Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Feb 12, 2012.
That logic may work for the prequels but the fact is he had already succeeded in reaching millions with the work as it was. Those millions were already pleased and ready to stay pleased. And if he didn't see that before he embarked on tweaking, then he saw it with the backlash for the SEs and the further SEs, I think it wouldn't be undermining his success or trying to please anyone in any way that affects him creatively by simply rereleasing them. We're not asking him for any new work on his part, just give those of us who grew up on them and loved them that way a product we can buy from you that we actually want. Same thing but on the latest hi-def format. Just send out the order to underlings, you won't even need to lift a finger! Ask Criterion to do it!
I'm sure he'd make another mint from them. Call them the Archival Editions or whatever and fans who already bought this bluray set would eat it up too I'm sure!
The bolded part is what I'm referring to -- why does he owe you that? Sure it would be nice on his part, but it's clear that Lucas is invested in the Special Editions. He wants to focus on those and doesn't want to invest into the O-OT when he could further refine the Special Editions. And that's his choice to make.
Also, you're presuming that Lucas defines success as pleasing his fanbase. I don't know that he does -- he might consider the Special Editions to be an artistic product of greater value and thus want to focus on those. Don't forget what Lucas said when Steve Jobs passed away:
"The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision. He leaves behind an incredible family and a legacy that will continue to speak to people for years to come,”
I really think that the bolded statement reflects Lucas' worldview: he's not going to compromise on his vision and he's very concerned with his legacy. He wants the Special Editions to be the seminal, final versions of Star Wars that are left to the public. And I don't think he's doing anything wrong by taking that stance. Would it be nice to restore and re-release the O-OT? Yes, but I don't think he has any obligation to.
That was my thought, that maybe his definition of "success" does not necessarily involve "making as much money as possible" and/or "pleasing the greatest number of people as possible."
Sure he has made a crapload of money, of which he gives a good portion (I read half from one source) to his educational foundation--and that alone tells me that he defines success on a higher plane than simply accumulation of wealth.
But you're not reading my words, you're adding to them and seriously altering their spirit. I never used the word "owe" did I? No. I said in the context of the statement of working to please everyone, don't work! He's already done the work, just put it out in the latest format. It is something people want (again not something we are owed). It is incomprehensible to me that he doesn't see or want to acknowledge the desire for it and how it harms his image in some people's eyes. If he doesn't want to compromise, again, that's his right. But I'm just not sure what he's not compromising on. Because if he gives in it would be an admission that his work touched millions and spoke to us in a way that we don't want to lose access to? I mean, does he really think that if he released it alongside the SEs that it would somehow make him a laughing stock as an "artiste" because it would look dated and flawed? That's just plain nonsense. He released the massively subpar bonus DVDs so people could have laughed at him then. I know this isn't true. So what is the truth here then? But overall, I don't have to respect his not compromising nor appreciate it. I get there are people like this and in certain circumstances I respect them. I don't when it is illogical or lacks any good reasons. I've yet to hear any. And if he doesn't want to compromise for reasons all his own? Fine, again, I respect the right, I don't respect the choice to do so. He opens himself up to criticism when he makes that choice, regardless of the right.
But ultimately I'm not asking for a compromise. I'm asking for what I thought was his work that he had done, released and expanded upon between the years 1977 and 1983....that then stayed in circulation until around 1997 or so. It is a part of history, a part of culture. Steven Spielberg had the same rights and choices to make and he came down in favor of continuing to do new work and respecting the audiences desire to continue to enjoy his works as they were released. It is a respect for the audience/author dynamic. It respects the other side of the equation and gives it its due (as in acknowledges its role, support and importance). Lucas, whether because he was offended and shocked by the backlash or just doesn't see the situation that way, loses my respect as an artist because he seems to diminish the importance of the audience.
The statement "just give those of us who grew up on them and loved them...a product we can buy from you that we actually want" is what I was focusing on -- it's really at the heart of my argument. Lucas doesn't want to go back to the O-OT. He wants the version that future generations will watch to be the Special Editions so going back to the O-OT is something that he's not interested in revisiting.
I think, quite honestly, that he released the laserdisc transfers exactly for people such as yourself who wanted to see the O-OT. But he doesn't want the O-OT to be the "definitive" version and that's why , I imagine, he is not interested in restoring them. He would rather work on the Special Editions because, in his mind, I think going back to the O-OT would be leaving future generations with a sub-par product. For its time, it was the best he could do. But now, he has the ability to make all the changes he wants and to rework the story the way he sees fit and I think he does it because he believes it will make the story better. You obviously disagree. But I do think he would see it as a betrayal of his artistic integrity to go back to the O-OT when he could be making the SE's even better. Hence why he talks about "vision" and "legacy" -- because Star Wars is his legacy.
