Archives For Star Wars

Ever since there have been movies there have been multiple cuts of movies. Silent films like Greed were chopped up and screened in various version, in many cases leaving many scenes lost to history. In some cases, films had roadshow edits that were trimmed for the regular theatrical release, as was the case with It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Sometimes studios would go in and meddle with the cut approved by a director. In many recent cases a director will agree to a studio-advised cut, only to put out a “director’s cut” later on. Sometimes the studio will want a new way to market a film and create a new “extended edition” or “unrated version” or even get a director to create a “director’s cut” that isn’t even the director’s preferred version (as is the case with Alien).

The prevalence of multiple cuts has increased drastically since the advent of DVD. It seems like every other movie released on DVD or Blu-ray is labeled “Unrated” or “Director’s Cut”. It’s hard to know whether this is a good thing, especially when directors are already talking up extended versions for Blu-ray when the movie was only just released theatrically. Why even pay to see the movie theatrically if the definitive version is being held for home video? This is the dilemma created when Ridley Scott says that a version of Prometheus 20 minutes longer is coming to Blu-ray. But is that the definitive version? What constitutes a definitive version of a film to begin with? Click to read more.

Yesterday, I re-published a piece that I had written about the true crime of the changes George Lucas has been making to his Star Wars films. My focus was not, as many have done, placed on the changes themselves, but on the fact that Lucas refuses to properly preserve, restore and release the original cuts. I said, in somewhat melodramatic terms, that George Lucas actions are synonymous with the destruction of art and that anyone who enables him at this point by purchasing the new Blu-ray release is contributing to that destruction.

Some of you would say that I was being a little bit more than somewhat melodramatic. You’d say that my statements went way too far and took the films and the medium way too seriously.

Luckily, I’ve found one person who does fully agree with my point of view. His name is 1988 George Lucas. Amidst all the hullaballoo over Lucas adding the worst part of Revenge of the Sith to the best part of Return of the Jedi, /Film published a transcript of George Lucas’ March 3rd, 1988 testimony to Congress regarding the importance of preserving films and preventing damaging alterations. Click to read more

This article was originally written for TheReelists.com, published January 12th, 2011. It has been slightly revised and updated.

This September, for the first time ever, the entire Star Wars Saga will be released in one complete package and in Hi-Def. That’s right, this coming September you can purchase Star Wars on home video, again! A Blu-ray set of all the Star Wars films sounds like a great proposition, and as a wholehearted supporter of the Blu-ray format I should be over-the-moon excited about this. But I’m not. Not only am I not excited about Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, I think spending any money on the set is willful participation in destruction of film as the most culturally important artistic medium of the modern age. Click to read more

It’s always fun to pick on George Lucas. God knows, he deserves it. For about three decades now, Lucas has traded anything resembling artistic integrity for the ability to micro-manage and monetize every aspect of his vast empire. I’m not one of those who would stoop to claiming any raping of my childhood, but it does make me sad that a film as brilliant as Star Wars has now had its good name sullied by a spat of prequels that range from awful to god-awful. Lucas also played a big part in the completely mediocre attempted revival of the Indiana Jones series. And let us not forget the evil torment he unleashed with Howard the Duck. These days he continues to anger fans by pretending the original versions of the Original Trilogy cannot be released, and there’s even some scary talk of a fifth Indy flick.

Lost in all the hubbub over Lucas’ many follies, though, is one fact. One simple fact that I don’t think most film lovers and fanboys have come to fully appreciate. Discounting the “direction” of the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas only ever directed three films. Three masterpieces. Three films that, in my mind, set him apart as the greatest visionary filmmaker of the 70s, and certainly the most promising. Click to read more