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Star Wars on Blu-ray, so what?

StarWars.jpgWell the announcement came and went, and really no one was surprised as we'd heard this quite some time ago, Star Wars is coming to Blu-ray and the real shock was that there were to be no sign of the original films anywhere.

Yes, the original, much loved versions of the first Star Wars trilogy released are not going to appear on Blu-ray, and the reason seems to be because of the expensive process to restore them. Something I find rather insulting and an incredibly poor excuse to hide the original films in favour of the reworked George Lucas versions.

The announcement for the Star Wars Blu-ray release revealed that there will be new extras amongst the forty hours worth of additional content.

The comprehensive collection also features numerous deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new documentaries and a cross-section of the countless Star Wars spoofs that have appeared in pop culture over the past three decades...

...in gorgeous high definition and with pristine, 6.1 DTS Surround Sound...

...a coveted peek into the making of the Saga with vintage documentaries, audio...of the Saga with vintage documentaries, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, prop and costume turnarounds, retrospectives and more.

There's plenty on offer, but at the same time there's plenty not. Before I delve into exactly what you'll get on the discs, for that's a list in itself, here's what you won't get, the original films.

Now for a lot of people that's not a problem, many have come to see the new George Lucas versions as the Star Wars films that they know from the beginning, but for many of us and the puritans out there, the originals are being overwritten a little, altered, and lost, and with this Blu-ray release they won't even be seen.

The reason is apparently the cost and time to put the originals through the digital processing that's necessary to make them shine on Blu-ray, something I call out as being rubbish for two reasons. The studio have already paid the money to post process them and digitally alter loads of scenes with CG additions, deletions and edits to make these new versions, and they are about to embark on a whole expensive process of converting the 2D films into 3D for another set of releases.

Expense? No, that can't really be that, for they haven't been scared of issuing multiple versions before to double, triple, quadruple dip into the fans pockets, so why wouldn't a set of the original versions of the first three films on Blu-ray be a problem? It just means more revenue.

That is, unless they plan on releasing them separately at some point in the future for another set of films?

Of course there's also the question of why they don't have the films with the digital rework complete but without Lucas' many changes, perhaps there's no version control in the studio. So why couldn't they release the original non-processed versions on the disc? What about the original prints? The VHS versions? Are they saying that these versions are too bad to be on Blu-ray? It's all about the nostalgia, marks and scrapes would be great for comparison.

I really don't get it, plenty of other films have been released with the original versions. Perhaps they are waiting their time for another box set release, and another round of pocket dipping.

Okay, enough of this. Let's get onto the Star Wars Blu-ray release, the complete set minus the original three films. Here's what the discs will offer you from the official Star Wars Blu-ray site, which really doesn't have that much on it apart from a long text file and a low-res trailer of stills and random Star Wars audio:

DISC ONE - STAR WARS: EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC TWO - STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC THREE - STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC FOUR - STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC FIVE - STAR WARS: EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC SIX - STAR WARS: EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI
Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren
Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

DISC SEVEN - NEW! STAR WARS ARCHIVES: EPISODES I-III
Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume
turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; a flythrough of the Lucasfilm Archives and more

DISC EIGHT - NEW! STAR WARS ARCHIVES: EPISODES IV-VI
Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; and more

DISC NINE - THE STAR WARS DOCUMENTARIES
NEW! Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) - Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures...these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.

NEW! A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) - George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Back in this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.

NEW! Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) - The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more - and don't miss "Weird Al" Yankovic's one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!
The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) - Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Wars movie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas' vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into reality!

Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Go behind the scenes - and into the costumes - as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billie Dee Williams.

Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) - See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars 1997 Special Edition update.

Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) - Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today.

While I think it'll be great to see some of Star Wars on Blu-ray, I do wish we had the original films on there too for comparison and purist fans, just look at the excellent Alien box set that carries the different versions of the film, or Blade Runner, they all hold up, why not Star Wars?




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Comments

Old rope, old rope, money for your old rope.

Really? Star Wars Spoofs? You can just see them on You Tube for free.

I love star wars, and the kid does too, but I'll be skipping this one for sure, I must have bought them what, 3 times on VHS, and 4 times on DVD, and from a comic fair on *ahem*, a high def format.

Add into that the releasing episode 1,2,3 individually, it just smacks of a money making scam.

Unless of course theres a directors cut of Episode 1, where Jar Jar gets it between the eyes about 20 minutes in. That I would pay to see.

The original films will be released on Blue-ray. Of course they will. But first we get the crappy redux versions, which will lead to the internet campaign to release the original versions, which Lucas will be happy to do just before shouting - 'Wa ha ha! Money money money!' While rubbing his belly.

And then they'll release the 3D versions.

These movies represent the Old Outdated Star Wars, which Lucas ruined with the new films. I want to know when Season 3 of the Clone Wars Animated show is out on DVD. That show is so much better than the new trilogy that it's kinda sad. Who cares about these old trilogies anymore...I just want to know whether Ahsoka Tano will be killed in action. I don't think she appears in the Revenge of the sith.

You can buy the Original Trilogy, in a way. Pick up the 3-disc set for the remastered OT. If you get the right set, they include the theatrical releases of all 3 OT movies. I’ve got them at home and it’s awesome. Like being a little kid again.

I'm glad that we're all thinking on the same page, it's a money making scheme.

Although, I would like to see them on Blu-ray, I want to see the originals digitised without all the changes.

Lucas better hurry up though, his target market are getting older, soon they'll be too old to operate Blu-ray players!

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