(Warning: Geeky content.)
(Yeah, like that’s different.)
I don’t have to tell you about the storm raging over the upcoming release of the first versions of the Star Wars films this September (these are supposedly referred to as OOT – the Original Original Trilogy).
I’ll just say this. At first it sure looks like A New Hope, but then, before you know it, The Empire Strikes Back.
I need an excuse to save money anyway.
It’s all a matter of perspective. The version of Star Wars a person first sees is the “real” Star Wars as far as that person is concerned, and all the quote unquote improvements don’t do anything to change that perspective. It only causes (at best) a scratching of the and the thought, That movie was pretty good; why’d they have to mess with it?
It probably seems trivial whether or not “Han shoots first,” to take the best known example, but it isn’t.
We all know Han Solo is just a just big soft cuddle-bug, but we didn’t know that in 1977. The fact that he shot first made the character dangerous, and hinted (just a bit) that he might just dump Luke and Obi-Wan in space and keep their money.
Having him shoot second reeks of Political Correctness. Of course, in 1997 (when the first tinkering edition appeared) there couldn’t be a person on the planet who didn’t know that Solo was, as noted, a cuddle-bug. The playing field had changed, and honestly, Lucas could bring the character more in line with the prevailing cultural ethos. A man who looked dangerous but wasn’t. Someone who would never take the first shot.
But the playing field had only changed outside the movie. Inside, the story being told is the same story, just more pre-packaged and with the rough edges carefully filed down. We’re deeper in post-modernity, well aware of the storytelling archetypes and their relation to the from being shown to us.
The fact that the characters in the story suffer is beside the point. Besides, remember those toy sales.
Remember, too, that in a couple of years an even newer version will be offered to the public. And a whole new generation will watch part of their childhood disappear.
But there’ll be new toys, too.