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6,793 of 7,256 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Girlfriend Test vs. The Fanboy Test, September 19, 2011
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This review is from: Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a genuine review. One that I refused to write until I watched all 6 blu-ray movies (with my girlfriend -- more on that later), all deleted scenes, listened to 8 of the 12 commentaries and sampled the other 4. In other words, this review is -- unlike so many 1 star reviews written prior to the release of this collection that were based on rumors and the person doing the critique's imagination -- REAL.

All changes and alterations will be noted, for better or for worse, so you can decide if this collection is for you. Also, for the alterations/changes, I'm adding THE GIRLFRIEND TEST (she likes the movies, but never "loved" them) and THE FANBOY TEST (I have seen all 3 sequels at least a hundred times and the prequels at least 15 times each). Now - onto the reviews ...

PHANTOM MENACE Review:

I debated going in the order the series was filmed, but I've never watched them in chronological order so figured I'd take a chance. The Phantom Menace has went from a beloved Star Wars' film in most fanboy eyes ("Not as good as A New Hope and Empire, but better than Return of the Jedi" was the common refrain) to the most hated of the prequels. The movie definitely isn't all that it could be. It isn't even close. But it has the best lightsaber battle of the trilogy, an awesome opening sequence, and WAY less Jar Jar than you remember (it's just that he's so SHRILL whenever he appears). It's also the only Star Wars' prequel that FEELS like Star Wars. It has plenty of real sets and is structured much like the original 3.

The Movie Itself: 7 out of 10

PHANTOM MENACE Picture Quality:

The picture quality of The Phantom Menace is the worst of the bunch. It's filled with TONS of annoying Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) leading to a LOT of clayface. And even with that, the digital FX are still much sharper than the filmed shots of actors (this was the last Star Wars' film to actually be shot on film), which leads to the actors oftentimes looking out-of-focus or "blurred" when compared to their annoying digital counterparts. This one still needs a lot of work, and I'm sure that was what George intended -- as he wants to sell us this set all over again in 7-10 years. In 3D.

Picture Quality: 6 out of 10 (still WAY better than the DVD)

PHANTOM MENACE Sound Quality:

The sound in the film is INCREDIBLE. It is some of the best surround sound ever produced on blu-ray. It genuinely sounds better than the the theatrical version. The Pod Race is, in my opinion, the best sounding segment of film ever put on a blu-ray disc.

Sound Quality: 10 out of 10

PHANTOM MENACE 2011 changes:

The horrible cross-eyed, stoned looking Yoda puppet has been changed to CG.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: Yes, she noticed. Yes, she liked it better.
THE FANBOY TEST: Yes, I noticed. Yes, I liked it better.

The HORRIBLE FX when Obi and Qui run away from the droid destroyers down the hall where you could see THROUGH them (Obi and Qui) is removed.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. Yes, when compared to the DVD she liked it better.
THE FANBOY TEST: No contest. It is a GREAT improvement.

ATTACK OF THE CLONES Review:

Attack of the Clones has always been -- prior to this blu-ray release -- my least favorite of the 6 movies in the saga. This release won me over. The movie is the best paced of the prequel trilogy and second to Empire Strikes Back in pacing, overall. The downfall is the HIDEOUS "romantic" dialogue between Anakin and Padme. What a load of garbage. It's still as laughable and as intolerable as it was at the midnight screening a decade ago. Fortunately, the rest of the movie holds up very well. This is the best directing Lucas has done since A New Hope (aside from his poor direction of actors). It moves at a brisk pace and keeps the viewer involved from start to finish.

The Movie Itself: 8 out of 10

ATTACK OF THE CLONES Picture Quality:

Sadly, the movie suffers from the same DNR as Phantom Menace. As it was shot digitally, it isn't as glaring, but there are a few moments of waxy-face that are nearly intolerable. On the other hand, the CG in the movie has never looked better. The end battle (which is essentially one big cartoon) has some breathtaking moments.

