now, i accept that Lucas has the right to do so and that he has the right to release whatever version on DVD that he so chooses, but in doing so he is messing with film history by saying that what he released in 1977 was incomplete and only 25% of what he originally wanted. By not allowing the original version to be seen ever again (unless you have the VHS or a bootleg), future generations of film lovers will never know what it was that we saw in the original Star Wars. They'll see tinkered with versions that have been changed. They will never see some of the charm and cheese that made Star Wars so good. Oh, they'll see some of it, and even most of it (until Mark Hamill is cut out of the movie for the double delux triple dog dare special extended director's edition), but it won't be the same. It won't be the Best Picture nominee that it was in 1977.

To me, this is the same as if Coppola would go back and change the Godfather so that instead of a horse's head in the bed, it would be just a picture of a horse. Or removing the kiss that Michael gives Fredo before saying "i know it was you, Fredo". Does the director have the right? Absolutely. Does it change the movie in a potentially significant way? Absolutely. Does it change the characters? Absolutely. Both Don Vito, Tom Hagan, and Michael would be different if these actions were changed. Han Solo is different because he no longer shoots first (even if Lucas said he was never supposed to, it changes what we know of Han Solo).

What i'd like, if it was up to me would be BOTH versions of the film to be released. The original 1977 Star Wars and the updated version! That's what Spielberg did on ET recently (I own the set, just haven't watched it yet).

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