Revisiting My Favorite Movies
A couple of years ago I was introduced to a fan-edit project called “Star Wars Revisited”. This guy called Adywan was about to release an edit of the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope). He attempted to fix most of the continuity errors, enhance the existing special effects, and remove a lot of the ill-advised CG additions Lucas made to the movie in 1997. This involved color balancing the entire movie to fix something that had gone wrong on the DVD, re-rotoscoping every lightsaber and blaster bolt, and basically going over the movie with a fine-toothed comb to fix mistakes most people wouldn’t even realize were there. While he was in there, he decided to further enhance the movie with new effects and almost a completely new sound mix, creating what most fans believe the Special Edition should have been.
Shortly after he released his version of A New Hope, he moved on to The Empire Strikes Back. This made a lot of people worried. Empire is widely regarded as a “perfect” movie by fans, so some have feared that Adywan’s enhancements will detract from the perfection, especially after Adywan started talking about how he was going to build physical models and create all new shots with them and even found a group of costumers in California to film some new shots of Rebel Troopers fleeing the Imperial Walkers to replace some bad mattes.
After several delays, pushing his release date from May 2010 (the 30th anniversary of Empire) to December 2010 to sometime in 2011, Adywan decided to encourage the costuming group (a.k.a. Rogue Squadron) by sending them a rough draft workprint of the work he had completed through June 2010. He also sent one to me to get my opinion on what I thought of it so far.
Empire The Way Your Childhood Remembers It
A New Hope Revisited may be what the Special Edition should have been, but Empire Strikes Back Revisited is the way you want to remember Empire when you first saw it. I’ll try to explain what I mean.
All of the flaws you overlooked when you were young but bothered you now that you’re older are gone. The feeling of excitement during the Battle of Hoth and the Asteroid Field are back thanks to the enhancements giving them more depth. Yoda is more emotive and less puppet-like. Cloud City is the beautiful city in the clouds the Special Edition hinted at so briefly. The pointless Special Edition scene expansions are cut seamlessly away, almost making this more of a restoration of the theatrical version than a fan edit of the 2004 Special Edition.
The version I watched was a rough cut, with most effects shots being marked “TEMP VIDEO”, but the ideas were all there. Adywan isn’t making the Special Edition Lucas should have made; he’s making the version Young Adywan saw in theaters, using his modern skills to fill in where his imagination had to back in 1980. It is a worthy goal, and the time he is spending on it shows greatly. “As long as it takes” should be the mantra for fans waiting, because the wait will be worth it.
Your childhood will thank you.
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Revisited is scheduled for release to the internet sometime in 2011.
- Don’t miss the A New Hope Revisited Change List!