Read your thoughts on the original trilogy that you posted on your blog, and I kinda have a question or two related to them.

1. You have the non-Special Edition version? Out of curiosity, how did you get that? (I have to make do with the 2004 DVDs…)

2. Have you tried comparing the original with the DVDs? If so, which changes did you approve of and which ones annoyed you? (leaving aside the obvious like Han shot first or the freakin Ewoks…)

3. Any thoughts on Michael Kaminski’s The Secret History of Star Wars and its basic theory that the original trilogy turned out good because Lucas surrounded himself with talented people who helped him make it good while the prequels suck because Lucas tried to do everything himself?

4. This one’s entirely mine, but… What do you mean by the whole “bury your feelings” being a weird philosophy for the 70s? Jedi came out in 1983…


1, 2: I just got them from the library… indeed, two of the films happened to be available only on video.  I don’t really want to see Lucas’s changes, and especially didn’t for the rewatching since the whole idea was to see if the original films held up.

3. Eh, surely he had more people working for him on the prequel trilogy— though perhaps he listened to them less.   But I don’t think that was the problem.  I think he was just reaching above his talent level.  The first movies are fun adventure movies, and essentially pastiches of World War II and samurai movies. That’s something he can do well.  The trilogy attempted something much more difficult— to explain personal and societal corruption— inherently harder, and certainly not his forte.  And it didn’t help that his plot required the romance element to work, and it didn’t.   The romance elements in the original trilogy were no better, but they weren’t central to the plot.

4. The ethos of the ’70s was “let it all hang out”— we were exhorted to show our feelings, talk about everything, stop being uptight and hung up.  The Jedi creed clashes with this… even the spiritual figures of the ’70s and beyond (Pentecostals and cults) embraced emotionality and excess.  (Cultural decades don’t always match the calendar; I think of the ’70s as ending with Reagan’s election.  And films take time to make.)