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George Lucas's latest changes to the Star Wars series may have fans crying that the Blu-Ray release is a trap.

The Yoda puppet is being replaced in all scenes, including the original series, with a CGI version. And Darth Vader now screams "NOOO!!!" when Emperor Palapatine is shocking Luke.  (Source: YouTube)

A recent South Park episode accused George Lucas of "raping" Indiana Jones and other classics.  (Source: South Park Studios/Comedy Central)

In 1988 George Lucas gave an impassioned speech that changing works for profit was barbarism. Today he says he only wants to keep 25 to 30 percent of the original theatrical content in the original Star Wars films.  (Source: The AV Club)
Yoda puppet replaced with CGI, Vader screams "Noo" in final scene, and more

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.

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.

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.

-- George Lucas's 1988 speech to the U.S. Congress 
The year was 1988.  Only five years had passed since the release of Star Wars Episode IV: The Return of the Jedi, and the film's iconic director George Lucas was crafting another major hit -- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  In an impassioned speech Mr. Lucas urged Congress to commit to the Berne Convention for the issue of Moral Rights -- a European law that would force musicians and filmmakers to preserve works deemed classics, for the public's benefit.  Congress eventually did sign the Berne Treaty into law, but fortuitously it exempted the motion picture industry, complaining movie making was "too complex" for the provisions.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.

--Yoda Stars Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Fast-forward two decades and Mr. Lucas has fallen to the dark side -- transforming from preservationist to revisionist.  Since 1994 he hasn't published a single original movie, instead opting to create controversial sequels or prequels to his fans' favorite franchises.  The recent Indiana Jones sequel was so divisive South Park parodied [video] that Mr. Lucas and co-director Steven Spielberg were "raping" Indiana Jones.   

But as disturbing as those reimaginings are to some, a far worse fate has befallen the originals.

As video has evolved from VHS tapes to DVDs, Mr. Lucas has made a series of alterations (e.g. the famous "Greedo shoots first" change) that have outraged many fans.  But Mr. Lucas has saved his biggest revisions for the upcoming Blu-Ray nine-disc set, which will be released on Sept. 16.

Unlike the 2006 DVD release, original theatrical versions of the Star Wars series are not included.  There will be no theatrical cuts restored to beautiful Blu-Ray, says Mr. Lucas.  Instead fans get treated to a slew of new edits.

Among the biggest ones, reportedly:
  • The Yoda puppet is replaced in all scenes (including on Dagobah and Yoda's spirit on Endor) with the CGI Yoda scene in the latter two films of the prequel trilogy at least one of the prequel films, with some sources saying the replacement will be applied to the original trilogy as well (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Darth Vader is no longer silent when Emperor Palpatine is electrocuting Luke with force lightning. He gives what at first sounds like a quizzical "Noooo?" and then follows with a louder "NOOOOOO!!!" à la his response when he found out Padmé died in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (confirmed). [video]
  • Obi-Wan's Krayt Dragon howl, which scares off the sand people on Tatooine has been altered, which according to The Superficial "sounds like a pedophile getting his dick caught in a screen door" (unconfirmed). [video]
  • The Han Solo and Greedo shootout has been sped up (Greedo still shoots first, as with the previous edit) (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Wicket the Ewok's eyes are now CGI animated and blink with big "lucious" eyelashes (unconfirmed).
  • Han Solo now emits brilliant CGI lighting effects when he is unfrozen from his carbonite nap (unconfirmed).
  • Jabba the Hutt's palace has a fancy new rendered door (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Extra CGI TIE-Fighters and TIE-Interceptors appear out of nowhere (due to shoddy CGI) in the Death Star II battle (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Lightsaber colors have been fixed to correspond with the original theatrical versions (about the only change that reverts previous ones) (unconfirmed). [video]

    (All of these rumors have been widely reported in multiple sources, including the Associated Press, for a number of the unconfirmed rumors.)
The films also include four documentaries -- A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010), Star Wars Spoofs (2011) and The Making of Star Wars (1977) -- commentary by Mr. Lucas; concept art footage; costume design footage; deleted, extended, or alternate scenes; and archived interviews with the cast and film crew.

The new Blu-Ray edition has an MSRP of $140 USD and is on pre-order for $90 USD on Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN).  The box set is already off to a torrid start with an average 2/5 star rating on 656 reviews, at last count.

But Mr. Lucas still has yet another opportunity to reduce Star Wars' Amazon.com rating to 1/5 stars.  Rather than work on restoring the original theatrical footage to Blu-Ray, he's devoted his efforts to converting the series to 3-D.  Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace will be the first to sport the new format, with 3-D Gungans invading screens in 2012.  And Mr. Lucas is rumored to be planning more changes in the next versions.

After all, he told MSNBC in 2004, "Well, the [original theatrical releases] only came out to be 25 or 30 percent of what I wanted it to be."

