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Multimedia => The Original Trilogy => Topic started by: SilverZ on September 9, 2004, 11:42 PM

Title: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 9, 2004, 11:42 PM
Updated today after watching the Disc 1...

Disc 1 - Episode IV: A New Hope

Overview

It's A New Hope. Sitting and watching the movie from start to finish without interuption was a real treat and something I haven't done in a long time. If you're a purist, you'll still hate the SE changes. This is still the Special Edition, with further changes, all which have been discussed to death. Jabba has been updated, Han and Greedo now shoot kind-sorta simultaneously, the CG 3P0 model has been update on the Mos Eisley approach, the Vader and Ben duel has new lightsaber effects, and the Dianoga now has eyelids. Sure, it's not frame for frame what we all saw in theaters 25 years ago, but I have to just say, after watching this version, and remembering how much I like the STORY and the CHARACTERS, this is still the same story, the same characters. This movie is still great. So let it go.

Video - 5/5

Seeing and dreading the many changes that have leaked across the web I had a very negative outlook on how this movie was going to perform. There's been issues with saber color, new CG changes, and the like.  The good news is this disc looks so good, so much better than it has ever been presented, that those issues fall aside. Quickly.

It's obvious from the moment you see the interior corridors of the Tantive. The walls are vibrantly white. The Fleet Troopers have natural skin tones. You notice definition in the walls, actors skin, buttons on the walls; everywhere there is detail. And nowhere is the ever print damage, dirt, or speckles. It is like watching a new movie. The previous SE laserdisc realease, and the OT laserdisc release before it do not even compare. You'll be shocked by a sense of accuracy in color and detail. It's a revelation. You now see texture in Obi-Wan's brown cloak and you clearly see that his inner robe is tattered, smudged, and worn. R2's dome doesn't just look metallic, but the blue patches on it are clearly blue, and there are scratch marks and wear visible on his dome. You can see creases in Carrie Fisher's hand as she interacts with R2. There are rarely, if ever, hints of MPEG-2 artifacting, even in the early Tatooine desert scenes with moving sand.

The new restoration has brought out flaws that were previously masked, most noticable the first shot of Luke's lightsaber aboard the Falcon. It appears obviously green. In subsequent shots, it returns to a washed-out aqua color. While the Vader and Ben duel has newly redone saber effects that work perfectly, the earlier shots now look more dated and actually even broken by the process that has otherwise made enourmous improvements to the picture quality.

Audio - 4/5

Again, a major suprise. The audio has been remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. This is not a direct port of the 5.1 mixed used for the theatrical SE release or the subsequent laserdisc AC3 track. This is a newly created mix built from the ground up using the original sfx stems, voice tracks, and multichannel music masters. Considering the wreck that has been made of the PT audio (heavy on sound fx, and William's score pushed to the back) this new track's creation was cause for major concern. However, it's turned out brilliantly.

William's score soars with as much power as ever before, but this time with an increased clarity and subtle nuances allowed for by both the remix and the increased data rate of the Dolby track, which is at 448kbs. I heard new fidelity in the performance that isn't even clearly defined in the SE soundtrack releases from 1997.

Dialog no longer sounds "tinny" on the new mix. To those familiar with the soundtrack of ANH compared with ESB and Jedi, the dialog was mixed excessively bandwidth-compressed, which limited low and high range frequencies in the dialog tracks to account for limited performance of theater speaker systems of the time. This was most noticable in Vader's voiceover, which often had a shrill sound to it and lacked the resonance of James Earl Jones' booming voice that becomes to powerful in the later movies. The great news is that dialog is now clear and robust for all the actors' lines, although you do hear varying degrees of quality and inconsistency, but overall it's a major improvement. Vader, most importantly, sounds competitive with the later recordings for ESB and Jedi. I'm thrilled with the improvement.

The sound effects are remixed as well, and there is a minor, but noticable improvement in directionality across the front soundstage, and solid and unobtrusive use of surrounds. What is important to note with this new mix, especially in comparison with the SE 5.1 track, is that it has been freed of many of the gimmicks that were added in 1997. The LFE channel has been freed up of the rediculous overuse and emphasis and instead is used sparingly and appropriatly. The rear channels and ambiance without distracting from the events on-screen, which wasn't the case before. Again, a wonderful surpise.

There are some additions that purists will freak out over, however. There have been a few additions to the soundtrack. For example, a quiet, tiny "thunk" can be heard when the Stormtrooper bonks his head on the door to the command center in the Death Star. To those purists, this may be blasphmesy, but in context of the scene, and how subtley it was used, I found it perfectly acceptable.

Supplements - Audio Commentary

The audio commentary for ANH includes George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. A majority of the track is Lucas, who spends most of his time discussing the process of developing his characters, the construction and meaning of his themes, and his underlying inspiration for the choices he made. He rarely goes into technical detail on the film or other issues. It's interesting that someone so asscciated with technology and accused as of late of being bereft of storytelling ability and character, speaks so elloquently about the character and story direction of this movie. It's a good listen. Carrie Fisher chimes in rarely, mostly discussing the actor's perspective during the shoot, but is mostly silent. Ben Burtt covers his sound effects development with some minor interest. Muren chimes in occasionally with some FX information that's common knowledge to SW fans. The track is about 90% Lucas, 10% Fisher/Burtt/Muren.

