Friday, September 2, 2011

Star Wars Blu-rays: Why Giving Ewoks CGI Eyes is Akin to a Boob Job.

So as Star Wars Blu-ray footage begins to work its way online through a range of official and non-official sources, the entire Internet seems to be imploding with nerd-range at evidence of further changes to the film. The biggest uproar was triggered by the revelation that the once stoic Darth Vader will now be yelling, "NOOO! NOOOO!" as he hurls the Emperor to his doom, and this has been followed by altered Krayt dragon calls, bigger doors, more rocks, and a Sebulba in Jabba's palace. It's all pretty superficial stuff, but it has definitely rubbed "fans" (I use the word hesitantly because they appear to loathe Star Wars) the wrong way. In an unsexy way.

As you may know, I'm a lifetime fan myself and up until now I've refrained from posting about all of this. I'm kind of numb to it. I'm super excited about the Blu-ray experience and I'm not going to let anything spoil it for me. The good is always going to vastly outweigh the bad for me. Empire Strikes Back in high-def? I can't wait! Just think of how detailed Dengar's loafers are going to be! Seriously, you'll feel like you're wearing them.

However, one alleged change has finally wrenched a comment out of me. One of my favourite childhood characters, plucky ewok Wicket W. Warrick has had his cherubic, fuzzy face tampered with. I love you, George, BUT YOU DON'T MESS WITH AN EWOK'S FACE. And don't put your fingers close to their mouths because they eat people. What am I talking about? Check out this screenshot from the forums at Millenium Falcon (Forums full of funny people. Angry funny people).

Join me after the jump and we'll watch the footage and I'll tell you why Wicket's blinking CGI eyes are like a breast augmentation.

You're here! Bless you.

Now you need to be fully primed before we have this serious discussion so you better watch the footage first:

I have to admit, this all freaks me out a little bit, most probably because I've spent nearly 30 years with the undoctored character. To see Wicket altered like this really is a perversion. Let's keep some perspective though. In another 30 years nobody will give a shit, and the kids will be horrified to learn there was an unblinking glass-eyes version.

The thinking behind it still seems odd though. We're not hearing reports of massive changes. It's all minor stuff, so it's a bizarre insight into George Lucas' processes to learn which little things are bothering him enough to go back in another time and have them changed. I will say that seeing an ewok face in high-definition certainly makes you more aware of how fake-looking and constructed it is, so that alone may have been motivation to add something more "realistic".

I may be disturbed, but the main point here is that I'm not remotely angry. I don't really understand how people can be angry about a piece of entertainment. Or an artwork. I won't be angry about somebody else's art. Confused by it? Sure. Disinterested? Maybe. But it will have to work harder than this to make me angry. You see, I think these things - as baffling as they may be to us - are done in good conscience by George. He's not trying to piss you off (I don't think. I don't know though. Maybe he is and he finds it hilarious).  I think that ultimately it's a bit like this...

This is the Part Where I Talk About the Boob-Job.
Let's accept that everyone is fond of breasts, and everyone is fond of ewoks. Broad brush-strokes here. Just like "everyone" is fond of beer and pizza. What I'm saying is they can make you feel generally happy, but they're also there to serve a serious purpose (nurturing infants/defeating the Empire). Not everyone is happy with their breasts/ewoks, and sure you could criticize them and nitpick them, but it's a far nicer to just accept and embrace them.

But what of those people who just can't do that. Those people who just aren't satisfied with their breasts? What am I trying to say here? I think that George Lucas is unhappy with his breasts.

So he decides to augment them. He's going to - in his eyes (that's the important thing here) - make them better. It's going to make him feel better about his breasts (ewoks) and really, guys, it's an intensely personal decision. We might say, "No! George! I love your breasts! They're perfect just the way they are!" but if he's not feeling it then we probably need to step back because it's ultimately his choice. They're his breasts.

And now we've all seen the footage. We've seen the new breasts. And George is obviously happier, but... well... they look kind of fake to us and quite frankly, we loved his breasts, flaws and all. Maybe it is too much for us. Maybe we just don't feel the attraction anymore and we'll move onto other loves, and other breasts. That's OK too.

But you have to remember... always remember. He didn't do this to hurt us. He did it for his own confidence and satisfaction. He has his reasons. He wouldn't go through all that effort if he didn't think it was an improvement. And I really think he hopes we'll grow to love them too. Maybe he's wrong.

But they're his breasts.


  1. This message was brought to you by Luke Milton: Lucas Apologizer.

    naw the changes aren't that bad. 'Cept for the vader thing. They just don't make any sense...

  2. I watched some of the changes today and one of them slightly bugged me. The Sebulba (Dug) in Jabba's Palace... Everyone in that scene is still and resting and he's walking around. It changes the mood and feel a little, and draws all of the attention to the new guy. I feel like the changes are never subtle and the new stuff is screaming "look at me!". If he was just sitting in there, I wouldn't care at all. Actually I don't care either way because I don't own a blu-ray player and don't want to invest another penny into a disc based format. That's a whole different rant.

    On the other hand The digital Yoda looked a LOT better. I do miss the younger yellower color though.

  3. Hilarious!

    But - do you think George comes up with these changes? Do you think this stuff keeps him awake at night?

    I suspect that it's his 'people' who suggest them. Maybe he says: "Guys, we're releasing on BluRay - are there any improvements we can make while we're at it? We'll meet again next week and discuss." It mightn't even be a cynical marketing ploy. I'm just not that convinced that he looks at his own films that much.