Saturday, 8 June 2013

Film Review: Original Star Wars Trilogy

To celebrate Star Wars Day Mr Click and I cracked out the original Star Wars trilogy. We don't have the newer prequel films and we don't have any of them on DVD or blu-ray. About a year ago Mr Click found the VHS box set in Oxfam for 75p; a bargain at 25p per film!

Ours looks like the picture above. It's a gold box with the three films on tape. This set was released to coincide with the release of the first of the prequel films. The films themselves are the 'updated' ones, the special effects have been tidied up with the modern (at the time) technology. At the beginning of each tape is a little featurette about the re-editing process and how they went about bringing things back in line with Lucas's original idea.

We settled ourselves down to watch them after walking the dog and worked our way through all three, one after the other. By the time that we watched the final one it was after 10pm, but it made for a good day.

I can't really write a proper review of these films because they're such an institution and I love them. It would be like trying to write a serious review of the Lord of the Rings films. I've seen these so many times now that I know them backwards and forwards.

I wasn't really particularly interested in Star Wars until the first of the prequel films came out. We went to see it in the cinema with the whole family. My baby brother was absolutely spellbound and after I think I watched these films for the first time. I don't remember my thoughts of my first viewing now but I think what I really liked was the scope of the films. It's not just a world that's been created, it's a whole universe (one far, far away...). I can't say I've delved much into the expanded universe, but I like that there's so much for other people to play with there.

There's a lot of contention amongst older fans about the changes made to the more recent edits of the film. I can't say I feel quite as strongly about this as some people do. This is the version of the film that I've seen so I don't feel quite as close to the original edit as some people do. One of the featurettes on one of the tapes has George Lucas talking about wanting to make the film the way he'd envisioned it and the way modern technology was allowing him to do it.

On the literature course I've studied poetry and the way that some poets continue to edit and edit and edit, making it hard to establish exactly what is the definitive version of a text. I kind of think of these original Star Wars films in the same way. Lucas wanted to keep on tinkering with them to make them exactly perfect. It's like when you're writing an essay, you can keep on editing and revising it but eventually you're going to have to give it up and submit it. But how many people, given the chance, wouldn't take that back if they could and make just a few more changes?

Image from Wikipedia
I like the characters in the three films as well. I have to admit that Leia is kind of my favourite character. In the first film of the trilogy she's a bit of a damsel in distress, but by Return of the Jedi she's turned into a bit of an action hero. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the golden bikini though...

I love C-3PO and R2-D2 as well. They're such a great double-act, which takes some work considering that Artoo can't actually speak English. You get a pretty good idea of what he's saying based on Threepio's responses. He's clearly a bit sarcastic.

Something I found interesting, looking into the films (whenever we watch a film I look it up on IMBD and TV Tropes) and I learned that George Lucas was inspired by Metropolis, a film we studied on this literature course. I could see it in the designs of some of the cities, as well as in the design of the droids (apparently Lucas was inspired by the robot Rotwang turned into the False Maria). I love learning about little links in these things. Who would have thought a literature course could give me so many links to the Star Wars films?!

I'm looking forward to when we eventually get the complete box set of films on blu-ray (the ones that are out already at least). We tend to treat ourselves to a box set in the run up to Christmas; two years ago it was Harry Potter, last year it was Game of Thrones, I'm thinking this year it'll be the Star Wars films. I grew up with the prequel films so I feel a bit of an attachment to them. I don't even mind Jar Jar Binks that much because my brother adored him (and did a mean impression, there's something very endearing about a six-year-old announcing 'meesa Jar Jar Binks').

With the announcement from Disney that they're going to be bringing out more films and things, I'm geekily excited about that too. Now that Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter has finished, I've got The Hobbit to be keeping me going for a little while, Star Wars should fill the gap left by that.

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