Disc 4 - Bonus Material

The supplemental disc includes several mini-documentaries as well as a 10 minute featurette on Episode 3, which mostly revolves around the creation of the new Vader costume for the movie. While all interesting in their own way, none can compare to the chief feature, which I want to give a description of in detail. I love this documentary!

Empire of Dreams

This new docu is the emphasis of the supplemental disc. It’s out and out the best documentary on Star Wars ever made. Free of ego-messaging compliments and full of honest commentary and recollections on the development, preproduction and release of all three movies (with most emphasis placed on A New Hope) there’s information and footage that even the most studious of Star Wars scholars will find fascinating.

Modern interviews range the entirety of cast, crew, and studio, including Howard Kazanjian, Irvin Kirchner, Alan Ladd, Jr., Ralph McQuarrie, Norman Reynolds, Robert Watts, Peter Diamond, Paul Hirsch, Phil Tippet, John Williams, Gary Kurtz, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones, Carrie Fisher, and so on. There’s so many faces it’s impossible to list. Just the fact that people long alienated from the Lucas camp make appearances is a thrill in itself.

They all share their experiences, good or bad, with an honesty and candidness rarely seen and presented for public consumption. Alan Ladd shares his fears of being fired for defending the movie by Fox. Hamill, Ford, and Fisher offer opinions on Lucas’s direction to actors. There’s tales of studio intervention and bad ideas during panic moments. Lucas speaks about his own hypertension diagnosis during post production. Gary Kurtz illustrates his influence in putting concepts like the Force on-screen, even while creating turbulence with the director. It’s all laid out in detail and refreshing frankness.

Best of all, we finally get THE ORIGINAL TITLE CRAWL, minus the “Episode IV: A New Hope” addition.

The doc starts with George Lucas’s history and build up to the eventual start of filming on Star Wars. We get extended glimpses of the original student film THX-1138. A layman’s explanation of Joseph Campbell, and Lucas’s ties to his ideas in storytelling are detailed. His friends and teachers at USC speak of his work mentality. The backstory of American Graffiti illustrates how Lucas came together with many of the folks that helped make Star Wars a success, including Gary Kurtz. Along the way, we’re shown some truly rare images - Snapshots of his handwritten “The Star Wars” May 1973 story treatment. Lucas’s sequel rights retention and salary contracts on the film.

We’re taken through the pitching of the movie to studios and Fox’s eventual greenlight. We learn about the creation of ILM, and see photos and home video of their start-up LA offices circa 1975-76. Joe Johnston, Steve Gawly, Lorne Peterson, Dennis Muren, Richard Edlund, John Dykstra, and Ken Ralston all offer on-camera insights. 

The casting of the movie is shown and detailed in much greater depth than even the Behind the Magic CD-ROM did.  Newly released screen tests of Kurt Russell as Han Solo with William Katt (Greatest American Hero) as Luke Skywalker are presented. Terri Nunn, Cindy Williams, and Carrie Fisher test as Leia with Ford.  Previously released screen tests of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher are also include, in less edited form than the CD-ROM. There are also reflections on the screen tests by the actors. Fisher discusses being requested to attend a fat farm to lose 10 pounds prior to filming. We later get thoughts from the English cast with new Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Anthony Daniels interviews. Vintage footage of R2 tests with Baker inside is included. Daniels reminisces on how he took the job by seeing a McQ painting. Fantastic stuff.

We are taken to the shoot in Tunisia through behind the scenes footage, most of it never released before. You’ll see shots of Stormtroopers, 3P0, and Tuskens partially in costume during rehearsals, the struggle with the desert heat, operation of the droid props, a smiling and cheerful Alec Guinness, shots from Mos Eisely with the original on-set audio (you can hear the truck pulling the landspeeder and the voices of the stormtrooper stuntment). I’m so happy to finally see some meat and potatoes behind the scenes peeks!

Afterward, we’re taken to Elstree Studios in London. You’ll hear Chewbacca speak in English during a scene, saying “the old man’s mad!” Candid discussions of the problems working with British union crews, problems with morale, problems with cameramen’s pride, disappointment with the cantina aliens, joking around on set in the Death Star, performing the chasm swing, b-roll of the Ben/Vader duel are all revealed.

Much of all this overwhelming information is presented with clips from the movie often of alternate takes of well known scenes. Leia’s comments on the Imperials after the destruction of Alderaan and Ben’s comments to Vader before their duel are revealed to have been trimmed from the movie. The docu is so full of information that fun revelations such as these are not even discussed, but simply there for our consumption. 

We follow the film’s development as the crew splits into three units to finish the film on time. They run late and miss their intended Christmas release. There’s shock of the bad first assembly. Lucas discusses being unhappy with the editor, the re-editing the film himself, and then the hiring new editors while bringing Marsha Lucas. New interviews with Richard Chew, commenting on the task of bringing more excitement to the pace of the movie add insight. Hints of plenty of tricks done in editing, including looping the Tusken’s raging gaffi stick shake, are shown.

We are treated to lots of footage of the FX crew, as the scramble to get their work done, under pressure and scrutiny after half of their FX budget is wasted on unusable footage.

