Overall | Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) | Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) | Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Box Set (1977)

Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Box Set (1977)

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Released 20-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Overall Package

    It's a time to be happy, and a time to be sad. Happy that we finally have DVDs of the three movies most wanted in DVD format. Sad that the collection doesn't include the original versions. Happy that we now have a new demo disc ("you think you know surround sound? Listen to this..."). Sad that we no longer have THE landmark to look forward to.

    There are more DVD releases to look forward to: the release of the 4 disc extended version of Return of the King, but we haven't been waiting all that long for that. A widescreen version of The Castle, but I didn't know I was waiting for that! DVDs of Rikki and Pete, and Ronja the Robber's Daughter, but I suspect that the number of people waiting for those titles is perhaps rather fewer. There is no title remaining with such pent-up demand.

    With such huge expectations, it would be next to impossible for the Star Wars release to satisfy everyone, and it hasn't. The naysayers are mostly decrying the release for lacking the original versions of the films. Although it will draw criticism, I have to say that I think Lucasfilm and Fox made the right decision. They have provided us with the version of each film that has the best special effects, and have kept the price down to a point where everyone who wants it can buy it. And they haven't done this by skimping on the extras, either. This set will probably satisfy a great many of the people waiting for Star Wars.

    It's interesting that George Lucas thought it necessary to revisit the 1997 special edition films, and to adjust them. The two most contentious moments in the first film (Greedo, and Jabba) have been altered again, and I think the new versions are improvements over 1997. One thing that is unchanged, though, is the advertising image that was used in 1977 — I mean the one that shows Luke's chest, and a lot of leg on Princess Leia (something that was not in the 1977 movie...). This image appears on the label of the disc, and on the box (you can see it above). Normally they change the advertising and keep the film the same...

    Anyone who thinks that this is the last DVD release of Star Wars hasn't watched the exploitation of these films on VHS. I think there will be another release, and another... I thought that The Alien Legacy was the last word on the Alien series of films, and then The Alien Quadrilogy arrived (note: from Fox); it included both original and extended versions for every film (and more extras than a reviewer should be forced to watch!). This may not happen for Star Wars, but I will be very surprised if it doesn't.

    Fortunately for the average Star Wars fan, this box set is enough. It offers the films with very good transfers, it gives us a commentary for every film, and a very good extras disc. Sure, the fanatical collector will be buying the 45 disc Ultra Iridium Bonus Plus Plus Collector's Edition with holographic popup Princess Leia, (and baby photos of every actor ever to appear in the films) available in numbered hanzawood case in September 2010, but we won't need to — this set, or the set with all six films in it (if you like films I, II, and III), will do nicely.

    As I see it, we all have a choice — each of us can:

    In case you are wondering, yes, I've signed more than one petition, and oh yes, I fully intend to enjoy this version in the meantime.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Anyone seen this URL? - MickJT (Have a look at my biography)
Interesting censorship! - Quizo69
how to open - penguin (there is no bio)
Begun, the final countdown has. - Moff Martin (read my bio)
Deleted scenes for films. - Noel
About your WS Castle comment - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
RE: How to open - MickJT (Have a look at my biography)
Now Available - Paul Lee (Bio this way)
speaking of re-releasing movies again on DVD... - Mick
Regradless still A Must Have !!! - Nad Hubba
Why buy? New box set next year. - Anonymous
The reality - Anonymous
Re: The reality - Neil

Overall | Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) | Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) | Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

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Released 20-Sep-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
Main Menu Introduction
Audio Commentary
THX Optimizer
THX Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 119:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By George Lucas
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Peter Cushing
Alec Guinness
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Peter Mayhew
David Prowse
James Earl Jones
Phil Brown
Shelagh Fraser
Jack Purvis
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
English Titling
English Audio Commentary
English Titling
Smoking Yes, only by aliens
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

A NEW HOPE

It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking from
 a hidden base, have won their first
victory against the evil Galactic Empire

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR,
an armoured space station with enough power to destroy an
entire planet                                                                                      

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom
to the galaxy...

   

    I missed Beatle-mania, and Woodstock and Sunbury. I missed the Vietnam Moratorium marches. I know where I was when JFK got shot — I was at home with my mother, too young for kindergarten. I watched the first Moon landing on TV at primary school. The first big cultural event that I was old enough for came in 1977.

    My father pointed out a contest in the newspaper, a series of questions about science fiction — I was something of a fan of science fiction, and found all the questions easy. The only one I had to look up was John Wyndham's full name (and fair enough, too, it's six names long!). I won tickets to a film that was about to be released. A film that we'd been hearing about for a while, called Star Wars — it was just called Star Wars then, the subtitle A New Hope came later (kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark becoming Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark). I took a girlfriend to see this film, and it's interesting to look back and realise how different our reactions were. She thought it was a fun film, but nothing special. I was completely blown away.

    Bear in mind that up until this film, most science fiction had been made on what might generously be called "modest" budgets. TV shows like Dr Who and Lost in Space had men in rubber suits, and tin-foil covered cardboard sets. Films were rarely better. 2001—a Space Odyssey was better, but it was bereft of aliens. Star Wars was utterly different. It had aliens who looked very alien. It featured all manner of unfamiliar technologies, and exotic equipment, and the equipment looked real — it looked like it was used daily. That's probably the point that struck the most deeply — this film showed an environment that looked real, very different but everyday. This was a big contrast to films which may have had unusual environments, but they looked shiny and new, as though no one really lived there.

    Things were different in 1977. Most people didn't have a VCR, and video stores pretty much didn't exist. Movies stayed in the cinema more than a few weeks. During Star Wars' first run, I saw it seven times, and a lot of people I knew saw it many more times than that. Then I saw it a couple of times when it was screened on TV (generally shortly before a sequel was released...). Later still, I watched it on video, but it wasn't the same — this film was made for widescreen, and the pan-and-scan version just didn't cut it (not to mention the sound!). Then, a full 20 years after that first release, I went to see it again in a cinema. I wasn't as excited as I thought I might be, but it did recapture some of the earlier feelings. I didn't notice all of the changes that had been made to the film, but it was hard to miss the Jabba the Hut scene, and a couple of the others. Not too surprisingly, I only saw this revised version once.

    When DVD arrived, this film was right at the top of the list I made of films I had to buy on DVD. There were a lot of films on that list, but I have since collected pretty much all of them (I'm still waiting for widescreen versions of certain Australian classics, but that's about it). I was kept waiting and waiting for this one. To some extent, I resent that. I also resent the fact that this is not the movie I saw 27 years ago. When they revised ET for DVD release, we had a choice — I chose to buy an expensive Region 1 release that included both the original and the revised versions, because I wanted to have the original theatrical version. When they released Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was very pleased to see that the credits still said that, and not Indiana Jones and... So I'm really quite disappointed that I can't get (even at a premium price) the original theatrical version of Star Wars, the version that had such a profound effect on me so long ago. But let's leave that to one side...

    If you haven't seen this film (one assumes you just arrived from off-planet?), or if you've forgotten it, let's remember what happens:

    This film begins with a Rebel Alliance ship flying into view from overhead. It seems like quite a large ship, but is utterly dwarfed by the Imperial Star Destroyer that follows it. On board the Rebel ship, an attractive young woman, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), feeds something into a waist high robot (droid), and sends it on its way, then turns to help defend the vessel against boarders. The small robot, R2D2, makes its way to an escape pod and launches it, against the protestations of a larger, man-like, robot, C-3PO. These two robots land on a desert planet, but are soon captured by unscrupulous Jawas. They are sold to a farm as used droids. A young man, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is given the task of cleaning them up, and he accidentally triggers a brief portion of 3D video of the young woman pleading: "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope". Luke mentions this to his uncle, and speculates if it might be "old Ben Kenobi", a hermit living not too far away. His uncle dismisses the notion.

    The following day, Luke discovers that R2-D2 has taken off during the night. He feels guilty, because he removed the droid's restraining bolt in an attempt to see more of the video. He attempts to track down the droid, but gets attacked by Sand People. He is rescued at the last minute by a figure in a robe that turns out to be Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness). Ben takes Luke and the droids to Ben's dwelling to recover. Luke mentions the droid's message and Ben admits to being Obi-Wan. R2-D2 plays back the message. Ben, Luke, and the two droids head back to the farm, although Luke is fired up to rescue the fair maiden. When they get to the farm, they find it destroyed. Although the damage has been set up to look like a Sand People attack, Ben recognises it as the work of Imperial Storm Troopers. Clearly Luke and the droids are in considerable danger. The four of them head for the space port, hoping to find passage off-planet.

    (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) In the space port they come across a smuggler, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who will help them, for a price. After some minor scuffles they get off-planet and head for Alderaan, the planet to which the original Rebel Alliance ship was headed. They arrive to discover the planet destroyed in the first firing of the Empire's newest super-weapon, the Death Star, capable of destroying an entire planet in a single shot. They are captured in a tractor beam and drawn into the Death Star. They hide in the ship, then overpower a team sent in to scan it. They head out into the Death Star to try and find a way to neutralise the tractor beam so they can escape. They discover that Princess Leia is being held prisoner, and decide to rescue her — a rescue that doesn't go smoothly. Meanwhile, Obi-wan has encountered Darth Vader (acted by David Prowse, but voiced by James Earl Jones), and an epic light sabre battle ensues. Seeing that the rest are safe aboard the ship, Obi-Wan allows Darth Vader to kill him, with the famous line: "if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine". The others escape, but it appears that their escape was permitted, so that they could leave a trail to the rebels for the Empire to follow.

    R2-D2 has been carrying the plans of the Death Star, and detailed study of those plans reveals a chink in the armour of the super-weapon. Not a button marked "Self-destruct", but close enough: a small vent that would allow the firing of a missile all the way down into the Death Star primary reactor. To make things interesting, the missile cannot be fired from a distance, but must come from a small fighter vessel that gets in close, zooms down a trench in the surface of the Death Star, and then fires the missile. They do make the point that the Death Star's defences have be designed to repel attacks by fleets of larger ships, and that's why smaller, more nimble, fighters can evade them.

    The Death Star arrives to destroy the Rebels, and Luke, who has experience flying small craft like the fighters, gets the chance to fly a fighter against it. After a couple of other pilots try, Luke gets a chance to thread the needle. By this time, Darth Vader has been informed of what is going on, and is leading Empire fighters to take out the attackers. Surprisingly, Vader's fighter is hit as he attempts to line up Luke in his sights. Vader's fighter is sent spinning off (into the sequel...) just as Luke makes the perfect shot and destroys the Death Star.

