Review by Alexandra DuPont
"What I was trying to do was stay independent so I could make the movies I wanted to make — but at the same time I was sort of fighting the corporate system, which I didn't like (and I'm not happy with the fact that corporations have taken over the film industry). But now I find myself being the head of a corporation. So there's a certain irony there: I have become the very thing that I was trying to avoid — which is basically what part of Star Wars is about."
— George Lucas, in a self-reflective moment at the end of the "Empire of Dreams" documentary on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set
I had the ridiculous good luck to watch the Star Wars Special Edition at London's aptly named Empire Theatre in 1997. The screen was roughly the size of the Death Star, and the British were letting down their communal reserve and enjoying the film as if it were a boisterous footy match. My favorite moment was when Mark Hamill rushed into Princess Leia's prison cell and doofily exclaimed, "I'm Luke Skywalker! I'm here to rescue you!" The audience laughed sort of derisively — but within a second they burst into warm applause that erupted into loud cheers. You just couldn't help but root for the dork from Tatooine.
Who hasn't pined for a Luke Skywalker-style call to destiny? Who hasn't wanted to feel alive like that?
These days, of course, it's tougher to write about the mythic underpinnings of Star Wars, that Lord of the Rings for the shag-carpet set. For one thing, all that Joseph Campbell hero's-journey/mythological-archetype claptrap has already been packaged and shoved down your craw by Lucasfilm's marketing department. (Now available at a Barnes & Noble near you: Star Wars: The Magic of Myth [hardcover] and Star Wars: The Power of Myth [softcover].) Then of course there's the Joseph Campbell/Bill Moyers "Power of Myth" book/miniseries combo, which Lucas crashes like a drunken frat boy. Try to imagine Richard Donner publishing a book titled The Themes and Archetypes I Was Exploring in 'Superman,' and you're beginning to grasp the absurd arrogance at play.) And of course, in the wake of The Phantom Menace and roughly half to two-thirds of Attack of the Clones, some of us are more than a little chagrined by our boxed-up collections of Star Wars games, books, action-figure playsets, comics, soundtrack albums, die-cast replica spaceships, and blinking LED gewgaws.
But still. Strip away the merchandising bureaucracy, and you can still manage to remember why you fell in love. From 1977-83, we were treated to two-and-a-half genius-level entertainments — with freakishly tuned-in Jungian underpinnings so resonant they overcame the sister-kissing and midgets in bear suits. Despite some Extra Pluperfect Super Special Edition geek-polarizing alterations — which I'll get into below — the brand-new release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD (this Tuesday, Sept. 21) is a pretty damned nice-looking reminder of why we all became fans in the first place.
I'll spare you extensive reviews of the films themselves; they're so woven into the cultural fabric at this point that it would be like grading the Gettysburg Address. (Scroll down a bit for a detailed discussion of the extras, sound, Easter eggs, and all that rot.) Suffice it to say, the plot structure in Star Wars: A New Hope is actually pretty goofy — the hero, for one thing, doesn't show up for something like a half-hour — but Lucas' genius is that he creates a perfect narrative snowball. The film gathers characters like lint — two fugitive robots run into a dead-end farmboy and are found by an aging general who leads them to a mercenary who takes them to a princess who gets them sucked into an entire resistance movement. And the stakes escalate relentlessly: Luke sets out one morning to find a runaway robot; seemingly by day's end, he's blowing up a space station that destroys entire planets.
And people who dismiss George Lucas as a "corporate weasel" out for their hard-earned action-figure dollars would do well to remember that, in 1980, he gambled heavily by personally financing a little film called The Empire Strikes Back — a movie that mercilessly screwed with beloved characters, staged its biggest battle in its first 40 minutes, thoroughly routed its heroes, threw in a dangerous plot twist, and had an unhappy, unresolved ending. Oh, and he let Irvin Kershner direct it — you know, the film-school teacher and proven auteur behind The Return of a Man Called Horse?
It isn't Citizen Kane or anything, but ESB was indeed an aggressive, foolhardy move on Lucas' part — a gamble that gave him creative and financial control of the Star Wars universe and made him, for better or worse, one of the 20th century's most influential filmmakers. (And paved the way for Ewoks and Jar-Jar. But still.) As I get older, the other Star Wars movies — even A New Hope, particularly in the wake of Episode I — just seem sillier and sillier; I can more clearly see the directorial flaws, the plot holes, the third-act toy-mongering. But Empire is pure music. Buoyed by John Williams' sinister, romantic score, the movie itself ebbs and flows like a symphony. (I ask you: Has any film composer ever trafficked in glorious bombast better than "Johnny" Williams did between 1975 and '83? ESB is my favorite film score, period, by an order of magnitude.) Unlike the later SW films, which more or less marinate in noise, Empire embraces the quiet moments before the storm: A soldier stands above a trench scanning a snowy plain before a brutal ground war; Princess Leia sits in a cockpit pondering a love affair before her ship is attacked by space bats; Luke silently stalks a catwalk before Darth Vader, exploding out of nowhere, chops off his hand and blows his mind.
And I always forget Mark Hamill is talking to a puppet. Always.
Return of the Jedi is a far more complicated viewing experience. The movie's problems are legion; frankly, I could never sum up the ambivalence of watching it better than Film Threat did almost half a decade ago, with "50 Reasons Why Return of the Jedi Sucks" and its crucial mitigating piece, "10 Reasons Why Return of the Jedi Doesn't Completely Suck". I will say that having six films' and several decades' worth of galactic conflict resolved by jokey little blank-faced gits in yak-fur costumes is more than a bit of a letdown. But the things that do work in Jedi work spectacularly well — the epic space battle (to this day, the best ever committed to film); the practical effects; that tracking shot, over the choral choir, of Luke laying the pimp-smack on Dad; Ian McDiarmid's nasty cackle. Combined with that special forgiveness that only nostalgia can afford, I simply can't dismiss the film outright — despite "Special Edition" changes that turned the Sarlaac Pit into the Little Shop of Horrors and the Max Rebo Band into the Post-Rehab Clapton Blues Explosion. Thematically, it's apt.
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Thanks for sharing, slattern. Now dish on the DVD set already!
All right, all right! Whaddya wanna know?
* * *
What about those Extra Pluperfect Super Special Edition changes made just for this DVD?
Well, most of that stuff has already been obsessively detailed online for a few weeks now — you can see breakdowns of the changes (with illustrations) here. Or here. Or here. Or peppered throughout this CHUD message-board thread. Or, best of all, here. Anyway. Here's a by-no-means-definitive list of the tweaks (and non-tweaks) that personally walloped me over the nog:
• The approach vector of Luke's landspeeder to Mos Eisley has been, inexplicably, changed;
• Greedo and Han now shoot at the same time — which is still lame, but quite a bit less lame than Greedo shooting first;
• The "Special Edition" CGI Jabba in A New Hope has been reworked to hew far closer to the look of Jabba in the other films — a significant improvement to a still-unnecessary scene;
• The lettering on that Death Star tractor-beam readout has been changed to that foreign Star Wars glyph-alphabet;
• Lightsaber blades have been retouched during the Vader/Kenobi duel so you can no longer see the combatants holding non-glowing sticks in certain shots;
• Ian McDiarmid now replaces that hooded old woman in a mask (with monkey eyes and Clive Revill's voice) as the holographic Emperor in Empire — with new dialogue explicitly naming Luke Skywalker as both Anakin's son and the lad who destroyed the Death Star;
• Temura Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, now voices Boba Fett — though he doesn't voice the stormtroopers, whom one presumes are still cloned from Jango's DNA;
• The color contrast has been tweaked so that whenever anyone looks out a cockpit window at a starfield, outer space now looks black rather than dark-brown — a seemingly small change that really makes a difference;
• The distracting matte lines that always made the Rancor Pit sequence look so fake have been smoothed over — another subtle change that quintuples the believability of the scene;
• That weird black squiggle that floats on the Emperor's hood, as well as several matte squares around spacecraft, have not been digitally removed — though they may have been minimized a bit through color correction;
• The "Celebration Scene" that closes Jedi now features a shot of Gungans dancing funkily on the rooftops of Naboo, one of them shouting, I shit you not, "Weesa free!" — also, the Galactic Senate and the Jedi Temple have been added to that gorgeous pan across Coruscant;
• And finally, as many feared, Hayden Christensen now stands alongside the far-older Yoda and Alec Guinness as a Jedi Spirit in the closing moments of the saga. Apparently Lucas either believes that Anakin died briefly in Episode III or that your Jedi spirit reflects the last moment where you were consistently good, or something; it's a change that will divide fandom (or perhaps unilaterally piss fandom off) for years to come.
As you may have gathered by now, the Extra Pluperfect Super Special Edition tweaks are extra-maddening because some but not all of those tweaks are welcome. If I may take a mildly contrarian stance: I'm firmly in the camp that begs Lucas to release "Archival Edition" DVDs (or SE-DVDs, or holograms projected on our retinas, or whatever) of the original cuts for posterity — even though bootleg DVDs of the THX-remastered 1995 Laserdiscs can be had with only a little ingenuity. But I've never been a unilateral foe of the Special Editions. It's more complicated than that.
For starters, if you really want to get literal about it, Lucas' alterations began the very first time the film was remixed beyond six-track Dolby stereo. Ultimately, for me, anything that makes the Star Wars experience more seamless is welcome — and thus discreet edits to the climactic New Hope dogfight and the erasure of Rancor Pit matte lines and the elimination of that drag-queen Emperor from Empire, frankly, work for me. And seven years (seven years!) after the first Special Edition tweaks, I'm annoyed but no longer outraged by Lucas' ongoing war on posterity. Some of this may be due to my horrible guilty love of eye candy; some of this may be due to the prequels dampening my overall love of Star Wars; and some of this may be due to my realizing that we're ultimately talking about maybe 10 minutes of noticeable changes in a 388-minute story.
