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May 22, 2004 11:44 AM   Subscribe

At last, "THX-1138" with green-glowing, computer-generated robot factories! George Lucas's first movie, the namesake of his sound system, is coming to a theater near you, with a new 3D effects facelift, and a chilly, incomprehensible Flash site. Will his "original vision" of this 1971 dystopia be realized at last, or will his additions clash with the stark San Francisco subway tunnels, like so much Yes music in a "Metropolis" re-release?
posted by inksyndicate (27 comments total)
Why does he do this? I mean aren't the "imperfections" in the original work integral to track the growth of the creator?
posted by riffola at 11:59 AM on May 22, 2004

Heh. I just saw Alphaville last night.

P.S. your "Flash site" link gives "site not found".
posted by Gyan at 12:00 PM on May 22, 2004

Flash Site
posted by eyeballkid at 12:03 PM on May 22, 2004

Does anyone know when it was exactly that George Lucas became a giant hack? I've always wanted to know.
posted by chunking express at 12:06 PM on May 22, 2004

Oops, sorry about that Flash site link.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:11 PM on May 22, 2004

Does anyone know when it was exactly that George Lucas became a giant hack?

I don't know. Earlier than most people think -- just look at Howard the Duck or the Indiana Jones Chronicles for some early bad omens.

But this trailer took me back to when I was a kid and became excited any time I heard "George Lucas" attached to anything -- it meant that there was magic in store.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2004

Does anyone know when it was exactly that George Lucas became a giant hack?

I think he may have lost something more than just a wife when he got divorced...
posted by Stuart_R at 12:43 PM on May 22, 2004

I hope he threw a few Ewoks into 1138 to liven it up a bit.
posted by ColdChef at 12:53 PM on May 22, 2004

I don't know. I'll forgive him for Howard the Duck, due to the cheese factor. It was so bad I find it amusing. Amusing enough to need the periodic (about every couple of years or so) fix and can still repeat the Jeffery Jones/Dark Overlords of the Universe lines in an appropriate voice.

Of course, there are those that say I am too easily amused...
posted by Samizdata at 1:42 PM on May 22, 2004

Apparently now all the robot guards have walkie-talkies instead of stun-sticks.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2004

I couldn't be happier about this. THX-1138 was my favorite movie when I was a kid. I must have seen it 15 times. It is everything Lucas' movies have not been since: profoundly dark, chilling, horrific, subversive, knowing, daring, dryly witty, scathing, sexy.

I saw this on videotape a few years ago and I couldn't believe how accurately predictive it was of the total surveillance society. I hope to God Lucas doesn't fuck this up, because the film as it was makes him look like a prophet.

Just hearing a few seconds of Walter Murch's insanely genius voice collages in the trailer brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks for this post, inksyndicate!
posted by digaman at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2004

In a way it is good that he is changing all his old films. It removes cognitive dissonance.

"Wait, I thought George Lucas was cool!"
"No, all his movies suck.. see?"

Much less confusion.
posted by Hildago at 2:43 PM on May 22, 2004

Digaman, no, see.. he's not going to make it better. He has lost his vision, his talent, his connection to the world.. whatever. Everything he touches now turns to lead, even stuff that's already gold. It can't be good.
posted by Hildago at 2:45 PM on May 22, 2004

Yeah, I suspect when we split with his wife/editor and also his producer (Gary Kurtz), he lost a couple of significant bullshit filters; and, if I may act as a Lucas apologist for a second, he executive produced Howard the Duck, and had nothing to do with E.T.
posted by John Shaft at 2:47 PM on May 22, 2004

"Buy more. Buy more now.
Blessings of the Masses.
Blessings of the state.
Strive to be happy."
posted by digaman at 2:58 PM on May 22, 2004

So when do we get the spruced up version of American Graffiti? You know, with the music updated to say the '80s and the cars all CGI'd up to look properly 21st century cool?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:30 PM on May 22, 2004

John Shaft, I agree with your post wholeheartedly. Every creative person needs a bullshit-detecting sidekick, and I think Kurtz was a big part of Star Wars's high quality.
posted by inksyndicate at 4:32 PM on May 22, 2004

It's been a long time since I've seen the film, so I don't remember it well at all- though I do remember liking it. Was the script or even the concept that original? Was the heavy lifting pretty much done by Orwell and Huxley, or is Lucas' film a legitimate addition to the dystopia tradition? Honest, not rhetorical questions...
posted by crank at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2004

> a legitimate addition to the dystopia tradition?

Think the visual content. This is a film, not one of Huxley's novels.

Think Walter Murch's sound collages, which are much of the audio track. There had/has never been anything like them.

Think the State Religion in THX, as embodied by the automated confessionals uttering soothing conumerist platitudes. Burroughs, in his grave, wishes he'd thought of this first.

Think "criminal drug evasion," which sounds like a coinage worthy of Ashcroft.
posted by digaman at 5:22 PM on May 22, 2004

I still haven't forgiven Lucas for the update to the scene in StarWars, with Han and Greedo in the canteena.

It's one thing to start churning out turds, it's another thing to start shitting all over the past.

Greedo shoots Han first. Greedo has always shot Han first.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:36 PM on May 22, 2004

The single greatest thing about THX 1138, I think, is that you could close your eyes through the entire thing, and it would still be a really good movie. The images are good too, but the sound is just mind bogglingly effective.

"What's wrong?"

"Buy more. And be happy."
posted by rusty at 8:09 PM on May 22, 2004

Indeed, rusty.
posted by digaman at 8:26 PM on May 22, 2004

Of course, this would really be the second remake, since the original version of THX-1138 was done as Lucas' student film at USC, shot in the campus parking structures.

I love the theatrical release, and I have no desire to see a special edition, as Lucas has shown himself to be bad at making special editions (or even, in recent years, first editions).
posted by bingo at 8:47 PM on May 22, 2004

I think I'll postpone judgement until I've seen the movie.
posted by spazzm at 4:34 AM on May 23, 2004

At least it is unlikely to have an light sabre fight on flying surf boards over a sea of molten lava.
posted by Lex Tangible at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2004

I saw the original original a while ago. It was on a collection of shorts I got from GreenCine (damned if I can remember the title of the DVD). I thought it was a pretty good student film, and it's interesting to see the arc of George Lucas's output go up from that short to American Graffitti to its peak at Empire, then come crashing down to earth.

And then that arc bored right through the earth, down and down until it will one day reach the planet's core. We can only hope that heat and pressure will destroy it and put him out of his misery.
posted by RakDaddy at 10:45 AM on May 24, 2004

Burroughs wished he had thought of that probably about the same Lucas was wishing he thought of that—while they was reading Ray Bradbury or Philip K. Dick years (or in Bradbury's case, decades) earlier.
posted by wobh at 10:03 PM on May 24, 2004

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