Author Topic: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD  (Read 80982 times)

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MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #285 on: May 17, 2006, 12:45:28 AM »
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picolas

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #286 on: May 17, 2006, 12:58:32 AM »
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i demand the 1997 versions. those were the ones i grew up with.

MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #287 on: May 17, 2006, 03:31:13 PM »
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We've confirmed something that we'd begun to suspect... and it's probably going to disappoint a lot of you. It certainly disappoints us here at The Bits. Those new DVD editions of the Star Wars films? The original theatrical versions of the films are going to be non-anamorphic (our original post on this indicated otherwise, but we have confirmed that the widescreen versions will be letterboxed only). What this likely means is that Lucasfilm has simply re-purposed the previous non-anamorphic transfers that were done back in 1995 for the last laserdisc and VHS release of the "original" versions of the films. And with that, our enthusiasm for this DVD release has just dropped through the floor. Anamorphic-enhanced versions of the theatrical editions, we'd buy in a heartbeat. But what we're going to get instead is little better than a ported-over laserdisc. In this day and age, releasing a widescreen film without anamorphic enhancement on DVD is just unacceptable. Does Lucasfilm really think fans want those versions of the films on DVD so badly that people just won't care? Yes Virginia, they do. How many versions of these films do you suppose Lucasfilm will try to get fans to buy in high-def over the coming years? And think about it... you just know the studio has to be prepping yet another standard DVD release for next year's 30th Anniversary of the original Star Wars. Do you suppose this means that the theatrical editions won't be included in the super-über box set of all six films? Probably. Ugh.
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tpfkabi

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #288 on: May 17, 2006, 10:13:00 PM »
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why george, why?

is making a film anamorphic a huge undertaking?
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Ravi

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #289 on: May 17, 2006, 10:34:51 PM »
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I'm sure the anamorphic versions will be along in about a year so that fans will have to buy them yet again.  With these non-anamorphic transfers, the fans have no real reason to replace their LD-sourced bootlegs.

tpfkabi

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #290 on: May 17, 2006, 10:45:42 PM »
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maybe, but there's this huge 'what if it ain't' hanging over it all, because i really want these versions.

with george having his own studio, i figured it would be no problem to make the anamorphic. that's why i'm trying to find out if that is something very expensive to do because it just doesn't make sense.
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Redlum

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #291 on: May 18, 2006, 04:33:43 AM »
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That bastard. The thing is, presumably when the films were telecined for laserdisc they were done so at a higher resolution than the format itself(that being 544 X 480). If this isnt the case, will they just be upscaling to acheive DVD's resolution? An upscaled, 2.35:1, non-anamoprhic transfer...nice. I wonder if this is some ruse to convince the uninformed of how much better the SE's and Prequels by giving them an uneven playing field for comparison.
\"I wanted to make a film for kids, something that would present them with a kind of elementary morality. Because nowadays nobody bothers to tell those kids, \'Hey, this is right and this is wrong\'.\"
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MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #292 on: May 18, 2006, 12:29:01 PM »
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From The Digital Bits:

Well... it seems we've started a bit of a firestorm with this business we posted yesterday about the original versions of the Star Wars films on the forthcoming (9/12) DVD release being offered in non-anamorphic widescreen video only. So be it. Sometimes, you have to call it like you see it. The news is absolutely true by the way. We've confirmed it specifically with reps of both Lucasfilm and Fox. It is no rumor.

By the way, for those of you who don't know what anamorphic means on DVD, we refer you to our in-depth guide on the subject.

What you will, in fact, be getting on the second disc in each of these new 2-disc sets (unless something changes dramatically and soon) are transfers of the original films that were done for the 1993 "definitive collection" laserdisc box set release. (By way of confirmation, Lucasfilm's Jim Ward had this to say about the transfers in the recent USA Today story: "It is state of the art, as of 1993, and that's not as good as state of the art 2006.") Great. Thanks. Swell.

