Star Wars Franchise (1977-∞)

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skuhn8
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#76 Post by skuhn8 » Thu May 25, 2006 1:03 pm

Wow. George Lucas really is a fucking asshole. No exclamation mark here as it's just a simple conclusion without fanfare. I wasn't really aware to what extent he lacked anything approaching integrity. Artistic vision? Huh.

I understand the money factor. I can even understand his not wanting to revisit his original 'artistic vision' and restore to former glory. But the fact that he permanently altered the negs for bullshit PC sensibilities. It's like the friggin' ET walkie-talkies. And if I understand Coppola messed with the Apocalypse Sometime or Other negs for the revamp. What's up with today's directors goofing on former glory. I'm sure Selznick probably saw a couple things in Gone With the Wind twenty years on that he would have liked to retinker, but who woulda heard? I know this topic has been beaten to death on other threads, but that letter was so asinine it brought up a ground swell of vitriole. Some people deserve to have their product pirated.

Left field perhaps, but reminds me of when Garth Brooks started babbling about used CD stores being a bane to the industry and cutting into his already undeserved profits (this from a guy that packs about 30 minutes of 'music' onto his biannual releases) so my local cd store in the CA bay area held a massive "turn in your G Brooks CD" drive, stopped stocking his new releases and just sold used ones.

Sometimes these people should just shut up, put out the product and move on to the next project. If Lucas wasn't so utterly devoid of inspiration he certainly would have left well enough alone. And here we slam Tom Cruise for being the next Michael Jackson. At least Cruise does what he can with the limited neuro-synopses allotted to him. I'd expect more from the man who busted out episodes IV and V...way back when.

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Antoine Doinel
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#77 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu May 25, 2006 1:19 pm

Digital Bits has been doing a great job in writing up about the whole Original Trilogy fiasco, and what they brought to the forefront is the fact that Lucas saying all the original negatives are destroyed and thus restoring the original trilogy is impossible is bullshit:
Now... we've heard all manner of excuses and contradictory official statements as to why this can't happen: 1) the original film negatives are gone, 2) the other existing original elements have deteriorated too badly, 3) there are just no quality film elements remaining anywhere that could be used, 4) the 1993 laserdisc masters are the best source material that can be found for use on DVD after exhaustive searches of the Lucasfilm Archives, etc. Some of these excuses run from the unlikely to the absurd, and all of them strike us as publicity machine spin.

We've debunked all of these excuses previously but, for the record, let's do so again:

1) The original negatives are gone, destroyed as part of the process of creating the 1997 special edition versions.

We're inclined to believe this is true. Still, the original negatives are not the only viable elements that can be used to transfer the films for home video release. There are numerous interpositive prints. There are the separation masters. Worst case, there are a number of high quality release prints available. In short, other elements exist that can be used for this purpose.

2) The other existing original elements have deteriorated too badly to be used.

We'll come back to this one in a minute.

3) There are just no quality film elements remaining anywhere that could be used.

See our answer to #1. Even if it's true that Lucas and his staff destroyed all of the original negatives, it's unlikely in the extreme that they also destroyed all of the interpositives, all of the separation masters, and all of the release prints. In fact, we know that they didn't. Where, for example, would the anamorphic footage of the original 1977 opening text crawl from A New Hope - the footage that appeared in the Empire of Dreams DVD documentary - have come from if not from quality surviving film elements? Still, even if Lucas did destroy every single scrap of original film available in the Lucasfilm Archives... we know for a fact that high quality die transfer release prints exist in the hands of a number of archives and private collectors. While not ideal, any of these could be given a high-definition transfer, a bit of digital clean-up and color-timing, and could be presented on DVD in anamorphic widescreen in quality that would be superior to a 1993 non-anamorphic laserdisc transfer.

4) The 1993 laserdisc masters are the best source material that can be found for use on DVD after exhaustive searches of the Lucasfilm Archives.

