.* The above review is intended to entertain only.  Any similarity to features available on future releases
    of the Star Wars Saga on any media format, known or as yet unknown, is purely coincidental.  No
    rumor or revelation toward any feature or design presently proposed for inclusion on any future
    Star Wars video product is implied or intended.  No person currently or formerly working for
    Lucasfilm or any connected firm took part in the making of this review.  Don't spread rumors!!!
  
    However, if George Lucas happens to read this review, and likes any of these features, his use
    of them in bringing the Star Wars experience to Home Digital would be greatly appreciated!
            
    Oh, and drive the Tucker Torpedo around more often, would you George?
    (the blue Ferrari just isn't doing it for us)
   
           
Review Published
April 1, 2001
A.J.'s Rating: 1138 Stars  "Who is more foolish, the
fool or the fool who follows him?" -  Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Technical Stuff
Format:  Region 1 (USA and Canada)  4 DVD Set
DVD #1 Star Wars EP IV: A New Hope
DVD #2 Star Wars EP V:  The Empire Strikes Back
DVD #3 Star Wars EP VI: Return of the Jedi
Newly Remastered Theatrical Releases; Anamorphic Widescreen Presentations  (2.35:1)
DVD#4 Star Wars Supplementary Disc
Audio:  All sound THX Certified
  
THE STAR WARS TRILOGY: 
LIMITED EDITION 4 DVD SET
The Usual Stuff
    
Sound and Image Quality:
   
     They're good.  Damn good.  THX certified, 'nuf said?        
         
     
Deleted Scenes:
 
      No deleted scenes are included with any of the Star Wars films, but the supplementary disc has a 20 minute 'goof reel' which provides many amusing moments from the making of the trilogy.
   
   
Trailers & TV Spots:
   
    Each film includes the original theatrical trailer.  It's interesting to see the one for the first Star Wars which, by the way, was NOT originally entitled A New Hope.  The trailer, such as it is, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the studio had no idea what magic they were about to unleash!  (Once Star Wars became a worldwide hit, the New Hope moniker was added for it's re-release in 1978.)

    The Star Wars EP IV DVD also includes an exclusive teaser for Episode II!  However, fans will still have to wait for Memorial Day to see the "Official" Episode II trailer in theatres, where it will preceed the movie Pearl Harbor.
   
    
Cast & Crew:
   
    Short biographies of the cast & crew are included on each disc.  Also included (on the supplementary disc) is a filmography listing every film ILM has provided effects-work for; a very interesting resource!
       
      
Subtitles:
        
   English subtitle option for the hearing impaired.
The Not-So-Cool Stuff  A.K.A. The Dark Side:

The only uncool part about the Star Wars DVD Set is that it doesn't exist...
(updated September 21st, 2004!!!  Scroll down for more REAL info!)


       April Fools, everybody!*     
If exist it did, buy it you would, hmmm?
The Really Cool Stuff
   
Best Feature:

   I can't pick just one feature...  the entire set is simply incredible!  To begin with, the set comes packaged with four different cool, embossed glossy covers.  Each DVD includes the film's enhanced (1997) version on one side of its disc, with the original (Classic) theatrical version on the other side, each in widescreen format.  The old and new versions can be compared, and fans who remember these movies from over twenty years ago can re-live their Star Wars experience free from digital alteration.  Lucas is truly one Class-Act filmmaker to include both versions.  And, as if that weren't enough, a fourth DVD, overflowing with Star Wars supplemental goodies, is also included!   
   
Note: The fourth disc is available ONLY in this limited-release box set. 
   
   
Menu Screen Presentation:     
    
      After an all-new, Star Wars-themed THX logo presentation, the screen fades to black.  A few seconds later, the familiar Star Wars title graphic appears, then recedes into the distance accompanied by John Williams' main theme.  (Predictable, yes, but I wouldn't have it any other way!)  As the theme continues, an in-motion star field fades in, overlapped by a semi-transparent montage of scenes, each accompanied by appropriate sound-bites from the film.  Via a neat effect that is best described as holographic-static, the screen then transforms into the DVD's Main Menu.  Main Menu screens for each film are individually themed, following variations on the above format.  The 1997 editions feature full-motion scene access screens, while the 'classic' versions use still images.  Sub-menus feature different movements from the film's score and animated backgrounds.  Cool Star Wars sound and 'wipe-cut' effects accompany transitions between different menu screens.
   
