This is a response to the following interview. If you haven’t yet read it, go ahead and do so first please.
My problem with Mr. Lucas is that he isn’t even honest about what he’s doing. There are many issues here.
First, George expresses an opinion that movies are changed all the time. That’s not really true. Yes, the studios often change things without a director’s consent, which he contests as a negative. The major changes are always made before the film is released, and in certain situations, the director has the privelege of releasing their original cut at a later time. Ultimately this is because the studio and the filmmaker have different ideas of what the film is. The studio is interested in the marketing, and the director is interested in the art. That’s kind of a simplistic definition of what happens, but it’s mostly appropriate.
Now, as far as “Bladerunner” is concerned – the example Mr. Lucas used – the film hasn’t been cut “seven ways to Sunday.” It’s been cut a total of three times. The theatrical release with the narration, the original director’s cut without narration and a few extra seconds of footage, and the decades late true director’s cut, which was the actual director’s cut. The changes are all in the editing and in extra scenes. They didn’t go back and micromanage the film the way George has with his.
You see, here’s the thing, George Lucas doesn’t seem to realize the changes he makes aren’t typical. He seems to believe it so much that he has convinced himself that it’s true.
Just look at how he explains the “Han shot first” conspiracy. He’s referring to a change that added a CGI blaster shot with particle and smoke effects, manipulated Harrison Ford’s head to actually cock awkwardly to the side with super speed, and changed the entire compisition of the scene as “a little wider shot” that merely clarifies what originally was in the film.
My next issue is with how grandiose he envisions his own role in the film industry. He literally says that he “resurrected the visual effects business.” Now, granted Industrial Light and Magic has a major role in the special effects business, but visual effects weren’t exactly dead before George Lucas came around. And this was his response to the question “Have you seen ‘Hugo’?”
While I do believe that it’s silly for people to have turned it into such a large issue, I do think George could avoid these pains if he’d atleast allow us to buy the version we grew up with.