When everything under the sun is being remade these days, why on earth would I suggest remaking the original Star Wars films? I have several reasons, so let me start with the most obvious.
1977, the year the first film was released. At the time the effects were amazing, the action sequences, far beyond anything before it. Sure, even back then there was an element of camp, something that has grown as it's aged, but there was also a real story with characters that grabbed every kid, no matter how old they were.
But times change, and something that's hard to overcome are the advancements of the real world. Special effects continue to get better. Whether you're a purist who believes in doing things the old fashioned way, someone who enjoys his movies heavy on the CGI, or a moderate like me who likes to see both used to better the film, one can't deny how far we've progressed. By the time George Lucas decided to unleash his next trilogy, he had developed a taste for CGI. This created a large technical schism between the two series of films.
You expect me to believe that as the technology in the Star Wars universe grows to where it could create the death star, that everything else decayed to clunky, glued together, pieces of junk? But beyond the technology, an even greater divide grew.
Forget the story for a moment. Forget the idea of flying through space, visiting exotic planets and meeting bizarre and incredible alien races. Forget the love, heroism, and political intrigue. And yes, just for the moment, don't let the force be with you either. What's left? What is guiding your money towards the price of admission? No, I said forget the force.
It's the action.
Lightsabers, cutting through the dark. The sparks flying across the screen with every cut, thrust, and parry. It's one of the most iconic weapons in film history. Its use employing a glorious blend of choreography and imagination. But somehow, if you view the films back to back, everyone it seems, forgot how to fight.
When it came out in the 70s, the fighting scenes were first rate. The amazing weaponry and the force itself as an element, were brilliant. But along comes George Lucas with episodes 1-3 and what can be done with a lightsaber is redefined. Every character bouncing around the screen. Age not a barrier at all, as demonstrated by Christopher Lee and the rubber ball Yoda. Anyone that watched Ewan McGregor's brutal dance with Hayden Christensen, has to wonder what happened so that by the time Alec Guinness is up to fight, he looks like a drunk grandfather trying to hit a pinata.
I'm not going to play the "it was in the books" games. If they came before the movies that would be one thing. I make that statement because I've talked to way too many defensive geeks who tried to argue points from the standpoint of what's in the canon of books.
The fact is, anytime you run a long series of movies, books, what have you, there's bound to be continuity errors. Star Wars is not only comprised of 6 movies spread over decades, it also went back in time. Prequels mean you have to account for points you already made. What actions the characters make must relate to a future outcome. Leia saying she remembers her mother dying when she was young is a point set in time. To go back and then have Padme die shortly after childbirth is unraveling a moment in a future episode.
Now, I'm not going to cover all the gaps because I've never been one to sit patiently and go over things again and again. Obsessives have already made their lists of mistakes so I don't need to retread that. The fact is there are some pretty funny incongruities. Worse though are areas where it feels like things were forced in to connect the two trilogies.
Course, as much as those things that shouldn't be changed are bothersome, it's the things that have been changed that make everything so much worse.
Hey, did you hear there's a new edition of star wars coming out? No? It has Jabba the Hut singing and dancing. It has a touching love story between two Ewoks. It's got all the great things you always wanted in Star Wars but never knew you did. Never even thought about. Because after all, when watching Star Wars for the hundredth time why would it occur to you the film needed an extended cantina scene?
It's a funny thing about director's cuts. Occasionally they'll add something worthwhile to the story that will make you go "ahhhh...." Most of the time though it's pointless extra film. You can see this principle demonstrated in films like Donnie Darko where the original is great, but the director's cut makes you go, "huh?" But those were, at the least, scenes shot for the film. Infamous changes like in E.T. where the guns were removed from scenes and replaced with walkie talkies, is on the other hand, a completely different beast. And George Lucas is the worst offender by far.
Whenever fans have complained and lamented over the newer "improved" versions getting special releases while the original films, as they were, lay cast aside, Lucas has consistently been self righteous about it. After all, don't you want him to have his perfect vision of the film? Sure. Most of us would say, fine, just let us have ours too.
It's a bit like Rembrandt painting a picture in his fantastic dark palette, then 30 years down the line, having discovered the wonder of hot pink, deciding to go back and touch it up. We're in a digital film age where the naturalistic is quickly devouring the dream state of film, leaving one less inclined towards escaping into a fantasy world, and more towards watching plays on screen. Great for some films, but not for others.
For all these reasons I advocate remaking Star Wars. I'll even go one step further. I demand George Lucas be at the helm. He's been trying to get his final visions of Star Wars done for decades, and he'll continue to tinker with it, like your crazy old uncle who mows the lawn every day trying to get it perfectly trimmed. So I say let's give him a blank canvas to recreate the saga he always wanted; a clean, start to finish, coherent series, with all the dancing creatures and filler shots of alien worlds he could ever want. And then maybe, just maybe, he'll leave the originals the hell alone.