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About the recent THX1138 and StarWars releases

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by ice-angel, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. ice-angel

    ice-angel
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    Let's cut to the chase: what's with this nonsensical exclusionist movie release trend from Mr. George Lucas ?

    Are other directors and publishers to follow suit ? Will DVD, a medium which has created among other things to bring cinephiles the advantage of having more options (mind the name, Digital Versatile Disc), be used from this point on as a means of destruction to erase the original version of more movies from the annals of cinema history under a commercial chaos of re-editing, re-scoring, censoring and generally corrupting films as the art form they are ?

    Thousands have spent the last years filling in petitions and posting in online places to vocalize their interest regarding the release of the original, unedited versions of StarWars. Many people have started web sites to address what they regard as wrong practices in a number of DVD releases of many different movies, such as editing and censorship. In some cases, their voices have been heard by the industry and institutions which they support with their money as consumers and tax paying citizens. In others, it seems as if a brick wall is somehow preventing communication.

    Now, as far as I'm concerned, no such thing as so-called "special editions", when that term means they are based in the deturpation of the original elements of any movie, are needed or required in any way or form, digital home video being in my own humble and personal perspective simply a way to preserve the movies I like (which I like exactly for what they are and as they are, no less, no more) in a format which doesn't degenerate or is lost as easily as the former tape, and which in addition brings such advantages as improved audio and video quality, and more storage space to include often interesting documentaries and other extra features.

    However, I understand the commercial perspective of those who would "milk the cow" in as many ways they can. I would also understand the wish from some directors to revisit their former works and implement things that either couldn't be implemented due to commercial and technical barriers at the time of original release, or which constitute a second reading from the director of his materials as a means to renew or adapt them. Even from a cinephile point of view, I can't but feel curiosity regarding different and alternative versions of movies.

    But what I don't understand is why would someone expressly exclude the option - the option - for all the generations who've been dreaming, crying, laughing, and pleasuring themselves with cinema for nearly one century, including newer and older ones, to have the original, unedited versions of those movies in a format which makes the inclusion of multiple versions and materials so easy as none other ever did. In fact, mostly every other director, studio and distributor have been doing so, such releases as the recent Alien box set or the collector's edition of E.T. being prime - and quite commendable - examples.

    Many would say how much they prefer the original version of a movie. Some might actually say how much they appreciate the changes in a re-edited version. But I believe that's besides the point at this time. The point is that there's no commercial or technical reason not to have both as options. Actually, there are only advantages, both for buyers and publishers.

    It could be seamless branching. It could be a DVD-18. It could be simply two discs, each with one of the versions. It could be simply a separate edition with the original version for those so inclined. Such methods have been used by DVD publishers in the past years and have become the generally accepted norm to bring all kinds of classics and newer movies to the public in their existing different versions. Such terms as "Special Edition", "Director's Cut", "Collector's Edition" or "Limited Edition" have become a part of our daily jargon. Used in a completionist fashion, they're a benefit both for the cinephile avid to watch the different versions and keep them, and to the studio and distributor who end up making more revenue. A scenario in which everyone should have reasons to be happy.

    Mr. Lucas, however, have sustained what can only be regarded as an abnegate position regarding his movies. He has been ignoring and dismissing the voice of all the people who virtually begged him to give cinephiles the -option- of watching and preserving the original unedited versions of StarWars in DVD. And now he suddenly comes out of nowhere and again does the same exact thing with another movie classic - this time, THX1138.

    Mr. Lucas isn't contented by having the privilege to be able to revise his movies as much as he wants and produce as many new re-edited versions of them as he wishes (how many directors can say the same ?). No, some kind of inner voice in his mind tells him that he must also do all in his power to make sure that the original versions of these movies must be systematically destroyed. Wiped out. Obliterated. Erased from the face of the Earth. He must make sure that in a few years from now, as the last existing tapes and copies vanish, it will be impossible to once again watch any of these movies as they were created and watched for decades of existence spawning several generations of viewers. Unfortunately, Mr. Lucas doesn't show more care or respect for the well demonstrated wishes of his public than he does for such considerations as the historical preservation of film as a form of art and entertainment.

    A then seemingly wise and movie-loving person once said:

    "I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them."

    Ironically, that person was Mr.George Lucas, and ironically he was talking against the colorization of black and white films.

    At the light of recent events, I'll leave to each individual reader his own conclusions about the matter and about Mr. Lucas statements.

    I don't know how many more movies does Mr. Lucas intend to destroy and how many more people he wishes to disappoint and frustrate in the next few years by releasing exclusionist "new re-edited version only" DVDs and deliberately making sure that not even a separate edition with the original versions will be released, but I certainly hope that not many more movies will come under the copyright of Mr. Lucas for home video distribution if they must suffer this fate.

    Comment and discuss, please.
     
