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Clint M

"Star Wars" Original Trilogy gets another re-release...

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Clint M   

but it's what all the purists are waiting for.

From the Star Wars website:This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD

Each two disc set will contain the original theatrical version and the 2004 re-release. So guess what? If you bought the box set a couple of years ago, the only good thing was that you got the 2 hour documentary produced especially for that set.

Hooray! I think.

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Andrew   

Is it just me, or is this a transparently disgraceful effort on George Lucas' part to squeeze every last possible penny from Star Wars fanboys?

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Clint M   

Is it just me, or is this a transparently disgraceful effort on George Lucas' part to squeeze every last possible penny from Star Wars fanboys?

Yes.

I've still got my 1995 VHS Widescreen set of these movies.

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Anders   

No one's ever happy. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

This is precisely those who claim Lucas is trying to bury the original versions of his films forever have been clamouring for. Sure, it is a blatant attempt to get more money out of us fans, and I for one will be glad to have them (I'm not sure how many times I wanted to play my Widescreen THX VHS set anymore). If you really feel it's such a horrific money grab (that young fella PJ is learning his lessons well), just don't buy 'em.

Or as Obi-Wan might say, "Who's the more fool? The fool, or the fool who just keeps on buying the DVDs?"

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Multiple choice:

[1] Ahem.

[2] Link to the thread for the original-trilogy DVDs released in 2004.

Anders wrote:

: This is precisely those who claim Lucas is trying to bury the original versions of his films forever have been

: clamouring for.

Yes, and I'm rather glad Lucas finally buckled, actually.

The question is, what does Lucasfilm mean by "original versions"? The films were tweaked a few times in theatres and on VHS, long before laserdiscs or DVDs came along, let alone the 1997 special editions.

Will this version of Star Wars (1977) include the words "Episode IV: A New Hope"? If so, then it is not TRULY original -- it is one of the later, tweaked versions that came out after (or shortly before) the release of The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Will the stormtroopers say "Close the blast doors!" before they say "Open the blast doors!", as they do in some -- but not all -- versions of the film?

What will Aunt Beru's voice be like? I know I heard at least two different versions in the early '80s.

Also: Any word on what sort of extras these discs will have? Will they include the audio commentaries from the 2004 discs? If not, then there's another reason to hang on to that set.

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Don't most Star Wars fanboys have DVD Rippers and a Netflix account? Obi-Wan didn't say this, but my Grandpa told me it many times, "Why buy the cow, when you can..." Oh, you know.

Seriously, I am pleased to see that Lucas is permitting this. Lets say you're like me, a weirdo-film geek, that is working through the history of film chronologically. Do I want to see the re-release, or what the film actually looked like in 1977? I want to see the original, with vaseline smeared under the landspeeder to make it appear as though it is hovering.

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I'm pleased as well. This way, fans of the original can pass them on to their kids without having to explain why Jabba looks so freaky in the new versions. For starters. It's an important historical artifact, and it was just lame of Lucas to keep it off of DVD.

I too have been taking good care of my widescreen VHS boxed set, assuming that this release would never come.

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Clint M   

The question is, what does Lucasfilm mean by "original versions"? The films were tweaked a few times in theatres and on VHS, long before laserdiscs or DVDs came along, let alone the 1997 special editions.

Will this version of Star Wars (1977) include the words "Episode IV: A New Hope"? If so, then it is not TRULY original -- it is one of the later, tweaked versions that came out after (or shortly before) the release of The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

From what I've read, it's the original theatrical versions. So I'm assuming no "Episode IV: A New Hope", but who knows? One thing I won't miss: ROTJ's Jabba the Hutt scene in which they replaced the song with a totally tacky and out of place Broadway-esque number. I still hate that change. (And the old music didn't appear on the 1997 ROTJ Special Edition soundtrack release. One had to track down the 4-CD box set from 1993 to have those cues.)

Also: Any word on what sort of extras these discs will have? Will they include the audio commentaries from the 2004 discs? If not, then there's another reason to hang on to that set.

From the article: "Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling vary by territory."

