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Star Wars Trilogy (A New Hope / The Empire Strikes Back / Return of the Jedi) (Full Screen Edition with Bonus Disc)
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Disc 1: *Star Wars: A New Hope IV *Feature Film: Star Wars: A New Hope IV *Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
Disc 2: *The Empire Strikes Back V *Feature Film: The Empire Strikes Back V *Commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
Disc 3: *Return of the Jedi VI *Feature Film: Return of the Jedi VI *Commentary by George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
Disc 4: *Bonus Disc includes the most comprehensive feature-length documentary ever produced on the Star Wars saga *Never-before-seen footage from the making of all three films, and much more
Was George Lucas's Star Wars Trilogy, the most anticipated DVD release ever, worth the wait? You bet. It's a must-have for any home theater, looking great, sounding great, and supplemented by generous bonus features.
How Are the Picture and Sound?
Thanks to a new digital transfer, you've never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader's helmet is as black as the Dark Side.
What's Been Changed?
The rumors are true: Lucas made more changes to the films for their DVD debut. Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) has been added to a scene in Jedi, Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) replaces Clive Revill with slightly revised lines in Empire, Temuera Morrison has rerecorded Boba Fett's minimal dialogue, and some other small details have been altered. Yes, these changes mean that the Star Wars films are no longer the ones you saw 20 years ago, but these brief changes hardly affect the films, and they do make sense in the overall continuity of the two trilogies. It's not like a digitized Ewan McGregor has replaced Alec Guiness's scenes, and the infamous changes made for the 1997 special-edition versions were much more intrusive (of course, those are in the DVD versions as well).
How Are the Bonus Features?
The bonus features are excellent and along the same lines as those created for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Each film has a commentary track, recorded by Lucas, Ben Burtt (sound design), Dennis Muren (visual effects), and Carrie Fisher, with Irvin Kershner joining in on the film he directed, The Empire Strikes Back. Recorded separately and skillfully edited together (with supertitles to identify who is speaking), the tracks lack the energy of group commentaries, but they're enjoyable and informative, with a nice mix of overall vision (Lucas), technical details (Burtt, Muren, Kershner), and actor's perspective (Fisher). Interestingly, they discuss some of the 1997 changes (Mos Eisley creatures, the new Jabba the Hutt scene) but not those made for the DVDs.
There's also a sampler of the Xbox game Star Wars: Battlefront, which lets the player reenact classic film scenarios (blast Ewoks in the battle of Endor!); trailers and TV spots from the films' many releases; and a nine-minute preview of the last film in the series, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (here identified by an earlier working title, The Return of Darth Vader). Small extra touches include anamorphic widescreen motion menus with dialogue, original poster artwork on the discs, and a whopping 50 chapter stops for each film.
"The Force Is Strong with This One"
The Star Wars Trilogy is an outstanding DVD set that lives up to the anticipation. There will always be resentment that the original versions of the films are not available as well, but George Lucas maintains that these are the versions he always wanted to make. If fans are able to put this debate aside, they can enjoy the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han for years to come. --David Horiuchi
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The reviews for both sets are merged together... that is why you are seeing people claim that it has the original unaltered versions, and people complaining they do not. THIS set that I specifically clicked on to make this comment on is on the 2004 release which DOES NOT CONTAIN THE ORIGINAL UNALTERED VERSIONS. The box image is silver and has Darth Vader's mask on the box. This set ONLY contains the SE along with a 4th bonus disc of making of features and trailers and a sneak peak at episode III. If you want the trilogy set that contains both the SE and the unaltered versions but no bonus features, make sure when purchasing from Amazon, that the picture is a picture of Darth Vader and Luke clashing with light sabers and the box has a lot of blue coloring. It also says IV V VI along the bottom. Scroll down to DVD info and it should say release date: 2008. THAT is the version you are looking for.
If you place an order on the Trilogy with the Silver box with Darth Vaders mask on it, you are going to get the 2004 release of the trilogy and that's probably not the one you want... This review is going to appear on both sets though... So make sure before you buy, that you are on the correct trilogy page. Check the picture. Check the release date.
There are plenty of reviews of the actual product so I'm not going to go into that. Just wanted to clear up some confusion.
There are no longer copies available from retail that have the original cuts included anymore. They're out of print. There are no bluray editions and no current editions with the old cuts. You can still find the ones with the original cuts but be prepared to pay a hefty price.
Not how I didn't say "ruin." Some of these additions--particularly in the first film--do affect the pacing (I'm thinking of the Jabba scene in Episode IV), and can be jarring.
George: You caught lightning in a bottle not once, not twice, but THRICE. You should've left these alone, man!
But at the end of the day, you get DVD and BluRay versions of Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi. You can't go wrong.