Putting it another way: Does replacing the Max Rebo Band with a yowling, moist-mouthed CGI Yuzzum honk me off? Absolutely. But do Gungans and Hayden Christensen ultimately unman a final celebration scene that was already only one or two degrees less lame than Princess Leia's "Life Day" song during "The Star Wars Holiday Special"? Eh. I'm just too numb to care. You probably aren't. Discuss.
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Hm. So how's the new picture and sound mix?
Good Lord, the picture is just unimpeachably great. I could cite any number of moments during my viewing of the ESB platter on a friend's flat-screen HDTV with six-channel sound where I nearly turned inside-out with pleasure. The final third of Empire — already a pinnacle of design, effects, and cinematography — looks richer than I could have ever possibly hoped. It's worth buying this set just for the last 40 minutes of Empire. Really.
I did notice that some explosions had been color-enhanced to the point that they actually looked a little too orange — a bit more fake than before — but that may just have been the calibration of the TV set.
Now. The sound. As I was writing this, I got an unsolicited e-mail from John Takis — a film-score nut who specializes in lengthy online dissertations on John Williams. Allow me to throw his take on the sound mix into this review like a grenade:
"A good friend of mine has brought to my attention the fact that John Williams' awe-inspiring Star Wars score has been severely mishandled on the new DVD.
"The score has been flipped in the rear-channels. Not the sound-effects, which are properly placed. Just the score. Not in the front channels. Just the rear channels.
"This is not a minor or superficial detail. Readers will recall that the entire PURPOSE of stereo and surround-sound in music is so that the various instruments are correctly positioned. Violins on the left, cellos on the right. Percussion on the left, low brass on the right. And so on. Instrument direction matters in music, especially orchestral music … if it didn't, there would be no reason to consider stereo or 5.1 recordings superior to mono.
"Just go to chapter 49 on the new "Star Wars" DVD — the "Throne Room" scene. Violins come from the hard-right on the surrounds, cellos hard-left, while the front-channel mix is correct. Many people will not be sensitive enough to notice this flaw. That doesn't erase the flaw, or make it less significant. It is essentially a 124-minute audio glitch. And it's not simply a case of crossed speaker-wires ... as I said, the sound-effects are correctly positioned in the surround channels. It's just the music that's backwards.
"And this is just one flaw in a highly questionable sound-mix. We also have missing sound-effects (it's possible they were left off intentionally in some cases), dialogue-quality that varies widely over the course of a single line ("You would prefer another target, a military target?" — crystal clear; "Then name the system!" — old and cruddy, with no attempt to balance or smooth the transition), and — perhaps most annoyingly — dialed-out music. Remember the awesome fanfare-version of the Force theme that kicks off the Death Star battle? Good luck hearing it this time around — it's virtually inaudible.
"Aren't these supposed to be the DVDs of the century — as close to perfect as DVDs can get? OK, I understand … lots of people are going to be so happy to have these films on DVD in any shape or form, or are insensitive enough, that they won't care about these mistakes. Good for them. Nonetheless, seeing as everyone under the sun is raving about how absolutely top-notch incredible the audio on the new DVDs is, it would be nice to have some balance. They ain't perfect, people! Far from it! A little more sophistication and attention to detail would have gone a long way. Mistakes were made, and the professionals in charge shouldn't get a "pass" just because it's Star Wars."
You can also read a marvelously obsessive listing of these apparent aural outrages right here. While I'm guessing Joe and Jane Sixpack could give a shite about any of this, the above link may be required reading for audio nuts — and may very well represent a whole new front in the war of words about the merits of this DVD set.
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So, uh, how about those extras?
As with last year's Indiana Jones DVD box, I fear that many geeks will fixate on what's not to be found here — deleted scenes, a Ralph McQuarrie production-art gallery, the Boba Fett cartoon from the "Star Wars Holiday Special," an isolated score track. Certainly, the fact that you can watch artificially scratchy footage of Luke and Biggs on 1997's Behind the Magic CD-ROM and not here is, frankly, kind of stupid. I direct obsessives to T'Bone's online compilation of Star Wars cut scenes for an exhaustive list of what might (and probably should) have been. I'd imagine that a certain breed of fan — the sort who won't rest until every last doodle, alternate take, and photo from the Star Wars Chronicles is readily available — will find plenty to grouse about.
But again, as with the Special Edition tweaks, Lucasfilm hands us a double-edged sword. Because what is here is vastly superior to the Indy DVD extras — from much-improved publicity and behind-the-scenes galleries to commentary tracks to a documentary that is (for its first half, at least) among the best "making-of" docs I've ever seen.
All that said, there's some unfortunate news about those commentary tracks: Maybe I was just weary after a few days of parsing extras, but I found these yack-tracks really, really boring — in precisely the same way the prequel commentary tracks are boring.
Lucas, sound designer Ben Burtt, F/X supervisor Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher (joined by Irvin Kershner on the Empire platter) really don't have anything interesting to say about these films. I was kind of quietly aghast. Lucas — still a bit peppy after his passionate work on the THX 1138 DVD yack-track — probably comes off best, keeping the discussion on the ideas and themes he wanted to explore. Bona fide sound-design genius Burtt tells you, in granular detail, how he used bears and camera motors and high-tension wires he found on forest hikes to make the sound effects, but God help me I got sick of his particular brand of nerd brilliance. Muren, constrained by time, offers only the barest explanations of the practical effects. Fisher sounds a bit addled. And I'm mortified to report that Kershner — director of quite possibly my favorite movie ever — spends a huge amount of time just recounting what's happening on screen. Really. It's all very genial and fast-moving, but lacks an essential passion. I found myself dreaming of an alternate-universe yack-track — featuring Hamill, Fisher, and Ford ribbing each other between bouts of Lucas bickering with New Hope/Empire producer Gary Kurtz. That or an isolated score track would have been astounding.
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Sigh. Any provocative remarks from Lucas?
Here's one, uttered during the Return of the Jedi commentary — just after that heavily Special-Editionized song-and-dance number with Jabba's palace band:
"I'm still amused by people who somehow think that when you use cyber-technology or digital technology in movies, suddenly it's 'fake' — but when you look at a scene in here in Jabba's palace, now there's some digital characters in here, but they're no more or less fake than all the other characters in here. I mean, is a digital character more fake than a big fat rubber character? [laughs] I mean, there's nothing real here at all — and it's hard to say that a rubber character has more integrity than a digital character. What I try to do is just make the characters become believable — so that they look realistic enough where you have a suspension of disbelief and accept them as characters rather than tricks, which is what they all are."
Everything else is on a fourth disc — a la last year's Indiana Jones DVD set, only with far greater density and enthusiasm and care and less of the narcolepsy-inducing talking-head blather that marred Laurent Bouzereau's work on the Indy box. (I hate to slag Bouzereau — he has been and will probably once again be a major force in the film-documentary field — but you have to wonder, after his unenthusiastic, ready-for-NPR work on Indy, why his name is nowhere to be found in these Star Wars extras.)
Anyway. The centerpiece of Disc Four can be found under the "Documentary and Featurettes" menu. Edith Becker and Kevin Burns' "Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy" (2:30:38) is, for its first hour and change, about as good a documentary as you could possibly hope to see about the making of Star Wars — a total fan-gasm.
Those cheeky monkeys at Lucasfilm have apparently been sitting on untold poo-piles of making-of footage for years, waiting to release it in a worthy medium. There really is no way to overstate this: Even a hard-core Star Wars geek will find his or her jaw resting lightly on the bean bag as they see behind-the-scenes action from A New Hope; alternate takes; pre-effects footage; audition footage of Kurt Russell and Cindy Williams auditioning for Han and Leia; conceptual drawings; and snippets from deleted scenes scattered willy-nilly throughout the doc. Burns and Co. do a fairly astonishing job of bringing together all the production lore that's floated around in a thousand different formats for years. There's an Ewok puffing a cigar. There's Han Solo smooching a girl in the cantina. For God's sake, the last shot after the doc's end credits is a deleted scene from A New Hope of General Jan Dodonna barking, in a botched line reading, "May the Force go with you!"
The first hour or so is devoted to the production of A New Hope — and it's shockingly blunt in revealing how close the film came to being a galactic train wreck. (There's a surprising amount of footage of Lucas wandering around the set, exhausted, looking like he's about to have a thrombus. He was days away from a total physical collapse due to hypertension, it turns out.) My favorite part is when they're discussing the abandoned, and apparently horrible, first edit of the film — and they actually show some discarded footage of Luke and C-3PO driving the landspeeder in front of a rear-projection screen; it looks as fake as something out of a "Disney Sunday Movie" starring Dean Jones, and you suddenly realize that Lucas barely brought Star Wars in under the limbo bar.
All that said: The minute we get to the far-less-tumultuous production of Return of the Jedi, the documentary sort of runs out of dramatic gas — even though Warwick Davis is remarkably charming and articulate as he talks about playing Wicket at age 11. And the whole enterprise eventually takes on this horrible infomercialish tone toward the end — as it talks about Lucas' technical innovations and ancillary companies like Pixar and defends his "Special Edition" changes ("He would revisit and perfect his galactic saga at last!") — that actually makes it a little cringe-inducing to watch. I'm sorry, but it's just unbearably tedious and maybe even a little pathetic somewhere around the 30th or 40th time the narrator or one of Lucas' friends says one of the following verbatim quotes, which are only a tiny sampling of what you're battered with by the end of this doc:
"While George Lucas has remained true to his own vision, it's audiences everywhere that have reaped the rewards!"
"The themes that George is dealing with are so strong and primordial!"
"One of the things that George Lucas has done in Star Wars is to communicate, in fact, with the younger self that resides somewhere inside even the oldest person!"
