Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Star Wars on BluRay

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

How do you polish a turd?.. not well.
Now I am not calling Star Wars a turd, not by any means. It was just a shock statement to get your attention. I grew up on Star Wars. It has become far larger what is actually is. It was a 70's movie that has grown into a world phenomena. It has become ingrained into our world culture.

What today's blog is about is the upcoming BluRay edition of the Star Wars saga. There has been much talk about the trilogy's first high definition treatment. There are alot of excited and a lot of frightened people out there. The absolute hard core fans are already unhappy with the new set. Complaints stem from the use of the 2004 'special edition' masters being used (instead of the original film footage) to the additional changes that Lucas has made. Yep, this is the Special Special Special Edition! Here is a quick time line of the different editions of Star Wars (and it's sequels):
  • 1977 - Original Theatrical Release (no reference to 'Episode IV')
  • 1977 - First change release (addition of 'Episode IV' to the titles)
  • 1997 - Special Edition (Remastered film stock, CGI elements added, visual errors fixed)
  • 2004 - DVD edition (Additional CGI elements added/changed, color corrections)
  • 2011 - Blu Ray edition (Additional elements added, visual errors fixed)
  • 20?? - 3D Editions (who knows what changes will take place...)
As you can see there have been MANY changes to the Star Wars trilogy over the decades. Many fans don't like all the changes, some do. The changes are being made for one of two purposes... either Lucas wants to 'perfect' his movies or they are trying to keep them revelant so newer generations will be interested (and keep the money coming in).

No matter which reason is being used I am kind of ambivalent about it all. I was watching Spike which was having a Labor Day marathon and it struck me how crude and silly the AT-ATs looked in Empire. I know at the time the animation was top notch but now a days... It made me wonder if Lucas was going to replace the AT-ATs in the upcoming Blu Ray releases. This led me to further think about how far is 'too far'.... At what point do they decide to stop? At what point does this stop becoming the movie I grew up on? I am OK with them making changes, it's interesting to see but at the same time part of me wants to see that old cheesy 70's special effects. In 2007 they also released the 'original trilogy' which were the unedited editions of the first three movies. This was nice to have when I feel I don't want to watch a shitty looking Jabba in Episode 4 (with a cheesy BobaFett cameo).

I am 99.9% sure Lucas will once again double dip on his fans and come out with an 'original unedited' trilogy on Blu Ray and sure enough I will be one of the sheep in line for it.

Now on to other things about the upcoming Blu Ray set. There are (besides the movies in HD) a lot of extras. Many old documentaries and a couple new ones. Special features (such a movie prop archive) as well as (the golden gooses' egg) deleted scenes. These scenes is what is really making people excited over this set. Lucas has released a lot of them in promos for the upcoming set and I must say they excite me. These are scenes that fans have heard about but have never seen (or even knew existed). Having seen a few of them it's like some warped dream. You see characters you know like the back of your hand and they are saying and doing things you have never seen them say or do before. The only way I can describe it: surreal.

Some of the other features are a disc filled with 'fan films' and 'parodies'. I hate this kind of thing. If you know me you know I can't stand people who 'ride the coat tails' of George Lucas. It irritates me to no end. I doubt very much I will bother with that particular disc.

The price you can currently pre-order the set is $90. This isn't bad considering it's 6 movies plus all the extras. The upcoming Jurassic Park set is three movies and it's $50. I had been debating whether to get the set or not and then I won a video contest and a $200 Amazon credit so I decided that I could get it (since it is basically going to be free).

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