"Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten"
February 20, 2016 6:26 PM   Subscribe

The original 1977 release of Star Wars has long been the holy grail for fans. George Lucas famously made numerous changes for each release and once declared, "A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition]." Even the National Film Registry (created in response to the pleas of filmmakers like Lucas) which inducted Star Wars in 1989 does not have a copy. Fans resorted to creating "despecialized" editions (previously) in an attempt to recreate the original. Understandably, fans were delighted when Team Negative1 completed a digital scan of an original 35mm print.

Dubbed "The Silver Screen Edition", the project was made possible by a chance E-Bay purchase of a Spanish print of the film that was surprisingly high quality. That still left a considerable amount of work to digitize and clean up the film. Here's a timelapse of the cleanup of a single frame.

Comparison with the Blu-Ray (the lighter, grainier version is the restoration): Last year team member "Mr. Black" was interviewed on The Expanded Fandom podcast and explained the process.

This Friday, Team Negative1 abruptly disbanded.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker (90 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
23.48 GB it should be mentioned. I found out about this past Thursday and am learning of their disbanding in this post.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 6:33 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Correction: that's clean-up of a series of frames. Clean-up of a single frame took a minute on average, with the film consisting of around 174,000 frames.

From the second clip: #Team OT Teenwolf
posted by filthy light thief at 6:34 PM on February 20, 2016


Having watched both this "Silver Screen Edition" and the latest "Despecialized Edition" of Star Wars (1977) several times, on a very well calibrated projection system, I have to say they both have their merits and I really don't think one detracts from the other or is reasonably described as being better than the other.

If you want a preservationist sort of experience, what you'd expect from Criterion et al, then until some kind of major reversal from Fox and Disney the Despecialized Editions are the best way to watch the OT films, bar none. However, if what you're more in the mood for is to recreate the feeling of sitting in a theater in 1977, watching what those folks (perhaps even your parents) saw at the time, then the Silver Screen Edition is fantastic.

Down the road, I could see one project's assets becoming complementary to the other, especially with the level of attention being given to color timing, easily the commercial Blu-ray releases' most glaring fault as background/source material.

It remains a travesty that the present day content owners and custodians of this film in the past have allowed things to come to the point they're at, but there's little to be accomplished by griping about it. Harmy, and Negative1, have put an insane amount of work into doing the very opposite of griping about it...and now thanks to their efforts we all have multiple ways to enjoy this amazing movie.
posted by trackofalljades at 6:34 PM on February 20, 2016 [32 favorites]


So did Disney get the original negatives for the trilogy for their billions of dollars that they paid for Star Wars or is Lucas still sitting on them?
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


For anyone not quite getting this post's title:

Exhibit 1: George Lucas testifying before Congress in 1998 about copyright and the importance of artistic integrity.
"The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created."

"[...] People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as "when life begins" or "when it should be appropriately terminated," but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race."

"These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with "fresher faces," or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor's lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new "original" negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved."

"In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be "replaced" by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten."
Exhibit 2: Dancing to "I'm Han Solo", in the Kinect Star Wars video game, a rewritten version of Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo"
I'm feeling like a star,
You can't stop my shine.
I'm lovin' Cloud City,
My head's in the sky.

I'm solo, I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo, Solo.

Yeah, I'm feelin' good tonight,
Finally feelin' free and it feels so right, oh.
Time to do the things I like,
Gonna see a Princess, everything's all right, oh.
No Jabba to answer to,
Ain't a fixture in the palace zoo, no.
And since that carbonite's off me,
I'm livin' life now that I'm free, yeah.

Told me to get myself together,
Now I got myself together, yeah.
Now I made it through the weather,
Better days are gonna get better.
I'm so happy the carbonite is gone,
I'm movin' on.
I'm so happy that it's over now,
The pain is gone.

I'm puttin' on my shades
to cover up my eyes.
I'm jumpin' in my ride,
I'm heading out tonight

I'm solo, I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo, Solo.

I'm pickin' up my blaster,
Put it on my side,
I'm jumpin' in my Falcon,
Wookie at my side.