Picture Quality: 7 out of 10

ATTACK OF THE CLONES Sound Quality:

Incredible. Amazing. Ear-shatteringly awesome! Every bit as great as Phantom Menace. If TPM and AoTC lived up to their soundtracks, they'd be the best movies ever!

Sound Quality: 10 out of 10

ATTACK OF THE CLONES 2011 Changes:

Anakin hears junk (such as his mother) while he's dreaming -- indicating it's a terrifying dream, instead of a wet one.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. No, she didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed something was different, but not exactly what (which led me to look it up). It did make the scene slightly less humiliating to watch.

REVENGE OF THE SITH Review:

Revenge of the Sith is a bleak film. If you're a diehard fan, it comes close to being traumatic. Lucas didn't sell this one short. Not at all. Sure, it should have been at least 3 hours and expanded further on Anakin's change to the Dark Side. That said -- the Emperor thought he could change Luke in a matter of seconds in Return of the Jedi. So at least it makes a bit more of an effort. The opening space battle is incredible. The banter from the original trilogy is back and nearly lives up to its predecessors. This is a very good movie. It still suffers from some of the inane "romantic" dialogue between Anakin and his lover, but Star Wars' fans have learned to deal with some cheesiness. Honestly -- no SW film, like no pizza (at least no good pizza), is without cheese -- not even Empire.

The Movie Itself: 10 out of 10

REVENGE OF THE SITH Picture Quality:

Unlike the first 2 DNR destroyed prequels, Revenge of the Sith looks GREAT! As a matter of fact, it's the best looking of all 6 films. The opening space battle is right up there with Avatar and Planet Earth as the best looking thing you'll ever see on blu-ray. This movie is, visually, reference quality. If you're proud of your set up and don't own this film, you no longer have a reason to be proud.

Picture Quality: 10 out of 10

REVENGE OF THE SITH Sound Quality:

I guess -- if you're a Star Wars' fan -- you can't have it all. This mix is muddled and doesn't sound nearly as good as the other 5. Still -- they set a very high standard and RoTS definitely impressive.

Sound Quality: 8 out of 10

REVENGE OF THE SITH 2011 Changes:

I noticed none.

A NEW HOPE Review:

What can be said that hasn't been said already? A New Hope introduced us to this crazy universe. It was like nothing we had ever seen. It was Flash Gordon for a new generation. It was pure amazement. It literally defined the word "entertainment" and, because of that, lines of geeks and non-geeks surrounded every theater playing the film. Aside from the dated 70s looking computers (which is a change I wish George Lucas WOULD make) and a few clunky lines from the actors (mainly Mark Hammill), the movie is pure perfection.

The Movie Itself: 10 out of 10

A NEW HOPE Picture Quality:

There's quite a bit of DNR toward the beginning -- especially on Princess Leia's face, but it lessens throughout. There's also some terrible dirt during the Tatooine scenes and a few blurry looking shots. That said, the film looks GOOD. Almost too good. Better than I thought I'd ever see a movie this dated appear.

Picture Quality: 9 out of 10

A NEW HOPE Sound Quality:

Picks up right where Attack of the Clones left off (Sith was a misfire). The sound is so tremendous, you'll have trouble believing this movie was released in 1977. It sounds better than 99.9999999999% of movies released today!

Sound Quality: 10 out of 10

A NEW HOPE 2011 Changes:

R2 hides behinds some CG rocks that look pretty real.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. No, she didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed and didn't care until the rocks suddenly vanished. Sorta lazy, Lucas.

Luke's lightsaber is color corrected during his training.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. No, she didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed (because I was LOOKING for it) and was happy Lucas corrected the error.

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Review:

As a fan of film and a fan of "event" films, I believe Empire Strikes Back to be the BEST event film ever made (along with Raiders of the Lost Ark). It is absolutely perfect, from beginning to end and, frankly, my favorite movie of all time. 'Nuff said.

The Movie Itself: 10 out of 10

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Picture Quality:

Best it's ever looked. Yes, there's some grain in the scenes on Hoth, but at least the scenes on Hoth are WHITE again -- instead of blue! Not quite reference quality, but VERY close.

