Star Wars: Original Version vs Special Edition

I know it’s Star Wars, but… oh look, I just had to, okay?

With movies laid flat like this, it’s very easy to see how movies are structured. Much easier than actually watching them as movies. Now, this lead to a question: how are different versions of the same movie constructed? For example, how is Apocalypse Now structured compared to Apocalypse Now Redux? How does the American release of The Shining compare to the European version? Or, better still, just exactly how “shot for shot” was Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho?

Let’s start on an easy one: Star Wars.

(click on image for higher-res version – 1940 * 1416 px, 1.1MB)

Strangely, for all his fucking about, Lucas has kept the structure remarkably intact. For most of the run-time, the two movies track each other pretty well, being only a few seconds out of sync. It’s not until the second half when they really start to diverge. But even still, the Special Edition is only a couple of minutes longer than the original version. Which is odd, because the Special Edition felt like it was a lot longer.

I also like the colours in the special edition. The faded pastel colours of the original are nice and all, but are definitely improved with a bit of spit and polish.

Not sure about the change of colour in the scene with Luke looking at the two suns though.