And my point is, I don't see why there's this sense that people have been wronged by Lucas' refusal to restore the O-OT. It's a part of culture, sure, but so are many other works of art and not all are performed/released in their original form by the artists. And I don't think he should have to "respect the audience's desire to continue to enjoy his works as they were released." The audience is a consumer, they have no bargaining rights in this situation. They can either choose to buy the Special Editions or not and that is their vote to Lucas. But he, as the creator, is free to do as he wishes.
The audience's wishes don't factor into the equation because the audience is not homogenous. Some people very well may prefer the Special Editions, some might prefer the 1997 cuts, some prefer the O-OT. It's not Lucas' job to cater to the audience. He puts a product out and people can either take it or leave it. To ask for more seems, well, rather presumptuous in my estimation.
It seems to me that an artist should, first and foremost, be concerned with the quality and integrity of his art. A sell-out is primarily concerned with appealing to audience.
Edit: On second, thought sinkie, never mind. I doubt we're going to convince each other of our opposing points of view. And I'm guessing this argument has been thoroughly hashed out already. So I'll concede to you at this point.
Sheesh. What is this, 2004?
I missed out on these discussions. I'm making up for lost time.
But I'll stop if it's dredging up bad memories.
Haha. Been there myself. Forgot how new some of you are. Go knock yourselves out.
Fair enough, but I never said he "owed" it. That changed my argument entirely. And again, his desire to erase the 20 plus years is not something I respect, regardless of his right. I don't have to. He makes a choice in front of the world, we can criticize it. That's just how it works.
Yes it is. And I think history will scratch their heads at his assumption, if you are right, that he doesn't feel the historical version could exist beside the new version for even just the record and/or comparative reasons. And actually contradicts a lot of his own earlier ideas on film preservation.
Yep. And they can complain. It all adds up to voting with the powers we have (wallet and public forums for voicing opinion). I feel wronged because I supported him and believe I was supporting and attaching myself to him for years. Then suddenly, it is pretty much a relic within my life time. And it does feel like a wrong because it is a rarity for something so huge, popular, loved to become hard to get, hard to access. Especially when there are "versions" rereleased every few years. It isn't like they were lost to time. They supposedly are there. It is some weirder, harder to penetrate reasoning going on here that one can ONLY speculate on. And in speculating, many of the reasons I can come up with I don't respect. In fact, there are few that I would. Even this idea he wants to "focus" and make the SEs his "legacy" is just weird to me. It seems eccentric and tied up in a type of personality that I don't appreciate. Again, that's all him, that's all within his right. But I can criticize and not respect it.
Fine rerelease the all-in-one historical archival edition with all its incarnations. Though I think a strong argument could be made for the original theatrical releases as important to be available for current and future generations in the latest format/quality. After this it is all a part of the "on going changing" versions that never really became that much an essential part of the hype IMO. But hey, if people want to argue for those to be made available as a part of the unfolding entity that is this unique creature called the OT, fine, I'd support their desire. I'd get it.
Again, no selling out required. He'd already let millions see this version and love it. He seemed to be standing by it for decades. Sure he's dragged it out so long now that it would seem like a giving in, but screw it, who cares. If it is just the principle of not wanting to be the "artist that appears to cave", well, that's a pretty narrow definition of artist, that may not even be true, not to mention that calling Lucas an artist is, well, stretching the definition or rather allowing only one aspect of what he does to stand for the reason not to rather than the rest of Lucas's endeavours to also factor in (you know, the business/empire building side). He's made friggin' SW potato heads for pete's sake! And licenses all kinds of plastic crap for any occasion. If this is a part of his "artistry" then giving us the Historically Important Archive Edition every 8 years wouldn't be out of character.
Urghhh...I'm kind of angry at myself because I really should just let this go (as I stated earlier in my edit), but I'll just clarify.
I can see where you're coming from. I just have a few points to make that I think are important.
Are you referring to Lucas' statements in the 1988 Berne speech about film preservation? I would encourage you to read that speech in its entirety (and not rely on the modified version on savestarwars.com). You will find it remarkably consistent with Lucas' actions.
The above is what I find hard to reconcile. Many of my favorite works (even more recent than the O-OT) are even harder or impossible to come by. The fact that the O-OT was "so huge and popular" to me doesn't really change much in this regard. I've never really seen how popularity is any indicator of what is worth preserving.
Nobody ever mentions that the Special Editions are like 90% exactly the same movies as the originals. Whatever happened to just enjoying the movies, instead of letting the little stuff bug you?
