Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Widescreen Edition)
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This release contains two DVDs: the version that Lucas has been tinkering with, and on a bonus disc, the original movie in 4:3 letterbox, taken from the best-available videodisc masters.
About that "tinkering." The 2004 version of Episode 4 looks, for the most part, quite gorgeous. The _restoration_ that Lucasfilm did is impressive: the blacks are blacker, the whites whiter, the color richer, the contrast improved all around, and the soundtrack is great. The dirt and scratches are gone, the shaky color very solid.
However, at some point Lucas crossed over from "restoration" into making a new movie. That's fine; he has the right to do so. But for him to say that the original Star Wars is not really what he had in mind, when it was one of the most famous and popular movies in history and became entrenched in the culture -- well, I find that weirdly arrogant. And when he says, in effect, that his altered version _is_ "Star Wars" and the original _isn't_ -- well, hmmm. A movie is a historical artifact. There's a difference between preservation and tinkering. Mainly, that tinkering mostly is there to gratify the artist, while preservation serves the art -- and the fans of the art. Artistic creation is a fragile and uncertain process. For Lucas to assume that he knew exactly what made Star Wars great and presume to make it better misstates the amount of control that artists actually have over how their creations are received by the public.
Where you draw this line is slightly unclear. I think the cleanup of the backgrounds is fine.Read more ›
Yes. And no. Specifically, they fixed up parts of the final battle that needed fixing, for although the special effects team labored heroically in 1977 some shots were just beyond them. There are moments where a fighter pilot cries "He's on my tail! I can't shake him!" and in the old version we'd cut to an exterior shot of ships moving slowly and awkwardly. Here the ships dart about dramatically. Some of the explosions have been enhanced, and the early shots of the many ships flying in formation look much better. The whole battle feels bigger. No matter how you slice it, this part of the film is an improvement.
But for the rest of the movie, I have doubts. Do we really need to meet Jabba here? It does nothing but steal thunder from the opening of "Jedi," and it adds nothing to the plot we don't already know. And the scene with Biggs is so awkward it's amazing George could stand to put it back in. Also, introducing a new character 80 percent of the way through a movie has much of the audience scratching their head and saying, "Who's that guy? Did we miss something?"
The new footage in the desert (of the troopers riding the big beast creatures) undermines the elegant understatedness with which Lucas shot the first version--just two masterful shots with minimal movement originally, yet it suggested so much. Now we see these CG beasts walk back and forth as the camera pans this way and that--why, other than to say "Yippee, I can do it"?
The same is true for showing where the Falcon was as it blasted its way out of the cantina.Read more ›
Amazon: A little more truth in advertising, please.
Disney: It's time to scrape that Lucas off your shoe. Distribute the original version, or at least a digitally enhanced original version, along with this Director's Cut. Star Wars is film history, treat it with some dignity.
To begin, I agree with the majority of reviewers in the fact that these films, the original unaltered Star Wars trilogy, deserve much better treatment for release on DVD. Now, from what I understand, the original negatives/prints were destroyed or altered during the restoration for the Special Edition release back in 1997 and, as a result, can't be restored. Therefore, the laserdisc transfers from 1993 are being used as source material for the upcoming DVD release, which explains why these "bonus" DVD's (don't get me started on the originals only being - according to the soulless marketing geniuses at LucasFilm - "bonus" discs), won't be anamorphic and without 5.1 surround sound. I also understand that LucasFilm is not willing to put in as much time, effort, or money into this project since the original unaltered films didn't represent his true "vision" for the films. However, I take issue with the reasoning behind this thought process.
First of all, I'll admit I'm no film restoration expert, but common sense would tell me that 95% of the restoration of the original unaltered trilogy has already been done since only, at the very most, 5% of the original movies was altered for the Special Edition releases.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw this in the theater, when I was ten. My dad took my little brother and me, and it changed my life! :)Published 16 hours ago by Daniel Cascaddan
Best movie of all the Star Wars. Everyone has to see this and remember this was made in the 70's. Awesome.Published 19 hours ago by Ben Jones
Great movie, I just wish they offered the original version without any of the changes they made, all the added CG stuff just doesn't work for me.Published 1 day ago by Super Steve
I grew up with the original. I do not like the added special effects. But that is a personal opinion.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
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