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September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?" 
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
Is it possible the theatrical version of "Star Wars" was a "happy accident" and that with these continuous changes we're getting is what Lucas was really trying to make in 1977?


Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:58 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
ck100 wrote:
Is it possible the theatrical version of "Star Wars" was a "happy accident" and that with these continuous changes we're getting is what Lucas was really trying to make in 1977?


Indeed, for years now I've been harping on the fact that if today's technology was available back then, the films would've looked more or less the way they do now from the get-go. Of course, the things on which he later changed his mind (the Han/Greedo showdown, pre-Sith Anakin appearing as a spirit at the end, Vader's 'Noo!' before offing his master) can't be helped now (I've come to accept the former two [though the Han/Greedo thing will never be perfect], but I still don't agree with the latter).

As for those who claimed TESB and ROTJ aren't truly Lucas' films because he didn't write or direct them is not entirely true, either. Those 2 films were made more in the style of television, i.e. where the Exec Producer is the one with the creative control and the directors are just the ones hired to do the actual shooting of the whole thing. Indeed, due to Richard Marquand's lack of experience with big-budget FX movies, Lucas actually ended up helping him out a fair amount. And he may not have written the scripts (though he actually did co-write ROTJ), the storylines were still from his mind.

Honestly, looking back, Star Wars has always essentially been a series of glorified Buck Rogers movies. Yes, they used to be the "Citizen Kane," "Casablanca," and "Gone with the Wind" of my life, but I've seen thousands of movies since them, and lots of BETTER movies. And as for the prequels, at least they managed to make me feel like a kid again. Movies don't change -- times (and people) do. :P

Quote:
There are no changes, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just sucked really bad*.



*Not really, but I'm in the minority on this one.


Agreed. I like to compare the Indy movies in baseball terms: "Lost Ark" was a grand slam, "Last Crusade" was a 2-run triple, "Temple of Doom" was an RBI single with the hitter advancing to 2nd on the throw home, and "Crystal Skull" was a leadoff single up the middle (but STILL NOT an out). 8-)


Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:02 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
ed_metal_head wrote:
Ickibod wrote:
What people seem to be forgetting is that George Lucas was not the sole author of the Star Wars saga - he neither wrote nor directed Empire, and he only co-wrote Return of the Jedi, and didn't direct it. They're not "His films" in that sense, and it's something everyone debating this would do well to remember.


Good point. He certainly was the chief creative force but not the only creative force. I wonder how the other parties feel/would have felt about the changes.

So, in the case of Star Wars, is George Lucas "the artist" or "the copyright holder"? Maybe both?


Executive producer?


Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:16 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
One solution to the problem would be for Lucas to do what Coppola did with Apocalypse Now. He made both versions (The original and the Redux) available. In fact, I have the complete dossier which has both versions.

There's a difference between what's happening here and what happened with Blade Runner. The original cut of that was not the one Ridley Scott wanted to release. But he succumbed to what the studio wanted. Having seen all three cuts (the original 1982 one, the 1992 director's cut and the 2007 Final Cut which I own on DVD and is the one I recommend) I can say that the tinkering benefited the movie a great deal. In this case, all the the tinkering has appeared to do is piss people off.

I'm not arguing against Lucas' right to do with his movies what he pleases and I'm not speaking as a Star Wars fanboy. I was always more of a casual fan of the series. I like em. But I don't rave over em. I wonder though if there comes a time when it's best to leave well enough alone.

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Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:58 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
This isn't James Cameron adding to a film like the Abyss: Special Edition, making it far superior to the theatrical cut by adding 30 min. of effects and proper story that explains everything (that the studio said he didn't have the budget for). This seems to be a fucking tool not giving fans what they want and completely changing certain aspects that people loved.