"I think our cultural imagination has been transformed by Lucas' films — by taking us back to stories that make us all feel that we share in the heroic journey of the human species on this earth!"
"He really established the independent film market!… He changed storytelling!" (Rather cheekily, Burns shows a clip of the blind Han Solo saying his "delusions of grandeur" line from Jedi after this statement.)
Still: The mind-blowing section devoted to A New Hope makes "Empire of Dreams" a winner — though you do have to wonder if anyone debated the irony of referring to Lucas' dream factory as an "Empire" in the title.
Anyway. There are also three Gary Leva-directed featurettes under the "Documentary and Featurettes" menu:
• "The Characters of Star Wars" (18:56) — Did you know that, "Though they populate a galaxy far, far away, the characters of Star Wars embody archetypes from myth and legend"? Oh, you did? Well, then you may not get much out of this featurette — which features Lucas, Hamill, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Ralph McQuarrie and Peter Jackson (!), among others, riffing on the evolution and thematic importance of the characters and other stuff the Lucasfilm marketing machine and your own fool common sense have already been telling you for years. Of interest is Lucas' discussion on the screenplay-drafting process and the constant re-jiggering of characters before filming began; it's cool to hear him say the words "Luke Starkiller" and to see some of his handwritten script notes (e.g., "Make Han in bar like Bogart — free lance [sic] tough guy for hire") and also to see a riotous original storyboard sketch of Han and Chewie where the Wookiee looks exactly like Lucas' dead dog Indiana. It's also nice to hear Lucas discuss A New Hope's obvious nods to Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, supported by clips from the latter, and there's some great footage over the closing credits of semi-embarrassing outtakes from Jedi. Irony: Peter Jackson is in many ways more enthusiastic than the principal players on the subject of the characters' iconic power.
• "The Birth of the Lightsaber" (15:33) — Yes, we do in fact have a 15-minute documentary about the philosophy, look and sound behind the trilogy's laser swords. This doc is probably the sort that's only really interesting on first viewing — but it's fun to see raw footage of the rehearsals and pre-rotoscoped shots of actors swinging cheap metal sticks (or rotating sticks covered in reflective tape, depending on the film) on unenhanced sets. Is Ben Burtt interviewed? Is he shown waving a wand in front of a speaker in the '70s to create feedback? Indeed he is. End credits on this doc feature two Star Wars spoofs from "The Simpsons" — plus a clip from some amateur gag film I couldn't identify where a kid gets a lightsaber for Christmas and slices a big chunk off one of his parents.
• "The Force is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars" (13:23) — Features testimonials from filmmakers who had their worlds well and truly rocked by the original '77 release — including Jackson, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, John Singleton, Steven Spielberg, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Lawrence Kasdan, and John Lasseter. It's a little annoying to hear Cameron talking about the innovations of the 1977 special effects over reworked Special Edition footage. Also features clips from Lord of Rings, Alien, Terminator 2, and pre-"Special Edition" Star Wars; also turns into an Lucas/ILM/CGI infomercial.
Under a "Video Games and Still Galleries" menu is where you'll find more shameless self-promotion:
• The best extra under this menu, by far, is the "Exclusive Production Photo Gallery" — roughly 300 well-curated behind-the-scenes photos (100 per film) that I'd mostly never seen before. Jedi-heads will spend many an hour poring over these pics for deleted-scenes clues; every cutting-room-floor moment you've ever heard of (Biggs and Luke in Anchorhead, The Fixer and Camie at Tosche Station, alternate Wampa scenes, the post-Jabba's Palace sandstorm) can be found here in still-life form. Incredible.
• There's an also-terrific "Poster Gallery" featuring about 30 one-sheets from around the world — including the highly collectable Revenge of the Jedi poster.
• "Episode III: Making the Game" is a surprisingly entertaining 6:07 promo in which we see even more footage from the upcoming Obi-Wan/Anakin duel; watch lightsaber choreographer Nick Gillard training the game programmers in the finer points of sword-swinging; catch Hayden Christensen geeking out as he does a bit of blue-screen work for the game; and get a few peeks at Revenge of the Sith pre-production art.
• And finally, there's a "Game Trailer" (1:18) and "Xbox Game Demo" for "Star Wars Battlefront". Apparently you can "insert this DVD into an Xbox console and access a special interactive level" of the game; during the trailer, you watch an Ewok get blasted through a rifle scope. Huzzah!
From the main Disc Four menu, click on "Trailers and TV Spots" and you'll find a menu of Vader on the Star Destroyer bridge — with a loop of his theme song playing underneath that inspired my life partner to once again remind me that you can sing "Spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down / The medicine go down / Yes, the medicine go down" over the "Imperial March" melody, which has quite frankly ruined that piece of film music for me. Forever.
Anyway. There are something like 10 theatrical trailers and 11 TV spots here — covering everything from the hilariously embarrassing and overblown 1976 Star Wars teaser — featuring unfinished special effects and temp-track music ("Somewhere in space, this may all be happening right now!... The story of a boy, a girl, and a universe!... It's a big, sprawling space saga of rebellion and romance!.... It's a spectacle light-years ahead of its time!... A billion years in the making! And it's coming to your galaxy this summer!") — to one of the "Special Edition" trailers.
And finally, there's the DVD extra that everyone will watch first — the 9:08 Episode III preview "The Return of Darth Vader". I no longer trust these previews, of course — both Episodes I and II had mouth-watering teasers utilizing every money shot on Dennis Muren's hard drive. But this one, after offering a quick overview of Anakin's descent into evil thus far, ends up juggling the re-creation of the Vader costume with Christensen and Ewan McGregor working their asses off on their final saber duel — and I'll be damned if the thing didn't leave me thinking Revenge of the Sith will contain at least 20 high-caliber lava-surfin' minutes.
The final behind-the-scenes shot gives away rather a lot, actually: We see Vader, just off a Frankenstein birthing slab, turning to face the Emperor. It's as fine a conclusion to this DVD set as you could hope for.
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Any Easter Eggs?
Of course. The Digital Bits does the work for you (and me) here. The 4:44 gag reel, interspersed with DVD credits over the Cantina Band song, is a hoot — even if I never, you know, actually laughed.
That's it. Masticate at will.
Arm yourself to attack my critical judgment! It's easy and fun! Check out The DuPont Bibliography!
• Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
• Four single-sided, dual-layered discs
• English Dolby 5.1 Surround EX, English Dolby 2.0 Surround, French Dolby 2.0 Surround, Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround
• English subtitles
• Commentary tracks with George Lucas, sound designer Ben Burtt, F/X supervisor Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher (joined by Irvin Kershner on the Empire DVD)
• Documentary: "Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy"
• 3 Featurettes: "The Characters of Star Wars," "The Birth of the Lightsaber," and "The Force is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars"
• Production Photo Gallery
• Poster Gallery
• Featurette: "Episode III: Making the Game"
• Game Trailer and Xbox Game Demo for "Star Wars Battlefront"
• 10 theatrical trailers and 11 TV spots
• Episode III featurette: "The Return of Darth Vader"
• Easter Egg: Gag Reel and DVD credits
• Four keep-cases in a two-piece paperboard gift box
Sept. 20, 2004, 12:43 a.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 12:45 a.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 12:53 a.m. CST
Goddamn you DuPont! I've been waiting for this for years and when I finally pop it in and the Imperial March theme pops up I'll be thinking about that too. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE THAT?! FUCK!!! GODDAMN YOUR LIFE PARTNER TO HELL!!! k, I'm done.
Sept. 20, 2004, 1:25 a.m. CST
Do you have stairs in your house?
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:13 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
Normally, we get to sit on AICN talkbacks and read all the fanboy jerk-dreams about various scantily clad actresses and young starlets. It was always refreshing to see those same (well, the more enlightened ones, at least) fanboys fawn over ADP simply for her brilliant writing. They drooled over CRITICISM. But now someone has let loose the "L" word in (actually a crass euphemism of said term), and so all the fanboys will now revert back to their Stock Fantasy #1 of Two Chicks Doing It. As if reading about a nude Neve Campbell wasn't enough to get them through at least October. ADP, you know very well what putting "life partner" in a review is going to unleash on the talkbacks, and if you're just yanking everyone's chain, then my hat's off to you. Otherwise, set your eyeballs to roll and leave them there. There's going to be a lot of garbage in this here compactor.
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:18 a.m. CST
goddamnit I happen to like the Imperial March.
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:22 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
Let's thank Alexandra for not getting worked up too much about the new changes, the old changes, etc. God knows how other regular reviewers might have whined and foot-stamped. Ultimately, the best point made is that we're talking a handful of seconds in a 6 1/2 hour epic. Yeah, the Han Solo thing is lame. But it's not like Lucas altered every line that made Han a mercenary. He doesn't now sit out the Death Star Battle because he has to rush off and visit his cancer-stricken friend Jabba. His response in ESB to Leia after "I love you" isn't "Not as much as I love you, honeybunch!" All the little tweaking doesn't really mean much in the grand scheme of things, even "Weesa free!" I mean, if a fucking BLUE ELEPHANT or Chewie's didn't already ruin ROTJ for you, your Younger Self Standards are way inconsistent with your Present Self Standards. And don't get all worked up about Sebastian Shaw or Jeremy Bulloch getting pruned from the ass-end of the movie, it won't make your autographed press photos worth less. Anyway, the point is that all the films have their minute flaws; if this adds a few more to each one so we can get some of some AMAZING sound and effects streamlining, so be it. Go watch your laserdiscs and cry yourself to sleep (my laserdiscs are rotting somewhere in a garage and probably won't be watched for a while).
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:25 a.m. CST
by Eugene O
In fact, some shots look like they just THREW models at the camera!!! Babylon 5 long ago beat STAR WARS in the best-space-battles-ever-commited-to-film catagory.