    This film is a rip-roaring adventure, and can be enjoyed by the entire family. It was arguably the most popular science fiction film made, and re-inspired / re-invigorated the science fiction film business. This is a film that belongs in your collection.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original and expected aspect ratio.

    This disc is not a Superbit disc (not surprising, because this disc comes from Fox), but it is close. The only extra on this disc is the commentary (well, plus links to a web site).

    The picture varies, but it is generally fairly sharp; a few of the scenes on Tatooine are softened by apparent heat haze, and a few of the composite scenes (particularly the land speeder scenes) are a little bit soft (probably to hide some of the composition). The picture could be sharper, but I like it — this looks clear, but a multitude of evils are covered by the very slight softening. Shadow detail is quite decent, although a bit limited in some of the darker scenes. There is no visible film grain. There's no low level noise.

    Colour in some scenes is affected by coloured lighting (understandable when you have one white and one red moon). Apart from the coloured lighting, the colour is rendered well — skin tones look accurate and credible. The only thing that looks like a colour-related artefact is some strangeness about the blue colour of R2-D2 immediately after they leave the escape pod. There is no colour-bleed, and no false colouration. Blacks are black. Whites are white. Good stuff.

    There are no film artefacts. None. When they restored this, they did an astonishing job of cleaning up the film.

    There is some aliasing (yes, the transfer is not perfect), but it is rare, and never too disruptive. Perhaps the most obvious moment of aliasing is at 53:19, on the vent. There is one moment of faint moiré at 35:54, but you have to be really picky to notice it. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in five languages, including English for the Hearing Impaired, plus English subtitles for the commentary. There's a default subtitle track, too, which subtitles alien languages if you are not running any of the other subtitles. There are actually two subtitle tracks for the commentary — one just indicates who is talking, while the other is real subtitles for the commentary. I watched all of the English dialogue subtitles, and most of the commentary subtitles. The dialogue subtitles are astonishingly accurate. I managed to pick up a single error in the subtitles (at 68:55) where the subtitles say "well" instead of "wealth" (Note: not everyone agrees that this is an error — I may be worng!). As far as I can judge, every other word of dialogue has been captured in the subtitles — awesome! The subtitles are well-timed, and easy to read.

    The disc is single sided, dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 60:36, placed between two scenes, but it's fairly noticeable due to the pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio tracks, all in English. The first two are the soundtrack, provided in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX at 448kbps and Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround encoded) at 192kbps. The third is the audio commentary, provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround encoded) at 192kbps. I listened to the soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, and to the commentary. I can tell you that the Dolby 2.0 soundtrack does exist, because I sampled a little of it, but that's all.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible, except in a couple of places. The most obvious is the distortion in Luke's voice at 83:57, but there's some slight distortion in Leia's voice at 55:30. The only lapses in audio sync are quite minor, around 82:43, where it may well be slightly sloppy ADR — during the commentary we hear that there a lot of ADR, because the droid costumes made a lot of noise.

    The score, from John Williams, is excellent — lots of brass, which works very well for a film with so much in the way of martial themes.

    This film makes extensive use of 5.1 sound. There's lots of activity from the surrounds and subwoofer. The opening scene, with the Empire's Star Destroyer flying overhead (lots of sub), and the sounds we hear from inside the Rebel ship (lots of surround effects), establish that we are listening to a real 5.1 soundtrack. One tip: yield to the temptation, and turn this film up a little — I turned it up 3dB, and it's worth it — the extra volume adds to the excitement. Just be warned: at 112:31 you will discover how capable your subwoofer is — if you have a really powerful subwoofer, and you turn the volume up too high, be prepared to die!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This disc has the commentary as its only significant extra (unless you are watching on a PC, when the web site might be interesting).

Menu

    The menus are fancy — animated, with sound, and with cool transitions. About the only criticism I can level is that the menu clips are fairly short, and so they repeat fairly quickly. The menu is easy to use.

THX Optimizer

    Unsurprisingly, this disc has the THX Optimizer on it (it's on the Language menu).

Audio Commentary

    This commentary features four speakers:

    This commentary covers an immense amount of information, and yet sounds quite relaxed, with the participants sounding like they are just sitting there talking, rather than explaining all sorts of technical topics. It's really quite an achievement, and it makes the commentary well worth a listen. I suspect that the participants were recorded separately, because they occasionally repeat one another.

    There's no special features menu — you activate the commentary from the Languages menu.

Web Link

    There's a link to starwars.com. I was using a DVD player, so I don't know what you can access from here.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this set is scheduled to come out at the same time as this one. The Region 1 release is supposed to be the same as this one. We'll have to wait for some Region 1 reviews before we know how they compare.

    In my opinion, this Region 4 release is so good that I doubt the Region 1 can be better. I'm going to be happy to buy the Region 4 version.

Summary

    The movie we have been waiting for since DVD arrived, and it has been worth the wait — this is a really good DVD. It is hard to believe this film was shot 27 years ago.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good, with some of the best surround sound you've ever heard. The one or two flaws almost serve to point up how good the rest is.

    The only extra for DVD players is the commentary, and it's a good one.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - RobertW

Comments (Add)
I'm boycotting this version as it's not the ORIGINAL trilogy - Quizo69 REPLY POSTED
Also boycotting - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Random thoughts... - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Also boycotting - Anonymous
reply to 'Random thoughts' - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
To the Naysayers and whiners... - JarJar
Reply to JarJar (Doesn't that say it all) - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Purism & Piracy - JarJar
reply to reply to reply - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
I agree with Jar Jar - Mark X (read my bio)
reply to Mark X - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Luke says "Well" not "Wealth" - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Review unfinished? - Anonymous
What about Michaelangelo's David statue? - Anonymous
Lists of the changes in the DVDs... - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
A new hope for effects. - Moff Martin (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
senator less-whinning should do more thinking and less whinning - Anonymous
Do you *really* want the originals? - Anonymous
Oh, I have to reply :P - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
DVD Bootlegs are the only option if you want widescreen originals. - Swiss_Cheeseman
Yeah most of the changes are lame, but still have to have this dvd - J Sebastian
re: Oh, I have to reply : - Anonymous
Pirated Laserdisc Glory - JarJar
I HAVE THE ORIGINALS - The Royal Tenenbaum
RE: Pirated Laserdisc Glory - Swiss_Cheeseman
Is the boxset Limited Edition or the movies? - Anonymous
I have to chime in here - OzRipT ("Do you Expect me to talk" "No Mr Bond, I Expect You to Read My Bio")
Here here swiss cheeseman - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
This film is censored. - grug (there is no bio.)
if you want to buy the dvd's then do, if you don't then don't. - Anonymous
Piracy & Purism Mk II, or, "Return of the Fanboi" - JarJar
... And I'm not even that much of a fan. - Neil REPLY POSTED
Is the box set limited: reply. - Moff Martin (read my bio)
Original Original vs Re-worked Original - my 2 cents - JediDude (read my bio)
These films haven't been reworked enough - zooty
Re: These films haven't been reworked enough - Neil
How about audio problems? - Galex
Originals........ - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Bravo Zooty you mad genius. - Christopher
Music - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Original version - Andrew500 (read my bio, at your leisure)
Original Jabba - Neil
About original Jabba and other deleted scenes - hansolo
R2 UK release? - MJ defender
Discontinued by Fox before Christmas??? - Anonymous
Most controversial DVD release ever! - Steven Cameron (read my bio)
RE: R2 UK release? - Anonymous
re: R2 UK release? - Anonymous
Available now 20.09.04 $69.00 - Trevor
Re: Available now 20.09.04 $69.00 (or cheaper) :-P - Anonymous
Sound problems? - Frank
RE: Sound Problems? - Darque
Sound Is BUGGERED - Anonymous
Glitch in A new hope - Ivan
Starwars ANH - Simon
Sound issues - Jim
$66.38 at Big-W - TurkeyTom
Re: Glitch in A new hope - Ben
Originals........Reply - Vieira4 (deleted bio)
re: sound - Anonymous
re: re: sound - Anonymous
The sound is extremely hissy and distorted - J Sebastian
Impressions - Tone
Re: Glitch in A new hope - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Re: Glitch in A new hope - Sam
audio change made sounds really awful, what is your opinion? - Chris
Glitches in A New Hope 2 - Tie Fighter sequence 'digital remaster' - Sam
RE: Tie fighter sequence glitch - MickJT
RE: Tie fighter sequence glitch - X
Subtitle Errors - Anonymous
RE: Tie fighter sequence glitch - Neil
Setting Brightness / Black Level - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe
RE: Tie Fighter Glitches - Dodes
RE: Tie fighter sequence glitch - Sam
THE most important release? - Anonymous
re:audio change made sounds really awful, what is your opinion - Anonymous
re:Glitch in A new hope - Anonymous
re:Discontinued by Fox before Christmas??? - Anonymous
Digital Jabba in Star Wars - Anonymous
re: I HAVE THE ORIGINALS - Anonymous
RE: Tie fighter sequence glitch - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
reversed audio(score) in Rear speakers - Anonymous
Discontinued ? Christmas ? - Lando
Ep4 - Auto EX encoding problem - JediDude (read my bio)
re: lando - Anonymous
re: re:lando - Anonymous
RE RE RE Lando - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
White line video glitch throughout movie - Anonymous
I think they should re-make them!! - Luggnuts
RE: Ep4 - Auto EX encoding problem - JediDude - RedTed
Han Solo Blurred! - Robin
RE: Han Solo Blurred! - Robin - Dane S (Bio...were you expecting some smart alec remark?)
re: Han Solo blurred - wolfgirv
re: Han Solo blurred! - Steven Cameron (read my bio)
Re: Han Solo blurred!! - wolfgirv
Re: Han Solo and Jabba - Neil
Re: Han Solo and Jabba - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Jabba - Christopher
Re: Han Solo and Jabba - Le Messor
Re:Han Solo and Jabba - Sean Brady
Re: Jabba & Han - jab.book (oh boy, oh boy, oh bio)
It's official on Bluray!! - Khai L

Overall | Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) | Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) | Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 20-Sep-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio-3 different menu themes, randomly chosen
THX Optimizer
Audio Commentary-George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, others
THX Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 122:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Irvin Kershner
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
David Prowse
Peter Mayhew
Kenny Baker
Frank Oz
Alec Guinness
James Earl Jones
John Hollis
Jack Purvis
Case ?
RPI $89.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the
Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel
forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy. Evading the
dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has
established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed
with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space...