Like people have said, if he thinks that the originals wasn't all there then fine...release your new versions with the originals...quit being an obnoxious shit-head.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:06 am
Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
All I can say is that I personally find the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy to be unwatchable, so I am very disappointed that Lucas has continually refused to remaster the original theatrical versions of the films. I would honestly rather watch no Star Wars at all than have my memories of the original films be cheapened by Lucas's "Special Ed" versions.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:28 am
Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
ed_metal_head wrote:
KRoss wrote:
But let's not forget he and Speilberg did rape Indiana Jones, however. :lol:


South Park tackled Lucas and Spielberg years before Indiana Jones got raped (2002, to be exact). The episode "Free Hat" is about them changing their movies years later. Required viewing, in my humble opinion:
http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s06e09-free-hat



I loved that episode too. That's gotta be something out of JB's worst nightmare: Ewoks added to Raiders of the Lost Ark! :lol:


Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:47 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
ck100 wrote:
At most he only edited some of the scenes, restored one scene and shot two new ones. Pretty minuscule compared to what Lucas has done.

I don't think so. Doesn't one version have a completely different ending? IMDB says:

Runtime: 132 min (special edition) | 137 min (director's cut) | 135 min (original version)

Star Wars (A New Hope):

Runtime: 121 min | 125 min (special edition)

But for this one the changes are mostly additional eyecandy, nothing that modifies the story.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:46 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
James Berardinelli wrote:

I think it's bullshit to say that when something gets put out there, it belongs to everyone. There wouldn't be copyright laws if that was the case. The interpretation and reaction to a piece of art (or, in this case, pop culture - I do not view SW as being "art") are individualist things but the property itself belongs to Lucas. He is free to change it as he sees fit and doesn't need the approval (or lack thereof) of anyone to do so.


The property belongs to Lucas, but the experience does not. That is what filmmakers sell first and foremost - an experience. This also drives right to the root of why I have such little respect for Lucas; he's changing his films, continually trying to force the viewer to experience what he thinks they should, instead of allowing the viewer to experience Star Wars on their own terms.

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Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:24 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
There's a quote by Alex Ross (the watercolorist famous for his superhero artwork) that makes me think of Lucas every time.

Quote:
"I never know [when a piece is done], actually. I could spend an infinite amount of time on anything. At some point you reach a fatigue level--and by that I don't mean physically, I mean aesthetically--when I don't see the answers anymore, when I don't know what else to do with it."


It must be difficult to know when that point has been reached, especially if you have carte blanche to work on the piece indefinitely.

My only beef with George Lucas is his insistence on releasing only the latest editions. He knows there's a market for the untouched movies and he refuses to satisfy it. I'm sure he has his reasons, but I refuse to buy any updated version that does not also include the ones that I really want. And unlike the bitterest of fans, I don't feel the overwhelming urge to buy something I know I'm not going to like.

Well, to be accurate, that's my only Star Wars-related beef with Lucas. He never did get around to making smaller, more personal films again, which is a shame.

---

A note on Han Solo shooting first:

Unless it is to be released as unrated, all new movies that get released must go before the MPAA ratings board. That includes older movies that have been modified with footage that hasn't been seen by the MPAA yet. Thus, in 1997, the special editions of Star Wars had to go before the MPAA board for reconsideration.

I have heard (and have no compelling reason to disbelieve) that the cold-blooded shooting of Greedo was cause for a PG-13 rating. The reason it got a PG in 1977 was that the PG-13 rating didn't exist yet. Lucas had the option of either accepting the harsher rating or altering the scene to keep the PG, and he chose the latter.

Had it not been for the MPAA's insistence, the scene very well may have remained untouched. Lucas could have opted to accept the PG-13, but he didn't want to damage the child-friendly reputation of the film.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:39 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
While I don't think Lucas "raped" my childhood, I can't comprehend why he has withheld the original versions of these films. If he wants to continuously tinker with them, that's fine, but release the originals as well! Whenever I take my Blu copies of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, or the 4 Alien films off the shelf, I have the option of watching whichever version I choose. Why is this so hard for Star Wars? Another good point was made by Adam Jahnke:

"Take another look at the names of the people who won Oscars for their work on Star Wars. George Lucas is not among them. No matter what he’d like to believe, Lucas did not single-handedly create this film. To continually change it is a sign of disrespect for his collaborators. It says your work wasn’t good enough."

You can find the full article here:
http://www.themortonreport.com/entertainment/film/an-honor-to-be-nominated-star-wars


Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:50 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
iljitsch wrote:
ck100 wrote:
At most he only edited some of the scenes, restored one scene and shot two new ones. Pretty minuscule compared to what Lucas has done.

