on 21 September 2011
First and foremost, this is the best I've seen the original trilogy at home in terms of picture quality, which should be a given really with blu-ray. In Star Wars and Empire particularly there's a superb level of depth and detail which injects even more life into Lucas's idea of a 'used' universe. Jedi wavers a bit, but I've always found that it suffers in comparison, on whatever format - and it definitely picks up in the second half once all the smokey, dark interiors disappear. With the prequels, TPM perhaps isn't as good and appears a bit flat but, by the time you get to Sith, the image is fairly jaw-dropping.
The sound's the thing, though. If you've got the set up for it, they sound absolutely stunning. John Williams' marvellous scores sound better than ever (the chase through the asteroid field is demo material for the sound, I think). The dialogue is clear, the sound effects placed just about right in the mix. When the special editions were released I went to see them in a THX certified cinema, and I think these sound even better than that. During the attack on the Falcon the TIE fighters sound like they're flying around the room
As for the changes, well I understand anyone who's chosen not to buy the set and, in some ways, I wish I'd done so myself. In fact, I lost count of the number of times I ordered and cancelled it before finally caving in and going ahead. I first saw Star Wars in early '78 when my folks took me to Leicester Square to see it on my birthday, and that's the version I want to remember and own. I agree with much of the criticism of Lucas for his constant revisionism. He's messing with my fond childhood memories of these wonderful films, as he is doing so for many, many others, and we all have a right to say so. Having said all of that, the latest revisions (other than the colour timing and such) last barely a minute over the course of the six or so hours of the original films. For me, the more heinous changes had already happened in the special editions, so if you could handle them then you can probably handle this. Ben's new Krayt call didn't bother me in the slightest. Artoo hiding behind rocks - stupid, because the rocks are there in one shot then not in the next (and I suspect this was just added for the upcoming 3-D versions anyway). Vader's "Nooooo" I absolutely hate but, again, it lasts barely a second. Oh, and Han and Greedo now shoot simultaneously, and it still looks stupid.
I reckon most fans probably already know whether they want the blu-rays or not. I'm glad I've seen them and made up my own mind, and I'll definitely get some mileage out of them before returning to my old, unaltered VHS tapes and dvds. And it seems almost inevitable that Lucas will discover seamless branching one day and release the original versions. I hope so, anyway.
For me, this set is visually superb and aurally stunning, but it loses a point for not including the original versions, and another for not including all the previously available extras. It is what it is, and I think there is a lot of entertainment still to be found within. In my opinion, Lucas can tinker as much as he wants, but he should at least give the fans who've made him so rich the choice as to which version of the movies they want to watch. It is this lack of choice that grates with me more than anything else.
Wonderful box-set, full of some great features and the Blu-ray/5.1 DTS HD quality is just amazing, there is not much more I can say about the films that's already been said, but for me this is the best saga to ever grace the big screen,(and my tv) and hopefully the new star wars will just be as good.
BONUS DISC ONE AND TWO
45 Deleted/Extended scenes
Cast and crew interviews
Props Maquette and costume Turnarounds
Matte paintings and concept art
BONUS DISC THREE
In Depth Documentaries and Featurettes:
> The making of Star Wars,1977
> The Empire Strikes Back SPFX,1980
> Classic creatures: Return of the Jedi,1983
> Anatomy of a Dewback, 1997
> Star Warriors, 2007
> Star Wars Tech, 2007
> A conversation with the master:
The Empire Strikes Back 30 years later 2010
> PLUS over 90 minutes of star wars spoofs
The box-set all so contains a nice Booklet.
"GUIDE TO THE GALAXY"
After salvaging all nine discs in a product that seems to have an ever-expanding waistline (requiring me to hibernate from 'real life' for the past two days!), I may find it particularly difficult to make valued judgements without the fear of "true fans" protesting bias through pure anarchy. And thats all the fuss has ever been. Anarchy against the principle of making changes to successful films.
None the less, this review is concerned with the product in question and to help potential customers make a choice; I'm not overly concerned with the validity of George Lucas' decision making. I also aim to compare these Blu-rays with the 1997 and 2004 'Special Edition' releases of Star Wars.
