Lawrence Kasdan

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Director:

Richard Marquand

Writers:

Lawrence Kasdan

George Lucas

Starring:

Mark Hamill

Harrison Ford

Carrie Fisher

Billy Dee Williams

Ian McDiarmid

Blurb:

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor’s trap.

Thoughts:

The changes that George Lucas has made to Return of the Jedi have made it almost unwatchable. The musicians in Jabba’s palace are so bad that I can’t even look at the screen when they’re on. Changing the music at the end means that I end the trilogy without that nostalgia hit that brings back all the happy memories from my youth. Not to mention the new song is just plain boring when compared to the old one. Then there’s the replacement of Sebastian Shaw’s Anakin with Hayden Christensen. It is all infuriating.

I had never seen these new changes until the blu-rays. When the six movie box set was released on blu-ray, my husband and I watched it straight through one day. Ending the series without listening to “Yub Nub” left a fun experience on a sour note. Return used to be my favorite Star Wars movie as a child, and now I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched it. I get angry just thinking about all that was done to it.

Once again, I will be there on day one when they release non-fucked up versions of this film. My husband has a theory that George Lucas made a deal when he sold Lucas Film that Disney couldn’t release the original cuts in his lifetime. If that’s the case…

Anyway, this was the end of one of the most influential series of my childhood. It makes me sad that I couldn’t enjoy my re-watch.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Lawrence Kasdan

Phillip Kaufman

George Lucas

Starring:

Harrison Ford

Karen Allen

Paul Freeman

Ronald Lacey

John Rhys-Davies

Blurb:

In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before Adolf Hitler‘s Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.

Thoughts:

Did you know that Marian, Karen Allen, was fifteen years old when Indiana, Harrison Ford, originally had a relationship with her? Did you know that Lucas originally pitched the idea as her being 11 or 12? He went back and forth with Spielberg and Kasdan about her age, saying that it would be amusing if she were young and that fifteen would be right on the edge. Meaning, anything older wouldn’t be fun. We know all this was said because, of course, it was all recorded.

Anyway, ignoring the statutory rape, this is a great adventure movie. Something is always happening. Shit’s being blown up, there’s a bullwhip, someone with an eye patch, Nazis…

Yeah, see, I’m having a hard time moving past the rape. I realize it’s not in the actual movie, and it’s basically just a couple of throw away lines and a conversation before the script was even written, but it’s still out there. How could anyone think that was “interesting?” It makes me think even less of Lucas and now Spielberg too.

“Things were different back then. They didn’t know better.”

It was written in the fucking late 70s. Pretty sure a twelve or fifteen-year-old fucking someone at least ten years older than them was vile, not to mention illegal, back then too.

It’s just one of those gross details that I wish I’d never looked up because I’m having a hard time moving past it. Knowing it also made me pay closer attention to Indy’s interactions with Marion, and he is just a massive dick all around to her. If it’s between saving her or saving the ark, it’s always the ark. He barely even pretends to hesitate. What’s more, since I know the ending, I know nothing he does even matters. The Nazis still get the ark and do precisely what they would have done if he hadn’t kept trying to take it. This means they all would have had their faces melted off, and that was pretty hilarious to see.

I feel conflicted over the movie now. If I take that away, it’s awesome. As I said, explosions, a funny scene where someone brings a sword to a gunfight, and so much more. There’s a reason the Wikipedia article says one of the greatest movies of all time repeatedly. It’s really good. As long as I can forget one “little” detail.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Director:

Irvin Kershner

Writers:

Leigh Brackett

Lawrence Kasdan

George Lucas

Starring:

Mark Hamill

Harrison Ford

Carrie Fisher

Billy Dee Williams

Blurb:

After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.

Thoughts:

There is nothing new I can say about Star Wars. Everything that can be said has been said over and over. I have multiple making of books to prove it. At this point, each of the first six Star Wars movies should have the most extensive Wikipedia entries out there.

During this re-watch, I flipped through my copy of The Making of Empires Strikes Back the Definitive Story by J. W. Rinzler. It’s a massive book with tons of information. For example, did you know that Leigh Brackett wrote the first draft of the movie? She was the first woman to be shortlisted for a Hugo award. She was called the queen of Space Opera. So it makes sense that Lucas would hire her to work on the script. Unfortunately, after submitting the first draft, she was admitted into the hospital and shortly died from cancer. Unlike Lucas’ wife’s involvement in A New Hope, I’d heard of Brackett before, but she was always mentioned with derision. Yeah, sure, she wrote the first draft, but Lucas hated it and rewrote everything.

Since I’d just written my A New Hope blog post, my mind was on the women behind the scenes, so I decided to flip through the making of book and see what they had to say about Brackett. Thankfully, there’s an index, and I ended up finding seven mentions of her. It was quick enough to read them, and I was immediately disappointed. It says that she had a long meeting with Lucas and there was mentioned a 51-page typed transcript of their initial plot conversation, but that only Lucas’ side was recorded. Next, there was a quoted conversation from Kasdan that talked about how Brackett had missed what it was to be George in her draft. The book says that her draft was faithful to everything Lucas and she had talked about. However, the dialogue and action weren’t right.

That’s fair. It was the first draft, and Lucas is notorious for being shit at direction. He tells you vaguely what he wants, expects you to do your thing, then he tells you what he liked. Except that Brackett never got to that point because she was hospitalized. That’s when Lucas jumped in to write it. Even though he hates writing scripts, he seems to complain about that a lot, actually. Yet, he’d done that for every movie up till that point.

The last mention of Brackett is Lucas saying that she should be given credit for writing the story.

“I didn’t like the first script, but I gave Leigh credit because I liked her a lot,” Lucas says. “She was sick at the time she wrote it and she really tried her best.”

It’s fascinating how much I can enjoy something that someone has created, yet know that if I were ever to meet the creator, I would absolutely hate them.