Star Wars The Complete Saga (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

89






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1977, 1980, 1983, 1999, 2002, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG, PG-13 (Revenge of the Sith)
Feature running time: 805 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): Episodes I, II, III: English DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1. Episodes IV, V, VI: English DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish//Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Harrison Ford, Alex Guinness, Peter Cushing, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, Jake Lloyd, Ewan McGregor, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits
Directed by: George Lucas
Music by: John Williams
Written by: George Lucas
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 16, 2011







"A long time ago in a galaxy far far away"



Film Synopsis/My Take:

Episode I - The Phantom Menace: Stranded on the desert planet Tatooine after rescuing young Queen Amidala from the impending invasion of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi Master discover nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker, a young slave unusually strong in the Force. Anakin wins a thrilling Podrace and with it his freedom as he leaves his home to be trained as a Jedi. The heroes return to Naboo where Anakin and the Queen face massive invasion forces while the two Jedi contend with a deadly foe named Darth Maul. Only then do they realize the invasion is merely the first step in a sinister scheme by the re-emergent forces of darkness known as the Sith.

Episode II - Attack of the clones: Ten years after the events of the Battle of Naboo, not only has the galaxy undergone significant change, but so have Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, and Anakin Skywalker as they are thrown together again for the first time since the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo. Anakin has grown into the accomplished Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan, who himself has transitioned from student to teacher. The two Jedi are assigned to protect Padmé whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists. As relationships form and powerful forces collide, these heroes face choices that will impact not only their own fates, but the destiny of the Republic.

Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: Three years after the onset of the Clone Wars, the noble Jedi Knights have been leading a massive clone army into a galaxy-wide battle against the Separatists. When the sinister Sith unveil a thousand-year-old plot to rule the galaxy, the Republic crumbles and from its ashes rises the evil Galactic Empire. Jedi hero Anakin Skywalker is seduced by the dark side of the Force to become the Emperor's new apprentice - Darth Vader. The Jedi are decimated, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Master Yoda are forced into hiding. The only hope for the galaxy are Anakin's own offspring - the twin children born in secrecy who will grow up to become Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa.

Episode IV - A New Hope: The Jedi Knights have been exterminated and the Empire rules the galaxy with an iron fist. A small group of Rebels have dared to fight back by stealing the secret plans to the Empire's mightiest weapon, the Death Star battle station. the Emperor's most trusted servant, Darth Vader, must find the plans, and locate the hidden Rebel base. Princess Leia, a captive Rebel leader, sends out a distress signal that is intercepted by a simple farm boy, Luke Skywalker. Seizing his destiny, Luke takes up the challenge to rescue the princess and help the Rebellion overthrow the Empire, along with such unforgettable allies as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the cocky Han Solo, the loyal Chewbacca, and the droids R2-D- and C-3PO.

Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back: It is a dark time for the Rebellion. After a devastating attack on their ice base on the frozen planet of Hoth, the Rebels are scattered by Imperial pursuit. Luke Skywalker seeks out the mysterious Jedi Master Yoda in the swaps of Dagobah, while Han Solo and Princess Leia outrun the Imperial fleet to the beautiful Cloud City of Bespin. In an attempt to convert Luke to the dark side, the evil Darth Vader lures young Skywalker into a trap. in the midst of a fierce lightsaber duel with the Sith Lord, Luke faces a terrible truth about the Skywalker legacy.

Episode VI - Return of the Jedi: In the spectacular final chapter of the Star Wars Saga, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia must travel to Tatooine to free Han Solo by infiltrating the wretched stronghold of Jabba the Hutt, the galaxy's most loathsome gangster. Reunited, the Rebels team up with tribes of Ewoks to combat the Imperial forces on the forest moon of Endor. Meanwhile, the Emperor and Darth Vader conspire to turn Luke to the dark side, and young Skywalker is determined to rekindle the spirit of the Jedi within his father. the Galactic Civil War culminates in the ultimate showdown, as the rebel forces gather to attack the seemingly defenseless and incomplete second Death Star in the battle that will determine the fate of the galaxy.

Star Wars as it was called back then, debuted in theaters on my 13th birthday in 1977. I remember sitting in the theater not knowing what to expect but being excited because I sensed that the film was somehow different from anything I had previously seen on the big screen. Little did I know how right I was. My jaw dropped as that huge Star Destroyer came into view and filled the screen. I remained captivated as Episode IV's story unfolded and introduced me to iconic characters and their compelling plight which would evolve into the most talked about and anticipated movie events for the next six years.

