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Star Wars

A movie trilogy directed by George Lucas

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The Force is Not with this Collection

  • Jan 28, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
In December of 2005, in conjunction with the release of "King Kong," Peter Jackson released a two-disc DVD set on nothing but the film's production. Over three and a half hours of behind the scenes footage was presented, chronicling everything from set design to special effects and everything in between. Packaged with the discs were four production art prints and a fifty-two page booklet, which contained many on- and off-set photos.

Wow. A two-disc set of production footage. This alone is proof that Jackson is a director who knows how to cater to his fans.

George Lucas could learn a thing or two from Peter Jackson. For his "Star Wars Trilogy" DVD boxed set, Lucas apparently decided against going the extra mile in terms of special features. This is a real shame, not only because they're such classic films, but also because this is their first release on the DVD format.

Nearly everything about this disappointing set is minimalist. Each film is given only one disc without any special features; all of those are reserved for a fourth disc, one that really doesn't go very far. The best we're given is a two and a half hour documentary on all three films, entitled "Empire of Dreams." Two and a half hours may seem like a decent length of time, but because it covers the entire trilogy, it was forced to simplify each of the films' productions into general, nonspecific analyses. It would have been better to devote a two and a half hour documentary to each film individually. Everything would be much more in depth and satisfying.

Of course, there are a host of other special features that were neglected. For one, only a handful of the Trilogy's many trailers were included. Furthermore, virtually no artwork is presented, and promotional material is sparse at best. Storyboards and test footage are nowhere to be found. (Wouldn't watching the original animatics be awesome, especially for the battle scenes?) And what about deleted scenes? Any "Star Wars" fan knows of Luke's conversation with Biggs on Tatooine in the first film or of the moment when C-3PO tears away the "Do Not Enter" sticker from a door in the second film. Shouldn't we be allowed to view these moments in digital clarity? It's a side of "Star Wars" history that so few have had the chance to see.

One of the biggest issues surrounding this set is the fact that only the digitally enhanced Special Edition versions are included (which, interestingly, have had more reworking since 1997). Lucas has remained quite adamant about this, claiming that the Special Editions represent what he wanted to see in the films originally. He's also said that the original versions will never again be released. As we all know, many fans are outraged about this; for them, only the unaltered Original Release versions are acceptable. I, for one, don't have a problem with the Special Editions. They are what they are, and in my opinion, they work just as well as the Original Releases. That being said, I still feel that Lucas was a fool to not release the original versions. He may not agree with the way the films were presented back in 1977, 1980, and 1983, but they are still a part of cinematic history. Denying them release is akin to denying the past.

I'm sure Lucas will never change his mind about this. But in the off chance he opens to suggestions, then mine would be to include BOTH versions of the films on the same set. That way, everyone comes away happy: Lucas gets his Special Editions released and fans are finally allowed to choose which version they'd prefer to see. Many DVD sets offer this option, anyway (such as the "Alien Quadrilogy" set, another great example of catering to fans). It's puzzling why Lucas would be so blind to such a win/win scenario.

Imagine someone trying to fill an empty swimming pool with a mere glassful of water. That's the way I see the "Star Wars Trilogy" DVD set. I suppose it would be fine for those who prefer DVDs without bonus material (and some do). But for the rest (and the majority) of us, this is not enough. I want to know everything about these incredible films, all the ins and outs, all the highs and lows. I want to see the details and hear the ideas that went into each film, even the ones that were rejected or changed. I want to see photos of set construction and footage of original interviews from the 1970s and '80s. I want to watch all the screen tests. I'd like to be able to read the first drafts of the scripts. I want to see model construction and hear some explanations as to their design.

In short, I want more.

If I were to describe the ideal DVD set for the "Star Wars" saga, it would be one that included all six films. Each would be given two discs, and they would all be packed with the special features I mentioned earlier, plus many more that I didn't mention. Episodes IV, V, and VI would have both the Original Release versions and the Special Edition versions available (as I said before). I'd probably include a booklet of some kind, something detailed and probing that wouldn't disappoint fans.

Unfortunately, I have no control over the format of the "Star Wars" DVDs. For now, I have to stick with what was offered. I can only hope that future releases will do a better job of presenting what the fans want to see. Mr. Lucas, you're going to have to try a little harder if you really want to impress us. Give us something that is truly a collector's item instead of a bare bones gathering of three movies. These films redefined the meaning of the word "blockbuster," and it's time they get recognized for that. A good start would be a decent DVD set.

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July 17, 2011
I own this just for the sake of owning the SW collection on dvd. Too bad it didn't have the original ending to Return of the Jedi.
July 17, 2011
I, for one, am not hung up about the Special Editions (and no, I don't care how blashphemous that sounds). What I wanted was for Lucas to give us the option of choosing which version we'd prefer to see. So many DVD/Blu-ray releases do this. Consider Blade Runner: Not only did Ridley Scott provide fans with a wealth of special features, he also gave viewers a choice between five different version of the movie. He even provides small introductions for each version. In one of them, he actually said, "It's not my preferred version, but I know it has its fans." Why can't Lucas be more like this?
July 17, 2011
agreed. probably because Lucas thinks that Star Wars is his baby and his alone? He tries to milk it for whatever he can. I want the original versions on a decent dvd set. That new limited edition with the original versions of the movie were just ripped from laser disc. They should've been enhanced. Oh wait, that's in another release...?
 
February 03, 2011
Funny you mention Peter Jackson. I always felt that his Special Extended DVD Editions of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy stand as perhaps the greatest DVD ever produced in terms of special features, artwork, audio & video, and of course the films themselves. It surprises me that Lucas, who has been known by many of his fans to milk the merchandising of his films for all they're worth, has chosen to release only his preferred versions of the films (at least up until 2006 anyway, though the limited edition 2-disc DVD sets didn't contain remastered or restored versions of the theatrical cuts). It also surprises me that with all of the famous footage from the original films that was edited out, that he wouldn't consider the rabid desire of his fans to see this "lost" footage. I, for one, would love to see the scene of Luke using the macrobinoculars to view the Star Destroyer's attack on the Tantive IV or the Biggs conversation in Episode IV; I'd love to see more of the deleted footage of the events on Hoth and Dagobah in Episode V; I'd really love to see the additional footage of the battle on Tatooine with Jabba's guards and the sand storm sequence which was removed altogether. Lucas has a habit of making revisions to his films and then only offering the latest so-called new and improved versions. Personally, what I don't understand is why he would (1) deny his fans the versions of the films that they fell in love with in the first place, (2) turn down the opportunity to re-release the original versions of the films with the Special Editions, special features, restored picture & sound, which would give him further profit. It's somewhat baffling when one takes into consideration both Lucas' intelligence, his financial success, and his claim that he loves his fans.
February 03, 2011
I would also put "The Alien Anthology" on that list of great DVD (or Blu-ray) collections. I hear what you're saying about George Lucas; it really does seem like he doesn't know what his fans want. He may make up for some of his mistakes with the September release of the Blu-ray set, which will in total have nine discs, the last three of which is said to have 30 hours worth of bonus material, including deleted scenes. He, of course, will not include the original theatrical versions on the set, but I never expected that he would.
February 03, 2011
Which is odd, because that for me and many others will always be the selling point on whether we'd ever buy future release of the "Star Wars" films on DVD or Blu-ray. It's also odd to me that Lucas' revisionism has spread to the "Indiana Jones" franchise as well. In some ways, I think he should step back and run his companies and leave the fate of his past creations to people who understand the fans.
February 04, 2011
And he will probably released yet another anthology set when the films are rereleased in 3D. It never ends. I've often fantasized about being that person responsible for marketing the "Star Wars" films on DVD/Blu-Ray. For years, I've envisioned the perfect box set; the September release will not quite be what I saw in my head, but it sounds like it's at least 80%. But the "Indiana Jones" films? Honestly, I didn't know about that. Are new versions of the films set to be released on Blu-Ray?
 
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About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Wiki

One of the most exhilarating and influential trilogies in the history of motion pictures, George Lucas's sci-fi spectacular continues to capture the hearts and minds of individuals throughout the world. This release contains the STAR WARS trilogy (episodes IV-VI) in one glorious package.

First up is STAR WARS; George Lucas's stunning sci-fi masterpiece, and arguably one of the most inventive and entertaining films ever made. As the adventure begins, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an impulsive but goodhearted young man who lives on the dusty planet of Tatooine with his aunt and uncle, longs for the exciting life of a Rebel soldier. The Rebels, led by the headstrong Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), are fighting against the evil Empire, which has set about destroying planets inhabited by innocent citizens with the Death Star, a fearsome planetlike craft commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and the eternally frightful Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones). When Luke...
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Details

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: May 25, 1977; May 21, 1980; May 25, 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
Runtime: 388 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd.
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