Presented in an beautiful thick card box, we have a product that immediately feels special. The cover is matte, with a simple painting of Anakin and Luke choosing their fates in a vast open land. Some have criticised this imagery since it doesn't reflect the original promotions of each film, but I actually believe it to be a bold and sincere move that accurately reflects one of the primary themes of the film; realising ones destiny. It almost demonstrates maturity in comparison to the previous efforts.
The films are housed on separate Blu-ray discs in a chunky 'amaray' case that slides out. Inside, you'll find a 'Guide To The Galaxy' booklet (paintings and a map of the extras), and if you pre-ordered, a special Senitype 35mm cel from Revenge of The Sith. All cels have the same image, and they are limited to a specific amount.
Loading the Blu-rays is quick and, thankfully, there are NO adverts before you reach the menus. Terrific! Loading times vary between different players, although I've noted that as has been the case with many Blu-rays, a Playstation 3 almost by-passes any 'loading' screen.
The Big Picture:
Whilst I still prefer the Original Trilogy as individual films, their is no denying that Episodes 2 and 3 stand out the most on Blu-ray. They are for the most part 'immensely' beautiful, making it quite obvious how digital filmmaking offers so much more freedom to explore emotional response, and this is exemplified by the colours of the environments that appear to have endured so much control, precision. So far I haven't been convinced of Digital presentation in theatres, but at home, presentations like this are jaw-dropping. Even Episode 1, which was shot on traditional film, has been enhanced to look akin to Episodes 2 and 3 and thus provide better continuity. The only downside to this continuity however is that, in order to preserve a 'digital' look, it has suffered from digital noise reduction which has removed almost all of the natural film grain and given the movie a smoother, slightly waxier look. On a larger-than-average TV this will stand out more, but I can't say it ruined my enjoyment of the film - its just a pity that Lucasfilm chose not to preserve the films natural state.
Its also good to see that the problems with the original Episode 1 DVD have been completely ironed out, and as such the presentation exceeds how I remember it even theatrically (although sometimes prone to 'Edge Enhancement'). Episodes 1 to 3 won't look any better than this. At least until a new format comes out...
For the Original Trilogy however, things are quite different. Focusing on improvements, these Blu-rays are a 'major' step-up from the 2004 DVD's, with crushed blacks no longer present (and no lost detail in dark scenes or areas of the frame), no irregular enhancements, and of course, re-worked lightsaber effects. Although the work that ILM did is only for select shots, the important thing is that consistency is now present.
Studio shots and outdoor shots work together with more consistency in lighting. The fact that they are so much brighter reveals details i've never seen before and breathed new life into darker scenes such as 'The Battle of Yavin', in which the cockpit control panels pop with primary colours, and the star fields in space are more detailed. Vader's costumes also springs amazing detail, from hurried workmanship on his helmet in Episode 4, to immaculate reflections in Episode 6. Primary colours are sometimes over-saturated in the reds (particularly with any 'fire'/explosions), so I'm guessing this is one of Lucas's current "creative decisions".
And sure, because of digital editing these films are now lesser products of the era to which they were made, but this should be seen from a positive point of view and not lethargically wagged away. The studio shots are the most impressive improvement since they appear so atmospheric, leaving the original lighting effects looking somewhat poor and dated in comparison. The films could never have looked this good originally, so credit to Lucasfilm for embracing this technology in a descent manner. It should be taken as a compliment that the films gain so much attention and that enhancements have been worthy enough in the first place.
'But' downfalls do exist, although I am referring mainly to those who care deeply about picture quality here. Since the original films have not had a fresh scan since the work done for the 2004 DVDs, the restoration work looks positively dated at times, and this is certainly not nit-picking. The only way to analyse such is to view the Blu-ray's on two different sized TV's - an average living room one at 32", and a more up market model at 50" or over. Having had the opportunity to compare both, it becomes blatantly obvious that the restoration was done at a low resolution, since digital artefacts are constantly present on a larger TV. Detail becomes smudged and 'swirly'. Grain levels are inconsistent. Those over-saturated colours become blocky and flat. Conversely, these flaws aren't as obvious on a smaller TV, so the question is just how will you be watching these films? My guess is that most families won't take notice of the topic, but for others who are more aware of the Blu-ray world, the quality of these Star Wars transfers do not justify value for money in my honest opinion. The upgrade to 1080p however does, as do the products other features...
