Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

No, not "Episode IV," dammit...

A couple of folks came over last night to watch "Star Wars," thanks to Ava asking on Facebook the other day whether anyone had the original trilogy. (Yes, it was prompted by the news that Disney is buying Lucasfilm for four billion dollars.)

I answered, "Yes. Well, maybe. Original original, remastered original, or special edition original?"

Once upon a time, I had access to a friend's laserdisc of the original movie, and I wish I still did. I'd make as high-quality a digital transfer as I could. The DVD is pretty good, though, since I have the remastered-edition DVD releases of all three with the original theatrical releases included on the bonus discs. The remastered releases were actually fine; it's the "special edition" with lots of digital crap added, and the already-fantastic ending of "Jedi" massively changed, ditching the great score, that bothers me. Even that was fun on some levels, including learning what Lucas's vision had been of the encounter between Han and Jabba in "Star Wars" that was left on the cutting-room floor because they couldn't adequately produce that character yet.

So, we watched the theatrical releases, which meant a pretty shaky transfer of an old film print of "Star Wars," since most of the transfers were done later of "Episode IV: A New Hope." I'm vaguely tempted to watch disc 1 from each set soon, as a refresher of the minor changes made for the second-round release.

Watching these also made me realize just how much gratuitous slapstick there was from the very beginning. R2-D2 and C-3PO were the Laurel and Hardy of the original trilogy, and especially in the first movie, the clear forerunners of Jar-Jar Binks. We also got a strong reminder of just how whiny Luke was early on. He sure inherited that trait from Anakin!

I'm not afraid of episodes 7, 8, and 9. In fact, I'm really pleased someone will be finishing the story arc George Lucas envisioned, and I'm fine with the fact that it's not him. He'd already said he wasn't going to get around to it, and this week he's said that he wanted to hand off the "Star Wars" universe to a fresh set of hands while he was still alive.

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