Back in 1997, George Lucas finally delved back into the Star Wars saga after a long lay off, by bringing to us the suped up versions of the Original Trilogy movies, otherwise known as the Special Editions
. So what did you think of these revised versions of our classic movies? Love em'? Hate em'? For me, it's a fair amount of both...A New Hope:Pros
- The entrance to, and development of, Mos Eisley.
- The Falcon's dramatic exit from Mos Eisley.
- The re-inserted Biggs footage from the Rebel Hangar. Really helps to develop Luke's friendship with him, and Luke's subsequent pain when Biggs gets nailed by Vader.
- The final Death Star space battle. These changes were just awesome! It blew me away what some better camera angles and more manueverable flight paths could do to this footage, much of which was completely revised. My absolute favorite Special Edition change(s).
The Empire Strikes Back:Pros
- Greedo shoots first. Ah, this is a killer (no pun intended). Completely changed our outlook on Han, and therefore his character development. Instead of being a ruthless, rogue smuggler who kills first and asks questions later, we now simply have a guy acting in self defense. It really diminishes the overall change and turnaround that we witness and appreciate in Han's character throughout ANH, and the remainder of the Trilogy. Instead of evolving from a really bad dude into pretty decent guy, Han just goes from OK to pretty decent. Not to mention the fact that it's completely assinine to think that a top of the line bounty hunter can't even come close to shooting a guy sitting stationary two feet directly in front of him. Even an Imperial Stormtrooper can shoot better than this. Gives Bounty Hunters a bad name. A terrible change by George.
- The added Jabba footage. I don't take issue too much with the scene itself, as it does enhance and explain the overall story line. It's just that the new CG version of Jabba was/is absolutely TERRIBLE! Furthermore, Han's stepping on Jabba's tail and getting away with it, just greatly lessens the overall evil and dangerous aura of Jabba. It makes Jabba look like a pathetic sissy to let Han walk all over him without repercussion. Still not quite sure what I think about Boba's new early cameo into the Saga...
- The extended Wampa scene. Always fun to see more action with nasty creature involved.
- The Falcon's extended arrival into Cloud City.
- The much greater development and design of Cloud City, both inside and out.
Return of the Jedi:Pros
- Removing Luke's line to R2 when he gets spit out by the Dagobah swamp creature - "You're lucky you don't taste very good". What's wrong with that line? I thought it was quite applicable, and tastefully comical coming from Luke. Replaced with some boring, meaningless line. Why?
- Luke screaming like a little sissy-girl as he drops down the Bespin core/shaft. Again (like Han), a HUGE change to the character development of one of the main players. Instead of Luke letting go of the Bespin Gantry in the face of his nemisis, and peacefully and bravely giving himself to the Force, we now have Luke screaming like a frightened 6-year old girl all the way down the shaft, almost looking like he accidentally slipped off the Bespin Gantry. Instead of a brave Jedi becoming one with the Force, we now just have a crying little punk who got his butt kicked by his Pops. A very bad edit by George.
- Vader's new voice. Though I liked the new Imperial Shuttle scene added in, I can't tolerate another actor voicing any of Vader's lines except for James Earl Jones. Having someone else speak just that one line, was painfully obvious and very unfortunate.
- The new ending Celebration scene. I liked seeing all of the various SW cities/planets celebrating the defeat of the evil Empire. Tied the galaxy and saga together quite nicely. Also, though I enjoyed the previous Ewok Celebration song, I find John Williams revised end theme here to be much more elegant and suitable for the magnitude of what has just occurred and for the final notes of our beloved saga.
- The new musical number Jedi Rocks. Ugh. This unfortunate addition just doesn't have a place in the Star Wars world. The previous Lapti Nek song was just right for Jabba's Palace - subtle and eery, but somewhat hip and cool at the same time. This new song and dance routine just makes me want to yack. Watching the microphone go clear down the throats of the lead singers is just not necessary either. The entire number just cheapens the whole dangerous aura surrounding Jabba's Palace. Save this crap for a Disney flick.
- Flirting Fett. I just don't care to see the most dangerous bounty hunter in the galaxy hitting on Jabba's freaky back-up singers. Not necessary, and it lessens the mystique of an otherwise very cool character.
- The Little Shop of Horrors Sarlaac Pit monster. I don't mind seeing some tentacle looking things crawling up and out of the Sarlaac's mouth area (pit), but that whole crazy CG beak/mouth looking thing flailing about just makes me think of Rick Moranis talking to his humanistic plant in The Little Shop of Horrors. Not necessary, and again, it lessens the mystique of an otherwise very cool and scary space creature.
And as a general point for all three movies, obviously the Special Editions
brought about nice improvements in the overall picture and sound quality, through the rigorous restoring of the film print and soundtrack. Also, the great majority of the smaller, more subtle details that were added in throughout the movies were nice improvements as well, even if they weren't as noticeable to the average viewer.
It's really hard to say overall what I think of the changes made in the Special Editions
, since I really loved some of them, and really hated others. I guess it's a toss up. But I'd fashion a guess that we may not even be seeing the Special Editions
again in the future, even when the Original Trilogy finally hits DVD. I'm willing to bet that George has even more changes in store, once he's done with Ep. 3 (as rumor has it), that will tie the whole saga together even more, in what will be labeled as the "Definitive Edition" movies (and possibly including another theatrical re-release). And maybe, just maybe, if we're really
lucky, ol' Uncle George will prove that he actually listens to his fans, and will magically make Greedo's blaster shot disappear
... But only time will tell...So what did you all think of the Special Editions...