 
    If ever there were two words that would strike a chord of excitement in the heart of a young man in the late 1970s, it would be these two words: Star Wars. From a minor sci-fi project to a box office smash to a cultural icon, Star Wars would in many ways define success in the cinematic realm. Not only was the film a box office blockbuster, it was critically acclaimed with 10 Academy Award nominations that resulted in it winning 6 as well as a Special Achievement Award for sound effects. George Lucas' vision of an epic tale of war, hope and adventure was realized, but there was more to the story than just the first film. George initially pitched to studio executives a grand tale of operatic proportions that told the tale of the fall of the Great Republic, the rise of the Evil Empire and the growing rebellion against its tyranny. It was more than the studios were willing to back, but 20th Century Fox did say yes to a shortened story. George Lucas trimmed his great epic to just one small chapter. That chapter was Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope.

    With Star Wars becoming the highest grossing film in box office history, George was able to do what he initially proposed; a complete (somewhat) telling of the tale he had originally conceived. The success of the first film also guaranteed that he would be able to further explore the technological advancements that his special effects people had developed during the making of Star Wars. But the next film would be more than just an explosion of special effects and blue screen technology, it would go deep into the heart of the story that George first envisaged, and it would be by far the darkest chapter in the tale.

The Story of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

    After the Rebel Alliance's stunning victory against the Evil Galactic Empire and the destruction of their supreme weapon, the Death Star, the Empire has struck back against the insurgents...hard. Only barely able to regroup after their dramatic victory, the rebels have fled the moon of Yavin to the Hoth system. Setting up a base on one of the system's most inhospitable worlds, an ice planet where little life exists, the rebels have established a base where they can regroup before facing the Empire again. But the Empire is not content to wait for the Rebels to show themselves again, and Darth Vader, the Lord of the Sith has sent out thousands of deep space probes to find the rebels...and Luke Skywalker.

    Three years have brought many changes to the young boy from Tatooine. No longer just a hot-shot pilot in search of adventure, Luke has matured into an intuitive squadron commander who firmly believes in the cause of the rebellion. The young Skywalker takes his place in the normal duties on the base and when we first see him he's aboard a tauntaun whilst on patrol with Han Solo. When he is injured and almost killed by a native creature, he is visited by the ghostly apparition of Obi Wan Kenobi who urges Luke to visit the Dagobah system and learn from a Jedi instructor named Yoda. After being rescued by Han Solo and returned to the Alliance's base, it becomes evident that the Empire has discovered the outpost and evacuation is almost immediate. The rebels flee Hoth under a fierce attack from Imperial forces, and after leaving the ice world, Luke and R2-D2 take a different path which is away from the intended rendezvous point and instead head to Dagobah.

    As Luke heads to the Dagobah system, Han, Chewie, Princess Leia and C-3PO have fled Hoth aboard the Millennium Falcon straight into the oncoming Imperial Starfleet. Using his unique piloting skills to evade capture, the group travel into a large asteroid field only to find more trouble there. With Imperial bombers attempting to flush out Solo and his passengers, Han again employs his unorthodox skills to elude the Empire. Discovering that an old friend is in a nearby star system, Han decides that it might be a good idea to head to the mining operation on Bespin, headed up by Lando Calrissian. Although he is not entirely trustworthy, Lando has no allegiance to the Empire and it's decided that Bespin is probably the best place to lay low and make repairs before making their way to the Alliance's rendezvous point. The initial contact with Lando at his operation seems hostile, but soon the fears of Han and Leia are put to rest when Calrissian welcomes the crew with open arms...but something is amiss.

    Meanwhile, Luke and R2 have travelled to the swamp planet of Dagobah, but instead of landing on a civilized world, they end up crash-landed on a strange planet that looks to have no intelligent life at all. With his X-Wing fighter bogged in a swamp, all seems lost until a strange creature announces that he knows the Yoda of which Luke speaks and promises to take the pair to him. When Luke begins to become impatient with the little green creature, he is mortified to learn that the object of his annoyance is in fact Yoda, the Jedi Master that he seeks. When Yoda in turn rejects Luke for further Jedi training, it's the intervention of the spirit of Obi Wan Kenobi that convinces Yoda to take on the young Skywalker as a Padawan apprentice. With an ignorant enthusiasm, Luke dedicates his attentions to those of Master Yoda. Little does he know what knowledge and responsibility will come with his Jedi training.

    With Han, Chewie, Leia and 3PO guests on Cloud City, Lando tells them of a deal, a proposition that will guard his operation from Imperial interference. Sadly, this involves turning his 'guests' over to Darth Vader for interrogation. But interrogation by Darth Vader's standards is something else entirely. The dark lord instead has Han, Chewie and Leia tortured endlessly without questioning. The intended desire: to draw the young Skywalker to his waiting grasp.

    Back on Dagobah, Luke feels the disturbance in the Force and hears the call of his friends. Yoda pleads with the young apprentice to ignore their cries and concentrate on the bigger picture, but Luke cannot stand by while his friends are made to suffer. The problem is that Luke's training is incomplete and without a solid grounding in the use of the Force, the young Padawan learner could be susceptible to influence from the Dark Side. This warning is not enough, though, and Luke and R2 leave the swamp world on the journey to find his friends.

    This is just what Lord Vader is waiting for and he prepares the mining operation for the eventual arrival of Skywalker. It is intended for the young Jedi learner to be frozen in carbonite before being taken to the Emperor by Vader where the young Skywalker can be impressed to join the Dark Side. To ensure that the carbonite freeze system works properly, Han Solo is chosen as the test subject. As Han finally declares his true feelings for the Princess, he is encased in the preserving substance. Seeing that the system works, he is handed over to bounty hunter Boba Fett who is wishing to cash in on the bounty placed by Jabba the Hutt.

    Soon Luke lands on Cloud City just as Lando (now with a change of heart) and Leia are trying to rescue Han. As Boba Fett departs with Han aboard his ship, Luke lands at the city and begins to search for Darth Vader. He doesn't have long to wait, as Vader has expected him all along. After seeing Obi Wan killed by the armoured Sith, Luke is dedicated to subduing Vader. Vader, on the other hand, is dedicated to capturing the young Jedi intact before taking him to the Emperor. Initially, Luke is able to take on Vader skill to skill, but as time wears on it becomes apparent that the Sith Lord is more than his match. When Luke loses his hand along with his light sabre, all seems lost. It's the revelation from Darth Vader that sets the young Skywalker into complete despair: the truth about the ultimate fate of his father. Unable to cope with the traumatic revelation, Luke throws himself from a railing high within the mining operation's interior to a certain death. Instead, Luke finds himself sucked into a ventilation duct that sees him jettisoned to the underbelly of the city where he hangs onto a weather vane. Calling out to Leia with the Force, she hears him and returns to the city where she, Lando, Chewie, 3PO and R2, all aboard the Millennium Falcon, find the young Skywalker, bring him aboard and continue on their escape. When R2 finds that the hyper drive has been tampered with, he fixes it just in time to evade the oncoming Imperial fleet under the direct command of Darth Vader. When the group manages to get away, Lord Vader is very disappointed and calls for his ship.

    When Luke, Leia and the crew make it to the rendezvous point they bid Lando and Chewie farewell as the two begin their travel to Tatooine to find Han. Meanwhile, Luke has just undergone reconstructive surgery and has received a robotic hand to make up for the one lost during his battle against Vader. As the Millennium Falcon travels out of sight, Luke can't help but wonder what the universe will bring him, and wonder if he will be able to face Darth Vader again.

The Birth of Empire

    On May 25, 1977, Star Wars is released in the U.S. to gargantuan box office success. Whilst George Lucas initially conceived the story in its entirety, the financial and technical reality meant that only a portion of the story could be told. With the success of Star Wars, the telling of the second part of the tale could be realized. Far more, the second film would become one of the most anticipated sequels in movie history.

    With the basic story already outlined, Lucas employs science fiction writer Leigh Brackett to write the first draft of the second film. Leigh starts the screenplay, but she passes away after a battle with cancer, but not before writing the first draft of the script. George Lucas then finishes the first draft of the screenplay before going to Lawrence Kasdan to write a final draft of the script. It was one of the first things that Kasdan wrote for the screen, but even after writing such successful films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, The Accidental Tourist and Grand Canyon, his work on Empire would be remembered as probably his most popular work and it made the second film the best of the entire series.

    The original Star Wars film harked back to a bygone era of the Saturday afternoon matinees of the 40s and 50s where millions of young people went to see the latest adventures of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Tarzan and Captain Video. Star Wars was pure Saturday matinee material, but the second film went in a much darker and more mature direction. Coupled with the maturity in the actors (and the audience), this time the story would not be the pulp fun of the first. Characters would fall in love only to be torn apart. The Rebel Alliance, instead of being the victors of the day, are driven to the furthest reaches of the galaxy by the might of the Empire. And Luke Skywalker, only just awakening to the power of the Force will discover that there is much to learn and the Dark Side is very much an easy path.

    With Director Irvin Kershner at the helm and George Lucas this time acting as Executive Producer, principal photography began in March of 1978 and goes on for over 170 days, by far the longest shoot of any film in the series. Also, because of the requirement for such diverse locations as an ice world, a swamp planet and the Cloud City, principal photography took place in Norway and England as well as Oregon and California in the U.S. The budget was also increased with the second film, which at U.S.$18,000,000 was almost double that of Star Wars. A high budget for the time (and on par with the classic Raging Bull, which was made at around the same time), but much less than that for Apocalypse Now, which was made for U.S.$31,000,000. Still, Lucas' films are not always the most expensive, and the filmmaker has the uncanny knack of getting almost every dollar onto the screen. With many of the people originally attached to the first film back to do the special effects, the second film would be bigger than the first. But would it be a success? Could there be any doubt?

    On May 11, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back is launched onto the screens of America and the world, to almost universal praise. Lucas had managed to capture the awe and wonder again, whilst developing the characters in an interesting way. And by the end of this second film no one had any doubt that there would be a third. The stunning cliff-hanger of revelations in Empire meant that a third instalment would have to be made, and almost immediately the third film went into pre-production. Return of the Jedi would be released in May, 1983 to great box office success, but as much as people flocked to the final of the original trilogy it was not regarded by many as an equal to the first or the second film.

The Evolution of Empire

    When it came time for George Lucas to consider continuing the Star Wars saga, he had to do one thing first: revisit the original three and get them up to speed in terms of sound and vision before embarking on the creation of the next trilogy. The initial three films all stood as benchmarks of technical achievement in the realm of cinema, but times had changed since the films had been made. Sacrifices had been made on all three films, due to either time constraints, budgetary constraints or technical ability. Almost 15 years on George knew that the advent of the digital imaging era could enable him to go back to the first films and revise them so that they would present a more cohesive whole when compared to the new films that were in pre-production. Thus the Special Edition programme was created.