  2. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Wow! What a hell of a first post! :smashin:

    For what it's worth, I have no problem with directors wanting to revise, re-invent, or generally mess-about with their films. I only ask, that when a release is made, that us viewers have the options to buy the original as well as the new "alternate" version, or that both versions are offered via seamless branching techniques.

    That way, everyone is happy.

    If Lucas wants keep renewing Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, then he is welcome to do so, but as a courtesy to his fans who have kept in the movie-making business all these years, I wish someone would release the original, and untainted Star Wars films, (circa 1977, 1980 and 1983 respectively), without all the modifications that have since been imposed on them.

    At least, that's what I think!


    Pooch
     
  3. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Let's face it - Lucas will milk thse movies for all they're worth and eventually somewhere down the road after you've bought about three incarnations of the "Star Wars" sextet he will "...bow to demand..." and do what he has doubtless planned to do all along and release the original versions in a nice expensive box set.
     
  4. Rambo John J

    Rambo John J
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    I like Star Wars as much as the next guy but... :rolleyes:

    I can understand why GL wants to change his films so they all share the same "look", I can't see why he adds all the unnecessary whimsical bits though, and I certainly disagree with his policy of wiping the original versions from history. But the guy's a law unto himself, he doesn't listen to the cinema-going and dvd-buying people that line his pocket, and probably never will. The Star Wars universe is his, and that's why he'll continue to run it with an iron will, just like Emperor Palpatine. Ironically, he probably sees himself as a "rebel" that bucked the studio system to become the most successful independent filmmaker of all time and no doubt doesn't even realise he's slipped over to the dark side. And who exactly at Lucasfilm is going to point it out to him? He seems to run his world like some kind of mad dictator cut off from reality :suicide:, but when the cash keeps rolling in he's hardly going to think everyone disagrees with what he's doing, not when he sees all these fanboys everywhere he goes, the sad no-lifers that live for star wars and know all the dialogue and all the character names (I gave up trying to keep up with all the stupid names a long time ago) from all the films inside out.
     
  5. sjp1966

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    It would be nice to see the originals of movies such as Star Wars and others such as Blade Runner.

    But if George Lucas, or any other director decides to erase old version from the face of the planet, then that is what they will do.

    GL must realise that people want to see the originals, just as Ridley Scott must be aware that people want to see the original of Bladerunner.

    However whether they give us the option to that that is another matter, and until someone is able to question them directly on the matter and get a straight answer direct from the horses mouth, then we will never know the reasons behind it.

    personally i am of the opinion that you can re-release and imprive movies all you like, but keep the original availble and in this case transfer it to DVD

    after all that is the version that all of us saw back in the day, and thats the version we all love
     
  6. chachi

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    Similarly studios should not be allowed to purchase rights and then banish original versions of movies when doing remakes.

    The outright burial given to Peter and Dudley's Bedazzled still is a sore point with me ...
     
  7. Family Guy

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    According to Lucas, the original versions don't exist anymore...not in any form that could be cleaned up and released on DVD anyway.
     
  8. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Says George... ;)
     
  9. ice-angel

    ice-angel
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    What, he travelled the planet to secure all existing negatives and interpositives and burned them all in a big pile ? I suppose the first ones he burned were the ones extensively and expensively restored just a few years ago to produce the Laserdisc release and his beloved 1997 special edition ? :laugh: ;)
     
  10. FoxyMulder

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    You heard that story too :)

    My opinion is that Lucas will eventually release the original trilogy and call them rare once in a lifetime opportunity to own the original unaltered trilogy blah blah and make boatloads of cash, he's great at marketing and a fantastic businessman.

    My other opinion is that he has not finished altering and tinkering with the existing trilogy or indeed the prequels and i think we can expect many more additions to all these movies during the next 20 years, i happen to like some of the additions but also detest parts of it too, i dislike intensely the Greedo now shoots at same time yet misses from 3 feet scene in A New Hope and i dislike the fact Obi Wans home now no longer seems to be a cave but is a mini palace ( yet we are supposed to believe he's been living rough and his jedi skills are weakened because of this )

    I dislike the "Bring my shuttle and Tell my star destroyer" line in Empire Strikes Back because basically it doesn't sound like Darth Vader, the pitch is all wrong and i also don't like the fact he fixed half the matte line problems ( dark square halo shapes around the Tie Fighters just before and during the asteroid chase sequence ) but he didn't fix every problem and you can still see the square halo effect in certain shots, also listen to the scene at the beginning where Han asks Leia what she is doing still here just before he gets her out of the bunker on the Millenium Falcon, you should notice the music mix is too high and voices are drowned out because of this thus the film is going to be "fixed" yet again for the 30th anniversary release as they didn't do it right this time or indeed the last time.

    I actually am one of the few on these forums who will openly admit to really enjoying the prequels.