... such as this. To call John Williams a genius is somewhat an understatement; the man is a legend. Part of the success of Star Wars stylistically is the classic marriage between sight and sound (Leitmotif in particular), and these Blu-rays offer a massive jump in definition over the DVD's and VHS. It was said before the release that the original individual soundtrack tapes were used to remaster the entirety of the Original Trilogies, and if thats the case then it clearly shows. Cues that were lost in the 2004 DVD are restored, the final mix is absolutely spot on (listen out for the 'fanfare' as the X-Wings Fighters swoop down during The Battle for Yavin) and the clarity is stunning - even better than my re-re-re-remastered 'Soundtracks' on CD.
I'm simply overwhelmed by the definition. The Prequels obviously benefit from digital recordings, and the final output is expectedly a leap over the DVDs, but its the Original Trilogy that benefits from this release. This is a topic that I fear will be, and already has been, gravely overlooked. Just outstanding.
The Final Edit:
These films are neither the '1997' versions, nor are they the '2004'. Instead, the product combines edits that were made from both, as well as new edits for 2011. Interestingly, the Original Trilogy have two 20th Century Fox fanfares before each film; one from 2011, and then one restored from 1997. A bit daft, as if they were going to include a 'modern' version anyway, why not just use the films original titles?
I managed to spot little under a dozen small alterations (both in editing and 'additions'), though I shall refrain from getting bogged down with these and encouraging new arguments. In short however, the edits this year are very basic in nature and certainly don't detract from the final enjoyment of the film. Vader now shouting "Noooo" in Return of The Jedi? Blinking Ewoks? R2-D2 hiding behind new rocks? These are about as big as they get this time round, and I honestly can't understand the fuss. I have no problem with fans enjoying any particular version of Star Wars, but the behaviour that some demonstrate to make their 'arguments' apparent can be downright childish. The only change between 1997 and 2011 that the family and myself have cringed at is the replacement of Sebastian Shaw's head (when he's ghost at the end of Episode 6) with that of 'Young Anakin' actor Hayden Christensen. If Luke is able to see these ghosts based on his own memories, then how would he have known what Anakin looked like as a teenager? Yeesh.
The Special Features:
In a word, 'Wow'. Discs 7 and 8 - the interactive bonus content - are for Episodes 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 respectively, and the menus are ordered in a Film > Area/Scene > Category of Extra > Feature fashion. This is very intuitive and make navigating the material interesting. I simply can't list everything thats on offer, but highlights include the spectacular 360-degree models (in which you can see just how R2-D2 was built in a rather scrappy manner), matte paintings and very intriguing Deleted Scenes. They range from short scenes - such as a woman telling Luke to slow down on his Landspeeder - to very long scenes - such as Luke meeting Biggs and the rest of his friends on his home planet. And the schematic artwork of the ships.... Mind boggling, to say the least.
The only problem I have found on Discs 7 and 8 are that before you play a Deleted Scene, the caption outlining what is going to happen leaves far to quick to read fully.
Disc 9 contains an array of brilliant archival documentaries (most are a stretched 16:9 aspect ratio and in SD) as well as a few newer bits and pieces; the most disappointing being 'Star Wars Spoofs' which, sadly, I shall not watch again it was that poor. 'The Empire of Dreams' is sadly not included, but the ones included, such as 'Classic Creatures', last around an hour/hour and a half and are very insightful.