    The original prints of the film had begun to deteriorate in dramatic fashion. This was most evident with the Star Wars print, which had faded to such an extent that further neglect could have seen the film almost totally lost. The first thing to be done to the films was a complete frame by frame reimaging, recomposition and reprint. It is very hard to do an upgrade of the original film if it has deteriorated to such a state that it is almost unwatchable.
 
    After the films were remastered, the various scenes and elements that made up the film were re-evaluated. The filmmakers had done a brave thing in Empire. Since Star Wars, the filmmakers had filmed ships against blue screens and then composited the ship images on a starfield. Put the two together and you have an almost seamless blend. But they had some problems with the locations in Empire. Much of the first part of the film took place on the ice world of Hoth, a planet covered in ice and snow. White snow. Cut and paste a ship element from blue screen to a white background and you have the pasted object surrounded with an obvious black outline. The filmmakers had a nifty way of getting rid of it, however. They didn't transfer the ship images at 100% opaqueness. Instead, they transferred the ship images with a slight transparency, thus reducing the pronounced black outline around the pasted element. The downside of this was that at times the trained eye could see through the ship or object to the scene behind it. This was a slight issue, but it was far superior to the black outline alternative. With computer imaging technology available, these once translucent elements could be redone giving them a more clear and solid appearance. This was done and the Battle of Hoth never looked better.

    Another major change to the film was the entrance to and the scenes in Bespin, the Cloud City. The original had the Millennium Falcon being escorted to the city where the scene quickly cut to its landing. With CG available, the entrance scene is greatly expanded and we get a much better sense of the size and grandeur of the city. The interior shots were also expanded from the original. Despite the potential breathtaking views visible from the city, much of the interior featured solid walls without windows to the outside. As CG didn't exist (in any real extent) during the creation of the first film, the possibility of seeing any outside vistas through the windows on Cloud City was out of the question. What could have been done would have added to the budget of the film, whilst at the same time distracting the audience with obviously fake exteriors. Again, with the advent of CG, these impossible vistas could for the first time be realized and the city in the film now appears much more realistic.

    Other changes to the film included a more detailed scene between Luke and the Wampa on Hoth, a longer departure from Cloud City by Darth Vader as well as some minor changes to dialogue. There were also some additions to the film's soundtrack because of the added footage. The various changes in this second film in the trilogy were probably not as pronounced as those made to Star Wars or Return of the Jedi. The first film had a number of added and expanded scenes, from an enlarged Mos Eisley spaceport and the meeting of Han and Jabba to an impressive rebel attack on the Death Star. It also featured the now infamous 'Greedo shoots first' scene in the cantina. The third film also had wholesale changes. The song in Jabba the Hutt's palace by Sy Snootles is completely redone, the Ewok celebration at the destruction of the Death Star is changed with new music, and additional scenes from around the galaxy are included as the Empire falls to the Rebel Alliance. Of all the films in the series, The Empire Strikes Back would up until this time be the most untouched of the Special Editions. The changes made further enhanced the enjoyment of the film and helped rather than hindered the flow of the story. There were no controversial additions or omissions and instead the film stood very much as it had 17 years before.

    For those interested, below is a list of some of the obvious changes to The Empire Strikes Back in the Special Edition:

The Rebirth of Empire

    Less than 12 months before the release of the final film in the new trilogy, George Lucas has again revisited his films, and in the same vein of the original Special Edition releases, the changes here are done in order to further maintain the consistency with the newer films. Again, the changes are not wholesale and do not completely alter the mood of the film, they simply add to the cohesivity of the film as a part of a whole, just as George originally intended the saga to be. Originally there wasn't going to be a DVD release of the films any time before the release of the last film in the new trilogy, Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but the continued public outcry for the films to be released eventually reached the filmmaker and here we have, in simultaneous world-wide release, the films as a complete series. They are not the original versions and they are not even the Special Editions as released in 1997. Typical of George Lucas, what we have here is a further progression of the films as he sees them. Probably never in the history of cinema has one person been able to wield such creative power over his creation, a creation that he builds and expands upon without fear from anyone. Having paid for many of the films out of his own pocket, he has placed himself in that enviable position. Some may deride his vision and constant meddling with his creations, but it does provide what one could almost call a living series of films; films that continue to grow and evolve as the years pass. Occasionally a filmmaker will go back and do a final cut of his film, such as the Director's cut of Blade Runner or Apocalypse Now Redux. Other times a restoration job will be done to an important classic film, such as that done to Lawrence of Arabia or Spartacus. What we have with the Star Wars Saga is something else altogether. Never before has a filmmaker been so involved with the evolution of his creation that he continually goes back to improve it. Some will criticize his 'fiddling' with the classics, but understand that these films are his vision, his creation, paid for out of his pocket. They are his to do with as he chooses and it is interesting to see what someone would do if they had that sort of creative license. It just happens that George is that person and the films are amongst the most popular in cinema history.

    The latest incarnation of this popular film is is very much similar to the original Special Edition and the changes to this new version are quite slight. Many of the changes have to do with various continuity problems that many eagle-eyed film lovers have noticed over the years, such as the the rank insignia on Admiral Piett's chest being on the wrong side in some scenes, or the blue vest that Han Solo wears and then doesn't wear right before he gets frozen in carbonite. But as some of these continuity errors are fixed, others are still left intact. Leia's arms when she kisses Han are the same as always; down and then up. The burn marks on the just cut pillar just after Luke has his hand cut off are still the way they always were. Also still present at times are the some of the ship matting elements. When the film first came out, at times you could see the pasted elements against the black background and these would crawl along with the ship image as it moved across the screen. Many of these were fixed up for the Special Edition, but they aren't all gone, as you can see at 24:17. Still, not a major problem. George has not done any wholesale changes or enhancements to the film and the original feel, look and even flaws are mostly left intact. The stop motion Imperial Walkers are not made CG and Yoda is still as we've always known him, so it's pleasing that the film maintains its original feel.

    The most obvious change to this new version of Empire is the exchange between Darth Vader and the Emperor. In the original, the Emperor tells Vader that they have a new enemy, Luke Skywalker. Vader counters with the comment that Skywalker's just a boy, but the Emperor knows that the Force is strong with him. In this version, the Emperor tells Darth Vader about the son of Skywalker being a danger to the Empire while Vader proposes that perhaps he can be turned to the Dark Side. The holographic image of the Emperor is new here, with the style look of actor Ian McDiarmid clearly visible. It was unusual seeing this different image and exchange in a film that I've grown to know and love over the years, but I believe that it goes towards making the entire Star Wars Saga consistent.

    For those interested, here is a list of the major changes to this latest version of The Empire Strikes Back:

    The most obvious change to this new version of Empire is the exchange between Darth Vader and the Emperor. In the original, the Emperor tells Vader that they have a new enemy, Luke Skywalker. Vader counters with the comments Skywalker's just a boy, but the Emperor knows that the Force is strong with him. In this version, the Emperor tells Darth Vader about the son of Skywalker being a danger to the Empire while Vader proposed that perhaps he can be turned to the Dark Side. The holographic image of the Emperor is new here, with the style look of actor Ian McDiarmid clearly visible. It was unusual seeing this different image and exchange in a film that I've grown to know and love over the years, but I believe that it goes towards making the entire Star Wars saga consistent.

    For those interested, here is the dialogue between Darth Vader and the Emperor. First, here is the original dialogue:

    Vader:  What is thy bidding, my master.

    Emperor:  There is a great disturbance in the Force.

    Vader:  I have felt it.

    Emperor:  We have a new enemy; Luke Skywalker.

    Vader:  Yes, my master.

    Emperor:  He could destroy us.

    Vader:  He's just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.

    Emperor:  The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.

    Vader:  If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.

    Emperor:  Yes, yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?

    Vader:  He will join us or die, Master.

    And now,  the new dialogue:

    Vader:  What is thy bidding, my Master.

    Emperor:  There is a great disturbance in the Force.

    Vader:  I have felt it.

    Emperor:  We have a new enemy. The young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt that this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.

    Vader:  How is that possible?

    Emperor:  Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.

    Vader:  He's just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.

    Emperor:  The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.

    Vader:  If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.

    Emperor:  Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?

    Vader:  He will join us or die, Master.

    This passage of dialogue is the most pronounced change in the film. This, coupled with the new image of the Emperor is the part that stands out the most. I found it to be quite consistent to the context of both the original film and the saga as a whole. I've included the dialogue passage so that you can see for yourself what difference it makes.

    It is such a pleasure to finally have this and the entire series of films finally available. I'm sure that George Lucas will again at some stage revisit these films, but until then you can feel free to buy these films with confidence that they do represent value. I like many fans would like to see the original theatrical versions made available, but this is purely for nostalgic reasons. I'm very happy with what we have here, and I'm sure that I'll watch it again and again.

A footnote:
 
    As I've only recently viewed this film and listened to the commentary, there are things that perhaps I may have missed. I will continue to update this review with any important information that becomes available. I don't have access to the Extras disc as yet, but when I do finally get it, I will update this review with any important information directly pertaining to this film. In the meantime, be sure to check out BrandonV's Review of the Bonus Materials disc.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video offering here is quite good and I'm still trying to get used to seeing the film looking so good

    This film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with the appropriate 16x9 enhancement.
 
     This transfer is extremely clean with the whole film completely cleaned of nicks, flecks and dirt marks. I cannot recall seeing a single nick or fleck while watching the movie. Pristine, just as I was hoping for. The sharpness of the image is perfect and I had no issues with blur or focus at all. Shadow detail here is quite good and I was very impressed with the black level throughout. I'm so used to seeing this film on hazy VHS with a semi-watchable picture, so I'm still trying to get my head around the overall look of the image here. Quite good. I had no problems with low level noise.

    Colour's use in this film is for the most part natural, although the filmmaker has purposely used different colour schemes for the various sections of the film. White for the opening battle scenes, greens and earthy tones for the Dagobah scenes and a rainbow of colours (many based on red) for the Bespin Cloud City part of the movie. I found colour's transfer to disc to be very good. Again, I haven't seen this film look so good ever.

    This film is transferred to DVD at an average bitrate of 7.35 Mb/s. This is fairly consistent throughout the programme and is very much able to convey the film in a presentable manner. I had some fears that aliasing might be a problem here, but I was happy to see that it was very, very infrequent. I did notice it on the boxes that Luke lifts using the Force on Dagobah, and again on the underside of Cloud City when Lando and Leia rescue Luke, but these were so negligible as to be almost non-existent. I did notice some edge enhancement from time to time, and such can be seen at 82:41 around Han and Leia, but overall I didn't think that it was a huge issue. Remember that I'm looking for every flaw here, so you might not notice this as much as I have.

