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Original Star Wars on DVD... Sorta 455

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-just-a-let-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Original Star Wars is available on DVD. Sure it's more moola in Lucas's pocketsess (Gollum accent). But he did finally release the original version for a limited time. But which Original Star Wars, I bet Episode IV is in the opening titles. " Also apparently the original versions are basically non-anamorphic transfers from the laser discs. So basically, they look terrible.
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Original Star Wars on DVD... Sorta

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  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:33AM (#16095333) Homepage Journal
    Han posted first!

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself :-)

  • darnit (Score:4, Funny)

    by yoduh (548937) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:34AM (#16095342)
    So its the same as the last DVD release but one of the bonus features is a crappy version of the very original?

    I have every VHS and DVD version of the movies and can usually point out most of the differences. But, I am getting better.... I no longer live in my parents basement :)

    ----------
    You know what else grinds my gears? When I can't find the droids that I am looking for.
  • by Cerberus7 (66071) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:36AM (#16095348)
    Honestly? Will the original Trilogy ever be released in a non-craptastic form? Perhaps we will have to wait for the Blue-Ray HD-DVD battle to be resolved. This particular release leaves me feeling underwhelmed, and my pocketbook will stay closed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by saxoholic (992773)
      I agree. This definitely isn't what the fans wanted. But it is a step in the right direction given lucas's stance in the past of never releasing the original version. I'm also very happy for there to be a dvd version of return of the jedi that doesn't have hayden christiansen. he just pisses me off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jmauro (32523)
      According to LucasFilm the original originals were destroyed in the making of the "Special Editions". The laserdisk master is all that is left, this may be as good as it gets since Lucas doesn't want to release the "incomplete" originals.
      • by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:57AM (#16095435) Homepage Journal
        You may be referring to the great print recall in the 1990s. According to this guy [thedigitalbits.com] high-quality prints still exist and so do the "original" interpositives. Granted the guy is speculating about the interpositives but he seems pretty sure about high-quality prints. If stored carefully these are probably better than the analog laserdisks.
        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I have seen, in a shop in the Universal theme park, framed frames(no pun intended) of what was claimed to be the original master of starwars. They were priced somewhere between 100$ and 200$ and don't remember. By the time I thought it was a smart move from Lucas to make a ton of bucks. So, maybe they really don't have it anymore
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by iluvcapra (782887)

            I have one of these, as a matter of fact, purchased from the BFI's Museum of the Moving Image [bfi.org.uk]. It is not a "master", as it is quite evidently a positive, and it's 70mm wide, and Star Wars IV was shot Panavision and VistaVision, which are 35mm formats. 70mm prints are blow-ups made for special venues, particularly because they had very good sound for the time.

            The claim that he destroyed the originals in the process of creating the Special Editions is highly suspect, even if it is him saying it. The moder

        • by salzbrot (314893) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:54AM (#16095790)
          No, the originals were definitely destroyed! [penny-arcade.com]
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by imahawki (984044)
          I believe the guy that originally called BS on the lack of original prints and interpositives was Robert Harris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Harris [wikipedia.org] When he made his statement originally it was pretty big news on home theater forums/movie forums because he basically called GL to the carpet. He stated something to the effect that if GL would give him permission and someone would pay for it, he had enough PERSONALLY known sources to do the restoration.
      • In making the special editions any idiot would have digitized and archived all the film even if it wasn't eventually used. If some guys on the internet can string together a version based on the DVD with only select shots from LD then Lucas will have NO problem. Just a lame excuse.
      • by Sancho (17056) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:38AM (#16095686) Homepage
        I gotta call bullshit.

        This is freaking ILM we're talking about. If they can't undo the changes they made from the Special Edition 'masters' (whether they're in digital form or actually some type of celluloid, I don't know) then I'll eat my non-SE VHS tapes. These people are masters at digital manipulation and restoration. There is simply no way that they are incapable of recreating the originals using the SE versions as a base + laserdisc (for reference).
      • Then go ahead and rework those Special Editions back into what they used to be. When you can cut in a Yabba from scratch, it should be very possible to recreate what was actually shot.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        No responsible studio or FX house would EVER destroy the material they began with. You ALWAYS keep a backup of your original materials. Even this tiny video editor knows that.

