Thursday, September 22, 2011

STAR WARS: Why I won't give into hate

This is the most personal blog ever on Reel Speak. For the first time, the curtain is being drawn back. This one is from the heart.

This just might do nobody any good…

George Lucas has taken it on the bearded chin for many years now. People hate him for making alterations and edits on his original trilogy of films. They despise him for decisions he made in the prequel trilogy. They curse his name for taking advantage of creative license, and most recently, Blu-Ray technology.

I, this blogger, has never given in to the hate. I have been called a Lucas-apologist, a fanboy; someone who enables him to get away with whatever he wants.

Whatever. But for the sake of getting the Bantha off my chest, let this blog explain why I took that path. Let this blog educate about me. After all, education is a mission of Reel Speak.

See that kid in the above picture? That’s me. The Kid. That’s The Kid who still lives in this grumpy and withdrawn 38 year old man. The Kid lives on because of STAR WARS.

The Kid was introduced to STAR WARS in 1977 by way of a preview on TV. It was viewed on Mom and Dad’s puny piece-of-shit black-and-white TV with an antenna the size of a hula-hoop. You had to smack it 20 times to get a decent picture.

Despite the low-definition visuals and sound, I was hooked, and I was fascinated by Darth Vader. Vader was my hero. I may have been his first fan. I remember sitting in the theatre at the end of the film when Vader was defeated and went tumbling off into space. Everyone in the theatre cheered.
I pouted.

From that day on, my childhood was nothing but STAR WARS. My imagination had been ignited. A blanket over my shoulders was Vader’s cape. Dad’s flashlight was a lightsaber. My grandparent’s basement-staircase was the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. The action figures, the vehicles, the read-along record albums and Halloween costumes came in droves. My younger brother and cousins shared in the fun of that new universe. Playing STAR WARS together was always an epic event; five kids with a thousand toys and a backyard that was the size of a galaxy. Mom’s flowerbox was Tatooine. The 1.5 acres of woods behind the house was Endor.

And this was during an era that preceded home video. You saw the films once, and after that you just had your imagination.

The Kid did not go away with the growing into adulthood. STAR WARS rooted my love for storytelling, my passion for film, and fondness for the visual arts. Those loves inspired a long and fruitful career in television and video production. Because of STAR WARS, The Kid lives on today.

STAR WARS has been, and still is in my blood. It brought me to where I am now. So pardon the fuck out of me if I don’t give in to hate.

Read again those above memories. How could anything ruin those?

Has my unconditional love clouded my sworn-by objective judgment? Probably, yes. Maybe in the same way a father stands by a son no matter what. But I can still defend everything Lucas has done in the last 15 years with sound logic. I defend what I love. I believe in what I love.

So, concerning the alterations and edits made over the years… As addressed here on Reel Speak not long ago, I believe the creator of the property has the right to do with it as they want. Filmmaking is an art, and every artist wants their work to be presented in the best way they see fit. Great architects tweak their designs, painters touch up their canvasses; filmmaking is no different.

So you don’t like the origin of Boba Fett or Anakin, or you hate the midichlorians. I believe only the creator can fully understand their material the best. Like it or not, the fans do not know the STAR WARS universe better than Lucas. After all, only DaVinci knows the real secret behind Mona Lisa’s smile.

Concerning Blu-Ray: Many have called Lucas a money-loving whore for putting out his vision of his own work on Blu-Ray. Show me a filmmaker who got into the business because they wanted to go broke. And as far as Blu-Ray goes, I have always believed that any lover of film should seek out, if not demand, that their favorite films (or any other film) be presented in the best possible quality. Try spending some time in the downtown Philadelphia movie theatres, where the films are consistently shown out-of-focus, with dirty and scratched prints that always START LATE. No lover of the movies should have to deal with that. Blu-Ray presents the films in the greatest possible way ever created by man. STAR WARS was made for it. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out.

I find it interesting that the only people who are currently hating on the Blu-Ray release are the ones who have yet to view it. They react upon principle only. Meesa thinks there’s some fear in there; fear to view the new, stunning versions which just may help them to let go of their hate, and revisit the fun. Maybe fear really does lead to the dark side.

The Kid can only wonder…


  1. I call BS. I was that kid too.

    When George Lucas created Star Wars, he created something bigger than himself. He created a universe that belongs to every fan.

    Go ahead and put the movies out on Blu-Ray or whatever the next great format is. That's fine with me. But give us what we remember, not your revisionist history.

    I state this not only as a Star Wars fan, but as a KISS fan as well. They took Ace and Peter out of the make-up and put in two scabs.... I refuse to give KISS any more of my money.
    I will still blast the albums and rock to the music, but that's it.

    That's the exact way I feel about Star Wars.

    If Sir George decides to ever grace the fanbase who made him a legend with the original theatrical triology (in whatever damn format comes along next) I will stand up, cheer, and open my wallet.

    You and I will (continue to) have countless beers over this debate as the years pass, but I will stand firm. And that's why you are a true friend.


  2. I agree with almost all of your story Alan. I lived the kid dream too, Played STAR WARS with the cousins, bvought the toys etc. The one glaring problem with Lucas changing THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI are that they are not his directed films. The creator had help from the very talented Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand. He had help because Gary Kurtz even in 1978 and 1979 could see that Lucas with power was a bad creative force. Kurtz hired Kershner as a direct result of a fight with Lucas. I will always love STAR WARS but the love is no longer unconditional. It can't be too much has happened. I came to a personal epiphany this month as news of the tinkering leaked. George believes that the new trilogy is the masterpiece and every day does everything in his power to make the old ones just like the new. It was one of the saddest realizations I have ever had as an adult. I have seven different STAR WARS collections. I would have had 8 had he had the decency to include the original trilogy. Spielberg is the totally right on this one. I have no problem with you selling upteenth version to make money but just include the originals like he did with E.T.-Love your work Alan

  3. Last one was me JW COLWELL


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