Sounds like he has a few changes left to go, if he's going to cut the original content down to "25 or 30 percent".

Fans can only wait in dread for what changes might be next.  After all, if there's one thing more scary than the Sith for the Star Wars fan, its George Lucas and his increasing lust for revisions and lucrative re-releases.


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RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2011 4:03:35 PM , Rating: 5
I think you don't know very much about movies. The Death Star scene wasn't about a bunch of nameless people blowing each other up. A lot was going on. Luke was coming of age and starting to really believe in the Force. Han had a tough decision to make and we discover he's more than just a selfish swindler. And Vader is starting to sense there's more to Luke than he believed. The ultimate symbol of Imperial power is brought down by a few desperate pilots and one rising star, Luke, with the help of his friends. It's not about throwing a bunch of freaking CGI crap on the same frame and emulating a Michael Bay movie!

Yoda puppet looked fake? Umm since there's no such thing as a real life green alien, I'm not sure how you can say that. The puppet was real, the actors had something real to play against and interact with. Lighting and shadows on the puppet were seamless in a way CGI can never be because it's an actual 3D object. The CGI Yoda? I don't know anyone who thought it looked more "real" than the original. CGI isn't good enough yet, CGI Yoda looks like a fake cartoon rendition. And you can obviously tell it's not actually in the frame with the other actors and props during filming. Fake is fake.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2011 4:11:48 PM , Rating: 3
Edit:

The fact that they didn't launch their TIE reserves was another clever bit of storytelling. Through that we see the smugness and overconfidence of the Empire. They never believed, even up to the end, that the Rebellion had a chance against something so powerful only using fighters without a fleet of capital ships to support the attack.


RE: Ehh,
By FITCamaro on 9/4/2011 1:11:36 PM , Rating: 4
Exactly. I mean that was part of the dialog for Christ's sake. Overconfidence. Then when they realized what the Rebellion was aiming for and realized the danger, they were overconfident to the end.

Great storytelling does not need flashy visuals. I still think the space battles of the originals look far better than anything in the more recent movies. Because they used models and it wasn't all about flashy CGI. They had to work to get it right so there was more attention to detail paid.

And someone said the Yoda puppet looked close to death. YODA WAS CLOSE TO DEATH! The puppet looked exactly as it should.

Now as far as the prequels went, I was fine with them for the most part. Yes the first movie was a bit slow and Jar Jar was a creature from hell designed to ruin the movie. But 2 and 3 I liked.

I would love to get a job at Lucasfilm for one day so I could punch Lucas in the face and scream "WTF are you doing? These films were great! You're ruining them!" at him before I was arrested.

Star Wars was the first movies I ever saw. And I love them with a passion. Changing that final scene in RotJ is just unforgivable. It totally changes the whole scene. We don't need him screaming "NOOO!!" like a little girl to get that he's thinking it. They also removed Luke saying "Father....please....".

I have decided I will not be buying this set. As much as I want Star Wars in 1080p, I'm not supporting this shit.


RE: Ehh,
By BSMonitor on 9/6/2011 9:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
As frequently as I disagree with you, you are exactly right here.

Although, minus the dialogue from 2 and 3, I liked them. Without a Han Solo-like character, the first 3 movies are rather dull dialog-wise... I have never heard the word "Democracy" spoken SO many times in any movie of any genre.. Let alone a movie about a vast galactic empire.. Really, Democracy would work with trillions of people across millions of planets?? Seems like that would be a bit difficult to accomplish..

Especially considering the first movie shows two races on just one planet who have some form of a monarch!!! LMAO


RE: Ehh,
By theapparition on 9/6/2011 3:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have decided I will not be buying this set. As much as I want Star Wars in 1080p, I'm not supporting this shit.

Keep in mind, Lucas does have a history of releasing in a new format, and later on re-releasing with the originals. He is the master at getting us losers to poney up for several copies of the same movie.

I'm with you. I won't buy Star Wars in HD until the originals are released.


RE: Ehh,
By JW.C on 9/5/2011 12:59:24 AM , Rating: 2
The problem I have with that entire scene is the fact that they flew down a trench and shot sideway at a target that should have been easier to hit from an angle


RE: Ehh,
By Calin on 9/6/2011 5:19:43 AM , Rating: 2
They flew thru the trench to avoid as many of the "anti fighter" laser turrets as possible (and those they couldn't avoid took a toll).
Or such is my impression


RE: Ehh,
By Rankor on 9/5/2011 2:23:19 AM , Rating: 3
"Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances..."

It is sad to see these movies that I watched when I was a kid changed and re-edited just so they can be more palatable to the times and to possibly appeal to a newer audience.


RE: Ehh,
By aharris on 9/3/2011 6:14:51 PM , Rating: 1
By "yoda puppet looked fake" I think he meant "the yoda puppet looked like something out of scene from Sesame Street." Give me the Yoda from Episode II over IV any day of the week.

