The uproar over the recent changes to the Blu-Ray release of Star Wars proves one thing: Everyone loves the real thing. Just like the 1980s new Coke debacle, it's not always better to mess with a good thing.
While some love the changes (I have to admit some make sense) there is a small group of us who long for the nostalgia of watching the film as it was. All the mistakes, goofs, corny special effects and "problems" with the film just make us love it more.
There was a time when Ted Turner started colorizing black and white movies. People were outraged, but none more than Orson Welles, the director of the classic film Citizen Kane. Two weeks before he died in 1985 he said, "Don't let Ted Turner deface my movie with his crayons." Yes, some of us just like movies to stay the way they are.
Sure, Welles could have recut his films when he was alive. He was famously upset about the studios tinkering of his classic Touch of Evil, and decades later someone did re-edit the film to meet his original outline. But, in the end, when a film is made it's like giving birth to child. You can use plastic surgery to change him after he's born, but it's better to just accept the child as he is.
Some of us want to see Han Solo shoot Greedo in cold blood. It makes his transformation from a self-centered jerk to a compassionate friend more poignant. We want to see C-3PO fall off his ledge and a Stormtrooper bump his head on a door. It makes us laugh.
So, since some of us still want to watch the original film, we should have a showing in a theater. Lucas himself said Star Wars is meant to be watched on the big screen. Some questions come up.
Is it illegal? This is a tricky question. Some kind of permission would be needed from LucasFilm. However, small groups of fans watching for nonprofit couldn't hurt anybody. Some theater could donate the theater time to a showing. It would be a truly great event.
Is there an original version left? When George Lucas commissioned his team to restore the original films they discovered most of the film stock was damaged or unusable. It took a lot of work to restore the film. Lucas has probably confiscated private film stock from collectors so there's probably not enough.out there to run the entire film. Chances are even if enough film was recovered it would be unusable. But, it might be possible to reengineer the film based on laserdisc versions, the closest home version to the original, and use CGI to recreate the scenes from their original footage. Kind of like an "unspecial edition."
So, if enough fans get together and put the effort in, we could have a showing of the original Star Wars in the theaters. The question is does anyone else want it?
Would you want to watch an un-edited Star Wars in the theater?
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Update: Changed minor spelling and grammar corrections