Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Stove Pipe

Being unemployed is like being in a hell dimension... time passes differently for me than it does for others. Yesterday I was IMing aerolyndt, and I commented that she was thus far the only person to have responded to my e-mail request to everybody for contact information.

She reminded me that I had only sent it out two hours before.

"If I were you, I'd run!!!"
"If you were me, you'd be good-lookin'."

My copy of the Six String Samurai soundtrack arrived on Monday, and it is great. Although there are some dialogue snippets here and there, they don't usually go over the music, and they are short and snappy. One of the main pleasures in watching the film is the music, a crazy surf rockabilly melange of original tunes and covers by the Red Elvises and original score by Brian Tyler, who has since become almost an A-list composer.

There is a devil-may-care element to this disc that, like the film, is quite refreshing. Tyler's main theme is a reference to the Beatles' "Let It Be," an interesting allusion that works much the same way that the mournful dirge does in Brian May's score for The Road Warrior. The Red Elvises (who work with Tyler on a few tracks) contribute several songs and actually appear in the movie. From the catchy surf licks for the first appearance of Buddy in "Stove Pipe" to "Surfing in Siberia," the lengthy version of "Misirlou" that scores the battle with the Russians, they add a funky dimension to the film and album. Their contribution was much more extensive than I thought it was watching the film.


Listening to the soundtrack makes me want to see the film again. I'll have to rent it, as the DVD, while letterboxed, is not 16:9, so I'm not buying it until it gets remastered. I'd like some extra features, too. This movie is just too damn unique for the no-frills DVD it has right now.

I've actually been thinking about compiling a list of post-apocalyptic films... let's see, there would be A Boy and His Dog, the Mad Max films...


* * *

Damn it, George!
Why'd you have to go
and fuck everything up?

Okay, the original Star Wars trilogy comes out on DVD Tuesday, right? Well, a wrinkle I was not expecting has just appeared, and it is this...

I can afford them.

I wasn't expecting to be able to, but I can when they come out.

The question is, should I buy them or not? I have the original versions (which are my preferred) as well as the 1997 Special Editions on laserdisc (the former doesn't look all that great but sounds fantastic, and the latter looks better but doesn't sound as good either in Dolby Stereo or Dolby 5.1). I am less excited about this release than most of my friends because I have the films looking and sounding better than they ever have had... and I don't like the fact that these are going to be even less like the original versions than the already massively flawed '97 editions.

My opinion on Lucas' right to make these changes are simple: I feel that it is his perogative to do so, but that it should be his obligation to make available the original versions of the films because of their historical importance. It was the analog editions that were the success that they were and captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation (in a way, I might add, that the glitzy new films can not), and it is the analog editions that changed what filmmakers and moviegoers thought was possible on a movie screen.

Nevertheless, the Star Wars trilogy is one of the cornerstones of my formative years (much of my interest in filmmaking came from finding out how special effects used to be done... those stories are interminably boring nowadays unless something really spectacular, like Gollum, is the result), and having it easily available on DVD looking and sounding as good as these editions promise to be is an alluring prospect.

While some of the changes were, indeed, what Lucas had been talking about since the release of the original versions of the films (although I prefer the old look of Mos Eisley, he always did say that he wanted it to be more bustling... though I don't know why there has to be droid comic relief in this scene), some were just ridiculous, such as the "Jedi Rocks" musical number in Jedi and the oft-whined about (justifiably so) fact that Greedo shoots first.

You see, the ultimate problem here is that the George Lucas who struggled to make Star Wars in 1997 is no longer the George Lucas who is making the changes to these films. Instead of a maverick we have the establishment. And he has become unable to tell the difference between a good idea and a bad one, having surrounded himself with "yes-men" and working towards the lowest common denominator.

As a result, I look at these DVDs as being a broken toy, as something almost, but not quite, what it should be. I would much prefer the original versions, matte lines and all. DVD technology would make this available with seamless branching, but Lucas wants to pretend that the films always looked and sounded like this.

"Okay, in the next version of the films, we'll
redub Darth Vader with somebody else,
because James Earl Jones' voice scares some children."
Tags: cinema, film music

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded