Friday, November 18, 2005

Couldn't have said it better myself.

So there I was, eating my Healthy Choice grilled chicken dinner and reading a thread on about Anakin's ghost in ROTJ, and I found a comment so well-put that I have to repeat it here:

I'm never ok with Lucas changing the movies all the time. It is intellectually and artisticly dishonest. Should the Beatles have rereleased all their early rock and roll music with drug induced lyrics and studio effects? Should Casa Blanca be colorized? Sequels and prequels and EU can do what they want, but it is a lie when Lucas changes things in the story and claims he always meant to. Alternative realities are fine, but falsifying the past is never good in art--it becomes just like political propaganda. Thank god Picasso didn;t repaint all his great cubist canvases when he stopped painting as a cubist!

Thanks DarthPoppy... wherever you may be.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Curious, George.

After picking up my copy of the Episode III DVD yesterday like a good little automaton, I watched most of the second disc—the one with the documentaries and special features—and I’m sorry to say that my disappointment with George Lucas has only been bolstered by direct quotes from himself and Rick McCallum. In fact, I actually felt a surge of sorrow as I listened to some of the comments they made.

As the three of you who will read this already know, I felt a sneaking foreboding going into Episode III. What disappointment I felt with the first two prequels left me with a twinge of distrust in George Lucas. Not knowing how far along the timeline the story of Episode III would go, I worried that Anakin would see Luke born, or worse, that he would see twins born. That would have thrown the entire story out of whack.

My secondary concern was that revealing too much to the audience would compromise the integrity of the storytelling in Episodes IV-VI. I was wondering if, when the prequels were complete, I would be able in the future to sit my children down to enjoy the Star Wars saga from beginning to end—Episode I-VI in order. To do this, certain key reveals that have an impact on the audience can’t be spoiled. “I am your father” and “There is another” don’t wield the same power if the audience is thinking, “Yeah, yeah, we know.”

While there were elements in Episodes I and II that already had me thinking that the I-VI introduction to Star Wars wouldn’t be possible, Episode III would be the deal-breaker. I even posted to this blog my concerns as the theatrical release date approached. The two main issues were (a) learning beyond a shadow of a doubt that Anakin is Darth Vader and Luke’s father, and (b) that Luke has a twin sister. While the characters learning about these things would be unforgivable, I prayed that that audience wouldn’t either.

May 19th came and went and I knew my children would be presented Star Wars in the order of their release, and not in the chronology of the story. As an audience member, I was actually happy to have seen Anakin’s immolation and transformation into the Vader we all know and love. I still had and have issues with the birth scene on several levels, but it is what it is and since it was clear this would always be the final chapter in the story and never the third of six, I accepted it.

November 1st came and I lost heap big respect for George.

In the special features of the Episode III release, one of the deleted scenes is Yoda’s arrival on Dagobah. Rick McCallum introduces it and mentions that he was sorry to see it cut but George said, “We know where he ends up anyway.” While I have no issues with the scene not being included in the final cut, that’s an odd thing for George to say if he intends the story to be told in chronological order. Now, I admit, I don’t remember if Yoda says where he’s going in the escape pod. If so, then George’s comment would make some sense—but only if you know what Dagobah looks like, or if Yoda were to say, “Ah, arrived on Dagobah I have. Remember, do you, that to Dagobah I said I was going? Hm? Well lie to you Yoda would not! Hm!”

Also disturbing is Rick's musing as though it’s inevitable that George will someday be tinkering with Episode III as he has with IV-VI.

The deleted Dagobah scene is almost irrelevant, except that in the featurette, The Chosen One, George describes the six-part saga as “one movie” that can be watched in order, beginning to end. If that’s the case, how can he say that we know where Yoda ends up? And more importantly, infinitely more importantly, how can he justify showing us the twins? Sure it’s fun to look back on Episode IV and think, “ha ha, Leia kissed her brother!” but if you watch Episode III then IV, you’d think, “oh, God! That’s your brother!”

Of course I understand that it’s all a modern version of mythology and already knowing that Oedipus is married to his mother doesn’t make Greek tragedy any less important. I’m just disappointed that George purports to have intended all along for his story to be told I-VI. He even goes as far as to suggest that if the first Star Wars would have been one stand-alone movie, that it would have ended with Vader revealed as a pitiful character.
George, please, enough with the BS. Just let us enjoy the gift you’ve given us as we originally took it into our hearts.

UPDATE 11/3/05
Dagobah is not, in fact, mentioned by Yoda or anyone else until Obi-Wan sends Luke there in Episode V.