Seriously, though. If you are going to watch this with a new Star Wars fan or a young kid, no harm, no foul. They won't even know the difference! If it's for a die-hard fan, well, that's a personal call because most of already have the "original" version in some form so this is a nice supplement and an additional Lucas release about the best movie ever.
I, personally, love hearing the backstories and knowing the inspiration behind a Director's decision to cut or change a scene. Trust me, this won't ruin your lives. It's a great collection and for the minimal things they changed, it's not worth getting upset over. The DVDs are in great condition, beautiful cover and sleeve artwork. DVDs in a nice secure flip-casing and the picture quality makes it worth getting this collection because many of the scenes are so well enhanced that despite the "controversy," the movies are visually awesome!
Top international reviews
The movies themselves are amazing fun to watch. Each movie follows on from the previous one and adds to the story immensly. I won't talk about the plot etc of them as you either probably already know it by now, and if not, the Amazon description explains what goes on.
If you love Sci-fi, adventure, shooting, romance, then go for it, you won't be disappointed. However if you are looking for the original unaltered versions (which are far more expensive now), or you are looking for extra special features on the disk (such as bloopers, mini documentaries, etc etc) then *waves hand in a jedi motion* "this isn't the set you are looking for..." :P
The first was a major leap forward for SciFi movies and their production, almost revolutionary compared to what had gone before. 2001: A Space Odyssey pointed the way, and the Star Wars franchise picked up the ball and ran with it. I don't think that later SciFi movies would have been possible without the pioneering techniques of this great classic.
A must have trilogy for all fans.
Now we are all familiar with the tinkering that George Lucas inflicted on said original films – with results ranging from fair to abominable – but I was in disbelief to read that the guy has apparently continued messing about with the originals (to legitimise endless cash-grab DVD releases, perhaps?). Having researched which DVD versions of the original trilogy contain the respective cinematic releases, I was happy as a Wampa in frost to see that the 2008 box set – containing both original versions and the “digitally mastered” versions of each film – was available from Amazon via a private seller. (For further reference: the box set with black-blue artwork.)
After deliberating for a bit given the princely £45 cost (excluding postage), I finally bit the bullet. No sooner had I opened the packaging however, and alarm bells started to ring in my mind. From the flimsy looking cardboard outer sleeve to the off-centre print on the spine; to the cheap individual DVD cases, in which the sleeves hadn't been inserted properly, to the occasionally 'off' looking artwork; to the quality of the films themselves. All of it suggested that what I'd bought was 99.9% certain to be a cynical bootleg copy. Now I'm sure that Lucas made no effort to remaster the image quality of the original films with the legitimate 2008 box set but watching the 'Bonus Discs' of the original cuts is truly more like watching an old VHS than a DVD (which admittedly is kind of cool but for the fact I paid an extortionate amount of money).
Ultimately I have mixed feelings about what I've received. In terms of positives, from a distance the whole thing looks okay, and the package does contain the film versions I remember so fondly from the 1980s. Most significant is 'Return of the Jedi', which I believe Lucas eventually butchered. Instead of a rubbish, tulip-like, continuity flawed Pit of Sarlacc worm, we get the authentic horned sphincter; instead of an ill-fitting soundtrack and horrendous CGI embellished characters for the Max Rebo Band, we get the real deal in terms of the band and the tunes they play. Most importantly, we also get the ending that the trilogy deserves: not the 'panpipe moods' inspired nonsense, depicting contextually meaningless locations that we got in later versions but the 'Yub Nub Song' Endor-style. And, even most importantly of all, Anakin Skywalker as he should be.
On the other hand, I, like I'm sure many before me have, feel ripped off big time in buying this 2008 box set from a seller (who knowingly or not) is peddling what definitively appears to be an unofficial product. This, sadly, is a reflection of the position that Lucas has put fans of the original films in. Either you're at the mercy of unscrupulous/naive sellers, as in this case, or you're at George Lucas', which will force you to buy into his increasingly skewed vision of what these films should apparently always have been. (Really, George??) Anyway, it's insane that it's so difficult to get your hands on a legitimate copy of the original trilogy in this day and age.
Finally, I wonder how Lucas would feel if you took three of his favourite films of all time and 'improved' them with shoddy, obtrusive CGI AND then spoiled the soundtracks AND then inflicted daylight robbery on him to watch the resultant “ultimate editions”? About as happy as a couple of generations of Star Wars fans, I'd wager...
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Now what is incredibly moving is that you really now in the 21st Century really appreciate watching this film in the widescreen ratio.
In 4.3 there were references that just past me by and did not take notice of.
You appreciate episodes 4-6 even more, if you have watched (and studied) episodes 1-3.
The Most Incredible thing about this whole saga, is that George Lucas has been able to connect the dots together in this space sage-from episode to episode in such a way that you don't even notice any loop wholes in the script storyline.
Now, not even another impressive screen Saga Lord of the Rings Trilogy has that.