Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Questionable Star Wars vol. 4

Sometimes, even perfection can be improved. . . think about it.

Question: "Name one thing you would change about each of the original Star Wars films if you could."

Scott's Answer: I've actually never given this much thought. The first two films, for better or worse, are near-perfect as it is. I suppose I'd go back and account for certain things that Lucas changed along the way. Leia kissing Luke in Empire, for instance - I assume this was done before they came up with the idea of them being related. (I don't wish to open this can of worms but there are various accounts as to who came up with what and when.) For Jedi, I'd go back to their original concept and change the Ewoks to Wookies. I'm sure I'll think of more in the comments below. [smile]

Andrew's Answer: This is a toughie! Who came up with this question! Star Wars and Empire are essentially perfect. But I am always up for a challenge, so. . . for Star Wars, I would add more of Ben training Luke. I think that's the philosophical core of the film and another five minutes of "feel it flow through you" would have been great and would have explained more how Luke was able to harness the Force so suddenly. For Empire, more cowbell! Just kidding, I would remove Ben Kenobi actually. I don't think he adds much and he ends up detracting from the myth of the Jedi with his talk about something being true "from a certain perspective." And for Jedi, I'd actually break the film into two. Right now you have this story of the rescue of Han Solo followed by a totally separate story about the destruction of the Son of Death Star. I would make those into separate movies and give them the time they deserve.


Dave Olson said...

For ANH, I would keep the special edition except for GREEDO SHOT FIRST DAMMIT! For ESB I would explore the Han/Leia relationship a little further. Why were they so hostile to each other on Hoth? Why would kissing Luke (ewwwwww!) make Han so jealous? Why the quick snog on the Falcon? Had they been an item before, broke up, and reunited as seen in the movie?

For Jedi, I would change directors. Seriously. Richard Marquand was not a good director. I would let Irvin Kershner have another stab, or even Spielberg because it was the early 80s and he hadn't gone nuts yet.

Anonymous said...

Dave -

I think one of the reasons (if not the main reason) why Jedi was directed by Richard Marquand was because every other director Lucas wanted (like Spielberg) was in the DGA and Lucas had resigned from the organization after Empire - as a result, he was not allowed to work with DGA members (at least not without stiff penalties).

I think Lucas also wanted someone he could control. Unfortunately, Marquand died in the late 80s so we'll never get his side of the story.

tryanmax said...

Okay, this is total nerd of me, but if there is one thing I cannot get enough of in the original trilogy, it is the droids and aliens. I'd just love to see more of them interjected throughout. That said, Lucas tried this with the prequels, and it did not sit well with me. That's largely b/c the new films entirely used CGI for the creatures, which spoils the effect. Just the idea that I could see all the creatures in person, even if they are just latex and plastic, deeply intrigues me.

PikeBishop said...

1. Get rid of the Ewoks. (no brainer)
2. I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't like the tacked on "ghostly apparation" of Yoda, Kenobi and Anakin at the end of "Return." It has always seemed maudelin and hokey to me.
3. Don't forget to take out Leia's kiss in ANH as well.
4. I've always felt the one major flaw in Empire was the giant worm monster that camaflouges itself as a cave on the asteroid thing. You don't need to be Mr. Plinkett to point out how utterly illogical that kind of creature even existing would be.
5. Get rid of the Ewoks completely. I remember seeing the film back in 83 and could just imagnie George Lucas with Chuck Jones style animated dollar signs replacing his eyes as he looked at the marketing potential of those creatures. Yuck!
6. Did I mention I hate Ewoks?

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

When I read your first line, my immediate thought was, "Isn't that what people complained about with the prequels?!" :-)

It'll probably depend on who's directing but I think I speak for most when I say it'd be great to get some old-school creature effects in the new films. I think Rick Baker (Oscar-winning make-up/creature genius) said he'd be game to work on the films if asked.

Anonymous said...

Pike -

I don't know if the big worm monster is a "giant flaw" per se. It might be completely impractical but I see it as more of a means to an end. It could've been executed differently but it certainly doesn't hamper one's enjoyment of the film.

Yeah... Ewoks. One wonders what the film would've been like had they gone with Wookies instead. (Does that mean we would've gotten Ewoks in Revenge of the Sith instead?)

Truth be told, the Ewoks never really bothered me - the problem is that the film almost comes to a complete stop once they reach Endor and it doesn't pick up for a while.

Individualist said...

Well I don't know that I would change anything in the first films. Lucas changed them and we get Greedo shooting first... so I am not about Changing a New Hope.... is that a political reference... hmmm....