    I found the English Subtitles to be of limited accuracy. Some of the scenes feature severely truncated titles for the dialogue, whilst at other times the words are just wrong. The scene with Han and Leia in the corridor on Hoth is an example. When Leia is chasing Han, she calls out to him and he turns and says "Yes, your eminenceness", but the titles say "Yes, your Highness". This affects the tone and humour of the scene and you would only use these subtitles to help you if you were hard of hearing. I believe that you would miss out on too much if you had to depend on the titles alone to adequately convey the meaning of the film.

    This disc is formatted RSDL with the layer change taking place within Chapter 27 at 55:42. This is the scene right as Leia sees the Mynocks when they are inside the asteroid. Whilst the scene is relatively quiet, you can hear the audio drop out for just a fraction of a second. Some players may render this layer change unnoticeably, but I really noticed it on mine.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio here is very good with an excellent English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX sound mix available.

    There are three audio options on our disc, these being English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and 2.0 Surround options as well as a filmmaker's commentary. The 5.1 EX track runs at a reasonable rate of 448 Kb/s whilst the 2.0 surround track and the audio commentary track both run at 192 Kb/s.

    The quality of the dialogue is very good. Some films of this era (late 70s and early 80s) can feature dialogue that sounds a bit hollow and lacks dynamics. This can be distracting if you are watching such a film on a quality home theatre system. Thankfully, this film doesn't suffer from this annoying problem and the dialogue sounds as if it had been recorded yesterday. During the making of the film, there were often so many noises in the background of the set whilst filming that often the dialogue had to be redubbed. This can be seen (heard) from time to time such as at 18:56 and 46:24 which looks like obvious ADR. Not a real major problem, but I did find it noticeable from time to time.

    Audio sync is reasonably good despite the high amount of post production dubbing. I had no issues with audio sync outside the occasional obvious ADR, and all the on-screen explosions and laser fire all sounded very good and accurate to the action on screen.
 
     Music for The Empire Strikes Back comes from lauded film scorer John Williams. John (credited in his early career as Johnny Williams) had begun his scoring career in the world of television and can count Wagon Train, The Virginian, Gilligan's Island, Lost in Space (including its title theme) and The Time Tunnel amongst his earlier works. Later, more film scores would be offered to the composer and films such as How to Steal a Million, Valley of the Dolls, The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Inferno are early examples of his movie work. The last three films would be an indication as to where John Williams' career would head, for in 1975 he would compose the score for one of the most popular films ever: Jaws. This classic summer horror film about a giant shark that stalks a popular beach in New England was directed by Steven Spielberg and John's music would win him his first Academy Award for Best Original Score. It might have been the music that put him on the map, but there was much more to come from the composer.

    When George Lucas was considering what type of score would suit his film Star Wars, he had a definite style in mind. George would always write to music, and certain scenes would be conceived with certain musical pieces in mind. So when the film was filmed, a temporary soundtrack was made using existing classical music tracks. When George asked his friend Steven Spielberg about suggestions as to who might be available to score his new film, Spielberg had only one name to suggest - John Williams. Williams had come from a school of thought that film scoring should be expansive, grandiose and powerful. In this modern era of the minimalist score, music from Williams stands in stark contrast. No primal percussive and abstract music here, as Williams' music is sound made into colour painted on an aural canvas. Each note to flow from his mind to his hand to the printed music sheet to the orchestra through the cinema speakers to the listener's ear is dedicated to achieve one purpose: to draw you into the world that has been created by the filmmaker. John's music is a guide to the mood and intent of the filmmaker, and in this regard no one could do better. Composers such as James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith would do very much a similar thing, and very well at that, but John Williams is the master and very many popular themes can be attributed to him. From Jaws to Star Wars, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Raiders of the Lost Ark and from E.T. to Jurassic Park, John's themes would become some of the most memorable ever written. None more so than his score for the Star Wars films.

    When he returned to score the next in the Star Wars trilogy, he had a new challenge ahead. His score for Star Wars had impressed a theme in the minds of people everywhere. Bill Murray was singing it on Saturday Night Live, Meco had done a disco version of it and the film's soundtrack release became the highest selling music-only soundtrack of all time. It would be a hard one to live up to, but John Williams rose to the challenge. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the score for The Empire Strikes Back would mirror the maturity of the film. The theme of the film was darker and this was conveyed well by the composer. A new theme was introduced to the film, that being the Imperial March, and this, along with the original Star Wars theme would become the most pronounced themes in the scores of the entire series. It was a score that was very much an equal to that done for Star Wars 3 years earlier, and it would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award although this time he would go on to lose to Michael Gore for his score for Fame.

    I found the 5.1 EX track here to be quite good with a completely consistent and complimentary soundscape. I thought that the sound engineers would have had a field day with this film, but to their credit they remained calm and didn't resort to any strange or inappropriate sound effects. Enveloping is the word that comes to mind and it's this type of consistency that serves this film best. A textbook example of how to use the surrounds.

    There is a high level of LFE available on this disc, and it'll put your system through its paces if you give it a chance. From the opening scene with the Star Destroyers launching the probes into space to the closing of the shield doors on Hoth to the destruction of the shield generator...the list goes on. The sound engineers have done an excellent job with the integration of the low frequency elements into the soundtrack. If you have have a quality sub, then look out! You'll love this!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    After the normal copyright warnings, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu. This is presented in three random themes: a Hoth theme, a Dagobah theme and a Cloud City theme. Each of these has their own introduction and style and they are totally in keeping with the type of menus established with the release of Episodes I and II on DVD. Once at the Main Menu you are offered the following options:     Selecting the Options icon offers up the following menu:     All the menus are 16x9 enhanced and feature audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 from the film's soundtrack.

Audio Commentary with George Lucas (Executive Producer), Irvin Kershner (Director), Carrie Fisher (Actor), Ben Burtt (Sound Effects) and Dennis Muren (Visual Effects)
 
     Here we get some influential people involved in the production of the film together for a chat. I got the impression that everyone wasn't in the room at the same time for the recording of this commentary, which is sad as it's the interaction between the various parties that make commentaries so good. I also question why you'd have a swag of behind the scenes people and one lone actor. I would have liked to have heard three commentaries; one for George Lucas, one for those involved in the technical aspects of the film and one for the stars of the film. Perhaps too much to ask, but I have yet to hear a commentary on a Star Wars film that I really love. Still, there are some interesting facts here and since I don't have the extras disc yet it'll do for now.
 
THX Optimizer

    This is the popular audio / visual calibration tool that is available on most THX certified discs. Selecting this icon will take the viewer to an introduction menu which will spell out the various tests that the optimizer employs and how to use them. Using this important and handy calibration tool will help the everyday DVD viewer to set up their display device to provide the best picture possible. There is also a series of audio tests that can help viewers to calibrate their home theatre system to a decent standard. The test scene here is just after Luke is taken out of the recuperation tank on Hoth. It runs for about 30 seconds.

STARWARS.COM

    This icon will take the viewer to the Star Wars official website and will provide exclusive web content, but only if you have the Interactal Player installed. I've never used the player so I cannot assess the various extras available on the website. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is probably the most anticipated DVD release in the history of the format. Before the advent of DVD, The Empire Strikes Back had made it's way to various home video formats with many different extras available. Many have decried the lack of the original versions being available on DVD, but when you see the list of what has come out on video up to this point, you perhaps might hold onto the hope that the original theatrical versions will be made available on DVD.

    Here is a detailed list of what various home video releases have been made of this film, many of which are the U.S. releases:

    This is a simple list of the various versions of this film that have been made available throughout the years, and it is by no means complete. If you are of the opinion that this latest release of this classic film, and indeed of the entire Trilogy, is the final word on the films then you have another thing coming. The above is a very incomplete list of titles that have been made available, but one thing is for sure: there will be more to come. I have no doubt whatsoever that after George Lucas completes Episode III, he will again revisit his original Trilogy to complete the Saga for a total and definitive package. Sure, we will all have to buy them again, but I for one don't mind. I'll be interested to see what he had done to his films and I'll be even more happy to get a complete extras package for each of the original films. It will come. I have no doubt about it.

     With the set only just on sale world-wide and few reviews yet available (the Michael D's reviews are probably the first world-wide), I can only guess as to any major Regional differences. I do believe that the Region 1 discs feature Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes in French and Spanish, but will only feature English subtitles. We only get the English audio but gain with English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles. Until I can get more information of the various versions released world-wide, I'll call this one a draw.

Summary

    As a kid, I used to dream that I could lay in my bed at night and be able to watch my favourite film, Star Wars, any time I wanted. I used to dream that the empty section of the ceiling above my bed could project the image of the film that I held so dear. A strange wish on my part, but as I've grown and matured (somewhat) over the years, I never forgotten that desire. As time went on, and the advent of home video came to fruition, this dream came closer to a reality. Now, 27 years after the release of Star Wars and 24 years after the release of The Empire Strikes Back I now have the film in my hand. Not a cropped Pan & Scan version, not a non-16x9 VHS version and not some cheap pirate import mastered off of God knows what, but the real deal. Finally, the first legitimate release of what is the most anticipated DVD release of all time. The Star Wars Saga is now available to fans everywhere. Sure, these are not the original films as we remember them, but they more importantly are the original and continuing vision of the film's creator, Director George Lucas. No one seems to have an issue with having the enhanced and remastered versions of films such as Spartacus, Lawrence of Arabia, Blade Runner and Das Boot available, but when you come to Star Wars it's a different story. The thing that made this series of films so successful is the dedication and vision of its creator, and what we have presented here is the continued vision of the creator of the films. I do believe that one day, probably a year or two after the release of the last film in the current series, Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we will eventually see some sort of Master Edition: one with all versions of the film and every making-of documentary ever released in relation to the Star Wars films. The fact that 20th Century Fox haven't gone ahead and made this set as double disc editions as Episodes I and II (and eventually Episode III) have been is a clear indication that there will eventually be more to come. 'The DVD buying public have no patience'. My belief: 'They will learn patience'.

    The video is quite good with a clean picture that presents the film looking better than it has ever looked.

    The audio is quite good with lots of LFE and appropriate use of the surrounds.

