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Star Wars: Special Edition Turns 20


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Yep, it's been 20 years already. We are living (and have been for a couple months) in a universe where the Special Edition has been the official version for longer than the original version ever was. A person born around then is on schedule to be adults in their sophomore year of college.

 

Weird to think about, isn't it?

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I was thinking about this while I was teaching today (to students in the exact age range Poe specified). For years, I referenced Office Space when talking about the importance of being careful with decimal points (yeah, it's sad that I have to do this for college students) and most students immediately got what I was talking about. Now, though, very few students have ever even heard of the movie unless they are nontraditional students who are my age or older. This all finally made sense when I realized they were still in diapers when the movie was released.

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The SEs were what got me into Star Wars in the first place, when I was like 10 or 11. I realised a few years ago that I have now been a Star Wars fan for more than half my life, and I'm now at a point where I've spent the majority of my life as a fan.

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I don't mind most of the changes. Some were stupid and unnecessary, like Greedo shooting first, but I liked some of the changes. I was about thirteen at the time and had grown up watching the original Trilogy all my life to that point and was obsessed with it, yet for some reason I never had a problem with the idea of the films being altered like most people were. In fact, that was a great time in my life: I was seeing the Star Wars Trilogy on the big screen for the first time ever, and it just brought a certain magic that it had never had before (for me), even though I had seen it a zillion times before. For instance, these scene where Threepio is buried in wires and complains that he is melting was suddenly funny again, and the entire theater, filled with people who had seen the film probably more times than I had, busted out in laughter.

As for the Special Edition being the official version ever since 2007, that really isn't true. In 2004 the DVD edition became the official version, and then again the same thing happened in 2012. The last edited version is always official, knocking the previous version off the throne.

 

But I'm all about head canon, and Adywan's Star Wars Revisited is my official version of A New Hope.

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I was 6 when the ANH Special Edition was released. I can't remember why, but my dad got me out of school early (maybe just cause he rarely got days off and wanted to do something with me) and we went to Taco Bell and then to see the movie. Pretty much the perfect day for 6 year old me.

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No, not really.

:lol:

 

(I can't remember the last time I used a message board emoticon)

 

Anyway, the only good thing about the special editions is that their theatrical releases really sparked my obsessed with Star Wars when I was little. So, there's that fond memory.

 

 

Oh, and puppets all the way. Adding CGI to a film way after the fact always looks like taking crayon to a pencil drawing. The combination of visual textures don't make sense in contrast to each other. The human eye has an amazing ability to judge detail; give me something 'physically tangible but less expressive' over 'more expressive but looks like Roger Rabbit' any day.

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For most of the body, I would as well, but his facial expressions were rather limited. One scene that especially comes to mind is when he is enacting violence upon R2 with his cane while shouting, "Mine! Mine! Mine!" His face is nearly expressionless. It kind of ruins the scene for me, though that may be the prequels' fault, admittedly.

I wouldn't mind someone digitally adding some more feeling to his face, but keeping the puppet. Adywan is working on precisely that, I believe.

 

I also kind of wish he'd change his eyes to match the way they look in the prequels, but I'm probably in the minority on that one.

 

The creatures in Jabba's palace looked atrocious.

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Yoda in ESB is the gold standard for realistic puppet work (sorry E.T.). But CGI Yoda was effective. It gave them the extra movement and facial expression options and I really don't think that it surrendered much that the puppet could do that CGI couldn't.

 

Being able to model the CGI character on the puppet from ESB really helped the animators in that case.

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My favorite thing from ANH Special Edition was the Battle of Yavin. I remember watching it in the theater and thinking how the new shots of the X-Wings and TIE Fighters looked awesome.

 

Some of the changes I didn't like were Greedo shooting first and Jedi Rocks. The original song in Jabba's palace was just fine the way it was. I cringed at this part:

 

After the movie, my friend had this to say about Jedi Rocks: "I was llke...WTF? Is this the Muppets?" :lol:

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I agree with puppets over dated CGI and original RotJ musical numbers all the way. Does that settle things?

 

I get why people didn't like Greedo shooting first, but it never really bothered me that much. I feel like every fan piled on that because they were afraid they might be called out for not being a hardcore fan if they didn't.

I'm mildly in favor of Solo shooting first, but it always seemed like the main argument was that moment shows what a cold-blooded badass he is. But the rest of the series, he's nothing but a big softie. So what exactly was being betrayed here?

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I was seeing the Star Wars Trilogy on the big screen for the first time ever, and it just brought a certain magic that it had never had before (for me), even though I had seen it a zillion times before. For instance, these scene wherePO is buried in wires and complains that he is melting was suddenly funny again, and the entire theater, filled with people who had seen the film probably more times than I had, busted out in laughter.

You're 100% correct. Funny how that works. I clearly remember being part of an audience that was laughing during scenes and lines we had already seen hundreds of times. Many people did laugh during that 3PO melting line in my theater too. I also remember lots of us cracked up when Lando utters under his breath "Or this will be the shortest offensive of all time" as the Rebels are getting ready to attack the Death Star in ROTJ. To this day whenever I watch ROTJ, I smile during that scene just because of the memory of that shared experience.
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I didn't think it was funny either until I saw it on the big screen, and the rest of the audience felt the same way. There's something about the experience that enhances everything.

But, oddly, I did not feel the same way when I went to see The Phantom Menace in 3D a few years ago. In fact, I could no immerse myself and was falling asleep in my seat.

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