I ran into an interesting thing today: a forum user who had never seen the original versions of Star Wars. He created a topic asking why so many people hated the new versions, and what it was about the changes that made them so bad. Since I typed up a fairly massive response, I thought it might be fun to post it here, too, and see what you all think.
Here's the changes Lucas made, and why they're bad.
1) THE CHANGE: CG EFFECTS
WHY IT'S BAD: The original model effects, if you look at them today, still hold up. The spaceships still look like spaceships, and everything just has a since of realism to it. The effects from 1997, while amazing then, are already dated and give the film an unrealistic, cartoony look. Kids looking at it today will be pulled out into saying "Oh, it's an old movie," instead of "Oh man, this is a great story!"
2) THE CHANGE: ADDED SEQUENCES
WHY IT'S BAD: The added Jabba the Hutt sequence isn't so bad, it actually adds some background to Han Solo's character and introduces a major villain. The problem is that that info was already given two seconds ago in the Greedo scene, which, combined with the problems with Jabba's CG effect (see above) and the fact that you suddenly have to believe Jabba gained around ten thousand pounds in two years to be as big as he is in Jedi...it's not that great.
The other sequences he adds all add time in places where the film doesn't need it. There are two huge song and dance sequences added that really take away from the atmosphere of Jabba's Palace and the Mos Eisley Cantina, giving it more of a cutesy kid film feel. And there's other places, like an intro to Mos Eisley itself that stretches the establishing shot and prevents us from getting into the action.
3) THE CHANGE: HAN SHOOTS SECOND
WHY IT'S BAD: This is the big one, the one people sort of rally around whenever we talk about why the changes take away from the original trilogy. Han Solo, when you first meet him, is a mysterious, mercenary character. While he's funny, we're never really, truly sure what side he's on until he saves Luke, and the Greedo scene is a big part of that. The revelation that Han Solo has a heart of gold underneath it all is an important one to the character, and part of the reason why he's so loved today, and to have him only fire in self defense gives it away early.
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