        Lucas is, as always, full of shit. He's just a spoiled child, forced to share food with his sister, who spits on it first.

        -Eric

      • by Rico_Suave (147634) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:54AM (#16095791)
        From The Digital Bits: ( http://www.thedigitalbits.com/mytwocentsa121.html [thedigitalbits.com] )

        1) The original negatives are gone, destroyed as part of the process of creating the 1997 special edition versions.

        We're inclined to believe this is true. Still, the original negatives are not the only viable elements that can be used to transfer the films for home video release. There are numerous interpositive prints. There are the separation masters. Worst case, there are a number of high quality release prints available. In short, other elements exist that can be used for this purpose.

        2) The other existing original elements have deteriorated too badly to be used.

        We'll come back to this one in a minute.

        3) There are just no quality film elements remaining anywhere that could be used.

        See our answer to #1. Even if it's true that Lucas and his staff destroyed all of the original negatives, it's unlikely in the extreme that they also destroyed all of the interpositives, all of the separation masters, and all of the release prints. In fact, we know that they didn't. Where, for example, would the anamorphic footage of the original 1977 opening text crawl from A New Hope - the footage that appeared in the Empire of Dreams DVD documentary - have come from if not from quality surviving film elements? Still, even if Lucas did destroy every single scrap of original film available in the Lucasfilm Archives... we know for a fact that high quality die transfer release prints exist in the hands of a number of archives and private collectors. While not ideal, any of these could be given a high-definition transfer, a bit of digital clean-up and color-timing, and could be presented on DVD in anamorphic widescreen in quality that would be superior to a 1993 non-anamorphic laserdisc transfer.

        4) The 1993 laserdisc masters are the best source material that can be found for use on DVD after exhaustive searches of the Lucasfilm Archives.

        See our answer to #3. This is flatly absurd. If this were true, Lucasfilm's archivists should be ashamed of themselves. We know of few professionals tasked with the preservation of film materials that would allow such critically important film elements as the original Star Wars films to be lost, to deteriorate or be wholesale destroyed. And again, even if Lucasfilm's vaults were so woefully incomplete, we know for a fact that quality elements exist elsewhere. Given 48 hours notice, we could track them down ourselves. Surely, with its significant resources and influence, Lucasfilm could do the same. If the 1993 laserdisc masters are really the best that Lucasfilm can do, it's disturbing. If not, a statement like "We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD..." seems terribly disingenuous - the corporate PR equivalent of "I'm so sorry, but the dog ate my homework."

        But let's get back to #2...

        2) The other existing original elements have deteriorated too badly to be used.

        It just so happens that one of our regular contributors here at The Bits, the author of our ever illuminating Yellow Layer Failure, Vinegar Syndrome and Miscellaneous Musings column, is something of an expert on the subject of film preservation and restoration. Robert A. Harris, in point of fact, is one of the world's best known motion picture archivists, and has does significant work in this field through his company, Film Preserve. Robert's experiments in color technology and more recent advances in the digital domain have set standards in the industry. His reconstruction and restoration efforts, primarily in the large format field, have brought back to the screen some of the most important films ever produced, including Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, My Fair Lady, Vertigo and Rear Window.

        We asked Robert what might be done with the original surviving elements of the Star Wars films in order to rejuvenate them and present them in high quality on DVD
      • by dosius (230542)
        Then where did the remastered original edition clips in Empire of Dreams come from?

        -uso.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SyncNine (532248)
        I've got 3 DivX .AVI files that beg to differ.

        I, being one of the three people on the face of the planet to actually own a LaserDisc player, OWN the THX-Mastered LaserDisc release of the original trilogy. I have watched it many times and am fairly comfortable with its level of clarity and detail -- FOR A LASERDISC.

        To see Lucas claim that all of the originals are gone and all of the high-quality rips don't exist is bogus. A quick check on any torrent site or any movie release site shows that there ha
    • No (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Honestly? Will the original Trilogy ever be released in a non-craptastic form? Perhaps we will have to wait for the Blue-Ray HD-DVD battle to be resolved.