  
Audio Commentary Tracks:

    (commentary tracks available on 1997 versions only)

    Star Wars Episode IV- A New Hope
         George Lucas with film historian James Lipton

    Star Wars Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back
         George Lucas with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and actor Harrison Ford

    Star Wars Episode VI- Return of the Jedi
         George Lucas with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and actor Harrison Ford

    All commentary tracks are full of great, surprisingly little known facts concerning the making of the films.  Lucas handles most of the commentary on Episode IV, fielding questions from Lipton when appropriate.  The majority of commentary on Episodes V and VI come from Kasdan and Ford, with occasional input from Lucas.
    
   
Technical Commentary Presentation:
  
   (available on 1997 versions only)
  
    This absolutely ROCKS!  Using a revolutionary 'picture in picture' format, the ILM team describes the effects-work that went into each film.  Below and to the left of the film's image, a small 'window' shows storyboards, model spacecraft, 'behind the scenes' footage, and other information relative to the commentary for each scene!  Also, by pressing the DVD remote's 'angle' button, it is possible to switch pictures, moving the film's image to the small window, and the commentary images to the larger screen.  This is great for seeing the detail on storyboards, or pausing to admire the fine craftsmanship that went into the many models and props designed for the films.
   
   
Documentaries:
   
    (available on supplementary disc)
   
   1)  The Making of Star Wars:
   
         This is a 45 minute documentary on the making of the first Star
         Wars film.  Includes many "how they did it" segments featuring the
          ILM team in action.  Great historical significance for SFX fans.
          It's amazing how much the effects industry has progressed in the
          past 25 years, greatly due to these creative people. 
 
  
    2)  From Star Wars to Jedi - The Making of a Saga:
   
         This is a 65 minute documentary from 1983, narrated by Mark
         Hamill, about the entire first trilogy, but mostly Jedi.  Good
          information, especially about ILM's famous Creature Shop.  Also,
         many of Lucas' revisions for the 1997 editions of the films are
         hinted at, including his desire for a better cantina scene, as well as
         the unfinished Solo/Jabba scene from A New Hope.
        
   
    3)  From Star Wars to Star Wars -
         The Story of Industrial Light & Magic:

         Hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, this 1999 production is a fascinating
         look at the people behind the special effects of Star Wars, and
         many other great films, as well.  Also includes some good behind-
         the-scenes footage from the making of The Phantom Menace.
    
         
    4)  The Star Wars Phenomenon:
  
         This is an excellent 60 minute program about the impact the Star
         Wars Saga has had on the movie industry and popular culture. 
   
   
Image Galleries:    
   
    (available on supplementary disc)
   
   1)  Production Stills:
    
         Good selection of stills from each film, using a nicely designed
          format which shows six stills at once.  Highlighting and selecting
         an image presents a full screen version with descriptive caption.
  
  
    2)  Promotional and Merchandise Stills:
   
         A treasure-trove of images, including posters, trading cards, action
         figures, model kits, games, breakfast cereals (C3P - O's anyone?),
         and much, much more! "Where the REAL money from the movie is
         made!"  Categorized for easy access.
   
    
    3)  Technical Blueprints:
   
         Ok, I've died and gone to Star Wars Heaven...  Included here are
         schematics for virtually every mechanical device seen in the films!
         To one side of each blueprint is a fully rendered version of the
         finished machine, vehicle, droid, or Death Star component.
         Highlighting the frame around the object, then pressing 'OK' or
         'ENTER' on the DVD remote presents a full-screen, three-
         dimensional image.  While in this mode, the remote's directional
         arrows can be used to rotate 360 degrees and view the object from
         any angle.  Pressing 'OK' or 'ENTER' again on the remote returns
         to the blueprint screen.
   
