It was only a matter of time before George Lucas started making more changes to his Star Wars movies. The guy has seemed to crack the code that the more versions of something he makes, the more times he can sell it to his hopelessly devoted legion of fans. Or, more accurately for what he did with the Special Edition Star Wars DVDs, all he has to do is sell everybody a screwed up version of the movies they love, and then he can go back later and make double the money by selling them the original versions that they wanted in the first place. The only thing he has to worry about is fanboy gripes, but I’m sure he’s able to get over that as he cries himself to sleep on mounds of fanboy money.
So now that the Star Wars trilogies are being released on Blu-ray, he’s doing the same thing to the prequel trilogy that he did to the original trilogy on DVD: screwing around with it. This time the results kind of make sense though. Lucas seems to hate puppets and puppetry. His prequel trilogies were an all out assault on practical effects making, white washing everything from the landscapes, to the sets, to the creatures, to even speaking characters with computer generated imagery. Basically all that was left was a couple human actors standing in front of a giant green screen and that was about it. There was one big exception to the rule however, before CG Yoda debuted and did his stupid little flippy lightsabre duel in Attack of the Clones, there was a puppet Yoda, controlled by the legendary Frank Oz, that appeared in The Phantom Menace. Until now. With the release of The Phantom Menace on Blu-ray, puppet Yoda will now be replaced with a CG Yoda, in keeping with the other two films in the trilogy.
Unlike what Lucas did with the original trilogy for the Special Edition DVD’s, this change actually makes sense. In the original trilogy, everything is puppetry and practical effects. When Lucas haphazardly inserted a bunch of modern, digital creatures into those old films, it looked jarring and stupid. It was a bad change. Conversely, puppet Yoda was pretty much the only practical effect holdover that made it into the prequel trilogy, which makes him look just as jarring in a world of computer-generated things. With this new change Lucas has unified the whole look of the prequel trilogy. With past changes Lucas had just been fragmenting the look of the original trilogy. So this time I’m going to give him a pass. And really, who cares if he messes up the prequel trilogy anyways? At this point, digitally inserting more poop and farts into them could only make them better.
You can check out the old and busted puppet Yoda in contrast to the new hotness CG Yoda below via YouTube videos that were first juxtaposed by the lovely people over at /Film.