Saga What is wrong with the SW films being of their era?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Someone just coined a neologism in another thread that gave me pause - "future-proofing". As in, apparently the SW films NEED perpetual CGI and 3D revision to keep them viable for future generations.

    But isn't that contrary to how "classics" are supposed to work? A work doesn't "stand the test of time" if it's constantly getting a facelift.

    Saying that the films require the latest-and-greatest effects seems like a huge insult, essentially agreeing with the series' biggest detractors who have claimed from day one that the films' breakthrough effects are their sole redeeming quality.

    I have never seen (and hope never to see) anyone seriously suggest replacing Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts skeletons with CG ones. They may not look fresh from the 21st century, but they're still a magnificently well-executed illusion.

    If a work of art can't stand the test of time without perpetual "upgrades", does it really deserve to? Should such a film really be considered a "classic"?

    What's wrong with Star Wars being a classic 70s film, just as Casablanca is a classic 40s film, and Jurassic Park a classic 90s one? Or Hamlet a classic Elizabethan play?

    Or should we repaint the figures in classic Renaissance art with bodies more in line with 21st-century standards of beauty, so that they're "easier" to appreciate sans historical context?
  2. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I missed the neologism so the person who made it, is probably the better one to address your argument, but...

    Nothing wrong with Star Wars being a classic 70s film. Also nothing wrong with Lucas using modern technology, and the amount of money he has now, to create the film he wishes he could have created in the 70s.
  3. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    To nitpick, what GL is using new technology to create is not and can not be what he wished he could create in the 1970s, just due to the nature of some of the changes. However, I agree, he can re-edit his films if he wants, though he does a major disservice to culture (and fans) if he continues to withhold the films as originally released.

    Also,

    Taken to its conclusion, doesn't this end up with a Ship of Theseus version of Star Wars?
  4. MOC Yak Face Classic Trilogy and Saga Co-Mod.

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    I totally agree with the OP and it saddens me to think that films so classic and beloved should suffer the fate of being considered perpetually not quite up to the desired, contemporary standard.
  5. rpeugh Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    Its hard to say. Sometimes I think I would prefer a simply re-mastered, cleaned up version of the O-OT. But sometimes I think I prefer the present day SE. I used to think watching episodes 1-6 wouldnt work because of the sudden difference in effects from 3 to 4, but I have done it before, and it actually works pretty well if you think of the old effects of the OT serving as a great metaphor for Vader being a shadow of his former self, and not to mention the galaxy taking place during the "dark times of the Empire". The two trilogies already have massive differences anyway, atleast some of which had to have been the intention of Lucas. That's why I dont have to watch THX-1138 between trilogies.

    You have to consider that there is a scale to this. You may not want cgi additions, which is certainly a reasonable position, but would you want to get rid of matte lines? I think a lot of people would or atleast wouldnt mind it. The makers of the Back to the Future trilogy arent even willing to get rid of matte lines or erase wires.
  6. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I get what you're saying but the idea of making excuses for why the OT looks 'not up to snuff' seems so weird to me, just because I much prefer that look, it's the prequels (minus TPM) that stick out in my book.

    I suppose a meta-view could make sense, and actually works well with the amount of film and other fiction/tech/cultural references in the original film, but if the originals are continually renewed, then that contrast between slick and gritty is defeated anyway. (Not to mention that TPM looks more like the OT than do either of the later two prequels.)
  7. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Lucas's tinkering doesn't stem from a cynical desire to market classic movies to younger generations, but from an aim to connect one trilogy to another. (The more salient query would be whether it was wise to saturate the PT with CGI, which all but necessitated OT tweaks.)
  8. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    And the decision to keep the original Death Star plans, despite looking dated, and a blatant continuity error, is an indication that Lucas IS interested in making them look like movies of their time. With enhancements, but no one's pretending these aren't 30 year old movies.
  9. rpeugh Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    I have thought about this, and that is why I sometimes think I prefer the O-OT, but even with these blue rays, the OT still looks much more different and worn than the PT. Im starting to think no matter how much tinkering and cleaning is done, you will never get rid of the contrast between slick and gritty. Particurly with the difference between film and digital. In my opinion, with the new transfer of TPM and the DNR that was applied to it, it now looks more consistnet with the other two prequels and more different than the OT.
  10. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

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    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    I don't understand. If he is so interested in connecting, why seperate Leia from her mother in infancy (while she tells Luke in Jedi that she remembers her mother)? Why include R2-D2 and C-3PO in the PT when this creates all sorts of issues with the OT? Why show an extremely disfunctional relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin when they are supposed to be "good friends"?
  11. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I get the impression that if he could remake Eps IV-VI, he would.