At one point, a side by side comparison of the animatic footage Lucas provided of WW2 dogfights, and how they match up almost shot for shot, reveal how creative a process Lucas and his team pioneered. This is all done without ever proclaiming anything “pioneering” and you are left to make that call for yourself. 

Sound design with Ben Burtt comes next. Vintage footage of him recording in the field is shown, while he describes sources that make up the composite sound effects. Origins and techniques for doing R2’s effects, which includes electronic synthesizers and human vocal performances are mentioned. There’s creating Vader’s breathing. Casting James Earl Jones. Amusing David Prowse performances on-set contrasting the voice we know with the voice the actors heard. Discussions of the alternate voice actors who auditioned for 3P0’s aborted voice replacement.

The private screening for Lucas’s friends. Steven Spielberg discuss their reactions to the rough, unfinished film.

The John Williams score is documented from his introduction to Lucas through Steven Speilberg. Their working relationship is described in terms of emotional anchoring to the characters. Footage is shown of the LSO recording in 1977.

The marketing of A New Hope is featured. Even the original trailer is brought up. We hear accounts of the comic show connections with sci-fi fans, the development of comics, novels, and merchandising tie-ins. We hear the disappointed of theater’s lack of interest in showing the movie and their guerilla tactics in winning people’s attention. The cast and crew then recounts their reaction to the finished film and the ensuing popularity, before the doc spins into its account of the sequel developments.

For us, there's a good, yet small section on the figures, with a couple edits of Kenner commercials and discussion on the Early Bird set and licensing the toys in general.

This is the portion of the documentary that is slated to appear on A&E this weekend. I’ll get back with more on the second hour and a quarter of the doc (if this hasn’t bored you all to tears) soon.

-J

ESB:

Add in as much detail on this movie as dedicated to ANH, and interviews with Lawrence Kasdan, Frank Oz, Stuart Freeborn, Billy Dee Williams, and you get an idea how cool this is. There seems to be an abundance of footage of much greater detail than the ANH section. Lots of Yoda shooting, Norway, and Elstree. More unifinished FX shots and extra snippets. Great Dagobah outtakes; for example, Mark Hamill: "Owww! He ******' bit me!"

Blooper Reel/Credits

A blooper reel is hidden on the 4th disc. If you have direct title access with your player, it's title 18.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Diddly on September 10, 2004, 11:41 PM
Here's IGN.com's review of the entire set.

http://dvd.ign.com/articles/545/545786p1.html (http://dvd.ign.com/articles/545/545786p1.html)
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Angry Ewok on September 11, 2004, 01:48 AM
This "review" on IGN sucks ass. All it is, is a bunch of "I remember when I first saw Star Wars" bla bla-ing and bullshitting. I'm on Page 6 of 10 and the 4 or 5 authors have said maybe two things specifically about the DVD's.

If it weren't for the screenshots I'd wonder if IGN really had a copy of the DVD's or if it was just a ploy for hits.

Update:

Just skip over to Page 8, where they finally actually talk about the DVD.  ::)
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: JediMAC on September 11, 2004, 02:24 AM
I'm absolutely stoked to hear that Luke's sissy girl scream while he's falling down the Bespin shaft has now been removed...   8)  At least George has admitted to one mistake now, two if you count the much better ANH Jabba (though the scene itself still sucks).

Glad to hear of the awesome picture and sound quality Jared.  I was fearing the worst, like you, with all of the tinkering George was doing on this.  But it sounds like it won't be quite so bad after all.  Still some poor choices and bad/missing edits, but overall it sounds pretty good!

How'd the new Emperor scene in ESB look?
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 12, 2004, 03:05 AM
Watched ESB in its entirety last night. The new Emperor, with the new dialog, is ok. Not great, but ok. It's slow but comes off better when watching the movie than the audio clip alone sounded. I can take it or leave it. The Boba lines are the new groan inducer of the movie. The "as you weesh" and "he's no good to me dayd" lines are terrible reads, but the final line, "put Captain Solo in the cargo hold" is dead on, timing-wise, and sounds perfectly natural, even as Tem Morrison. It's definitely the reading of the lines that is the startling factor of the change, not the actual voice of the actor. Oh dear.

My thoughts on the audio and video quality hold true to what I thought of ANH, though the leap isn't as drastic from the previous LD transfers for this (and for ROTJ, which I've skimmed but not watched all the way through). They all look and sound great, but ANH is the one that's really been given a new life.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Rob L on September 12, 2004, 12:45 PM
So what about the voices of the Stormtroopers, were they not redone by TM too? If not, it seems strange given that we’re supposed to believe they are also clones of Jango.  Actually, I hope there IS more to it than simply Clonetroopers = Stormtroopers.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 12, 2004, 03:22 PM
Yeah, all the stormies are unchanged and TM only does the Boba lines... thankfully. Hopefully that means they're not all Jango clones. There's something still really cool about the conversation the two troopers are having in the DS corridor while Ben sneaks by after deactivating the tractor beam. It hinted at them all having their own personality and it would be sad to see that lost.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Rob L on September 12, 2004, 04:48 PM
There's something still really cool about the conversation the two troopers are having in the DS corridor while Ben sneaks by after deactivating the tractor beam. It hinted at them all having their own personality and it would be sad to see that lost.

