CT George Lucas' disappointment in OT special effects: warranted or not?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Darth Eddie, Dec 3, 2013.

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  1. Darth Eddie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2013
    star 4
    Soooooo It's never been much of a secret that GL felt limited by technology when making the original Star Wars trilogy. Obviously I don't think anybody here will express the same disappointment, since the OT films are beautiful and we all love them etc., however being a creator of creative things myself, I totally understand the feeling of look at what you've created and feeling it's not up to snuff, like it's not your original vision. Considering that I don't blame GL and LFL for going back for the special edition, but this is not a special edition thread. Considering how much fuller a galaxy the PT environment is than the OT environment, it creates some clear cognative dissonances. Where the PT is able to pull back a really fill the frame with all sorts of big details, the OT had to pull in close and fill the frame with small details. I'm not about to make this a debate over which is better or anything like that, but this is a subject I've been thinking about for a while and it may be interesting to see where it goes. The Galaxy feels small and intimate in the OT, and some fans really love that, but with PT-assisted hindsight, the OT very much wears its limitations on its sleeve.

    The scene of Han & Co. walking around inside the space slug I think is the worst special effect in all Star Wars, fllowed closely by Luke's x-wing going down on Dagobah. They don't take me out of the movie experience but I can't help but find those sequences laughable sometimes.

    [I created this thread for non-reverent OT discussion, please don't misinterpret me as OT-bashing and chase me with pitchforks kthx]
  2. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2012
    star 3
    We are all our own worst critic, and Lucas is no exception. When he envisioned Star Wars, it was beyond any special effects at the time. While the result may have dwarfed in comparison to his original vision, it still became revolutionary for its advances in special effects, and pushed the envelope much further than any film before it. Had George simply stuck with what was more manageable and cost efficient, Star Wars may not have been as big as it was. Let's face it; Star Wars' special effects were what made it a blockbuster sensation in '77.

    Yet, as much as the success exceeded everyone's expectations, Lucas still looked at it as unfinished. As an artist, I can relate; no matter how much praise a piece gets, I'll always look back at things I could've done differently/better. For better or worse, CGI can pretty much render any effect that's been conceived.
  3. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    I went to film school and made some short films back in my younger days. I cannot watch them. They won regional film festival awards so they must have been good, but all I see are the flaws and they make me cringe. I can totally relate.
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  4. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    It was not so much "beyond special effects of the time" as it was the time and tedium of building or creating a set or costume versus sitting in a room and conjuring one up via CGI.

    The orginal Cantina scene was better than the cgi SE. I did love the updated Mos Eisley however.
  5. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2013
    star 4
    I like most of the OT's CGI better. It's somehow, for lack of a better term, "charming"
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  6. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 4
    Lucas' disappointment in the OT's special effects is frankly a little ridiculous - understandable as a creator, perhaps, but ridiculous all the same. This doesn't necessarily nullify his decision to redo them, but by all accounts they were awe-inspiring by the era's standards, and to a certain degree still are today.
    Last edited by Vthuil, Dec 3, 2013
  7. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The OT effects are awesome. The OT lightsaber duels are way better than the PT duels.
    The sparks from the ESB duel were awesome.
    The seismic bombs from AOTC is probably the best effect ever though.
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  8. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I don't know. I don't think it is up to us to decide whether Lucas' disappointment in the OT special effects is warranted or not. He is entitled to his opinion and we're entitled to ours about the quality of special effects. And since they were his movies, he had every right to do what he wanted with them.
  9. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    I can understand why he made changes, but disagree with the decision to do so. By that logic the films are never "done," as by now he can probably look back at the special editions and decide that he thinks he can still do better.
    Last edited by TaradosGon, Dec 3, 2013
  10. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    And knowing that we are getting a ST trilogy will mean that we will have to buy another set of the movies several years from now when the ST is complete. Will this ever end?
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  11. Darth Eddie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2013
    star 4
    It will if we stop buying them.
  12. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Touche. Won't happen though.
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  13. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    That's precisely his point.
  14. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2013
    star 3
    I often hear this argument, and I respectfully disagree. I was there in 1977, and no doubt that people were wowed by the groundbreaking special effects at that time, but what made people keep coming back was the characters and the story. Han, Luke, and Leia resonated with every kid I knew as we all wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be Luke, my best friend wanted to be Han, and even girls in my neighborhood loved SW as they all wanted to be Leia.

    The movie resonated with people because the story was cool, the characters were great, it had a touch of humor, a touch of drama, and some mythic qualities to when it pertained to the force, along with the groundbreaking special effects. If it was just some cheesy movie with special effects, it would have done well, but no one would be talking about it 15, 20, 30 years later. (For instance, a movie like Independence Day was beloved by all my friends in 1996 because of the cool effects for that time, and now they look back and think the movie is utterly lame and never revisit it much on DVD or BluRay. I can't say that for The Original Star Wars, as we all still talk about it, we all still love it, and it still works today, as the special effects are about #5 on what makes the movie great. ;)

    Sadly, that is what Lucas will never understand as he constantly tinkers with the movies. No matter how much he tinkers, I constantly hear SE fans wanting this or that done to the movies. It's almost like he opened up a can of worms with that crowd as they will never be happy. I always equate Star Wars to The Wizard of Oz. Those movies are timeless, and don't need to be updated for a new generation of fans to fall in love with them. The Wizard of Oz was on TNT the other night (as it is every Thanksgiving), as the movie is 75 years old now, but it still works for the majority of young people who watch it.
  15. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    But he never updated them for the fans. He updated them for himself, because he was the one who saw them "half finished". The fans never asked for it. The movies are his creation and he's the only one who needs to be happy about it. I respect that.
  16. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2013
    star 3
    How do explain this:

    1980 ESB Version: Luke does not scream when he falls on Cloud City

    1997 ESB Version: Luke DOES scream when he falls on Cloud City

    2004 ESB Version: Luke does not scream when he falls on Cloud City

    Was it 1/2 finished in 1980, then 3/4 finished in 1997, and then finally finished in 2004? I call it tampering at that point. ;)

    And as for Lucas quotes you guys constantly bring up to make your argument, remember when he said in 2005, "The story was always the Tragedy of Darth Vader and are meant to be watched 1-6, as there are NO more Star Wars movies!"