I'm solo, I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo.
I'm Han Solo, Solo.
Possibly the worst part being that this is actually an inoffensive, blandly-rehashed second-order derivative of a parody MC Chris did better.
posted by mhoye at 6:38 PM on February 20, 2016 [21 favorites]


It pains one to be reminded of this, but octothorpe, there are no complete existing "original negatives" of the 1977 version of the film at this point (at least as far as anyone in the general public has been officially told).
posted by trackofalljades at 6:40 PM on February 20, 2016


From the "a considerable amount of work" link:
While LucasFilm has never gotten litigious over fan-edits or fan restoration projects, standing orders to destroy theatrical prints and the realities of anti-piracy law make sharing a restoration online a legal grey area at best.
Standing orders to destroy theatrical prints? By whom, and of which films? Original Star Wars trilogy?
posted by filthy light thief at 6:42 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Correction: that's clean-up of a series of frames. Clean-up of a single frame took a minute on average, with the film consisting of around 174,000 frames.

Hrm. That's not clear. They do jump back and forth which you'd expect as they grab elements from one to clone over damaged parts of the other. They may be doing it both ways, but IDK.

Down the road, I could see one project's assets becoming complementary to the other

They already are. Harmy has worked with these guys and is using the footage to fill in gaps in Despecialized (which aims at a Blu-Ray quality video.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:42 PM on February 20, 2016


Veni vedi wookiee
posted by blue_beetle at 6:44 PM on February 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


The True Star Wars did not have an Episode or title, other than Star Wars. 1977 FTW.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:47 PM on February 20, 2016 [20 favorites]


watching what those folks (perhaps even your parents) saw at the time

I saw it myself in 1977 and you cannot imagine what a departure it was from anything we had ever seen before.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:50 PM on February 20, 2016 [35 favorites]


Possibly the worst part being that this is actually an inoffensive, blandly-rehashed second-order derivative of a parody MC Chris did better.

For reasons I can't explain I actually love the Kinect version. Everything about it is awful and yet I love it, and not in an ironic way.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:56 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Estes x-wing model rocket flew surprisingly well with a C6-4 as I seem to recall.
posted by parki at 6:58 PM on February 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Where's the Binks free version of the prequels?
posted by adept256 at 7:04 PM on February 20, 2016


I sense something...a presence I've not felt since...
posted by eriko at 7:10 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Estes x-wing model rocket flew surprisingly well with a C6-4 as I seem to recall.


Didn't fly very well at all using C4. Just sort of fell apart dramatically.
posted by eriko at 7:12 PM on February 20, 2016


The True Star Wars did not have an Episode or title, other than Star Wars.

I swear I remember talking excitedly about how Star Wars was "episode iv" back when it first came out.
posted by kanewai at 7:14 PM on February 20, 2016


So was there a download link buired somewhere on one of those pages or does one have to visit a favourite site of ill repute?
posted by Mitheral at 7:17 PM on February 20, 2016


Where's the Binks free version of the prequels?

Star Wars Episode I.I: The Phantom Edit
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:21 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where's the Binks free version of the prequels?

There are a few fanedits that excise him almost entirely. One just omits almost all of Episode I, can't remember the name of it.

My favorite prequels edit hands down is the "30's Silent Edition" (or "30's Serial Edition") which has no sound other than the original score, important dialogue is conveyed using dialog cards, and each episode is 45 minutes long. It makes the prequels shockingly enjoyable.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:21 PM on February 20, 2016 [18 favorites]


>"episode iv"

The subtitles Episode IV and A New Hope were added starting with the film's theatrical re-release on April 10, 1981.

>Where's the Binks free version of the prequels?

Look around for either the "Phantom Edit" or the "Anti-Cheese Edit". I kinda prefer the second but both are better than the originals.
posted by anti social order at 7:27 PM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Kanewai: I'm afraid your memory fails you. Perhaps you are thinking of one of the re-releases.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:29 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


So was there a download link buired somewhere on one of those pages or does one have to visit a favourite site of ill repute?

