If there's one thing George Lucas is known for -- apart from forlornly eating spaghetti in an Australian food court -- it's continuously re-editing his Star Wars movies to the perpetual annoyance of audiences everywhere. It didn't even begin with the CGI-filled Special Editions in the '90s; Lucas was tinkering with Star Wars while it was literally still in goddamn movie theaters back in 1977. And he's been endlessly futzing with it ever since, swapping sound effects, updating effects shots, and adding random alien curse words, presumably because he just wants to mess with us at this point.
But what fans may not know is that Lucas' obsession with digital dickery isn't limited to that galaxy far, far away. Many of his other, non-Star Wars movies have been covertly special edition-ed for home release. Like American Graffiti, the breezy story of how fun the early '60s were for gas-guzzling white teenagers. It's still basically the same movie, but for some reason, Lucas couldn't help but insert a CGI sunset into the opening credits of the DVD version.
And while Raiders of the Lost Ark has been mostly untouched, the DVD smoothed over some visual effects and oddly, randomly replaced a car chase stunt with an entirely CGI shot -- a change that was seemingly reversed in the subsequent Blu-Ray release.
But perhaps the most egregious example is Lucas' 1971 dystopian debut THX 1138. The only version of this movie that's available right now is the "director's cut," which is slathered with computerized modifications that Lucas claimed he "always wanted to do" -- like rejigging the scenery to look more like an early 2000s Backstreet Boys music video.
And the climactic car chase scene is now juiced-up with Speed Racer-esque CGI.
Like with Star Wars, this wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that these so-called improvements are the only versions available. Why not release a set with both interpretations and let audiences enjoy the new cut and the original cultural artifact? Sadly, Lucas somehow never got around to releasing a special edition of Howard the Duck that was just a blank screen with no movie playing.
Top Image: Lucasfilm