    He can't though, it'd cost a fortune & there would a significant proportion of the fanbase who simply wouldn't go to see them (unlike the PT, which many saw grudgingly, muttering & sneering the whole time, but still went to see, nevertheless). There would be a considerable risk of losing a lot of money.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I'd gladly go see a remake OT if I could get back the pre-SE O-OT.

    But even if Lucas did remake the OT, I don't think it would be quite what he wants. Because he'd be constricted by making it to suit the PT which was made to suit the existing OT.

    To really be free of the O-OT, he'd have to start completely from scratch, and I don't think he has another 20 years in him to do so.
  13. DarthWuher Jedi Master

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    Aug 15, 2010
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    Can't really argue with you on the Leia/Padme thing. I felt George wrapped up the R2/3PO storyline suffiently. 3PO's mind was erased and Owen doesn't recognize him due to different coverings. Kenobi doesn't acknowledge remembering R2 or 3PO on screen, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has forgotten who they are. And even though Obi-Wan and Anakin are at each other's throats (so to speak) in AOTC, I thought their relationship in ROTS was great prior to Anakin's turn. They clearly had a less strained partnership once Anakin became a knight and they fought side by side as brothers during the war.
  14. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Not my point - he'd make a 'Sequel Trilogy' to his Episodes I-III, a trilogy without annoying 20-yo inconsistencies & the interference of the likes of Irvin Kershner. The OT would be relegated to being 'The Vintage Star Wars Adventures' or some such nonsense, probably only ever reproduced in sepia or B&W, with 1930s-style scratch effects & jumps, only available on Blu-Ray as 12-part serials with a cartoon & a WWII newsreel every 20 minutes.

    Then, of course, he'd have to make changes to the PT to match his new eps, & all the PT purists here would be up in arms about how they can't get the best quality transfers of the original versions they saw in 1999-2005. Downloaded scans from the '1999 cut of Revenge Of The Sith' would be picked apart by trainspotting amateur colour graders, the PT forum would become clogged with auteur debates, & the rest of us would be happily ready for the warm embrace of death.
  15. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

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    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    I would watch a remake. If it is good, all the better. If it is bad, I ignore it.

    I don't really see a need to include R2-D2 und C3PO in the prequels. They didn't do anything for the plot. Okay, R2-D2 played his usual role of deus ex machina device, but he could've been replaced by a less deus ex machina heavy plot.

    Obi-Wans and Anakins relationship in ROTS was all but great. Yes, they were joking with each other, but they didn't really trust each other. Anakin never spoke to Obi-Wan about his problems with the Jedi-Order, his mothers death, the Tusken massacre or his relationship to Padmé. And Obi-Wan ... never speaks of his feelings, problems or whishes for the future. Keeping secrets is not a sign of trust or an intimate friendship.
  16. DarthWuher Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2010
    star 1

    True but Han never trusted Lando yet constantly speaks of their friendship. There are degrees of friendship based on personal feelings. So when old Kenobi says Anakin was a good friend we believe him based on their actions together before Anakins turn.
  17. Drewton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2009
    star 4
    I'd also support the idea of a remake if it meant we'd get to see the OOT. It would make a lot more sense than endless special editions.
  18. Jedsithor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2005
    star 4
    The Star Wars movies were never "of their era." They were in fact made as films of a previous era. The Star Wars movies are modeled on the movie serials of the 1930's and 40's. This is especially true of the prequels which are like big budget Flash Gordon serials. It's almost impossible to look at Palpatine in ROTS and not see shades of Ming The Merciless.

    From a visual effects perspective, it was hard not to see the strings holding Flash Gordon's ship up. In many ways the matte boxes present in the OT are similar in that they are evidence of what went into creating those shots. But Lucas wasn't trying to recreate the effects work of the serials, he was trying to recreate the tone and the kinds of stories from them. Updating the effects doesn't change the story. Seeing the strings can sometimes take a person out of the movie so if you can get rid of those strings and be able to just see a ship flying through space or get rid of matte boxes and see a TIE Fighter shooting at the Falcon, it enhances the experience and keeps the viewer in the zone of what's happening on screen. It's not so much about future proofing as it is about eliminating distractions and completing the original vision. The problem is that these updates have been inconsistent.
  19. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    Nothing wrong with Star Wars films being of their times. I don't see anything wrong with an updated version or an endless stream of updated versions either. I don't see anything wrong with watching a '77 version in '93 picture quality on a '09 device. Adding a new rock may be an eccentric thing to do, but I accept that eccentric behavior is a part of life, and I don't want or expect a media artifact to be all things to all people.