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:49 a.m. CST
My whole problem with disparaging this "self-promotion" that Lucas and many other filmmaker's are accused (and usually guilty) of, is that these people - the term artist is something for another debate alotgether - have sunk so much of themselves into the films they should have every right to trump themselves up. Especially Lucas. Like it or not (and I'm sure George himself has misgivings about the whole thing), Star Wars is how Lucas built the life he lives. As a result, he has created a fandom quite unlike any other (though still nowhere near as rabid as Star Trek fans). We would not have this crazy passion or its focus if not for Lucas, Lucasfilm, ILM and everything else that spun out from it. And just like any great artist or musician, they are taking a moment to take a bow before the audience and have their contribution recognized. More power to 'em, I say.
Sept. 20, 2004, 3:29 a.m. CST
The B5 space battles, especially the earth battles towards the end of season four, are second to none.
Sept. 20, 2004, 4:04 a.m. CST
by The Data
All this talk of how "the edits dont matter in the big picture" is bullarky. The edits to make the special effects seem better is fine, changing of characters or story EVEN MINUTELY is pretty gay. Watching the new star wars feels like i am watching a bad puff daddy remix or remake of the original films.
Sept. 20, 2004, 4:52 a.m. CST
....review of Star Wars (a new hope) I've read yet... and I've read quite a few.......I saw the films when I was 5, 8, and 12 respectivelly.....but I've never read such a *literal* throwback of my personal take on the films till now..... ...god.....now I have to go buy the set and have a marathon viewing at my dad's on his 65" widescreen HDTV!!! hehehe....life is GOOD
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:52 a.m. CST
Keep up the good work, Alexandra. This was by far the most informative, insightful review of almost anything I've read. The only web reviews that come close are edmunds.com car reviews, but even I don't read those things twice. I will now CONSIDER a third time actually BUYING these DVD's as opposed to just watching a friend's copy, since like all of these geeks I still have the original trilogy on LD in both THX and non-THX form. I just can't give Lucus anymore of my money, he's suckered me out of enough of it. Again, thanks for all of your help. Great job.
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:03 a.m. CST
and the matte lines are still there in jedi? The sound mix sux?.. just fucking inexcusable! The latest tweeks don't bother me so much as the fact that Lucas and co. STILL haven't fixed the shit THAT ACTUALLY NEEDS TO BE FIXED! Jesus, does he actually WATCH these things first, or does he just go off a "to do" list. Fuck, I'd rather wait a little longer and see it done right. And why aren't there three seperate docs for each film and deleted scenes just like the disks for ep I and II? Two disks for each film...just like the others. It still could have come in a box. But that fucking blob in Jedi, GODDAMN that just bugs the shit out of me. Great review btw
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:21 a.m. CST
by Ken Luxury Yacht
...Postie just delivered the box set. And his bag was bulging with boxes and large envelopes. All of which were recorded deliveries (therefore requiring signatures). Have to say, he look stunningly underwhelmed when I explained it was the Star Wars box set. Tsk, some people!
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:48 a.m. CST
Didn't mean any harm.Can't wait for next May(LOBotomy smile in effect);).
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:49 a.m. CST
Didn't mean any harm.Can't wait for next May(LOBOTomy smile in effect);).
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:56 a.m. CST
AT-AT doggy-style had me on the fucking floor!
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:56 a.m. CST
Now in super-duper THX quality DVD. Get yours now, before the new HD-DVD and super limited platinum DHD-DVD Collectors Criterion Signature Editions hit the street !!! Han shot first - keep the truth alive.
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:11 a.m. CST
Can't wait ('til payday!)
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:24 a.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:31 a.m. CST
I think Lucas should replace the long shots - what Luke sees when talking to the Emperor - with some screen captures of a big "Homeworld" battle. The Homeworld AI employs more realistic fleet tactics than ILM's people.
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:32 a.m. CST
<geek> The first troopers are cloned; the other are just regular volunteers, conscripts, etc. </geek>
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:58 a.m. CST
And by "these discs" of course I mean the DVD versions of LD rips I just finished downloading. And what the heck, a bootleg of the bonus disc as well. Happy day for a Star Wars fan.
Sept. 20, 2004, 9:07 a.m. CST
Actually, I believe Lucas said in a recent interview that while the Stormtroopers were initally Fett clones, eventually various Imperial beaurocrats started paying to have themselves or their close family members cloned into Stormtroopers. This explains why they have different voices, and why they're such lousy shots compared to the Ep. II Clonetroopers. Of course, whether this is actually addressed in Ep. III (and thus becomes "official" canon) is another issue. sk
Sept. 20, 2004, 11:38 a.m. CST
After she saw the SE of Empire in 97, she kept singing..."a spoonful of sugar, makes the medicine go down" BLAST IT! In regards to the audio, I watched this movie in 5.1, but without the surrounds hooked up because my "life-partner" (hey, is Alexandra really a gay man or woman) won't let me mount them. Anyway, the mix sounded fine. It must be an issue with the way the surrounds are mixed that's causing all the hoopla.
Sept. 20, 2004, 12:02 p.m. CST
by The Colonel
WIth my new eyes, I can finally see the truth behind his senseless reconstruction, and DESTRUCTION, of the trilogy. SICKENING! http://www.intrepidmedia.com/column.asp?id=1919
Sept. 20, 2004, 12:57 p.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 1:42 p.m. CST
Sorry to be a pernickety arse, but all 3 Spec Eds screened at the Odeon Leicester Square, which is on the adjacent side of Leicester Square to the Empire... I know this snippet from 7 years ago plain and somply because I went to opening night with a Star Wars virgin, then caught ROTJ at the press screening there with Mark Kermode and Kim Newman (passed on the Ep IV test screening as I wanted to see it with the opening night crowd, and I was in the states for ESB a week later). However, it was otherwise a great review.... settling down with my copy right now for a long and late session.... otherwise blinding review, looking forward
Sept. 20, 2004, 1:54 p.m. CST
Pay attention, stupid.
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:21 p.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 2:21 p.m. CST
I am soooooo sick of hearing people whine about Lucas' revisionist history tactics. Lucas has been doing this shit for almost ten years now. When will it ever sink in that he is re-releasing the versions that he wants to. Just because the fans get polarized over everry little change that he makes is he supposed to do exactly what we command? And if Lucas doesn't bend over and take it up the ass from the fans by making the franchise their way it makes him an untalanted unenthusiastic hack right? Lucas is making Star Wars his way, HIS way. No-one else's. While I believe that animation is the only way to go television-wise Lucas will do whatever fits into HIS vision. The OOT is readily available per Laserdisc to DVD transfers online if you know where to look for it. You fucktards who whine about seeing the originals in their unchanged form are either ignorant or stupid or both. They never went anywhere!
Sept. 20, 2004, 3:39 p.m. CST
Read "her" reviews. Look at all the hints. She's not a woman, she's a MAN BABY!
Sept. 20, 2004, 3:55 p.m. CST
Is a MAN, baby, yeah. How you like them Jungian gewgaws?
Sept. 20, 2004, 4:49 p.m. CST
Sept. 20, 2004, 4:54 p.m. CST
Thank God for the UK's Monday dvd release day. First off, I have NEVER seen a box set fly off store shelves as fast as this one - in either format. Incredible. I've just watched Star Wars on disc for the first time (I'm an old timer, I'll always be Star Wars to me) and to be honest - it's never looked or sounded better. Just on sound and picture quality alone, it's been worth the wait and Lucas has done us proud. Okay, what about the new tweaks ? let's start with the biggies.....Han Solo is cool again, he and Greedo shoot almost simultaneously. If this is a compromise - I'll accept it. Jabba looks great now. Instead of looking out of place, he looks like he was always in that sequence in his slug form. Seeing Boba Fett briefly at the end of the scene gave me a chill...very, very cool. (I forgot that was in the special editions.) Minor changes - the garbage monster has been tweaked, I think but he's there one second gone the next, oh and the lettering on the force field generator is now more of a hyroglyphic type thing. So, how do I feel about all this ? Here comes the CE3K syndrome. When Encounters first came out, I loved it. Then after a couple of years, the special edition came out and replaced the original. Sure there was more of the mothership interior but at the cost of some scenes I loved. Then Spielberg's third pass balanced everything out again and was to me a perfectly acceptable hybrid of the previous two versions. That is EXACTLY how I feel about this. Star Wars is back, despite the naysayers.
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:19 p.m. CST
It was too good to be true. Ms. DuPont is as much a woman as Libby Gelman-Waxner is. More of a sisyphean task than ever before, the search for the perfect geek woman continues...
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:36 p.m. CST
I'll argue to my grave against the philosophical reasons that Lucas provides for Han Solo not shooting first. But the even bigger problem is that the scene looks ridiculous. A top bounty hunter is pointing his gun at you from point blank range. He fires. The laser blast inexplicably exits the gun at a right angle and hits the ceiling?!?
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:45 p.m. CST
Forget Alexandra Dupont when you can have shots of a nude Bea Arthur grace your screen!. Bea Arthur...mmmmmmmm...
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:45 p.m. CST
He was quoted in EW as saying that -- had he anticipated Boba Fett's popularity -- he would have given him a better death scene. WHAT? Lucas would've altered the movie to satisfy the taste of the audience? That sounds suspiciously like an argument to keep the original versions available. Check the polls: 70 percent at CNN.com said they want those versions of the movies. And Lucas says they were "only 25 to 30 percent complete?!?" That's the most ridiculous figure I've ever heard. Try watching that abomination that's being released on DVD tomorrow and telling me that it's 70 to 75 percent different from what we saw in 1977, 1980, and 1983. Have three out of every four actors been digitally replaced? Has the length of the films quadrupled to account for the backstory he was never able to provide? I don't have a problem with his "improving" the films to his artistic preference. He has that right. But his insensitivity toward the fans and the crew who made those movies happen with the special effects of that time is appalling. Most alarmingly, it is an affront to cinema history.
