Here's something I'm not sure how I feel about: I'm 26, and some of my favorite movies today were also my favorite movies when I was in kindergarten.
Well, sort of: Star Wars—and its prequels, spin-offs, and cash-ins—has changed a lot since the original hit in 1977. Jar Jar Binks aside, the most egregious thing that's happened to the blockbusters were George Lucas' 1997 "Special Editions"—in which he slopped some CG over the films' old-school effects, tweaked scenes and music, and even changed major character and plot developments. For the past 10 years, the only versions of the films that've been available have been those Special Editions—which, even if you're not keen on Star Wars, should raise a hackle or two. (Revisionist history's an ugly business, even when it comes to sci-fi films starring muppets.)
But this week, Lucasfilm finally released the original films on DVD—sure, they're packaged as "bonus discs" to the Special Editions, but they're there, with outdated effects, original scenes, and retro charm. Still, it stings: While Lucasfilm has fully restored the Special Editions and presents them in crystal-clear anamorphic widescreen, the original films are merely old laserdisc transfers, leaving the image quality definitely lacking. Even with the original trilogy available, Lucas seems intent on making people watch the Special Editions instead.
But there is a silver/carbonite lining: Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, a videogame that launched on the same day as the DVDs on every conceivable platform. Playing as tiny, Lego-ized versions of Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Han, and Chewie, you jump through blocky, plasticine levels and use the Force to build vehicles out of Lego blocks. The game has a great sense of humor, intuitive controls, and is way, way more fun than its dorky concept would imply. In fact, the obvious affection that the game's designers have for the films seem to rival that of Lucas himself. As satisfying as it is to have the original films available again, one can't help but think it'd be nice if the guy in charge of Star Wars cared as much about the saga as all of its fans do.