I especially don't want any of the changes I have read online. for instance the one where political activists storm Jabba's palace in Empire when Luke goes in there holdking up signs that say "Occupy a Hut". No I don't think I want to see that so i am good with just letting them sit on the shelf.

rlaWTX said...

poor Ewoks! no love for the cuddly critters.
I hadn't heard that it should have been Wookies - so for once, I'll vote with the anti-Ewokians, IF we get Wookies in exchange.

I like the idea of more Obiwan in Star Wars (#1). I like the grown-up Luke from Jedi (#3) best of the Luke versions - so more of him would be nice and less of the whiny one.

rlaWTX said...

oops - and more of the Leia/Han relationship is another good idea...

Anonymous said...

Indi -

I can't say I've seen anyone advocating for that particular change. :-)

Anonymous said...

rla -

Grown-up Luke, eh? On that note, I wish we had seen more of his training. The time he spends with Yoda in Empire is like a day or two, then we see him in the next film and he's already a full-fledged Jedi. There's no doubt more to that story.

BIG MO said...

I have to limit to just one? (grin)

All of these are from Jedi. First, rewrite the entire opening part in Jabba's palace. The plan to rescue Han made little sense. Lando had already successfully infiltrated the palace. Why couldn't he rescue Han? (And a nice blazing showdown between Han and Boba Fett would have been nice.)

Second, the rebel briefing on the flagship is so hokey it's painful to watch. Desperate rewrite needed! At least make it so that the rebel leadership isn't dumber than star destroyer captain by knowing beforehand that "It's a trap!" Like: "Most likely this is a trap. But knowing that gives us the advantage: We spring the trap. We can't let this new Death Star become operational. And we may never have another shot at the Emperor." Something! Anything!

Finally, there needed to be about 10 more minutes total of exposition surrounding the relationship of Luke and Vader to answer: 1) Why did Luke care about rescuing his father from the dark side? And 2) Why did Vader save Luke from the Emperor? What happened between ESB
and Jedi that caused this? We know from ESB that Vader wanted Luke to join him in destroying the Emperor -- why not in Jedi?

Oh - no Ewoks. And if those stormtroopers were the Emperor's best, how the heck did the Empire take over the galaxy? They couldn't even hit the broad side of a moisture vaporator.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I think that Jedi needs a lot of changes if I'm being honest and a better director would have been a good move. How could would it have been to have a Christopher Nolan?!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I love the droids and the aliens. I think it would have been great to get a broader view of the universe than we get in those films. In fact, it would have been much more interesting to me if they had dumped Endore and instead set the final on some modern world and had the final battle take place in a city.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, I agree with each of those points actually.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The new films will be pure CGI... I have no doubt about that.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the Ewoks are indicative of a larger problem -- they Endore plot was worth about 30 seconds of film time, so they filled it with Ewok cuteness.

T-Rav said...

I don't know--I don't think I would even change the amount of training we see in the first Star Wars, because I feel like it would break up the flow of events too much. Unless you added just a little at the very beginning, maybe.

On Empire: I got nothing.

On Return of the Jedi: Don't completely warp and water down Han's character. I don't care how long he spent in carbonite, he's still who he is--kind of an outlaw. Work around that; don't try to make him something he isn't. Also, cut out that scene where C-3P0 explains to the Ewoks everything that's happened. I get that it's meant as a look-back of sorts for the audience, but we've been watching. We know. It's too kitschy.

K said...

Big Mo:how the heck did the Empire take over the galaxy? They couldn't even hit the broad side of a moisture vaporator.

When the Emperor "transformed" the old Republic, he cut the clone army's training funds to virtually zero to keep funding the programs that kept the system bigwigs on his side. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I agree. Any changes to the first or second film would need to be minor tweaks in my book. And changes to the third should not lose focus of the fact this is a story about this group of rebels against the empire, and should not attempt to make it a bigger geopolitical film.

T-Rav said...

Oh wait--actually, I agree with Pike. That worm-cave thing in Empire shouldn't be there. I don't care what kind of life-forms a galaxy far, far away has, space is a complete vacuum with temperatures of about -450 degrees. There's no food, no air, no water for an organism of any size, let alone that size, to survive. It would not, could not exist.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I like the more romance idea a lot. I think that gives the series its heart. :)

Yeah, when they originally announced Endore, it was supposed to be the planet of the Wookies -- I used to get the Star Wars fan magazines. But then it ended up Ewoks for some reason?

Anonymous said...

