Star Wars Part 22

     Credit where credit is due: somehow, George Lucas is set to, yet again, milk his Star Wars cash cow for every last penny, and he’s relying on lonely, socially-stunted grown men to do it.
     In what can only be called inevitable (winning a close battle with “obvious”), Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox announced that it would re-release the fourth “Star Wars” movie, ridiculously referred to as “Episode I,” in 3-D format. George Lucas, whose IMDB biography lists far more Star Wars and Indiana Jones-related products than I even knew existed, has once again preyed on the insecurities and delusions of a group of citizens too pathetic to protect themselves from being exploited.
     I admit, I fell for it when the first two “Star Wars” related movies were re-released back in 1998 (maybe 1999), allegedly digitally enhanced with about 2.3 seconds of additional, never-before-seen footage thrown in to sweeten the bait. After seeing “The Empire Strikes Back,” still the very best of the franchise hands-down, I had had my fill and didn’t return to see “Return of the Jedi,” mainly because even as a 10-year old the very idea of Ewoks annoyed me.
     When it was released on DVD, I gave “Episode I” a shot, until about 25 minutes into the movie when I realized how bad it was.
     It’s not that Lucas isn’t allowed to add zeros to his various bank accounts however he wants. It’s that he’s doing it with tedious repetition, waiting every several years before finding a way to insult the nation’s collective intelligence by presenting something as new that is, in fact, a decade old.
     Lucas seems to be alone in this regard. I mean, it’s not like the surviving Beatles would do something this blatant just for mon…wait, um…
     Can anyone other than a professional cinematographer even tell the difference between an original and a digitally re-mastered version? I mean, sure, if you put on $500 headphones and listen to “Abbey Road” on a top-of-the-line Bose home theater system, you could probably, maybe tell a slight difference in how the snare drum was tuned on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” but really, who cares?
     Expect more of these blatant cash-grabs as aging pop culture icons realize the creative juices have run dry and they’ve got bills to pay. I used to collect bootlegs of Bruce Springsteen shows, and he has at least two dozen shows from the 1970s alone that would rake in serious money if they were ever officially released. Hell, some of the bootlegs sound like professional quality recordings (I’m looking at you “Piece de Resistance” and “Winterland Night”) without any sort of studio doctoring.
     I couldn’t even imagine how much unreleased music the Stones are sitting on.
     So George Lucas is re-re-re-releasing one of his Star Wars movies. In light of the emergence of 3-D technology, I guess I’d be more shocked if he didn’t do that. I just feel for the guys who really care about this stuff. They don’t have girlfriends to tell them how lame it all is.

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