Author Topic: "Original" Orginal Trilogy on DVD!  (Read 15679 times)

Offline Matt

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2006, 04:51 PM »
Oh, ****.

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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.

Line up like Jersey cows and grease up yer teats, Force fans. Or better yet... run for the south forty as fast as your hooves'll carry you. Stampede!

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Offline Matt

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2006, 09:52 AM »
Here's more:

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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.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

It's one thing to not like the horrid cover art, or some other minor aspect of these releases, but the fact that the original version are apparently not gonna be enhanced for 16x9 TVs is something that everybody should be pissed about.  Because even if you don't have a widescreen TV now, you will eventually, and when you do, these old versions will look like absolute ass on it.

Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #62 on: May 18, 2006, 11:47 AM »
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.

Sigh.  How can Lucas be so out of touch with his fans?  It's so frustrating to see that he's finally agreed to give us the theatrical versions of the these movies, but at the poorer laserdisc quality than we should be getting.  I don't believe for a second that the original theatrical prints don't exist anymore.  ::)

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #63 on: May 18, 2006, 11:55 AM »
Never mind even it not being 16x9. It's a DVD mastered from an old D1 tape if its the laserdisc master. Here are some other titles released early on to DVD that used transfers intended for NTSC video format releases:




(The original release, not the SE)


(pre-cover change)



These titles were unacceptable in quality when they were released, and some of those go back as far as 1997. This is the league that the OT will be in. Shameful.

So, this really is just to plug the hole of bootlegs and milk people for money without any effort or consideration for quality. What a pile of garbage.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 11:55 AM by Jared »

Offline ruiner

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #64 on: May 18, 2006, 12:34 PM »
And if you're confused about the difference between anamorphic and non - check out this overview:

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/anamorphic235demo.html


Thanks to Yakface for the link.


Offline Matt

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #65 on: May 18, 2006, 01:12 PM »
So, this really is just to plug the hole of bootlegs and milk people for money without any effort or consideration for quality. What a pile of garbage.

Well, this is what Rebelscum's "DARTHJOSEPH" has to say to that:

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I could care less...I have a regular TV, I also hate anamorphic...it's not the original aspect ratio! Everyone wanted UNALTERED original Trilogy...now they will have it and are still not happy!

What is all this "anamorphic = altered" bull****?  There's a guy who's been a member at the Home Theater Forum for FIVE YEARS who's claiming the same thing.  I know that this stuff can be somewhat confusing at first, but all it takes is a little bit of research, like at the page Ruiner linked, to know exactly what "anamorphic" means, and to know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the content or aspect ratio of a film.


« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 01:13 PM by MWB »

SilverZ

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2006, 02:20 PM »
And honestly, welcome to 1997. If you haven't figured out aspect ratios or anamorphic squeeze on video by now, 2006, you're a lost cause. If you can't even set up a POS DVD player to downconvert 16:9 encodes for your POS 4:3 set, well, I feel sorry for the future of home entertainment.


Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2006, 02:29 PM »
What about those who have VCRs whose clock still blinks 12:00?  ;)

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2006, 02:47 PM »
My DVD player has an atomic clock or something, I've never set it and it's always been right.

Offline Diddly

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2006, 05:47 PM »
Screw this ****, I'll stick with my VHS versions.

SilverZ

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2006, 06:16 PM »
And the best of the bootlegs probably holds up pretty well to what LFL is ******** out.

I'll still get them (because I'll take the 5% improvement I'll get over my laserdiscs), but paying as much as they are asking for this rubbish is a complete insult.

This is on par with releasing Monkey-face Leia on a Vintage The Saga Collection card.

Offline Mitsukara

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2006, 01:30 AM »
Hmm... if this information is accurate, maybe I'll buy used 2004 DVDs and go ahead and burn my own DVD off a 1990 VHS tape (in a completely legal fashion of course and I'll, uhh, get rid of it in 24 hours) or not because that'd be slightly illegal. Right.

Ehh, we'll see. But I'll say that these are the times it's good to not keep up with currently-released stuff, because it means by the time I get something I'll be able to pick and choose my options. :) See, with videogames it just means that I've got more to catch up on...

Offline Jayson

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2006, 06:17 AM »
maybe I'll buy used 2004 DVDs and go ahead and burn my own DVD off a 1990 VHS tape (in a completely legal fashion of course and I'll, uhh, get rid of it in 24 hours) or not because that'd be slightly illegal. Right.


Making a backup DVD "archival copy" of your VHS tapes (that you bought) is perfectly legal as long as you don't start distributing/selling your newly made DVDs
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Offline Matt

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2006, 09:32 AM »
What is all this "anamorphic = altered" bull****?  There's a guy who's been a member at the Home Theater Forum for FIVE YEARS who's claiming the same thing.  I know that this stuff can be somewhat confusing at first, but all it takes is a little bit of research, like at the page Ruiner linked, to know exactly what "anamorphic" means, and to know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the content or aspect ratio of a film.

Nevermind--sounds like DARTHJOSEPH's finally got it all figured out:

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Actually I am quite aware of what anamorphic is...your link did nothing but prove my comment correct, it ISN'T THE ORIGINAL RATIO, it modifies the picture to fill a 16X9 TV...None of the Star Wars films were filmed in 16X9! I didn't comment on the quality of picture etc, etc. Thanks for the smug "non-correction" though

Brilliant!

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: Holy Trilogy on DVD!
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2006, 11:29 AM »
Obviously he knows better than you do.