1988 George Lucas Would Totally Hate 2011 George Lucas

george_lucas_1988.jpgBack 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]


  • eric says:

    Lucas gets more outrage than he deserves on his tinkering. It was nice seeing more ships in the death star fight, what he did with cloud city was great, so not all his tweaks are bad. True Greedo shooting first and Vader screaming "no" is horrible, in fact the latter is keeping me from getting the Blue Rays. But I would like to know how he is that greedy? In 15 years of VHS tapes he had three releases: the original, updates to hi-def and digital sound, and then the special editions. Those all seem like legit reasons (special editions is questionable, but admit it at the time you thought them coming back out was awesome). So then there was one DVD version, and one Blue Ray version. Where is the money grab there? They were going to come out on DVD and Blue Ray, and people were going to buy them regardless if he made changes. Look at Spiderman, I think it has 3 different DVD versions. Just different special features in them. That's a money grab. If Lucas had come out with the Blue Rays that had changes, but also had the originals on it, would anybody be saying he is just trying to grab money? No, they would buy the blue rays and be happy. I don't like his changes, but I don't think he is being greedy.

    • fuzzyw says:

      Are you being serious? "Where is the money grap there"?

      The only reason Lucas keeps changing the films is to get people to buy every version of it.

      That's why you have the special edition. That's why he didn't release the original films on DVD for years. It's why he won't release the original version on blueray for years.

      In the mid 1990s you could only get the original trilogy on DVD, if you bought them from Asia. Seriously, you had to do that, and of course they were illegally made but they were higher quality than VHS, and they were the actual films you saw when you were a little kid.

      • Rebbie says:

        Err, reality check. You could not get ANY DVDs in the mid 1990's. They were not even launched until the late 90s!!

  • "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians" - George Lucas (from his 1988 testimony before Congress)
    "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are AWESOME" - George Lucas (from the 3D Special Edition of his 1988 testimony before Congress)