|Admit it. You're already humming "The Imperial March."|
Lucas claims that the original versions are cost-prohibitive to digitally re-master for a hi-def release. Now, there are two obvious holes in this. Firstly, the majority of film elements are the same from the original release to his Special Edition versions (especially The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). It's not as though the entire films need to be restored from scratch. Most of the work has already been done; there are only a handful of scenes that would require additional work.
More importantly, it's simply unfathomable that older films than these would find their way to Blu-ray but the gems of Lucasfilm would be somehow too difficult to update. If The Wizard of Oz, twice the age of Star Wars, can be brought to the 21st Century there's absolutely no reason that Lucasfilm shouldn't be able to handle sifting through the original film elements for a handful of scenes to make available the original, theatrical cuts of these beloved features. We are talking, after all, about the most profitable movie series of all time. It's not like there's not an established, willing-to-pay fan base.
But then we get into the issue of artistry. Lucas has cast himself over the years as a "visionary," and while I've always taken umbrage at the claim (sorry, but Dr. King was a visionary; you imagined some popcorn movies with aliens), it's not without some legitimacy. Should he not have the right to make running edits and changes to the films he created? There's the axiom that art is never finished; it's simply abandoned. In the last hundred years, as art has become commercialized like never before, this has evolved that art is never finished, but given a release date. It seems a violation of the rules that Lucas would dare to return to his work after its release date.
So far, the "leave it like we first saw it" camp has consisted only of the Original Trilogy ("OT") fans. Younger fans, who came to the series with or after 1997's Special Edition release, don't get what the fuss is all about. What difference does it make whether Greedo gets off a shot at Han Solo before dying? Was the Ewok song really that important? Those original versions saw the light of day on DVD in 2006, but they were non-anamorphic and presented with 2.0 stereo sound. Surely, Lucasfilm--the cutting edge of film technology--was and is capable of better.
|One of these will be|
digitally replaced soon.
In the DVD era, when even "lesser" films have been re-issued several times, is there not something to be said for Lucas offering fans something a little different each time these movies hit the market? Does it not somehow justify double-dipping, knowing that this time won't necessarily be exactly like the last time? Or is it insulting, to be effectively told that the last time out, you bought a draft of a work in progress? One thing is certain: fans will buy the Blu-ray release. And they will complain.