    On the above point the prequels on DVD look much softer than these new original trilogy releases, look at the backgrounds and on faces and you will notice the original trilogy is much sharper and more detailed, probably because the prequels were shot using HD camera's and the resolution is at least 4 times less than conventional film and thus backgrounds and faces and detail in general is less than is normally expected ( i could be wrong there and anyone can feel free to jump in and explain why )

    George Lucas is a businessman and he knows the Star Wars universe has amazing earning potential and he will milk this for all its worth but you also have to remember he is improving certain aspects of these films, he is removing obvious matte lines and improving the sound quality ( mostly ) nearly every aspect of these films have had changes, some improve the film while other changes do not, but then its all a matter of personal opinion as to which version you prefer, just be aware there will be even more changes and fixes for the 30th anniversary and High Definition DVD versions.

    I agree that the original trilogy should be cleaned up and released on DVD, no disagreement from me and i think it will happen.
     
  11. Noodle

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    Does anybody think that what I have done is wrong?

    I own a VHS box set of the 97 SE, the new DVD Trilogy......and 3 bootleg DVD's with laserdisc rips that I downloaded.

    The way I see it, I'm entitled to do this, if not legally, then morally.

    GL has had a stack of cash from me over the years and if I could buy them legit then I would. As it it, he's forcing me in to piracy!

    What do you think?
     
  12. Wolvreen

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    GL is a strange complex person. Stemming from his upbringing.

    He cant handle people at all well. Scared to tackle big projects, instead he likes to tinker on the sidelines.

    Directing Star Wars was very much an upsetting experiece - with the english crew.

    GL didnt direct another film for 22 years, not until Phantom Menace.

    He got hired directors for Empire and Jedi, but wanted to blur the fact by hiding their credits on the films. This got him into major trouble with various film associations who control such things.
     
  13. magicmushrooms

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    While I agree that George Lucas should release the original versions of Star Wars and many people claim that that's exactly what they want. However, most of you don't want the original version anyway. You want a tinkered with original version, by that I mean you don't want mono sound you want updated and altered 5.1 (at least) sound. Is this any different to what George Lucas is doing to his work as the artist and creator behind the series? This is his Universe after all and he has the right to do whatever he likes with it. You can stick with you VHS copies,it's your choice.


    If you all felt so strongly about the original version then you should have boycotted these new DVDs! Instead it's probably already one of the biggest selling DVDs of all time.
     
  14. Rambo John J

    Rambo John J
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    the original audio of star wars was Dolby Stereo, the original surround sound.
    And that audio would please me well enough if it meant getting the unaltered versions on disc. Personally I don't mind the SE changes, even though they're predominantly unnecessary and at times completely baffling
     
  15. Setenza

    Setenza
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    1.) "Star Wars" is his bat and ball so ultimately he gets to call the shots, right or wrong.

    2.) The whole "Bladerunner" is due to a dispute btween Ridley Scott and another senior third party who has a controlling say in the film rights. They don 't like each other and they'll happily block the film to spite each other and to hell with the public.

    Tinkering is not a new concept. Artists used to ammend there work and somtimes over paint previous material.

    If studio secure rights to block film releases, that may well be "unjust" but it is legal. Fair and right are terms that don't belong in any argument with a legal basis.

    I don't like a lot of the things that happen, but I'm realistic enough to realise that what I think doesn't mean didley to the film studios. This is why we have a black market in pirate material.
     
  16. Wolvreen

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    Xusia - can you provide more info on the Ridley Scott dispute please (link maybe)?
     
  17. the_pauley

    the_pauley
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    Jerry Perenchio is the man in question whose say so is needed to release the movie. Basically he dislikes the movie so is blocking Warner's 3 DVD set. Scott isn't blocking anything - he's collaborated with Warner on this definitive version that may or may not see the light of day.

    From The New York Times (13 Dec 2003):

    "The avidly awaited, definitive version of Ridley Scott's science-fiction classic, "Blade Runner," won't be out on DVD anytime soon for stranger reasons.

    When "Blade Runner" was being shot in the early 1980's, Bud Yorkin, a veteran television comedy producer, and Jerry Perenchio, now the C.E.O. of Univision, were the film's bond-completion guarantors. When the film went over budget, by contract they assumed ownership of the film. Paul Sammon wrote in his book "Future Noir: The Making of `Blade Runner' " that they hated the film, had bitter disputes with Mr. Scott and tried to take it away from him altogether.

    The studio release, in 1982, contained superfluous narration and a tacked-on rosy ending. Mr. Scott removed both when he was allowed to make a "director's cut" in 1992, but it was, by his own account, a rush job.

    Three years ago, Mr. Scott announced that he was working on a three-disc box set, which would offer all the versions of the film, including a new and polished director's cut with previously unseen footage and scads of bonus features. Then, at the end of 2001, Warner Brothers, which was planning to distribute the discs, pulled the plug. It did so, according to a producer who worked on the project, because Mr. Perenchio gave no sign that he would let them be released.

    Mr. Perenchio, speaking through an assistant, had no comment on the situation. (Warner Brothers still sells the 1992 "director's cut," though the picture quality is mediocre.)"
     
  18. Wolvreen

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    Thanks Pauley.
     

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