Saturday, September 17, 2011

FILM: A Change Star Wars Should Make (Commentary)

With the release of the Star Wars Blu-ray sets yesterday there has been a buildup in discussion between fans and blogs about the changes made within the series from the days of the special editions in the late 90's to now these Blu-ray sets. While some may be overly dramatic about the changes, I fall in the camp that embraces the continual perfection seeking vision of George Lucas.

And in that spirit there is one scene in A NEW HOPE that I would like to see perfected in a future version release (definitely too late for the Blu-ray release). I am talking about a scene that was re-added with the release of the special editions, when Han Salo and Jabba the Hutt have a discussion at Mos Eisley Spaceport in the hanger where the Millenium Falcon was parked.

Back when it was originally filmed in the 70's, Jabba was played by a human actor and as a result Han Solo interacted with the character that was the size of a human. This made the reinclusion of the scene in the special edition version slightly awkward as Jabba was changed to his proper form of a Hutt but because of Han Solo's movements around Jabba, it was turned into Han stepping onto Jabba's tail as he circled him.

For a long time there did not seem that a way to fix this scene existed outside of reshooting the scene with someone else standing in for Han Solo considering Harrison Ford is now 30 years older and not exactly in the same condition to do the role. And I think if the scene was reshot with someone else, the crazed fans that resist every change made in the Star Wars Universe would probably become murderous.

But then TRON: LEGACY happened, and the technology used in it caught my attention. They were able to create a young Jeff Bridges so that the actor could play once again a character he had played nearly 30 years before. There was a little bit of an uncanny valley effect with the generated younger version but for being a breakthrough technology in film, it came off quite well.

If George Lucas got his hands on the same technology I think it would be possible to reshoot the scene with Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt with Harrison Ford and this time take into consideration Jabba's slug mass. I think they could even just use it for wide shots and Han's movements in the scene and possibly merge it with some of the original footage that was acceptable.

Will it ever happen? Probably not, but it would be nice to clean up the one glaring problem I have had with the changes over the years.

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