Last week, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment released the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. This is not the first time the classic trilogy has been released to the DVD market. In 2004, released the Star Wars trilogy gift set, complete with commentary tracks for each movie and a bonus features disc. But there was a huge outcry from many “purists” among the Star Wars fans clamoring for the films on DVD. These films were not the original theatrical versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi released in 1977, 1980 and 1983, respectively. These weren’t even the Special Edition versions released in 1997 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the original film. No, it seems that George Lucas ans his crew at Lucasfilm, Ltd. had further enhanced the films, both touching up on the special effects and bringing in actors from the prequel films to make these movies flow more smoothly with the newer films.
During the fall of 2005, Fox issued a three DVD set which contained the Star Wars films, minus the bonus features disc and with some different artwork for the slipcase. But that was not enough to placate the purists who continued to demand the release of the original theatrical versions of the films on DVD. Lucas had publically expressed his reluctance to do so, and stated repeatedly that the newer, enhanced versions were the definitive versions of the story.
Finally, in May of this year, Fox and Lucasfilm announced that the original versions of the films from the classic trilogy would be released to the DVD market on September 12th. Each movie has been released as a two-disc set, containing both the enhanced and original versions. The discs containing the enhanced version (Disc One) also contains the commentary tracks recorded for the original DVD set. The video and sound quality is not the same as the newer versions. Jim Ward, a spokesman for Lucasfilm commented “It is state of the art, as of 1993, and that’s not as good as state of the art 2006.” These DVD’s are available only for a limited time before they are pulled off the market on December 31st.
So, do you prefer Han shooting first, or Greedo? Ian McDiarmid or Clive Revill as the Emperor? Temeura Morrison’s voice or Jeremy Bulloch’s for Boba Fett? Sebastian Shaw or Hayden Christiansen as the redeemed Anakin Skywalker? Do any of these things really matter? Does anyone with a life really care?
In all seriousness, it would been so much better for Fox and Lucasfilm to have just made the original theatrical versions availble by themselves rather than using this two-disc set to shove the newer versions down the throats of fans who just wanted to buy the originals. I would mainly recommend these DVD’s for those purists absolutely have to have the original theatrical versions, or for someone who is such an avid Star Wars fan collector that he has to have anything and everything with Star Wars on it. Otherwise, I’m really not sure it’s worth the $29.90 price tag on each DVD set.