Rewatching Star Wars: A New Hope

We watched Star Wars last night, the DVD version. It’s been about four years since I last saw it. When Revenge of the Sith came out, we came home and immediately re-watched A New Hope, then caught the next two films over the following week or so.

It’s been long enough that memories have blurred, and some (but not all) of the revisions to the film don’t seem jarring anymore. (I had the same experience last month with the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, especially with the first two films.) Most of the scenes where they just wanted to do more dynamic shots, like the Millennium Falcon blasting its way out of Mos Eisley, not only blend in just fine, but really are improvements. As for Mos Eisley itself, I’m of two minds: On one hand, I liked the stark barrenness of the tiny frontier town presented in the original version. But at the same time, it does make more sense for a spaceport to be a bustling metropolis.

All the scenes with Obi-Wan, Luke, and the droids on Tattooine take on added significance after having seen just how Ben, Anakin, and Padme were connected to each other and to the droids a generation earlier.

As for additional scenes: I still think the Jabba the Hutt scene adds absolutely nothing to the film, and that if they really wanted to add it, they should have rewritten Jabba’s dialogue (an easy task) and/or edited it into something that wouldn’t simply re-hash the conversation with Greedo. The brief moment with Luke meeting Biggs, however, adds quite a bit.

At one point early in the film, I turned to Katie and said something to the effect of, “The next time they re-release this in theaters, I am absolutely going.” But the more I think about it, I’m not sure I’d want to, at least not immediately. The 1997 re-releases were great, and I saw each movie several times, but the audiences — especially the opening night audiences — were full of the hardcore fans who cheered whenever a character first appeared on screen. They were reacting to things outside the movie itself, actually distracting from it rather than enhancing the shared experience. Maybe waiting a week would cut down on that sort of thing.

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