Great topic...

But being me I cannot stick to just one thing... In ANH I would change Luke's surname from Skywalker, it always bothered me that he grew up in the same place as his father with the same name and no one put it together. "Skywalker? wasn't there a Skywalker who grew up here and became a Jedi then turned into Darth Vader?, could he be related to Luke?". I would also add a side bar of Ben teaching Luke some Jedi tricks, especially if it was without Luke knowing they were Jedi tricks.

ESB is the best in the series for me so it needs least changes then the others, but I would add some more back story on Boba Fett and maybe improve on some of the dialogue. And of course I would have increased the training time that Luke spent with Yoda so it seems more realistic.

ROTJ needs the most changes, first I would change the Ewoks for Wookies like it should have been had the budget allowed. I would have changed the rescue of Han scene so the bad guys seem less comical and I would have found a way to keep Boba Fett alive.

Oh and I would have kept Leia in the metal bikini for longer..... :) I was entering puberty when that movie came out....


AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, Commentarama rules are meant to be broken. LOL!

I totally agree with your changes. Despite all the time Luke and Vader have on screen together, there's remarkably little depth. There is a solid struggle, but you never really get a sense for why.

The briefing was ridiculous. They talked about things they should already have set up -- "oh hey, did anybody prepare the secret plan?" And the whole thing felt like exposition.

I agree too about Jabba. The plan felt like something kids would come up with... we sneak in and then we fight! Yeah!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, How about a montage as Luke and Ben go through the motions while "You're The Best" blares in the background?

Ha ha ha... shoot me.

AndrewPrice said...

K, LOL! Who does that sound like? No doubt he only wanted to increase taxes on "the very rich Hutts" too.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I didn't mind the worm, but they could have just as easily replaced it with an asteroid-quake.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, We aim to please! :)

I think it's fun to rethink movies now and then.

I like the idea of adding more training. The surname thing never bothered me until the sequels. I never thought of Vader as "Anakin Skywalker," I thought of him as Vader.

On ESB, I actually like the training time with Yoda. I agree about Boba Fett needing more of a backstory or maybe more of a relationship to Han.

I would make major changes to ROTJ. I am always a fan of less comical bad guys, unless it's a comedy, because that raises the level of the challenge.

PikeBishop said...

On the Luke's surname thing, Cracked did a piece a few years back about how lacking certain technologies in famous films really makes a difference.

Notice, there is no internet in Star Wars universe. A few clicks on Vader's Wickipedia entry when someone notices a boy with the same name on the same planet and voila, we don't have a film.

Commander Max said...

Show Vader and Stormtroopers building houses, oops Disney did that already(that would not be a fun thing to do).

Seriously, put SW back in it's original form.
But add a bit more explanation of Biggs, he is only mentioned briefly(then only flippantly), with someone named "Tank". When Biggs shows up, it's an element that's unclear(not unless you have seen all of the cut footage, there is a lot). So who was Tank?

Empire I would leave alone, it's a ride of a movie. We should be thankful, considering what GL is capable of. But there is one thing, how did Vader know Luke was his son, or should I say "son of Skywalker". We sure didn't see anything in SW about it, if that was the case then why didn't Vader sense Lea? I know, I know, will of the force, bla, bla. I call it something else. "PLOT HOLE" or sloppy writing.

Jedi, that movie was sure a sign of things to come. I consider that movie "Spielberged", lets put in something cute for the kiddies. After all these movies are aimed at children. Yea?
Nearly the whole film needs to be matured, except for the Luke, Vader, Emperor thing going on, I thought that was well done. Everything else came across like, we are out of ideas so lets find something for everybody to do.

rlaWTX said...

ya know, I never had so many negative thoughts about the SW series before!! aaaaahhhhhh - my head hurts!!!!

Totally OT: "Star Trek Generations" was on last night. I tried watching it. I can't even remember all of the complaints that were mentioned here, all I know is that it sucked. The whole Data thing was beyond bizarre. I also DVRd Khan and will rewatch that sometime or another...

Anonymous said...

Pike -

Re: technology, you're absolutely correct. On that note, one blog even did a story on how we never see anyone read a book in the SW films.

On that note, Luke mentions teleporting "off this rock" in the first film yet we never see anyone teleporting in any of these movies!

Anonymous said...

Max -

Your issues with Vader and Luke/Leia only prove the point I made with my fixes: I'd account for things Lucas didn't think of because he was most likely making a lot of it up as he went along.

Anonymous said...

rla -

You can read a litany of complaints about Generations here.