      You know, I saw a recent 're-release' of Star Wars' Original Trilogy [lucasarts.com] that was in pretty high quality. But there was something strange about it that didn't feel right. I mean, sure the picture and quality was excellent but there was something different about it that I just couldn't quite put my finger on.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:36AM (#16095353) Journal
    Well, there wasn't much to the 'article' in this one except a bunch of odd links on www.starwars.com. But I noticed that CBS's Early Show was covering this [cbsnews.com] and states:
    Like it or not, this is probably all you can expect if you're clamoring for new "Star Wars" material. Lucas has vowed not to make any new movies for the series.

    "I said it might be amusing to come back with Harrison and Carrie when they're 70-years old and make a movie, but I forgot that I'd be 70-years-old, too," Lucas said, referring to people who ask him about more sequels.

    Lucas has talked about doing 3D version of all these films, for theaters. They would be released one-a-year. There is also talk of a 2007 "ultimate set" with all six films and new bonus material. There have also been rumors of a TV series, books, cartoons, and video games.
    What, will the 3D releases offer you another chance to alter them? Was your 'original vision' to have Jabba the Hutt slither out on people's laps?

    Oh, an ultimate set? You don't have enough of my money?

    Seriously, I wish Lucas would understand that we would rather see completely new material from him than to see him repackage and alter what we have and do love from him. I would rather see him release 9 mediocre or bad movies than to have him edit, 3D-ify and edit again episodes IV, V & VI.

    Damnit Lucas, let the studio technicians re-master the movie (they went to school for it, they know what they're doing) and give us more original content! Look at all the famous directors you've studied. Did Akira Kirosawa edit and re-release Shichinin No Samurai or Rashômon over and over and over again? No, he continued to make more movies, some very very good and some mediocre.
    • by nucal (561664) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:55AM (#16095429)
      Seriously, I wish Lucas would understand that we would rather see completely new material from him than to see him repackage and alter what we have and do love from him.

      George Lucas had a few good movies in him, but in reality he had one great thing and that was to revolutionize the use of special effects. He is more of a technical specialist rather than a story teller - why else would he continue to re-work the same material over and over again by enhancing the effects?

      But to expect any great new material in the form of new stories and plots from him is unrealistic. I think that Star Wars volumes I-III proved that.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:12AM (#16095525)
        why else would he continue to re-work the same material over and over again by enhancing the effects?

        Piles and piles of money?

        -Eric

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SpikeSpiff (598510)
        There is a strong parallel between DOOM 1 and Star Wars: technical innovation combined with pretty good storyline/gameplay = classic. And I think there is another parallel between DOOM III and Episode I. Impressive technology, but not revolutionary. And both are nearly pure technology demonstrations. That makes them not nearly good enough to be compared to the originals.
    • by Moby Cock (771358)
      Agreed. Enough is enough.

      I find it interesting that Lucas, when he made Star Wars, was fearful of falling into the influence or patterns of the big studios. The success of the movie(s) allowed him to become the very thing he fought against. It is not unlike the story of Anakin/Vader. In the end the character is redeemed when he remembers his roots and sees what his son represents. Lucas does not seem to have the same 'good in him'.

      Enough already George. Stop re-editting the damn movies. Stop re
    • by slapout (93640) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:09AM (#16095504)
      "I would rather see him release 9 mediocre or bad movies..."

      3 down, 6 to go.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      Damnit Lucas, let the studio technicians re-master the movie and give us more original content!

      It seems obvious he doesn't have any left. And he had some good writers on the original Star Wars, we see what crud he writes now when given his head and no one is up to tell him how bad it is.

    • Seriously, I wish Lucas would understand that we would rather see completely new material from him than to see him repackage and alter what we have and do love from him.

      I wish Lucas would put the camera in a box, and bury the box.

      Let someone who knows how to write dialogue and get actors that aren't witches (you know, made out of wood) continue the Universe. Maybe hire those smart folks who wrote and directed Knights of the Old Republic [wikipedia.org]?
    • My guess is that if Lucas squeezes out another mediocre trilogy, the little sparkles left from the "original" trilogy will be gone completely, together with the "magic" of Star Wars and the brand name torn and faded.

      By re-releasing what already exists, he keeps the money flowing with minimal effort and we marvel at how much brighter the colors are in a movie we could recite verbatim. No kidding, I was in a screening where the guy behind me spoke the part of Luke, with his buddy doing the part of Han. It wou
  • Horrible Transfer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:37AM (#16095354) Homepage
    I was looking at the comments section at Amazon, and that is the biggest grip, Im going to hold onto my 60.00 and wait for them to show up at the pawn shop if this is the case.

