The Conversation: Usual Bitching (and Some *GASP* Cheers) for Latest 'Star Wars' Tinkering

The Conversation: Usual Bitching (and Some *GASP* Cheers) for Latest 'Star Wars' Tinkering

Aug 24, 2011

If you're still complaining about George Lucas and his regular tinkering with the Star Wars films, it might be time to move on. You've got to be old enough by now to have other, more crucial concerns. Like fighting off death or kicking kids off your lawn or worrying about what Ridley Scott is doing to his own classics. As for those of you getting excited about the tweaks and improvements being made for next month's Blu-ray releases of the six Episodes, I commend you for iconoclasm and envy your youthful optimism. 

So far there aren't too many details known about what to expect, at least outside of some technical aspects, so the whining and the cheering (whoah) is still at a minimum. The main appreciation, however, involves the appearance of Yoda specifically in The Phantom Menace. Enough people apparently watch that installment to have noticed and cared about the fact a puppet version of the old Jedi master has been replaced with a digital version. Check out video comparisons below (via Slashfilm).

Here's what people are saying around the web about the Yoda facelift and the Blu-ray tinkering in general:


Man alive, George Lucas pisses me off. He calls the 9/16 Blu-ray release “The Complete Saga” but leaves out the original cuts of the first three films — the cuts we all fell in love with, where Han Solo’s character is beautifully established by him shooting first. If Lucas wants to clean up matte shots and color correct and the like, I get that, but to change important character bits and make certain background shots busier just because he can, is infuriating. Fine, indulge yourself with another version. No one’s saying you can’t. But those of us who grew up with these films want to remember them as they were. It’s like someone tinkering with your home movies. - John Nolte, Big Hollywood

RUMOR HAS IT that George Lucas has added some more unwanted bits to the Star Wars Blu-Ray edition. I’m not buying, Lucas. In the words of another famous George, “Jar Jar me once, shame on you, Jar Jar me twice, well, um, that’s a shame or something.” - Joanna Robinson, Pajiba


Many of the new changes should be far less controversial than those George Lucas made in the 90s — color timing is being corrected, cleaning is being done to eliminate ghosting and the arms of puppeteers are being removed from certain original trilogy scenes. Not all bad. Then again, digital Yoda is coming back, so there’s that. - Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

One of these new ‘surprises’ is certainly an all-CGI Yoda in The Phantom Menace, but who really gives a shit about that. What I’m concerned about is further tampering with the Original Trilogy. It seems to me wildly unlikely that he is leaving these films alone, especially as they have been further cleaned up and audio corrected after the 2004 DVD release. Some of those corrections are welcome, though – check out the Digital Bits to see how the Blu version restores the light sabers to their original color and concept. - Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

We’re so far beyond the point where complaining about George Lucas making changes to Star Wars is actually an expression of surprise or outrage. It’s just a ritual. We expect him to change things around every time the films hit a new format, so much so that I think there would be more genuine surprise expressed if the saga hit Blu-ray and didn’t feature any new alterations [...] I can’t say the new Yoda looks bad, but they really ditched a lot of the physical characteristics of the puppet. - Russ Fischer, /Film

I'm actually for the creepy Yoda puppet from Episode 1 getting replaced with a digital Yoda -- generally, I'm all for puppets over CG, but the Episode 1 Yoda puppet was terrible, and I think having one consistent Yoda for the prequel trilogy is the lesser of two evils here. - Rob Bricken, Topless Robot

This might be going against the grain a bit, but personally I’ve no problem with The Phantom Menace being tinkered with. I’m not one of those who hates the movie, but conversely, I don’t have any passion towards it. The insertion of a CGI Yoda is the least of that movie’s problems, if we’re being circumspect about it. - Simon Brew, Den of Geek

First off, The Phantom Menace is as bad as you remember, no? Egad! Jake Lloyd much!? That low-hanging fruit grabbed and squashed, let’s give credit where credit is due: Puppet Yoda looks more fake than usual in Menace, surrounded by all the other computer-generated moments; his CG replacement feels somehow more real — or at least complementary to Lucas’s overwhelming digital aesthetic. As long as the bearded one doesn’t touch OG Yoda, we’re cool. - Christopher Rosen, Movieline

I wish he would leave the original trilogy alone, but he can play with the prequel trilogy all he wants since almost any change would be an improvement.  Case and point: the new Blu-rays have removed the awful Yoda puppet from The Phantom Menace and replaced it with the CGI Yoda we saw in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  Hopefully Lucas won’t try to replace the puppet Yoda in the original trilogy because that still works [...] I suppose we’re not at the point where we can digitally replace Jake Lloyd with something that can act. - Matt Goldberg, Collider

There are few guarantees in life, but here's one of them: If a new home-video format becomes popular enough, George Lucas will tweak the Star Wars movies and sell them all again once more [...] est assured that the puppet Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi remains intact. (At least until we come up with something better than Blu-ray, that is.) - Kyle Buchanan, Vulture

I guess we should be thankful that this appears to be the only major change he's making. But what will the 3D re-releases of the two trilogies have in store I wonder.... - Paul Tassi,


@loquaciousmuse: There's beauty in something being dated, especially something that influential [...] Yoda better still be a puppet, is what I'm trying to say

@ASMzine: I'll go on the record here - I prefer the puppet Yoda in TPM to the new CG version for Blu-Ray.

@GrabBagCinema: I may catch heat for this, but I think the CGI Yoda looks much better than the botox looking puppet in Ep. 1.

@sportswookie: Slashfilm breaking down new CGI Yoda in Phantom Menace. Too much trouble. No one likes that film anyway

@jerocrowe: Nerds complaining that puppet Yoda from ep I is being replaced with CGI Yoda when they never would'be watched Ep I anyway.

@CapnWiley: Lucas even going in and messing with The Phantom Menace now, still not making it watchable

@KevinBarbareAAF: "Looks like CHA-CHING!"- George Lucas RT @GeekTyrant: What the new CGI Yoda will look like in STAR WARS Episode I


Will you be buying the new Blu-rays when they arrive September 16?


Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to be a part of "The Conversation." 

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