Picture Quality: 9 out of 10

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Sound Quality:

Let me just repeat what I said for the other ones and double it: Incredible. Amazing. Ear-shatteringly awesome! Wait 'til Han flies you into the asteroid field!

Sound Quality: 10 out of 10

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK 2011 Changes:

Can't see the puppeteer's hand on the Wampa anymore.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. No, she didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed because I read about it and I didn't really care.

The whole scene in Cloud City with Chewie retrieving 3PO has been color corrected and sparks have been added.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. Yes, she cared a little bit when I compared the two.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed and cared. It looks a LOT better, now.

RETURN OF THE JEDI Review:

This is the suckiest of the original 3 films. In a lot of ways, this is the worst Star Wars' film ever made. Yes, there is an awesome puppet creation in Jabba the Hutt, but it also has teddy-bears destroying the Empire. It's ridiculous. Han Solo acts like he's been brain-damaged by the carbonite. Luke isn't as much of a Jedi as he is Luke who we're told is a Jedi. The "sister" angle is wedged in and embarrassing. The premise of being told you HAVE to DESTROY Vader and yet being told you'll turn to the Dark Side if you strike him down is pure insanity. Another Death Star with basically the same exact weakness is silly and shameful. C3PO being this great storyteller after claiming he's not very good at telling stories in A New Hope is lazy or ignorant. This movie was George just wanting to get his "9 part" saga over in 3 sections. I'm sorry if your child blinders are blinding you, but this is, hands down, the junkiest of the Star Wars' films. It makes all 3 prequels look like Citizen Kane. Complaining aside, it does have an AMAZING space battle and a pretty groovy speeder bike chase through Endor.

The Movie Itself: 7 out of 10

RETURN OF THE JEDI Picture Quality:

The picture quality of Return of the Jedi is second only to Revenge of the Sith. There's less DNR than in any of the other 5 and it really does look like it did on the big screen. If not for the large amount of uncleaned grain during the Tatooine scenes, I'd say it looked better than it did theatrically.

Picture Quality: 10 out of 10

RETURN OF THE JEDI Sound Quality:

Like every movie in this box, excluding Sith, the sound is as good as modern technology gets.

Sound Quality: 10 out of 10

RETURN OF THE JEDI 2011 changes:

Jabba's palace has a bigger door made of CG.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: No, she didn't notice. When I showed her the DVD, she liked the new version better.
THE FANBOY TEST: Yes, I noticed. I liked both about the same.

Han thawing from carbonite is slightly different (through CG).

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: Yes, amazingly, she noticed. She liked it "way" better.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed. I thought it was a little cheesy, but was fine with the change.

A Dug is added to one scene, but takes away from nothing.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: She didn't notice or care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed and thought it was awesome. Perfect tie-in to the original trilogy. Just wish they made it look SLIGHTLY less CG.

Ewoks have blinking CG eyes.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: She didn't notice, but when I showed her the older version she thought the new one was "10 times better!"
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed immediately and thought the new version was, let's say, 3 times better.

R2D2's attack is now over-the-top CG.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: She didn't notice. When I compared, she didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I HATED this change. It looked fake and I can't think of a single reason why they changed it. It sucked.

Darth Vader says "No" and then says, "Noooo." Contrary to rumor, he never screams "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" like he did in Revenge of the Sith.

THE GIRLFRIEND TEST: She noticed. She didn't care.
THE FANBOY TEST: I noticed and, to be honest, didn't really care. It's tactfully done. It doesn't take away the silent moments where we see Vader, just through his eyes, starting to hate the Emperor and sympathize with his son. It ties together well with the original and if you're whining about this by writing a fake 1 star review before even watching the blu-ray, you need to get a life.

EXTRAS:

Awesome. But I won't give them a 5 out of 5, as they should have included ALL deleted scenes and ALL extras from the DVD releases AND the blu-ray releases (this is George's greedy way of making us all hang onto our DVDs instead of selling them used). Billionaire George is into making billions more. Still, this is the best set of extras the Star Wars' saga has ever had. By far.

