Thursday, October 23, 2008

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

I'm not sure I ever saw Han shoot Greedo first before I looked it up on Youtube today. The decision to reverse that might be when fans realized that something had gone wrong since 1983, causing George Lucas to forget what made his world interesting in the first place. I didn't know any better, since the last one is the only one I'm sure I saw in its entirety before the Special Editions were released in 1997. But the fact remains that it encapsulates Lucas' weakness, the inability to let the series go. He has to keep tweaking and updating, and constant technological improvements are making it worse. And the fans are the ones paying for it. First the movies were released on video, then the special editions were. Then the DVD boxset, then "limited" edition DVDs with both versions of the movie. The problem with this was the original version really was original, with all of the errors and degradation intact, not even anamorphic widescreen. The best thing would have been to keep the cleaned up versions and remove the silly content changes, but instead, they decided to release another boxset with the only new feature being a box to hold the "limited" DVDs, and in the future you know they're going to rerelease in every new format and never stop adding new scenes and computer effects.

Beyond that business though, the original film is still a good, but not great adventure. The core cast is pretty darn good, even though only one of the main three went on to a big career. They rush through their lines once in a while ("Faster and more intense!"), but generally make the world feel believable. And Harrison Ford illustrates one of the many things the prequel trilogy lacks: a counterbalance to all the force mumbo jumbo. Han Solo is the series' best character, and they could have used him in the past to slap Anakin in the face and tell him to stop being such a wanker. Not everything has aged that well, but the final space battle remains one of the most thrilling sequences in film and it just feels like a genuine, entertaining movie. Its legacy has slipped, but it still brought joy to millions of kids.

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