I don't think so. Doesn't one version have a completely different ending? IMDB says:

Runtime: 132 min (special edition) | 137 min (director's cut) | 135 min (original version)

Star Wars (A New Hope):

Runtime: 121 min | 125 min (special edition)

But for this one the changes are mostly additional eyecandy, nothing that modifies the story.


All three versions of "Close Encounters" have the same ending. The only one that is slightly different is the special edition which has its ending extended by showing the inside of the mothership.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:18 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
canadianbs101 wrote:
While I don't think Lucas "raped" my childhood, I can't comprehend why he has withheld the original versions of these films. If he wants to continuously tinker with them, that's fine, but release the originals as well!


Sums it up perfectly.

Ken wrote:
My only beef with George Lucas is his insistence on releasing only the latest editions. He knows there's a market for the untouched movies and he refuses to satisfy it. I'm sure he has his reasons, but I refuse to buy any updated version that does not also include the ones that I really want. And unlike the bitterest of fans, I don't feel the overwhelming urge to buy something I know I'm not going to like.

Well, to be accurate, that's my only Star Wars-related beef with Lucas. He never did get around to making smaller, more personal films again, which is a shame.


In the book Easy Riders Raging Bulls, it's inferred that Lucas sort of felt that the success of Star Wars straitjacketed his career. While I take that quote with a grain of salt, I find myself acknowledging that it's true regardless of whether or not Lucas feels that way.

Trace it back to when THX 1138 erroneously got pegged as a botch because it was a commercial failure at the box office. Part of me suspects that if it had been released at a different time, it might have been more of a success. I watched it recently and noted that while it's not a masterpiece, it's a fairly decent film with a premise that foreshadows the likes of Gattaca. If it had been more successful, it might have opened the door for Lucas to branch out and try other things. But its commercial failure pushed Lucas into making something more commercial, something that would appeal to the popcorn crowd. The result of that was American Graffiti, which may very well still be Lucas' best movie. The commercial success of American Graffiti gave Lucas carte blanche for Star Wars and the rest, needless to say, is history.

It was different with Spielberg, mainly because he didn't bomb right out of the gate. If he had, things might've turned out differently. He debuted with Duel, which was basically a TV movie, then did Sugarland Express then Jaws. His first box office failure was in 1980 with 1941. But he acknowledged that 1941 was a mistake and rebounded with Raiders Of The Lost Ark. He continued to make movies.

I've long felt that the Star Wars prequels would've been better than they ultimately were if Lucas had made some other films in between. If he had gone off and done a few smaller, more personal fims, then he might've gotten the skills needed to make the prequels into truly great films instead of merely good ones.

As far as the original three Indiana Jones movies go (not counting the controversial fourth which I admit to liking somewhat better than quite a few people did) they worked for a variety of reasons. But one was that Spielberg didn't just spread them out over the course of a decade and do nothing in-between.

In a way, doing something other than Star Wars was never really in the cards for Lucas. While Spielberg was able to make the transition to serious dramatic filmmaking with The Color Purple and Schindler's List, Lucas had nowhere else to go. He could either continue to make Star Wars movies or he could go fish. The choice was his. Star Wars, whether he really feels that way or not, did straitjacket him. A significant portion of the public has never seen THX or American Graffiti and to them Lucas is associated with one brand.

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Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:51 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
ed_metal_head wrote:
Ickibod wrote:
What people seem to be forgetting is that George Lucas was not the sole author of the Star Wars saga - he neither wrote nor directed Empire, and he only co-wrote Return of the Jedi, and didn't direct it. They're not "His films" in that sense, and it's something everyone debating this would do well to remember.


Good point. He certainly was the chief creative force but not the only creative force. I wonder how the other parties feel/would have felt about the changes.

So, in the case of Star Wars, is George Lucas "the artist" or "the copyright holder"? Maybe both?


There is considerable anecdotal evidence that Lucas did in fact direct both EMPIRE and JEDI, with Kirshner and Marquand acting as glorified second unit directors. At the time, if my memory serves, Lucas had been kicked out of the Director's Guild over a spat regarding the end credits to SW, which didn't adhere to DGA requirements. Rather than re-edit them, Lucas dug in his heels and either quit or was kicked out. But there was a problem. Union actors/craftsman were not permitted to work on films helmed by a non-union director. (I think that rule has since been abolished or relaxed.) So, in order to make EMPIRE, Lucas had to officially distance himself from the production and hire a DGA-approved director. Enter Irwin Kirshner. On-set reports, however, indicated that George was always around and was constantly providing "suggestions." No one over the years has ever argued that EMPIRE is not Lucas', although it is a more collaborative effort than SW.

JEDI's back story is similar. David Lynch rejected an opportunity to direct JEDI because he didn't like the idea of essentially being a figurehead.

Director questions aside, Lucas owns the films and can do what he wants to do with them. He made EMPIRE and JEDI outside of the studio system with his own money so he could retain the full rights to them. They are his, lock, stock and barrel. For a long time, he didn't own SW, but part of the deal he made with 20th Century Fox is that, in exchange for them getting the distribution rights to the prequel trilogy, he got to buy back SW. So, for better or worse, Lucas owns all six films.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:40 am
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
James Berardinelli wrote:
There is considerable anecdotal evidence that Lucas did in fact direct both EMPIRE and JEDI, with Kirshner and Marquand acting as glorified second unit directors. At the time, if my memory serves, Lucas had been kicked out of the Director's Guild over a spat regarding the end credits to SW, which didn't adhere to DGA requirements. Rather than re-edit them, Lucas dug in his heels and either quit or was kicked out. But there was a problem. Union actors/craftsman were not permitted to work on films helmed by a non-union director. (I think that rule has since been abolished or relaxed.) So, in order to make EMPIRE, Lucas had to officially distance himself from the production and hire a DGA-approved director. Enter Irwin Kirshner. On-set reports, however, indicated that George was always around and was constantly providing "suggestions." No one over the years has ever argued that EMPIRE is not Lucas', although it is a more collaborative effort than SW.

JEDI's back story is similar. David Lynch rejected an opportunity to direct JEDI because he didn't like the idea of essentially being a figurehead.

Director questions aside, Lucas owns the films and can do what he wants to do with them. He made EMPIRE and JEDI outside of the studio system with his own money so he could retain the full rights to them. They are his, lock, stock and barrel. For a long time, he didn't own SW, but part of the deal he made with 20th Century Fox is that, in exchange for them getting the distribution rights to the prequel trilogy, he got to buy back SW. So, for better or worse, Lucas owns all six films.


The issue was that Lucas didn't want to put any credits at the beginning of the movie, something which I'm sure hardly ever happens these days. As for the rest, it's reasonable to suggest that Lucas acted in authority in terms of directing since the rule regarding his non-union membership was a big issue.


Ken wrote:
A note on Han Solo shooting first:

Unless it is to be released as unrated, all new movies that get released must go before the MPAA ratings board. That includes older movies that have been modified with footage that hasn't been seen by the MPAA yet. Thus, in 1997, the special editions of Star Wars had to go before the MPAA board for reconsideration.

I have heard (and have no compelling reason to disbelieve) that the cold-blooded shooting of Greedo was cause for a PG-13 rating. The reason it got a PG in 1977 was that the PG-13 rating didn't exist yet. Lucas had the option of either accepting the harsher rating or altering the scene to keep the PG, and he chose the latter.

Had it not been for the MPAA's insistence, the scene very well may have remained untouched. Lucas could have opted to accept the PG-13, but he didn't want to damage the child-friendly reputation of the film.


It WASN'T cold blooded though, that's the whole point. In our own day and age, such an act would be punished and considered as such however as I pointed out, the contextual circumstances suggest otherwise. Solo is in theory the bad guy since he is a smuggler but since the person he has stolen from is also a criminal, it's not as if anyone can do much about it. Enter the bounty hunter, who is attempting to bring Solo (a criminal) to Jabba (another criminal) by force (which makes him a criminal). All of this is going on under the nose of the Empire, who's very presence is essentially... criminal! Since Solo is the only person of the lot who doesn't make his living by rounding people up for slaughter etc, he is pretty much the good guy of the situation. His shooting Greedo is self-defence, nothing more or less.