To ask the question is to answer it ;)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:30 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's really too bad that fans have to ignore an artist's vision.
posted by Docrailgun at 7:33 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


ricochet biscuit: "I'm afraid your memory fails you. Perhaps you are thinking of one of the re-releases."

1981 was a long time ago - before Jedi showed in any theaters. "Episode IV" was added to Star Wars before any edits or updates, so it's virtually part of the original. It's totally fair to say that it was part of Star Wars almost from the beginning.
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 PM on February 20, 2016


Has anyone done a simple, redubbed version of Phantom Menace? How much improvement could you make simply using less annoying voices for Jar Jar and (shudder) Boss Nass? That alone (OK, maybe a few line changes as well) would go far to reclaim that movie.

For all the crap Jar Jar gets, it's surprising how little falls on Boss Nass, who is to me an even worse performance.

And how ironic is it that the very thing that upsets most people about the first movie (endless tinkering by Lucas) would be most welcome for Episode I?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's totally fair to say that it was part of Star Wars almost from the beginning.

Star Wars had three rounds of theatrical releases before ESB came out and then another two after ESB was released under the "Episode IV" title. It's hardly been there from the beginning. It's only been there for so long, some people forget it ever wasn't there.
posted by hippybear at 7:40 PM on February 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Having seen it in 1977 (between my junior and senior year in college), I distinctly remember seeing "Episode IV" at the head of the opening crawl. I remember thinking, "Wow, this really is like a movie serial."

And of course have a perfect memory of everything that happened nearly 40 years ago. Doesn't everyone?
posted by lhauser at 7:46 PM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I remember Lucas talking about Star Wars being the forth episode in 1977, maybe in Starlog, but that title wasn't in the original version that I saw that year.
posted by octothorpe at 7:50 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Allow me to reiterate. YOU CANNOT IMAGINE.

For some of us it was because we were ten. For others, it was due to the film's epochal success at combining FX with serial cheese, for the first time bringing the (a splinter of) the mind's eye to the screen.

This is why getting a legit-accurate theatrical print is important. Lucas' and IP inheritors resistance to this is so, so sad and aggravating.
posted by mwhybark at 7:52 PM on February 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


When Did the First ‘Star Wars’ Become ‘Episode IV’? (The answer is 1978.)
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on February 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


but, from the link, "A number of fans presume it happened during the 1978 re-release, but as it turns out, it was not until the spring 1981 re-release of the first Star Wars film." HIPPYBEAR EXPLAIN YOURSELF.
posted by Zerowensboring at 8:12 PM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Okay, I have a publicly accessible account of my experience with the Original Star Wars (I was actually paid by a Major Media Entity to have it on their website) which I did write in 2005, just before the release of "Revenge of the Sith". And apparently I got it wrong... even though I didn't see the Original until early '78 (for reasons over-explained in the first part of the article), I remembered it as "the incongruously subtitled “Episode IV”", when it is apparently clear it wasn't so labeled until a re-release in '81. (I also got wrong "the closing scene, in which Han, Luke and Chewbacca were given medals by Princess Leia" - and I had a professional editor at the website who had fact-checked me in other pieces I wrote - go figure). But honestly, the radio personality I worked for in L.A. at the time really DID give me the title of The Only Human Being Who Hasn't Seen “Star Wars.” And that's why I'm waiting a few months to see Episode 7 (and yes, I've heard ALL the spoilers).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:13 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


EXPLAINING MYSELF: from the link, Lucas first calls SW "Episode IV" in a Starlog article in 1978. That news spread for years before an actual alteration was made in the theatrical release that featured that title. I remember long before ESB came out there was already a lot of talk about there being 9 films total, three trilogies, etc....
posted by hippybear at 8:18 PM on February 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


I own a DVD set of the "Special Editions" that includes DVD versions of the original trilogy on a second set of discs called "Theatrical Editions." They're not overly remastered, but they look and sound good. How does this jive with the idea that these versions are super rare?
posted by hamandcheese at 8:40 PM on February 20, 2016


I still have them on VHS. Am I special?
posted by Melismata at 8:42 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


They were even put out on LaserDisc
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:45 PM on February 20, 2016


I still have them on VHS. Am I special?

So do I so.... yes.
(I keep a VHS working for reasons like this).
posted by Mezentian at 8:49 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The versions on the 2006 DVD set were copied from the laser disk from the early ninties and aren't in high def and are considered to be a pretty bad transfer in the first place.
posted by octothorpe at 8:50 PM on February 20, 2016


I still have them on VHS. Am I special?

Somewhere in my mother's house there may still be a VHS copy of Star Wars pirated in 1978 or 1979. It must have been copied directly from a print because it's unsquished anamorphic.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:30 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The real original cut, in which Mos Eisley Cantina is a roller disco, is considered to be the most true to the seventies in which it was filmed.
posted by delfin at 9:30 PM on February 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


Somewhere in my mother's house there may still be a VHS copy of Star Wars pirated in 1978 or 1979. It must have been copied directly from a print because it's unsquished anamorphic.

The first copy I had was a hand-me down early 80's taped-from-tv version, complete with commercials for C3PO's breakfast cereal.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:41 PM on February 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Can anyone explain why Team Negative 1 was banned from Original Trilogy and then disbanded? I'm seeing a lot of talk about "unethical behavior" and "gaining access to prints they weren't supposed to access," but it's all reading like nonsense to me, since of course they're breaking the copyright by doing any of this (and everyone who's been watching their efforts to date must have known this). What, exactly, is the beef?
posted by 1adam12 at 9:56 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The first copy I had was a hand-me down early 80's taped-from-tv version

That might indeed be the (I believe it was) CBS Movie Of The Week airing of Star Wars, which was the first ever official time it had been shown on television. I seem to remember that breakfast cereal being featured as part of the airing.
posted by hippybear at 9:57 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


hamandcheese: "They're not overly remastered, but they look and sound good."

What

I have those discs, they are hard-coded to fit standard definition 4:6 aspect with the black bars burned in at top and bottom, and the video quality is VHS at best. Have you ever tried watching them on a modern TV? You get a tiny shitty blurry video inside a giant black frame. Those discs are precisely the reason I think no one who bought them should feel bad "pirating" the Despecialized or Silver Screen versions. Including those as the "original" version, back when 95%+ of the buyers had no idea how shitty the video was (because essentially everyone had standard definition TVs then!) was a goddamn insult. It wasn't an accident, either. The "special edition" discs that came with it are higher quality video and are not hard coded to 4:6, proof that Lucas knew exactly what he was doing with that crap. "Oh you want it unedited? Here, choke on that."
posted by caution live frogs at 10:23 PM on February 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's an update on the thestarwarstrilogy.com (same site as the disbanding news) but it seems some of the action/FUD is over at the originaltrilogy.com. There is claims that Team Negative1 somehow misused materials that are also pirated, so no honor among thieves? Regardless the Team Negative1 claim they are disbanding because they finished the project.
posted by zenon at 10:34 PM on February 20, 2016


in the Kinect Star Wars video game

OK, I didn't click on the link at first, but until I did (and even afterward, despite my confusion), I was laboring under the misconception that this was gonna be the k'nex Star Wars video game. I guess I just assumed that, since they'd done a Legos one, it was perfectly natural to also do a k'nex one.
posted by deadbilly at 12:18 AM on February 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Estes x-wing model rocket flew surprisingly well with a C6-4 as I seem to recall.

Yeah, but it would WARP with a D-9!
posted by boilermonster at 12:26 AM on February 21, 2016


The release/statement at OT.com is still impenetrable to me even after reading the most recent updates and some of the comments. The customs/etiquette/ethics in this fan community seem especially esoteric, which may be comes from the whole idea of fan-edits being a semi-tolerated legal gray area.
posted by midmarch snowman at 1:00 AM on February 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


It reminds me a little bit of the antipathy between some of the major hackintosh forums... Where in tonymacx86 any non tonymac posts get deleted (makes sense I guess, keep things on topic) but then on insanelymac and latitudeOSX any talk of tonymac gets you banned for some reason... Cause of stealing or something?
posted by midmarch snowman at 1:08 AM on February 21, 2016


Having seen it in 1977 (between my junior and senior year in college), I distinctly remember seeing "Episode IV" at the head of the opening crawl.