I'm not sure about the 2004 discs, but I would think they would have their audio commentaries. The "limited edition" set that was out last Christmas (which had the 2004 edition movies, but not the documentary) had the audio commentaries included.

Edited by Clint M

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Anders   

Just a link to the official Lucasfilm press release, FWIW.

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Clint M wrote:

: From what I've read, it's the original theatrical versions. So I'm assuming no "Episode IV: A New Hope",

: but who knows?

A friend of mine just pointed me to the IMDB's list of revisions to the original Star Wars, and I find myself wondering if the version on this disc will seem utterly unfamiliar to me. Apparently the brief bit where Chewbacca growls at a messenger droid and scares it away was not in the film on "opening day". And I'm sure there were lots of other changes too.

: One thing I won't miss: ROTJ's Jabba the Hutt scene in which they replaced the song with a totally tacky and

: out of place Broadway-esque number. I still hate that change.

Broadway-esque? It always seemed to me more like a Mupper beer commercial. :)

: (And the old music didn't appear on the 1997 ROTJ Special Edition soundtrack release. One had to track

: down the 4-CD box set from 1993 to have those cues.)

I've still got it on the original 1983 soundtrack CD, myself. :)

: From the article: "Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning,

: and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling vary

: by territory."

I saw that, but I don't consider those "extras" -- they're just technical specs.

I still say it's a shame they couldn't create a proper two-disc set for each film, with one disc per movie devoted entirely to bonus materials, given that the powers that be were able to do this for each of the prequels and for the Alien quadrilogy, etc.

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I've still got it on the original 1983 soundtrack CD, myself.

Oh dear... I can feel the beginnings of an "I can out-geek you" contest coming on.

Let's see... how many original action figures do I still have... guns and all?

Then there's the storybook version of the film on vinyl... the original and Empire Strikes Back (although I like the Raiders storybook record best, because it foregoes narration).

An original 1977 Star Wars lunchbox.

The Star Wars storybook.

A 1977 die-cast model of Darth Vader's TIE fighter.

Plus, a color-crayon version of Star Wars, beginning to end, that I wrote when I was 7 years old. It's about fifty pages.

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I apologize if this was mentioned already, but wasn't Lucas interested in re-releasing the films--to the big screen--in 3-D?

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Jeffrey, I will NEVER try to out-geek you when it comes to the memorabilia. :)

But I do have all three original-trilogy soundtracks on CD and cassette, and I was always puzzled that the Star Wars soundtrack was on two discs when it could easily have fit on one, and I was always puzzled that the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack was cut down to 45 minutes on the CD when the cassette's 75-ish minutes could easily have fit on the disc. And I made a point of getting the occasional Varese Sarabande CD which had OTHER conductors recording OTHER versions of tracks that were never included on the original movie soundtracks in any format, such as 'The Death of Darth Vader'. Suffice to say, I was very glad when that 4-CD boxed set came out in 1994 and had ALL the available music, and then some. (Well, ALMOST all; for some reason, the bit of music from the scene where Han Solo escapes from the asteroid worm, which had been tacked onto the opening-credits track on the original Empire soundtrack, was missing entirely; I e-mailed the album producer and he told me it had vanished from the vaults, but I believe it's there on the 2-CD "special edition" Empire soundtrack that came out in 1997.)

Curiously, while I got a number of action figures when the first film came out, I never got any -- any -- when Empire and Jedi came out. I'm not sure why that is.

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I'm pleased as well. This way, fans of the original can pass them on to their kids without having to explain why Jabba looks so freaky in the new versions. For starters. It's an important historical artifact, and it was just lame of Lucas to keep it off of DVD.

I too have been taking good care of my widescreen VHS boxed set, assuming that this release would never come.

I had a wonderfully wry response to this issue all worked up, and then Blogger ate it. Last time I try to be spontaneous.

At any rate, I am absolutely filled to the brim with ambivalence. One the one hand, I'm with you Jeffrey; the original versions of the films are what impacted our culture, and posterity deserves to have that preserved (like your/my widescreen VHS tapes).