To access any Bonus Features apart from two commentaries per film (in essence, the 'hours' of extra footage) you MUST buy this Complete Saga, rather than the separate Episodes 1-3 and 4-6 products. This is an unfortunate marketing tool, and means that should you only be a fan of either Episodes 1-3 or 4-6 but still want the excellent Bonus Features, you're very much compromised. The truth is that the products have been produced this way not just to get more money from customers, but to tie the Prequel and Original trilogy together even further.
The price is also an issue for me in comparison to the, aforementioned, Alien Anthology which is similarly a bulky product. Sure, that product only has 4 films, but its retailing a 'third' of the Star Wars Complete Saga, and has far more bonus features (if less intuitive). Why does a franchise like Star Wars require a higher sales value, just because its a more successful brand?
The legacy only continues from 2011. The reaction my nephews gave from little more than exploring the box was a wonderful reminder of my own intrigue and excitement at receiving the original trilogy on VHS in the early 1990's and, again, in 1997. The improvement that is reaped from this product is significant and even brought a tear to my eye during key such scenes, such as finale to the The Battle of Yavin, and the celebration at the end of Return of The Jedi. These emotions were not through reminiscing of how I originally watched the films - they were from the fact that we can finally watch these films in the comfort of our home in such a fidelity.
+ Flawless audio tracks that are on par, if not better than Avatar's.
+ Picture definition a major leap across the saga.
+ Almost all glaring errors from past releases fixed.
+ Bonus Material sets a new standard for Blu-ray, easily.
- LucasFilm were too tight to re-scan the Original Trilogy. Hey, its just a fact...
- Bonus Material only available with The Complete Saga.
- 'That' change at the end of Episode 6.
on 19 May 2014
Much like E.T., Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones, Star Wars is what many consider to be a gem of 80's family home cinema and is a series of films which are beloved by many. It is a real treat to see these films so well preserved now in glorious HD picture quality. The HD conversion work a treat and allow these films - especially the classic trilogy - to really shine. It must really be acknowledged just how well these films have aged and continue to be adored by the younger generation of today. Truly timeless motion picture at its best.
Based purely on a commercial stand-point this Blu Ray collection does what it says on the tin - offering these two trilogies to be enjoyed at a higher resolution in one beautifully boxed saga compilation. Whether or not you will enjoy this product is subject to your personal tastes of the actual films themselves. There are a few additional creative changes which have been made to the films since the special editions, though these new changes are not really as controversial as they were for the last edits that were made. Off the top of my head I can recall Vader now shouting 'NO!' twice in Return of the Jedi, though this doesn't really injure the script and is a very minor enhancement when compared to the Han and Greedo edit which changes Solo's character in the opinions of fans. Other than that these 2011 edits only serve to enhance the effects and do not try to tamper with the main storytelling, so a first time viewer may find these controversies pretty negligible and ridiculous to be complaining about.
I would however offer one tip to people who have never seen Star Wars before. Please do not entertain the thought of following George Lucas' 'episode' structure which he has laid out and instead view this collection as containing two trilogies: the classic trilogy and the modern prequel trilogy. Watch the classics first, irrespective of them being called part 4-6 and then view the prequel trilogy (1-3) afterwards. This isn't because of complaints hurled toward the prequel trilogy by critics for being a smidge inferior to the classics, but rather that a great deal of the classic movie plot twists and surprises are spoiled by these prequels. These may not seem like a big issue, but I can guarantee that you will enjoy the series a lot better if you stick to the format of watching the films in the order based on their release dates rather than their chronology. Not only that but you will enjoy the prequels A LOT more if you do this. You will at least be intrigued to find out the origins of the classic trilogy antagonist by the end of 4-6 which is documented in the prequels of 1-3, and a lot of the saga will be spoiler free and allow you to better enjoy the many twists and turns the classic films surprise you with after extensive character development, rather than them being freely read off a script and spoiled in the prequel trilogy as mere acknowledgement of the classics.
