Star Wars and Indiana Jones as social commentary

I was (past tense) a big fan of the original Star Wars trilogy (not the wretched first trilogy). Listen to the always excellent Bill Whittle as he explains why the reissued versions of the classic original trilogy — that I will never, ever buy, thank you very much — are indicative of a disturbing trend in our modern American society:

Didn’t Han Solo shoot first in the famous Cantina scene? It depends on which versions of “Star Wars” you have seen. Bill Whittle jumps head first into this “Star Wars” controversy and asks whether George Lucas’s re-edited version of the sci-fi classic tells us something about Hollywood, manhood and American culture.

Here is the money quote from Bill:

“And today, in this society of dependence and passivity, of emasculated, incompetent, cowardly and neurotic males, this iconic image [Han Solo/Indiana Jones] of the self-reliant, autonomous, brave, cunning, and quick-thinking individual man, has to be destroyed.”

“Emasculated, incompetent, cowardly, and neurotic.” The perfect description of liberal/progressive men. George Lucas included.



5 thoughts on “Star Wars and Indiana Jones as social commentary

  1. Lucas wants the ‘final cut’ of his movies to be true to his own vision, now that he has the wealth and power to make it so. I don’t see what is so bad about that. Actually, it seems like something people interested in freedom etc. should support. Of course, we’re free not to like his ‘final cuts’. But I think Whittle is overboard in his criticisms.

    Since 1997, the year Lucas released his special editions of the original “Star Wars” movies in theaters, he has been attacked by the very fans who once embraced his heroic style. They didn’t like how Lucas changed the old movies; they didn’t like the prequels, which seemed wooden and juvenile; and the Star Wars merchandising blitz they once gorged on had begun to drive them nuts. (All six “Star Wars” films will return to theaters in 3-D, beginning in February.)

    “I think there are a lot more important things in the world” than feuds with fanboys, Lucas says with a kind of weary diffidence. But then he gets serious, even a little wounded. Lucas explains that his first major features — “THX 1138” and “American Graffiti” — were forcibly re-edited by the studios. Those were wrenching experiences he has compared to someone keying your car (he loves cars) or chopping a finger off one of your children (he has three and loves them too). Afterward, Lucas set out to gain financial independence so the final cut would forever be his. “If the movie doesn’t work,” he vowed, “it’s going to be my fault.”

    In the last decade and a half, Lucas has given “Star Wars” several “final” cuts. For the 1997 special edition, he made Greedo, a green-skinned alien, fire his blaster at Han Solo because Han’s murdering Greedo in cold blood — as the 1977 version had it — struck him as a violation of his own naïve style. For the new Blu-ray version of “Return of the Jedi,” Lucas added Darth Vader shouting, “Nooo!” as he seizes the evil emperor in the movie’s climactic scene. Lucas made the Ewoks blink. And so forth.

    When fanboys wailed, Lucas did not just hear the scream of young Jedis; he heard something like the voice of the studio. The dumb, uncomprehending voice in his Socratic dialogues — a voice telling him how to make a blockbuster. “On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie,” Lucas says, referring to fans who, like the dreaded studios, have done their own forcible re-edits. “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’ ”

    Lucas seized control of his movies from the studios only to discover that the fanboys could still give him script notes. “Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”

    • AS always, fuzzy, you’re right. Henceforth the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will three Gs and a C sharp instead of an E flat. Oh, and, Charles Foster Kane won’t say “Rosebud” anymore. He’ll just stay quiet when he dies.

  2. Lucas is still alive and able to edit his own work. Beethoven is long dead. While Beethoven was alive, though, he DID make changes to his own works. Even the Fifth.

  3. Not after it had been published, Fuzzy. Beethoven was a notorious tweaker, but once published, that was it, unless it was to correct a copy mistake.

    I can accept “director’s cuts” and “unrated cuts”; I have tons of them. But to wholesale destroy the original work loved by audiences by making substantive and unnecessary changes, and then to insult the audience by refusing to release what they remember and love, is unconscionable.

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