So, when I was not at work, I spent my time going through the two Star Wars Trilogies. Even though I was watching the much griped about special editions on Blu-Ray, I have to say, the differences of the two trilogies is pretty massive.
First, the 1080p picture for all six films is pretty amazing. The cleanup in the original trilogy looks better than the DVD release. It would have been nice if they had included the various documentaries from prior sets, but oh well.
One of George Lucas’ complaints against criticisms of the episodes one to three was that these are kids movies, and so were the original three films. Considering Revenge of the Sith was PG-13, that is not really something that holds water…but more so, as I watched Star Wars through Return of the Jedi, I was struck that these were mostly “all ages films”.
When Star Wars hit in 1977, it captured the excitement of adults and children alike. And as watched the three films, it was not hard to tell why. The dialog was rather hokey and goofy, but the cast really makes it work. The interaction between all the primary cast is strong and convincing.
Just look no further than Han Solo and Chewbacca. We never get any translation as to what Chewie says except for based on Han’s responses to him. Lucas never felt the need to give us subtitles. He sold it all through Chewie’s grunts, howls, whimpers…and how Han was responding. They obviously understood each other, and we got what we needed to see Chewbacca as a fully active member of the team.
Compare this to Jar Jar Binks who can speak and be understood by the audience, yet lacks any compelling emotional arc. He’s nothing more than an annoyance who is there to be laughed at, because nothing is apparently funnier than “clumsy”. Not to mention a rather questionable ethnic stereotype and speech style.
The original trilogy has memorable lines that appear throughout the series. It is telling these are about the only lines one can remember from prequels. The original trilogy is simply more memorable. And it works on many a level. I could appreciate it as a kid, and I can appreciate it now.
Much understandable griping has occurred as Lucas has tampered with the original trilogy. I have no real issue with cosmetic updates (expanding cityscapes and making snow speeders no longer transparent, getting rid of compositing lines around spaceships). I did not have even have a problem with adding the Jabba scene back into A New Hope. Yeah, it is a little redundant after Han has a very similar conversation with Greedo. But it is kind of a Goodfellas moment. You *see* that Han is a smuggler running with a seedy crowd that has it’s own rules. You also see that Han and Jabba were on friendly terms.
The problem I have is still with Greedo shooting first, as it undermines Han’s arc through the film. It matters that he starts out a rogue who cares about nothing but himself, Chewbacca and his ship. By Jedi, we see how much this has changed, and this is all undermined if Greedo shoots first, because Han is less cold blooded. He is simply committing an act of self defense no longer related to his overall character.
I am not crazy about the new “NO…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” that Darth Vader screams out remaster of Jedi. I can live with it. Although, I wish Han Solo did not need to be told a princess would be rich.