Yikes... more OT STAR WARS DVD details have been released and Quint goes on a little rant...
Published at: May 17, 2006, 5:55 p.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. No one was more excited than I was to hear about Lucas finally relenting and releasing the original un-fucked with Trilogy on DVD. I bitch a lot about the Special Editions and am very critical of the prequels and as a result I could never bring myself to purchase the SE STAR WARS TRILOGY DVDs that finally hit a while back, despite the gorgeous transfer. I found myself watching the DVDs and getting into the movies, reverting back to my childhood self and then being pulled out of the experience every time some cartoon abortion popped up for no good reason.
I have my laserdisc copies of the original films, so I just held out hope that Lucas would realize how much more money he could make when he released the Original Theatrical versions on a better format.
Now he has and I am thankful, although the more and more I hear about the release the less enthusiastic I'm becoming. Let's start with the DVD covers... they're terrible. Check them out:
When you have someone like Drew Struzan at your disposal... someone who has done brilliant work on the most cheesy STAR WARS novel and did fantastic work on the '97 SE release posters, why go for that Photoshopped crap? Okay, you don't want to spend much money on this new release, don't want to pay for 3 more Struzan paintings... why not use original poster art? StarWars.com claims those above pieces are mimicking the original theatrical campaign, which is rubbish. If you don't want to use the obvious one-sheets, how about the lesser used poster styles for this Limited Edition release? Make it feel special for the fans, especially since this is all about the release of the original theatrical editions afterall? Here's what I'd pick:
But that's all surface stuff. The important stuff is the content. The releases are going to be the 1995 Laserdisc masters and The Digital Bits confirmed today that they won't even be anamorphic widescreen transfers, just the letterboxed transfers, which would mean we're not getting the full theatrical experience. For sound junkies there is no option to listen to a digitally remastered THX soundtrack. We'll get the two-channel stereo. I'm not a stickler on this one. I can't complain on this one. This is how it was originally released and on some films, like JAWS, I prefer the original soundtrack as the 5.1 sound on the first JAWS DVD sounded canned and just wrong.
UPDATE: I was alerted to the fact that all the original STAR WARS films were released as 70mm experiences during their releases, which would mean they did have a 6-channel audio mix originally, so the 2-channel stereo only option on the DVD just became officially ridiculous.
God, I really didn't want this to sound like fanboy whining, but I guess it is going that way, isn't it? I said that if Lucas released the original theatrical versions on DVD by themselves with no extra features whatsoever, I'd pay double to pick them up than I'd spend on a spiffy SE set. I just assumed he'd at least give us an anamorphic transfer for the DVD. As it stands now, the laserdiscs I have now are going to be equal to the quality of the DVDs they're releasing.
Puts me in a bit of a pickle. I'm convinced Lucas is just squeezing this release in while DVD is still going strong and will eventually release a digitally remastered version of the original cuts on whatever the next generation home video will be... blu-ray, HD, whatever. I'm positive of it. However, do I want to take the gamble that this will be the only way to own my favorite Trilogy on DVD (that's not a bootleg, of course)?
Oh, and before I start getting yelled at for wishing for a digitally remastered DVD because then I'd be wanting something more than the theatrical cuts... It's one thing to clean up the original film, it's another thing to have CGI creatures running around. Would you call that brilliant WIZARD OF OZ DVD transfer that came out last Christmas a Special Edition? No, it's just cleaned up and all the original elements were just presented as clear and beautiful as they were photographed to be.
So, this turned into a much longer rant than I intended it to be. What is it about STAR WARS that brings this out in geeks? Sorry about that. Believe it or not, I'm not complaining about the original theatrical editions finally coming to DVD. I'm very happy about that. I just have some problems with the release and felt the need to vent. I'm just getting tired of the way the fans always seem to be getting shafted on the original STAR WARS films. Lucas called the original theatrical versions "work prints" and it seems like he still feels that way. What do you folks think?