On the other hand, having purchased, let's see, 5 different editions of these blasted movies (original P&S VHS, remastered P&S VHS, remastered widescreen VHS, widescreen special edition VHS, and DVD) I must cry foul (for I cannot control my own purchasing decisions) at the quintiple dipping. It's especially galling when, during the ramp-up to the DVD release, Lucasfilm's position was not only that the original versions wouldn't be forthcoming but that they didn't even exist any more.

Grr.

Well, what this all means is that I'll be there on Sept 12 with my $50, and I'll be grumpy about it!

=;

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Personally, as a bonus feature, I wouldn't mind the original human-actor footage of Jabba (a portion of which I have in the From Star Wars to Jedi documentary that I taped off TV in 1983) AND the goofy CGI Jabba from 1997 AND the more consistent CGI Jabba from 2004. I want 'em all!

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Go suck an egg, George Lucas, you Exxon-Mobil of the film world!

I will not be buying your silly movies; they're not the DVD's I'm looking for.

I will however, do what I did for the other DVD release: put it on my Christmas list and wait for my sister to buy it for me.

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I guess, at this point, I don't care too much if Lucas is a few million richer or not. His reward will be his place in film history. And he's gone to great lengths to botch that over the last couple of decades.

By sending a message that a "lesser," more "primitive" version of these films is valuable, we may be sending him money and making him richer, but what difference will that make at this point? I'd rather send a message that people prefer the authenticity of the originals over the unpleasantness of the "enhancements."

And while I would never call Lucas's work poetry, I wonder: Would we have sided with those literary critics who were outraged when W.H. Auden revised his already-celebrated poems and republished them? Were those who had written critiques and dissertations on Auden, who were annoyed by finding new editions that transformed the texts, right in complaining? Or did Auden have the right, as the artist, to enhance his work to his satisfaction, no matter what his readers thought?

At least he couldn't prevent his earlier versions from being passed on to new generations.

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: At least he couldn't prevent his earlier versions from being passed on to new generations.

Wouldn't that have depended on who owned the copyright? (Footnote: Under the original American copyright laws, I believe Lucas and Fox's ownership of the original Star Wars would have expired in 1991, or 2005 at the latest.)

But yeah, I believe a number of authors have revised their works over time -- including J.R.R. Tolkien, who tweaked The Hobbit to make it more consistent with subsequent developments in The Lord of the Rings, yes?

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MrZoom   
It's especially galling when, during the ramp-up to the DVD release, Lucasfilm's position was not only that the original versions wouldn't be forthcoming but that they didn't even exist any more.

My brother-in-law sent me a link to an interview from September 2004 with Lucas, and reading Lucas' words in context, it doesn't appear to me that Lucas said the original versions did not physically exist; but rather, they didn't exist "to him" (I suppose in sort of a metaphysical sense).

Here's a clip from the interview, emphasis mine:

AP: Why not release both the originals and special editions on DVD?

Lucas: The special edition, that

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My brother-in-law sent me a link to an interview from September 2004 with Lucas, and reading Lucas' words in context, it doesn't appear to me that Lucas said the original versions did not physically exist; but rather, they didn't exist "to him" (I suppose in sort of a metaphysical sense).

Thanks for the quote MrZoom. I hadn't seen that particular interview, and it does help a (very small) bit. <_< Although, even in that quote, he's saying the release of the original versions isn't going to happen due to the financial costs. Guess his accountant slapped him upside the head and said, "Doh!"

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Clint M   

My brother-in-law sent me a link to an interview from September 2004 with Lucas, and reading Lucas' words in context, it doesn't appear to me that Lucas said the original versions did not physically exist; but rather, they didn't exist "to him" (I suppose in sort of a metaphysical sense).

Thanks for the quote MrZoom. I hadn't seen that particular interview, and it does help a (very small) bit. <_< Although, even in that quote, he's saying the release of the original versions isn't going to happen due to the financial costs. Guess his accountant slapped him upside the head and said, "Doh!"

I suspect that he's waited till the (virtual) end of the DVD format to release these. Given that the next-gen formats for home video (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) are or have come out this year, I guess he figures "no harm, no foul."

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