    Is Lucas trying to make a point?
  • by Ka D'Argo (857749) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:39AM (#16095365) Homepage
    a line from the Comedians of Comedy documentary


    "Yea I saw Phantom Menance and Attack of the Shit. It was like your uncle sticking his weiner in your mouth. Not like when you were a kid but grown up. You don't expect it either, your uncle's your favorite person, got you high, bought you your first beer, hate your mom hate your dad but your uncle is cool.

    You're at your parents for christmas, everyone's in bed, you're watching Letterman and you look over and see your uncle trying to put his weiner in your mouth. That's what Phantom Menace was like.

    I'm not even gonna see the third one (ROTS). It'll just be me walking into an empty theater and there will be Lucas ready to rape me some more. And I'll just do it to get it over with.

    Then he'll put on a Greedo mask and call it the Special Edition."

    • You know what I feel the same way. I own the first two "new" movies. I still havn't even seen the third.
    • > I'm not even gonna see the third one (ROTS). It'll just be me walking into an empty theater and there will be Lucas ready to rape me some more.

      So now it's "* me twice, shame on you; * me three times, shame on me"?
  • He finally releases the originals after he said he never would, and /. still complains bitterly ... If it's all original but fixed a couple typos (such as the opening credits), is that such a horrible thing?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Deluxe_247 (743837)
      You are right, we have nothing to complain about. And the next (first for most of /.ers) time you get a kiss, your lips meet, and he/she pukes down your throat, Im sure you'll have nothing to complain about.. After all, you DID get the kiss.
    • by Cerberus7 (66071)
      Well, kinda, yeah. I already have the original trilogy laserdisks, and have them converted to DVD. Why should I pay $xx.xx to have it again with a nice pretty package? I'm looking for the original trilogy transferred to DVD cleaned up and pretty, not laserdisk or VHS quality on DVD media. Until that happens, it's unlikely that I'll purchase another copy of Star Wars.
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:45AM (#16095388) Homepage
    They'll try again in a year.

    And again a year after that.

    And again a year after that.
  • Bugger. (Score:5, Funny)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:48AM (#16095404)
    These are not the DVDs I'm looking for...
  • quality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mzs (595629) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:52AM (#16095416)
    My wife just bought these yesterday. She put in the original version of Jedi for my daughter. A bit later my daughter came to my wife saying that something did not look right. Then my wife put in the new version, no complaints. I am hoping that it was something simple like the aspect ratio was not right on the TV, but if not it does not bode well if a 4 year old complains about the picture.

    When I came home from work, I noticed that the new version was very dark. I turned-up the brightness for the kids. I wish I knew why that was.

    How is the quality of the bootleg DVD rips of the original trilogy from LD? How does it compare to these? Wouldn't it be a shame if the bootlegs looked better. Anyway for me quality better than my old VHS versions will be acceptable, but why could it not have been at least an anamorphic rip of the original trilogy on these new discs?
    • ...but why could it not have been at least an anamorphic rip of the original trilogy on these new discs?

      Because that would have taken a bit of effort, some time, and some money. Three things that apparently Lucas feels he's in very short supply of...
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      How is the quality of the bootleg DVD rips of the original trilogy from LD?

      There was a bootleg set from this one guy (he went by the handle "TR47") that were absolutely superb. They looked much better than my LD set (looks like he used a top-of-the-line player, some video processing, and good encoding). He even offered bonus material never released on any of the half-ass Lucas editions. You can bet his versions are much better than anything Lucas is ever going to release.

      Lucas is like a spoiled child.

