Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lucas, Scourge of Fans

I had a terrible vision last night. I saw George Lucas, risen supreme and spreading his evil among other creators! The horror!

What evil? The suckness that was Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and (to a slightly lesser extent) Episode Three: Anakin the Whiny Child-Killer?

Those were bad, but not evil. If we had to denounce and hound people for being evil, Jerry Bruckheimer would have been thrown into a pit of molten lava years ago, and he would never have lent his name/cash to The Amazing Race, the only watchable reality show.

Nope, the evil (or perhaps EVIL) that emanates from Lucas is his obsessive recutting of his own movies. The first three episodes were famously "improved" for their second theatrical release just before Phantom Menace. Then he recut them again for release on DVD, adding in Anakin, Poster Boy for Infanticide, in the scene of Jedi ghosts at the end of Return of the Jedi.

Not as well known is that Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were altered between the theatrical release and the DVD release. Minor changes, but Lucas couldn't even leave them alone for the six or seven months between releases. That's not a quirk, it's not artistic dedication, it's a pitiful addiction to an editing suite and CGI technology. I can clearly picture George peeling back his neck-flab-supporting turtleneck sweater to jam a coaxial cable directly into is spine. His nervous system connects to the edit suite and his eyes half-close in delicious, meddling bliss. "Yessss," he hisses, his voice soft as Jabba's skin, "where shall we add more flying objects and blobby alien critters today. You can never have enough background detail..."

Who could be infected next?

Quentin Tarantino: Spends next six years creating the directors cut of Kill Bill. After adopting some adorable orphans, decides it's "a little too violent" and replaces slicing sword noises with fuzzy animal squeaks. Blood recoloured green, blue and purple and edited to imply the movie is nothing but an extended Jello fight. Bill Cosby added to push Jello angle.

Joss Whedon: Instead of crafting new works, creates an extended re-release of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. Because Buffy's outfits now look dated, hires a fashion design house to change her appearance, including hair cut and make up, to stay current. The project starts again every six months, resulting in a new re-issue.

The Estate of Jimmy Stewart: It's A Wonderful Life re-written to provide the happy ending at the 90 minute mark, because who wants to sit through the downer of the last 30 minutes before getting to everyone singing Auld Lang Syne? In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stewart's filibuster ends when he is stoned to death by Republicans. "How dare he attempt to block the appointment of righteous judges!" yells Bill Frist, in a newly added cameo. In Harvey, Rob Schneider added as the loveable invisible rabbit, making raunchy gestures and oggling Stewart's elderly aunt.

Steven Spielberg: After becoming a creationist, re-writes Jurassic Park to confirm with biblical chronology. "We're recovered DNA from creatures that went extinct in the Flood!" the scientists exclaim. Self-righteous mathematician is eaten early on (the only good change) and children defeat the velociraptors by praying to Baby Jesus. Then Spielberg removes all the guns from E.T., replacing them with walkie talkies.

No, that's too ridiculous to ever happen.

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