Exactly! I was just watching Star Wars the other day and thought the very same thing when that scene was on.  I thought to myself, “the new set will ruin all that”:  it’s really great to hear that TM doing the Stormie voices didn’t happen :)
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 14, 2004, 01:32 AM
Hooh boy, I just finished watching Jedi.   :-\

Same old whimper of a final act movie, but what else is new? There's the obvious 2004 changes that there are other threads on so I won't bother. I will say that the Rancor scene looks much, much better... from an fx standpoint. There's just a nagging problem with the image that brings it all down.

Video: 3/5

What a disappointment when compared to ANH and ESB! The digital restoration is on par with the other two, and the result is a nice even picture full of detail like it's never seen before, and entirely free of dirt and minimal artifacting. But it's completely screwed by one glaring issue. Those problems with sabers during the end duel? It's now certainly an artifact of a really sloppy color timing job. This problem is most easily noticed on Endor. During many shots, the green foliage has a faint reddish tint to it, and flesh tones look burnt - overall, the image looks "brown." Then in other shots (sometimes immediately following a "brown" shot) the foliage is dead-on vibrant green and flesh tones look consistent with ANH and ESB.

I'm pretty anal about the calibration of my projector, it has been proffessionally calibrated and regularly doubled-checked with Avia and Digital Video Essentials, plus its a DLP and doesn't shift color too much anyhow. But ROTJ had me thinking I had gone and screwed up my settings, until I noticed the fluctuation in color consistency from shot to shot.

Some parts look perfect, and others look, well, wrong. It's like someone was asleep at the wheel. Underneath this imperfection is a clear image, but the inconsistent presentation is completely distracting and shouldn't have been an issue. I call this a ****-up on the part of Lucasfilm. Disappointing. And unnecessary

Audio: 4/5

Sounds good, but it doesn't seem to have the robustness of ESB or the brand-spanking newness of ANH. It sounds identical to the AC3 track from the SE Laserdisc with some better definition afforded from the higher 448 bitrate. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not a standout.

Sigh.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 14, 2004, 02:55 AM
Here's a sample of the updated Vader voice (old mix first, new second):

Vader Change (http://home.austin.rr.com/obiwanspicoli/vader.mp3)

Much, much better.

Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: amarsella on September 14, 2004, 11:26 AM
Here's a sample of the updated Vader voice (old mix first, new second):

Vader Change (http://home.austin.rr.com/obiwanspicoli/vader.mp3)

Much, much better.



Wow that is better! I always hated that it sounded as if Vader was speaking into an empty coffee can in ANH.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Brian on September 14, 2004, 03:35 PM
I always thought that sounded a little off too, glad to hear it has been spruced up.  Can't wait for these DVDs, nice reviews Tydirium.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: jokabofe on September 15, 2004, 02:53 AM
OK, I had a chance to check out ANH and ESB as well as the Bonus Disc tonight at a friend's place. I opted to go there and watch it instead of my place, since he has a beautiful home theater that puts mine to shame - DLP Projector, 90" screen, 7.1 Surround... you get the picture.

As everyone has already pointed out, the transfers on these films is amazing. There is no other word to describe it. I noticed details on the walls in the Tantive, the Death Star, the Falcon - and just about any other set in the films that I've never seen before. Details on R2 dome and body and C-3PO's body that I never knew existed. Jared already pointed out that you can see how tattered Ben's clothing is under his robe. Amazing.

And sound quality? I thought I was at the friggin' airport, the sound was so amazing. When a Star Destroyer or the Falcon was on the screen, you could feel the entire room shake. Incredible.

I can't wait till tomorrow, since I'm going back to check out ROTJ, even though it was my least favorite in the OT. I still need to see the "new" version on his screen, 'cause watching it on my small 36" tv is gonna suck now  :-\
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 15, 2004, 11:30 AM
Hey...can anyone get a shot of Hoth Han's coat in the Empire of Dreams movie.  It is pretty clearly shown to Brown, be a nice piece of ammo to use against the Blue crowd, thanks :-*
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: jokabofe on September 15, 2004, 07:12 PM
One think I forgot to mention last night... there was a pretty discernable (at least to me) audio hiccup in ANH... the dialog gets kinda wonky at times, with a serious background hum for lack of a better term. It's not a hum per se, but it's just... there, like surrounding the dialog. I noticed it particuary bad when there was not much action going on, like when Owen and Beru are conversing about letting Luke go to the academy. When Owen was talking, there was a massive background noise that's not supposed to be there, since it went away when Beru spoke. Not to mention that her lines were much lower in volume than his. And then when he spoke another line, the background noise was there.

On another note, I was comparing the image quality of these new discs to copies of the 95 restoration on Laser Disc as well as the 97 Special Edition on Laser Disc. Ridiculous transfers, absolutely amazing. Like I said before, there are so many details that I never noticed before. I had always appreciated the quality of the Laser Discs compared with the VHS copies I had, but comparing those transfers to this would be like comparing 8 track to Super Audio CD.