I know Lucas was referring to companies buying up artists property and altering them. But I think the spirit is the same. It preserves for future audiences something that was "from the artist in a historical moment of culture". His own works are, arguably, from an artist at a historical moment. This artist happens to have a change of heart years on, or gains the tools to tinker, and does so and then decides to slowly make the other version inaccessible. It is different...but also the same. There is still something in his actions and his attitude that doesn't mesh well with his stance on preservation. Just because he's had a change of heart should not mean he gets to erase access to the versions that began the phenomenon IMO.
And it has nothing to do with saving something strictly because it is popular, though its popularity, as evidenced in archived print and video media around the films, will suggest to future generations that it was important and historically significant. But the fact that it is so popular makes it slightly odd that it isn't being made available. Good works with a smaller audience would for economic reasons be more justified in being rare or out of print longer. Something like SW? That is able to conjure up massive amounts of candy in the guise of its characters every holiday season it can find? That you almost have to go to a desert island to avoid seeing emblazoned on something? So for me the economics of it make sense too! So for me it is rarity that something so popular would be so hard to come by. I'd get if it was every 10 years or more...and maybe that's what it will become in the end...like Disney rereleasing their classics every now and then when the technology seems to justify it.
Yep, it is the other 10 percent that drives me nuts. Especially the stuff that changes it tonally. Greedo shooting first, Jabba appearing as a lesser gangster in ANH, Fett looking at the camera, Mos Eisley looking like a "fun filled place with lots of silly antics". It does infect the rest of the work, so that 10 % reverberates into at least the surrounding material. And something like the Vader Noooo, just kills the entire ending IMO. So small changes can have big effects. Plus, it just simply comes down to wanting to have them the way they were then as they got released, whether it stays 10% or becomes 50% as the years go by.
By my estimation, Lucas hasn't changed his stance at all. He stressed, first and foremost, that artists should keep control of their work, that they were the ultimate arbiters of what the public should receive as it was their legacy on the line. The speech was made to preserve the rights of artists and he said that only an artist could decide what an appropriate alteration was. I don't think he was ever opposed to artists tinkering with their own work as he saw it as being in the best interest of the public. It was companies and executives he was worried about. The creator, though, should maintain control according to Lucas.
Again, yes, he was clear on this. I just think he misses that the spirit of his stance is still at play here. Or in another sense, he idealizes the artists role and hardly acknowledges the audiences' in his battle against the third party, the corporations and money interests. Or rather, he sees the audiences role too narrowly, as if we are just the receptors of his intentions and are there to receive. This is not the truth. We also respond. But again, if he wants to behave this way, its his right. But he can't keep resorting to that starting point (his right) to defend against criticism of his choice under that right. Again, for me, I compare him to Spielberg on this matter. He had the same right and choice and his choice I do think sees the audience as much more a part of the relationship.
(also, I missed your edit a few posts above...sorry to keep dragging it out! )
Just know that it's YOU who ruins the 90 percent, if not the other 10 percent. Also realize that casual viewers and first timers do not have the problems you have. Believe me, I used to be the person in the room driving himself nuts while everyone around me was having a good time. It's not fun, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Yes is ME. That's why I (damn, can't capitalize that anymore than it already is!) am asking for it.
And since I rushed that message out and then lost the right to edit...
Yes it is ME
Is obviously what I meant to type.
It's an interesting debate going on here and I can kinda see both sides of the argument. As I see it there is no obligation on Lucas's part whatsoever. We paid our money and we got exactly what was owed to us - whether that be a showing at a movie theater or a VHS to enjoy at home. That's the end of the contract; George Lucas owes us nothing.
On the other hand, it is diffcult not to see Lucas's actions as hypocritical in light of the remarks he has made about film preservation. And his " these are my movies" dismissals are hard to reconcile with his stated belief that "American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history." On top of this is the simple fact that if he did remaster and release the original theatrical versions, they would be guaranteed to sell like hot cakes. So it makes little sense from a business perspective not to do so.
But the problem is the so-called "fans". Although Lucas said he saw the special editions as the definitive versions, I think it's entirely possible that he may have relented and released the originals at some point had the "fans" not backed him into a corner and treated him like a piece of dung. There is one thing that we all know and that is that Lucas is not the kind of guy who likes to be told what to do. So screaming at him, telling him he's a fat, greedy, talentless liar who's "raped" childhoods across the globe has ruined any chance there might have been of Lucas giving the unappreciative SOB's what they want. I mean, seriously, why would he? In a fairly recent interview when asked if he had any plans to make more Star Wars movies, Lucas replied "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" I'm fairly certain Lucas would apply that same reasoning to giving these horrible people what he feels they have no right to demand of him. And it's not really surprising is it? If my son was to throw a tantrum and demand something of me "now", he would would not only not get it "now", he would most likely not get it ever. And since the "fans" have been acting like spoiled children, they are being treated like it - deservedly so. So all the petitions, the boycotting, the threats, the insults, and the pathetic near constant whining have only ensured that Lucas will never give in. And the "fans" have no one but themselves to blame.
