Star Wars-Episode VI: Return of the Jedi: Limited Edition (1983)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-With George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher
DVD Plus-Original Theatrical Version
Trailer-Lego Star Wars 11
Game-PC Demo Lego
|Year Of Production||1983|
|Running Time||126:17 (Case: 257)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Richard Marquand|
Twentieth Century Fox
Billy Dee Williams
James Earl Jones
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was the third film to be released theatrically in the Star Wars saga, and the sixth and final in terms of overall chronology. Viewed by many fans and critics as the weakest episode in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi has been released on DVD as a Limited Edition, containing the movie’s original theatrical version (for the first time on DVD), as well as the 2004 Special Edition DVD.
In the epic conclusion to the saga, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), all travel to Tatooinee to rescue their friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford), from the vile and obese gangster, Jabba the Hutt.
Once Han’s rescue in Act I is complete, the rest of the film is largely devoted to the Empire’s preparations to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star. The Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) is personally supervising the final stages of its construction, with the assistance of Darth Vader (David Prowse with James Earl Jones' voice).
In response, the Rebel fleet plans to mount a massive attack on the space station, before it is fully operational.
In carrying out their plan, the Rebellion will form new allies in the form of cute, teddy-bear-like critters, called Ewoks.
In Act I, Luke has proven himself a worthy knight by both slaying a dragon (Rancor) and rescuing a princess. But Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) advises him that his Jedi training is not complete: "One thing remains - Vader. You must confront Vader, and then a Jedi you will be”. Yoda’s command will set up a climatic duel between father and son.
The original Star Wars was a self-contained film, that introduced us to the characters that existed "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away". The Empire Strikes Back later introduced us to the central plotline of the entire series. But Return of the Jedi is almost solely concerned with wrapping things up and providing fans with a happy ending.
Written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, with Welsh Film Director, Richard Marquand at the helm, Return of the Jedi often seems rushed, and some of the resolutions to the saga, and love triangle, seem all too easy.
Return of the Jedi debuted in cinemas in May 1983, and was later released on VHS tape and LaserDisc during the 1980s and 90s. Along with the other two films of the original Trilogy, the film was re-released theatrically with a number of changes in 1997. This version was released on VHS tape and LaserDisc as well. With much hype, Return of the Jedi was finally released on DVD in 2004, having been digitally restored and re-mastered, with even more changes made by George Lucas. However, only now has the original, unaltered version of Return of the Jedi been available on DVD.
For those interested in the many changes made to the film over the years, these are detailed on many fan sites, and on the official website found at http://www.starwars.com/episode-vi/ The “What has Changed?” section features 97 screen shots comparing scenes from the original 1983 theatrical version, with scenes from the new 2004 Special Edition.
While a lot of fuss has been made about the changes, it seems that the 1997 and 2004 versions have fixed a lot of the original continuity errors, and dodgy SFX; And has provided improved compositing, removal of matte artefacts and lines, corrected the colour, lighting, and shadows in a number of scenes, and replaced some of obvious puppets and miniatures with CGI.
This Limited Edition contains the movie’s original theatrical version (for the first time on DVD) as a bonus disc, as well as the 2004 Special Edition DVD. A comprehensive review of the latter can be found here. This review will refer to the transfer of the original theatrical version (bonus disc).
Firstly, while Lucas' gross avarice no longer surprises me, his continued mistreatment of his fans does. I imagine that anyone buying this Limited Edition will be doing so to get the original theatrical version of the film. Yet, the quality of the DVD transfer seems lifted directly from the LaserDisc version, and not from the original master.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. In an utter disgrace for a major release in 2006, it is not 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness is reasonable for a non-16x9 enhanced film, but when blown up with a projector, at times it looks like the image is being projected onto Venetian blinds. The black level is variable. With the extensive use of matte paintings, some of the blackness of space is more grey, and at times the black level is lacking, such as in the Ewok camp at 72:07. The shadow detail is also variable, at times it is good, such as in Jabba's Palace at 16:32, and at other times poor. For example, there is very little detail in Vader and Luke's black costumes at 80:06.
The colour is reasonable, but at times there are problems due to the source material (heavy use of matte paintings), and occasionally the colour looks a little washed out, or aged, such as at 29:52.
I did not notice any problems with MPEG artefacts, although many of the scenes are very, very grainy.
Film-To-Video Artefacts appear in the form of telecine wobble throughout, such as at 4:47 at 63:11. At times it is very distracting.
A variety of film artefacts appear throughout. Some are quite large, such as the vertical black line that pops up on screen occasionally.
The subtitles are accurate, but have been placed in the bottom black bar of the picture. So, if you, like me, 'zoom' in for non-16x9 enhanced discs, to view them in their correct ratio on a widescreen television, then only the top line of subtitles are visible. As there are a lot of subtitles for the alien languages, this forces us to watch the movie in 4:3 format (Letterboxed). Thanks Lucas.
Frankly, I was surprised that this transfer was authored onto a dual-layered disc. The layer change is placed between scenes at 59:23. It is just before Leia is discovered by the Ewoks. The feature is divided into 51 chapters.
There is only one audio track offered: English Dolby Digital Stereo Surround Encoded.
There is extensive, and often obvious use of ADR throughout, but the dialogue quality and audio sync are okay.
The main orchestral score is provided by the great John Williams, who of course is also responsible for the Harry Potter, Jaws, Superman, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones' scores. Some additional music is provided by some others.
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, such as in the swamp at 37:16 and the space battle at 90:40. Obviously, as Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, there is no LFE track.
|Surround Channel Use|
Okay Limited Edition means lots of extras right? Right? Forget it, the insults continue.
A simple menu.
Game Demo - Lego Star Wars II
A PC game demo, compatible with PC DVD-ROM drive.
Trailer - Lego Star Wars II (2:01)
Guess what Lucas has provided 16x9 enhanced on this disc? An advert. This trailer also has Dolby Stereo Surround.
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; and the R1 also has a X-Box playable game demo.
Maybe there's more to this than just a gross double-dip? Perhaps Lucas is so sick of the criticism he's taken from fans for all his changes, that he decided to rub the original film in their face, and release it in the worst possible condition, so that everyone could appreciate what an improvement he has made?
The video quality is poor.
The audio quality is okay, albeit limited and front-heavy.
There are no genuine extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|