Friday, October 01, 2004

Read this while humming "The Imperial March"

Spent my afternoon off work skimming the bonus disc in the new STAR WARS trilogy DVD box set.

Its all good stuff. The bonus disc includes plenty of old TV spots and trailers that reveal exactly what the hardcore obsessive who moans about the Special Editions is missing - plenty of dated special effects, dodgy rotoscoping, fuzzy lines around the blue screen and matte shots, etc. Plus, you've gotta love those U.S. voiceover guys with their booming gravelly voices.
Sure the documentaries feature a little too much ass-kissing to be healthy, but they're also loaded with a treasury of unseen footage and backstage access. The disc's anchor-piece EMPIRE OF DREAMS is especially strong on the troubled making of A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but gets progressively weaker towards the end (which I suppose reflects the decline in the source material, too). No-one in the documentaries points out that, whoa, isn't it ironic that the tendency towards over-elaboration, self-congratulation and complacency was the downfall of both Darth Siduous and George Lucas, but there you go.

I make no secret of the fact that I loved the Special Editions when they arrived in 1997. I enjoy the extra eye candy like the expanded Mos Eisley. I can live with Greedo shooting at the same time as Solo. I actually like the extended musical sequence at Jabba's palace, just because it allows extra screentime for Boba Fett. The only thing that really, really gets my goat was the changing of the Cantina Band theme, remaking the jaunty original into a lift-muzak travesty of its former self. The expanded celebration scene may piss some people off as they've shoe-horned Hayden Christensen in beside Alec Guiness, but what pisses me off is seeing Gungans milling about on Naboo. Part of me lived in hope that Anakin, as Vader, would have wiped them all out for fun one lazy sunday afternoon.

Hey, I'll never warm to the Ewoks, but at least their eyes occassionally blink now, which prevents them from being quite as creepy and unconvincing. The little furry bastards.


Mister Underhill said...

Greedo shooting first? BLASPHEMY.

Mark said...

Greedo shooting first WAS blasphemous. But now they shoot at the same time, which is still fairly redundant. Watch the build up to the sequence. As Greedo jabbers on about how much he's going to enjoy killing Solo, Han is unholstering his blaster, taking the safety off, etc. Greedo is fucked, basically, but he deserves it. Its not like Han had any other way out, it's self-defence, its totally justifiable. One other thing - why did they fuck up the music in the cantina band sequence? The old music was fine, a treasured childhood memory. Now its like a distorted Jazzer's version of the original. Uggh.