      • by aonaran (15651)
        I was very diappointed when I saw the back of the box actually referred to the original material as non-digitally remastered 4:3 letterbox. (C-mon people just want to go back to the original version, not the old 80's tape master... couldn't we get the THX digital remaster that we have on tape on DVD? is that too much to ask?
        Animorphic would be nice too. I was all set to buy them (yet again) till I saw that. I want to re-create the original theater experience, not the original rental experience.
  • I'll Bite (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:57AM (#16095438) Homepage Journal
    Meh. I've read the complaints, but I'm tired of waiting. Getting 2-DVD sets for $20USD a pop is a good deal, and I put my VCR (original trilogy on VHS) away a long time ago. So I'm going to go ahead and pick them up. If a remastered version of the original ever comes out, I'll probably pick it up. But life is too short to wait around for perfection.
  • I still have my original VHS tapes which were recorded off of regular TV way back when. I remember using our VCR that had a wired remote control! lol At this point they've been viewed so many times you can barely see ANYTHING in ESB because everything is so dark. I was extremely pumped that they were releasing the "originals" on DVD, only to be crushed by this mess with a bad transfer. Didn't they digitally remaster the originals before making all of those changes?! Can't they use that to make these n
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:02AM (#16095464)
    They're not really the originals and they look terrible, but otherwise they're fine?
  • by arcticstoat (993717) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:03AM (#16095467) Homepage
    I bit the bullet and bought the DVDs. Much as I'm loathe to give bullfrog-face Lucas any more of my money (having seen that he spends it on making rubbish like Jar Jar Binks), I decided that the Special Editions just irritated me too much, and I wanted to watch Star Wars without shouting at the TV. Quality-wise, I think they're actually pretty good. They're not the digitally remastered versions, but they still look very clean, and they're also in widescreen. These DVDs offer a much clearer picture than any old VHS tape will, although the compression is a little more obvious than on the Special Editions. The quality isn't anywhere near as bad as some whingers would have you believe anyway. At the end of the day, I'm glad I bought them. They might not be cleaned up, but if they'd never been digitally remastered before then you wouldn't be complaining about that anyway. I think of them as a piece of history i.e. the way the films looked originally, and should really look now. Now that I have the originals, I'm going to blissfully pretend that George Lucas died in 1984, and that the Special Editions and Episodes I, II and III never happened. This makes me happy.
  • I bet Episode IV is in the opening titles.

    No, it's not.

    There's a picture comparison of the two editions which can easily be found from the article that's been linked to. The third picture clearly shows that "Episode IV" isn't in the "original".
  • by Helmholtz Coil (581131) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:07AM (#16095489) Journal

    A friend of mine that's a rabid Star Wars fan was grousing about this yesterday, even as he talked about when he'd pick them up.

    I told him the SW fans' motto should be "I may have to buy it, but I don't have to like it." :)
  • Not THAT bad (Score:5, Informative)

    by iamjoltman (883526) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:07AM (#16095492)
    I just wanted to clarify something. They aren't transfers from LaserDisc, they are transfers from a 1993 LaserDisc master. Big difference there. And I think crappy is a bit harsh. Do they look as good as they could? No. Are they anamorphic? No. But are they better than the LaserDisc-ripped bootlegs? At the time, I think the answer is yes. Granted, once the X0 Project [x0project.com] gets completed, there might be some competition there. But for now, I think this is the best you're gonna see the legitimate non-SE original trilogy. (In other words, that doesn't include some where people integrated the 2004 DVDs with LaserDisc rips, while that's better quality, it's still not the same as a legitimate release)
  • I want to celebrate galactic "Life Day" on HD or Blu-ray.

    Why does George Lucas discriminate against certain holidays?

    • never. it will never happen.
      there are numerous copies available on ebay however.
      I rented it from a local rental store a couple christmases ago and it was just as horrible as i remembered. The Boba Fett cartoon is the only reason to watch it. -- well that and seeing grandpa moan and grown while watching some scantilly-dressed disco singer.
  • Terrible? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Schnapple (262314) <tomkidd&viatexas,com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:09AM (#16095503) Homepage
    Also apparently the original versions are basically non-anamorphic transfers from the laser discs. So basically, they look terrible.
    It's true they're non-anamporphic transfers from the Laserdiscs, but over at the forums on OriginalTrilogy.com [originaltrilogy.com] a number of people have bought them and say that actually, they're pretty good. These are people who have more or less every bootleg transfer on the Internet and still have their original laserdiscs, high-end setups, etc. And many are reporting that while yes, their video quality can't really hold a candle to the quality of the 2004 versions of the movies, they do blow away every previous LD bootleg transfer, look better than the Laserdiscs (not too surprising) and actually hold up well when zoomed in (as you would need to do on a widescreen set). I don't own the discs nor do I have a high-end setup so I can't really vouch for any of this.
  • Enough already (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mayhem178 (920970) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:20AM (#16095569)
    You people will always find something to complain about when it comes to George Lucas, won't you? If he discovered perfectly preserved original prints of the first trilogy, decided to release them in theatres again, got John Williams to play the Star Wars soundtrack live at each theatre with the London Symphony Orchestra, AND paid for everyone's first ticket to see them, you'd blame him for your popcorn being stale.

