10 January 2016

Disney To Lucas, Go Cheney Yourself

Han Shot First
George Lucas is not a fan of the latest Star Wars movie.  In interviews, he has noted that they ignored his story treatments, and likened their treatment of the franchise to white slavery, though he has disavowed the whole "white slavery" bit.

Well, Disney just put the original theatrical releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi out as a new Blu Ray release:
Every few months, rumors arise that the original Star Wars Original Trilogy - as in the one where Han Solo shoots Greedo, not the other way around - is finally coming to Blu-ray, remastered for your HD television. It’s the sort of thing that Star Wars fans the world over have been clamoring for since George Lucas released the Special Edition on DVD back in 2004. Those fans – and just, well, film purists with a general respect for the history of movies – don’t much care for the updated movies and their CGI Jabba the Hutts and CGI musical numbers and ghost Hayden Christensens. They want to see what these movies looked like when they were originally released, matte lines and all, only with a noticeable upgrade in the audio-visual quality. Not too much to ask for, right?

Unfortunately, Lucas has famously refused to release remastered versions of the unaltered originals. He’s pretty stuck on the idea that the most recent Special Edition – there’ve been three at this point – is the truest version, the most accurate representation of his vision, and that no other iteration need be released to the public ever again. There was some renewed hope that he might loosen his grip on the movies when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, but some four years on and there’s been no movement on the matter. At least, not officially, not yet.

Star Wars Original Unaltered Trilogy Coming to Blu-Ray

But there is a new glimmer of hope. John Landis – who directed Animal House, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places, and more – was recently at Universal Studios in Orlando to talk about the newly installed Halloween Horror Nights American Werewolf in London maze. When asked whether or not he’d ever considered updating American Werewolf with modern effects a la the Star Wars Special Edition (which is an insane thing to ask because those werewolf effects are amazing and horrifying to this day), he said:
First of all, [the studio] wouldn’t let me. George owns his movies, so he can do what he wants … My personal opinion is George hurt his movies by doing what he did. However, George said to me, ‘But they’re my movies.’ I thought, ‘That’s fair.’

Did you know Disney, by the way, is putting out the original Star Wars the way it was? So Disney, they’re like, money on the floor.
So you’re probably wondering: “Why would John Landis have any inside information on whether or not Disney was releasing the theatrical editions?” That’s a good question. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he just heard this rumor – like we’ve all heard this rumor, time and again - and passed it on as though it were fact. It’s worth noting, however, that Landis and Lucas are close friends. They came up together in the same group of filmmakers. Lucas offered Landis the directing job for Howard the Duck, which Landis wisely passed on. Landis put Lucas in Beverly Hills Cop III, a movie probably just as bad as Howard the Duck. Which means it’s entirely possible that he got his information from a very inside source – George Lucas himself.
I hope that this is true.

I have a tendency as an engineer to fiddle beyond when the design is done, to the detriment of the end product, budget and schedule. 

I spend a lot of time fighting against this in my work.

I call it George Lucas syndrome, for obvious reasons.

I see nothing wrong with a creators original vision, and perhaps some commentary, back story, and deleted scenes in a DVD package, but the fact that Disney is prying this from his cold stiff fingers is a good thing.


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