Wednesday, April 4, 2007

DVD Review - Star Wars Limited Edition DVD Release (2006)

2004 saw the release of the "original" Star Wars Trilogy onto DVD for the first time ever... and with a new format comes further changes and "updates" to the films, such as minor graphical edits and the swapping of Force ghosts. While people were thrilled with having these films on DVD, there were those who would rather have the original, unaltered versions of these classic films on DVD instead; a point of contention that still exists to this very day.

Fortunately, Lucasfilm threw the fans a bone with this 2006 Limited Edition DVD release and the results were... well, it's something.

THE GOOD: Each movie includes 2 discs; the first disc being the then-latest 2004 DVD release with further changes added to the film (in fact, these are exactly the same discs you'd get from that initial release.) And the second disc includes the original theatrical version of the film; which means Star Wars is just Star Wars and not Episode IV, Ewok music ends the Trilogy, and the Emperor is depicted by an old lady in monkey make-up in Empire. Doing it this way provides a nice compare-and-contrast for those into details and minutae while making two camps (updates vs. original) mildly satisfied for the short term.

THE BAD: While the original theatrical releases are indeed included as a bonus feature, the same care that went into the DVD restorations of the "updated" versions obviously didn't apply to the original versions, which are apparently ripped from the Laserdisc releases. Now if you don't care about the visual quality, then this is no biggie since it's not completely terrible... but it's also not on par with the restored version. Also, since the movies were released separately, you don't get the bonus DVD of bonus material that came with the original DVD release.

IS IT WORTH IT? I got the 2004 DVD release, but then eventually got the 2006 re-releases because I wanted the original versions of these films on DVD, even if the transfer quality isn't fantastic. I don't know if it'd be worth it today since Blu-Ray is a thing, these things are harder to come by, and most would prefer the Unspecial Special Edition that's been on the bootleg circuit for years on end, but if you find one in the wild for cheap, sure why not?

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