Sept. 20, 2004, 5:58 p.m. CST
What about the scene where Obi Wan is laying the mind-smack down on those storm troopers? Are the stupid little flying droids still buzzing around and ruining what was a perfectly good moment in the film?
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:09 p.m. CST
Who cares what changes he makes? The original versions are available all over the net for you purist fanatics. SW is truly a phenomenon in the sense that it has the most whiny bitchy fanboys ever! How anyone could repeatedly post how much they hated a series of movies over and over ad-nauseam is beyond me. If you hate SW and Lucas that much still after all this time maybe it's time for you to let go and go stroke your cock to Matrix or Star Trek or some other such bullshit.
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:36 p.m. CST
The music sounds fine on my copy, so it may only be a Region 1 problem.
Sept. 20, 2004, 6:48 p.m. CST
Lucas is playing all the fans for fools, getting you upset and ravenous, almost foaming at the mouth for the original versions. Don
Sept. 20, 2004, 7:32 p.m. CST
by Prof. Pop-Cult
What is WRONG with Mr. Lucas??
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:55 p.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
To the above poster--I'd imagine that anyone UNFAMILIAR with Star Wars is now going to watch them in the new order...starting with Episode 1. My guess is that people are going to have the Luke/Anakin thing figured out by the time they get to Empire. Lucas stated that the previous generation got the shock of not knowing. while the new generation will enjoy the suspense of seeing when Luke will find out.
Sept. 20, 2004, 8:57 p.m. CST
At this point one can only assume that they are clones as this is what we have been led to believe by AOTC. Whatever the "expanded universe" suggests is irrelevent...as several things in it have been reversed by the films. If ROTS fails to stress the point that the stormtooper army also consists of people other than clones, than a major plot hole will be exposed by not having Temuera Morrisson voice them.
Sept. 20, 2004, 9:34 p.m. CST
Boba Fett's voice was fine. And Hayden Christiansen as the new Blue Glowie...ugh. So awful. So bloody awful.
Sept. 20, 2004, 10:10 p.m. CST
She's a Wookie?
Sept. 20, 2004, 10:13 p.m. CST
by Triumph poops!
ROTFLMAO. Thanks, Darth Bono, I needed a good laugh today. Now please rejoin the rest of us in reality. Babylon 5 was a TV show with TV show scale production values. It wasn't bad, hey, I liked the show myself and liked that it had some sense of scope compared to other shows, but NOTHING in B5 ever came close to the scale and artistry of Star Wars in ANY of the films. Anyway, can't wait till tomorrow to pick up the DVDs. I'm putting in ROTJ first and going straight to one of my top 5 favorite SW moments -- when R2 flips Luke the lightsaber on the sandbarge. I those fast cuts when R2 fires it into the air, Luke jumps off the barge, somersaults back onto it, catches the lightsaber, flicks it on, and the geek in you knows a serious Jedi asskicking is about to begin. When Lucas brings SW to TV after Episode 3, there'd better be lots of lightsaber fighting in it weekly!
Sept. 20, 2004, 10:17 p.m. CST
#1 if you watched them in order you would know that he is Vader anyway. But that argument is bullshit, I know. But, #2 - AT THAT POINT IN "EMPIRE" DURRING VADER AND THE EMPEROR'S CONVERSATION YOU DO NOT KNOW, I REPEAT, DO NOT KNOW THAT DARTH VADER IS ANAKIN SKYWALKER!!!!!!!!! God, I hate you people. Its called "not being an idiot". Look it up.
Sept. 20, 2004, 10:20 p.m. CST
Please someone explain to me how that spoils the twist. Go ahead. Try to rationalize it in your feeble little brains. Shoot. Try me. I'm all ears.
Sept. 20, 2004, 11:36 p.m. CST
by Triumph poops!
Seriously, no offense to Ms. Dupont (whose reviews I agree with about half the time), but why is it that any time AICN posts one of her reviews the lead-in has to be this tired, overly fawning "You ain't gonna believe the sex bomb WE know and you DON'T!" type of hyperbole? Where we're constantly told not about her journalistic credits or if she has any accomplishments in film (and thus why we should care about her opinion versus that of the average person you bump into at Blockbuster Video) but instead are told how staggeringly beautiful and sexy she is or as Herc remarks here, somewhat slutty. Which, by the way, I assume she doesn't mind him saying on a friendly basis, though it still seems a bit off color even for AICN. In the end, I assume all the hyperbole is to simply play up her "web status" and try to make her more marketable online...which in the end means she's Grando Calrissian. She's just a rumor that no one can PROVE, or that when the Oz-like tapestries are pulled to the side the stories about her might be revealed as utterly false (translation: she's really a guy). Otherwise, why not put a picture with her reviews much like other respectable journalists do in print or online? So what's the big deal in simply not attaching her picture to a review? Oh, that's right -- because then (1) everyone might see the photo and end up saying "THAT'S what you were making such a fuss about? Sorry, don't agree with you" or (2) maybe we'd learn her web identity as a sexy, beautiful, slutty, super spy type of woman is simply a cover because she's a guy. Or a very ordinary looking woman. And let's face it, being a sexy, beautiful, slutty -- yet mysteriously non-photographed woman -- is a far better persona to promote and project online to attract readers and get some kind of web word of mouth going, thus sustaining a career. Either way, I have nothing against Ms. Dupont, so sorry to tirade. Someone above said there would be lots of posts picking on her "life partner" comment and that Ms. Dupont and everyone should get ready for some serious eye rolling. I'm just looking at it from the other direction saying that the serious eye-rolling comes along everytime I see there's a Dupont review and the intro paragraph has to fawn all over her as if no one around AICN ever gets any sex...as well as there's never any proof as to why such hyperbole is merited. So Grando she is.
Sept. 20, 2004, 11:54 p.m. CST
Those bug the SHIT out of me!!
Sept. 21, 2004, 12:31 a.m. CST
And speaking of revisionist, you guys do know that Star Wars is a complete movie unto itself and all of Lucas' talk about intending a series all along is utter bullshit, right? No one expected it to do well at the boxoffice, and sequels and franchises were not standard studio output like they are now.
Sept. 21, 2004, 12:43 a.m. CST
For a good read on this, check out Salon's "Galactic Gasbag" article. http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2002/04/10/lucas/
Sept. 21, 2004, 12:47 a.m. CST
Thought the sound problems were my system...How could they release a DVD Box Set with such horrible sound mixing? Blech.
Sept. 21, 2004, 2:21 a.m. CST
by Eugene O
I agree with you about the general artistry of the films (since that's about all they have going for them; Lucas knows how to surround himself with the top people, thank God for that...), but that has nothing to do with my comment. The space battles in Babylon 5 were thought out, planned, and executed with much more visual style than anything in RETURN OF THE JEDI (and on a tight t.v. budget & schedule!). And not only THAT, but B5 had to adhere to PHYSICS in a way that the FANTASY battles in STAR WARS never did (since they treated space as if it had an atmosphere--which actually causes most of their problems since they don't need to bother with the logic of a ships movement; that's okay for one or two ships, but a huge fleet of illogically spinning and twisting ships is a mess to orchestrate...and it's all there on the DVD!). Bottom line, the space battles in JEDI are a jumble of images thrown at the screen. Sometimes less is more.
Sept. 21, 2004, 2:34 a.m. CST
Sept. 21, 2004, 2:53 a.m. CST
You guys who have NEVER seen this person, don't know that it's really a female (could be Harry or Mori using proper grammar for all you know), and still claim your undying love for "her" are SO FUCKING PATHETIC. If this DuPont's really a woman, she's probably more interested in someone like me than any of you basement-dwelling males. Not that I want her. I don't go for people I've never seen. It's just a little perverse to stalk someone you don't really know. Do I like her writing? Well, yes. She's the best one here, but I don't think that's quite enough to make her a candidate for shacking up. And in case she IS a woman; Please, boys, maintain some dignity and learn to appreciate a woman's skills or talents without sexualizing her. a simple "good job" would be a lot less creepy.
Sept. 21, 2004, 4:05 a.m. CST
that Lucas didn't add more Ewoks, not only have Greedo shot first but twice, crop in Jar-Jar Binks' son in ANH, and come over to my house and pour suger in my gas tank. You've lost it George.
Sept. 21, 2004, 5:35 a.m. CST
by deadend dropout
I haven't watched the actual Trilogy DVDs yet, as my roommate and I just finished another run through of my bootleg laserdisc transfer DVDs in anticipation of these, as if watching DVDs in anticipation of other DVDs of the same movies makes sense (but hey, one last go with the real deal, you know?) but Empire of Dreams is hot! It's almost the worth the price of admission alone. I would have liked to see some interviews with Ian McDiarmid, seeing as he's pretty much the only thing that didn't suck in Jedi...they had to go interview a fucking Ewok instead, but I guess that makes sense knowing Lucas' hijinks in recent years. Despite that, I do appreciate Warwick Davis' thoughts, it must have been amazing to come onboard as a fan of the series and have an (albeit) sucky role. So all the hardships Lucas experienced making the first movies lets me cut a little slack for him in my mind. I still say TPM is better than Jedi. Oh, Hayden Christiansen as Anakin in the Episode 3 teaser? Holy fucking shit, he might have been mediocre in Episode 2, but watch out, I think he's going to be great.
Sept. 21, 2004, 7:15 a.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
Every moment of the Luke-Vader-Emperor stuff is fucking gold and more than makes up for the Ewoks.
