Top positive review
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Fantastic experience in HD, A New Hope suffers further still from added CGI
on 28 January 2018
The bad news is of course there are more edits and changes to this version. For those of us who saw these in their original form, it's a real disappointment that there's no way to enjoy the original Oscar-winning editing, sound and visual effects.The 1990s CGI that was added to the original trilogy has also transferred very badly to high definition. The main thing that lets these down are the continued addition of out of place CGI in A New Hope, with more sequences added to the Blu Ray, building on the changes made in 1997 and 2004. Although I wouldn't review this based on the older changes (they are what they are), it's a shame this edition needs to have more fiddling, while not fixing some of the more aged additions from previous "upgrades". There are a lot of very tasteful clean-up jobs on many scenes that you won't even notice, but A New Hope suffers a little for its glaring mix of 1970s, 1990s, 2000s, and now 2010s visual effects. Thankfully, the changes in the other five films aren't likely to rankle any more than the DVD versions did, and Empire Strikes Back in particular feels like a tasteful, enhanced restoration/director's cut.
But beyond that, if you haven't seen the films in high definition before, it's an absolute joy. Overall, the remastering has been done very well. Some people have criticised the colour correction used, but the picture looked great upscaled to 4k on my TV and it's a vast improvement of the somewhat aged feel to the older DVD transfers.
Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith look particularly fantastic. They were shot in digital HD and the transfer to Blu Ray really shows off the visual quality of those films. Whatever you can say about them, they always looked pretty good, although the Phantom Menace has aged a little more than the other two prequels.
The bonuses, while I haven't watched them all, seem a good mix of decent documentaries and archive material. It's a well curated collection.
If you have a decent sized HD TV, I'd definitely recommend these over the DVDs. The effects and sound really impress. I'd rather they have spent more time cleaning up the 1997/2004 additions that trying to change more of the original effects, but if you consider those additions a detriment, the main damage was done long before the blu ray changes. Overall it's a good set to have and if you're new to Star Wars, perhaps coming to these trilogies fresh from the new films, you're unlikely to notice the changes and will have a lot of fun with these.