All the films have been airing on IFC and I kept them on in the background - every time that damn freecreditscore.com commercial came on, I wanted to shoot the TV. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, That's a fantastic point. If they had the net, then Vader's wiki page would probably expose Luke! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Jedi was absolutely a huge warning sign of things to come. Everything that is wrong with Jedi is amplified in the prequels.

Speaking of seeing the Stormtroopers building homes, did you ever see them do a knock-off of cops on the internet? I think it's been yanked for copyright by now, but it was hilarious. It explains who Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru really die and who kills the Jawas. It's hilarious.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Not complaints... suggestions for improvement... :)

I watched part of Generations last night too and it really is a terrible film.

shawn said...

In my Star Wars universe Vader wouldn't be Luke's father and Leia wouldn't be his sister.

I would have Vader claim to be Luke's father and try to use the dark side to muddle Luke's feelings, but it would just be a ploy to get him to join him.

Leia being his sister was just a cop out to get rid of rhe love triangle. I would have Luke decide to be the lonely warrior monk that sacrifices his interests to be able to focus on protecting the greater good.

Anonymous said...

shawn -

Lucas actually had something like that in mind when he decided to make Vader Luke's father. He consulted with shrinks about how kids in the audience might react. Kids who were mature enough wouldn't have a problem but kids who were not mature enough would assume Vader was just lying to Luke - he is a villain, after all.

I like your lonely warrior idea but I imagine Lucas would've thought a concept like that was too dark. Remember, he didn't want to kill off Han Solo, despite Harrison Ford's wishes.

Commander Max said...

Andrew, that's how we can tell we have been around a while. The video was called "Troopers",
For all of Lucas nuttiness, he was always supportive of the fan community. I'm not sure how that is going to change under Disney.
But it does look like Disney is going to go overboard with the marketing.

Another classic fan film,

LGD said...

Most of you went 'big' on changes, so I'll go 'small' :) Luke asks Leia what she 'remembers' of her real mother. We know from the Prequels that she can't remember anything more than Luke can. They were newborns. Change to 'what were your TOLD about your real mother?' Leia's adoptive parents knew Padme' well and could have told Leia a lot. It would add depth to a character we only thought we knew until the prequels added in her desire to live up to a famous mother. Of course then Leia would have to add 'heroic' to her description of Padme' as 'sad.'

Anonymous said...


Not a bad idea. There are probably more "small" things that could be done to connect the two trilogies in a meaningful way.

Loyal Goatherd said...

Okay I've caught up on my reading, good subject and good comments. TESB was the cpod on Nov 26 on threedonia, where others raved about it's greatness. I don't see it, more in a moment.

IV was the best IMO, though it did have logical problems. The aforementioned unnamed officer who could tell the life pod had no life forms aboard and did not have it destroyed needed to train the death star guy who needed to have a scanning crew go aboard the falcon after capture. The log saying it was abandoned must have been really confusing. Why would the empire tractor beam an unudentified ship in to the deathstar in the first place?. Would not they have scanned it prior to determine if life froms were aboard or explosives? Why not board it at safe distance and determine the facts or just destroy it outright? That's the big hole in this one, but still the best one.

As for V, I'll cut and paste me 3D rave: Next.

Loyal Goatherd said...

V: I’m always contrary to the prevailing winds, it seems, when y’all see ewoks “you say, it’s over!” Well, I went there one earlier. Star Wars was a well crafted fairy tale with cutesy crap for the kids, and not too many plot holes. A conspicuous effort to choreograph a fairly accurate semblance of a final battle scene. The movie borrowed heavily from WWII movies, including a word for word usage of “The Dam Busters” attack scene. I could take or leave it until, one little piece jumped out at me as an awesome little detail, in the attack of gold squadron (also borrowed from torpedo squadron 8 at Midway, 6/4/42). As gold squadron begins its attack run, gold leader takes in gold 2 and gold 3. After 2 fighters are destroyed, the survivor calls to red leader, “they came from behind”, that pilot identifies himself as gold 3. Red leader responds “Copy, gold leader”. Of course, I saw that as a filmmakers’ error on my first viewing. On the second viewing, I saw it for what I believe was the intention of Mr. Lucas, a battlefield promotion (shortlived as it was, for he died as gold leader seconds later). That respect, one warrior to the other, in that dialogue spoke volumes of Mr. Lucas’ respect for the WWII generation and their efforts. He tried to capture a little piece of that and present it to a new generation. Most folks do not even notice this little subtlety. I think it makes the movie.

