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The Complete Star Wars Trilogy: Original Radio Drama, Limited Edition Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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About the Author
George Lucas is an American filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as the founder of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. Lucas is considered a significant figure in the New Hollywood era.
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Fifteen CDs rest securely within a heavy slipcase. The case is open on one side allowing the edge of the fifteen individual jewel cases to be viewed. As it comes, factory sealed, the open side is covered with a paper insert. The discs are numbered, one through fifteen, and each disc has different art relating to the content. Finally, the first disc of each adaptation has an insert naming the film it is based on.
Each disc contains music and sound effects straight from the films. A narrator opens and closes each half hour episode and voice actors, many from the films, do the heavy lifting. As mentioned above, the adaptation of Star Wars easily stands out as the best. Spanning thirteen episodes and seven CDs the most time is devoted to fully flesh out the story of Star Wars. I believe having heard this version of the story so many years ago greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the franchise as a child. Each subsequent adaptation loses two discs with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi each clocking in at five and three discs respectively. Still, the additional running time of the dramas allow the story to be much more fully told. The set does include a few audio "extras" which you can read about in other reviews. While a nice addition they are mostly incidental.
It is easy to notice that this set has not decreased in price over time. I purchased this set in 2003 for well over $100 and it currently lists for nearly $200. One must determine for him or herself the logic of spending so much money on a collection of old radio dramas but at a time when Star Wars media is often, rightly or wrongly, criticized as mediocrity these old yet timeless adaptations certainly stand out as a class act.
Hence why I decided to listen to this radio drama.
Let me begin (wait, didn't I already start?) by saying radio dramas really aren't my thing, but that's probably because there aren't really many out there that appeal to my taste. I like listening to broadcasts, but only few pique my fancy.
Recently, however, I've decided to listen to more and more dramatizations on BBC and NPR (especially Joe Frank), and I found out about the Star Wars one. Finding it at my local library, I decided to borrow and listen to it on my daily commutes to and fro work.
My time spent whilst train-traveling usually consists of reading, gaming and light music-listening. But when I started listening to this, all of my other activities went moot. I was completely blown away. Being naive of the production values for this (and the world of dramatization, for that matter), I expected something cheesy.
The quality of voice acting and sounds is phenomenal. The entire cast and crew made it really feel like you're in the middle of the action, from intercepting the plans with Leia to Luke's final confrontation with his father, and Anakin's quintessential redemption. At times, I felt I liked this more than the films, and that's saying a lot. The voice acting, as aforementioned, is A+, and most of the sound effects, if not all, are used in the dramatizations. The only actor I didn't adjust to right away was Perry King (Han Solo). After a while, he grew on me.
Even Darth Vader, whose voice will forever be cemented to James Earl Jones, was magnificently portrayed by Brock Peters.
The inclusion of Anthony Daniels and Mark Hamill for their respective roles (Hamill didn't return for Episode VI for budget reasons) was a tickle to my ears, and I think Hamill did a much better Luke here than in the films.
Another factor I greatly appreciate about these dramatizations is that they add so much more to the Star Wars canon. The inclusion of the back story of Biggs Darklighter, Leia's interception of the plans, and how Luke makes his lightsaber was a joy to hear, and I really wish Lucas included more of Biggs.
Though I've yet to hear the additional features found in the discs (including the dedication to Bryan Daley), I wanted to write a review about my thoughts so far, and will update this later.
Because of this dramatization, I am now listening to BBC's The Lord of the Rings, and now wish I'd listen to these a long time ago...in galaxy not so far away.
If you're a nerd, pick these up; you'll not regret it. If you're not a nerd, pick these up; you may slightly regret it at first, but upon listening you'll discover why this is an incredible set.