Wait until I tell you there was no "To Be Continued" at the end of the theatrical release of BACK TO THE FUTURE.

The interesting part about that is the 'To Be Continued' was lopped off of the DVD release, which then makes it inconsistent with Part II which ends with 'To Be Concluded'.
posted by crossoverman at 2:17 AM on February 21, 2016


The first copy I had was a hand-me down early 80's taped-from-tv version, complete with commercials for C3PO's breakfast cereal.

I, too, grew up with taped mid-80's copies from TV (although my older siblings fastidiously excised the commercials at the time of recording). So some of this "I want the Star Wars of my youth!" talk goes over my head. But I can still muster plenty of hate over what happened to the Special Editions.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:09 AM on February 21, 2016


And how ironic is it that the very thing that upsets most people about the first movie (endless tinkering by Lucas) would be most welcome for Episode I?

What upsets people is the endless tinkering AND systematically making the originals unavailable by putting it all down the memory hole and claiming the tinkered version is the one true version.

Fanedits upset no one because you can still jar jar to your hearts content.
posted by Karaage at 4:37 AM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's really too bad that fans have to ignore an artist's vision.
posted by Docrailgun at 10:33 PM on February 20


Which artist though? Don't the hundreds of artists who created the original pre-CGI effects with models & matte paintings deserve to have their work seen and respected? If Lucas worked in a one-person-medium like painting, sculpting, or non-movie-writing, he might have a leg to stand on with all his "my vision" talk, but the movies were a group effort and I don't see why he gets to rewrite history just because he is (now was) the one in financial control.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:32 AM on February 21, 2016 [21 favorites]


What oh yeah said. The special effects work in 1977 was done by scores or even hundreds of the most talented craftspeople and artists in Hollywood at the time. For Lucas to come back and slap bad 90s era CGI on top of mattes and models and hand animation is an insult to their artistry and skill.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 AM on February 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


As this time of year comes round again I find myself reflecting
On all the things for which I’m grateful like my family and friendships
And the fact my life is relatively free from pain and tragedy
There’s so much I am thankful for; but, still…

If there’s someone or something out there responsible for all of this
And listening to me thank them, then I ask you, Sir or Madam
Would you kindly tell George Lucas to stop screwing with our Trilogy
And on behalf of all of us, say “George: please fucking stop”

I am thankful for the Firefly crew (especially for Kaylee)
And I am thankful I won’t live to see the rise of the machines
And I’m thankful that Joss Whedon is directing The Avengers
And speaking of directors: hey there, George…

A movie is a snapshot of the era it was made in
Like a painting or photograph, or even this song’s lyrics
And we won’t go back to change them if Avengers ends up sucking
We’ll just shrug and then we’ll go make something new
So fucking stop

Everybody knows Darth Vader didn’t say a goddamn word
When he threw the Emperor down the Death Star II’s reactor shaft
And Everybody knows that Greedo never even fired
When Han shoots first, it sets up his entire moral journey
Plus, it’s cool

I know that in the scheme of things, it’s just a first world problem
And there’s many more important issues even so, I’m asking you
That if you’re not too busy with the problems of the universe, and
If you have a moment I would sure appreciate

If you’d drop in on Mr. Lucas—maybe grab him by his neckbeard
And then vigorously shake him and say “George, it’s very simple:
Just release the goddamn Blu-Ray with the versions we remember
Then shut up and take our money, and then please
Please fucking stop

posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:51 AM on February 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


The great thing about the 70s effects were that the fighters looked like the Camaro parked next door that your brother worked on with his buddies. They had oil stains, dents, and weird customizations on each model. They looked "real." When Biggs blew up, it was like your big brother ate it in his hotrod.

The coolest CGI ship -and some are very cool- still just look too damn smooth.

