Look, the internet is already overflowing with people calling for George Lucas head on a spike so before we start getting negative, lets look at some positives, alright? George Lucas is a brilliant businessman who managed to tap into our shared mythic archetypes and produce the best revamp of Flash Gordon imaginable. The guy may have written and directed those Star Wars prequels that raped your childhood, but he also was the primary force in shepherding those original Star Wars films that consumed your childhood. His pushing the limits of special effects technology and pushing the technology that makes films has fundamentally changed the ways in which movies are made and edited for the better. And believe it or not, there was a time when George Lucas was actually a pretty damn good director. (Seriously, if you havent yet, see THX 1138 and American Graffiti. You might be surprised just how much talent the Star Wars guy has in him.) Even when we move into the controversial realm of the Star Wars Special Editions, with all their CGI alterations, the issue is more complex than Lucas ruined my childhood! Granted, Lucasfilms decision not to release the original, unaltered trilogy in a decent DVD transfer is annoying in its Screw history! quality, but to paraphrase the great internet critic Alexandra DuPont, Star Wars is ultimately meant to be one big story, and any small changes and adjustments that can make that story more cohesive are fine in my book. And maybe Im just sentimental because, being born in the 90s, the special editions are the versions I grew up with, but honestly, a large proportion of the CG gravy in the Star Wars strikes me as welcome. Fixing continuity errors (Star Wars tractor beams no longer have English writing), adding scope (Empire Strikes Backs Cloud City citiscapes look a little bit more impressive), fixing effects that were never quite up to snuff (like the dodgy matte lines in the rancor pit sequence) a lot of the changes in the Star Wars special editions were small but welcome, making the movie feel that much more complete. But well, yeah, there were other changes that seemed pointless. Insignificant. Stupid.
C.B. Jacobson pops up at What Culture every once in a while, and almost without fail manages to embarrass the site with his clumsy writing. When he's not here, he's making movies, or writing about them at http://buddypuddle.blogspot.com.