Still rated PG, despite the fact that practically none of the new CG characters are wearing clothes. Clothes were too hard to render.
DIRECTOR: George Lucas
Yes, I put that this movie was released in 1997. If I have to write that this is a different movie (which, admittedly, I don't have to), I should put information about how this movie is noticeably different from the previous movie. It really is a happy accident that I'm writing this review on May 4th. Who knows? Maybe Weebly will find it in their digital hearts to promote something Star Wars related on Star Wars day. It worked for the Oscars, right?
The last review I did for the 1977 edition of Star Wars bemoaned how George Lucas used to be this young and hungry director, excited to change the world through film. The guy had to be a nerd. Before Star Wars, he directed another science fiction film and a film about the cars he used to like. That nerd was so eager. He had so much to say. I think this is where the break happened where that nerd grew up and George Lucas the millionaire happened. (Maybe Weebly won't post this. I'm just destroying a guy who has been destroyed hundreds of times before on his holiday. Happy birthday, George. Here's a bag of broken glass in the form of a review.) Especially starting with A New Hope, the movie just looks like a different film. I think I've mentioned Topher Grace's obsession with how editing kind of changes a film and I think that might be right. Adding scenes to a movie just feels kind of cheap. The delicate narrative that was in place before now takes a backseat to an awareness of the medium. We've been talking a lot about David Lynch in film class because one of the students has gone Twin Peaks crazy. Lynch understood that he didn't want the audience too comfortable with what they were watching so he intentionally pulled a Bertolt Brecht and alienated them as often as possible. While that has never been my favorite philosophy while narratives, I can respect the intention behind this. Lucas never went into Star Wars with this attitude. He wanted to make an emotionally vulnerable movie that seems muddled and lost in CG soup. Every time I watch the Han Solo / Jabba scene, I look to see how jarring the moment is. The landspeeder in Mos Eisley looks like it is an afterthought to the circus that is going on. If he could achieve these moments in '77, we would have lost focus on our characters.
I'm going through the old films in an attempt to watch the "Machete Cut". (I don't know when I'm going to watch my copy of Rogue One.) I got the saga for my birthday and I hate owning things that I haven't watched my copy of. I'm aware of the sadness that is my life. You need not remind me. The best thing about this is the copy of the print. I didn't think that the difference between my DVDs and the Blu-ray would matter, but it kind of really does. This seems childish and stupid, but the color black is where my jaw drops. (I hear it too! I know. I'm sorry I care. Geez.) On the old DVD transfers, there's the infamous square around TIE fighters that was never seen on a low-res print. DVD was the weird place where the print was good enough that you could see the faults in the special effects, but not so high def that you could really do anything about it. Blu-ray kind of changed that. The space scenes are very impressive and I love watching something that feels real. I don't mean to get back on my old anti-CG horse (He's a very old and beaten horse that eats real carrots), but I compare the (admittedly cool) sequence from the beginning of Revenge of the Sith to even the simple TIE fighter vs. Millennium Falcon sequence of A New Hope. It is very simple, but it is nerve wracking. Yes, the scene in Revenge of the Sith might be my favorite sequence in a movie I don't really care for, but I also acknowledge that there's nothing scary about it. I don't know what it is. Perhaps it is the level of disaster that I've seen in every blockbuster movie for the past generation that has made me numb, but watching models fly by seems weirdly more engaging. Yeah, yeah. I would use CG too if I got to film a movie, but I've never denied that I'm a hypocrite.
I had fun watching this one again. The same beats are still in there and, while the CG definitely distracts from the main plot, the root emotions are there. I choose not to Google how many adjustments have been made to this film since 1997 because that's just going to depress me. The gunfire in Mos Eisley between Greedo and Han looked nearly simultaneous. I know it doesn't make it better, but it is still weird how Greedo misses at point blank range. Han Solo still seems cool, but he isn't as scary. (You know? How you always thought of Han Solo as scary? No? Okay.) I guess I'm becoming more and more of a Star Wars guy because of these movies. I loved having my kids cuddle up with me and watch these on my day off. Part of experiencing these movies, I guess, is just accepting that this is the way it is now. There are far more evils in the world and I would never dare to tell my kids how my versions were better when I was a kid. That is the dark side of nerddom, making others feel bad about what they like. I have the original prints on Laserdisc (cool!) and when they're teenagers, I might show it to them. For all I know, they might hate Star Wars by the time they could become film snobs. But I do admire what these movies do for my son. He gets scared at everything because he's three. But you know what he loves? Star Wars. That might disappear in a year, but I wanted him to see A New Hope because the first one isn't depressing and it is a great adventure story.
Okay, I distracted him during the dianoga scene. But could you blame me for avoiding trash monster nightmares?
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.