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Customer Review

208 of 241 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much chance of being led into the dark side, 13 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes IV, V And VI [DVD] (DVD)
I picked this up because I thought that Lucas was finally allowing people to choose whether they wanted to watch the original versions of these movies or the so-called enhanced versions. From the outer box it would seem so. However, this box contains a nasty and mean spirited surprise.
Yes- the new versions of the film are in Dolby Digital sound, anamorphically enhanced picture and THX mastering. However,the original versions are in a matted 4:3 format (ie not enhanced for a widescreen tv)and are in basic (and I do mean basic) stereo soundtrack. It looks like somebody filmed it in the cinema on a camcorder.
This is a bit like a photography book which has one half printed on high quality colour paper stock and the other half printed on yellowing newsprint.
There is absolutely no reason that the original versions cannot be displyed with the same level of picture and sound as the new versions and even if Lucas cannot be bothered bringing the sound up to 5.1 there is absolutely no excuse for not making the dvds anamorphic for widescreen tvs.
The only conclusion is that Lucas does not trust the public to make their own mind up. He wants to ensure that people think 'Gee they have really improved these clunky old movies' rather than 'Why did they ruin the simplicity of these films by jamming them up with lots of unnecessary CGI effects'. The way he is doing this is by making the discs of the old stuff as bad as possible.
Lucas deserves a rasperry for this. I am sure I will enjoy watching the new versions despite myself but this is a bad way to treat your fans and customers.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Aug 2010 19:55:41 BDT
Chris S says:
It is possible that the 4:3 version could be due to a 'no budget' inclusion in the set, i.e. they could have used an early tape dub (betacam sp) to make the discs without doing any new transfers from the film elements... still odd though. I'm inclined to think the same - trying to make the originals look bad compared to the 97 remaster. Think I'll stick with my bootleg copies, sorry they're not getting any money out of me without widescreen.

Posted on 28 Oct 2010 13:19:04 BDT
masssc says:
To be fair, it is what is says on the box, the original version (ie untouched picture, sound etc) and a remastered version that has been touched up and new bits added. With regards the original, this is what I would expect from an "original theatrical release" no amendments at all. Anything else such as enhancing for widescreen would mean that this is not an original release but a slight remastering.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2010 12:05:41 GMT
Mike says:
I think you're being generous - there's no obvious reason why the originals could not have at least been included in a widescreen format. This wouldn't be "enhancing" at all - the original films were shot and viewed in a widescreen format just like every major film has been since the 1950s.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Dec 2010 16:03:35 GMT
Chal says:
All six films of the Star Wars series were shot in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2011 23:17:23 GMT
Dallison says:
No 16:9 enhancement of the original cuts is still the reason that I do not own the original 3 star wars films on DVD. It does not have to be remastered or boosted (in terms of sound), but I'll be damned if I am going to watch it in a 4:3 letterboxed format.
As a kid I saw Star Wars 7 times on the cinema screen, I had no problem accepting letterbox when we had 4:3 TV's but I think Lucas needs to wake up, most of us own Widescreen TVs now George...

I take it there are still no 16:9 releases of the original films in their original cuts?
Thanks in advance

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Mar 2011 17:00:45 GMT
J. M. Greer says:
Not that I know of. There is no obvious financial reason for this behaviour. It is just about dictating to the audience how they should watch the movies rather than allowing them freedomn to enjoy the original versions.

Posted on 29 Nov 2011 12:29:31 GMT
Cat, London says:
I couldn't agree more. At least give people a (genuine) chance to watch the ones we grew up with and love.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 16:32:04 GMT
c says:
"I take it there are still no 16:9 releases of the original films in their original cuts?"

There is, but only on VHS or laserdisc.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Nov 2012 17:08:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Nov 2012 17:10:23 GMT
QT says:
It's such a shame - I am all for upgrading and enhancing where it makes a real improvement. What I objected to in this version was the additional CGI creatures - they stand out like sore thumbs. New wine in old skins. So yes, remaster, clean enhance picture and audio, but don't ADD things that weren't there before. But hey, George has sold up for $2billion. How little can he care what I think!!!!! So I am guessing that I cannot get a non-CGI creatured version of 1-3 (sorry IV-VI) on DVD in widescreen with moderately decent original soundatrack. Never mind blu-ray.

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 13:31:22 GMT
You're right, that's appalling. It's like those "before and after" pictures for diets or skin-creams in which the woman isn't wearing any makeup in the "before" shot just to ensure the alleged "improvement" in the "after" shot is clearly visible.

The version I'd expect to see as the 'original' is the widescreen remastered that was released on VHS - which IIRC was in Dolby Surround too. How can any 4:3 pan and scan version of Star Wars ever be considered "original"? And why go out of your way to release a worse version on DVD than already existed for VHS? Except, alas, we know the answer to that, don't we?
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Location: Hexham, Northumberland United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 24,108