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Star Wars Trilogy Box Set (VCD)

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 360 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

While we all wait for the DVD, Sir Lucas continues to release countless other versions of the trilogy on various non DVD formats to finance his special effects bonanzas in Episode II and III. If you're sick of VHS version after version and want something for your dvd player, anything at all, then this might just be the collection for you.

If you don't know the story of the original trilogy then I'm not going to repeat it here. Shame on you, your only excuse was that you've been banished to the swamps of Dagobah for 900 years, yes, mmmmm...

In a nutshell, Luke Skywalker yearns to leave his home planet of Tattooine and when his home is destroyed by the Empire he joins a rebellion against them. Together with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and a smuggler (Harrison Ford) they battle against the Evil Darth Vader and destory the Empires Death Star. Rip roaring ending, great movie.

Empire Strikes Back: Not one to give up a fight, Darth vader is back and more ruthless than ever, seeking out the band of rebels and crushing anyone and anything in his path. Luke trains under Yoda to become a jedi and confronts his Darth vader only to find there is more to the black mask than he cares to know. Han Solo is captured and frozen in carbonite to be shipped to Jabba the Hutt as his reward for a failed smuggle. Sad ending, excellent movie.

Return of the Jedi: Luke, Leia and team head to Jabbas palace to free Han. Mission accomplished and Luke goes back to Yoda to finish his training whislt the rest regroup with the rebellion for an attack against a second Death Star. Cue the kids toy tie in as we venture to the land of the Ewoks. Luke confronts Vader and the Emperor for a battle to end all battles. New special effects ending to close the entire 6 movies that we haven't all seen yet, good movie though.

  Video
Contract

Whilst VCD will never ever come close to the levels of picture quality that DVD can, it does have an advantage over VHS as being an alternative digital source. If you're worried about what to expect having never seen VCD then take this as a guide: Have you ever downloaded a 320x240 mpeg and wondered what it would look like on your TV then that is your basic VCD. This disc is in the PAL format with resolution of 352x288.

That may not be much in comparison but good quality compression ensures a clean image that will rival any VHS version you may have. This disc is no exception wtih all 3 movies presented as good as you'll see on VCD.

The only real concern here is that black levels are not up to scratch in comparison to DVD and there appears to be ghosting as people move around the screen that can only be attributred to the mpeg-I encoding. Sure there are mpeg artifacts rearing their ugly heads but this is Star Wars and you don't noticed them once you're drawn into this classic trilogy.

  Audio
Contract

Encoded as 2 channel surround, this is as entertaining as you will get from a 2 channel source if you're not expecting to be blown away by a 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is fine throughout and John Williams' wonderful score gets adequate treatment. If you want clarity from the musical score, put in one of your numerous original soundtracks instead. We've all got atleast one copy somewhere.

Funnily enough, surround processing has come along way of late and the surround usage here is suprisingly good, even though you don't get your split surrounds. In certain areas where you know where the effects should be coming from, after numerous cinema and Dolby Digital Laserdisc viewings, you are a little thrown as it comes entirely from the back rather than the back left or back right alone.

All in all, this is a very adequate soundtrack.

  Extras
Contract

Each release that Lucas puts out has something different included to entice the crowd into once again spending more money on his cash cow. There should be warnings similar to those found on cigarette packets such as "Warning: Star Wars causes wallet cancer" or "Warning: Star Wars can harm your childrens chances of going through Uni".

Suffice to say, the enticement on this edition is a 10 minute look at some behind the scenes footage of Episode II. We meet up with the young Owen and Beru Lars and their hovel on tattooine presented as it was many years before Star Wars.

Lucas provides some details about the movie, surprisingly non cryptic, that even I found interesting. Finally we meet up with Anthony Daniels as he talks about his 3PO character and how he donned on the full golden suit for Episode II. I think I'm looking forward to this one much more than the Episode I as reports are coming through that Jar Jar will have a much much smaller role and there's alot more action and adventure this time around.

  Overall  
Contract

It's hard not to buy a copy of Star Wars and the only reason I will recommend you buying this copy is the fact that it will play in your DVD player, it won't degrade like the VHS version will and it seems to be cheaper than the VHS option aswell.

I've watched all 3 movies a few times already and my VCR still sits their with it's standby light twinkling wondering why the last time it was in operation was a long, long time ago.


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