Another weird cultural artifact, those movies came out only 30 years after WWII. Those fighter battles tapped right into the American mythos of farm boys flying seat of your pants against an evil empire. Many of us heard those stories right from our grandfathers. This was recent histtory, it's hard to imagine now how much the WWII victory permeated childhood legend building at that time.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 6:57 AM on February 21, 2016 [21 favorites]


What do you wanna bet that the unspecified "unethical behaviour" Team Negative One is said to have engaged in is that the 35mm print came from Disney, who just got a film restored for free by exploiting its fans?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:36 AM on February 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


FWIW, anyone interested in the history of Star Wars needs to read The Secret History of Star Wars (both a website and a book.)

Standing orders to destroy theatrical prints? By whom, and of which films? Original Star Wars trilogy?

Mr. Black goes into that a bit in the interview I linked. He said he's heard that any theater showing the original prints will have them seized and destroyed. It's possible--the theaters don't own their prints--but it obviously doesn't come up very often.

Those fighter battles tapped right into the American mythos of farm boys flying seat of your pants against an evil empire.

And British
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:43 AM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


However, if what you're more in the mood for is to recreate the feeling of sitting in a theater in 1977, watching what those folks (perhaps even your parents) saw at the time, then the Silver Screen Edition is fantastic.

Where all of the "These Facts Will Make You Feel Old" posts have failed, you have succeeded. Admirably.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:42 AM on February 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's really too bad that fans have to ignore an artist's vision.

Have a less shitty vision and it won't be ignored, George.

That might indeed be the (I believe it was) CBS Movie Of The Week airing of Star Wars, which was the first ever official time it had been shown on television.

First time on network tv. It had been on HBO for a long while and available on vhs for a long time too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:20 AM on February 21, 2016


My favourite SW story is about this treasure hunter who was going through Lucas' garbage bins looking for curios, whenLucas himself came out and said, "Get the hell out of here you little freak!" And the guy is all like, "The Master spoke to me!" There's more drama in those four seconds...
posted by sneebler at 11:35 AM on February 21, 2016


Can anyone explain why Team Negative 1 was banned from Original Trilogy and then disbanded?

From what's been posted so far, it looks like they (a) used some scans that they shouldn't have had access to, and (b) used some scans and didn't credit the scanner. So, basically stepping outside the bounds of what that community considers ethical. Legally, of course, it's all of a kind.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:07 PM on February 21, 2016


So, I was actually watching the trailer for V2.5 of the despecallized edition last night. Does this make that edition outdated, since 35 mm can be scanned to 1080p without much trouble? Or does a version of the Despecallized that is newer then v2.5 include it as a source?

Also: My girlfriend has never seen the non-special edition. Which of these should I show her?
posted by Canageek at 12:14 PM on February 21, 2016


Wow they really destroyed the fuck out of the dynamic range with their "edit" to make it super saturated and grimy(and i'm referring to the blu ray). The bar scene is really REALLY blatant with that. So much detail is completely lost by cranking the contrast up to 11.
posted by emptythought at 12:29 PM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Which of these should I show her?

The Silver Screen edition will be closer to what most people saw back in '77. Harmy's Despecialized edition aims to be more like what a proper BluRay release would look like. I prefer the former, but it's a matter of taste. The latter will have more detail and less grain.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:35 PM on February 21, 2016


They were even put out on LaserDisc

I have several copies of the "Original Trilogy"on LaserDisc. Except for the "Episode IV" crawl, I'm pretty sure that they are what was shown upon initial release. Matte lines can be seen on occasion, Obi Wan and Vader look like they're dueling with glowing broomsticks, and, of course, Han Shoots First. Of course, as nice as LaserDiscs are (and they really are quite nice) they don't measure up to DVD or Blu-ray. Despite that, I've pretty much always watched the "un-Lucasized" versions.
posted by TDavis at 12:43 PM on February 21, 2016


What do you wanna bet that the unspecified "unethical behaviour" Team Negative One is said to have engaged in is that the 35mm print came from Disney, who just got a film restored for free by exploiting its fans?

This would be pointless. Disney has the real negatives. The only issue is that they did a stupid job "remastering" them. The source they could pull from to do a release would be MUCH sharper and higher quality than this.

