I’ve been putting off writing about this because it actually makes me sad. George Lucas, who promised that he wouldn’t make any further alterations to the Star Wars movies with the upcoming BluRay release of the films has, you guessed it, made more alterations to his films. And they’re not insignificant. Perhaps the biggest crime against the movies is making Vader shout his ludicrous “NOOOO!” in one of the final scenes of Return of the Jedi, thereby removing any haunting dramatic tension from the scene as Vader silently defies the Emperor, and instead replacing it with absurdity. But he didn’t stop there, of course, because now Jabba’s palace door is bigger, Obi-Wan can imitate the mating calls of dragons, and EWOKS BLINK!
George Lucas is a fucking moron. Not just a regular moron, a FUCKING moron. He’s completely failed to realize that what made Star Wars so charming in the first place was that it was cheesy, the special effects didn’t always look polished, but it was just so damn fun that no one cared. The beauty was in the series’ imperfections, but what Lucas is doing here is trying, for some reason, to make them “perfect”. Did anyone really care that the Ewoks didn’t blink? Of course not, because everyone knows that they’re just dwarfs in teddy bear costumes. We know that, George! There’s no duping us! But for all that we didn’t care that Ewoks didn’t blink, I know that I sure as hell care that now they do. Adding in Ewok blinks thirty years after the movie was originally released is actually a jarring change. If I watch these new editions, which I won’t, I know that it’ll take me out of the movie when Wicket blinks, and I will probably say something along the lines of “Now that’s just creepy.” Now, I’ll go into this a little more under the cut, but I think that Lucas is a butcher. He’s taking someone else’s work – and yes, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are other peoples’ films; Lucas didn’t direct either of them – and screwing around with them at his leisure. He has completely failed to see how the original movies are actually important, and that’s a crime. To me, his meddling is akin to him grabbing the Mona Lisa and running it through photoshop to make it more photorealistic, and therefore “better”. It’s hard to believe that over the course of my lifetime, Lucas has gone from a filmmaker I love, having had a hand in creating two of the greatest film franchises in all of history, to a figure I totally loathe and wish would die so that he’d finally stop screwing around with our cultural heritage. What? Think I’m going a bit far in calling Star Wars our cultural heritage? Well guess what: those aren’t my words, they’re Lucas’ from 1988. Look under the cut to see more Star Wars screwups and further proof that George Lucas is Hollywood’s dumbest dumbass.
Here’s a speech that George Lucas wrote in 1988 and subsequently gave before Congress, denouncing the practice of altering films (SaveStarWars.com). I’m not going to add any commentary because I feel that this speaks for itself.
My name is George Lucas. I am a writer, director, and producer of motion pictures and Chairman of the Board of Lucasfilm Ltd., a multi-faceted entertainment corporation.
I am not here today as a writer-director, or as a producer, or as the chairman of a corporation. I’ve come as a citizen of what I believe to be a great society that is in need of a moral anchor to help define and protect its intellectual and cultural heritage. It is not being protected.
The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created.
A copyright is held in trust by its owner until it ultimately reverts to public domain. American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as “when life begins” or “when it should be appropriately terminated,” but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.
These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tommorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.
In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be “replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.
There is nothing to stop American films, records, books, and paintings from being sold to a foreign entity or egotistical gangsters and having them change our cultural heritage to suit their personal taste.
I accuse the companies and groups, who say that American law is sufficient, of misleading the Congress and the People for their own economic self-interest.
I accuse the corporations, who oppose the moral rights of the artist, of being dishonest and insensitive to American cultural heritage and of being interested only in their quarterly bottom line, and not in the long-term interest of the Nation.
The public’s interest is ultimately dominant over all other interests. And the proof of that is that even a copyright law only permits the creators and their estate a limited amount of time to enjoy the economic fruits of that work.
There are those who say American law is sufficient. That’s an outrage! It’s not sufficient! If it were sufficient, why would I be here? Why would John Houston have been so studiously ignored when he protested the colorization of “The Maltese Falcon?” Why are films cut up and butchered?
Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.
I hope you have the courage to lead America in acknowledging the importance of American art to the human race, and accord the proper protection for the creators of that art–as it is accorded them in much of the rest of the world communities.
Sigh. I never thought I could agree and disagree so much with one person over the same topic. I don’t know what happened to the man who wrote the speech, but it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t exist anymore. Now he’s just a bloated, idiotic powerhog with too many yes-men, just as deluded into thinking he’s making great movies as M. Night Shyamalan. What the hell happened, George?