   
Original Storyboards:
   
    (available on supplementary disc)

    Storyboards for all three films, including some unfilmed sequences, are presented.  Features a variation on the 'Production Stills' screen format described above.  Highlighting a storyboard and pressing 'OK' or 'ENTER' on the DVD remote accesses a full-screen version of the chosen image.  Categorized by scene for easy access.   Also included are many spectacular 'concept' drawings and paintings that depict the possible directions each film's look could have taken.
Imperial Fools
Served
A.J.'s DVD Reviews
Factual DVD info last
edited Sept. 21, 2004
Go Ahead Kid, Press Your Luck!
STAR WARS TRILOGY ON DVD (click to purchase)
1
Movie reviews, guides, games, news, and more!
"Not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary,
run-of-the-mill, ho-hum entertainment website."
A.J.'s Place - Main Menu
STAR WARS
TRILOGY
Director:
George Lucas
Screenwriter:
George Lucas
Director of Photography:
Gilbert Taylor
Editors:
Richard Chew
Paul Hersch
Marcia Lucas
George Lucas
T.M. Christopher (SE)
Composer:
John Williams
Executive Producer:
George Lucas
Producers:
Gary Kurtz
Rick McCallum (SE)
Production Designer:
John Barry
Art Direction:
Leslie Dilley
Norman Reynolds
Set Decoration:
Roger Christian
Costume Design:
John Mollo
Special Effects:
Industrial Light & Magic
Star Wars Images (C) 2000
Lucasfilm Ltd.
EP IV: A New Hope

Starring:
Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Peter Cushing
Alec Guiness
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Peter Mayhew
David Prowse
James Earl Jones
The Really Technical Stuff

Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
Format: Color, Widescreen, Dolby
   
DVD Features: 
  
Four Disc Set -
 
* Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
  Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
* Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  Commentary by Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
* Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
  Commentary by Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
* Bonus Disc: all-new bonus features, including the most comprehensive feature-length documentary ever
  produced on the Star Wars saga, and never-before-seen footage from the making of all three films
* "Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy"
* Featurettes: The Legendary Creatures of Star Wars, The Birth of the Lightsaber, The Legacy of Star Wars
* Teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries
* Playable Xbox demo of the new Lucasarts game Star Wars Battlefront
* The making of the Episode III videogame
* Exclusive preview of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
* Widescreen anamorphic format
* Easter Eggs 
 
   
The Scoop
   
These are NOT the 1997 'Special Edition' releases, nor are they the 'original' theatrical releases. 
They are the 2004 'enhanced' releases of the films.  A list of updates follows:
  
Updates that apply to all three films:
* Opening crawls redone to match color and quality of the Prequel Trilogy opening crawls
* Lightsaber effects have been fixed (Colors more vibrant and appear sharper and more stable)
* Frame by frame restoration and clean up, along with fixing of all matte lines
  
Updates specific to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope:
* Binary sunset shot on Tatooine now has clouds to match later POV shot
* Greedo still shoots first, however Han's reaction is now a bit more realistic
* Jabba design fixed to match rest of series
* R2D2's panels now blue in all of the space shots
* The matte-painted hall in the detention block has been fixed 
* Lettering on Death Star panels now written in Aurebesh (the Star Wars Intergalactic Standard Alphabet)
* Door closings/openings have been smoothed out
* Some aliens and other creatures blink now to make them look less mask-like
* Stormtroopers voices all redubbed by Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett - since they are all clones of him)
* Ian McDiarmid appears as the Emperor
 
Updates specific to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
* Ian McDiarmid now appears as The Emperor
    
Updates specific to Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi 
* Jabba's Rancor effects during battle with Luke have been cleaned up
* Celebrations in Naboo now appear as part of the end victory sequence
* The Jedi Temple appears in the background of Courescant during the end victory sequence
* Sebastian Shaw's eyes have been recolored (to match Hayden's) and eyebrows removed
* The Emperor's lightning effects have been enhanced
* Hayden Christiansen appears at the end of the film in ghost form (see A.J.'s Movie News - August 6, 2004)
 
 

DVD Easter Eggs
  
(Depending on your remote type, you may have to press "enter" after each command code.)

