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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Limited Edition)

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,914 customer reviews

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(Sep 12, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For the first time ever and for a limited time only, the enhanced versions of the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi will be available individually on DVD. Plus, these 2-Disc DVD's will feature a bonus disc that includes, for the first time ever on DVD, the original films as seen in theaters in 1977, 1980 and 1983.


The 2006 limited-edition two-disc release of George Lucas's epic space fantasy Star Wars is not only the first time the movie has been officially available by itself on DVD. It marks the first-ever DVD release of Star Wars as it originally played in theaters in 1977. What does that mean exactly? Well, for starters, the initial title crawl proclaims that this is just Star Wars, not Episode IV, A New Hope. Second, the film is without the various "improvements" and enhancements Lucas added for the theatrical rerelease in 1997 as well as the DVD premiere in 2004. So no more critters and droids scurrying around the port of Mos Eisley when Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi first arrive, no meetings between Han Solo and Jabba the Hut and between Luke and Biggs (extraneous scenes that were cut in 1977), no enhanced explosions during the final reel, and--most importantly to some fans--no more of Greedo shooting first in the bar. Instead Han is free to be the scoundrel and not even let Greedo squeeze off a shot.

What do you lose by watching the 1977 version? Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound, for one thing (only 2.0 Surround here). Digital cleanup for another--Tatooine looks like it's been coated with an additional layer of sand cloud. But for home-theater owners, the biggest frustration will be from the non-anamorphic picture. On a widescreen TV, an anamorphically enhanced (16x9) picture at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio will fill the screen with the exception of small black bars on the top and bottom. The original edition of Star Wars, however, is not anamorphically enhanced (sometimes referred to as "4:3 letterbox"), so on a widescreen TV it will have large black bars on the top, the bottom, and the sides unless you stretch the picture (and distort it in the process, especially considering the substandard picture quality). If you're watching on a standard square-shaped (4:3) TV, though, you won't notice a difference.

Yes, it's true that serious home-theater lovers who want spectacular sound and anamorphically enhanced picture can always watch the 2004 version of the movie also included in this set. But chances are good that they already picked up the trilogy edition of all three films, so their decision to buy the 2006 two-disc edition depends on how much they want the original film. The official LucasFilm stance is that this is an individual release of the 2004 version of Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope, and the 1977 version of the film is merely a "bonus feature." Common speculation is that the only reason the original versions are seeing the official light of day at all is to undercut the booming black market for the laserdisc version. Star Wars fans will have to decide for themselves if that's worth the purchase. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • **Widescreen Feature (Enhanced Trilogy Version)
  • **Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher
  • **Easter Egg - Credit Roll
  • Disc 2:
  • **Widescreen Feature (For Both Versions Full Screen and Widescreen) - original theatrical movie version in dolby 2.0 surround
  • **XBox Playable Game Demo
  • **Lego Game Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing
  • Directors: George Lucas
  • Writers: George Lucas
  • Producers: George Lucas, Gary Kurtz, Rick McCallum
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,914 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,419 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Limited Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul R. Potts on November 7, 2006
Format: DVD
I am one of those geeks who was ten years old when Star Wars came out (note: it was not originally called "Episode IV.") I watched it in the theater perhaps a dozen times. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.

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.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I'm not going to bother to review the movie. Unless you've been living on Tattooine for the last quarter century--and maybe even if you have--you've seen it. But here is the Special Edition: were the improvements worth it?

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.
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Format: Amazon Video
Why are they still selling the "Special Edition" as if it were the original? Don't they usually call that a "Director's Cut" or an "Unrated Version?"

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.
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Format: DVD
After reading countless reviews about these Star Wars DVD's over the past few months here on Amazon from some who are taking this issue way too seriously to others who just don't seem to have a clue as to what some words mean, I finally feel compelled enough to write a review of my own.

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.
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