    Except for the THX Optimizer and the weblinks (www.starwars.com) and apart from the audio commentary, there are no extras here.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts, VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, Jamo Surround 160 Rear Center, VAF LFE-07 (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - RobertW

Comments (Add)
Special Special Edition - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Quick Introductory Paragraph Note - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
RE: Special Special Edition - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
You seem to be missing the point... - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio) REPLY POSTED
Missing Points? - JarJar REPLY POSTED
Boycotting - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
reply to JarJar, again... - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio) REPLY POSTED
To all ye fanboys - Carrion Steed REPLY POSTED
reply to CS - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio) REPLY POSTED
You were lucky to get out of there - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
The Phantom Menace - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Phantom Menace Reply - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe REPLY POSTED
NO 1 REVIEW - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Altered dialogue - Moff Martin (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
More on the changes to the films. - sbr (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
How do they allow the film's prints to deteriote? - Noel REPLY POSTED
Temuera Morrison has revoiced Boba Fett overdubbing Jason Wingreen's memorable performance. - Christopher REPLY POSTED
re: Sean's reply to my "Boycotting" post - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
The only film not raped by the SE, until George changes Boba Fett for DVD - grug (there is no bio.) REPLY POSTED
Amendment to my comments. - Moff Martin (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
The reply to my previous post - sbr (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
Not a purist, just a film fan - Neil REPLY POSTED
Well said sbr - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio) REPLY POSTED
THIS IS PROBABLY THE ONLY WAY IT WILL APPEAR ON DVD - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Darth Vader to be revoiced. - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Is It Me Or - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED
MPAA Rating Of Empire - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED

Overall | Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) | Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) | Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

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Released 20-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt And Dennis Muren
THX Optimizer
THX Trailer
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 129:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Marquand
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Billy Dee Williams
Anthony Daniels
Peter Mayhew
Sebastian Shaw
Ian McDiarmid
Frank Oz
James Earl Jones
David Prowse
Alec Guinness
Kenny Baker
Case ?
RPI ? Music Jerry Hey
John Williams
Joseph Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Luke Skywalker
has returned to his
home planet of Tatooine in an
attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo
from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun
construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.

When complete, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to return freedom to the Galaxy.


    Welcome to the DVD review of a movie that was generally regarded as somewhat of a disappointment, as the least mature, as the ugliest sister in the original Star Wars trilogy.

     Disclaimer: I am not a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise - please take my plot synopsis as that of a new viewer. I do not claim to be an expert on the Star Wars universe! It is interesting that, despite the less than rapturous reviews this film received on its initial release it, for my money, leaves the most recent two Star Wars outings - all overblown CGI and undercooked acting - in its wake. Nevertheless, whilst Return of the Jedi may not have been the pinnacle of the original trilogy, it can still hold its head very high as a timeless piece of pure family entertainment, in the tradition of all good Saturday matinee movies. Indeed for a movie that cost around a mere $50 million (Australian) to make, the box office receipts of over A$800 million and of course the A$700 million from video rentals (plus the gargantuan sales revenue this DVD will generate)..."disappointing" seems like a word that should not appear on the same page.

    Love it or loathe it, this film was designed to serve a major purpose - it was created to tie up all the loose ends of its prequels and deliver a meaningful conclusion to the epic Star Wars saga. It was there to resolve all those unanswered questions. It was there to provide one (temporary as it turned out) last look into that beguiling Star Wars universe. It was there to provide millions of dedicated fans around the world with a couple of hours of spectacular entertainment. I believe it does all of these things admirably - perhaps not perfectly, but perfectly adequately.

    And so we come to the plot of the movie itself... Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi takes place shortly (those in the know say one year) after the events of Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. As the film begins, Darth Vader (David Prowse) is landing on the brand spanking new, even more deadly, Death Star and announces that the Emperor himself (Ian McDiarmid) will shortly be visiting. Meanwhile, C3PO and R2D2 turn up at Jabba the Hutt's Palace on Tatooine with a video message from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), offering to exchange the two droids for the release of Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Solo, previously trapped in carbonite by Boba Fett, is serving out a chilly eternity as a mere decorative bauble for the repulsive Jabba. Unimpressed by the video message from Skywalker, C3PO is pressed into service as a translator, whilst R2D2 is destined to be enslaved into service on Jabba's sail barge.

    Without any fanfare a bounty hunter arrives with a captive - the mighty Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) - determined to achieve an equally mighty ransom for this formidable ally of Han Solo. The bounty hunter secretly releases Solo from his icy bonds and is revealed to be none other than the delectable Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Unfortunately, she is all too soon enslaved and forced to don a glittering bikini and rough iron neck chains, whilst a mysterious stranger hovers in the background. Our old friend Luke, making use of the infamous "Jedi mind trick" wheedles his way into the Palace, yet fails to convince Jabba that Han should be released. When Jabba drops Luke, through a trapdoor, into the clutches of a slavering Rancor only one of them is likely to survive. Luckily for us it is the Rancor that bites the dust.

    Despite a valiant fight, the rebels succumb to the superior numbers of Jabba's genetically diverse minions and are hauled aboard his sand yacht, bound for the dreaded Dune Sea and the maw of the dreadful, dentally over-endowed Sarlac. When Luke is forced to walk the plank, his Jedi powers come to the rescue once again and he is able to orchestrate an escape for the entire band of rebels...including that mysterious stranger who has been lurking in the background... Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

     And so it comes to pass that Chewbacca, the droids, Luke (despite a severe wound to the hand), Leia and Han are free once more to go about the business of rescuing the Galaxy. Luke decides that the time is right to return to the Dagobah system and resume his Jedi training with the vertically challenged Yoda. Unbeknownst to Luke, the Emperor has advised Vader that Skywalker must be returned to answer his ultimate calling - to return to "the Dark Side".

    Luke resumes his training with the now 900 year old Yoda only to receive confirmation that Vader truly is his father. Yoda also informs Luke that he has one final mission to complete before he can truly become a Jedi Knight. After the tearful death of the ailing Yoda, Luke is visited by the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) and he is informed that he must face, and kill, his biological father - Darth Vader.

    Whilst Luke has been learning the truth behind his past, and the painful path of his future, the Empire has been busy building the bigger and more powerful Death Star with which it intends to seize control of the Galaxy once and for all. The Emperor assures Darth Vader that Luke Skywalker will come to Vader without the need for capture - he has foreseen it... Before the Rebel fleet, led by (now) General Lando Calrissian, can launch a decisive attack on the Death Star, they must disable the shield generator which is protecting it from aerial assault.

    This takes the Rebels, aboard the stolen shuttle Tiberia, to the Forest Moon of Endor which is home to both the power generator and a race of (many critics say too) cute, teddy-bear like warriors - the (unnamed in the film) Ewoks. After a stunning chase on speeder-bikes through the forests, Leia is captured by the cuddly Ewoks. Fortunately, as C3PO is fluent in over six million dialects, the golden, possibly gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), robot is assumed to be a God by the Ewoks. Sadly, the presence of Luke proves to be a give-away, with his effect on the Force alerting Darth Vader (David Prowse) to their presence. Luke bravely decides that he must surrender himself into the clutches of Vader to allow his comrades to complete their mission.

    When Luke allows himself to be captured by the Empire forces, he once again comes face to face with his father - Darth Vader. Despite his hopes, it appears that Luke cannot convince Darth to re-join the forces for good. The Emperor informs Luke that Darth Vader will forever be linked to the Dark Side - and that, after some further training, Luke himself will become forever enchanted by those infernal powers.

    When C3PO tells the Ewoks, around the campfire, of the struggles of the rebels to regain balance in the Galaxy, of their fight against the evil Empire, they are galvanised to assist in the struggle to defeat the Emperor. The cuddly allies fall in love with the romanticism of this new breed of Rebel, this rag-tag bunch of aliens who may finally rid the galaxy of the scourge of the Emperor and his dark minions.

    And so we come to the dénouement - the pointy end - of the film, and indeed the original Star Wars trilogy. Will the Rebels, aided by the diminutive Ewoks somehow manage to defeat the overwhelming, crack troops of the Emperor? Will Luke manage to defeat Darth Vader and the unscrupulous Emperor without succumbing to the temptations of the Dark Side? Or will the subversive forces of the Dark Side, that eternal, pervasive evil prevail...?

    Return of the Jedi was criticised on a number of fronts. The resolution of that tantalising love triangle between Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo was seen by some critics as a lame cop-out, a simplistic and half-baked way of avoiding a more thoughtful (and satisfying) conclusion. The introduction of some characters was seen by some as a cynical marketing ploy to sell more action figures - Ewoks anyone? Given the relative merits of Episode I and Episode II, and the passage of over twenty years since its theatrical release, I suspect that many critics may now see Return of the Jedi in a somewhat more favourable light in this DVD incarnation.

    Okay - so sue me, but I actually enjoyed Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Sure it's cutesy in places, but I happen (like Eric Cartman) to think Endor and the Ewoks are cooool. Maybe the love triangle resolution was a bit of a cheap cop-out, but I didn't mind. Perhaps the relatively minor presence of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi gave the film less dramatic weight, but at least Jar-Jar Binks is nowhere to be seen. At the end of the day, this is head and shoulders above the fairly awful Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. For fans of the Star Wars universe, this is still somewhere close to cinematic heaven... and for myself? It brought back some unexpectedly happy memories, and who knows, I may even get around to buying the trilogy on DVD after watching this piece of genuinely entertaining, rollicking family cinema.

    Disappointing? Quite the contrary - this movie (and this laudable DVD presentation) comes highly recommended for families and fanatics alike. After all, the film is currently ranked as the 26th biggest box office success of all time...three places ahead of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back! If you want to see the original Star Wars trilogy - there is currently no better format on which to view it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this film is excellent and is almost, but not quite, of reference quality. On a smaller (say 68cm) screen it may as well be considered perfect.

    The movie is presented in an anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.35:1 which is the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    Let's be honest here. This film is over twenty years old. Given the age, the image sharpness is magnificent. It does fall slightly short of reference quality when compared to some of the best images from more recent years, but there really is nothing major here for anyone but the most anally retentive of viewers to complain about. Grain simply did not register with me. On occasion, the close-up shots look like they were shot yesterday. On occasion some of the busier, middle distance shots look like they were shot last month with a minor hint of softness. Need I say more? If you are a fan, throw away your VHS transfers right now.