An instant classic and an unparalleled box office success, the rousing "space opera" was equal parts fairy tale, western, 1930s serial and special effects extravaganza, with roots in mythologies from cultures around the world. From the mind of visionary writer/director George Lucas, the epic space fantasy introduced the mystical Force into the cultural vocabulary, as well as iconic characters such as evil Darth Vader, idealistic Luke Skywalker, feisty Princess Leia, lovable scoundrel Han Solo and wise Obi-Wan Kenobi. I didn't miss an installment and still have clear recollections of the painful wait between them. The characters, music, and themes of the first three films became ingrained in our pop culture and have crossed generational boundaries to touch fans of all ages.

Whereas the first three films were hugely successful it was obvious that they began in the middle of George Lucas' story. In 1999, 22 years after the release of the original film, Episode I The Phantom Menace, hit theaters and would be the first in another trilogy that would bridge the story of Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin. Epic in scope, star studded and teaming with special effects The Phantom Menace, Attack of the clones and Revenge of the Sith drew fans to theaters with high expectations between 1999 and 2005. I was among those present on each opening weekend and while I certainly enjoy the connective elements, casting and extravagant visuals the prequels offer, they don't resonate as deeply as Episodes IV, V, VI. The reasons for this are obvious and are shared by most fans of the series. The debate about which film in each trilogy is the best could probably go on and on. My personal favorites (picking one from each trilogy) are Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. I think that The Empire strikes back is the series most complete film and ultimately the best of the bunch. Regardless, the saga as a whole is incredibly entertaining and features endearing/memorable characters, rousing sci-fi action, and a compelling, gratifying and effecting storyline that has garnered it one of most expansive and loyal fan followings ever. Then there's the associated merchandise which simply took on a life of its own. With the advent of home video in the 1980's fans could enjoy/experience Star Wars at home.

The original trilogy has seen numerous releases on VHS and eventually DVD. Star wars purists have long since found George Lucas' persistent tampering with the original theatrical versions over the years to be irksome. Minor changes/additions that do little to nothing to enhance the narrative but truly don't detract from it either have been ballyhooed during each iteration that has come to home video. 2006 introduced the possibility of seeing Star Wars in high definition on Blu-ray Disc, the new medium that puts the best picture and sound available on optical disc at our fingertips. Of course true to form George couldn't resist a little tweaking. Be that as it may the moment we have all waited for has finally come. The six film saga comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in a comprehensive 9 disc set that in addition to Episodes I - VI includes an unprecedented 40 + hours of special features highlighted by never before seen content sourced from LucasFilm archives. Episodes I-III and IV-VI will also be available separately as distinct Blu-ray Trilogy collections. The nine disc collection comes housed in a book style keepcase with a separate page for storage of each disc which slides into a sturdy slipcover that is only marginally larger than a standard disc case. Like many of you reading this I am thrilled that this beloved film series has finally come to Blu-ray. Keep reading to see how the audio/video quality measures up.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for sci-fi action/violence, and thematic material.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Episodes I, II, III:



(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 94



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Being newer release films it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the prequel trilogy to offer superior high definition video quality on Blu-ray. In these video presentations I found quality that both met my expectations and fell below. My comments will be specific to each with an accompanying numeric score the average of which is reflected in the rating section above.

The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio sound.

The Phantom Menace has an average video bitrate of 28 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 4.6 Mbps.

The Attack of the Clones has an average video bitrate of 29 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 4.0 Mbps.

Revenge of the Sith has an average video bitrate of 30 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 4.7 mbps.

The Phantom Menace is the only one of the prequels shot on 35mm film and therefore has a differing visual aesthetic than Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Prior to watching the Blu-ray I looked at several scenes on the DVD.attachment.php?attachmentid=219290&d=1312553384 The image has a visible grain structure, discernible level of noise (typical) and the print has its share of flecks and minor debris. Looking at it high definition a few things immediately stood out. The jump in resolution and color reproduction is noteworthy (as it should be) as the video exhibits a definitive improvement over standard definition. The computer crafted effects, vividly pleasing colors and boldly applied contrast generally make for visually stimulating imagery although the higher resolution makes the seams between live action/CGI more readily apparent. Blacks are dynamic and slightly overdriven but not at the expense of detail robbing crush. Bright sequences tend to look the best and offer the widest range of eye catching options.