I know the MPAA wouldn't see it this way however that is why we have a problem; nothing is looked at in context anymore.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:17 pm
Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
Meh, I probably shouldn't have used the term "cold-blooded" so much as "criminal-ass criminals doing criminal-ass shit".

We seem to agree Han preemptively murdered so that he wouldn't get murdered first, which is what I meant. Even so, that is a fairly PG-13 idea. Even though I disagree with the very existence of the MPAA ratings and think that the scene shouldn't have been changed, I can see what might lead them to object to that scene. Putting myself in their shoes, making a hero of this character is a pretty edgy move for a kids' movie.

---

I've heard the same stuff JB has, regarding Lucas covertly directing the sequels himself. I believe the term I heard specifically was "directing over-the-shoulder". Given how technically similar they are to the first film, I can buy it, though I'm guessing that Kershner took the liberty to work a little more closely with the actors.

Spielberg was considered, though ultimately unable, to direct Jedi. That would have been interesting to see.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:17 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
Quote:
I have heard (and have no compelling reason to disbelieve) that the cold-blooded shooting of Greedo was cause for a PG-13 rating.


Where did you hear this? I don't believe it for a second, if that's the case all 1950s scif-fi & Buck Rogers would be PG13 today. The evil space men back then got blasted with ray guns regularly without shooting first.

With or without Greedo shooting first, Star Wars is as kid friendly as can be(wouldn't have surprised me if it got a G in '77), you generally need some blood or a few curse words or a drug reference maybe even a boob to get a PG13 today (the last Die Hard was a PG13 & has as many kills as the others, just toned down cursing & blood shown a bit)

If 1977's cut of Star Wars could get a PG13 in 1997, then Jaws would be a R today, which I have trouble seeing(PG13 for sure though)


Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:33 pm
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Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
Buck Rogers predated the MPAA rating system by a couple decades.

And I can easily see Jaws getting an R, though I'm sure they would ultimately tend towards PG-13 for marketing purposes.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:41 pm
Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
The obvious question: Were you influenced by <A HREF="http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=580">this</A>?

I think what annoys most people is not his tinkering, though I can understand the annoyance, but rather the fact that it is rather obvious that charging people again and again for essentially the same product, i.e. greed, is his main motivation.

By the way, what is your take on the "enhanced" original-series Star Trek?

Where this annoys me even more is with re-releases of CDs which include one or two bonus tracks which are otherwise not available. Jethro Tull did the right thing: issue a double CD of just the bonus tracks. (Even worse is the "Greatest Hits" album with <I>one</I> previously unreleased track.)

Fortunately, the fact that I had most of the stuff from my favourite bands on vinyl meant that I didn't buy the stuff again on CD at first, but waited until better (from a technical standpoint, but also with full liner notes etc) CDs had appeared. I do mourn for those who bought first-run CDs, though. However, more than one update is not really forgivable. Having bought the box set just a few years ago, I was surprised that Pink Floyd now have a new luxurious box set. These guys were rich even before their first album. I really don't get it. Yes, there is nothing wrong with offering more stuff, but it should be available in addition to the already remastered studio CDs, not packaged so that one has to buy the same album for the third or fourth time. Somewhat ironic in that there are Floyd songs about the greed of the music industry and the alienation between performer and audience. :-(

Maybe their manager is now George Lucas? Have a Jar Jar? Which one is Binks?


Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:13 pm
Post Re: September 19, 2011: "George Lucas: Childhood Rapist?"
Remember when "Star Trek" had the original series episodes remastered with new special effects? Did you notice that, for the most part, Trekkies didn't complain? You'd figure that given these similar circumstances to what Lucas has done with the "Star Wars" films that the Trekkies would be pissed off with changes happening to the episodes. The reason they didn't complain was because the blu-ray release offered both the original, untouched episodes and the remastered episodes. Also, the remastering only seemed to enhance the special effects and nothing else. No gratuitous CGI characters, forced moments of whimsy, adding scenes, etc. At least Gene Roddenberry was pretty successful in keeping a harmonious balance between the franchise and its fans. I don't think he ever tinkered with the shows or films while he was alive.

I'm also still surprised nobody has talked about Spielberg's recent confession that his 2002 changes to "E.T" were a mistake.


Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:16 pm
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