Star Wars original trilogy changes: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Part 2 The Bad

Posted: November 12, 2015 in movies
Tags: , ,

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Reblogged from ScreenRant.Com. Text: Sarah Moran.

Back in 1997, Lucasfilm theatrically re-released the original Star Wars trilogy in celebration of the first film’s 20th anniversary. The build up was massive, the anticipation huge, but when fans finally saw these remastered versions of their beloved films, there were noticeable… changes.

Changes both good – remixed audio, crisp visuals, enhanced effects work – and bad, or worse, downright ugly. There was a notable amount of CGI added to the films, there were entirely new scenes added while others significantly altered, and in some cases these changes impacted not only characterization, but the films’ own sense of continuity. Needless to say, the alterations enacted within the Special Editions created a rift between fans and creator – a dispute documented in an actual documentary, The People vs George Lucas.

The highly contentious Special Editions were soon followed by the also controversial prequel films, which later received a DVD then Blu-ray release as a six-film set containing (you guessed it) more changes to the original trilogy. The changes from 2004’s DVD and 2011’s Blu-ray release built upon the changes of the Special Editions, using CGI to achieve Lucas’s “ideal” vision for the Star Wars saga and better align the original trilogy with the prequels.

With rumors Disney is planning to release an unaltered version of the original Star Wars trilogy and the expectation that another Star Wars box set will arrive just in time for the holidays (and the release of The Force Awakens), now is a fitting time to revisit those infamous changes George Lucas made to a galaxy far, far away. Here are our rankings of 15 changes made to the original Star Wars trilogy – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Now that we’ve looked at the good changes in the Part 1, here are 5 Bad Changes Made in the Star Wars Special Editions.

Part 2: The Bad

Star-Wars-Original-Trilogy-Changes-R2-D2-Rocks

Bad 1: R2-D2 Behind The Rocks

While the advancement in digital effects has greatly improved some of the effects work from the original trilogy (see section: The Good), there are still several instances where the additional CGI borders on obnoxious. And though these instances aren’t the worst that the Special Editions and later releases have to offer, they’re still pretty unnecessary.

A perfect example of one of these unnecessary additions comes in 2011’s Blu-ray release of A New Hope, where R2-D2 is now seen slightly obscured by some digital rocks when the Sand People attack Luke and later are driven away by Obi-Wan Kenobi (where another strong candidate for these not terrible, but unnecessary changes happens – the new Krayt Dragon call). The point of the addition is to make Artoo appear more adequately hidden, where previously the little astromech was merely tucked away in an alcove.

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Yet, was there ever any real confusion over why the Sand People didn’t notice Artoo? How did he even manage to squeeze himself in there so quickly? These digital rocks also don’t blend with the actual rocks of Tunisia or Death Valley at all. The Blu-ray release’s digital rocks were added to make Artoo’s hiding spot more discreet, but ultimately the effect is distracting and unnecessary.

Bad 2: Extended Mos Eisley Entrance

Star-Wars-Original-Trilogy-Changes-Ronto-Frame“Oh, I’m sorry. You actually wanted to see what’s happening in this scene?”

Cloud City may benefit from the added digital wizardry, but Mos Eisley does not. The spaceport is sadly at the heart of many of the Special Editions most egregious changes, and even the minor tinkering the location endures does more to hinder its scenes than help. The original Mos Eisley may not have come across as congested or bustling as Lucas imagined, but the subsequent changes instead give the setting an awkward, almost slapdash appearance, with random bystanders and CGI creatures very obviously inserted into the scenery.

There are a handful of changes to the Mos Eisley sequence that are subtle or only enhance an already existing effect – the entrance of Luke’s speeder into Mos Eisley, for instance, has been cleaned up to remove the matte lines around the vehicle, making it appear less like a sticker stuck to the frame. But unfortunately, most of the additions to Mos Eisley are obtrusive: extra people, Jawas, droids, stormtroopers, Rontos, Dewbacks – they absolutely litter the screen!

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Even more offensive, these newly added characters and creatures will at times even block the action. For example, during the famous “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” scene, the action is obscured not once, but three times as various new elements walk through the frame – a stream of people, some droids, and the worst, a Ronto that appears so close to the camera all that appears in frame is a giant wall of reptilian flesh! These additions aren’t only distracting and superfluous, but actually hurt existing and crucial scenes of the film.

