Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray disc set
Buy it, you will
Review Cards on the table: I’m not a Star Wars obsessive. I have precious little interest in the prequel trilogy. Indeed, I prefer the high velocity chutzpah of the Clone Wars animated series. And I don’t own any Hayden Christensen action figures either, although there may be a Slave Leia in my sock drawer.
Six movies, nine discs
Consequently, I’m not coming to this blockbuster package with a checklist of supposed wrongs I want to see righted. If there’s a colour tint to The Phantom Menace I’m quite prepared to believe that George likes it like that – heck, he’s had enough time to make his mind up – and I’m equally happy if and when light sabres change hue mid-scene. However, I do have an enduring fondness for The Empire Strikes Back and I’m a sucker for behind the scenes insights into iconic cinema, of which there are plenty in Star Wars: The Complete Saga.
So I was pretty stoked when this nine disc set arrived – and for the most part, I’m pleased with what’s on offer. This is Star Wars looking and sounding immeasurably better than any version we’ve been able to buy before.
Pick a movie...
The original trilogy (episodes IV-VI) is the biggest beneficiary of this set’s 1080p encode. The original movie looks sensationally fresh, with sparkling levels of detail and depth. When the Imperial Cruiser flies overhead in that epochal opening sequence, the model looks virtually three-dimensional. Brilliant if you prefer your starships made, rather than rendered.
The Empire Strikes Back is equally epic. The razor-sharp picture reveals wonderful detail: when Luke takes out an Imperial Walker 33 minutes in, you can actually see the model being brought to its knees by a judicious prod of a stick.
Next page: Sound points
You clearly haven't seen Vader's "No"
If you had, you would realise that it wrecks the scene. As originally presented, Vader's emotional dilemma is made obvious through Dave Prowse's body language. Vocalising it strips away any requirement for subtlety of characterisation. Nothing plotwise has changed, but in terms of quality of presentation it's the sonic equivalent of taking a flying scene from Superman and putting the wires back in.
(BTW, you don't have to be an "obsessed fanboi" to believe that Han originally shot first, because it's blatantly fucking obvious that he did.)
Greedo shooting first
Han's a bad-ass smuggler. Greedo is a bounty-hunter, where bad-assery is more or less a prerequisite. At that range, if either of them pulls the trigger, the other guy is going down.
It's a tense negotiation, with Han being held at gunpoint. Finally, with the gun pointing straight at Han, Greedo fires and takes half the plaster off the wall. What the fuck? Did he bend his blaster or something? He's supposed to be a bad-ass, but he can't shoot an adult human at a range of about 4 feet! That's so ham-fisted, he could make a knuckle sandwich sound quite appealing.
That's the bit that makes no sense. If there was a scuffle, lurching to feet, table thrown over, and *then* Greedo missed, it would be understandable. But to change history to make a shady character look like a nice guy is just stupid. You might as well have had Joseph Stalin in the editing suite...
Han's a bastard. He shot first to make sure he didn't shoot last. He's a smuggler, not a nice guy. That's who he's supposed to be. Put it back.
Is this a good review?
Unofrtunately, while the reviewer is not a Star Wars obsessive, a lot of the people that are going to be interested in the boxset *are* and what the review misses is that a lot of key scenes have been altered.
The one that has turned into an internet meme is the fact that now Vader pointlessly shouts "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo" before tossing Emperor Palaptine down the well, the unnecessary scene in A New Hope featuring an appalling CGI Jabba confronting Han in Mos Eisley, the removal of the "yub-nub" song from Return of the Jedi, placing Hayden Christainsen in the line up at the end of Return of the Jedi, the whole "Han shot first" thing.....the list goes on.
"I have altered the Original Trilogy. Pray I don't alter it any further." - George Lucas.
Not the original trilogy...
Doesn't it at least deserve a mention that these are not the original theatrical versions?
"I could care less"
Pet peeve noted