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:37 a.m. CST
Assuming you haven't seen episodes 1-3 yet. (and I know when I have kids, they're not seeing the prequels until after they've seen 4-6. they're bad enough on their own without ruining the other three) The original versions ARE available on DVD, if you have a good connection and news server, they're still up on alt.binaries.starwars. Trust me, you'll be way less pissed about all the changes if you just pass on the box set and grab the original versions.
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:49 a.m. CST
by Eugene O
Well, it sure isn't because you admire good story telling!!! Tee hee...
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:50 a.m. CST
True -- except the shadow on the floor cast by Vader's lightsaber. That bugged me as far back as 1983. Any chance it was removed on the DVD?
Sept. 21, 2004, 9:21 a.m. CST
by Otto Parts
Watched it last night, and that was definitely the most pleasing "new" thing i noticed, not just because they've improved the look of Jabba, but also the massive improvement in the voice. Before it didn't sound like Jabba, now it does.
Sept. 21, 2004, 12:28 p.m. CST
now I have a stereo TV and not a fancy-ass 5.1 sound system so I won't hear any of this, but for the audiophiles, here's thier statement: "We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as has been reported."
Sept. 21, 2004, 12:31 p.m. CST
No matter how good it looks, it is still an unnecessary scene. My feeling is they were right to cut it from the original release. However, since Lucas seems to be determined to have it in there, and since he is so very opposed to having Han shoot first, then why keep the Greedo scene at all? Cut the Greedo scene. It solves two problems at once: no more "who shoots first" controversy, and the Jabba scene becomes necessary.
Sept. 21, 2004, 1 p.m. CST
Seriously, if she's really hot, WHERE ARE THE PICTURES.... She write s for like 10 different review sites, and no one has a pic..... Sheeeyittt, even the ugly dorks from MaximumPC get pictures over their articles. Even a Google search turns up nothing! I bet you a wooden nickle this girl is Fugly with a capital FUG. Buh-bye-now.
Now that was necessary. I truly needed to know this about
Sept. 21, 2004, 4:20 p.m. CST
I've been thinking about this lately, and consider it this way. What about if a female friend you knew, or god forbid even 'girlfriend', wanted to change something about herself. I'm sure this has happened at least once to all the boys out there. She's not happy with her hairstyle, etc, or maybe even did decide on a major style change to something about her appearance, but she's ended up not liking the change. You, however - in the 1st instance, you always thought she was beautiful just as she was and shouldnt change; and in the 2nd instance, you thought that this new look that she went for looks terrific on her, and now don't think she should change anything about it. Whatever it may be, her present look to you has affected you in some way, it's touched you, and you love her for it just the way she is. And as much as she appreciates your support of that - when it comes right down to it, she's simply not happy with this thing about herself, no matter how much adulation she shower on her, she's just not satisfied and wants to change it into what she'd always dream it would perfectly look like in her mind. And so even though how good she looks now means a lot to you, and has had this positive effect on you, it's ultimately not something that she's happy with, she wants to change it to what she really wants, and so you support her. Right? Isn't that how it generally works? (And I don't wanna hear from the smartasses who'll quip that a woman is never satisifed with how she looks, therefore the argument would be bogus)
Sept. 21, 2004, 4:51 p.m. CST
by Razz Matazz
I don't know if this bugs anyone else but in ANH, when Luke is presented with his father's lightsaber and first turns it on, it is blue. But when he trains on the MF before alderaan blows up, it's green. Then when trains on the MF after alderaan blows up, it's white ala old VHS version. WTF???!!! I know it's trivial but, if Lucas has gone through all this trouble to "perfect" his trilogy...why did he let this slip by??? Also, why did he only change Boba Fett's voice?
Sept. 21, 2004, 5:27 p.m. CST
I just got done watching "Empire" (yeah, I know I've had the set since yesterday, but there's the small matter of having to fit it in with a full time job) anyhow, the scene with Vader & the Emperor is MUCH improved with the voice & face of Iain McDairmid and the revelation of Luke being the son of Anakin Skywalker does NOT spoil the surprise (as if anyone on the planet didn't already know). Question - on the credits it STILL shows Clive Revill as the voice of the Emperor. How come ?
Sept. 21, 2004, 5:31 p.m. CST
by Jack Burton
Did anyone else notice the downward shift in dialogue quality? I'm only using my front speakers but it's pretty noticeable for the first minute or so in the trash compactor. Also the Tarkin line is pretty bad. The Han/Greedo scene is MUCH better and easier to deal with, and Jabba looks much better as well. I did notice the score is heavily muted at the end during the death star battle, it only really kicks in when Red Leader gets killed by Vader and Luke enters the trench. Seemed to make it more dramatic though, not sure why. Like I said, I don't have a 5.1 system but there are some noticeable differences. The score issue is annoying, but the rest aren't that huge a deal. You'd think after all this time to work on these they could get the damn things perfect though.
Sept. 21, 2004, 5:32 p.m. CST
One other thing - I, RobinP now officially and publicly forgive one George Walton Lucas for the special editions. The latest tweaks have made up for them.
Sept. 21, 2004, 5:41 p.m. CST
by Judge Doom
Sept. 21, 2004, 6:23 p.m. CST
It's from the scene in Jedi when the group are trapped in the net-trap set by the Ewoks, and it's on the end credits of the 'characters' featurette.
Sept. 21, 2004, 6:48 p.m. CST
Maybe this has been answered already in a trivia book I've missed. In the finale of A New Hope, we see four rebel ships escape the Death Star before it goes all to pieces: two X Wings, one Y Wing, and of course the Falcon. We know who's in the Falcon, with one X-Wing Luke's, and the other X-Wing belonging to Wedge, but...who's flying the Y-Wing? Just a trivia question for the diehard viewers out there. I never got an answer to this one myself.
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:32 p.m. CST
"Shut up about your gayness already" Are you kidding me? How the reviewer chooses to refer to another person had ZERO impact upon the review. While on the one hand you claim to not care about sexual preference, you proceed to imply that any statement that YOU interpret as indicating a preference other than yours somehow adversely affects the review? Oh, the irony. Whatta maroon.
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:35 p.m. CST
Great analogy. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Sticking with it, consider that we could have the old girlfriend look and the new girlfriend look *simultaneously*. There's no reason why each version cannot be released on the same media format. But just like E.T., we're stuck with what a stubborn filmaker's choices. If there was a choice, everyone would be happy. On aslight tangent, I don't understand the logic of people who think what Lucas is doing is okay while colorizing old movies is wrong.
Sept. 21, 2004, 8:41 p.m. CST
Have you ever heard a heterosexual call their significant other a 'life partner'? Frankly, I don't see what the ruckus is all about, which is also why I have no idea why it was imperative to mention it in the first place.
Sept. 21, 2004, 9 p.m. CST
That's subjecture though and through. What are you doing other than getting miffed about your own interpretation of what someone else wrote, namely me. Plain and simple, if homosexuals would stop wearing figurative flashing red lights on their heads, perhaps they'd fall prey to significantly less criticism. In other words -- don't like the heat? Then stop drawing attention to yourself. You are damn right about it having zero impact on the review, however, which is the very reason why it was pointless to bring it up in the first place. Just look at all the chatter about that and *not* the remaining 99% of her review. Oh, and I just love it when someone enforces 'tolerance' with namecalling. There's your irony!
Sept. 21, 2004, 9:15 p.m. CST
Anyone else notice during the dogfight where the Millenium Falcon escapes the Death Star that there's a very computer-ish orange field around the TIE fighters? Like, they weren't finished cleaning up the image for a couple of shots? it's around the 1:34 mark.....just something that caught my eye...but doesn't screw up my enjoyment of the film....
Sept. 21, 2004, 9:58 p.m. CST
Maybe it's my older-model rear-projection big-screen, but every time there is movement in the starfield (at least in the Ep. IV DVD), you can definitely see some major pixelation and discoloration that wasn't noticeable on my VHS copies. Very distracting...anyone else notice this?
Sept. 21, 2004, 10:10 p.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
It'd be a GHOST Jedi Council. Duh.
Sept. 21, 2004, 10:16 p.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
Accents are learned traits, not genetic. Boba learned his accent from Jango, but the Storm Troopers were never exposed to Jango, hence no accent. There's also a chance the aliens who did the cloning intentionally gave them different voices so they would have some hope of telling each other apart (but didn't bother changing their faces since they'd all be wearing helmets).
Sept. 21, 2004, 10:34 p.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
No, they do not really appear. It was just fanboy daydreaming.
Sept. 22, 2004, 1:50 a.m. CST
People are really a bitching about this line. I watched the end of Jedi.........I still think its the best(maybe cause I never saw the others until later in life---I was born right before Ep5) and while I hate they took out the Ewok song, I could not find this gungan line getting so much bad buzz. I even had the captions on and nothing!!! I think someone made this up to piss fans off.
Sept. 22, 2004, 2:38 a.m. CST
Why do you guys think that, just because they have similar outfits the Stormtroopers MUST be clones? They aren't. There's reference in several official items (not even EU) that reference to the fact that Stormtroopers are recruits, that they are trained at an Imperial Naval Academy. I'd think it's pretty clear that they aren't clones. Why would the Empire's choice of armor have ANYTHING to do with the origin of the troopers? It seems that you're using the armor as the justification for believing that the Empire's still using clones, since there's no other evidence to support that idea. We've no proof that Kamino's cloning process is in use during the Rebellion era, we have no evidence that the Empire is producing clones (and in EU items, which at least have to clear Lucasfilm's "rules," they make it clear that the only one who has access to cloning is the Emperor himself, and in a limited capacity) and finally, the Stormtroopers are obviously nowhere near as well-bred as Jango's clones, despite the Emperor using them as puppets and coordinating their attacks with the Force. It's simple: Clonetroopers are clones. Stormtroopers are recruits who use armor that is similar to the armor used by the Old Republic Army (the clones). Don't doubt that in Episode III we'll see that the Republic has started to buff the ranks of troopers with recruits wearing that same armor. Can anyone explain to me why people assume that stormtroopers are clones aside from the armor similarities?
