These are not the changes you’re looking for.
This Friday sees the latest
money-making attempt release by George Lucas of his Star Wars movies on Blu-ray. If NewsFeed were to discuss the matter with the esteemed director, he would no doubt inform us that he was simply honing his legendary set of six films, making sure they were in line with his original vision.
For many fans, however, it’s seen as needless meddling, and further tarnishes the reputation of the original three movies, coming hot on the heels of his prequels doing perceived damage to the Star Wars brand.
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So just what has Lucas done? The main bone of contention seems to surround the dramatic ending to the third film, Return of the Jedi (and considering it was released in 1983, we trust there’s no spoiler alert needed). As Darth Vader throws the Emperor to his death, saving his son Luke Skywalker’s life in the process, the new version will find Vader screaming the frankly laughable “Nooo!” The justification is that it mirrors an event that takes place in one of the later movies (rather confusingly, in Star Wars chronology, that’s a key moment that actually takes place in the past). But we defy you not to listen and find it slightly silly.
And NewsFeed certainly knows when to defer to the experts. Putting on our best geeky voice, this “Nooo!” is apparently akin to when Lucas tweaked Han Solo’s character in Star Wars by having him shoot the bounty hunter Greedo second (we take no pride in writing that sentence). For special effects supervisor Clark Schaeffer, though, it’s extremely important. “I think he’s lessening any power behind the [original] film,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “He’s not showing the respect of what the original was.”
In fairness to Lucas, the other changes appear more cosmetic than truly harmful (though other opinions are clearly available). And so now an Ewok blinks, R2-D2 hides behind rocks that have been — “Nooo!” — digitally inserted and an original Yoda puppet has been replaced by an all-singing, all-digital CGI version (NewsFeed cannot guarantee that Yoda actually sings). A full list of tweaks, with accompanying video, appears here.
And even though he wasn’t intending to weigh in, Lucas could have done without his good friend Steven Spielberg recently saying that he wishes he hadn’t tweaked E.T. “I tried this once and lived to regret it,” Spielberg said at a Los Angeles Times event. “Not because of fan outrage, but because I was disappointed in myself.” His conclusion? “I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T. Our conclusion? The force, for the moment, does not seem to be with Mr. Lucas.