1988 George Lucas Would Totally Hate 2011 George Lucas
Back in 1988, in testimony before Congress, one of Hollywood's most successful, beloved and influential filmmaker-moguls expressed deep concern for a disturbing trend sweeping the movie industry. "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians," this filmmaker said, "and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society." Damn straight, George Lucas.
Yes, that George Lucas: The man who has spent the last decade and a half altering, pillaging, plundering, reengineering, reimagining, and altogether exploiting every last cent of his Star Wars franchise -- for profit, last time I checked -- and whose latest promised tweak has prompted an outrage not seen or heard since, well, last week. At the time Lucas was going to bat against the colorization and other manipulation of classic films; today it reads like it could have been a comment on any number of Web sites decrying his current dabbling in digital perversions.
Speaking of which, the site Saving Star Wars dug up Lucas's remarks to Congress:
The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as "when life begins" or "when it should be appropriately terminated," but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.
These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with "fresher faces," or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor's lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new "original" negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.
In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be "replaced" by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.
There is nothing to stop American films, records, books, and paintings from being sold to a foreign entity or egotistical gangsters and having them change our cultural heritage to suit their personal taste.
Visit Saving Star Wars for the rest. And call 911 -- someone needs to put out the flaming hypocrite.
· The Greatest Speech Against the Special Edition was from George Lucas [Saving Star Wars via /film]