Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars Watch: Star Wars (or, as you kids call it, Episode IV: A New Hope)

where the hell are Leia's sleeves?

I believe I've already done a fair job already talking Star Wars Episode IV in context in recent posts, so I'll let you kids read that and come back, if the Force compels you or whatever.

Back in October I posted about how I was trying to remain calm and reasonable about the new Star Wars movie until reviews were in.  I wasn't even planning on buying tickets until after the first mass of reviews hit Rotten Tomatoes.  So, I wasn't supposed to be seeing the movie until the 27th.  I know, crazy, right?

Well, I also realized - Disney is not really all that hyped about not making money, so my belief that Episodes IV-VI would be readily available on cable this week was just fundamentally stupid.  And, to give you guys how much of an idea of how much I've been not paying attention to Star Wars, I didn't own a copy in any format.  But, a quick perusal of Amazon fixed that, and my BluRay copies of the Special Edition discs showed up (don't worry, they were pretty cheap, actually).

But it may have been 10 years since I last watched Star Wars, which is mind-boggling when I realize I've seen Three Amigos twice in the past two years.

Tonight we threw Episode IV in the ol' BluRay and gave it a whirl.

Yes, the Special Edition bits are still grating, and even more so to the eyeballs of 2015 when the CGI of the late 90's now looks terribly primitive and you can see the CGI people aren't just adding texture, they're adding unnecessary business, especially in the Mos Eisley portions.  And, man, is the re-insertion of the Jabba scene unforgivably bad.  I hadn't previously purchased copies of the BluRays, always the optimist that Lucas and then Disney would release the original cuts to BluRay and collect another half-billion dollars.

In some ways the addition of the CGI really brings home how small in scale the assault is on the Death Star, because they really don't have all that many ships going after the exhaust port, just two squadrons with no pilots numbered higher than 10 - which, in the era of Guardians of the Galaxy with the morass of space ships fighting in the third reel, the 20-odd Rebel fighters feels a little feeble, and I started to get a sense of the maturity that occurs between Episodes IV and V in a way I don't know that I'd ever much considered.  They took some gigantic risks with this movie, and that upped the ante even more in Episode V.

And, man, did the Prequels ever turn Obi-wan Kenobi into a liar.  Really, the whole scene that takes place in Ben's hermit-hut is nothing but a pack of lies based on what you see in the Prequels.  And what's weird is that the story Ben tells would have made a great movie, whether Vader was Anakin or not.  What was wrong with Anakin as an ace pilot in the Republic's army?  One who turns out to be strong in the force?

Man.  George, you just really had to have it your way, I guess.

But the movie really still works.  It's all there with characters and their motivations from everyone's first scene.  I won't summarize or throw more praise on the movie.  I've already done that plenty in recent posts.

It was extremely difficult, by the way, not to stop the movie every five seconds and remind Jamie exactly what toy, t-shirt or other doo-dad I had featuring the character on screen at any given moment.  Really, the whole Cantina scene is a whole lot of "Yeah, dude!  Snaggletooth!  Oh, there's Hammerhead!".

And for the first time in a long time, I wondered what the hell exactly is a Jawa supposed to look like under those cloaks and how bad it must smell inside a Sand Crawler.


Stuart said...

Very happy to have gone through the trouble to acquire the Despecialized Edition recently.

WILL NEVER watch the Special Edition version again.

The League said...

yeah, when all i can talk about in a write-up is "man, Jabba looks awful", it's taking away from the film, not adding to it.