Otherwise these are both great trilogies and you will do well to watch them and make your own mind up - you may like the prequels, or the classics, or both, or neither! My brother and I have nostalgia tinted glasses of the classics, so I remain pretty much blind to the classics having any faults when I remember sipping cream soda while watching Return of the Jedi in my childhood before breaking out the N64 to play Shadows of the Empire - with pleasant associations like these you are bound to be biased in your assessment on any faults the classics may have. I was pleasantly surprised however after recently showing these films to my mum that she freely admitted to preferring the prequel trilogy mainly due to the clothing, artistry and...being a fangirl of Natalie Portman. Therefore, there is no accounting to taste and rather than letting someone tell you what you should/shouldn't like you will have to just make your own mind up whether or not these films will make you cheer in elated Ewok celebration, or make you regard them as nothing more than mere bantha fodder.
The films were mastered using MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.35:1 in 50GB Blu ray discs. There are a total of 9 discs, including lots and lots of supplements.
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (blu ray) film released 1999
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of The Clones (blu ray) film released 2002
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge Of the Sith (blu ray) film released 2005
THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY:
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (blu ray) film released 1977
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (blu ray) film released 1980
Star Wars: Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (blu ray) film released 1983
THE PREQUEL TRILOGY:
The Prequel Trilogy was all newly mastered directly from the original digital files. Therefore, edge-enhancement and color-timing issues that plagued the previous Episode I DVD presentation are no longer an issue.
In Episode I, Yoda is now all digital. But, the Phantom Menace proves to be the least satisfying of the bunch. Colour reproduction is absolutely resplendent and it's finally free from the heavy edge enhancement. However, while film grain and fine detailing are both present, the film also seems to have been subjected to some noise reduction resulting in a slighter softer look that the rest of the saga.
Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith have no such problems. Shot entirely digitally, they both boast an astonishing clarity, vibrancy and detailing, like the colour reproduction and detail in the grassy field during Anakin and Padmé's picnic in Chapter of 21 (Episode II: Attack Of The Clones) or the fine textures in the Wookiee fur in Chapter 17 (Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith).
Episode III is on a whole different picture quality plane of existence. This is the outright stunner of the prequels, with a degree of clarity and color that is simply brilliant, and approaches Avatar in quality. The picture is much crisper and more detailed, CGI and live-action material alike. The filtering has been abandoned in favor of an exceptionally resolved picture. See the fabric of General Grievous' cape, the clean lines of the nascent Darth Vader's shiny new helmet, the wrinkles on Yoda's weathered face and Count Dooku's eyebrow hairs, individually visible.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (4/5)
Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones (4.5/5)
Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (5/5)
THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY:
The 1080p/AVC-encoded transfers of the three "classic" Star Wars films are simply amazing. Grain is visible and better yet, the prints are absolutely pristine, without a single white speck of debris. There is increased clarity. Also, there is actually more of the image on-screen now. In the previous DVD edition, the producers magnified the picture slightly, thus cropping part of the picture on all sides. The reproduction of fine details was simply magnificent: like the first great close-up of R2 in all his worn-in glory in A New Hope, the level of detail inside the Millennium Falcon, the mottled facial texture of the Yoda puppet in The Empire Strikes Back, and the almost palpable ripples of Jabba's skin in Return Of The Jedi.
The changes made by George Lucas in the 1997 "Special Editions" and most of the additional changes from the 2004 re-release are here in the new Blu ray films, whether you like or approve of it or not. New additional changes include that In Return Of The Jedi, Wicket now blinks and has more expressive CGI eyes. For years, fans have complained that in the shot of the Wampa attacking Luke's Tauntaun, you could see part of the puppeteer's arm because the costume didn't extend quite far enough. Now it is corrected. As Darth Vader grabs the Emperor to throw him over the railing, he now lets out a goofy cry of "NOOOOO," a mirroring of the scene in Revenge of the Sith when he's first reborn as a dark Sith lord. Colour is more stable now and better balanced. Remember how the lightsabers' hues sometimes shifted? Now it is purely cold white.