There are some problems, the biggest of which is the use of digital noise reduction. I wouldn't describe it as the most egregious case I have seen however its effects are obvious and distracting. The application is intermittent and results in certain scenes where faces appear unnaturally smooth and devoid of lifelike texture. This exacerbates the film's odd colored fleshtones and leaves complexions looking more like silly putty. Grain is noticeably diminished which results in an uneven aesthetic that proves to be a further distraction from one scene to the next. The rendering of fine detail is similarly impacted which imparts a subtle but evident degree of softness. I didn't find this to be as bothersome due in large part to the CGI which naturally imparts a softening effect. Noise creeps in occasionally but most probably won't notice. The end result is a fair high definition rendering that would benefit greatly from a re-mastering. Video Rating = 78 .

Attack of the Clones was shot digitally and when compared to The Phantom Menace seemed like a breath of fresh air. Images are detailed with crisp resolution and appreciable levels of rewarding dimension. Colors are richly saturated with a deep palette that highlights the costumes, and digitally created venues featured in the film. Fleshtones are on the bronze side but retain enough tonal variation to maintain natural looking complexions. Contrast is spot on and blacks are rich, with excellent dynamic extension that is generally associated with deepest best blacks I have seen. Detail in dark areas and low lighting reveals good visible structure with perceptible gradation as light transitioned toward dark. As I mentioned earlier, the higher resolution makes the seams in live to digital world more apparent but I can accept that as part of the deal. I also detected the application of digital noise reduction however its effects are much less invasive and are what I would classify as more of a touch up here and there. I didn't observe any overt signs of digital noise or video related anomalies. The end result is an excellent high definition presentation that looks terrific on my large screen. Video Rating = 90 .

Saving the best for last, Revenge of the Sith is a reference quality high definition presentation that will make you forget about the aforementioned shortcomings in The Phantom Menace. This is predominantly a dark film (as it should be) and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this presentation delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that the long drawn CGI skylines, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. Shadow detail is consistent and revealing of subtle degrees of delineation. Images are crisp with subtle refinement, resolute sharpness and exquisite dimension that at times can be visually arresting. Contrast is boldly applied which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among those within the varied range used. Fleshtones are beautifully textured with subtle description and lifelike complexional depiction. The video has a pleasing and pristine quality that works hand in hand with the film's stark visuals and provides an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display. Video Rating = 96 .

I saw no need to separately rate the audio quality for these three films. Across the board these are reference quality lossless tracks each containing demonstration quality moments perfect for showing off the prowess of your home theater system. These recordings have wide dynamic range and boast superlative clarity and high level detail that is impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It's located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements allowing their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable.

The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of these demanding soundtracks. The listening position is frequently submerged in a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. Low frequency effects are applied with authority to underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of the auditory. This surround mixes deliver bass that can be prodigious as it extends down into the upper 20 to lower 30hz regions as times. The sophisticated sound design is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each was clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement. I thought that each of these audio presentations knocked it out of the park. If pressed to put them in order of preference I would rate them (first to last) Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace, and Revenge of the Sith. You can't go wrong either way. Audio Rating = 94



Episodes IV, V, VI:



(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

In viewing each of these films I noted a predominating consistency in overall quality so my remarks will pertain to the audio/video quality of the three films unless otherwise indicated. The total average is reflected in the rating section above.

The original Star Wars Trilogy comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio sound.

A new Hope has an average video bitrate of 31 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 3.9 Mbps.

The Empire Strikes Back has an average video bitrate of 30 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 4.6 Mbps.

Return of the Jedi has an average video bitrate of 30 Mbps and average audio bitrate of 4.5 mbps.

I don't think any Blu-ray release has been met with higher expectations than the original Star Wars Trilogy. I am happy to report that examination of these three classic films yields bountiful results. Utilizing the 2004 DVD masters each film boasts clean well depicted colors that offer eye pleasing levels of saturation that pop in high definition.attachment.php?attachmentid=219291&d=1312553408 Earth tones and secondary hues appear very natural while yielding visible gradations that enhance depth. Facial complexions and skin tones are warm, with pinkish highlights that never look unnatural. Resolution is definable as varying degrees of refinement reveal minutia that is easily passed over in standard definition. This includes the compositional elements on the surfaces of objects, visible textures in clothing, and the makeup of physical features. Sharpness wavers, which results in some scenes offering lucid clarity while others are noticeably lacking crispness and clearly defined edges. There is evidence of some digital manipulation however I believe that in most instances these minor issues are innate and probably attributable to original photography.