See our answer to #3. This is flatly absurd. If this were true, Lucasfilm's archivists should be ashamed of themselves. We know of few professionals tasked with the preservation of film materials that would allow such critically important film elements as the original Star Wars films to be lost, to deteriorate or be wholesale destroyed. And again, even if Lucasfilm's vaults were so woefully incomplete, we know for a fact that quality elements exist elsewhere. Given 48 hours notice, we could track them down ourselves. Surely, with its significant resources and influence, Lucasfilm could do the same. If the 1993 laserdisc masters are really the best that Lucasfilm can do, it's disturbing. If not, a statement like "We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD..." seems terribly disingenuous - the corporate PR equivalent of "I'm so sorry, but the dog ate my homework."

But let's get back to #2...

2) The other existing original elements have deteriorated too badly to be used.

It just so happens that one of our regular contributors here at The Bits, the author of our ever illuminating Yellow Layer Failure, Vinegar Syndrome and Miscellaneous Musings column, is something of an expert on the subject of film preservation and restoration. Robert A. Harris, in point of fact, is one of the world's best known motion picture archivists, and has does significant work in this field through his company, Film Preserve. Robert's experiments in color technology and more recent advances in the digital domain have set standards in the industry. His reconstruction and restoration efforts, primarily in the large format field, have brought back to the screen some of the most important films ever produced, including Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, My Fair Lady, Vertigo and Rear Window.

We asked Robert what might be done with the original surviving elements of the Star Wars films in order to rejuvenate them and present them in high quality on DVD. Here's what he had to say on the subject:

"Bill Hunt has asked for an opinion regarding the element problems which we have been told exist in the various Star Wars films, and if they might be fixed.

We're aware of the extent of the problems, going back to fading of the original CRI sections - a problem shared with Close Encounters of the Third Kind - as well as the various cuts, re-cuts, etc. which have changed the conformation of the film elements.

Over the past few years we have been experimenting with various means of handling and interrelating differing film elements, and what we have accomplished would enable us to bring Star Wars back to virtually its original state.

In all deference to Lucasfilm, there is no reason that they would be aware of our latest experiments, or how they might apply to Star Wars.

Essentially, the project would be a reconstruction concurrent with restoration.

We can state with absolute certainly that we would be able to deliver fully restored quality elements as might be requested by Lucasfilm, inclusive of a pristine quality high definition video master as well as a full resolution 35mm preservation negative, if so directed.

It would be both a pleasure and a challenge to bring these films back to virtually their original state, and given a proper budget, commensurate with the work entailed, we would be willing to take on the assignment from Lucasfilm, and deliver elements which would make the release of the original trilogy to DVD as startlingly beautiful an event as it should be.

These films are extremely important both cinematically and as cultural icons, and deserve to be seen in the finest quality possible.

RAH"

So there you have it. It seems to those of us here at The Bits, that the only reasonable obstacles to Lucasfilm in releasing the original versions of the Star Wars film on DVD in high-quality are the will do to so and the willingness to spend a reasonable sum of money, such as might be required to get the job done properly. Certainly, any number of existing quality elements could be utilized for the purpose (and digitally cleaned up as needed) without breaking the bank. But considering the cinematic and cultural significance of these films, does it not seem reasonable and prudent to do so?

In any case, we sincerely hope that those in charge at Lucasfilm will reconsider their decision to use lackluster 1993 laserdisc masters to present the original Star Wars films on DVD in 2006. The films deserve better, and we believe it's the right thing to do for the fans. It might require a little more effort, a little more money spent up front. But we have to believe that it would be a significantly profitable enterprise... that countless life-long fans of the original films would thrill at the possibility of finally owning them on DVD in good, reasonable and acceptable quality.

It should be done. It CAN be done.
But, Lucas is the worst kind of asshole - egotistical and greedy. I really don't believe that they will never issue the original trilogy. Lucas probably has a calendar for the next ten years on various ways he's going to keep re-releasing his Star Wars franchise.
Last edited by Antoine Doinel on Thu May 25, 2006 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#78 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu May 25, 2006 1:23 pm

I bet the day they become unavailable, Jan 1st, lucasfilm announces they are restoring them in HD for release in the fall of 2007.