    Black levels are truly excellent. They are coal mine deep and rock solid throughout, with no hint of low level noise. Shadow detail is usually very good indeed, but on occasion there is some minor loss of detail in the deepest of dark corners. Darth Vader's cloak occasionally becomes a black mass for example - but it is in no way obnoxious - yet his mask glistens with reflected detail. Colours are very cleanly rendered and nicely saturated. There is absolutely no evidence of colour bleeding. The forests of Endor in particular look highly naturalistic, yet warmly rendered and you can almost feel the dew dripping from the leaves. Some blue screen and CGI shots do, on occasion, stick out like the Westie's testes however. The primary colours of the light sabres look brilliantly vivid and clear. The only minor quibble I had was that some of the red laser beam ricochets looked rather oversaturated in a decidedly post-production way. Skin tones look natural enough throughout, although there is a slight touch of excess make-up evident on occasion.

    The transfer has no MPEG artefacts at all, from what I could see. Pixelisation and aliasing was totally absent on my progressive scan set-up - there was not even a hint of shimmer in the finest of detail. The only obvious (to the most critical of viewer) defect on show was the presence of some noticeable (barely) edge enhancement. This can be spotted by the critical viewer at (for instance) 30:58 as Luke walks the plank, at 37:35 on the Emperor, at 38:56 as Luke talks to Yoda, at 80:16 or 86:50 around Luke and Vader.

    With respect to spicks, spots and scratches, this transfer is spotless and, if I am honest, I really did not see a single significant film artefact.

    The English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are very well timed, very easy to read and rarely stray from the dialogue - be it English, Huttese, Ubese or any other galactic incarnation of the spoken word.

    This is a single sided, dual layer (RSDL) formatted disc, with the brief layer change barely noticeable at 60:07, masked by a typically kitsch wipe, but revealed by a minor pause in the audio stream. It is not disruptive in the slightest.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is excellent and is almost, but not quite, of reference quality.

    The primary English audio track for the film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX encoded at a healthy 448 kbps. It is utterly free from problems in the way of hiss, clicks, pops or dropouts. The dialogue is always crisp and clear, although I felt that it sounded a little recessive and tinny on occasion. Whilst the dialogue is never actually overwhelmed by the effects or score, it could withstand a little more prominence in the soundstage for my taste. Audio sync was generally spot on with only the merest hint of loss of sync on a few occasions - when Luke speaks to Jabba around 23:20 or when Leia speaks to the Ewok at 60:53. I suspect that both instances were the result of ADR work rather than the actual transfer however. The minor English audio track, which I sampled on several scenes, is a Dolby Digital 2.0 (surround flagged) affair encoded at 192 kbps which is equally serviceable - and once again appeared to be free from any significant defect.

    Original music is credited to the king of scores, John Williams, whose mind-bogglingly impressive body of work includes Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and the Harry Potter franchise amongst many notable others. It almost goes without saying that the musical score is a gem. Williams manages to weave the classic Star Wars theme into any number of genres - be they strident military marches, subtle strings, rousing battle scenes or mournful laments.

    The dialogue is solidly fixed in the main channels - predominantly the centre speaker of course. The main front speakers provide a very satisfying spread of noise including some rather nice soundstage panning.

    There is a very significant surround presence throughout the movie, which has an enveloping feel throughout. The surround speakers are highly active for the duration, with any number of locational, directional and ambient effects. Some notable examples of ambience include the rolls of thunder in Dagobah around 38:00, or the various creatures in the swamps around 45:15. Some very nice panning effects can be heard throughout, for instance with the fighters at 51:27 which pass from the back to the front of the soundstage, or the speeders as they race from front to rear at 56:30. Overall there is little more that could be asked of the effects speakers.

    There is substantial use of the subwoofer in this movie. There are numerous obvious choices for LFE vibrations - the explosions from Jabba's sand yacht around 35:20 or shots from the fighting in the forests of Endor around 62:00 for instance. There are also some more specific deep bass effects such as the footsteps of the Rancor beneath Jabba's palace or the rumble of the speeder engines around 56:30. The subwoofer certainly has plenty to do, although it is perhaps not quite as dramatically employed as in the more recently filmed Star Wars episodes. Overall, rather nice stuff.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are minimal in number - but for dedicated fans rather important.

Menu

    The animated menus are an absolute delight. With nicely chosen video clips from the film and audio support encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps, they almost beg you to choose all available options. The main menu allows the options of playing the feature, selecting one of an astonishing fifty chapter stops, choosing the audio language and subtitles, plus access to the following features:

Audio Commentary

    George Lucas is joined by Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt (Sound Designer) and Dennis Muren (Visual Effects) in a rather fascinating commentary track. It appears that the comments were not recorded at the same time - the protagonists do not really interact with one another, but that cannot detract from the quality of the commentary overall. The wealth of information available from listening to Lucas and Co. is priceless. Everything (well almost) fans could wish to learn about the film is here, waiting to be enjoyed. This is - for someone who is not a major fan of Star Wars or audio commentaries in general - an impressive commentary track. Highly worthwhile. It is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps and is well, well worth a listen for fans of the director or the Star Wars universe.

THX Optimizer

    On the Language Menu, this is a great extra (although not exactly unique nowadays), that helps you to set up your audio/video system fairly accurately, to enjoy the movie to the best capabilities of your hardware.

Web Link

    An Internet link to Starwars.com. It brings up a text screen saying how much wonderful stuff you can access if you install the (bloody awful) Interactual software from the DVD. I'll pass thanks.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I can only assume that the Region 1 release of this film is the same as our own - minor differences may exist in the way of languages and subtitles. Fans will probably be perfectly happy with a purchase of the Region 4 release. Buy whichever can be found cheaper.

Summary

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is the final chapter in the original Star Wars trilogy - and indeed in the whole Star Wars cinematic universe. It is, for dedicated fans, considered to be the weakest entry in the trilogy. This does not alter the fact that it is easily a substantial part of the most influential cinematic series of the last Century. As part of the Star Wars box set, it is unmissable. As a stand-alone film it is, whilst not quite perfect, bloody good fun!

    The 2.35:1 video transfer is almost of reference quality. For a movie which is so important, and which is over twenty years old, this is a magnificent video transfer.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio transfer is of almost reference quality. For a movie which dates to 1983 this mix is damned impressive

    Extra features are limited but, given the importance of the audio commentators, cinematically important.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - RobertW

Comments (Add)
Saber clash - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Imma boycott this film too - Anonymous
Future Star Wars changes - zooty
I want the NTSC versions - Anonymous
Box Orifice... - Daria Nicolodi's Fringe REPLY POSTED
Maybe not the last - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Bantha? Nup! - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Has Annakin's (Darth Vader)face been changed for the final scenes? - Noel
Has Annakin's (Darth Vader)face been changed for the final scenes? - Noel REPLY POSTED
re: Maybe not the last - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
re: Anakin's face and ghost - Bran (my bio, or something very like it) REPLY POSTED
re: maybe not the last - shaun007
re: NTSC versions - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
ewoks are cool - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio) REPLY POSTED
If you're looking for the Original Trilogy on DVD... - Christopher
I'll stick with my bootleg laserdisc rips. - grug (there is no bio.)
Fanboi 101, or, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Gimme Some More - JarJar
Lucas Apologists are like Holocaust deniers. - Christopher
Thanks for the info. Lucas has made a blunder. - Noel REPLY POSTED
stop whinning - Anonymous
Stop whining anonymous - Noel
WE SHOULD STOP CALLING THESE "ORIGINAL TRILOGY" - Anonymous
For whinging anonymous reader - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
to simon o conner and noel - Anonymous
Apologists ? - J. Buckley
Just accept it... - Shane C (read my bio, you will)
Star Wars - Episode VI - ChunkyLover83
Re: - Anonymous
Of course he will Shane C. - Noel
Film Artifacts - Justin Seau
Detailed Information on All Changes! - Justin Seau
christensen at the end of the film - Anonymous
Why doesn't Lucas Films do DTS??? always dolby - Pendergast
re: Why doesn't Lucas Films do DTS??? always dolby?? - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Re: why Lucas doesn't do DTS - Pendergast (Why not take a look at my bio, you might think it stinks.)
regarding cover-ups and denials - John Doe
Best News Ever - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
re: Why Lucas doesn't do DTS - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
re: Best News Ever - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Re: Best News Ever - Neil
re: Best News Ever - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
re: Best News Ever - Le Messor (bio logy class)
re: Best News Ever - Stimpy - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)

Overall | Star Wars-Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) | Star Wars-Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) | Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) | Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

Star Wars-Episode IV/V/VI Extras Disc (2004)

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Released 20-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Empire Of Dreams: The Story Of The Star Wars Trilogy
Featurette-The Characters Of Star Wars
Featurette-The Birth Of The Lightsaber
Featurette-The Force Is With Them: The Legacy Of Star Wars
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer-Launch And Re-Release Trailers For All 3 Movies
Theatrical Trailer-1997 Trailer For "A New Hope".
TV Spots-11
Gallery-Photo-Exclusive Production Photos
Gallery-Poster-One-Sheet Posters
Featurette-Episode III: Making The Game
Trailer-Star Wats Battlefront: X Box Game Demo
Trailer-Star Wars Battlefront Game
Featurette-Episode III Preview: The Return Of Darth Vader
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring George Lucas
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    George Lucas' original Star Wars Trilogy remains one of cinema's most outstanding and astounding critical and commercial successes. These films left an indelible imprint on movie-going audiences world-wide, impacted heavily on western pop-culture, and changed the course of film-making. As I wrote in my bio, Star Wars is a universally appealing morality tale, and "one of the very few films that I can remember seeing as a child . . . it provides a powerful mythology for a secular 20th and 21st century". The Star Wars Trilogy are films that, when finally released on DVD, demanded a decent extras package, and I'm happy to say that Lucas has delivered!

    The four-disc Star Wars Trilogy box set contains an Extras Disc, which is logically divided into various sections:

   Documentary and Featurettes

    Documentary: Empire Of Dreams: The Story Of The Star Wars Trilogy (150:44)

    Written by Ed Singer, and produced/directed by Edith Becker and Kevin Burns, Empire Of Dreams runs for over two-and-a-half hours. This comprehensive documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround-encoded audio. The clips from the films that are included as part of the documentary are 'letterboxed' to their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The documentary is divided into 12 chapters, and covers Episode IV through to VI.

    There have been many, many documentaries about these films, the fans, and even related subjects, such as documentaries on ILM or Joseph Campbell. However, overall, this is the most comprehensive single documentary that I have seen on the Star Wars universe.

    Empire Of Dreams includes recent interview segments with key cast, such as Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Frank Oz, and Kenny Baker; as well as writer/director George Lucas, composer John Williams, editor Paul Hirsch, producer Gary Kurtz, director Lawrence Kasden, and director Irvin Kershner. We also hear from director Steven Spielberg, the then 20th Century Fox Studio Head Alan Ladd Jr, and many others who were involved in the filmmaking.