The first problem is how does one decide WHO is the sole creator of a movie? Should JK Rowling be allowed to alter the Harry Potter films?
Should Ridley Scott be allowed to alter Aliens? Who is the "creator", the director, the producer, the writer, the DP, the actors, the editor?
Where this logic falls down is that Lucas IS changing other peoples work. Lucas didn't direct ESB or RotJ and he didn't write ESB and only co-wrote RotJ. As far as I understand how Berne applies to movies is that no single person is credited as the artist but it is split between the director and screenwriter and maybe the DP.
Another reason why it falls down is that Lucas has spoken out for the rights of hired artist and that they should have equal protection.
So what about the rights of the actors not having their performance tampered with? What about the make-up artists? Perhaps they worked very hard to create some great creature and even won an award for that but with CGI another creature can be added over it and their work is forever gone.
The third reason why I don't think this works is that Lucas has often spoken about cultural history and that works of art belong to the American public. He said "The public's interest is ultimately dominant over all other interest." To me that means the wishes of the artist is secondary to the public.
How one say "Our cultural history must not allowed to be rewritten." but really you mean "Cultural history can be rewritten as long as I am the one who is doing the rewriting."?.
If film history or cultural legacy has any importance then noone should be allowed to tamper with it. Because then it only becomes an issue about WHO is doing something and not WHAT is being done. By this reasoning, adding color to old movies is fine as long as the director is doing it, replacing actors is ok as long as the "creator" is the one who does it. And preserving film history doesn't mean that the director can't make new versions. All it means is that these new versions should not replace the originals. I have read the whole speech Lucas made at the US Congress and yes he talks about how copyright holders should not be allowed to tamper with films they "own" and the rights of artists. But it goes beyond that. Film history, the cultural legacy of the American people is bigger than just one person. So how can one person be allowed to make whatever alterations he or she wants while if another does the exact same thing then it becomes "barbaric" and a "defacement"?
Ironically if Lucas and the other that appeared before the US Congress had been succesfull, then it is very possible that Lucas would not have been able to alter either ESB or RotJ. So the very thing he protested is the main reason why he can do what he does.
Indeed many of the things he warned about, replacing actors with "fresher faces" creating new "original" negative, are things he has now done.
Lucas has said that he wants his children to be able to see movies he saw as child in the same way he saw them. In other words preserved as they were when they were released. That means that the director or "creator" should not be allowed to replace the original with some updated version. He also said that newer generations should be able to see this generations as it saw itself and the past generation as it saw itself.
But apparently that does not apply to Lucas own films. Lucas doesn't want future generations to the see the films their parents or grand parents saw. Why? That he prefers the newer versions is fine but those new versions are not damaged in any way by having the originals around in good quality. Lucas can leave the newer versions as his legacy but still allow the originals to exist, he can say "the new versions are my prefered version." Star Wars has been a part of the cultural history of not just the US but the world since 1977, why try and rewrite that? There are many versions of Blade Runner avaliable, Ridley Scott has his own preferences but he still made sure that all versions were put on DVD and he let the audience make up their own mind.
In closing, allowing both the originals and the newer version to exist in good quality pays respect to both new and old artists, the artists that worked on the old has their work preserved but new versions can be made as well. It does not have to be an either/or situation.
Bye for now
Your yub nub's dead, son. Accept it.
Nope, I'll be yub nubbing until the day I die!
I agree with this in part for sure. It was not really knowing the guy I think at the start that allowed a terribly, nonstrategic movement to take hold.
From everything I've read so far, you're right, this guy doesn't like to take orders.
And the fans, not knowing that their desperate cries for what they wanted in all sorts of ways, often negative, was hitting him that way just went too far too fast. Oh well, I do see it as partially the fans responsibility, at the same time I think he must be aware of where that "insanity" comes from. SW was massive, it drove must of us rabid as kids, it created monsters of us all! You'd think he'd take it with a grain of salt and just go for the money-making angle and get us to shut our pie holes! Make us pay 250 for some sort of Archival Box Set with only 3 films and totally stick it to us!
Though a "new addition" in the sense of being retrieved from the proverbial cutting room floor, the SE Jabba scene is of course not really new ( other than in terms of what Jabba looks like ) and appeared in both the novelization and comic adaptation of ANH with a different last line by Han. It doesn't establish Jabba as a lesser gangster because it doesn't place anyone over him, but it is guilty of some redundancy with the content of the Greedo scene.