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hearthesilence
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#79 Post by hearthesilence » Thu May 25, 2006 3:07 pm

skuhn8 wrote:I wasn't really aware to what extent he lacked anything approaching integrity. Artistic vision? Huh.
To Lucas:
Image

"Where do you get that? You're not artistic, and you have no integrity!"

atcolomb
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#80 Post by atcolomb » Thu May 25, 2006 3:18 pm

I think the reason he does not want to spend the extra money on the original Star Wars is that he needs the money to release a special edition of Howard The Duck with a new restored print...... :roll:

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#81 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu May 25, 2006 4:24 pm

atcolomb wrote:I think the reason he does not want to spend the extra money on the original Star Wars is that he needs the money to release a special edition of Howard The Duck with a new restored print...... :roll:
Well, they are finally re-releasing Radioland Murders on DVD so maybe he needed some $$ to get that one remastered. :wink:

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Antoine Doinel
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#82 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:28 am

Image

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#83 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:32 pm

Star Wars illustrator Ralph McQuarrie has an official site online with lots of his artwork available for viewing. Very nice!

http://www.ralphmcquarrie.com/

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Antoine Doinel
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#84 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:26 pm

In case anyone still cares:

Image
Image
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Antoine Doinel
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#85 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:43 am

It looks like the original trilogy will be re-released again next year in a big box set with deleted scenes etc....

From Digital Bits:

8/24/06
Also today... a follow-up on something we've been telling you to expect for quite while now. 2007, as you may well be aware, is the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars' debut in theaters. You'd have to be stupid not to know that Lucasfilm is going to have big DVD release plans with which to celebrate the anniversary, and we've been telling you that was the case for many months now. Indeed, during our last visit to the Ranch for the DVD release of Episode III, producer Rick McCallum confirmed that a box set of all six films was going to happen eventually, and animation director Rob Coleman even let it slip that the puppet Yoda from Episode I had already been replaced with a new CG Yoda to match Episodes II & III for the "future" release. T-Bone over at Star Wars Universe recently speculated about this box set, and we've been quietly checking in with our industry sources on it as well. Well, we've confirmed it: There IS a big, ultimate, 6-film Star Wars anniversary DVD box set planned for 2007. There will be more changes to the films, and there will be LOTS of new, never-before-seen special features - all the good stuff that was held back by Lucasfilm from the original Trilogy DVD release a few years ago. Think deleted scenes and more. We don't know if good, genuinely-REMASTERED versions of the original theatrical editions of the films will be included or not (though how you could call the set "ultimate" without them, we don't know). We don't expect high-definition versions yet, as those formats are just too new. We don't have ANY other details for you yet, so please don't ask. But as you consider whether or not to purchase the "limited edition" DVDs due on 9/12... we thought you should know that more IS absolutely on the way next year. 'Nuff said for now.

As always, please keep in mind that titles discussed here are tentative and are subject to change until officially announced by the studios.

Stay tuned...

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Lino
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#86 Post by Lino » Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:43 am


atcolomb
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#87 Post by atcolomb » Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:25 pm

Lets hope that Yoda and Chewy throws up on him!! :?

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#88 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:15 am

DVDAnswers has an early review, the transfer sounds like a mixed bag:

Anonymous

#89 Post by Anonymous » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:43 am

I was debating wheter or not to go for these. The link to the first review makes it sound as though its probably good enough for my 35" Mitsu. Hopefully something better will come by the time I can afford to get something new.

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hearthesilence
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#90 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:38 pm

Assuming those screen grabs are accurate, I actually like the 1993 transfers better than the 2004 transfers. Unfortunately, they're @$%@$%@# non-anamorphic (just compare the details of Mark Hamill's face during the medal ceremony...they turn into pixelated mush on the 1993 transfer).