    However, Empire Of Dreams is not just talking heads, it's packed with behind-the-scenes footage, file footage of the original premieres, and some out-takes from the three films. Despite being a die-hard Star Wars nut (of the almost a complete nerd variety), I actually learned some new things in watching this documentary. There are also many funny moments, such as the TV commercials for Kenner Toy's original Star Wars action figures. Lucas was originally unable to interest any company in the merchandising for Star Wars, except one small toy company that only agreed to make the action figures so that they could add a "space range" to their toy line. They were not ready or able to meet the subsequent demand, and in Xmas 1977, they sold empty boxes of the figures, which only contained a piece of paper with a promise that the figures would be shipped to the customer as soon as they were made. I also laughed at the Studio memos complaining that "the wookie has no pants".

    I also didn't realise that as part of the marketing, and to get Sci-Fi fans on-side, in 1976 a novelised version of the script was published a year before the film was released, and sold well. In addition, a Stan Lee/Marvel Comics version of the Star Wars story was also published. Alan Ladd Jr, who at the time was 20th Century Fox Studio Head, also discusses the originally poor booking by exhibitors, and how they could only get the movie booked into 37 cinemas in the US on its initial release, as no one originally wanted it. This is despite 20th Century Fox's heavy-handed tactics to force cinemas to screen it! He adds that of those 37 cinemas, 36 broke their all-time box office records, and that within three weeks of release Fox's stock price doubled, as Star Wars went on to become the (then) all-time box-office champion.

    One of the great treasures of this disc is that it includes a lot of the original shooting footage from the three movies (i.e. before post-production). To see the original scenes of Darth Vader, with David Prowse providing the dialogue in his high-pitched, Scottish accent (before James Earl Jones' voice was dubbed over it) is absolutely hilarious -- it's almost like watching a good Monty Python sketch.

    Of course a fair proportion of the documentary looks at the truly groundbreaking SFX, including the use of models, blue-screen, matte painting, and stop-motion animation, before the world of CGI stepped in. Interestingly, while I knew Lucas founded ILM in 1975, I wasn't aware that he also founded Pixar Animation in the 1980s to develop 3D animation, before this division was spun off as a separate company. A number of stills of original sketches, design and costume art, story-boards, and conceptual and promotional art is also included.

    For me, another highlight of this documentary are the original screen tests, shot on black and white video. Apart from the original auditions of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, we also get to see a number of other 'big name' screen tests, including Kurt Russell auditioning for the part of Han Solo, William Katt auditioning for the part of Luke Skywalker, and Cindy Williams auditioning for the part of Princess Leia.

    While the overall feel of the documentary is fun and light, it does have its serious moments, such as looking at some of the obstacles in shooting, ranging from problems with the schedule, problems with the budget, problems with the studio, and problems with the post-production. Furthermore, Visual Effects supervisor John Dykstra and chief model maker Paul Huston also speak frankly about their falling out with Lucas during the production, and how they could never seem to satisfy him with their work. Editor Paul Hirsch also discusses some of the problems with editing Episode IV, based on the speedy shooting, and the resulting limited footage.

    While the documentary focuses on the original films, in its dying moments there is a look at 1997, and why Lucas chose to "revisit" (okay change) them, when digital SFX "caught up with his original vision". Episodes I and II are touched on briefly at the end, but no mention is made of The Clone Wars animated television series or the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special which Lucas has since managed to deny and bury.

    Cleverly, the title of the documentary comes from the great irony that Lucas, the world's most successful independent filmmaker, a writer/producer/director who as a young film student started Lucasfilm in order to rebel against the controlling Hollywood studio system (an important theme of the Star Wars Trilogy), ended up presiding over a global Empire of his own, albeit an "Empire of Dreams".

    Featurettes

    Unless stated otherwise, all featurettes are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround-encoded audio, with the clips from the films that are included as part of the featurette 'letterboxed' to their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    Featurette-The Characters Of Star Wars  (18:57)

    Here we look at the story of good-versus-evil, and the characters that flesh that conflict out. Apart from key cast members, we also hear from director Peter Jackson, and there is also some screen-test footage included explaining the casting decisions.

     Featurette-The Birth Of The Lightsaber  (15:34)

    Lucas discusses some of his inspirations such as Robin Hood and the mythology surrounding Medieval Knights. Lucas also discusses his original idea for a "laser sword", and addresses an issue that I've always found odd: As I note in my bio, "Compare, for example, the duel at the end of Episode 1 to the duel at the end of Episode 4, which while exciting in the 1970s, now resembles two old men poking their walking sticks at each other". Lucas explains that in Episodes 1 to 3, the Jedi were at their peak and well trained, hence their acrobatic and dexterous duelling skills. We also get a sneak peak behind-the-scenes of a duel being filmed between Vader and Obi-Wan in Episode III.

    Featurette-The Force Is With Them: The Legacy Of Star Wars  (13:23)

    Here a number of producer/directors discuss the impact Star Wars had on them, such as James Cameron, who quit his job as a truck driver after seeing the film, and other notables, such as Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Dean Devlin, and John Singleton.

    Video Games and Still Galleries

    Gallery-Photo-Exclusive Production Photos

    Photographic stills from Episode IV-VI, which can be viewed with or without informative text captions.

    Gallery-Poster-One-Sheet Posters

    A collection of images of the various posters that were used in various countries to promote the film.

    Featurette-Episode III: Making The Game (6:09)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround-encoded audio, Lucas Arts Director Jon Knoles discusses the upcoming multi-format game.

   X Box Game Demo-Star Wars Battlefront

    I loaded this disc into my X-Box, and pleasantly discovered that a whole game level, set on Endor, is included. I assume they used X-Box to demonstrate the game as the X-Box is currently the most advanced gaming console on the market (until Playstation 3 is released in 2005/6). I must say that the game looks quite detailed, and seems very true to the Star Wars universe. As a third-person-shooter, players can select to play as characters from 'both sides of the fence'.

    Game Trailer-Star Wars Battlefront Game (1:17)

    A short trailer for the above game.

   Trailers and TV Spots

    Unless stated otherwise, all featurettes are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital Stereo audio.

    Episode IV

   Episode V

    Episode VI

    TV Spots

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, there are 11 short TV spots, (four for Episode IV, four for Episode V, and 3 for Episode VI). They can be viewed separately, or played sequentially.

    Featurette-Episode III Preview: The Return Of Darth Vader (9:08)

    Okay, I have to admit that this was the only disappointing featurette. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround-encoded audio, we get some interview segments with actors Ewan McGregor, James Earl Jones, Hayden Christensen, and producer Rick McCallum, discussing the character and costume of Vader; And we do get to see Hayden donning the famous black suit, and some behind-the-scenes footage of Vader's duel with Obi-Wan, but I was hoping for a genuine preview of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which I understand is currently in post-production.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Obviously a variety of source material has been used in these documentaries and featurettes, ranging from 1970s file footage to recent interviews shot on DV tape. However, overall, the transfer quality is excellent.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the clips from the films presented in their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. Some material, such as the TV Spots, are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.

    The sharpness, black level, shadow detail, and colour of the recent footage, such as the documentary interviews, is excellent. As expected, some of the DVD's contents are limited by the age and condition of the source material.

    I did not notice any problems with MPEG artefacts, although some of the older footage, especially the original TV Spots, are very, very grainy.

    Film-to-video artefacts appear in the form of aliasing throughout, such as the slight shimmer on the X-Wing diagrams at 8:43 during Empire Of Dreams. However, I never found it distracting.

    As expected, there are various film artefacts appearing in some of the file footage, and some of the older footage. Again, it was not distracting.

    English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles are present, and the English subtitles are very accurate.

    This is a dual-layered disc, with the layer change placed at 71:59 during Empire Of Dreams. It is very smooth and as it is between scenes, it is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track offered: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). For the documentary and most of the featurettes, the audio is surround-encoded.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent throughout.

    The music featured is taken from the films' scores provided by the great John Williams, who of course is also responsible for the Harry Potter, Jaws, Superman, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones movies' musical scores.

    As a documentary, I was not expected a great deal of surround presence or activity. As expected, the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy, but the rear speakers are used at times to help carry the score and provide some limited ambience. Obviously, as Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, there is no LFE track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Can a disc of Extras have Extras? Well, yes!

Menu

    There is a Main Menu Introduction, and a series of animated sub-menus, with Dolby Digital stereo audio. If you own the DVDs for Episode I or II, you will already be familiar with their look and feel.

DVD-ROM weblink

    A link to starwars.com.

Easter Egg - Star Wars Trilogy Gag Reel (4:31)

To access go to the Video Game & Still Galleries menu page. Press "10+", "1" (or "11") on your remote and wait for the small box next to R2-D2 to change colour. Press "3", then "8".

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, the R4 and R1 discs are identical, except for the region coding and the NTSC/PAL difference.

Summary

    While many Star Wars fans might (legitimately) complain that the original films are not available in their unaltered state, or that there could have been more extras, let's consider what we have been offered -- a wonderful, genuine, and fairly comprehensive extras package.

    As I wrote in my review for the Rambo Trilogy, I have always reserved space on my DVD shelves for some long-awaited box-sets: the Indiana Jones movies, the Back To The Future movies, the Rambo movies, and the original Star Wars movies. Now, in 2004, it's great to see that by the end of this year, all of these blank spaces will have been filled.

    Arguably, the Star Wars Trilogy has been the most sought after and highly anticipated DVD release of all time, and I'm pleased to see that we got treated to a great Extras Package. Yes, there could have been more, but I'm happy with what we got -- finally!

    The video quality depends on the source material, but is usually great.

    The audio quality is very good, albeit quite front-heavy.

    The extras are genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Friday, September 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - RobertW

Comments (Add)
RETURN of the Sith?? - Anton C (same bio as Antony C, same person, lost details for first account.) REPLY POSTED
The original chance to Star Wars - X
the price is wrong - Anonymous
Run Times - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
re: widescreen castle - millhouse
re: re: widescreen castle - SammyW
Problems with the Star Wars 3 preview - Noel
Re: Problems with the Star Wars 3 preview - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)
Easter Egg - Hidden Blooper Reel - Nad Hubba
Easter Egg - Blooper Reel - munster (read my bio)
The original chance to Star Wars - Anonymous
Empire o' Dreams - J
Revenge of the Sith preview problem - Kevin
STAR WARS bluray details now up!! - Khai L
Will original Star Wars movie and Empire Strikes be released individually? - NewcastleBoy (read my bio)
re:Will original Star Wars movie and Empire Strikes be released individually? - stevo
Original Editions - Le Messor (bio logy class)