Okay, TESB starts out at ice station zebra, I half expected Hudson and Borgnine to show up. There are so many giant holes in this storyline, I had a hard time liking it. I did enjoy the story moving forward, but make sense once and while, please!

1 The imperial probe droid sent back a picture of a power generator, but did not pick up any of the rebel’s wireless communications, that they used freely. You’re hiding try radio silence! and what a great invention a probe droid that takes pictures from 10 feet off of the ground, but hears nothing on the comm.

2 We have to use taun-tauns because the speeders have a problem being adapted to the cold, I guess they haven’t been there very long. Oh wait, look at the power generator and ion cannon, did those get built quickly? What about the really big ice hanger for all the ships, command center, corridors everywhere, Princess Leia has her own quarters!?! These rebels have priorities!

3 Taun-Tauns are native to Hoth? What do they eat? The planet is nothing but ice and rock! Okay, they brought the taun-tauns with them just in case there’s a problem adapting the speeders to the cold. Then what does the ice monster eat? Maybe they brought him too! What kind of predator doesn’t kill its prey in the hunt? Does that same type of predator have some method to melt ice and re-freeze it upside down in a cave to hold his prey he didn’t first kill! I guess it wasn’t dinner time yet so he waiting on the clock.

4 “The first transport is away”. We can’t hold out, we’ll have to evacuate. One transport and two fighters at a time. That worked well on the surprise initial transport, I guess it worked every time because they never show any rebel ships captured of destroyed, I guess another admiral failed for the last time again.

5 The imperial walkers (ha ha ha) attacked the power generator and debarked stormtroopers to enter the base, then what? They parked them and took a tour of the rebel base? You don’t suppose they should have pushed on and attacked the transports still on the ground? Maybe they were worried about more harpoons!

That is just a piece of the illogic flowing out of this movie’s first 30 minutes. There is too much more. No, can’t agree on TESB being the best anything. But I do like it, it just can’t stand to any scrutiny at all.

VI One Word, Ewoks. The story is dead to me ...Dead

Anonymous said...

Loyal -

Good stuff! I agree with you re: the tech issues with the first film. I'm a huge Trek fan so, yeah, the first thing that occurs to me is, "Why don't they scan it? Why aren't the sensors calibrated to detect artificial life?" Ad infinitum. The movie could've been over in five minutes!

I never noticed that little WW2 homage (assuming it was Lucas' intention). Nice touch.

If TESB started out at Ice Station Zebra, then they needed Patrick McGoohan ("...get me there!!!").

I dig the issues with the film but I think it's a classic case where, if the film is good, then the audience doesn't care as much. As opposed to a bad film where the audience might be bored and when they're bored, they stop to [gasp] think about things! I could buy that the speeders couldn't work in the cold for prolonged periods of time.

But yeah, what did the tauntauns eat? :-)

Loyal Goatherd said...

Almost every movie, starts off with a willing audience, we will suspend our dis-belief and enjoy it. Only later as we rerun it in our heads or watch it again, do the holes become obvious. If the hole is gigantic enough to fly a small moon (that's no moon) through, it's difficult to keep that initial excitement alive. This is why I have a hard time with modern comicbook movies, I don't believe and I blame Superman III as the begining of the end. At least Flash Gordon was meant to be a cheesy comicbook adventure, but SIII and (PU) SIV destroyed my internal believer, forevermore.

AndrewPrice said...

Loyal Goatherd, That's the real problem with a lot of modern movies, they are so far beyond my ability to suspend disbelief. I can overlook a lot, but it needs to be the sort of thing you don't really notice until later. But so many films today just scream "no way!!" in scene after scene.

Loyal Goatherd said...

You mean when the good guy gets thrown through a plate glass window and falls twenty feet on to the pavement and implies it was rather painful, but not painful enough to stop him from standing up and resuming the fight with a new found strength. Broken bones are for the weak, you know.

Yeah, it's a long history, I still complain when I see WWII movies, made during the war, that just paint a German cross on an American tank. You know they couldn't get real German equipment, but it's a distraction. If I see the SBD dauntlass bomb Pearl Harbor again, I will scream just as loud as last time. Knowledge is weakness, ignorance is strength.

AndrewPrice said...

Loyal Goatherd, Yep, things like that. I'm reviewing John Carter in about an hour and a half which suffered from a lot of that -- things which just didn't make sense to a modern audience.

Loyal Goatherd said...

Helpful material: http://www.cracked.com/article_20052_5-weapon-myths-you-probably-believe-thanks-to-movies.html

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