If you're going to argue that this is some kind of secret handoff from disney, i would bet more of it being some rogue element within their organization wanting to make a case for the release by showing how rabidly people worked on this and how it was received online. Im sure they hold a whole bunch of 35mm prints, and one could get "lost" by or stolen from a courier and written off or something along those lines.
posted by emptythought at 12:49 PM on February 21, 2016


The Expanded Fandomverse Podcast also interviewed Harmy in episode 15.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:59 PM on February 21, 2016


Some more insight into the fallout. Sounds like this was about scans for the next version of the project.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:22 PM on February 21, 2016


have several copies of the "Original Trilogy"on LaserDisc. Except for the "Episode IV" crawl, I'm pretty sure that they are what was shown upon initial release.

Does C-3PO say "there'll be no escape for THE CAPTAIN this time" or "there'll be no escape for THE PRINCESS this time".

I betty bet bet that any version with the Episode IV crawl also has that change.

I am soooooo old...
posted by Billiken at 7:21 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually even the original 1977 release had quite a few differences between the 35mm and 70mm prints. Wookiepedia has the details.
posted by octothorpe at 7:27 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


And how ironic is it that the very thing that upsets most people about the first movie (endless tinkering by Lucas) would be most welcome for Episode I?

I enjoy Adywan's versions of the OT because he is obsessive about fixing the little things without breaking other things and he seems to get what people love about SW. The outrage is not about changing the OT, it's about changing the OT and trying to pretend the theatrical cuts never happened.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]




the face is Harrison’s though, of which Adywan has a cast of also
wat
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I don't know. It's all so Magnificent Obsession, how can you not love it?! Look for his stuff on Youtube. He even replaced George-Lucas-Neck-Emperor (which replaced Monkey Eyes Emperor) with the real Emperor in ESB.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:42 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Billiken: “Does C-3PO say 'there'll be no escape for THE CAPTAIN this time" or "there'll be no escape for THE PRINCESS this time'. I betty bet bet that any version with the Episode IV crawl also has that change. I am soooooo old...”

I would agree with that – any version with the Episode IV crawl has that change – because every version has that change. It isn't even a "change," except in the sense that the script says "Captain" but Anthony Daniels said "Princess" in the film.

The very first day that Star Wars was released in theaters, the line was "There'll be no escape for the Princess this time."

If you remember differently, you may be thinking either of (a) the fact that that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since C3PO later insists he doesn't recognize or know of Leia, to the point where Lucas was soon trying to explain away this inconsistency in interviews; or (b) the fact that, in the novelization, it is (as in the script) "there's no escape for the Captain this time."
posted by koeselitz at 10:18 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


(yes, that bothered me so much that I've been reading about it on and off for the past two days. heh.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:18 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't get the problem. Threepio could presumably know that the ship was carrying the princess, but have no idea what she looks like.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, when C3PO says "there'll be no escape for the Princess this time," he's speaking with familiarity, at least implying that he knows that the ship's primary mission is to carry this Princess, even if he has never met or seen her.

But when Luke asks who the woman in the message is, C3PO says "I'm afraid I'm not quite sure, sir. I think she was a passenger on our last voyage. A person of some importance, sir - I believe."

It's just – either C3PO was being spectacularly stupid, knowing that there was a woman who was "a passenger" and "a person of some importance," but not connecting that knowledge with the "Princess" he clearly knew about – or he's lying in some very weird way. Lucas tried to explain it as the latter. Maybe the former is more believeable.

In any case, the line makes much more sense as "there'll be no escape for the Captain this time," not least because we immediately see Captain Antilles being killed by Darth Vader, and because we learn later that C3PO and R2D2 knew themselves to be traveling with their master, Captain Antilles, and were apparently only vaguely aware of Princess Leia.

(Frankly, if he was going around changing things to make them better, Lucas would have fixed that and changed it back to "captain" a long time ago.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Duh, that's your sister, Princess Leia, leader of the rebellion, which btw is literally-slash-metaphorically just a teenage rebellion against her overbearing dad, who btw is also your dad."