So the transfers, and the technology used to produce them, are MORE than a decade old. Of course, they're going to be digitally cleaned up a bit, and even a non-anamorphic transfer is going to look better in digital video on DVD than the same transfer would when presented on an analog laserdisc. Colors are going to bleed less, detail will be a little sharper. There's also apparently an additional bit of tweaking being done, because Episode IV will feature the original 1977 version of the opening crawl (sans the "Episode IV" text) which has NEVER been released on home video before, save for in excerpted form in the 2004 Empire of Dreams DVD documentary (which, we feel strangely compelled to point out, WAS ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN). In any case, the bottom line is that the transfers we're getting on DVD are old and they're non-anamorphic. The video resolution and quality is going to pale in comparison to the look of most other widescreen films on DVD.

A lot of people have been e-mailing us asking why Lucasfilm doesn't simply do new anamorphic, high-definition transfers of these versions of the films. Well... after confirming and posting the non-anamorphic information yesterday, we started making follow-up calls to various experts and industry insiders... you know, just to figure out what the hell was really going on. Were we crazy in feeling a little outraged about this? Was this really just a half-assed effort designed to milk Star Wars fans yet again? What was the real reason for the lack of new anamorphic transfers?

It's been reported previously that when Lucas went back to the original negatives of the Star Wars films in the mid 1990s, they were found to be in bad shape. Such bad shape, in fact, that had they not been restored immediately, the films could have been lost forever. So restoration is exactly what Lucas had done. Except that when he was creating the new 1997 Special Edition versions of the films... he cut the original negatives. So the original negatives of the theatrical versions no longer exist. Okay, we knew that. But what's the big deal? What about the original interpositive prints? What about high-quality release prints? Why can't Lucasfilm just use either of those elements to do a new transfer for DVD?

Well... at the same time as he was preparing the 1997 versions, Lucas apparently went on a little tear and recalled every release print of the theatrical versions that he could get his hands on, and he had them all destroyed. Which means that when Lucas said back in 1997 that the original theatrical versions of the Star Wars films no longer existed, he was serious. He apparently tried hard to make sure of it.

Nonetheless (and thankfully), we know for a FACT that beautiful dye transfer prints of the original versions of the films still exist in private hands, and that additional copies are preserved in a number of film archives around the world. What's more, Lucas would have been foolhardy if he didn't keep the original interpositives carefully stored in a climate-controlled vault for preservation's sake. Come on... of course he did. No one is THAT stupid that they'd just trash all the original elements of the films that made them rich beyond the dreams of avarice. In any case, neither the man himself nor senior Lucasfilm executives are willing to admit to that they exist, because as Lucas has said many times in the past, "They no longer exist."

So what are we left with? Either the films truly don't exist anymore, so it simply isn't possible to give them to you in state of the art quality (unlikely in the extreme, despite public and private statements to the contrary)... or Lucasfilm DOES have copies of the original versions in their vaults, and they're just unwilling (or too damn cheap) to spend the money to give them to you in state of the art quality... yet.

If the former is true, there can be no future anamorphic release of the original versions on DVD, and there can be no high-def release on the new Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD formats. Laserdisc is as good as it will ever get for those original theatrical cuts. If, on the other hand, the latter is true (and we believe it is)... Lucasfilm's greed is truly boundless.

Bottom line: This notion that Lucasfilm is doing the fans a favor by finally giving them the original versions on DVD in 2006... but in 1993 laserdisc quality... is baloney. In fact, it's unacceptable. Even though most of them probably don't even know what anamorphic means on DVD, or why they should care about it, the fact remains that the fans are getting bilked. We hate to say it, because we've known many of the folks at Lucasfilm for years now. But someone HAS to say it. It needs to be said. Lucasfilm can and should do better. Who knows? Maybe they're already planning to do better for the 30th Anniversary of the original Star Wars next year... and this is just one more bite at the pie in the meantime.

The strange thing is, Lucas himself doesn't seem to think the fans are even interested in the original theatrical versions of the films on DVD. Witness his comments in this recent interview at MTV.com: "It's just the original versions, as they were," Lucas said. "We didn't do anything to it at all. But we're not sure how many people want that." That's just an insane thing to say given how many Most Wanted DVD lists the original Star Wars films top around the Net, and the folks at Lucasfilm have to know it. So here's an unsettling thought... Lucas finally agrees to include the original versions on the new DVDs, but he won't pony up for new transfers. Do you suppose there's a deliberate reason for that? If people don't buy them because of the lack of quality, Lucas can simply say, "See? People didn't buy them. They don't want 'em." And if they do buy them, but in a year or two start asking for better quality, Lucas can say, "Gimme a break. I already gave them to you on DVD. Now quit bugging me about it." D'oh!