    Nothing wrong with a lot of things.
  20. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    The connection of which I speak deals with aesthetics. Once Lucas opted to go CGI-wild with the PT, he was almost obligated to expand the scope and dimension of the OT (e.g., Mos Eisley, Death Star battle, Bespin, ROTJ end celebration).
  21. MOC Yak Face Classic Trilogy and Saga Co-Mod.

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    He was if he was insisting on making "one saga" He could have left the OT alone and settled for two trilogies. I find I enjoy all of the movies more now that I've settled on seeing them that way anyway.
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Star Wars transcends its window dressing, IMO; it speaks in nearly universal themes of heroism, romance, courage, and sacrifice that resonate no matter how they're presented. All the little stuff that people dislike (or like, depending on the person) doesn't really matter in the face of that; there really hasn't been another series of films that speaks in such simple yet entrancing ways about the things that really make people tick.
  23. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    =D=
  24. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I agree. Star Wars is a modern myth... but that's not the only thing it is. It's also a setting that has allowed for tons of additional pieces of creativity. It's a source of commercial success. And it's a film (series).

  25. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    Nothing wrong with Star Wars being a classic 70s film. Also nothing wrong with Lucas using modern technology, and the amount of money he has now, to create the film he wishes he could have created in the 70s.

    What he's doing is not making the film he wished he could have made decades ago. He is instead justifying changes he decided to make today, by claiming that's how they were always meant to be and that therefore, whatever earlier version you saw, you were never meant to see. His original takes on the story were not merely the film(s) we know with more special effects, they were a completely different take on the story, re-worked in the writing phase to be compatible with what could be accomplished back then.

    Look at the difference between Kurt Newman's The Fly and David Cronenberg's. They are about the same concept but the way the story is written is COMPLETELY different. Now suppose that Newman (were he alive today) were to digitally insert Cronenberg's "Brundlefly" design and say that's what he had always meant it to look like, even though it's the result of a completely different take on the story, not at all what was originally written.

    Return of the Jedi's confrontation among Luke, Vader and the Emperor was to have taken place on (what is now known as) Coruscant over a boiling lake of lava. You couldn't take the scene as it is now and move the action back to its original setting--and yet that's exactly what you'd have to do to be able to argue that Lucas is restoring the film to his "original vision."

    Part of it being a classic 1970s film is that is the result of what was possible back then.

    Lucas's tinkering doesn't stem from a cynical desire to market classic movies to younger generations, but from an aim to connect one trilogy to another. (The more salient query would be whether it was wise to saturate the PT with CGI, which all but necessitated OT tweaks.)

    The way to connect them is to make the prequels connect to the originals. Nothing in the prequels "necessitates" alterations to the originals.

    Other than the obvious matte lines around the Rancor, and the vaseline blob under Luke's landspeeder, there's nothing about the effects in the originals that doesn't hold up today. Motion control was a revolutionary technology at the time that completely abandoned the "models on wires moving too fast" approach that characterized old movie serials. The models that were built for space shots are incredibly detailed and stand up better to scrutiny than the CG space battles the prequels gave us. The 2000-pound Jabba puppet is more believable, and more repulsive, than the animated version in the special editions or Episode I. The glass matte paintings still create seamless illusions of grand environments. Watching them now, I fail to see what is so (in the words of one poster I've seen) "embarassing" about them. In fact, movies from that era all the way up to Jurassic Park never fail to amaze me with what was accomplished using practical effects. From models to make-up to puppets to cel animation to matte paintings, it all has a tangible presence that computer graphics just can't compete with.

    Many of the alterations (and for that matter, things included in the prequels) took the movies from being films that adults and children could both enjoy, to just being something childish. Greedo shooting first so that Han doesn't look like a murderer. Having Sebulba skedaddle across Jabba's court. Having Jar Jar step in poop and then get farted on. That kind of change certainly points toward trying to market the film to younger viewers--and if he feels the need to change the films to accomplish that then that just proves they weren't entirely "chidlren's films" to begin with.

    I have to agree with the OP. If the films are truly timeless, then it is because the story is one that people can connect with at any time--not because the effects of a nearly 40-year old film are constantly being tinkered with to appear state of the art for decades afterwards.
    _Catherine_ likes this.