Incoming downrate, but eff it: As long as he stays away from Jar Jar and generally associated retardedness, Lucas has every right to update his films. I'm not the only one that thinks they sure as hell needed it, but apparently Obama has you baby-boomers feeling vocal.

Your generation can quit being selfish, buy the old version, and let those of us who enjoy technological progress appreciate it in a scenario where it's used to keep an aging classic modern.

As for CGI not being good enough, I have a friend named Avatar who I'd like to introduce you to.


RE: Ehh,
By aharris on 9/3/2011 6:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
*Episode V, not IV


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/2011 7:27:10 PM , Rating: 5
"I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them."

-George Lucas-


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Ehh,
By Etsp on 9/4/2011 3:54:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
By the way I don't have children so I'm not a goddamn "baby boomer", idiot.

Per Wikipedia: "A baby boomer is a person who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom and who grew up during the 1960s and 1970s" It has nothing to do with having children.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomer


RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/5/2011 2:23:43 AM , Rating: 1
Way to do Reclaimer77. Take an attempt to have a civilized conversation and split into your own personal harp fest. I guess that is why I stopped reading comments on DT.

Anyways, as far as movies go, a movie is the culmination of may things to make a complete idea. For example, in Toy Story 3 they talked about the number of hours it took to design the sign which appears for 2-3 seconds in the initial action sequence. That attention to detail can be seen through the whole movie, and that attention is what Lucas wanted but couldn't afford. As a result he used a cheep plot trick to tweak the Imperials from their normal modus operandi to blind over confidence. Normally the Imperials are over confident because they are bearing down with overwhelming force. Look at Vader's capture of Leah. He doesn't send out two fights to disable her ship and bring her back, he doesn't send out frigates, he brings a Star Destroyer and commands the assault himself. Look at the attempt to destroy the Rebels, the empire doesn't get a squad of Tie Bombers and smash their base. The empire doesn't even a fleet of Star Destroyers together and bomb their base from orbit like they do to Hoth, no they planned on destroying the entire planet. So to claim it was the Empire's fault for being over confident that they sent out fewer Tie Fighters then were needed to take out the Y-Wings and turn off the tower mounted turbo-lasers to avoid friendly fire seems inane. The fact is they should have released about 50 Tie-Fighters, totally crushed the Rebel attach force, then gloated to the Rebels before destroying their planet.
Instead we get what, 3-6 Patrol Tie-Fighters plus Vader's Tie-Advanced and two wing men. It is important to note that at the time X-Wings were favored 4 to 1 vs Tie-Fighters due to their shields, wider and heavier armament vs the more maneuverable and low armored Tie.
It is also important to note that Grand Moff Tarkin was a Grand Moff. As a result, his overconfidence would be the result of not only his commands, but also his Admirals, Generals, and Commanders in charge of the troops. He would have expected his military leaders to realize that the turbo-laser's designed to take out capital ships were not working on the smaller fighters attacking them and to send out the base's Tie-Fighters to crush them.
I have heard many theories as to why more fighters weren't sent out, but it really comes down to budged. When the first Star Wars movie came out it was not expected to do well. As a result certain scenes had to be cut and special effects removed to tell the story. Now that he has the means Lucas is trying to put those missing parts back in.
I understand people's complaints, after all, Lucas is messing with many people fondest childhood memories, and at times making glaring mistakes (like the blue screen top to the capsule in the first retouch). I still think there should be 50-72 Tie-Fighters in the Death Star battle and that Storm Troopers should learn how to shoot straight (and that we should digitally replace the Anakin in Episodes II and III with one who isn't so stupid and whinny). I also think Greedo shouldn't have shot at all, though pulling his gun and pointing it at Han for emphasis or a back story establishing Han as being hunted in a kill or be killed fashion would help us understand him better.


RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/5/2011 3:00:35 AM , Rating: 2
It strikes me I wasn't clear in my original post.

When I ask "What do you guys think?" I am referring to the changes Lucas is making. Which changes do you like vs not like?


RE: Ehh,
By glennc on 9/6/2011 2:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
no they are just obnoxious asses.

i think changing any classic movie is wrong. remake sure, but leave the classics alone. a big part of star wars' charm was the low budget creativity implemented whereas these days they would just throw money at the problem, e.g. more CGI. the prequels never stood a chance.

My problem with CGI is i just can't seem to care about a CGI character as much as even a puppet. man that sounds weird. at least one is physical.

so for me, even mistakes should not be changed.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/5/2011 10:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
How was I not being civilized? And you seem to be applying realism with a tint of hindsight while ignoring the story. Yes, of course, if the Empire did everything right they would have won. But guess what? There would have been no part 3 or 4 then because all the main characters would be dead. Yeah real great idea there.