In any case, rest assured that we're as sick of talking about the Star Wars films on disc as you probably are of hearing it. But our motto here at The Bits is right up there in our logo: "Celebrating Film in the Digital Age." It's awfully damn hard to find anything worth celebrating about this. Which is a real shame... because it was pretty damn cool news there for a little while.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #293 on: May 23, 2006, 04:49:10 PM »
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Lucasfilm: Original Star Wars 'bonus'
Fans protest release of laserdisc prints on DVD
By Susanne Ault, Video Business Online

MAY 23 | In the wake of extreme fan protests, Lucasfilm is positioning its release of the original ’70s theatrical versions of the first three Star Wars movies as bonus features.

As groused about on various DVD enthusiast Web sites, including www.thedigitalbits.com and  www.hometheaterforum.com, Lucasfilm confirmed the studio is not remastering these early films. The prints for the Sept. 12 DVDs of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi come from laserdiscs of the films released in the mid ’90s. This means that Episodes IV-V1 will be presented in widescreen but not anamorphic, thereby not making full use of modern TV screens.

Lucasfilm acknowledges that some imperfections are embedded in the prints, but director of publicity John Singh said the company felt there was little need to invest resources into sprucing up films that have already been restored to pristine form.

Special edition versions of the films with additions made by George Lucas were released in theaters in the ’90s and on DVD in 2004.

“We put a lot of time and effort into digitally restoring the negatives for the 2004 DVD releases,” Singh said. “The late ’90s theatrical versions represent George’s vision for Star Wars. We hoped that by releasing the original movies as a bonus disc, it would be a way to give the fans something that is fun. We certainly didn’t want to be become a source of frustration for fans.”

Although the prints aren’t in the best of shape, the masters used for the laserdiscs “do look good,” Singh assured.

Both old and new versions of Episodes IV-VI will be included in the Sept. 14 Star Wars sets, to be distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The revamped ’90s theatrical versions will be offered in anamorphic widescreen.

This release also represents the first time the movies will be available individually.

Fans have threatened to boycott buying the original Star Wars films if they aren’t cleaned up.

“These are the versions that the fans saw as kids back in the ’70s—this was how they grew up,” said Ron Epstein, HomeTheaterForum.com co-owner. “George doesn’t like these versions, and it’s not the way he wants his legacy to be remembered. But fans [are saying], ‘You aren’t doing us a favor [in putting out] what basically amounts to a laserdisc transfer.”

Aware of the uproar, Lucasfilm is in the process of directly contacting its upset fan base in an attempt to smooth things over.

Some fans had been speculating that Lucasfilm was saving its big gun efforts for the new generation DVD formats. But the company said that at this time, there are no plans to release the original ’70s Star Wars versions in high-definition.

“We absolutely appreciate the fact that these fans are so passionate,” Singh said. “It’s indicative of the fact that they care so much about Star Wars.”
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Ravi

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #294 on: May 23, 2006, 08:16:17 PM »
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“We absolutely appreciate the fact that these fans are so passionatekeep buying SW films and merchandise over and over,” Singh said.

Redlum

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #295 on: July 12, 2006, 11:16:50 AM »
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Quote from: thedigitalbits.com
And here's a little something that's very interesting: Our friend Arnaud Calistri, who runs the DVDRama.com  website in France, e-mailed me yesterday to say that Fox France has confirmed with him that the original versions of the Star Wars films to be released on DVD there will be in anamorphic widescreen (enhanced for widescreen 16x9 TVs). As many of you know, they were announced for release here in the States and elsewhere in non-anamorphic (letterboxed) widescreen only, causing a furor among fans (and rightly so). This news, if true, means one of two things: Either Lucasfilm quickly got their act together when fans complained and created new anamorphic masters for the DVD release everywhere (and it just hasn't been announced here in the States yet), or France is getting better DVDs that the rest of the world. If they DID get their act together, expect Lucasfilm's fan relations guru, Steve Sansweet, to make a massive deal about it the company's Star Wars panel at Comic-Con next week. If they DIDN'T get their act together, and France IS getting better discs, expect fans to make a massive deal about it. We'll ask all the right people to see if we can find out the truth of the matter. Of course, we'll let you know.
\"I wanted to make a film for kids, something that would present them with a kind of elementary morality. Because nowadays nobody bothers to tell those kids, \'Hey, this is right and this is wrong\'.\"
  -  George Lucas

MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #296 on: July 12, 2006, 04:51:45 PM »
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Quote from: thedigitalbits.com
And here's a little something that's very interesting: Our friend Arnaud Calistri, who runs the DVDRama.com  website in France, e-mailed me yesterday to say that Fox France has confirmed with him that the original versions of the Star Wars films to be released on DVD there will be in anamorphic widescreen (enhanced for widescreen 16x9 TVs). As many of you know, they were announced for release here in the States and elsewhere in non-anamorphic (letterboxed) widescreen only, causing a furor among fans (and rightly so). This news, if true, means one of two things: Either Lucasfilm quickly got their act together when fans complained and created new anamorphic masters for the DVD release everywhere (and it just hasn't been announced here in the States yet), or France is getting better DVDs that the rest of the world. If they DID get their act together, expect Lucasfilm's fan relations guru, Steve Sansweet, to make a massive deal about it the company's Star Wars panel at Comic-Con next week. If they DIDN'T get their act together, and France IS getting better discs, expect fans to make a massive deal about it. We'll ask all the right people to see if we can find out the truth of the matter. Of course, we'll let you know.

We've got some more interesting standard DVD news to report today, starting with a follow-up on that French Star Wars DVD controversy we mentioned the other day. We've gotten a follow-up e-mail from our friend Arnaud at DVDRama in France. He's actually had the chance to see, with his own two eyes, the new Star Wars DVDs being released there, and it turns out Fox France was wrong. Someone in marketing over there apparently still doesn't know what anamorphic means. The special edition versions of the films on Disc One of each set are anamorphic, but the original theatrical editions on Disc Two of each are definitely NOT anamorphic. They're just letterboxed widescreen as we expected. Fox France has apparently apologized for the confusion, and we definitely appreciate Arnaud's efforts in confirming the truth of the situation. So to sum up, France is getting the same sub-par Star Wars DVDs as the rest of us.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #297 on: August 24, 2006, 05:34:08 PM »
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From thedigitalbits:

A follow-up on something we've been telling you to expect for quite while now. 2007, as you may well be aware, is the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars' debut in theaters. You'd have to be stupid not to know that Lucasfilm is going to have big DVD release plans with which to celebrate the anniversary, and we've been telling you that was the case for many months now. Indeed, during our last visit to the Ranch for the DVD release of Episode III, producer Rick McCallum confirmed that a box set of all six films was going to happen eventually, and animation director Rob Coleman even let it slip that the puppet Yoda from Episode I had already been replaced with a new CG Yoda to match Episodes II & III for the "future" release. T-Bone over at Star Wars Universe recently speculated about this box set, and we've been quietly checking in with our industry sources on it as well. Well, we've confirmed it: There IS a big, ultimate, 6-film Star Wars anniversary DVD box set planned for 2007. There will be more changes to the films, and there will be LOTS of new, never-before-seen special features - all the good stuff that was held back by Lucasfilm from the original Trilogy DVD release a few years ago. Think deleted scenes and more. We don't know if good, genuinely-REMASTERED versions of the original theatrical editions of the films will be included or not (though how you could call the set "ultimate" without them, we don't know). We don't expect high-definition versions yet, as those formats are just too new. We don't have ANY other details for you yet, so please don't ask. But as you consider whether or not to purchase the "limited edition" DVDs due on 9/12... we thought you should know that more IS absolutely on the way next year. 'Nuff said for now.
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tpfkabi

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #298 on: August 31, 2006, 07:08:06 PM »
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http://www.starwars.com/episode-iv/release/video/f20060825/index.html

shot by shot comparison between episode iv 1977 - 2004

i'm still hoping we'll see some press release stating they'll make the original anamorphic

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grand theft sparrow

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Re: Original Star Wars Trilogy to be released on DVD
« Reply #299 on: September 01, 2006, 08:17:58 AM »
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Like I said back in May...

IF this is true, [the unaltered trilogy is] just going to show up on the inevitable giant 24 disc special edition of the whole saga that will come out sometime next year that no one is talking about. 

And I'm betting they will show up anamorphic.

 

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