Episode IV: A New Hope (5/5)
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (5/5)
Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (5/5)
As in my recent review of the Lord Of The Rings Extended Editions (blu ray), the audio in this set does not need to be reviewed separately, because these lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 surround tracks are all perfect. Williams' cues are some of the most recognizable and hummable in the known universe, and they sound spectacular here, from the lilting and quiet heartswelling of Leia's theme to the all-out, brash militancy of Vader's unstoppable death march. All of the music is grand, filling every channel, with distinct placement of the instruments in the soundspace. Rich, dynamic, and full!
The Supervising Sound Editor on the Blu-rays for Skywalker Sound, Matthew Wood, did a simply fantastic job in remastering to lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1. For those wondering why 6.1 and not 7.1, Matt said in a recent interview that 6.1 was chosen because it builds nicely on the 5.1 EX mixing work that was done for the Prequel films.
What makes these new 6.1 tracks so wonderful is how precisely and expressively they're mixed. Sound design and score achieve an ideal balance, each forceful and clean without drowning the other out. And the action sequences, like lasers criss- crossing the soundfield, and spaceships swooshing in every direction. Massive explosions that send concentric arcs of debris spreading out from front to back. The thunderous LFE roar of an Imperial Star Destroyer drifting overhead. Even in the quieter moments there's ambience in the rears; the bleat of a tauntaun on Hoth, pouring rain before the Obi- Wan/Jango Fett fight in Clone Wars, dialogue is always easy to understand.
The prequels are awash with sonic thrills, be it TPM's Pod race (Ch 20-22), the asteroid chase and Jango Fett's seismic bombs in Attack of the Clones (Ch 28) or Revenge of the Sith's opening battle over Coruscant (Ch 3). Each offers a staggering amount of audio information (every engine, thruster, laser blast and explosion in unique to each vehicle/weapon) all moved around the soundfield with incredible precision.
Overall, Matthew Wood did a masterful job, and the resultant audio is in one word: perfect. (5/5)
In summary, Star Wars The Complete Saga (blu ray) is a must-own. Watching these beloved movies in such pristine video and audio form is simply very satisfying and I also felt very gratified. Another great news is that when I first preordered this box set on January 11, 2011, the price was $99.99. Recently, the price dropped to $79.99. Thank you, Amazon. May the Force be with you for more future discounts.
According to press release by 20th-Century Fox, Star Wars The Complete Saga is now "the bestselling catalog Blu-ray Disc of all time with worldwide sales totaling one million units, including 515,000 units sold in North America in its first week alone. This represents $84 million in worldwide consumer spending including $38 million in North America - unprecedented for a nine-disc Blu-ray collection at a premium price." Very highly recommended.
on 30 October 2015
In terms of image and sound, this is indeed the best version of star wars you can get. All the six movies come in a nice box with compact size. You also get a bonus disc with a lot of extra material that will delight the star wars saga fans.
The image is clearly much better than the DVD version. But the true reason that made me buy this was the sound. It is simply amazing and it can really improve your immersion in the movie. It is just a pity that this is not the case for all countries... If you will buy this very same star wars blu ray edition in any place in Europe other than the UK, you will get ALMOST the same product. Yes... almost. In Europe, only in the UK, you will get the English DTS-HD Master audio. For any other European country you only get DTS-HD in German... For me this is totally unacceptable. Since English is the original version of the movie, the DTS-HD master audio for this language should always be available. This was the main reason for me to buy this item in amazon.co.uk instead of a regular store in my country: So I could get the best quality English (original) sound.
I'm from Portugal, and I find it very annoying that this blu ray only offers subtitles for Brazilian Portuguese. If I would buy this box in Portugal, I would get the European Portuguese. But because I bought it in the UK, I can only get the Brazilian Portuguese?? I can't think of any reason to justify this...
It's also funny to see how many times star wars version exist in DVD and blu ray, but none of them seem to hear what the fans of this saga want: The original versions that were released to the cinemas when the movies first came out. These movies have been released countless times, and always for a high price. I think it would be fair to listen to what the fans want and also include the original version.