If these new Special Special Editions are the only way to get the films in this kind of quality... I hate to say it, but I'm loving it. To me, the quality of the transfers outweighs the crappy Special Edition bits. But that's just me. Besides, I'd be willing to put money on it that one of these homemade editors out there does his best to try and remove all the Special Edition add-ons from these discs and uploads the "As Close to the Original Trilogy As Possible" edits to a server near you sometime in the near future. And I'll be there waiting for it.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 21, 2004, 03:37 PM
If these new Special Special Editions are the only way to get the films in this kind of quality... I hate to say it, but I'm loving it. To me, the quality of the transfers outweighs the crappy Special Edition bits. But that's just me.

Totally agree. Once you're able to sit down and watch the movies, and see how good fantastic they look, a lot of the SE grievances can be dismissed. To me, at least. It's high time to just relax and enjoy the damn movies. They still are great fun.

Did anyone pick up the new release of the soundtrack? I forgot to pick it up. There's been some confusion as to whether they are true SACDs or not... they've been listed as DSD mastered, but no one can confirm them being actual SACD discs. Weird.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Diddly on September 21, 2004, 08:54 PM
Are there any deleted scenes included in the films?
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 21, 2004, 11:36 PM
Watched ANH tonight and it was like watching a whole new movie with a new set of eyes.  I sort of sat there with a dumbfounded grin on my face that this was something I had never seen before.  Trying to imagine myself in a theater in 1977.

The new color and sound make it seem like ANH is no longer technologically lacking in any way with the exception of some display screens and the Death Star Room

Wowza I cannot wait to see Empire and Jedi now...well worth the wait and I can't actually believe that I just that!

A couple of changes I noticed:

The Dragon Scream Obi-Wan yells to scare off the Tuskens is different

They added a Sound Effect in the Detention Block that was a constant oscillating tone, maybe its always been there but I really noticed it today

Vader in the older version used to continue and point and gesture at Tarkin in one scene without any dialogue (when they report there was a break in on the Detention Level)  Looks like he's CGI there now

The boxes around the TIE's when the Falcon escapes are even more annoying now for some reason.  That whole scene should eventually be CGI

Loved the new Lightsaber effects, loved the cleaned up color and that is the thing that impresses me the most of the whole thing so far.  Amazing!
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: jokabofe on September 22, 2004, 12:58 AM
Are there any deleted scenes included in the films?

Nope. I guess we'll have to wait and buy the Extra Extra Special 30th Anniversary Editions, and even then we'll only get about half. If that.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Mikey D on September 22, 2004, 09:14 AM
Watched ANH and about 40 minutes of ESB last night.  Even with our piece of **** TV, they look great.  Crisp, clear and they sound great.

I agree with Scott, the boxes around the TIEs were weird.  I barely noticed them before and now they stand out like a sore thumb. 

The Han-Greedo scene looks much better, but it's one of the few changes I'm still a little pissed at.

I noticed a few minor changes here and there - basically a few changes in dialoge and some additional sounds.  There was definitely more screaming and moaning when Obi Wan cut off Ponda's arm.  It's been awhile since I've watched these and I may not remember everything but the subtle changes are there.

Overall, I'm finally glad these are out on DVD and the changes really don't bother me that much and so far, they look and sound great.  Now I just have to talk the wife into getting a better setup to watch these on.  ;)
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Jeff on September 22, 2004, 01:47 PM
Watched ANH tonight and it was like watching a whole new movie with a new set of eyes.  I sort of sat there with a dumbfounded grin on my face that this was something I had never seen before.  Trying to imagine myself in a theater in 1977.

I totally agree.  I found myself noticing little details I never saw before!  I kept thinking, "I've seen this movie 1,000,000 times before, how could I have not noticed that!"

It got so bad, I had to break out the THX non-special edition and Sepcial Edition on VHS to watch and compare.  Dang, does ANH look fantastic now!

:)

Jeff
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 22, 2004, 02:51 PM
They seemed to have added a few lines of dialogue as well...C-3PO now says "We've stopped" at the Purchase of the Droids scene and the Stormies when they inspect the Falcon say "There's Nobody Here"

I'm still in awe at the beauty of the movie though, the cleaness of it all is amazing. 

Jabba still looks like **** though, I think Episode I Jabba did as well.  How hard can it be to replicate a puppet, it can't be, can it?  Oh wait, they did that with Episode II Yoda didn't they?  Jeeze Louise I wonder about them sometimes...

But that stuff is just nitpicky, overall I can say I am more than happy...Hoth tonight!!!
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: JediMAC on September 22, 2004, 03:08 PM
I think both of those lines were there originally.  Maybe with the enhanced audio, they're just easier to hear now.

Or maybe cause you're almost 30, you're just getting senile.   :-*
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Holographic Elvis on September 22, 2004, 10:12 PM
I watched ANH today.  It was like a whole new movie.  Still not sure why they didn't fix the part where Vader keeps gesturing to Tarkin yet no dialogue is spoken. 

Did anyone else think Luke's saber during his training on the Falcon looked green at first and then more white than blue the rest of the time?  I don't know why, but it just looked greenish/white and not anything near the blue of Obi-Wan's.  Nice job cleaning up the sabers during the Vader/Obi-Wan duel.  Always bugged me how they were so off compared to the other sabers.

And I'm in agreement that the TIE boxes were extremely annoying this time around. 
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 23, 2004, 12:11 AM
Yeah the green saber is a little baffling

Empire was good...I was amazed at the greens of Dagobah, never knew there was so much color there.  Its been a blast watching both of these movies again.  A couple of things...

