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Ten changes we wouldn’t mind seeing in the new “Star Wars” Blu-rays

Ten changes we wouldn’t mind seeing in the new “Star Wars” Blu-rays (photo)

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When news broke a few weeks ago that George Lucas was reediting the “Star Wars” films yet again, this time for their first release on Blu-ray, nerds everywhere reacted with collective outrage. “You can’t add Darth Vader screaming “NOOOOO!” to the end of “Return of the Jedi!” they cried. “We don’t want Ewoks that blink!” they howled. But complaining about the fact that George Lucas continues to change “Star Wars” is like complaining that the sun goes down at night. No matter what you say, no matter how much you point out that he’s kind of a hypocrite, Lucas is going to keep doing what he wants. And what he wants is to continue tweaking hos beloved science-fiction saga until the day he dies. At this point, the Wikipedia page devoted to listing the changes in each successive rerelease of “Star Wars” is over 10,000 words long. I’m sure someday it’ll be twice that.

So instead of gnashing our teeth and flailing our lightsabers, we decided to be a little more constructive. No more fighting change; from here on out, we’re embracing it. We put our midichlorians together and picked ten beefs we have with the six “Star Wars” films that should be fixed. Changing back anything that’s already been changed — like sticking Sebastian Shaw back into the final celebration of “Return of the Jedi” — was against the rules; these are old school issues only (or at least as old school as 2005 can be). Obviously it’s too late to get them in the new Blu-rays that hit stores tomorrow. But there’s going to be another “Star Wars” collection. How do we know? Because there’s always another “Star Wars” collection. And here’s what we want to see in it.

1. Recast the stereotypically ethnic alien prequel voices.
I’ve never heard a valid explanation why the aliens in “The Phantom Menace” all sound like guys with the worst kind of stereotypical ethnic accents. Instead of Asian Neimoidians, African-American Gungans, and Middle Eastern Toydarians, why not just have aliens who sound like aliens? In the original trilogy, the aliens had their own languages (Chewbacca) or totally unique speech patterns (Yoda). In the prequels, the alien dialects are, to quote Jar-Jar Binks, “nutsen.” A revision that brought the prequels in line with the original trilogy would make me “mooey mooey” happy. –MS

2. Fix Han’s carbonite costume change.
Han Solo didn’t appear to have much room inside that block of carbonite that he rode in from Cloud City in “The Empire Strikes Back” to Jabba the Hut’s palace in “Return of the Jedi.” Nevertheless, he found some time (and some space) along the way to switch from a single-breasted shirt to a more symmetrical double-breasted look. The quick-change is far less believable than Ewoks who don’t blink, so let’s see some appropriate priorities put into place — please. –BW

3. Do something about the “Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?” line.
The drama leading up to the Battle of Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back” comes to an awkward and disorienting pause for a moment while Princess Leia explains how their mission is about to unfold. Actor Richard Oldfield deserved to have another take after his odd line delivery, which somehow managed to produce a sentence that’s neither a statement nor a question. –BW

4. Make the TIE fighter windows consistent.
With all of the cash and CGI effects at George Lucas’ disposal, surely there must be a way to get the TIE fighter windows to look the same from the inside as they do from the outside. Unfortunately, the miniature models used for the original Death Star battle in “Star Wars” featured octagon-shaped windows with corners at the top, while the cockpit views showed the windows with flat sides facing up. Pick one and make them match! –BW

5. No stunning people with blasters.
In the opening minutes of the original “Star Wars,” Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers board Princess Leia’s ship. A couple of troopers find her hiding behind some bulkheads. “There’s one! Set for stun!” one orders before firing what looks like a giant blue hula hoop made out of energy from his blaster. Not only does it look silly, it looks out of place; in five other movies, no one ever fires a stun laser ring again. Just one shot is random and weird. Why not have the Stormtroopers fire a normal blast and have it glance off Leia’s arm or something? –MS

6. Slow down those speedy Jedi.
Right at the start of “The Phantom Menace,” as Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are escaping from a trap on the Trade Federation ship, they run away from their enemies at super-speed. And I mean like Road Runner super-speed. While the Force does give Jedis all kinds of super-powers, hyperspeed is problematic. Like the blaster that “stuns” Leia, it’s never really seen again in the entire saga. If they could do it once, why don’t they don’t they do it all the time? Why doesn’t Obi-Wan race away from Darth Vader in “Star Wars?” Or toward Darth Maul when he’s about to kill Qui-Gon in “The Phantom Menace?” Eliminating that one shot of them darting away would clear up so many questions. (NOTE: This article on DVDActive.com indicates that the Force Speed effect has been made “more realistic” on the Blu-ray, but not eliminated. Not good enough!) –MS

7. Give Vader a better line than “Noooooooooooo!”
The “Star Wars” prequels should have humanized Anakin Skywalker, and while they did shed some light on his boyhood podracing skills and hot temper, the Vader transformation scene in “Revenge of the Sith” left a great deal to be desired. The emo, fist-shaking disaster that introduced Lord Vader could benefit from a simple redub. After that’s done we’ve got a long list of other whiny Anakin moments that belong on the cutting room floor, but this is the one that needs the most help. –BW

8. Anakin: Best star pilot in the galaxy no more.
Granted, the scene where Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father in “Star Wars” is rife with all sorts of strange comments (Lightsabers were “elegant weapons for a more civilized age?” Since when is decapitating people with a single slice civilized?). But the one line that really makes no sense post “Star Wars” prequels is Obi-Wan’s remark that Anakin Skywalker was “the best star pilot in the galaxy and a cunning warrior.” Cunning warrior, sure, but best star pilot? On what evidence? Because that one time in “The Phantom Menace” he blew up a Trade Federation ship by accidentally pressing a lucky combination of buttons? What if he’d hit a different combination of buttons and activated the ejector seat while he was in deep space? –MS

9. De-evil Emperor Palpatine’s face.
The whole crux of Emperor Palpatine’s plot to conquer the Republic over the course of the “Star Wars” prequels hinges on the fact that he, the biggest of big bads, looks like a harmless, middle-aged man. That’s what makes his storyline scary: the fact that he is able to take over the Senate from within through cunning and subterfuge rather than weapons of war. Which is precisely why the Emperor’s appearance in “Revenge of the Sith” after he zaps himself with his electrical bolts is so annoying. Now he’s gone from being this insidious unseen force to the most obviously sinister dude ever. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but c’mon people: that is one seriously villainous cover! And no one seems bothered by it! Shouldn’t someone have the balls to call the guy on his weird face? Or at least schedule a visit to a dermatologist for him? Someone get some CGI and de-evil that dude’s face, stat. –MS

10. Make “The Phantom Edit” a reality.
The greatest “Phantom Menace” cut that George Lucas never approved came from editor Mike J. Nichols, who filtered out the Jar-Jar Binks nonsense in favor of keeping the flavor of Episodes IV-VI alive. Let’s just take that philosophy a step further and find a way to stitch the rest of the prequels together without ever having to look at that ridiculous guy ever again. That’s the real “special edition” that “Star Wars” fans would love to see. –BW

What changes do you want to see in the “Star Wars” saga? Or are we heretics for even suggesting changes are needed? You tell us. Leave us a comment below or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.