Black and white levels are stable which provide a fair level of pop during brighter exterior sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking noticeably punchy. The twinkling stars and colorful planets appear stark against the relatively deep black of outer space. Blacks tend to be just a tad crushed which impedes the discerning of subtle gradations/details in dark images. Shadow detail is above average which enhances depth but not to a definitive level of perception. Grain is readily apparent and shows minimal signs of the effects of digital cleanup. There is some light noise visible here and there but it rarely proves intrusive. I didn't see any fidelity infringing changes with regard to color timing etc. Comparing these high definition presentations to their standard definition counterparts is futile. There is no question as to their superiority in every regard. Are they perfect? No. Have they ever looked better for home presentation? Absolutely not.

These are the films that made surround sound a household word and the high resolution DTS-HD MA audio mixes do a terrific job rendering their soundtracks. Perspective has to be kept in mind. I point that out because obviously there are dated elements in these recordings that can't be negated by a remix. Fidelity remains intact across the board and the results are indeed impressive. Dialogue has discernible intonation, with distinctive clarity and above average room penetration. There is active use of the entire surround platform which delivers a well integrated audio experience that is highlighted by solid impact, defining clarity, and John Williams incredible music score. Dynamic range is quite good and seems minimally effected by the dated elements present in the recording. Sounds and effects have copious expression that extend well into the room. Surround activity can be engaging as discernible spatial ambience and discrete sounds fill the listening area. The LFE channel is liberally used to add robust low frequency weight that extends the depth and palpability of the action. Each of these lossless audio presentations adds a defining element that enhances the enjoyment of Star Wars while taking us on a nostalgic journey that is reminiscent of seeing it in the theater.



Bonus Features:


  • Episode I - The Phantom Menace:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Episode II - Attack of the Clones:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Episode III - Revenge of the Sith:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Episode IV - A New Hope:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Episode VI - Return of the Jedi:


  • Audio Commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt and Dennis Muren

  • Audio Commentary from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

  • Bonus Disc 1: (BD-50): Star Wars Archives Episodes I, II, III


  • Episode I

  • Naboo:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Tatooine:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Episode II

  • Coruscant:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Naboo:

    1. Overview
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Episode III

  • Coruscant:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Utapau:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

    Bonus Disc Two (BD-25): Star Wars Archives Episodes IV, V, VI


  • Episode IV

  • Tatooine:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Aboard the Deathstar:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Episode V

  • Hoth:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Dagobah:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Episode VI

  • Tatooine:

    1. Overview
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

  • Endor:

    1. Interviews
    2. Deleted/Extended scenes
    3. The Collection - Costumes, Models, Marquettes
    4. Concept art gallery

    Bonus Disc Three (BD-50): The Star Wars Documentaries:


    Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) - Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures...these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.


    A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) - George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Back in this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.


    Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) - The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more and don't miss Weird Al Yankovic's one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!


    The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) - Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Wars movie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.


    The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas' vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into reality!


    Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Go behind the scenes and into the costumes as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billie Dee Williams.


    Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) - See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars 1997 Special Edition update.


    Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) - Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today.





Final Thoughts:

Since its 1977 debut, Star Wars has continued to grow, its lush narrative expanding from modest beginnings into an epic, six-film Saga chronicling the fall and redemption of The Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker. Having grown up with the original trilogy it has a nostalgic and special significance among the films that I hold dear. The prequel trilogy doesn't have near that level of significance however I enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is. Star Wars has finally come to high definition Blu-ray Disc. True fans aren't going to be thrilled that it has seen yet another round of George Lucas additions that do nothing to compliment the original films. As for me, I don't have a definitive position one way or the other. I enjoy these films and am thrilled to now own them all, in one package, and despite a few blemishes looking better than ever. This nine disc set contains a complimentary and worthwhile supplemental package that fans can sink their teeth into. Will this be the last time we see Star Wars released on home video? I highly doubt it. For the time being this offering from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will do quite nicely and comes highly recommended.






attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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Have to disagree with your audio rating of the originals, especial in terms of dynamics, LFE extension and surround activity. Personally I'd give 5s to all three of those categories. Maybe my perception was skewed because the mixes are so hot (what's the deal with that??--they're LOUD!), but, regardless, I found myself wondering why so many modern day films don't sound so equally... AWESOME!

Comparisons to modern day releases aside, when has an older release (and I mean ANY from the pre-2000 era, much less a 30-year old film), EVER sounded this hard-hitting or involving?

I felt like I was in the theater watching Jurassic Park in DTS for the first time.