Overall? This is easily the best Star Wars' release ever. This is an event. If you want to deny yourself the pleasure of owning this treasure because the original versions aren't included, I more than understand. But, if you are a huge fan of the saga AND writing a 1 star review before even seeing the blu-rays, you are both lying to your audience and denying yourself to the point of being pathetic. May the force be with you. Always.
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Comments

Tracked by 13 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 340 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 19, 2011 7:04:58 AM PDT
Jersey Girl says:
You have provided such an awesome and thorough review!!! I loved your honesty on what were the changes and how each film looked and sounded!! This is hands down the best review of this set on Amazon that I have read! I am probably somewhere in between you and your girlfriend. I am a fan..but not a dedicated fanboy who would notice every single change. In all honesty I probably would have caught the Ewoks blinking above everything else. That being said, I will now feel really good about making this purchase. My almost five year old son LOVES the first three films and has never seen the newer trilogy. I have to admit that I haven't seen the last two of these myself. I never bought them and refused to watch them on tv with commercials and editing. I had the original trilogy on dvd and actually sold it here on Amazon for more than this entire Bd set!! It is like getting it for free :) Again..you gave an awesome review! I wish that so many people hadn't come on here and reviewed the set before it was ever even released!

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 8:31:24 AM PDT
The best review I've read on Amazon, great job! While I could have done without the much-discussed change in Vader's sequence with the Emperor and Luke in Return of the Jedi, I reconciled in my mind that it does bookend Vader's/Anakin's saga. In "Revenge," the "No" completes his transformation to the dark side; in "Return," it completes his transformation back to the good side.

Again, great job and thanks for a fair, well-thought out review.

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 9:10:23 AM PDT
Brian says:
Finally, A review that actually reviews the product. Thank you! Not real happy about the "no" in Return of the Jedi, eh but what the hell, I guess I'll go for it anyway, maybe an alternate audio track will sound better, like in Sith, switch to French right before the 'nooooooooo' and it sounds much better.

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 10:32:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2011 10:32:26 AM PDT
Awesome review. Can I make a suggestion? Marry that girl.

A girl to sit through all 6 Star Wars movies in succession is hard enough. But then for her to have to take the beat down of you asking "did you like this better?" and the fact she answered.... wow. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 10:45:09 AM PDT
AGREED!

I love this post AND marry that girl. ;)

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 11:30:19 AM PDT
Just the kind of review I was looking for - Thanks!

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 12:33:52 PM PDT
Curt Story says:
Darth Vader says "No" and then says, "Noooo."
"I noticed and, to be honest, didn't really care. It's tactfully done. It doesn't take away the silent moments where we see Vader"
But, what does it add? Vader's silent action was powerful enough.

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 1:45:59 PM PDT
Cool review, and I thought the whole "girlfriend/fanboy" thing was rather cute. She liked the blinking ewoks "ten times better"? May I hazard a guess and suggest that she might have been coping with the onslaught of 13 hours of film viewing + comparison screenings by resorting to a bit of good-spirited facetiousness by that stage of the process?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 1:53:22 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 19, 2011 6:54:11 PM PDT]

Posted on Sep 19, 2011 2:14:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2011 2:15:52 PM PDT
Eric Taylor says:
Great review, very thorough and I dug the comparisons especially with the girlfriend's input. Nice touch. However, the "if you're whining about this, you need to get a life" and "to the point of being pathetic" comments need to go. These type of comments that I see all over amazon and various blogs are completely unnecessary. We could easily say that anyone who likes Lucas' changes needs to "get a life" and that if you enjoy the ridiculous Jedi Rocks scene in Jabba's palace then you are "pathetic".

The truth is, you aren't.....and neither are we. Some people like cake, some pie. The respect level with this stuff needs to raise by about 1000 points. Anyone should be free to like or to hate whatever they want without insult. I don't run all over these things calling everyone who gave this set a 5-star rating and doesn't mind Greedo shooting first names so why don't we get the same respect. Again, great review but in the future stick to reviewing and skip the judging.
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