    I applaud Lucas in his devotion to his creation that millions love. It's an icon of our time.

    If you don't like the movies or the editing that has been done to them, that's fine. Don't buy them. It's that simple.
  • I'd like to see some screenshots. I mean, my original copies on VHS which were recorded from a TV transmission over 15 years ago look awful, and they're pan and scan. Then I've got stuff from paid satellite TV on VHS, widescreen but on analog TV => still look awful. These are from an analog format, but transferred to DVD and must be way better than what I have. It's still an upgrade in quality (especially the sound) compared to my two VHS copies. So, they could look better, but how terrible is terribl

  • So I have the THX widescreen release of the original trilogy without the new scenes. What's the best way to transfer these to DVD?
  • My last memory of the originals was a worn out VHS copy, so this collection seemed pretty good to me. I was too young to see the first two films at the cinema, so I've never seen them as good as this.
  • So, what is everyone's vision of the definitive version?

    Mine would simply be the original* cinema version with cleaned up picture and sound. Lucas should have stuck that on the two disk set along with the special re-re-release.

    Anyone else?

    *Personally though I do like the Death Star explosions in the Special Edition, they look more impressive.
  • by isecore (132059) <isecore@is[ ]re.net ['eco' in gap]> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:29AM (#16095639) Homepage
    So basically, they look terrible.

    Now, I'm no expert but wasn't that the whole point with releasing the originals on DVD?

    *ducks and waits for a +flamebait to hit him*
  • by blacknblu (988181) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:30AM (#16095643) Homepage
    So, is this the equivalent to Star Wars Service Pack III? Even Microsoft stops updating it's OS after a certain number of years.
  • by JakiChan (141719) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:42AM (#16095717)
    They make it sound like it was unavoidable to destroy the original footage. Somehow I doubt that.

    Wouldn't the first step in making the "special editions" be to digitize and clean up the original film? And who in their right mind would destroy that data? It can't take up too many drives.

    So to me it means one of two things:

    1. In his hatred of his original work, Lucas ordered the data deleted, which is pretty stupid (since keeping it around would be cheap).

    2. He *has* a very nice cleaned up original version sitting on the Lucas SAN somewhere but refused to allow that to be released.

    Either way it blows....
  • For $68 i got all 3 and it came with the graphic novel version of each movie.. which i wont read because comics give me headaches.

    DAMN YOU GEORGE LUCAS!

    WHY MUST I KEEP BUYING YOUR CRAP? oh well now that i have the originals i think im done, no more star wars dvds for me!
  • by Beebos (564067) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:10AM (#16095890)
    As I had not bought any previous DVD version, I bought the Widesreen Limited Edition of Episode IV yesterday. Upon seeing this discussion, I popped in the original version so that you could have the opinion of someone who had actually seen it. I am not a video buff, so I don't know all the jargon, but I am a photographer and have spent a lot of time looking at images. I'm using a 27" Trinitron CRT, so those of you with fancy, schmancy plasma screen may may have a different experience.

    Overall, I would NOT say that it looks terrible, though if you want to find things to complain about you can. A couple scenes look somewhat muddy. Some scenes have some dust specks here and there, a few scenes have quite a bit of dust, others have none. But all in all the contrast, brightness and color are pretty good. If you sit up close you can see a fair amount of film grain, but sitting 10 feet back you cannot. What does seem to be missing is what I'll call the "ghost boxes" around the ships in the space scenes.

    It does appear to be the original version. The title screen only says, "Star Wars", no "Episode IV: A New Hope" Han shoots first. There are no really bad CG characters added. The Death Star explosion is not enhanced. I'm not enough of a Star Wars nerd to know what else to look for.

    I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to be a video geek and complain how its not that great, you can do that. If you want to have fun and remember how you felt as a 12 year old boy in 1977 seeing something that was completely unlike anything you had ever seen before, this is the way to do it. It still brought a tear to my eye when Han zooms in at the last minute and saves Luke.