...and trilogy over.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


...complete with commercials for C3PO's breakfast cereal.
My younger brother was allowed to get C-3PO cereal—which I thought was a rather odd marketing decision... Let’s do a Star Wars breakfast cereal! We’ll name it after that high-strung robot who complains all the time!—and I have to say, I always thought the cereal smelled like urine. Make of that what you will.
posted by blueberry at 6:15 AM on February 25, 2016


which I thought was a rather odd marketing decision... Let’s do a Star Wars breakfast cereal! We’ll name it after that high-strung robot who complains all the time!

But everyone LOVED C3PO at the time, and his 'lil pal.
Everyone.

(But, of course, that lead to Droids, and Twiki and Muffit, so it was not without a certain downside for adults).
posted by Mezentian at 11:31 PM on February 25, 2016


(Frankly, if he was going around changing things to make them better, Lucas would have fixed that and changed it back to "captain" a long time ago.)

Changing a work of art to make it more internally consistent always makes it worse, not better. Doing so reduces the number of things that provoke questions in the observer. A hearty raft of internal inconsistencies can maximize individual attention as the observer wonders about a given creator's questionable aesthetic expression. Ideally, that produces public social interaction concerning the art under consideration, which helps to increase demand for and consumption of the work under consideration.

From this perspective, the Schrodinger's uncertainty instantiated within the black box of the Mos Eisley cantina in the form of Han Shot First would approach perfection in art, given that the two edits are mutually internally and externally inconsistent.

Additionally, and in this my stated position may be seen to exhibit a weakness, the fan-edit excision of Jar Jar Binks would theoretically weaken the films of which we must never speak.
posted by mwhybark at 11:53 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The issue with the original editions is not about the quality of the special editions. I saw them in the theaters on release in 1997 and it was rapturous. Aside from the changes, the visual quality of the special editions is incredible; the restoration work and the attention paid to making sure the film looks crisp is laudable. (Greedo shooting first is, of course, bantha poodoo.) The issue is that unlike most other films which have a director's cut, the special editions of Star Wars have meant that the theatrical versions have not been available in a high quality release. And for Star Wars, this meant that films we had lived with for 20 years (or at least 16 in my case) were changed, and we can't buy the high quality Blu Rays and get the movies as we knew them.

It's worth noting that next year will be the 40th anniversary, which would be a hell of a time for Disney to get all the credit for releasing a high quality transfer of the 1977 theatrical Star Wars.
posted by graymouser at 1:51 AM on February 26, 2016


Mike Verta put up a video (NSFW lang.) explaining the incident that blew up on Negative1. (The "Legacy" he mentions is his own project.) He later clarified that he doesn't care whether they were aware of the agreement that was violated. It's still not clear if they even used the scans in question in the Silver Screen Edition.

It's worth noting that next year will be the 40th anniversary, which would be a hell of a time for Disney to get all the credit for releasing a high quality transfer of the 1977 theatrical Star Wars.

That's what Mike is hoping to do. He mentions in the video that he has been talking to (so far relatively low level) Disney people.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:15 PM on February 27, 2016


So the VHS I have (purchased early 90s). How's it different?

On repeat watching, Star Wars is highly overrated. Watch 1 and 2 (once) then stop forever and be happier. There are so very much many more better good movies.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:59 PM on February 27, 2016


Yeah, that's some really faulty logic on Verta's part. He's right to be pissed off, but the only one who violated any trust is "Joe." But he's not going to come out too hard against "Joe," since "Joe" funded everything. Meanwhile, here's Negative One, tipping him off to the fact that "Joe" screwed him, and he bans them? Shooting the messenger much?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:21 AM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


So the VHS I have (purchased early 90s). How's it different?

The VHS edition is very close to the '77 release. It had some audio tweaks and has the modified opening but otherwise is pretty spot on. Its main problem is that it's VHS.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:28 AM on February 28, 2016


Its main problem is that it's VHS.

I still have a DVD/VHS player (invaluable). My girls (4.5 and 7) just watched Empire for the first time. They watched Star Wars a month or so ago.

Is there like a Behringer U-Phono for video? ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:06 PM on March 16, 2016


« Older *DUNK* Ohhhhhhhhhhh *DUNK* Ohhhhhhhhhhhh *DUNK*...   |   No electrons were harmed. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments