September 29, 2004

Star Wars: Binge & Purge

Well, it's been over a week since the arguably greatest film trilogy was released on DVD. Of course, the release was not without problems. There are confirmed reports of flipped rear surround audio in A New Hope, there are also a few different audio cues and an overall lowering in the volume of the score. Also, it must be noted that these are not the original theatrical versions of the three films from 1977, 1980, and 1983. They are also not the same versions that were seen in the Special Edition form back in 1997. These three films have, for better or worse, been tinkered with further, and will probably continue to be tinkered with well into the future. Do I wish I had the theatrical versions? Yes, of course. Will we see them in the near future? Probably not. I think Lucas lost touch a long time ago, but he also has the right to change the films as he sees fit to be in line with his vision for them. But this isn't about that, I will just post some thoughts about the films and their DVD releases, I've been watching all of Star Wars stuff I have, so comments will be about it all. This is not a review, just some random thoughts, many of which I have already forgotten.... Beware of possible spoilers.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
  • Image and sound quality on the whole are spectacular.
  • The score does sound low at points, this is disappointing as I love the score to these movies. This doesn't seem to be a problem in the other two films.
  • Luke is as whiney as ever. Can't believe how many times he complains about anything.
  • I found it funny that Luke talks about going to the Academy, then later speaks of hating the Empire. The Academy is run by the Empire.
  • The controversial scene with Greedo and Han has changed again. Originally only Han shoots, then in the SE Greedo shoots first, now they shoot at approximately the same time. I like the original version best.
  • Jabba is still here, like in the SE. He looks much better here. I kind of like this scene, makes for nice continuity with the third film.
  • Boba Fett's appearance is strictly for the fans, it's cool but rather unnecessary.
  • Most of the changes, in terms of effects are OK and look good.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  • My favorite of the series.
  • Looks incredible, best of the Trilogy. Colors are sharp and vibrant, You see more detail here then has ever been seen before.
  • Probably has the least amount of changes to it. Mostly CG battle scenes and exteriors to Cloud City.
  • They did add Ian McDiarmid as the emperor in the hologram sequence with Vader. They also changed the dialogue between the two, and I didn't really care for it.
  • I always liked how Lando pimped when he first sees Leia, "Hello, what have we here?"
  • The Cloud City light saber duel between Luke and Vader looks great, it doesn't get much better than this.
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
  • Probably the most maligned of the original three. Admittedly it is the weakest of the three, but it is very worthy of it's place in the series.
  • Again looks the best it ever has on any home video format.
  • I always liked the entire sequence on Tatooine, Luke comes in much more mature than in the previous films, Jabba is evil, and above all, Leia's slave outfit.
  • Two of the changes that I don't like now exist in this sequence. One is the music in Jabba's palace was changed, along with the addition of a computer generated Sy Snootles, I just didn't like it.
  • This is probably my most disliked change, the active Sarlacc with the snapping jaws. It goes against the way it was described, if it takes 1000 years to digest something, it is not going to have the type of energy needed to move about as it does.
  • The Ewoks are kind of annoying, but I can deal with them. It shows that there are all types of creatures at various technology levels in the universe.
  • The final confrontation between Luke and Vader is excellent.
  • I don't like the celebration around the planets ending, news wouldn't travel that quickly and there would be more Imperials to defeat.
Star Wars Trilogy: Bonus Material
  • Nice set of documentary footage .
  • Teaser and theatrical trailers and television commercials for all three films. It was amazing to see how cheesy these clips were, rather funny. Especially funny was the TV commercial playing up the romance between Luke and Leia, who we all know end up being brother and sister.
  • The creation of the lightsaber was good. The lightsaber is the single greatest weapon to be seen on the big screen, hands down.
  • Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and Kevin Smith were all interviewed, it was nice to see these artists speak of how Lucas' creation influenced them.
  • The creation of these films was really a landmark in film history, revolutionizing special effects and what a blockbuster can be. Makes me want the originals even more.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
  • When I first saw this, I loved it and it instantly jumped to the top of the list. It has since slipped all the way to the bottom. It is not without it's good parts, but the writing was just not up to par with the originals.
  • This business with the midichlorians has got to go, it didn't make sense and doesn't really fit.
  • The whole opening with the Trade Federation and the droids was a lot of fun.
  • Lightsabers, glorious lightsabers, now we can see what they are really capable of.
  • Liam Neeson and Ewan Mcgregor bring a regal air to the Jedi.
  • The pod race was cool, but it seemed to go on for too long.
  • Darth Maul, why did he have to leave so quickly? At least we got that three way lightsaber battle.
  • This movie is a borderline animated movie.
  • Jar Jar, focal point for a lot of disgust, didn't bother me too much. I would have preferred a better character but...

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
  • This is definitely a step up from Episode I.
  • Less Jar Jar turns into a good thing, plus we get a reason to dislike him.
  • The Love story was ridiculous.
  • Lucas is losing his touch, he should someone else script and direct.
  • Hayden Christensen is a rather wooden actor, at least here.
  • Ewan McGregor is a very good Obi-Wan.
  • Don't mess with Yoda.
  • Christopher Lee is as menacing as he ever was.
  • Lightsabers are still a good thing.
  • Samuel L. Jackson is Mace Windu, Jedi Master, sporting the only purple bladed lightsaber.
  • This builds up to what I hope to be a great Episode III.
The Hidden Fortress
  • I know it's not directly related to Star Wars, actually came nearly 20 years earlier, but George Lucas has cited it as a great inspiration for Star Wars.
  • The biggest similarity would have to be the two peasants who are comparable for the droids.
  • An interesting film from the legendary Kurosawa.
  • Has a lot of similarities to Star Wars, with the small band of heroes wishing to evade capture from the evil empire closing in on them, smuggling a treasure through enemy borders.
  • An excellent movie to say the least, I can see how great an influence it had on Lucas. The DVD even has an interview with Lucas on how much Kurosawa influenced him.
Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle
  • Ha! This was really goofy.
  • I first saw this on television, and new I had to have it on DVD.
  • A dead on skewering of the Star Wars universe.
  • Stands as the first "thumb-mation" film.
  • Not sure we really need any more movies like this, the thumbs look rather creepy.
  • The really play Luke's whininess to the extreme.
  • It is actually rather stupid. Not sure how they got the money to make this.
  • Remember bad is bad, good is good, bad, bad, good bad, good, bad, bad, good.
  • The king of the Star Wars parodies, even if it came out at an odd time.
  • Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, John Candy, and the incomparable Mel Brooks, how can you go wrong?
  • May the Scwartz be with you.
  • Rumor has it, Mel Brooks is currently writing a sequel to Spaceballs. Can't say I wouldn't mind seeing this.
  • They even do a good job at mocking the merchandising blitz that is associated with Star Wars.
Well that about does it. I know I could say more, but at the moment words are escaping me. I am sure I will revisit this somewhere down the line, I just wanted to get something online. I hope you enjoyed it.
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