*Animated Menu Screens: 
As with Episodes I and II, each movie disc has different menu themes, featuring locales visited during the course of each story.  The default is randomly chosen each time the disc is played.  To access each themed-menu directly, follow these instructions:

At the red "WARNING" screen:

Press "Audio"
Episode IV: Rebel Base on Yavin IV Menu
Episode V: Cloud City Menu
Episode VI: Jabba's Palace/Barge Menu

Press "2"
Episode IV: Tatooine Menu
Episode V: Ice Planet Hoth Menu
Episode VI: The New Death Star Menu

Press "12"
Episode IV: Death Star Menu
Episode V: Dagobah Menu
Episode VI: Endor Menu

*Outtake/Gag Reel:
Go to the "Video Games and Stills Galleries" section of the Bonus Materials disc and follow these instructions:

Press "11" (A yellow rectangle should highlight to the right of R2-D2.)
Press "3"
Press "8"
A short gag-reel/DVD credits list will automatically play. Running time: 4:45
  
  

A.J.'s Final Thoughts
   
When I first heard that Lucas was updating his original Star Wars trilogy once again, my first reaction was, of course, "I've got a very bad feeling about this". The good news is that the additional visual updates do not significantly change the films from their 1997 incarnations, and, best of all, most of them do not call attention to themselves. In fact, Lucas was much less subtle with his reworking of THX-1138 than he was with the Star Wars trilogy. 
    
The addition of Hayden Christiansen's ghostly image to Return of the Jedi kind of bothers me, though. Wouldn't Luke Skywalker be wondering "Who the heck is that sheepish-looking guy with Obi-Wan and Master Yoda?" I am also a bit disappointed that Lucas chose not to follow the lead of a certain other Lord of the Trilogies, as far as depth of DVD features are concerned. But, due largely to its excellent feature-length making-of documentary, I'm relatively happy with the overall presentation. 
 
And finally, I still have two big complaints about the 1997 versions that were not addressed by Lucas: 

#1: The Han/Jabba scene in A New Hope is superfluous. It does not advance the story, most of its dialogue repeated line-for-line from the earlier Han/Greedo cantina scene. In fact, the entire line, "Even I get boarded sometimes... do you think I had a choice?" has obviously been looped in from one scene to the other! Said originally during the cut Han/Jabba scene, Lucas edited it into the Han/Greedo scene (where it's said offscreen as Han reaches for his blaster). I believe it was much better to have Jabba remain mysterious and unseen in A New Hope. As it stands now, his appearance carries no weight (so to speak), with the grandeur and spectacle of finally revealing him in Return of the Jedi completely ruined.
 
#2: Han shot Greedo first. Don't deny it for the sake of politically-correct role modeling. "Oh, but our hero Han Solo would never murder someone in cold-blood..." - no, he would and he did!  Han saw a chance to kill Greedo before Greedo could kill him, and he took it. The guy was a rogue, and rightly so. At the beginning of the series, Han was exactly the sort of villainous scum you would expect to find in a Mos Eisley cantina. Altering that only serves to screw up his character arc! (kind of like making a bunch of prequels only serves to screw up the trilogy - but I digress...)
   
With this release, if Lucas had cut the Han/Jabba scene, reinstated the original Han/Greedo scene, and not had Hayden Christiansen at the end of Jedi, I would consider the Star Wars Trilogy to be nearly perfect. You're getting closer, George!  Oh well, maybe for the next versions? (wait- that's not funny... he might just do it!) 
  
Until then, May the Force be with you!
WAY TO GO, KID!  YOU'VE SCROLLED DOWN TO THE REAL DEAL.
THE FORCE IS STRONG WITHIN YOU!
 
It's official!  The STAR WARS TRILOGY DVD SET has finally arrived!

No Jedi mind tricks here, my friend, just real info about the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD.

Available from Amazon.com (click box at left to order)
"I have altered the Trilogy...

Pray I do not alter it any further!"