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Should Directors retroactively "fix" movies?

Dave

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Is George Lucas right to change 'Star Wars' yet again? Is it ever right for filmmakers to change movies?

(George Lucas has now twice altered 'Star Wars: The Original Trilogy', and there have been 'Directors Cuts' of 'THX 1138', 'BladeRunner', 'Alien', 'Resident Evil', 'Donnie Darko', and many others -- it is fast becoming the norm.)

Some of these changes are not minor tinkering, but massive shifts in the plot. (Han Solo shoots first/ Greebo shoots first/ Both shoot together) or (Hints that Deckard was a Replicant.)

Should Lucas and other filmmakers retroactively "fix" their movies, or should they leave them in their "historical" state?

Or, is it okay to produce a 'Directors Cut' as long as the 'historical' copy is available alongside it?

Personally, I think that it boils down to the questions of whether a film is a static piece of art like a painting or sculpture, (or if it is something else) and whether films should remain the property of the director after release.

Then it becomes the question of "is this just artistic license or is it damage to a work of art that is in the public domain?"

Do artists and sculptors ever retool their work? (apart from repairing vandalism)
 

ray gower

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Personal opinion would be they should learn to stand back and say, 'This is the best I can do and it says everything I want to say,' and leave it at that.

But then I think of the extended LOTR films, which overall are far better than the cinematic releases. But in their case, they haven't actually tried changing film history.

Overall, no they should not try changing the emphasis or story behind a film, though I'm not averse to a little clarification here and there, provided it isn't 30 years later.
 

immortalem

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Originally posted by Dave
Or, is it okay to produce a 'Directors Cut' as long as the 'historical' copy is available alongside it? ]

I agree with this statement.
 

Dave

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I do too, but often you cannot find a copy of the original. For example, go and try to buy a copy of the original cinematic release of 'Star Wars'.

Well, I guess there is always eBay, and one advantage is that that old VHS tape might one day become an investment if you keep it safe.
 

Kanazaka

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I believe that directors have the right to tinker with their own films, but I don't agree with such tinkering. For example, as Asmiley and I discussed yesterday afternoon, in the new Return of the Jedi DVD, the end of the film shows either Hayden Christensen or Jake Lloyd (I haven't seen it, and I forget which one was mentioned in the article in which I read this) appearing as a ghost alongside Alec Guiness and Yoda. I've always felt that Sebastian Shaw appeared as an elderly Anakin in the original Jedi because the ghost represented who that Jedi was when he or she died. Obviously, neither Christensen or Lloyd represent an old Anakin, so I don't see the logic in this change. To follow up with that logic, Lucas would have to replace Alec Guiness with Ewan McGregor--which I don't see happening.
 

Metryq

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"Fixing" a film is in the same category as colorizing to me. Cinematographers working in black-and-white knew what they were doing. And a black-and-white movie is not something one can simply slap color into, like a comic book. While colorization software has improved immensely, images based on contrast and tone look "wrong" when color is added.

Any work of art is a compromise of time, resources, and the "emotional journey" of the artist in getting the piece finished. In the case of Star Wars, the impetus for this thread, Lucas certainly hasn't covered himself in glory with the alterations—more like cartoonish graffiti, such as Han Solo stepping on a CGI Jabba's tail. Greedo shooting first (and missing at that range) violates Solo's character in favor of some imagined "political correctness." The original scene showed that Han Solo was a rogue who dealt with gangsters and lived so far out over the edge that he had to watch for hit men. The audience would rightfully worry about our noble heroes; if they ran into a tight spot, would Solo merely hand them over? Instead there is redemption when Solo (perhaps with some prompting from Chewie) realizes he has a chance to become a part of something he can believe in.

After-the-fact alterations, perhaps in response to perceived audience reception, takes filmmaking out of the artist's hands and turns it into a committee project. My gut feeling is that that is what happened with the Star Wars prequels. The movies looked like Lucas was doing everything possible to please the audience (and sell merchandise), than express something he felt inside.

As for Blade Runner, more a remake of R.U.R. than a translation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, suggesting that Deckard is a replicant invalidates the whole story. The way I saw it, Deckard was an anti-hero because he was "better" than the replicants just for being human. It is his shameful realization at the end that Batty was better for having lived a life. He finds that he can fall in love with Rachel because what does it really matter that she is not natural born?

Perhaps some films get altered by forces beyond "creative" control—in other words, some boob executive will tell someone like Joss Whedon, a proven director, how to run their creation. Every story must be a David and Goliath rehash. Even something as far removed as the novel Logan's Run gets reduced to the intrepid hero taking down the evil overlords. Lots of explosions, and the hero gets sex, er, the girl in the end.

Then along comes a movie like Atlas Shrugged without all the formula explosions and car chases. And the rest of the film industry is just flummoxed to understand the popularity of the work...
 

paranoid marvin

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If pressure is put on a director to release a movie other than he/she wanted it to be released , and then that director at a later stage goes back and says 'Actually movie-goers , THIS is how I wanted you to see the film originally" then that's fair enough. If , however , the director simply wants to go back to a movie simply to do a bit of tinkering for their own satisfaction/amusement,then I can't agree with that at all.
 

Foxbat

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Simple fact is the creator can do what he likes with his creation.

It's akin to Van Gough standing back and saying...just another touch here...and there.....and there......and there.....etc...

However, another simple fact is that people like me just won't buy it if we don't like what's done.

As Bob Dylan said...Money doesn't talk....it swears:)
 

Lemmy

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I would much rather have small updates and edits than a complete remake from a new person with new actors. Besides, as long as we can easily get a copy of whatever version we want, I'm ok with it. Many movies are released in a double-disc edition with the normal version on one disc and the extended/director's cut/unrated/whatever version on the other.

As for George Lucas... does anyone still care what he does after Star Wars: Episode 1 - 3 and Indy 4? The guy's gone insane. :p
 

Rodders

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I have no problem with Directors cuts as i feel that that's what the original movie was intended to be. In most cases, specifically Aliens, the Directors cut adds a lot to the movie. (I still prefer the original theatrical release of Blade Runner over the Directors Cut though.)

As for Lucas's tinkering, it just can't about his original vision anymore as none of the scenes he added have value to the story. I think this is more about commercialisation and showing off than "fixing" his movie.
 
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Chaoticheart

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As for George Lucas... does anyone still care what he does after Star Wars: Episode 1 - 3 and Indy 4? The guy's gone insane. :p
Uggh yeah, I think South Park put it best: The Crystal Skull was Lucas and Spielberg raping Indiana Jones.

And the new Star Wars films just made me sad, though admittedly I did actually enjoy Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan.

As for directors cuts, I don't really have a problem with it, as long as it's a one off to show people what the director really intended. When things get changed multiple times, then its just getting stupid.
 

Lemmy

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Ewan McGregor was a pretty good Obi-Wan, and I kinda liked Natalie Portman as Amidala. Christohper Lee as Count Dooku was awesome, and who can forget the Darth Maul? All in all the prequels had a lot of great potential, and they should have been great. But putting that kid in the first movie was wrong. I know Georgie wanted a young Anakin, but c'mon. And what was that crap about Amidala in the first? In episode 2, Anakin is suddenly the same age as her? Did he travel in time or something?

The funny thing is the Clone Wars movie and CGI tv-series kinda cancel out Episode 3. I mean if the tv-series was official, how come no one even mention Ashoka in Episode 3, even though she was Anakin's padawan between Episode 2 and 3?
 
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