see sans-serif;”>Review by: Darragh O’ Connor.
On August 14, 2010, George Lucas announced that the Star Wars saga would be released as a Blu-Ray box set in 2011. This announcement was met with a conflict of emotions for long time fans of the saga. On one hand, there was excitement that all six Star Wars films would be finally together in one neat collection of Blu-Ray discs. While on the other hand, some had the fears that Lucas would make a lot of changes, on top of the multitude of changes that plagued the reception of the late 90’s special edition and the DVD releases, to the original or ‘classic’ series. A number of these changes were leaked pre-release on a number of websites, to the collective groan of the internet.
After much waiting the box set dropped earlier this month, entitled Star Wars: The Complete Saga. And yes, George Lucas has made more changes, a quick scan through the reaction of the internet two weeks after the latest re-release yields one overarching thing: rage and a lot of it. This venomous rage is aimed, as expected, at the changes to the original trilogy which we will look at later but first the prequels.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, tell the story of the rise of the Galactic Empire headed by the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious and the fall of the Republic intertwined with the tale of Anakin Skywalker and his personal descent into darkness. These visual look outstanding, they are crisp and crystal clear. The CGI locations such as Coruscant, Naboo and Kimono are beautifully rendered. Throughout however a few small changes that help the ebb and flow of the three movies or add the story in a positive manner.
One of the changes that caused an aneurysm to the internet was the replacement of the puppet Yoda with the CGI model used in the rest of the prequels. I don’t understand why. It makes sense, the prequels are set in the grandeur of the Old Republic, and as such everything needs to look accordingly and consistent. All three of these movies have a uniform feel via their visual presentation and techniques to enhance battles or the powers of the Jedi for example. On other note, the deleted scenes from these movies that are found on the bonus disc are very interesting indeed. They explore the expanded universe of the prequels, and add the ‘depth’ that some have complained about in the prequels without turning the non-fan away.
The original trilogy composes the latter section of the set and it is this that had drawn most rage from fans of the series. These tell the story of inter-Galactic Civil War and the journey of Luke Skywalker on his path to becoming a Jedi Knight. In Chasing Amy, these movies are referred to as “the holy trilogy’, indeed these movies have such a reputation. So anything done to these movies would have drawn anger from fans.
The following are a few of the most discussed recent changes: Obi-Wan’s Krayt Dragon call has once again been changed, the Han and Greedo scene has been shortened by several frames from the 2004 DVD version and they now shoot at nearly the same time, a random bunch of TIE Fighters appear as the rebels attack on the second Death Star, the ewok Wicket now blinks and finally Darth Vader now says “No” while Luke is tortured by the Emperor. He then screams “Nooooo!” as he picks Palpatine up and hurls him to his death.
First and foremost, there is only so much you can do with the original footage of these movies. In that regard, they look great and the conversion to Blu-Ray has been kind to them. Again, like the Blu-Ray prequels, they have a uniform and consistency in their presentation.