Attn: fellow STAR WARS geeks

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Darth Tanner
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Attn: fellow STAR WARS geeks

Post by Darth Tanner » Fri May 05, 2006 12:42 pm

Heard about this last night on the Fox News Channel, then found more info on the Digital Bits website. Anyway, here goes:

It's official, folks!

Just hours after we posted our story in The Rumor Mill, the official Star Wars website has now officially confirmed it: Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox are going to be releasing the original, undoctored and digitally-untweaked, theatrical versions of the Star Wars films on standard DVD in September. The films will be available on disc only for a very limited time, starting on September 12th (they'll go out of print on December 31st). The films will be available as individual 2-disc sets (there may also be a box as well). One of the discs in each set will include the recent "2004" special edition version of the film, while the other disc will include the original theatrical version in anamorphic widescreen video, with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. And yes, on the 2-disc set of A New Hope... Han will shoot first! Here's an official quote from Lucasfilm's Senior Vice President, Jim Ward:

"Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters. We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we're very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars."

Well, all I can say is... it's about ___-damned TIME! So much for "those versions don't exist anymore." This is very good news indeed, and we're very happy to see it finally happen. Hats off to George Lucas, Jim Ward and everyone who decided to finally make this a reality on DVD.

And before you ask, it IS DVD only... there's no high-definition version expected this year. Just FYI.

Stay tuned...

End quote

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About time indeed. So much for Lucas maintaining that the original films no longer existed. My only beef is that I have to buy the 2004 cuts of the film (which I already own on DVD) just to get the unaltered trilogy. Oh well, small price to pay to get a nice widescreen copy of the original films. I only hope this time he includes the legendary deleted scenes. Even though I'll spring for this set when it comes out, I'm honestly not as excited about it
as I was when I heard Fox was releasing BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS this summer. I just hope Lucas doesn't plan anymore double-dipping, but knowing him he'll probably release a mega-set with all six movies at some point.

The story on Fox News about mentioned that Hasbro was making a limited-edition action figure of George Lucas in a stormtrooper outfit. I'll believe that when I see it.
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Post by Demolition Hammer » Fri May 05, 2006 1:42 pm

Most excellent. Lucas doesn't even need to worry about the fact that he lied and said the originals don't exist anymore, because he knows he will make millions to add to the millions and millions he already has.
I have to return some videotapes.

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Post by AchimbaProphet » Fri May 05, 2006 2:07 pm

I had those already (LaserDisc -> DVD conversions). They were very good quality and exactly what I wanted to see. I gave them to a friend when I got rid of my DVD collection. I am glad that they will be releasing them this way.
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Post by shannon » Fri May 05, 2006 2:35 pm

God damnit. I got tired of waiting for the originals to hit DVD, so I got the 20th Anniversary version box set 6 months ago.

It's just Lucas' attempt of making even more money. Not that is surprises me.
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Post by MuC » Thu May 11, 2006 8:49 pm

figures...oh well ill buy em...
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Post by Jonathan » Fri May 12, 2006 11:28 am

Sweet Jesus mother of Mary, this is good news! It'll be something I can pass down to my son... Anakin Boyle....
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Post by Darth Tanner » Wed May 17, 2006 8:41 pm

Just when I was suspecting all of this was too good to be true, some more news concerning these releases was posted on Digital Bits today that may dampen a lot of people's enthusiasm:

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Well... things are a little interesting around here today.

We've confirmed something today (directly with both Fox and Lucasfilm) that we'd begun to suspect... and it's probably going to disappoint a lot of you. It certainly disappoints us here at The Bits. Those new DVD editions of the Star Wars films? The original theatrical versions of the films are going to be non-anamorphic (our original post on this indicated otherwise, but we have confirmed that the widescreen versions will be letterboxed only). What this likely means is that Lucasfilm has simply re-purposed the non-anamorphic transfers that were done for previous laserdisc and VHS releases of the "original" versions of the films. And with that, our enthusiasm for this DVD release has just dropped through the floor. Anamorphic-enhanced versions of the theatrical editions, we'd buy in a heartbeat. But what we're going to get instead is little better than a ported-over laserdisc. In this day and age, releasing a widescreen film without anamorphic enhancement on DVD is just unacceptable. Does Lucasfilm really think fans want those versions of the films on DVD so badly that people just won't care? Yes Virginia, they do. How many versions of these films do you suppose Lucasfilm will try to get fans to buy in high-def over the coming years? And think about it... you just know the studio has to be prepping yet another standard DVD release for next year's 30th Anniversary of the original Star Wars. Do you suppose this means that the theatrical editions won't be included in the super-über box set of all six films? Probably. Ugh.

Line up like Jersey cows and grease up yer teats, Force fans. Or better yet... run for the south forty as fast as your hooves'll carry you. Stampede!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now for my rant:

Non-anamorphic?!? How can they justify releasing these discs in plain letterboxed format knowing that many videophiles out there have widescreen TV's that support 16 x 9 enhancement? I just have a regular TV so it won't bother me so much now, but what about down the road when I invest in a home theater system? Good grief! This just reeks big time. I was afraid something bad would be lurking in the hoopla over this release and it looks like it has reared its ugly head. Since this set is due in four months, I guess it's too late to start a massive writing campaign to Lucasfilm asking them for anamorphic releases of the original trilogy:( I'm still keeping my fingers crossed hoping for a change of heart on their part. If nothing else, at least the special-edition versions of the films will be anamorphic so I'll live with those.

Is it just me or does anyone else think that Lucas has to find some way to disapppoint his fans every time?
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Post by I am 138 » Wed May 17, 2006 9:10 pm

Wait, you're a Star Wars fan, Tanner?

This sucks. I was getting all excited to finally be able to watch the films again, having avoided them since Episodes 1-3.
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Post by Griff [Mola] » Mon May 22, 2006 7:08 am

To give you an idea of just how arrogant they're being about this, the OOT (Original Original Trilogy) discs are gonna be non-anamorphic letterboxed even on the fullscreen release. In otherwords, they're doing next to nothing to appease reasonable consumer expectation. This is a lazy, spiteful release and by branding the OOT as 'bonus features', they hope to morally eschew any criticism of the video quality - which is far below minium acceptable standards for a feature nowadays.

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Post by Darth Tanner » Mon May 22, 2006 11:25 am

Man this just keeps getting better. Since the story broke last week, The Digital Bits posted a follow-up story which shed some interesting light on this news. It's too much for me to copy and paste, but I'll give you the rundown in a nutshell:

The widescreen transfers of the OT that will be on these DVDs are the same ones used for the "definitive edition" laserdiscs over a decade ago, which were good enough for their time but won't hold up by today's video standards. Lucasfilm's Jim Ward even said this about the transfers: "It is state of the art, as of 1993, and that's not as good as state of the art 2006". Glad somebody on the inside agrees. Even though they will not be anamorphic, at least they will be cleaned up. As for why new transfers are not being done: apparently Lucas cut the original negatives after he restored them while doing the special-edition versions of the films. So indeed the original negatives "no longer exist". To make matters worse, Lucas supposedly executed an "Order 66" on all existing theatrical prints to have them recalled and destroyed. But certainly some prints may still exist in archives or private collections someplace. Lucasfilm doesn't seem to be trying hard enough to dig them up. If suitable elements can be found, they could be given the proper treatment to produce anamorphic transfers that will hold up to todays video standards. Sure it will cost a lot of time and money, but Lucas is loaded with millions so a cost like that won't likely break his bank. Of course, whose to say that existing elements aren't tucked away in a vault at Lucasfilm.

Insane but no doubt true. This whole thing just boggles the mind. The only good thing I can say about all of this is that at least the OT will be on legit DVD, but not as good as it can be. A similar case can be made about the Russ Meyer discs: The people now in charge of RM Films are putting out inferior product without using the negatives in their possession to put remastered versions on DVD. The final product is nothing better than a home-produced DVD and the picture on the VHS is unbelievably a little better. Instead of buying the discs from RM Films, I caved in and bought the import discs from Arrow. The transfers are the same, but they are cheaper and have some extras to boot. So until RM's original negatives are remastered (assuming they still exists) to put out better product, the Arrow discs and the VHS tapes will have to do. Same case with the STAR WARS OT discs. If better versions do become available I will buy them, but these will have to do for now.

Anyone interested in the story on Digital Bits can read it here:

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/mytwocent ... ml#aswrant

Very interesting to say the least. Something strange is definitely going on over at Lucasfilm.
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the heavens. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and so... I am a God." - Malcolm McDowell, CALIGULA
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