Image by Wyckthöor via Flickr
Damn you, George Lucas. I’m pretty sure you could sell the proverbial air conditioner to the Eskimo (is Inuit the correct term now?) without a problem, but I bet you can also amazingly re-sell him the air conditioner that he already has just by cleaning it, maybe adding a new filter, and putting a shiny sticker on it… and repeating that process every few years for the next 30 or 40. You are a genius.
If you took a nod from L. Ron Hubbard, you could have made potentially more money by founding the official Jedi cult. Don’t people already try to list that as a religion for the Census? Pass the plate!
Fanboy rant that you’ve already heard a million times over aside, George Lucas is a creative genius, and no matter how much we love to bicker about changes with new actors/voices, re-releases, re-edits, mis-colored & re-colored lightsabers, flying CGI droids, who shot first, and dancing Yoda… it all comes down to the fact that we love the Star Wars films and feel some kind of connection to them. If we didn’t feel so strongly about them, we (hopefully) wouldn’t waste our time bickering. (Sorry, can’t let it go: I still want “Yub Nub” back, I hate hate hate the new Ewok song in Jedi.)
Of course I’m going to get the Blu-ray version. To have them all in one package? Awesome. Seems like forever-ago that I was pontificating on what I’d like to see on a Blu-ray release. Now that it’s almost here & available for pre-order, I’m getting jittery… like I’ve had too many cups of coffee. Maybe I did that, too.
At any rate, this was sparked by a killer article from The Digital Bits that you might want to check out: The 2011 Star Wars Saga Blu-rays – First Insights
Bill Hunt is a lucky bastard that got a preview of the discs, and he shares the goods with us. Basically there are a lot of error fixes, clean ups, and a bunch of sound remastering and rebuilding. Some cool bits…
One thing I should confirm for you at this point: The original theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy are not included on these discs. Personally, I never expected them to be. I know a lot of fans want them, but it’s clear that Lucas has no intention of making them available at least for the foreseeable future.
Figured as much.
In addition to these sorts of fixes, significant additional dirt removal has been done, more garbage matte lines have been cleaned up and other little “fixes” have been applied as well. Here’s an example of one such fix done to Episode V. For years, fans have complained that in this shot of the Wampa attacking Luke’s Tauntaun, you could see part of the puppeteer’s arm because the costume didn’t extend quite far enough… Now, that’s been fixed.
Cool. But I hope they don’t fix the clumsy Storm Trooper…
For Episode IV, however, “getting it exactly right” required a rather extensive forensic effort, as this material just wasn’t cataloged with future surround remixes in mind. In many cases, Matt and his team went back to original analog tape recordings made in 1976 to get the best quality of all the required elements. As a result, it’s fair to say that the surround mix for Episode IV was almost completely rebuilt from scratch, with Matt comparing his work to the original print master to ensure its creative accuracy. And at every step of the way, director George Lucas and original sound supervisor Ben Burtt were consulted to ensure that the mix reproduced as closely as possible their original intent for the film’s sonic experience. In fact, Matt says he played the film’s reels many times for George, in 15-20 second chucks, to get his feedback.
Crazy. I think I’m going to have to break down & buy a surround-sound system just for this Blu-ray release. Maybe a better Blu-ray player too. Any ideas on how to convince my wife why this is necessary?
Now, you’ll recall that a little bit ago, I said these should probably be best considered new 2011 versions of these films, and not the 2004 DVD versions. All the fixes and corrections alone justify this in my opinion, but there’s another reason too… and you can probably guess what it is: Once again, George has apparently added a few new “surprises” into these films. I don’t know what they are and didn’t get to see any of them on Friday, but I was assured that there will be “new things to notice” when we watch the films. I think we can safely assume that one of them will be the new all-digital Yoda in Episode I…
More tweaks? Hopefully more archive/deleted footage put into the films in lieu of additional background lizards, droids, clones, or new musical numbers. (Although, if more aliens popped up in the background… like the ones from Close Encounters, Alien, Predator, Cowboys & Aliens, or even a Klingon, that would be kind of geeky fun.) I’d like to see the Revenge of the Sith ending that Simon Pegg wrote about in his book.
What the other changes to these films may be, I have no idea, but I suspect there will be no lack of blog posts on this very subject within hours of the first discs becoming available to fans.
Or even before, I bet. Ha ha. Get the Star Wars tissue box covers ready.
Now then, let’s move on to the extras. Is it really worth getting the Complete Saga set just to get the three extras discs? For me at least, the answer here is clear: Absolutely. Yes… I’ve now seen many of the Original Trilogy deleted scenes. No… I can’t tell you much about them (believe me, that drives me as crazy as it does you). But I was pretty surprised by them and in a good way. What I can tell you is that they are substantial – at least for the Original Trilogy. This isn’t just dribs and drabs stuff – it includes long sequences. And they’re extremely cool. Frankly, for me this is the real draw of the entire BD release. As you’ve seen in some of the teaser clips Lucasfilm has released, they’re not pristine, but most of them are in HD – at least the Original Trilogy clips. And trust me, they’re well worth seeing. It’s stuff some of you have wanted to see in good quality since 1977, along with a few things fans may not have known even existed.
Nice. I might have to start having Star Wars nights again.
What’s more, each film has two audio commentary tracks – the ones that were on the previous DVD release as well as an all-new commentary compiled from tons of vintage and archived interviews with the cast and crew. Finally, I’m assured that there are indeed a handful of “very fun” Easter eggs scattered throughout the set.
OOOH. How will I find these? Ha ha. I’m going to have to set up a Google News alert or something. I’m never good at just finding them on my own.
Go read the main article, it’s worth it if you’re a geek… and there are some killer photos!
In with that, they point to yet another article, that says exciting things like…
On the special features, we spent 3 years sifting and digging through 30 years of material that is in the vaults at the Ranch, it’s been quite an undertaking. We uncovered boxes that hadn’t been opened in over 20 years, it was a very dirty experience! We looked through work prints, we found dailies, we went through behind-the scenes videos, we really uncovered a slew of new gems that we’re really excited to share with the fans.
Oh what I wouldn’t give to dig through those archives.
Q: Is the holiday special on there?
A: You’ll have to wait and see! The holiday special is a challenge, but look for some Easter Eggs – what’s a Star Wars release without a couple of Easter Eggs?! J
I’m guessing not the whole Holiday special, but maybe a clip… especially the Boba Fett cartoon. A clean version of that would be excellent! (If it exists, watch it have overdubs from Temuera Morrison
If the whole special shows up, that would be killer. No one ever asks about the Ewok movies. What about those? When are we going to get more forest creatures, lost footage, and an all-new CGI Gorax? How about Cindel & Mace running around in Jedi somewhere?
Oh yeah, maybe Troops will pop up as an easter egg!
Thanks to HarrisPoll Surveys, PNC/Visa Points, and a jar o’ change, I was able to pre-order from Amazon for only $2.49 out of pocket.
I can’t wait until it gets here!!!