Friday, May 21, 2004

Excuse me. I've got to be a geek for a moment.

Will someone please let George Lucas know that it's okay for films to exists as products of the time in which they were made!?! It seems his first film, the arty-ish THX 1138 is getting a Special Edition, as well.

This is utter crap. It's one thing to restore or remaster a film. That's fine, akin to cleaning and restoring a great painting. But this special edition nonsense would be like painting sunglasses on the Mona Lisa.

Not only is it totally unnecessary, but it robs the work of much of its charm.

Part of the reason, I think, the original trilogy Star Wars movies were so cool (different, I think, from 'good,') is that they were sort of a constant pop-culture freeze-frame reference of the way things were when I was growing up. The hairdos, the cheesy effects, the pale colors on the late-seventies film stock, the hippie sensibilities of the Jim Henson creatures, all were products of their time. The films preserved them for eternity. Like Watching silent movies of the 20s, you got a sense of what time period these movies were made.

Also, I have always thought that model and puppet effects age better than cheesy cgi. Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi still looks realistic, thanks to the puppetting skills of Frank Oz which brought him to life. The Yoda from The Phantom Menace looked even more lifelike, still puppetted by Frank Oz and sculpted with materials and techniques light years ahead of the old Yoda. The silly, flat-looking, airbrushed-seeming Yoda from Attack of the Clones, however, already looks outdated. Cgi does not last.

I came upon THX 1138 in much later years than the Star Wars films, which are a part of my childhood. Lucas's first film has a clean aesthetic, a simple, realistic, low-budget industrialism that is sort of like Alphaville (far superior, btw) done in Soviet Russia. The look works for the movie, set in a sterile world of emotional barrenness. From the trailer this Special Edition looks like it takes place inside of a Euro-stylish shopping mall.


On the bright side, Shrek 2 was very funny and good.

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