From the Archives, Feb. 4, 1997: Imperial Storm Troopers invade Fairbanks: movie review

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Sun Star

Eric Barczak / Contributor

This past weekend, science fiction fans across America flocked by the thousands to see the re-release of “Star Wars.” This new release added new footage and enhanced footage and enhanced footage added to the original film.

The story behind “Star Wars” is familiar: the struggle of a few noble rebels against a tyrannical government. The rebels’ cause draws together two robots, a farm boy, a pair of smugglers, a princess and an aged mystic. Together they make a stand against the Empire’s masters, in an attempt to return peace and order to the galaxy.

In the Special Edition, several scenes that are edited from the original movie were restored: an encounter between Han Solo (the smuggler) and Jabba the Hut (a crime lord), and the reunion between Luke Skywalker (the farm boy) and his friend from childhood, Biggs, before they fly to assault the Death Star. The additional footage provides some clarification to the story, and increases the cohesiveness of the movie. In the case of the meeting between Solo and Jabba, the scene helps to explain several of the events in the second and third movies of the “Star Wars Trilogy.”

Some new additions to the movie include several computer generated lizards and robots—most prevalent in the spaceport of Mos Eisley. While the additions provided for some increased flavor, and some cosmic relief, neither really adds to the story whatsoever. Also, compared to the twenty-year-old original, the computer generations seem out of place. Even the computerized Jabba the Hutt, felt a bit awkward.

iThe [sic] final assault on the Death star—the empire’s armored space station—was almost completely remade. Instead of the fighters moving sluggishly through space as in the original, the special edition now has fighters that move and bank so fast that one almost wants to massage the whiplash from one’s neck. This scene is probably the most significant change to the movie and the one that really makes the special edition worth seeing.

The final reason to see the new release has nothing to do with added scenes or new footage. It is the experience of seeing the movie in the theater. After experiencing the movie for the past twenty years on television, the wide-screen format of the movie theater restores much of the detail lost in transferring the movie from the big to the small screen. Coupled with the Dolby Digital sound, the movie experience makes a person, in the words of a fellow member of my fraternity, unable to watch the movie on the television anymore. I recommend the experience for people who remember the movie when it first came out and, especially, anyone who has never seen the movie on the big screen.

The other two movies of the trilogy: “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” will be re-released in theaters in the coming months.

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