These mixes are AWESOME.
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post #4 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 12:24 PM
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Indeed, the sound tracks put may modern ones to shame overall I couldn't be happier with the results and once again worth the wait
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post #5 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 12:29 PM
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Thanks ralph, just as I suspected from other reviews. Glad I held off buying.
SW3 seems like the only one I'd be interested in.
As usual, to the point and accurate.

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post #6 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 12:38 PM
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Thanks Ralph! I've watched IV, V, VI, and I so far and have been very pleased with all up to TPM which I watched last night and was pretty annoyed with the amount of DNR.


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post #7 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 01:18 PM
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I've only watched Episode I so far. Very pleased. I held back from buying all the previous generations of the film, and for a total investment of $80 in my 30 year love affair, I felt this was the time to jump in!

Thanks for the review Ralph.

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post #8 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 01:47 PM
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Great review Ralph.

I'am buying Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI).
"The Empire Strikes Back" is my favorite film in the series.

Just curious as to why each film wasn't offered in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio?


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post #9 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:08 PM
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Is the THX intro at the beginning of each movie?

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post #10 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Is the THX intro at the beginning of each movie?

They are at the end, post credits.

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post #11 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:14 PM
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I saw individual PQ scores for the prequels, not so for the OTs. Please point me in the right direction if those are available. TPM was most definitely a train wreck.

I viewed IV and V1 as well. Guess I need better vision and much better equipment to attain that rating for PQ for those three movies.

Returning my set to BB cause I'm in no position to upgrade equipment any time soon.
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post #12 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

I've only watched Episode I so far. Very pleased. I held back from buying all the previous generations of the film, and for a total investment of $80 in my 30 year love affair, I felt this was the time to jump in!

Thanks for the review Ralph.

????. That episope was basically unwatchable! Please elaborate.
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post #13 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:22 PM
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What specifically isn't clear? You felt the BR quality was unwatchable?

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post #14 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:23 PM
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The amount of work that must have gone into Ep IV-VI to bring them to what we see on BD is sure to be mind boggling. I was truly impressed with the picture and sound quality, as were family and friends who pooped over to see the BD releases. I have IV-VI on DVD and the BD is heads above those.

The pod race in Ep. I is excellent demo material. Very good workout for your sound system.

Thanks once again for the review Ralph. Always a pleasure reading them.
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post #15 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:25 PM
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Episode I was unwatchable period.

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post #16 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

What specifically isn't clear? You felt the BR quality was unwatchable?

Ralph gave that one a 78 for PQ. That isn't terrible per se BUT I couldn't even get that out of it and was basically distracted through most of it.

If you are pleased with that then the rest is pretty much smooth sailing for you as most would agree that was the worst of the bunch.
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post #17 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:27 PM
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stepyourgameup, If that's it, then I won't argue personal taste. I didn't care for it back in 1999, but now have six year old boys that eat it up, and I enjoy it because of them.

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post #18 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 02:29 PM
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robert...hmmm, I didn't realize such a low video score from Ralph. I really was very pleased. This is promising though. If it gets better!

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post #19 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Episode I was unwatchable period.

I forgot how painful Jar Jar Binks was. Also some other things in that movie can be a little painful as well. But it's all good. A lot of people seem to have problems with George Lucas this and George Lucas that. I believe, though, that all of the Star Wars movies are meant for the young crowd and therefore I understand why silly things that do not need to be said by the characters are indeed spoken, and other painful things and that may be why many adults do not like Episode I, for example, . But I am a fan of the series and if they add to the story then I'm watching it.

I got my complete Saga in on the 16th and watched Episode I as well. I have always liked the Pod race scene very much for some reason. I enjoyed it in DTS-HDMA in my home. I will most likely fire that scene up again for demoing purposes.
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post #20 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 03:26 PM
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stepyourgameup, If that's it, then I won't argue personal taste. I didn't care for it back in 1999, but now have six year old boys that eat it up, and I enjoy it because of them.

I'm an apparently rare breed of old school SW fan (I was 7 yrs old in May of 1977 - the original film altered my DNA, I think, during that first viewing) - I actually LIKED the PT. Sure, I know why others groan - and I often groan along with you. But I guess I grade SW on some sort of curve - and as an adult also realize that much of what makes the OT "better" is in at least some part just rose-colored nostalgia. THe things my parent found lame in the OT are often what gets criticized in the PT.

This last Saturday was the first time that I, the wife & our 2 daughters (8 & 4) watched a SW film together. My kids will see them in Lucas' chronological order - I thru VI - this time. Yes, Binks & little Jake Lloyd Ani can still grate - but my girls loved them both.