To sum up: Great image, even better quality for sound. But this is far from being the ultimate star wars saga collection. Mainly because it lacks the original released versions but also because the content should be more consistent across countries.
on 2 May 2015
I wasn't sure about this because I already had all the films on DVD (of course!) but when my Phantom Menace DVD wouldn't play I took the plunge and bought the digital movie collection ready for my May 4th celebrations. I have not been disappointed. These films are everything I hoped for and I've watched them on my phone, laptop and TV and quality is excellent, particularly the sound. The extras are also really interesting and perfectly getting me in the mood for the new film in December. It was definitely the right decision for me to buy these so if you're on the fence then let me encourage you to go for it - if my experience is anything to go by then you won't be disappointed.
on 11 December 2015
Every time Star Wars is relased on a new format you get pros and cons in film quality, edits and extra features. This is exactly the same as the blu ray collection released in 2011, just repackaged hoping to make money on the wave of Episode 7. What's weird is that the DVDs relased in 2004 had far better extra features including documentaries and better menus (they changed between 3 planets every time you put the disc in) but the extra features from that 2004 DVD release are not on the blu ray. Why Disney? You're being cheap and I'm not stupid enough to rebuy for nothing new. So if extensive documentaries (which in my opinion were better than the blu Ray documentaries) are of interest to you just buy the DVDs, but if crystal clear picture and sound are more important get this one. Personal opinion will wary on the many edits made to the films over the years since cinematic release.
This “Star Wars” box set consists of 9 Blu-ray discs, including the six feature films of the original and prequel trilogies, as well as lots of bonus material and special features. As such, you get a lot for a reasonable price (at the time of reviewing, approx. £50). These are the digitally remastered, special edition versions of the movies. And they do contain alterations and revisions – done at George Lucas’ insistence – which not everyone wants to see. But often these changes to the theatrical editions of yesteryear are minor, and - speaking as someone who was there, as a child in the 1970's and 1980's - they do not detract from the overall quality of these films. Given what’s contained in this set, I fully recommend it.
You get the following films:
‘Star Wars’ (1977; subsequently subtitled ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’) – 121 minutes
‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980) – 124 minutes
‘Return of the Jedi’ (1983) – 131 minutes
‘The Phantom Menace’ (1999) – 151 minutes
‘Attack of the Clones’ (2002) – 142 minutes
‘Revenge of the Sith’ (2005) – 140 minutes
And some of the extra features – consisting of some 40 hours of bonus material – include: many deleted, extended and alternate scenes; several new documentaries; as well as numerous ‘Star Wars’ spoofs. Some of this is will be of interest only to enthusiasts, but most of it is entertaining, informative and - at times - very humorous.
‘Star Wars’ is an epic sci-fi fantasy adventure franchise, full of wondrous characters and outlandish environments, involving a classic tale of good vs evil, of tragedy and loss and redemption. It has amazing original motion picture scores (the music is excellent throughout). It’s full of space battles, light-sabre duels, amazing special effects, and it provides us with two of the most iconic villainous characters of all time: Darth Vader and the Emperor.
If you’re totally new to this saga, or have as yet only watched the recent “The Force Awakens” film, then I recommend that you buy this box set asap – and treat yourself to what could be the greatest movie experience you’ll ever have. On the other hand, if you’ve seen these films before, but don’t yet own them on Blu-ray, then I can tell you that the HD picture quality is superb and the 5.1 surround sound audio is fantastic … These are well worth buying (unless you detest all sci-fi and fantasy movies - in which case, avoid).
Of course, some of these films are better than others. The original trilogy is in a league of its own … the prequel trilogy is, for the most part, good fun – although at times it is infuriating, while at other times it’s very good.
It’s unfortunate that the original theatrical releases – without all the alterations – are not included here. Just as it’s unfortunate that the 3D version of ‘The Phantom Menace’ is omitted. But what you do get is well worth the price being paid.
on 20 April 2015
Glad to have a Digital Copy of these excellent films - I've sold my bluray & dvd copies to free up shelf space. The picture and sound quality is excellent (Samsung LED TV with Yamaha sound-bar), comparable to bluray and much better than DVD. Looking forward to Star Wars 7, Ultra HD versions and, one day perhaps, even a release of the true original versions...