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Friday, May 26, 2006

Anamorphic Star Wars and Other Musings
So, the word is officially out, and the nerd community is in full swing, that the "original trilogy" of Star Wars films will be offered in a non-anamorphic DVD release in the fall. For those to whom this is a nonsensical complaint, think of the difference between blowing up a low resolution jpeg photo to fill your whole monitor screen and having a full-resolution image for your desktop, and you have some idea of how much this irritates Star Wars (and DVD) fanatics. Once again, we will be treated to a less-than-optimal version of our favourite versions of our favourite movies. It seems like one more example of Uncle George sticking it to the buying public. What do we make of it?

There's a thin line here, I think, between an artist's vision and popular demand. Clearly, George Lucas would not be where is today without the phenomenal success of Star Wars. At the same time, he is a film artist with a taste that should be respected by the legions of fanboys who demand that their every request be heeded. The folks over at the Digital Bits have it right when they mention that Anamorphic Widescreen DVD is now the industry standard, not some high-end option, and any film as important (and as visually groundbreaking) as Star Wars should be offered in it. That would be fine, had not Lucas officialy sworn off the "original edits" of the trilogy that mad him rich and famous in favour of his controversial 1997 "Special Editions" of what are now called "Episodes IV, V and VI" of his six-film Star Wars series. He's consistently, over the past ten years, described his original trilogy as flawed and worked very energetically to replace them with his new vision.

Here's where I stand on the issue: Lucas is the filmmaker. He can do what he wants with his own movies. If he wants to issue the original drafts of his trilogy in a compromised, technologically inferior edition, so be it. I won't buy it (my laserdiscs will do nicely, thanks), but that's his right. Anyhow, at a certain point, people have to get over Star Wars. Roger Ebert said in his review of Star Trek: Nemesis that he was "all done" with Star Trek. My friend and filmmaker Bulent Hasan said the same thing about Star Wars once he saw Episode III. It's time to move on.

One thing that's very "mindjack-ian" (to egotistically coin a phrase) about the whole controversy is how the internet has allowed public discourse to rise to such levels, and how things that would have, a few years earlier, been thought of as technical trivialities, have become symbolic of a proletariat struggle against the corporate elite. Or, to use other, more potent terms, the struggle of a group of Rebels against an evil Galactic Empire...
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 5/26/2006 Comments (0)
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nerds of the World Unite
News from the movie nerd department today in the form of a DVD release of the original, unaltered versions of the original Star Wars trilogy. After hundreds of thousands of fans wrote the Lucasfilm on the net, demanding such esoteric things as "Han shoots first", it's finally happening. The official link is here.

Before I go off to polish my pocket protector, I must reflect on how this demonstrates the power of the net to move certain companies to change. Things have come a long way from 1997, when I desperately searched through text-ridden websites looking for a quicktime movie of the "new" Star Wars footage. Now we just need to start our Blade Runner DVD petition.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 5/04/2006 Comments (3)
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