My oldest really liked young Anakin - while the ESB twist will be spoiled for her, in her case she has no idea yet that Anakin will end up that scary dude in the black mask yet. She found much of Jar Jar's antics quite amusing.

Once you have kids, it is easy to see exactly who GL made the PT films for. Well, maybe not parts of SITH.....

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post #21 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 03:29 PM
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I reluctantly bought the collection too, but I am waiting on my shipment from Amazon. Not in a hurry, just need to get it before George changes it again.

I understand that the PQ may be sub par compared to many other current release movies, but I kind of expected that. I mean, these are aging films, even the prequels. I've seen similar issues with other movies that were "out of print" basically for several years before coming to Blu-Ray. I would have hoped that the whole series would have gotten a massive dose of PQ fixes, but alas, it seems like some weren't.

It still is the best PQ for Star Wars, and for the amount of times I plan to watch them (not a whole lot) I will be satisfied.

As for EPI, it has issues all across the board, and I'm talking about the movie itself, not the audio/video (since I don't own it yet, read above about shipping from Amazon). Poor acting, Jar Jar, so on. I was so hyped to see it 12 years ago, yet I left the movie theater disappointed. Too many "burps and farts" if you know what I mean.

Thanks (yet again) for the review Ralph. I too would have like to see video scores for the OT though.

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post #22 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 03:31 PM
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Ralph,

Excellent review!

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post #23 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 03:51 PM
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Each of the OT scored 88 in the video dept.
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post #24 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks (yet again) for the review Ralph. I too would have like to see video scores for the OT though.

Greetings,

You're more than welcome Nick. As I mentioned in my review, I didn't see a glaring difference in PQ/AQ for the OT which is why I composed that portion of the review the way I did.

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Greetings,

You're more than welcome Nick. As I mentioned in my review, I didn't see a glaring difference in PQ/AQ for the OT which is why I composed that portion of the review the way I did.

Regards,

Thanks for the clarification, Ralph. I didn't view episode V. On my end it would have only distressed me more since I wasn't happy with the other two OTs.

If I could have seen this set as some others have and got the PQ scores as you rated, there is no way I would return it from where I bought it. I'm glad I rented from BBV first before I opened the box. With a special $7.49 introductory rate for a movie pass to view as many movies one can in a month, the cost was a no brainer.
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post #26 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 04:22 PM
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On the whole, I think Ralph's score seems pretty spot on. With regard to The Phantom Menace, while it's clearly a step back in the visual department relative to Clones and Sith it's leaps and bounds better than the DVD version which really was unwatchable. From that perspective, it's actually the most improved relative to its DVD counterpart in the whole set.
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post #27 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 04:23 PM
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Quote:


Star Wars as it was called back then, debuted in theaters on my 13th birthday in 1977.

It was my 8th birthday on that fateful day, but it didn't debut in my home town (Modesto, CA...same as Lucas) until a week or two later, but I did see it on opening night and have been a fan ever since.

Great review Ralph.

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post #28 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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It was my 8th birthday on that fateful day, but it didn't debut in my home town (Modesto, CA...same as Lucas) until a week or two later, but I did see it on opening night and have been a fan ever since.

Great review Ralph.

Greetings,

Thanks Dave. Here we are 30 plus years later and SW still hasn't lost its luster..


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Sorry, not gonna reward Lucas for tampering with the originals YET AGAIN. No purchase here.
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post #30 of 180 Old 09-19-2011, 06:11 PM
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It was my 8th birthday on that fateful day, but it didn't debut in my home town (Modesto, CA...same as Lucas) until a week or two later, but I did see it on opening night and have been a fan ever since.

Great review Ralph.


It was my 7th birthday. It wasn't in my town until the next week also.
I had a choice between jungle book and star wars. Being a fan of the show space 1999, I chose star wars.

I remember sitting in the station wagon of the drive thru with those metal speakers you put in your window. The popcorn was not in a bucket but a medium size black garbage bag.

It was a double feature. An airplane movie was first (airport '77 ?) then star wars was at 10pm. My favorite movie of my childhood.

I will definitely get this set but am not happy about the edits. Yes Lucas does have the right to make the changes. It is his movie. I can understand how everyone who grew up with this feels.
Does Classic Media have the right to replace Clayton Moore with Matt Damon using cgi? Absolutely.

I think those who grew up with this series should at least rent it.
You don't have to agree the changes, just decide if the current format brings you enjoyment.
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