Monday, April 15, 2013

I didn't buy the shirt

I was online, considering the purchase of a 'Han shot first' T-shirt when I started thinking about all of the changes that have been made to the original 'Star Wars' trilogy over the years. Some of them I mind and share the nerd rage that you might read on certain websites and others I don't care about. Many of the changes that have been made were made back in the 80's, when my generation was young, things that no one even talks about. Even adding 'episode IV: a new hope' to the original was a change because it was not there in 1977. There were other changes made to those movies, even before the 20th anniversary Special Edition in 1997, just improving the quality of the film and making certain things clearer and no one complains about getting a more up-close shot of the Jawas Sand Speeder than was there originally or the echo before Luke and Leia swung across the shaft. I understand changes that were made to improve special effects that they could not do well in 1977-83 AND (unlike some fans) I like the changes they made to sync up all 6 movies (the old with the prequels)...except for one (read on). I like making the Mos Eisley spaceport bigger and more spacious and busier-looking because it makes sense that a spaceport would be busy like an airport. I understand getting a more up-close shot of the Stormtroopers riding on dewbacks because in the original, all they had was a rubber mannequin that they could stick in the background and move the head. They were there to begin with and so they didn't change anything, although some fans thought that was an addition. The same goes for seeing more of the Wampa in 'Empire', the explosion of Alderaan and the Death Star looking cooler, the song and dance sequence in Jabba's palace and making the windows in Cloud City look like it is a city in the clouds, because it is. I don't even mind Yoda being computer generated in 'Phantom Menace', because it matches the rest of the prequels (as long as they don't touch the puppet in 'Empire' and 'Jedi'). See, I am nostalgic sometimes. Yoda was CG when he was walking at the end of 'Menace' and he doesn't do much but sit in that movie anyway, so let him look like the other prequels.

Yes, the first thing that comes to people's minds when they think of Star Wars changes was Greedo shooting first. The reason that this angers fans is because it changes Han's character, from a tough space pirate who softens when he falls in love with Leia and/or gets direction in his life by joining the Rebel Alliance to a softer character to begin with. And if you think that, since Han Solo is a nice guy at heart, it makes more sense that he would only shoot Greedo if he was shot at first, watch the scene in 'Return of the Jedi' in Jabba's palace where Luke uses his force powers to steal someone's blaster and tries to shoot Jabba in the face before he falls into the rancor pit. Luke is a full-fledged Jedi at this point and he has no moral objection to shooting a bad guy in the face, why wouldn't the (agnostic?) smuggler who doesn't believe in the Force shoot Greedo first?

And the scene that puts Jabba the Hutt in the first 'Star Wars' film? Nostalgia tells me that 'Star Wars' was cooler when Han kept talking about Jabba and you never saw him until 'Jedi'. Storywise, the dialogue between Han and Greedo covers the same points as his conversation with Jabba. Yes, they added Boba Fett so that the 'Star Wars Holiday Special' is no longer his first (adult) appearance chronologically, but no, that was still not an improvement. Seriously, if a 'vile gangster' was owed money by someone and was threatening him, would he tolerate him stepping on his tail? Picture that same scene in the 'Godfather', someone stepping on Don Corleone's tail. He'd get shot. Alot. By James Caan.

AND, I know that I will get some fans rolling their eyes, but I like Darth Vader yelling "Noooooo!" at the end of 'Jedi', simply because it bridges the gap between 'Jedi' and the prequels. It doesn't ruin the impact of that scene, which is Darth Vader looking back and forth, mirroring a scene in 'Sith' where he kills Mace Windu and making the right choice this time, throwing Palpantine into the reactor instead of protecting him. That scene connects 'Jedi' to the prequels anyway, so adding "Noooooo!" doesn't ruin anything. Either does the Ewoks blinking. No one likes the Ewoks anyway. Let them blink and enjoy the dark drama in the Emperor's throne room just like you did when you first saw it as a kid. I have mixed feelings about the changed music to the ending of 'Jedi', though. I like the idea of showing the other planets celebrating the fall of the Empire, but my rose-colored nostalgia glasses tell me that 'Yub-yub' was a better song. They should have shown the other planets and kept 'Yub-yub'.

Now, the one change that is arguably worse than Greedo shooting first is putting the younger Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) as the 'force ghost' at the end of 'Jedi'. Yes, Anakin was a good guy when he was younger, but he redeemed himself as an older man. And when Luke looks over and sees Yoda, Obi-Wan (Obi-Wan is older) and his father, how would he even recognize the younger version of Anakin? He just took the helmet off of the older version and saw what the older version looked like. Anakin got toasted on a lava planet before Luke was even born. You could always argue that Luke could 'sense' who it was with the Force, the younger actor as the 'force ghost' makes no sense. When Marty saw the younger version of his father in 'Back to the Future', he looked confused. Luke looks over at young Anakin and has the same smile on his face. He would have been like "Um, Obi-Wan? Who's that guy?" And then all of the children that Anakin slaughtered in 'Sith' would have also appeared and made the whole scene 'Shining' creepy.

So, as you can see, I am not as uptight as some fans, but Han should have shot first, Jabba shouldn't be in 'episode IV' and they should have kept the older actor for Vader at the end of 'Jedi'. Yub-yub.

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