    Do I think Lucas is a prick for not at least cleaning up the dust specks and giving us the option of 5.1 sound? Yes, yes I do.

    So there you are Slashdoters. I hope you are all happy that I ruined my first screening of Star Wars in 10 years looking for things not to like and jumping around looking for "enhancements".
  • by Petersko (564140) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:53AM (#16096177)
    These days computer users take a few things for granted. For instance, if a mistake is made, there should be ways to correct it.

    Before the days of the iconic trash can and/or recycle bin, we lived in fear of accidentally deleting an important file. But now, first you are asked, "Are you sure you would like to delete this file?" And if you lose your brain momentarily and say "yes" when you should have said "no", you can pull it right back out of the trash.

    Basic user interface design.

    Now lets pretend we're designing the control centre for an industrial facility that has to sit in the middle of a lava flow for some reason.

    Where exactly would you put the "destroy this facility" button? I mean, if you had the audacity to create one in the first place. Most people would avoid designing a control so sensitive as to turn "stable" into "complete structural failure".

    If you're Lucas, apparently you put it right smack in the middle of the console, so that when two people are fighting, they can bump into it and send the structure to a fiery death.

    No, "Are you sure you would like to destroy this facility?" At the very least if they really wanted to complete the destruction they should have had to empty their trash icon.

    I can accept a lot of things, but seriously... for a guy who embraces technology at the expense of storytelling and style, Lucas makes some surprisingly poor choices for script devices.
  • by dswensen (252552) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:08PM (#16096578) Homepage
    The release of these DVDs firmly establishes that you cannot please Star Wars fanboys.

    Demand for the release of the original, unaltered trilogy on DVD has come up in the form of a great and plaintive whine in every single Star Wars-related story on Slashdot since probably around 1999. Now, here they are, and what are the "fans" doing? Complaining.

    Sure, Lucas could have remastered the OT's picture and sound, made it anamorphic, and left out all the Special Edition changes. But then you would just have fanboys complaining that that constitutes an alteration. I know, you think that sounds outlandish, but I guarantee you it's not. Star Wars has become less about enjoying the films than complaining about the films, at least around here.

    I think the only way the whiny fans will ever be pleased is when the technology finally emerges to Choose Your Own Star Wars Edition, where you pick from a digital menu which alterations you want. "OK, I want the non-Special Edition, with remastered picture and sound, Han shoots first, lightsabers are colored, old sandcrawler but new dewbacks, I want the new space battles... hmm, the Death Star explosion: ring or no ring?"

    I'm kidding, of course. That won't actually solve anything, the whiners will just complain that they're once again being "forced" to buy another edition. George Lucas wants me to pay for entertainment. I have no free will and have to pay for every edition whether I like it or not. Boo hoo. :(

    The unaltered OT is out on DVD. You got your wish. Now, for Christ's sake, quit your bitching. Instead of continuing to moan about what you didn't get, count your lucky stars that we live in an economy that can support your having so many choices in your entertainment. And recognize that it is a choice. You great big giant babies.

    Ahh, okay, I feel better. Have a great day.
  • by vga_init (589198) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:29PM (#16096786) Journal

    Penny Arcade tells it like it is. [penny-arcade.com].

  • by Darth Liberus (874275) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:01PM (#16097129)
    Those flat colors.... that film grain... the cheesy special effects... Lucas really should've cleaned it up with a computer or something.
  • I wish... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:05PM (#16100445) Homepage
    I bought the OT DVD set when it came out in 2004, and would have considered buying these ones too if:

    1) They fixed the plethora of problems introduced by doing a rushed DVD transfer by Lowry Digital. Examples that stand out include forgetting to take lightsabre colours into account when colour-correcting scenes and flipping music channels. From what I gather Lowry had 30 days per movie.

    2) They included the classic trilogy, obtained from film material from the 1997 film restoration of the OT for the DVD transfer. It seems they underwent a major film restoration process to get the best possible source material for the Special Edition. Surely they preserved that before Lucas started scribbling on it with new effects.

    So as it stands I won't be buying these. They've done nothing to fix the Special Edition, and the Classic Edition looks no better than on Laserdisc.

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