I'm in agreement with rebeltrader on the Emperor scene now, the son of Anakin Skywalker stuff is sort of redundant.  I guess though that the audience watching 1 through 6 would already know this and so maybe it makes some sense

Boba's lines were fine to me too, not really that bad at all, the accent is there but its Jango, Jango has the same thing.  I didn't really notice any timing issues
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Angry Ewok on September 23, 2004, 12:35 AM
*Ben Kenobi has a new howl (which is cool)

*One of the stormies does have new dialogue, "It's Empty" or something to that effect. I don't remember that line from the original or SE.

*The model-boxes are so horrible its sickening. Its worse in ROTJ. What the hell is stopping LucasFilm from fixing this? Not enough money? Not enough time? Give me a break.

*I want Fett's original voice back. T. Morrison's voice is crappy, and he doesn't even like Star Wars or Star Wars fans - why give him more work? Bah!

*Is it just me or does ESB have a new Imperial Shuttle shot?

*For whatever reason, the black slugs weren't removed from Palpatine's face in ROTJ.

*Most of the throne shots are pretty bland, there isn't much contrast and what should be black comes off more like a dark reddish brown. Vader's saber is pink. The framework on the windows are shotty looking. Put it this way - ROTJ wasn't given nearly as much TLC as A New Hope.

*Noticed a few instances of audio going haywire. Yoda's, "Feel like what?" didn't come through right, it sounded like it was a whisper in the back speaker.

Anyway, its great to finally have these on DVD, but I'm not going to have much mercy. I'm pretty pissed about ROTJ being neglected the way it has been. It's almost as if whoever was in charge of ANH/ESB's restoration, took a look at ROTJ and said, "Ah, I'm sure nobody will watch this one, anyway." As much time as these people had, there's no excuse for how bad the throne room duel looks.

ps. Solo/Greedo scene still looks like garbage.

Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: amarsella on September 23, 2004, 02:05 AM
I noticed a wierd thing with Yoda's dialogue when Yoda is on Luke's back and Luke asks "Is the darkside stronger?". When Yoda answers he says "No.", then there's a mumble and he says,  "Easier. More Seductive"

I noticed it in the documentary when they showed a clip and on the DVD so I guess it's always been there but I never noticed it.

Has anyone else noticed this? Anybody know what the whole line is/should be?
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Brian on September 23, 2004, 09:19 AM
Got a chance to watch ANH and ESB yesterday, and hopefully ROTJ tonight or this weekend.  I'm glad to see that many of you have been noticing the same things, feeling the same way about the DVDs as I have.  I agree with what Scott said, it was like watching new movies for the first time.  I kept commenting to my wife throughout both movies that I just couldn't believe how different, clearer, and better the movies looked.

I also noticed so many differences on Dagobah.  To me the whole planet and scenes on that planet seemed to be cast in a muddy brown color, but on these new DVDs, everything stands out so well.  Yoda is more color defined, and all the greens that can be seen in the Dagobah environment, everything just looks so nice.

To be honest, the changes I have seen so far in the first two movies haven't really bothered me.  I would have been fine with them leaving Boba's voice alone, but I guess it doesn't sound terrible.  The new Emperor scene, while the dialogue could have just stayed the same IMO, is probably an improvement visual-wise.  The new hologram looks better I think.  Jabba in ANH looks better than the original SE version, but still seems like they could do better than that.  While the Jabba doesn't look terrible, it doesn't look like the ROTJ version...and that sort of bothers me.

Anyways, little quibbles and changes aside, I am so happy to have these on DVD.  The movies truly have never looked better, at least of the ones I've seen (ANH and ESB), the sound is improved, and it is just a great way to enjoy my favorite movies of all time.  I keep saying it, but it is just amazing to me how different the movies look from the SE VHS tapes I bought (just a couple years back).  A great improvement, and I'm looking forward to watching Jedi soon too.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: DSJ™ on September 23, 2004, 10:25 AM
I noticed a wierd thing with Yoda's dialogue when Yoda is on Luke's back and Luke asks "Is the darkside stronger?". When Yoda answers he says "No.", then there's a mumble and he says,  "Easier. More Seductive"

I noticed it in the documentary when they showed a clip and on the DVD so I guess it's always been there but I never noticed it.

Has anyone else noticed this? Anybody know what the whole line is/should be?

I watched it last night at work on my portable DVD player. Awesome picture on this little unit, the sound & man is it clear!  :o

As for the scene, right after Yoda's little training speech, Luke says "Vader. Is the dark side stronger?"
Yoda replys, "No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive". Quicker is said very fast & sounds like a mumble.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: amarsella on September 23, 2004, 11:25 AM
I noticed a wierd thing with Yoda's dialogue when Yoda is on Luke's back and Luke asks "Is the darkside stronger?". When Yoda answers he says "No.", then there's a mumble and he says,  "Easier. More Seductive"

I noticed it in the documentary when they showed a clip and on the DVD so I guess it's always been there but I never noticed it.

Has anyone else noticed this? Anybody know what the whole line is/should be?