Sept. 22, 2004, 7:15 a.m. CST
Sept. 22, 2004, 7:27 a.m. CST
AND????!! The point is....??!! Am I right in thinking that the soundtrack was originally only in STEREO anyway? What the F**k does it matter which side a violin comes from? Honestly. Do you really mean to say that you sit there, in the dark, (quite probably starkers), and the fact that a musical instrument that was never even in that position on the original sound mix coming from (wait for it) the wrong speaker, causes you to lose your stalk? Ewww, it's giving me daymares just thinking about it.
Sept. 22, 2004, 9:38 a.m. CST
Well, since it comes from the OPPOSITE side in the front, it matters quite a bit. Normally you have violin in left front and left back. This disc has violin left front and right back. I guess if you live in a universe where one sound comes from two completely opposite directions, it will sound fine.
Sept. 22, 2004, 10 a.m. CST
Ha ha. Guess that's where I live then. In my Yellow Submarine, with 5.1 sound. Guess what. The Falcon can't fly, light sabers aren't real, and it really doesn't matter about smeggin' violins. Oh wait - there's some poor iccle man in my surround speaker who should be on the other side.... Better swap them round then.... Hahahahahah...
Sept. 22, 2004, 10:30 a.m. CST
Oh. And by the way. The Special Edition was not shown at the Empire in Ly-chester Sk-ware, it was shown at the Odeon. I was then. And yes people did cheer at Lukes rescue of Leia, but then they all started complaining as....the violins were coming from the wrong part of the auditorium.... You know sometimes I amaze even myself....
Sept. 22, 2004, 1:27 p.m. CST
Obviously my explanation went over your head. To put it simply, swapping the rear channels compared with the front just sounds worse. If you compare the right and wrong pannings, anyone with the slightest clue about how things should sound would notice that the crewed up one sounds worse. If the movies had scenes out of focus and you could see boom mics in the shot, would you dismiss those complaints with "the falcan can't fly" and "lightsabers" don't exist as well? Only an apologist would try and excuse a technical fuckup as a creative decision.
Sept. 22, 2004, 2:28 p.m. CST
You folks who are complaining about the instruments come out of which speaker represent the worst cliches that exist in the film geek world. You people, DuPont included, are incapable of truly enjoying anything because you are constantly on the lookout for the smallest flaw, so you can blow it up stomp your feet like children. I feel sorry for you, that you would let something this minute and meaningless affect your entire movie-watching experience. You have my condolences.
Sept. 22, 2004, 2:54 p.m. CST
Question: if there were scenes in the movie out of focus, would you complain about it or would you defend it and call anyone who disagrees with you whiners and nitpickers?
Sept. 22, 2004, 3:30 p.m. CST
...is exactly right. NOWHERE is it stated that stormtroopers are clones. Besides, why do you think that the separatist conflict is called the Clone Wars? If all wars and conflicts fought by the Empire were waged by clones, why would they make that particular distinction? Stormtroopers are recruits.
Sept. 22, 2004, 4:08 p.m. CST
... no, I don't .... actually I do want to whine. You see, there actually IS *some* evidence that the stormtroopers are clones. On the AOTC DVD, if I recall correctly, Lucas jokes about the fact that Jango hits his head and says that that was done intentionally. He explains that there are several times in the OT in which a stormtroopers hits his head in the background, and he thought it was a funny inside joke if Jango were to hit his head, so that maybe this head-hitting thing would be somehow related to genetics. _______ Now this little thing might prove that SOME stormtroopers were clones, it could also be the case that this "stormtroopers were clones" idea is an abandoned one, or, for the kneejerk Lucas bashers, that Lucas is just making stuff up. Personally, I'd like to wait until ROTS before passing the judgement ... also I already know what that judgement is going to be: that it really doesn't matter whether the stormtroopers are clones or not.
Sept. 22, 2004, 6:09 p.m. CST
Again, as I work through the holy golden grail of the little silver discs, I have nothing to complain about. return of the Jedi was always the weak link for me, and if we're all honest we should've seen evidence of Lucas' quirky humor here. Teddy Bears beating the hell out of AT-ATs ? Anyhow, I'm seeing the bigger picture now. Kinda like those magic eye things that were a craze years ago and I'll be damned if the great bearded one isn't right on the money. They do gell into a cohesive unit. When Sith comes out...(oh, and IS that the title, George ? I ask because on the Darth Vader sneak peek on the special features disc - it's still referred to as "Ep 3")it'll all become clear. Anyhow, that's the furure, this is now. An average movie becomes an above average movie. The Rancor looks great, the inclusion of Hayden Christenson as spectral Anakin actually works. It's right, it's proper...and it's cool. Accept it. Oh and the "weesa free" line ? It IS there, but it's not overt enough to be irritationg and I'm losing no sleep over it.
Sept. 22, 2004, 6:27 p.m. CST
"Why does Anakin have Beatles hair and looks like he's modeling?"
Sept. 22, 2004, 7:17 p.m. CST
You STILL have no clue what I'm talking about. It's got nothing to to do with being the same as the orignal or not. If the music was simply flipped, I'd have no complaints (and probably wouldn't notice). It has zero to do with the originals, it's simply a technical defect that would be noticable in ANY movie (and yes, it is comparable to a scene being blurry, not some silly "purist" issue). I've already explained it in detail, if you still can't figure it out, I don't know what to tell you.
Sept. 22, 2004, 8:55 p.m. CST
No. No more Jar-Jar inspired telegraphed questions for you to answer, I'm afraid. I should have known better than to ask you to be honest with yourself before asking you to be honest with (internet) strangers. Simply put -- heterosexual 'partners' refer to themselves as 'lifepartners' as often as 'undocumented residents' refer to themselves as 'illegal aliens'. This is true, despite your own subjective 'experience'.
Sept. 22, 2004, 10:54 p.m. CST
Sept. 22, 2004, 10:56 p.m. CST
Anyone out there know whatever happened to Marcia Lucas? Did her Academy Award ever bring her some work after she and GL split up?
Sept. 23, 2004, 12:45 a.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
That'd be from Lucas in the Episode II DVD commentary.
Sept. 23, 2004, 4:47 a.m. CST
Sept. 23, 2004, 4:48 a.m. CST
I know EXACTLY what you mean. The point is I don't care.
Sept. 23, 2004, 8:02 a.m. CST
If you do have it figured out, simply state what's wrong with the discs (hint: it has nothing to do with the violins). If you can, I'll happily admit I was an idiot. But I don't think you have it in you.
Sept. 23, 2004, 8:08 a.m. CST
Oh, of course...you're not fucking up, you're making a "creative decision".
Sept. 23, 2004, 8:58 a.m. CST
Nice try, but no. "That's subjecture though and through. What are you doing other than getting miffed about your own interpretation of what someone else wrote, namely me" Well, aside from the fact that I don't think I've ever gotten "miffed" about anything, the difference is that you on the one hand claimed that the reviewers sexual preference doesn't matter to you, and followed that up with the fact that your guess as to that preference adversely affected the review. I simply pointed that logic flaw out. "Plain and simple, if homosexuals would stop wearing figurative flashing red lights on their heads, perhaps they'd fall prey to significantly less criticism. In other words -- don't like the heat? Then stop drawing attention to yourself." I see, so if someone acts in a way that makes you believe that they are homosexual, they deserve criticism and "heat"? Look if you want to hate someone based on their sexual preference, go right ahead. But it's not THEIR fault that you have issues. "You are damn right about it having zero impact on the review, however, which is the very reason why it was pointless to bring it up in the first place. Just look at all the chatter about that and *not* the remaining 99% of her review." Would it have outraged you so much if the author had said "husband" or "boyfriend"? Because that would have been in the exact same context. And of course the chatter on this thread is inane, but that's the case on all of these talkbacks. "Oh, and I just love it when someone enforces 'tolerance' with namecalling." Well, I don't claim to be enforcing anything. But there's no reason to be tolerant of intolerance. So on that note, go piss up a rope, jackass.
Sept. 23, 2004, 10:27 a.m. CST
Sept. 23, 2004, 10:28 a.m. CST
Sept. 23, 2004, 10:35 a.m. CST
Again. Well - there you have it. At least I don't have resort to swearing (and in capitals, ooh!). Would your point be this? That if an instrument is on the left hand side in the front speakers correspondingly it should be in the left surround speaker if the mix was correct? I do understand this, but as I said earlier, am not bothered. I happily watched it on Monday and will admit (yes, admit...and happily), that I did not notice the problem. I will listen with interest next time though, and hopefully it won't spoil my enjoyment too much. Shame that what started out as some fun turned into an all out torrent of abuse. Chill out man (?), you might well live longer.
Sept. 23, 2004, 11:13 a.m. CST
Or doesn't it count as swearing if you use **...well, at least I don't use multiple exclamation points...as always on the 'net, the command to CHILL OUT is barked from the guy who is yelling...Glad to see you finally figured out what I was talking about, I'm still puzzled why your response to a technical mistake is "but lightsabers aren't real!"
Sept. 23, 2004, 11:23 a.m. CST
Yelling? Look who's talking? Or maybe don't, cos that'll be a bad JT movie. What I can't understand is why on earth you thought that I didn't know what the problem was? I tried to make it blatantly obvious I did, but that I simply wasn't bothered. That seems to have been overlooked. Anyways, your apology is accepted, 'Captain Needa'. Even though it wasn't even an apology. So - does it really bother you that much? The sound being all over the place. No wait, don't answer that......
