No, not The Old Republic. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about that when it comes out and I give it a whirl, but I’m talking about the movies! Yes those six little films every loves and hates and loves to hate and hates to love and love hatey love love. Something like that.
I have to be perfectly honest, and this is the moment in the post where you either decide to walk into this fun house with me and see where it goes or look at me with utter disgust like my mother did when I explained I was spending prom night in the basement with a pizza and a rented copy of Conker’s Bad Fur Day. I personally really don’t have an issue with the prequel films. A minor concern here and there, but I certainly don’t hate them. In fact, I enjoy them quite a bit. Yes, even Episode I.
Okay, for those of you who haven’t closed your browser window and switched over to twitter to call me out as an enemy of nerd-kind, I am sure you are all aware that the new Blu-Ray edition of the Star Wars saga is coming and with it is a brand new batch of slight alterations from Mr. Lucas. A new patch for the saga. And like any WoW patch, this has people raging across the Interweb-o-spheroid. So just like some people enjoy running down the list of changes in every WoW patch, I decided to do the same thing here:
Yoda’s model in both Naboo and the Jedi Temple have been updated to be more in line with his current incarnation.
Of the four things I’ve listed here, this is probably the second most likely to tick people off. Essentially, puppet Yoda from Episode I: The Phantom Menace is being replaced with the CGI Yoda from Episode II and III. Honestly? I’m pretty happy with this one. I have no idea why but the puppet Yoda in Episode I was really off-putting for me. Something about it just seemed strange and slightly creepy. Maybe because it seemed a bit too brightly colored. Maybe because a practical effect like a puppet seemed so out-of-place among the rest of the CGI in the film. Maybe it was them trying to capture a slightly more ‘youthful’ Yoda (apparently years 860-900 take a lot out of his species.) I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but something was always really distracting about that puppet. The CGI one took some getting used to when I first saw Episode 2 back in ’02, but I’ve really warmed up to that one. I like the old puppet look in the Original Trilogy as well. But that Ep. I puppet. He creeped me out.
Vry’s Verdict: BUFF
The number of Dugs in the Jabba’s Palace dungeon has been significantly increased from none to one.
Dugs, if you don’t recall, are the species that Sebulba – the antagonistic hot-shot pod racer – belonged to. If you haven’t completely blacked out and repressed Episode I from your mind would recall that Jabba the Hutt is a fan of pod racing. So maybe just to reinforce that idea, or perhaps to just add another scumbag into Jabba’s Palace of Intergalactic A-Holes (Just take a right off Exit 67 on the Sand Dune Turnpike), a dug has been added wandering in the door of Jabba’s Club. No, it doesn’t say anything. No, there is no indication that it’s supposed to be Sebulba. It’s just a dug walking in the door. Then it cuts away. Debatable whether this adds anything, but it certainly doesn’t detract.
Vry’s Verdict: NEUTRAL
Ewoks now can use a brand new blink emote.
Ewoks are arguably one of the cutest and/or creepiest things in the Return of the Jedi. Usually, I fall on the cute side of things. Granted, I also find Furbies cute and own nearly 30 of them. So what do I know? However, while discussing the Blu-Ray release with a friend of mine, I mentioned that the Ewoks now blink. His reaction? “Less creepy fuzzballs? How AWFUL.” His sarcasm. Not mine. Now that I think about, the fact that these little teddy bears of a species walk around all day blinking about as much as a porcelain doll in the corner of your grandmother’s guest room is a bit creepy. So some blinking can’t hurt right? WRONG. The little fur-balls are ten times creepier now that they have these big glassy CGI eyeballs in their heads for certain shots. And I do mean certain shots. This is not some sweeping change to every frame that rocks an Electronic Wok. I found them cute before, but when I saw the clip of them blinking, my eyes went almost as wide as their cue ball sized eyes.
Vry’s Verdict: NERF
Darth Vader now has a new vocal emote for the transition to phase 3 in the Emperor encounter in the Second Death Star.
Oh yes. This one. The one that everyone seems to have their pitchforks waving, torches burning and screaming for the head of George Lucas on a silver platter about. Yes, in the ending of Return of the Jedi, when Luke is being tortured to death by Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader looks at his son crying out for him and back to his master and mutters, “No…” and then gives a resounding “NOOOOOOOOO!” as he lifts the Emperor above his head and throws him down the ACME Bottomless Pit ™. While I can definitely see the logic behind this change, the ‘rebirth’ of Anakin Skywalker now mirroring the ‘death’ of Anakin Skywalker as a kind of frame for his time as Darth Vader. His failure to save his wife is redeemed in the success of saving his son. Honestly, I can spend an entire post analyzing the possible interpretations of this change, but you don’t want to hear that. You’ve already made up your mind on whether you like this or not. I’m sure you can tell that I actually have no issue with it and can see several ways it personally enhances the epic for me. There are two deciding factors here. If you have issues accepting any change to the original trilogy, you already hate this. If you didn’t like the line at the end of Episode III, you probably won’t like it here either. If you don’t have an issue with either of those – like me – then you may be able to see there might be more to this than just rubbing the line in the face of Lucas’ detractors.
Vry’s Verdict: Your Mileage May Vary
These are just some of the more notable changes. There’s still a few others. R2-D2’s hiding spot is now more of ‘hiding’ instead of standing in the shade, Jabba’s door is now shown to be much bigger, and Obi-Wan has been brushing up on his krayt dragon call. Of course this release also includes all the changes from the Special Edition and the DVD release which I also had little to no issues with. Honestly, the only thing I was disheartened to hear was that they didn’t use this chance to edit the deleted scenes from Episode III back in to the film. The B plot involving Padme and the formation of what would eventually become the Rebel Alliance seemed really cool to me. They were cut mostly for pacing reasons, and I can understand that in a theatrical film, but this is your big Blu-Ray saga collection, go Peter Jackson on it!
Well that last sentence pretty much guaranteed me a death threat from all of this, so perhaps I should wrap it up. So, May the Force Be With You and I’ll be seeing you Sith Side come TOR time!