I watched it last night at work on my portable DVD player. Awesome picture on this little unit, the sound & man is it clear!  :o

As for the scene, right after Yoda's little training speech, Luke says "Vader. Is the dark side stronger?"
Yoda replys, "No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive". Quicker is said very fast & sounds like a mumble.


Thanks! Weird that I never noticed that before.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 23, 2004, 12:03 PM
That line has always been there :-*
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on September 23, 2004, 01:35 PM
In ESB, unfortunately the Luke "You're lucking you don't taste very good" line is still gone from Dagobah. I'm afraid to complain too loudly or it will get fixed and they'll bring back the Bespin girly scream in future versions in return.  ;)
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Ben on September 23, 2004, 06:11 PM
I was watching ESB last night, and it skipped five times in the first twenty minutes. It didn't do it at all after that, and I checked the disc, and it's not dirty or scratched, so I don't know what the hell is wrong with it.

Probably my player. I should get a new one.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: amarsella on September 23, 2004, 07:21 PM
I was watching ESB last night, and it skipped five times in the first twenty minutes. It didn't do it at all after that, and I checked the disc, and it's not dirty or scratched, so I don't know what the hell is wrong with it.

Probably my player. I should get a new one.

I had an issue with ANH disc and had to exchange the set for another.  There were two spots where the video just got hung and I had to hit play again to get it going. Only when I hit play it jumped to the place on the disc that it would have been had it not paused itself. Never saw that before on a DVD.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 24, 2004, 10:55 AM
Got to watch the first half of Jedi, not as many tweaks that I saw with this one visually, I am now pissed they still couldn't get the color right though on the ANH Jabba.  How hard is it to go in and digitally match the colors?  I mean come on...

I love being able to watch the Cantina and Jabba's Palace scene in Slo-Mo.  And I want a Hermi Odle figure :-\

Is there a new shot of TIE Interceptors flying above the Death Star????

I got to the point where Luke and Leia discuss Padme and almost fell asleep, Jedi has a way of doing that for some reason...
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: DoctorPadawan on September 25, 2004, 10:05 AM
Quote
Did anyone pick up the new release of the soundtrack? I forgot to pick it up. There's been some confusion as to whether they are true SACDs or not... they've been listed as DSD mastered, but no one can confirm them being actual SACD discs. Weird.

Well, I can confirm they are not SACDs, but they are labelled as being DSD mastered on the sticker affixed to the outer plastic wrapping.  I picked up all three sets at a WM the other day for just over 30 bucks total (a story in and of itself), but I have only had the chance to listen to ANH so far.  It sounded really good on my headphones, but since I tend to listen to the ESB:SE soundtrack much more than the others, it will be a few days before I can say with any authority that the remastering shows any real difference in sound quality.

I guess I should chime in with the "review" of the layout and packaging of the new CD sets, just in case some of you SE owners (of which I am proud to be one) wanted to know if the packaging had been reproduced.

Overall, the packaging is similar to the Episode I single disc that Sony put out in 1999.  Instead of a booklet, each liner has a six panel foldout with the front and back cover, a two panel section with track titles, and another two panel section with the recording information (producer, engineer, etc).  On the back of each is another photoshopped "poster" with characters from each film.  The "lenticular" cover is actually a piece to itself separate from the CD liner.  The case is another slimline double disc case although it tends to be more secure than other slimline doubles I've seen in recent years.

The really annoying thing is that the discs and the back liner of the CD case have these huge and gaudy FBI Warnings on them now that are the musical equivalent of the obnoxiousness of the VHS/DVD FBI warnings.  Seriously, this is the first time I've seen these on CDs, and it made me ill.  Before long, CDs won't even have covers; it'll just be one huge warning label.

Okay, the individual discs now have new artwork that is not uniform like the SEs had.  ANH has Luke on Disc 1 and Vader on disc 2; ESB has Boba Fett on Disc 1 and Vader on Disc 2; and ROTJ has Luke and Leia on Disc 1 and Palpatine on Disc 2.  The artwork is totally unique to these releases, and none of the SE content is repeated in terms of the packaging.  Which is my key argument with the packaging.

The excellent liner notes from the SE releases are not included at all.  That was one of my favorite things about those releases (other than the obvious music), and I am really sad to see that they weren't included so that Sony could include one of their crappy "posters" in the liner notes instead.  I'm in the process of typing all these notes into a .doc so I'll still have them around, so if anyone else decides to sell off their SE sets in favor of these and still wants the notes, drop me a PM and I'll email you a copy of my typing.

The important thing though is the music and I'm happy to say that ANH does sound really good.  Thankfully, the tracks from the SE are all intact (including takes 16-20, even though they aren't listed on the cover or notes at all; people who haven't heard the SE sets are going to be confused I think when those come on), and nothing was omitted (as in no creative decisions were made to obliterate sections of John Williams' score so Ben Burtt could show us how big his dick is).  The other discs seem to contain all the tracks from the SEs and the times are the same, but I will not comment on the content until I have had a chance to listen to them later this week.

Overall, I don't feel as if I was cheated by paying 10 bucks for ANH, but the loss of the excellent liner notes and those huge ass FBI warnings really irritated me.  But, the music is what is important, and ANH sounds great.  I'll post again once I've had a chance to listen to the other two, since ROTJ seems to be the one that most people are curious about, due to the dropoff in sound quality on disc two of the SE releases.