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#91 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:42 pm

From the DVDTalk review in regards to the quality of the theatrical version of the movie:
In a nutshell, it's not bad for what it is, but unfortunately what it is happens to basically be the laserdisc slapped onto DVD. The image is presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35.1 but no one has seen fit to give it anamorphic enhancement, which, to a lot of us, is a very big deal. Let the record show that the movie is perfectly watchable here but the differences between the loving restoration afforded the 'special edition' version compared to the theatrical cut is definitely very, very noticeable.

Going into a bit more detail, the first thing that you're likely to notice is the grain. While it's all but been completely removed on disc one, on disc two it is very noticeable. Some scenes suffer from this more than others do, but one need only to look at the scene where the Millennium Falcon takes off from Tattooine to see it in all its glory. The colors are also fairly uneven. Some scenes are pretty bright, others look flat and almost dead in spots.

The amount of grain coupled with the lower resolution stemming from the non-anamorphic transfer directly results in a significantly less detailed picture. Depending on how large your set up is, results are obviously going to vary a fair bit. For comparisons sake, the disc was sampled on a 20" set, a 32" flat screen tube set and a 78" screen by way of a projector and – though this should go without saying – the flaws were definitely more noticeable on the larger sets than the smaller ones, particularly the print damage and the over saturated reds in a few scenes. It's never overpowering and the movie is watchable even on a larger display but the fact of the matter is that this version of this movie deserved better than this. The video quality is okay, when really it should have been as good if not better than the 'special edition' version. These transfers were fine in the laserdisc days, but those are long gone and by today's standards they are just not up to where they should be.
This is for A New Hope btw. But I figure the others are probably the same.

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Joe Buck
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#92 Post by Joe Buck » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:04 pm

If they were anamorphic, I'd be happy and never complain again. But they ain't. And Lucas is a lowlife sack of sh*t!

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Gordon
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#93 Post by Gordon » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:21 pm

Speaking objectively (for once! :wink: ) this was the worst release of 2006. Lazy, clumsy, greedy, stupid... a colossal "fuck you" to the loyal, ever-willing-to-pay fans.

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#94 Post by Cinesimilitude » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:33 pm

Gordon wrote:Speaking objectively (for once! :wink: ) this was the worst release of 2006. Lazy, clumsy, greedy, stupid... a colossal "fuck you" to the loyal, ever-willing-to-pay fans.
Seconded. I hereby nominate George Lucas for the 'Richard Cranium of the Millenium thus far' Award.

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exte
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#95 Post by exte » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:33 pm

Once a high definition dvd format is well in place, and the trilogies have come out in 3D, then he'll give you what you're asking for, and even then he'll short change you. And why not? It's one the biggest cash cows ever in the the movie business, and he has total and absolute control.

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#96 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:16 pm

No, a proper release of the original trilogy isn't on the way, but instead we get it in 3D :roll:

I liked this bit though:
...but Katzenberg remarked in the interview that Lucas "isn't going to put a product out, I think, that isn't anything other than first rate."

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Barmy
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#97 Post by Barmy » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:20 pm

Katzenberg remarked in the interview that Lucas "isn't going to put a product out, I think, that isn't anything other than first rate."
:x :x :x

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#98 Post by Cinephrenic » Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:00 pm

Star Wars Episode VII: The Fans Strike Back

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dx23
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#99 Post by dx23 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:26 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:I liked this bit though:
...but Katzenberg remarked in the interview that Lucas "isn't going to put a product out, I think, that isn't anything other than first rate."
Has someone shown Katzenberg the non-anamorphic 2006 releases of the original trilogy?

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#100 Post by Person » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:08 pm

I feel that Star Wars has had its day. It's status as a cultural shibboleth is over. It has been beaten into the ground and slapped across the faces of so many generations that it now just looks like something akin to a discredited philosophy, political ideology or wowser religion from the 1910s, with Lucas as the Elmer Gantry mountebank huckster.

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