To get something out of the way, this video is amazing.
Created by , a new YouTube site dedicated to recreating iconic scenes with modern FX magic, the creators did an incredible job updating Star Wars: A New Hope's Scene 38. Weaving in original footage with FX magic, Obi-Wan and Darth Vader's epic standoff aboard the Death Star, ultimately ending in Obi-Wan's demise, is an A+ fan creation.
But it also makes me kind of sad, because this short six-minute scene is actually a perfect expression of what Star Wars films have lost since the original arrived on the big screen more than 40 years ago. For comparison, here's the original:
This fight scene has often been derided as boring, awkward, and unfitting a Star Wars franchise that would eventually have an evil cyborg who could wield . This new version certainly fixes that problem with Vader and Obi-Wan entering into an all-out, force-powered lightsaber brawl.
But despite the several minutes of extra action ... nothing changes. The outcome is the same: Vader beats Obi-Wan and Luke witnesses it happening. In the original, the history of the animosity felt between these two characters—at least in 1977—is mostly unknown, but thanks to Alec Guinness and some great writing, you can feel how an incredible betrayal and the passing years have eroded what was once a friendship.
I'm not trying to say that A New Hope was some form of high art that transcended its blockbuster-friendly space fantasy trappings. But the original trilogy tried to show audiences meaning without explicitly telling you what to feel, a philosophy diminished with the digital remasters and flat-out destroyed in the prequels.
The same can be said for A New Hope's opening scene, where a massive Star Destroyer chases down a dinky Blockade Runner. The sheer size differences tell you who's in charge and who's the underdog—and it doesn't have to tell you anything else.
And I'm not the only one . That same scene made today would be some epic battle with tons of explosions—technically impressive, yes— but one that would ultimately ring emotionally hollow.
I guess sometime in the past 40 years, audiences began conflating epic lightsaber fights and drawn-out space battles as peak Star Wars. And it's exactly the opposite.