Bad 3: Too Many Stormtroopers

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Stormtroopers get a pretty bad rap in the Star Wars universe, and not because they’re the legion of the hated Empire, but because they couldn’t shoot the broad side of a Bantha at five yards. (“Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.” Ha! Good one, Obi-wan.) When they aren’t missing shots on enemies who are literally standing still, stormtroopers will run towards oncoming fire like lemmings, dropping one after the other.

All that being said, anyone armed with a blaster should pose at least some threat, and when it’s a whole squad of stormtroopers, well, that isn’t nothing. In the original version of A New Hope, Han Solo faces just this situation. After escaping the trash compactor, our heroes unexpectedly run into a squad of stormtroopers on patrol and Han, being ever the reckless smuggler, runs at them firing his blaster wildly and screaming like a mad man. The visibly spooked stormtroopers take off in the other direction with Han and Chewie in pursuit, until they reach the end of the corridor where they finally realize how easily they outnumber their pursuers and start firing back.

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The scene makes for a good gag, one that plays both on the stormtroopers being useless soldiers and Han’s penchant to not always think before he acts. Yet, the scene is altered for the Special Edition release. Han no longer chases the stormtroopers into a dead end, but rather into a hanger full of stormtroopers. Like a lot, a whole lot. Hundreds even. And what was essentially a funny moment of incompetence on the part of the stormtroopers is now turned into something entirely absurd. More isn’t always better, and Han returning unscathed after bumping into so many stormtroopers is utterly ridiculous.

Bad 4: Get A Look At That Wampa

Star-Wars-Original-Trilogy-Changes-Wampa

For the most part, The Empire Strikes Back has been altered the least of the original trilogy, but that doesn’t mean it’s without an unnecessary change or two. In this case, the scene in question comes early in the film, after Luke has been attacked by the Wampa and dragged back to its lair. What follows is a frightening sequence in where Luke must defend himself from becoming this unseen creature’s lunch and it works especially well because we only see the Wampa in quick flashes.

When it came to the Special Editions, however, Lucas wanted the Wampa to feature more prominently and for the re-release a full size Wampa was included in the scene. Now when Luke awakens to find himself hanging upside down in the creature’s cave, we actually see the Wampa feasting on Luke’s Tauntaun. And when Luke later cuts off the creature’s arm we see a full shot of the Wampa wailing and holding what remains of its severed limb.

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Initially, this change was considered for “The Good” section because the full size Wampa is an improvement over the original puppet and his inclusion in the scene isn’t terribly distracting. Yet, by comparing the two scenes side by side it’s clear that getting a good look at the Wampa instead of only seeing it in short bursts hurts the scene’s frightening atmosphere. It’s another case of where less is more, and though the Wampa sure looks scary, the sequence doesn’t play as scary as it did before the changes.

Bad 5: Vader Screams “Nooo!” Again

Star-Wars-Original-Trilogy-Changes-Vader-No“Nooooooooooo!”

Many of the changes enacted upon the original trilogy for the Blu-ray release are considered the most superfluous. After having already endured alterations for both the Special Editions and DVDs, by the time the Blu-rays released there were far less technical issues in the original trilogy in need of fixing, leaving many of the changes to only better align the films with the prequel trilogy.

This was done in a number of ways, the worst being featured elsewhere (see section: The Ugly), but even a few of the minor changes are pretty bad. For instance, Darth Vader using the last of his strength to save his son from The Emperor in Return of the Jedi is a heroic moment, culminating the character’s six-film arc. But still, the scene wasn’t spared from needless tampering.

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For the Blu-ray, audio of Vader saying “No,” while Luke is being tortured, followed by him screaming, “Nooo!” as he throws The Emperor down a bottomless shaft has been dubbed into the scene. And at first it may not seem too terrible, that is until you realize it’s something of a callback to Vader’s “Nooo!” from Revenge of the Sith. Not only is the added audio exceptionally unnecessary, but it’s reminiscent of a detested prequel trilogy moment.

Now that we’ve looked at the Good Changes in the Part 1 and the Bad Changes in this Part 2, let’s see the 5 Ugly Changes Made in the Star Wars Special Editions. Click here to see the Part 3: The Ugly.

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