But since this is about the DVDs, I'll comment on those...

The changes don't bother me a bit anymore.  Jabba doesn't look ridiculous, the Han-Greedo shootout is tolerable (although I still prefer Han shooting first), they corrected Obi-Wan's lightsaber, so I'm generally happy.  The only things I'm a little confused by are Luke's white saber on the Falcon, the fact that apparently R2 can project holograms of Theed, Princess Leia, and Luke with no problem, but he can't manage anything past an Atari readout for the Death Star, and the fact that they still edit the Luke and Biggs conversation really badly with the "walk-by" instead of including the line about Red Leader flying with Anakin in years gone by.

What does bother me (as I alluded to earlier) is Ben Burtt showing his jealousy yet again and dialing back John Williams' music so his sound effects can take center stage.  Those of you who have heard about this know what I'm talking about, but those of you that don't: the trumpet fanfare when the X-Wings are diving toward the Death Star in ANH has been lowered considerably almost to the point of being inaudible.  LFL claims this was a "creative decision"; I, as I said earlier, claim it is Ben Burtt showing how big his dick is.  I hope that once Episode III is complete, we're going to be hearing a lot more from John Williams on this matter.  People want to complain about Rick McCallum being Lucas' biggest yes man, but I think Burtt has been far more harmful to the prequels.

But I digress, as I've rambled on far enough.  As I said, I'll update everyone once I've had a chance to listen to the ESB and ROTJ soundtracks.  Until then, enjoy the DVDs!



Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Angry Ewok on September 25, 2004, 12:43 PM
It looks to me like the tv screens in the Death Star control room have been updated a little.

Also, it looks like Palpatine's throne room has a TV screen on the far right, which either was never visible in the Full Screens (the only copies I've got of the movies, unfortunately), or is a new addition. I was holding my breath hoping that the screen would show some close-up action of the battle going on outside.

Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Ben on September 25, 2004, 06:27 PM
I've absorbed the first three discs of my new set (had to return the first one due to the trouble with my ESB disc) and I'm loving this. The changes here aren't as shocking as the SEs first were, since they look better. A clear picture and 5.1 is pretty neat too.

I watched the trailers on disc 4, and my God, were they lame. Good to have them, though.

I would have liked to have deleted scenes on the wth disc as well, but I bet that's reserved for Lucas' big-ass boxed set he'll be putting out after Ep. III.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: jadesfire on September 27, 2004, 06:36 PM
I was watching ESB last night, and it skipped five times in the first twenty minutes. It didn't do it at all after that, and I checked the disc, and it's not dirty or scratched, so I don't know what the hell is wrong with it.

Probably my player. I should get a new one.

I had an issue with ANH disc and had to exchange the set for another.  There were two spots where the video just got hung and I had to hit play again to get it going. Only when I hit play it jumped to the place on the disc that it would have been had it not paused itself. Never saw that before on a DVD.

So I am not the only one this is happening to.  Everytime Chewbacca tries to blast everyone in the detention center, it stops.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: LandotheScoundrel on September 28, 2004, 10:53 AM
I've had my dvd player for about 4.5 to 5 years now. How often are you supposed to clean it (I heard there are some sort of dvd cleaner that you can buy)?

I'm having similar problems with ANH, though I've had these problems with X-Men 2 and ALIEN: Director's Cut. I even returned Alien and got another copy, only to have the same problem. I really think its my player, since when I play dvds on the Playstation2, there aren't these problems.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: Scott on September 28, 2004, 10:56 AM
I heard that that problem is due to layer transfers and is going to happen on older DVD players. 
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: LandotheScoundrel on September 28, 2004, 11:47 AM
Hmmm...might be time to upgrade.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: jadesfire on September 29, 2004, 07:58 PM
Mine isn't even two years old yet so I figured it might need a good cleaning and I think I was right - no problems since (and I've re-watched it again just to make sure) ;).
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: DoctorPadawan on October 6, 2004, 03:19 PM
Just thought I would (finally) chime in with the update on the CD rereleases of the ESB and ROTJ soundtracks I promised back when I made the post near the middle of this page.  Long story short, the sound on both is not noticeably improved from the RCA/Victor SE releases in 1997.  The sound on ROTJ, which has been maligned by a lot of people, doesn't sound all that different from the RCA releases in 1997, any differences on both sets are negligible.  So, if you have the SE soundtracks, save your money because all you get on the new releases are huge-ass FBI warnings and screensavers.  Whee.  Smell the sarcasm.

So while I stand by my earlier statement of ANH sounding better than the RCA versions, ESB and ROTJ fall short of any improvements that are being bandied about.  Then again, this is just my opinion.
Title: Re: Star Wars Trilogy DVD Impressions
Post by: SilverZ on October 6, 2004, 10:03 PM
Thanks DoctorPadawan for reviewing the soundtracks. I'll certainly skip ANH and ROTJ since it sounds like the SE ones will do fine for me.  I caved and bought ESB before the SACD issue was resolved, and discovered the obvious disappointment. That's my lesson learned, to disassociate the DSD logo from the SACD label. I'm really surprised they didn't do at least a 2-channel high res layer on these discs, as it would have instantly made them worth a repurchase.