    I guess he forgot to mention that little detail that we will be getting the Sequel Trilogy the next decade! [face_laugh]
  17. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2012
    star 3
    I don't disagree with you there, but I just meant that the special effects were unlike anything seen before, and that alone was enough to draw a crowd simply due to the spectacle. Though the reason these movies are still talked about today are for the reasons you've mentioned. Even when some of the effects are dated, it's still a timeless movie at its core, which is what a lot of movies are lacking nowadays in favor of the best special effects.

    Funny enough, Lucas expected the movie's popularity to last only a few weekends, as other average sci-fi movies of the time, but we all know the result.
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  18. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    I don't, nor do I need to. It's irrelevant to the point.

    Considering that he only started to write the story treatment of the sequel trilogy in the last 3/4 years, I really can't blame him for saying that. The person that never changed his mind over the years can cast the first stone.
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  19. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    At some point all of these changes are going to have to end.
    Enough has to be enough at some point.
    I don't know the entire list of changes to all of the movies but what I remember from the top of my head its beyond ridiculous.
    Take the recent Vader "No" scream in ROTJ. Why was that added? What purpose does it serve? Why add it now? etc.
    That man changes his mind way too many times. I'm thankful that he created the best saga of my childhood but all of the changes he has made are absurd. I admit I'm one of those people that prefer things to stay the same or don't change too much so all of these changes are crazy. I'm convinced he is only doing the rereleases for money.
    You do have to take everything he says over the years with a grain of salt.
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  20. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Because he wanted to. To reflect the same moment in RotS. Because RotS wasn't done yet on the previous release.

    Which re-releases? The home video ones? Every studio does them whenever a new format arrives. It's a mix of public demand and profit.
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  21. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Good grief. The scene was perfect as is! I love the symbolism from the OT to the PT and back as much as anyone but that was not necessary.
    He is making new releases with changes so that he can get more money because he knows we will buy them.
    For the Disney releases how many of those movies had changes with all of their subsequent releases? More bonus material and updated effects sure but story details changed from each edition to the next? I don't think so.

    Lucas makes the overall saga up as goes. Wait a couple years and it'll change again as it has a thousand times already. That gets old after awhile.
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  22. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2013
    star 3
    See that is where Lucas is changing his tune. He said in the 1997 SE Laserdisk Documentary that he wanted to go back and change a few special effects shots because he could not do them from 77-83. Fair enough, he just did that I probably wouldn't have cared that much and would have been fine with some updated effects from the OT movies.

    Force Smuggler's & my point is that Lucas is now changing scenes with each new DVD/Bluray Version and it has nothing to do with the limited technology from 77-83, because nobody had a problem with those scenes back then.


    There is a difference between a director's cut, and what Lucas does by actually changing scenes. Terminator and Lord of the Rings are perfect examples of movies that have extended cuts, where they were left on the cutting room floor and added into movie. Lucas physically removes actors like Sebastian Shaw as a force ghost and Clive Rivell as the ESB Emperor! And the other difference is those studios release EVERY movie with the original and extended cut in the same package, so each fans can chose what version they want to watch. If Lucas did that, we wouldn't be having this pointless and silly argument.
    Last edited by Carbon1985, Dec 4, 2013
  23. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4
    This does not make any sense. When the movies are released on a new format, why do you think more people would buy them if a few scenes are altered? Seems to me fewer people buy them, given the amount of people whining about the alterations saying they'd only buy the OOT.
  24. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    And now is even more perfect for him.

    What?

    Story details changed? Not to mention that it's irrelevant what other studios do or don't. He owned the movies, therefore he can do as many changes as he wants. You may not like the changes, but nobody is saying you have to.

    Lucas tinkers the movies however and whenever he sees fit. If people like it or not is irrelevant. What matters is what he wants, that's why he fought so hard to own them.

    And who said he makes these changes because anybody had a problem in the first place?

    No, there isn't.

    So what? They are his movies and it's his cut.

    Again, it doesn't matter what those studios do. He (at the time) owned the company and his movies, therefore he has the right to do whatever he wants with them. Silly is arguing about what someone does with what's theirs and not ours. You are free to like it or dislike it, buy it or ignore it.
    Last edited by Alexrd, Dec 4, 2013
  25. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Sounds like Lucas has gotten too big of an ego so he feels like he can do whatever he likes now.

    Why was there an OT release in 2004 anyway? 1997 I can buy because of the increased technology and to get things rolling for the PT. Why not wait for 2006 or 07 when the saga at the time is complete? ROTS wasn't out yet.
    Also a release for 2011? Why? Why not wait for 2012 or 2013 and the announcement of the ST to release it again to get us ready for the ST? Does this mean we will get another set of DVD's after Episode 8, before 9 is complete?
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