Friday, May 20, 2005

Is there anything else BUT Star Wars?

Since my last posting of the continuing saga of the Star Wars saga, I haven’t really been able to bring myself to write any other post that doesn’t have to do with Star Wars. It’s been sort of hanging over my head. I feel like I’m about to have dinner with an X-Boyfriend, and every waking hour, every minute of the day is devoted to thinking what it will be like.

The Jury is certainly in box office wise as the movie raked in $16.5 Million from the Wednesday night midnight screenings alone, and as they tabulate the results from yesterday it seems that ROTH has broken an all time one day Box Office record. (Thank God Shrek 2 will no longer hold the honor of having the all time biggest one day opening.) While this number is not entirely surprising, it does not exactly fit with the trend of decline that occurred between Episodes I and II. The Phantom Menace grossed $431 Million, but Attack of the Clones only grossed $302 Million. That is a 30% percent drop in box office gross, which is not good when you factor in inflation, and the fact that trilogies should ideally increase their box office returns with each release in the series. {Example: LOTR Fellowship grossed $313 Mil, LOTR 2 Towers grossed $339 and LOTR Return of the King grossed $337}

But it seems that the faith of the masses has been rekindled, and even with past disappointments, no one can resist going to watch the dark side reign supreme. Based off the numbers so far, I would take a guess that this weekend the film will gross at least $85 Million if not more. I would also venture that the total Box Office gross will surpass Phantom Menace’s numbers, and get to about $500 Mill. Those are hefty numbers I realize, but being that this is the culmination of one of the most influential epics in cinematic history, I think people will forgive and forget and go out in droves. Just as Anakin will fail to redeem himself and fall prey to the dark side in this film, this is Lucas’ last chance to do exactly the opposite. Everyone wants Lucas to show us that he hasn’t lost his touch, and still knows how to make us cheer, laugh and cry.

I still have about thirty two hours to go before I see E.3 – ROTS. As I drum my fingers on my desk, I find myself going through the emotional rollercoaster of excitement and then anticipatory disappointment of waiting to see the film. Since this is Star Wars week, and since I am unable to gather my focus on much else, I have decided to post a hypothetical letter that I wrote to Lucas several months ago. This was prompted by the release of the Original Trilogy DVD set that went on sale back in the fall. This was written B.N.I.H. (Before New Yorker In Hollywood – so I sent it out in a mass email to some friends and posted it on a friend’s blog) It’s a bit angrier than some of my usual rants here, but it’s like they always say:
You have to really care about something in order to get this worked up about it.

Dear George Lucas,

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away lived a geeky little girl who loved three movies dearly. These three movies, which formed a trilogy by the name of Star Wars were first conceived in the late 1970's when American Cinema arguably jumped the shark. Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi were fun adventure movies in space, with ground breaking special effects, some campy acting, and a totally compelling storyline about good vs. evil and the internal struggles we all face in life. It also had kickass alien characters like Yoda and Admiral Ackbar. This little girl, let's just call her ME, spent oh a better part of her days watching these original movies over and over again until frames of film were imbedded on her cornea, and she could recite most of the films on cue.

{I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.}

The remasters that were released on VHS in 1990 were terrifically exciting. The picture looked clearer, the sound was better, I was thrilled!

Then came 1997. The Special Editions. All three movies brought back to the big screen for the first time since their original release!! I had seen the last two in the theatre but was only old enough to really remember watching Return of the Jedi in wide eyed awe. But George, you just weren't re-releasing them and remastering them, you were adding a few things here and there, changing things to the way you say you really would have done them back in the day. But I trusted you George and I respected you, and I didn't doubt you for a minute.

Until I saw the Special Editions that is....

{LUKE: Uncle Owen, this units got a bad motivator UNCLE OWEN: Hey what are you trying to push on us?!}

Ok so you had added a couple creatures here and there on that desert planet that Luke lived on, that's cool, even some more in Mos Isles - but then there came the initial first horrorible grievance. Han Solo no longer shoots Gredo first! Because he's such a good guy?!?! What happened to the "scoundrel" that you, I and princess Leia loved so much? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

From there it only gets worse, Empire being the best one (which might I remind you - you neither directed or wrote!) was left relatively unscathed, but then came Jedi, which you screwed up even more. What with changing the number in Jabba's palace, messing up the freaky sand pits, and then not only adding the shots of the cities at the end but irrevocably removing the moving rendition of "Nub, Nub" as sung by the Ewoks in the touching campside celebration! George how could you do this to me? You broke my heart! You ripped a piece of my childhood from my soul!

GEORGE YOU FOOL.

{Leia: Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!}

After this things only got worse. Episodes I and II, were, well......I'll leave that for another letter. George, you left me with two bastard children that I feel compelled to defend from naysayers out of a sense of aborted loyalty, but children that I am too ashamed to even welcome into my own home.

But my heartache was not over. When I first heard the "good news" about the release of the DVDs. I thought well this is it. Many directors have their "director's cuts" on DVD, but they also have the theatrical release available. Remember Spielberg your old buddy? He did his thing with E.T. but he still had the theatrical release on there.

But did you do the sane and rational thing? No. You bungled everything up once again! No, you said. No, you selfishly declared. These are my movies, and I decide what to do with them! Star Wars is not a democracy! Well gee George I'm sure Stalin would be proud of your evil conniving ways, but I'm sure even he would want the original versions on DVD!

But the horror only continues I find, because not only are you not releasing the originals, but you are changing them even more then the "Special" editions. Because you need to make all six "films" seem cohesive. So you get a new Boba Fett voice, and you change dialogue between the emperor and Vader in Empire. You even add a Gungin at the end of Jedi declaring "WEESSAAA FWEEEE." Even the original artwork has been pushed aside for hideous graphics that imitate the DVD's of "those which shall not be named"

So Lucas, on this day that geeks everywhere are lining up to make you even more money, I choose to defy you! I will not give in to the dark side, because the force is strong with me. And if Star Wars isn't a democracy, then I'm moving to another star system!!!

Release the original films on DVD or die. It is a simple request.

I leave you with these thoughts of a once and great philosopher. For I think they apply to you.

"For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless."
- Master Yoda


Sincerely,

A Disgruntled “Fan”


1 Comments:

Blogger Patrick A. Reed said...

Oh, DUDE! You wrote that? I've had it saved in my email inbox since it was forwarded to me last fall. It's still the most dead-on rant on the topic I've seen. Nub nub indeed.

9:20 AM  

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