Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
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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 Return of the Jedi is not only the first time the movie has been officially available by itself on DVD. It marks the first-ever DVD release of Jedi as it originally played in theaters in 1983. What does that mean exactly? The film is without the various "improvements" and enhancements George Lucas added for the theatrical rerelease in 1997 as well as the DVD premiere in 2004. So Sebastian Shaw reclaims his spot as the man behind Darth Vader's mask, and we don't see the otherworldly celebration (including the Gungans) at the end of the movie.
What do you lose by watching the 1983 version? Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound, for one thing (only 2.0 Surround here), and digital cleanup. 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 Jedi, however, on a widescreen TV 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 Return of the Jedi, and the 1983 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
- Disc 1:
- **Widescreen Feature (Enhanced Trilogy Version)
- **Commentary by George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, 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
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The film is pretty long, runs for roughly 135 minutes, but there was rarely a moment when I felt it dragged and to me it also seemed as if most of the actors have stepped up their games by 1983. George Lucas only appears as writer in here and the director is Richard Marquand, probably not a name to too many outside the Star Wars universe. Unlucky for him, he also died way too early. But I think he did a fairly memorable job here. What I liked the most about his film here are probably all the colorful, memorable characters, especially the cute furry ones.
But the film also delivers on the dramatic side, especially in terms of Yoda and in terms of tragedy involving core characters. And for the great sci-fi lovers, there are also many great locations in space and spectacular special effects sequences.
As everyone notes, most of the soft mush takes place on the Endor moon, and yeah, the Ewoks were better in concept than execution. Still, there are some bright moments on the moon as well: the speeder chases through the forest, C3PO telling the story of the first two films around the campfire, Chewie commandeering the walker. I had wished that the third episode had more of a triumphal feel, but it's still very enjoyable on it's own terms, and there's some great filmmaking to be had.
Its apparently the laser disc version converted to dvd, but personally, I think the grain in the film makes it even more true to the style and ambiance of the world of star wars. I think technology over the years has spoiled most of us as viewers on what to expect in quality. Blu-ray definitely has done that. (Not disrespecting the quality of blu ray here) Most of us have star wars on blu-ray, or even a copy thats enhanced dvd. So when you compare that to this copy, there is a difference. This is not enhanced. Its just what it was at the time. Thats all. Its so cool I had to get episode IV and V as well. They're just as good, if not great..
The one thing that doesnt make sence is the 2.0 sound. Thats ridiculous.
Its so refreshing to see these movies as I remember them!! What a fantastic relieved experience to view the original like we've seen them many, many years ago.
If you are interested in this, in the slightest way, dont hesitate. Remember, this is a limited edition and there is no other original copy like this available except VHS. Will you buy VHS?
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