Jul 21, 2012

[Movies] Enhance or Ruin – George Lucas on His Work

Today we have a guest post from Brian Collins, who happens so share similar views with me when it comes to the continued continued tinkering and tweaking of the Star Wars movie franchise...

I write for a lot of different people in a lot of different places. My job requires me to do a lot of moving and, no matter how I plan it, it seems like the Internet Service Providers always finish their work before the cable companies even return my calls. This, as you can imagine, gives me plenty of time to catch up on my movies, but, in the end, I always find myself coming back to Star Wars.

I grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy, but somewhere in transit I lost my copies of the original trilogy and it has been my greatest regret. You see, despite having the internet, it is remarkably difficult to track down the original versions of the first trilogy and I usually have to settle for the re-releases. Any non-fans out there might not think this is a big deal, but for those of us who have followed this man’s work it can polarizing. Fans are divided between love for the originals and the altered re-releases.

Let me back up: In 1977, George Lucas released Star Wars. To call it an accidental masterpiece would be the understatement of the century – really, no one had tried to do what he was attempting and few found the kinds of creative solutions to make this kind of vision come to life. The movie was soon followed by two sequels that brought the storyline to a successful conclusion. Then, of course, you have all the re-mastered and altered re-releases and the prequel trilogy that many people, to this day, claim was an afterthought and nothing more.

The re-released trilogy, aside from cleaning up the picture and the quality, featured a whole host of alterations, deleted and extended scenes that were polarizing to the fan-base. Some people found that these scenes enhanced the already rich lore of the Star Wars universe while others found them needless and distracting. I, for one, had my own concerns regarding these altered versions.

A follow-up to any movie, unless properly distinguished and defined, runs the risk of becoming a kind of parasite that leeches off of the predecessor and, essentially cheapens both. These altered versions weren’t even sequels; they were the same exact product repackaged and re-sold with a few extra little, inconsequential bells and whistles. Whether or not these additions were supposedly the INTENDED vision of Mr. Lucas was immaterial because, for decades, a generation of fans had all grown up with his original masterpiece and loved it all the same. By foregoing work on anything new and re-releasing the films, George Lucas, to many of us, was cheapening the experience.

Even today there is controversy about whether or not George Lucas enhanced or ruined his franchise. Regardless of which side you choose, the ultimate fact of the matter is that he has more than enough right to do as he pleases with his intellectual properties. And while we might, in the end, appreciate his offerings, it just seems a shame that a man who loves his franchise so much can’t be bothered to leave it alone.

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