You are talking about making changes that would radically alter the story and kill of main characters willy-nilly. I really don't understand where you're coming off, and it seems like you don't understand the importance of story telling and plot over graphics and "realism".

quote:
I still think there should be 50-72 Tie-Fighters in the Death Star battle and that Storm Troopers should learn how to shoot straight


lol??? Look what-ifs can be fun. I do it too myself. But statements like yours really undermine the whole point of the Death Star battle scene.

quote:
The fact is they should have released about 50 Tie-Fighters, totally crushed the Rebel attach force, then gloated to the Rebels before destroying their planet.


Again, WRONG. This would have completely changed/ruined the story and plot. We don't WANT the Empire to win anyway, get a clue.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/5/2011 10:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
Edit: part 5 or 6 on third line.


RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/6/2011 6:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How was I not being civilized?
By attacking the comment rather then commenting on the article. In hind site it might not have been as clear as I though, hence the update comment indicating my original intentions.

As for your supposition of my ignoring the story and making changes "...that would radically alter the story" I would point out that wasn't the point and wasn't even slightly possible in the situation described. Is Lucas going to rewrite the whole series to make it more real? I think the idea is so absurd and out of context that I find myself questioning your motives in replying.
I will make one last attempt to make my stance clear.
1. In the story it is made clear that the Imperials favor overwhelming force in all situations possible. This is not evident in the Death Star battle.
2. The Rebel forces sent to attack the Death Star should have been able to stand up to much more.
3. It is clear from Lucas's revisions that he wants more fighters in the Death Star scenes. It is my belief (correct or otherwise) that if he could have put more fighters in he would have, but since he didn't have the budget he didn't.

While we could talk about effect to story and additional effects of destroying the Tie-Fighters, this is not the goal. The goal is to resolve the continuity issue of the Empire only sending out a hand full of fighters when it is extremely uncharacteristic of them.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/2011 7:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. In the story it is made clear that the Imperials favor overwhelming force in all situations possible. This is not evident in the Death Star battle.


LOL dude, the Death Star IS overwhelming force. It can destroy a planet, no correction, EXPLODE a planet instantly in a single shot. It's the size of a moon! It was only brought down by a billion to one shot by someone using the magical "Force" which the Empire believed at the time that only they had Force sensitives in the first place. And it was just dumb luck that Han showed up when he did or Luke would have been killed by Vader anyway.

It should be noted that once the Empire understood the Death Star design was indeed vulnerable, the second one was protected by a large fleet AND planetary shielding.

So I refute your claims again. Story is the reason there "aren't enough" TIE fighters in the Death Star fight scene. Story story story!

You're arguing for special effects just for the sake of having them.

quote:
2. The Rebel forces sent to attack the Death Star should have been able to stand up to much more.


I'm not sure what you even mean by this. There were hundreds of heavy turbolasers blasting away at their fighters. They were also forced to make bombing runs in the trench where they could not maneuver or cover their rears from Tie fighters. How much more could they plausibly be expected to "stand up to"?

quote:
The goal is to resolve the continuity issue of the Empire only sending out a hand full of fighters when it is extremely uncharacteristic of them.


There are NO continuity issues. They completely destroyed Alderaan, a main planet, without a single shot being fired at them in protest. Why would they expect the attack on Yavin to go any different? They were smug and overconfident. This is an important STORY element!

Governor Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.

Hello? How much more did they need to spell it out for you? The Rebels are the hopeless underdogs, they are the heroes we love to root for. The Empire doesn't just wage war against them, they view the Rebellion with utter disdain and loathing. Your "fixes" would completely undermine that plot point and change the story.


RE: Ehh,
By robinthakur on 9/5/2011 10:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
You're starting to grow on me now I know you're not all bad (your are a SW fan after al).

The puppet in the Phantom Menace looks simply *atrocious* even compared to the 1980 original, I'm not even sure how that got through screen-testing and editing, the effect is pure hilarity, lacking the effect of the original puppet which conveyed empathy, pathos and sadness easily to the audience. I actually really loved the CGI Yoda, I thought they nailed that (especially in ROTS) but usually, like you, I would prefer physical effects over obnoxiously CGI ones. Sticking with the Phantom Menace, some of the effects look actually quite dated already, with a lot of flat barely textured objects like the droid army and the assault carriers as do some of the other puppets like the trade federation people. I'm sure they will be revisioned as technology improves however...!

The original Trilogy were made in a different era but at the time, the special effects by ILM were the Gold Standard and illicited wows. There was not the same competition for special effects from other movies and nobody like Michael Bay (thank god, based on TF3.) If George Lucas released new Star Wars into that modern marketplace but didn't take it to the next level, then people would have complained, so he's pretty damned either way really! I enjoyed ROTS and AOTC to a lesser extent, but loathed TPM with a passion.


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