Monday, April 14, 2008

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

A couple of low-level Imperial gunners, in the midst of a space-battle of epic bloodshed and destruction, improbably decided not to shoot down an escape pod devoid of life-signs -- what, were they trying to save ammo? -- allowing two bumbling robots to make it to safety with the information key to saving the entire galaxy, and Star Wars, the Odyssey of the late 20th century began.

I was four, and I was enraptured. Have been ever since. Sleep-overs at my house included a required marathon of Episodes IV-VI. To this day, my best friend insists she's not sure how the saga ends, as she invariably fell asleep during the Jabba the Hutt scenes.

When the movies were re-tooled for re-release, I dutifully went to every one at the theater, then bought the box set. That box set is what Buddy watches now. We also have The Phantom Menace, but unfortunately I can't stomach Episodes II and III enough to justify purchasing them.

Spike TV ran the whole thing in HD over the past two weekends. I DVR'd, so I could give watching the Hayden Christensen episodes another go, but have already deleted them to make more room for our South Park collection. I STILL haven't made it through Revenge of the Sith in one sitting. I'm not even sure it's called "Revenge of the Sith." Is it? I can't even be bothered to go to IMDB to check...

But I'm saving the old ones. For one thing, my copy of The Empire Strikes Back was lost a few years ago in an... incident. Also, HD truly does do justice to the visuals. I didn't have time to sit through them fully over the weekend, when they were on live, but I called up Return of the Jedi this afternoon, mostly because I didn't feel like actually interacting with my children.

Can you BELIEVE it? Maybe you bought the full DVD box set a couple of years ago and they're like this, so you already knew... they've changed it AGAIN! It's a tiny little thing, at the very end of Jedi, where, ten years ago they redacted the perky "Yuppa Yuppa Ya" Ewok celebration song and added in shots of Bespin, Mos Eisley and Coruscant joining in the fun -- complete with a delightful shot of the Emporer's statue being pulled down in a Coruscant square.

Now they've added a shot from Naboo, which is cool, 'cause Naboo is pretty, but they put it in place of the Emporer's statue being pulled down. That irks me a bit, because I liked that shot, and I only like it more now that the Iraqis (consciously? unconsciously? I could probably look it up... nah) copied the move in Baghdad.

Also, I was gearing up to have to explain (again) to Buddy who the old guy was hanging out with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the final scene, but, oop! He wasn't there! It was Hayden Christensen! I was totally weirded out. I have to admit, it gave me a frisson, like, Oooh, the circle is complete, sort of thing, but at the same time, a girl's gotta ask: three times? Old George has gone and changed this movie now, THREE TIMES? How can that be okay? I mean, I'll be the first to say, it's George's movie, he can damn well do what he pleases with it, but... three times?

The truth of the matter is, and I think I've said this before, the thing that sucks for those of us who fell in love with Star Wars before puberty hit is that, no matter how much George tweaks it, we grew up, but the saga never did. I feel that way about The Neverending Story, too.


Chad said...

As fine an appreciation of the "classic" Star Wars films as I've read. Personally, I'm torn. They are George Lucas' films, and why shouldn't he have the opportunity to fine-tune them over the years, whether or not saner folks feel his judgement is sound? But on the other hand, the films lose their place in history when altered. Why update the special effects when you can't fix the dated haircuts?

Now that a new Indiana Jones is out, I'm wondering how it goes down with the younger generations (as opposed to the coots like us that remember the originals).

And the "Empire Incident" begs some illumination...

Goldie said...

Hey, I've decided to come back after I caught my 15yo reading a blog... (not mine) Don't ask me what logic reasoning went into this one. Feel free to stop by. BTW thanks for the update about Terry Pratchett, I passed it on; and congrats on winning a prize on B4B, this is more than I have ever accomplished.