Sept. 23, 2004, 11:53 a.m. CST
But you didn't. What exactly does "but the falcon can't fly" have to do with a technical problem? Here's a poser: when they fucked up the BTTF set, did you get the fixed discs, or keep the ones with the wrong framing because they didn't bother you? If this set was slightly out of focus, would you be OK with it (even though others may bitch at you since it doesn't bother them). Is it really so much to ask for DVD's that don't have bonehead technical glitches? If it doen't bother you, bully for you. But is there any reason to bitch just because others may have higher standards than you? What exactly is your objection to the guys that make DVD's not fucking up?
Sept. 23, 2004, 12:06 p.m. CST
You win. There. Feel better? I thought we'd made some progress there, but obviously not. I was simply trying to be vaguely humerous, but it obviously didn't come across, so I won't even bother anymore. My comment re. the Falcon, or Light Sabers, or whatever, was meant to say something along the lines of none of it's real, etc and you don't have music following you around in everyday life etc. But it was all lost. Maybe I was trying to hard. I am aware of the technical faults etc, but in this instance it just didn't strike me as important. With regards to BTTF, I bought the Australian (region 4 set), and had no problems. As a matter of fact, I have no problem with wanting DVDS to be spot on. Of course I do. But the simple fact of the matter is I hadn't spotted it, so it obviously isn't going to annoy people as much as it has you. Anyway, as I said, you win, you've taken the fun out of this, so I hope that you are content. Oh, and by the way (and I quote) 'Blatant abuse, personal attacks, OFF-TOPIC BS, cross-posting, blatant advertising, and hate speech are all fodder for deletion. In other words, being a jerkwad loser...' Amen to the large one.
Sept. 23, 2004, 12:12 p.m. CST
If you really think I'm abusing the boards, be my guest. Report me to Harry and get me deleted. Yeah, I'm sure he'll agree with you...
Sept. 24, 2004, 4:30 a.m. CST
As I said, you win Mr. Binder. Thought you might like to know that after all the things yelled yesterday that I checked out my disc of Episode IV - A New hope. And am pleased to report no problems. No levels going up and down with Mr. Tarkins dialogue, and no flipped rear channels. End of transmission.
Sept. 24, 2004, 4:57 a.m. CST
Heh. One last thing then. Checked out disc of A New Hope last night - and found no faults. Everything was exacetly where it should be. Even the violins. There is justice.... Oh, sorry - this probably has nothing to do with anything you've said does it....?
Sept. 24, 2004, 5:42 a.m. CST
Oh yes. I did, didn't I. Three times now. That there were no problems. Heh. I thank you.....! What shall we argue the toss about now then Mr. Binder, knowledgeable geezer that you are.....
Sept. 26, 2004, 12:01 a.m. CST
OK... I just finished watching Ep4:ANH and I am frankly very surprised by my reaction I am SHOCKED at the jawdroppingly HORRIBLE job they did with this movie I truly did not expect to hate the changes this much but it is SHOCKING how much they changed and how badly they did with the changes now they didnt re-edit or anything... its still basically the same movie.... and yeah.... Jabba is re-done since the 1997 SE and looks better (but remains a surprisingly FAKE-looking special effect...there is missing a lot of subtlety of light on the CGI model that ILM these days normally achieves although it still seems missing from this Jabba)....and the Greedo scene is certainly improved from 1997 but still pales next to the original version these are not the changes that upset me... what did? First... the audio has been entirely re-mixed BADLY; and SECOND... there is MASSIVE color correction throughout the whole movie that--for die hard fans--leaps out and is wrenchingly distracting. But the thing with each of these problems is how BAD CHOICES combined with AMATEURISH EXECUTION to make the problems doubly bad. we've probably all read about the backwards audio-channels on the score and Lucsfilm's ridiculous assertion that this flip-flop was done "for artistic reasons..." ...this change (I think mistake) is unforgiveable given the historical nature of this score... ...but this is also a subtle mistake.... for a GLARING mistake, well, the opening music to the Death Star battle is SUCH a F1_1CK-UP that I was shattered.... as youve probably read, the trumpet fanfare re-phrasing of the Jedi theme has been all but drowned out by a needless remix that plays up the sound effects and plays down the music. It LITERALLY is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO HEAR!!! Within the context of the movie, the way that particular piece of music--as originally mixed in 1977--sets the emotional stage for the climax is CRUCIAL... it is a BEAUTIFUL, FRIGHTENING, INTENSE, STIRRING piece of music... arguably the single most important piece of music in the WHOLE MOVIE... and now it is ALL BUT GONE!!!!!! What the h3ll were they thinking? And dont give me any crap about how this was an artistic "choice...." because here's the irony.... in the big documentary on the bonus disc, when they get to the point where they start talking about John William's score.... THEY USE THIS VERY PIECE OF MUSIC in this VERY SCENE with the CORRECT ORIGINAL MIX to show how the SCORE TRANSFORMED THE MOVIE from a disaster to something really really special.... I mean, think about it: there are TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS of this scene and ths music within this the "ultimate" SW DVD.... but the version used within the actual movie it is ALL MESSED UP?!?!?! This to my mind is clealy a f1_1ck-up but Im at a loss as to how this could have slipped past ole George and his crew. Incredibly amateurish work for this to have happened. There are plenty of other small but unnerving sound remix issues throughout the movie but they are too numerous and each in and of itself too minor to list. Dont worry though--youll hear them But the other thing that just lept out a tme and drove me NUTS was the rampant and terrible color correction throughout the whole movie. Youll notice it almost from the beginning during the Tantive 4 battle... uber-intense red (pink?!) laser flashes and glows that are unnatural and glarring.... threepio and R2 both look, frankly, weird, as their colors have apparently been super-saturated to sort of "pop" but the real effect is an unnatural appearance... R2 in particular looks weird throughout much of the movie with his blue just seeming to be TOO blue... lost is the subtlety of light and shade... and this goes on throughout the movie.... strangley enough, many shots are clearly not color corrected from previous versions and still retain a remarkably beautiful subtly in their lighting. But there is distracting color correction ALL OVER this movie. How about the famous sunset scene--RUINED... the lower sun looks bizarre! The explosions during the death star battle have had the oranges and hot colors dialed up so much they now look incredibly fake (which is saying something because many of those explosons (even from the 1997 SE version) still were fakey--albeit in an endearing cheesy sort of way). Its a digital photographic cluster-f1_1ck. Some poeple make a big deal out of digital photography because it has so many lines of resolution, many more so than 35mm film--but I still far prefer film over digital for a simple reason--sensitivity to light. Digital just cannot yet approach the nuance of film when it comes to capturing subtle shades of light and color... and these digital color corrections essentially strip away the movie of this subtlety.. colors are SO INTENSE at times that the movie almost looks like a B&W movie that has been digitally recolored--if you know what I mean: ie fakey--not right. I realize much effort went into digitally removing dirt from the print--and I dont know if such a process requires extensive color correction to basically fill in information that was removed with the dirt--but I highly suspect that much of this color correction was intentional--albeit a disaster in execution. How about Luke training with the light saber on the Millenium Falcon?! When he first turns it on it is GREEN!!!! This is an unforgiveable error and in and of itself, I think, demands a new DVD. But it makes you wonder, have the people who are doing this work even seen these movies? Anyone on this board, h3ll, most people in the gnereal public, would know in a heartbeat that the original Skywalker saber is BLUE and Luke doesnt go green until ROTJ--how could the color correctors not know this?!?!?!? Didnt they test screen their work for anyone at Lucasflm?!?!?! Im aghast. Just shocked. You know, we've waited SO LONG for these DVDs with the delay "justified" by Lucas' insistence he wanted to do something special.... but THIS is what he gives us?!!?!?! I have not yet seen the DVDs of Empire or Return, but I am in a way devastated by this version of EP4. Harry Knowles said Lucas is grinding his diamonds into dust. I have to agree. Horrible "artistic" choices.... horrible execution of the changes.... it is mess. I will say that everyting from the 1997 version that Lucas cleaned up is improved... but everyone of the NEW changes is a DISASTER. Can I actually prefer the 1997 SE ove this?! I think maybe I do. But having said that, what this DVD proves more than ever is the MASTERY of the 1977 original. In fact, Ive held off purchasing a DVD bootleg mastered off the asian laser discs... but now I FIRMLY intend to buy the original on DVD. If Lucas wont give me my favorite movie... well, I d@mn well am going to get it on my own (there.... I said it.... bring on the lawyers. I dare you). having said that, though, I do still believe that someday lucas really will put the original on DVD--all his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.... hopefully in some sort of set like the amazing boxed-set of Alien movies that includes every version of everyone of the Alien films... star wars is SO historic it deserves nothing less... and also, given the f1_1ck-ups with this DVD, I am THOROUGHLY convinced lucas will try yet again to get this movie "right." If only to fix the green saber and the fanfare intro to the death star battle.. even he cant be happy with those changes--h3ll, he back-tracked on Luke's scream from the 1997 ESB--right? so....in short... the super special set Lucas wanted to put out amounted to f1_1cked-up transfers... f1_1cked-up changes, ZERO deleted scenes... and one, admittedly, wonderful documentary all in all... an EPIC let-down... but then, that's pretty much par for the course from ole george for about the past 20 or so years. when we were kids George made three PERFECT movies all in a row (SW, ESB, and RAIDERS--not ROTJ)... but since that amazing cinematic hat-trick, he's just never been able to do it again I guess we all keep hoping he will... and I will keep hoping... but Im not holding my breath in the process May the 1977 original be with you. -Rash Flembar-
Sept. 27, 2004, 11:42 a.m. CST
your mention of ET as another movie you couldn't get the original on DVD of was wrong (although I agree with the principle that you were trying to illustrate), as you could get ET on DVD in the Collector's Edition with both the original and the new, altered version included. I know I did, though it took some hunting.