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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
    Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
    Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
    Star Wars - Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
  Subtitles
    Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope
    English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
    Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
    English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
    Star Wars - Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
    English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
    Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope
  • Audio commentary - with director George Lucas and various cast and crew.
  • Animated menus
  • THX Optimiser
    Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  • Audio commentary - with director George Lucas and various cast and crew.
  • Animated menus
  • THX Optimiser
    Star Wars - Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
  • Audio commentary - with director George Lucas and various cast and crew.
  • Animated menus
  • THX Optimiser
Star Wars Trilogy Box Set
20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 240 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

After many countless releases of the original trilogy in both VHS and laserdisc format it was only inevitable that we would have these classics of movies presented to us on this new DVD format. Alas, in mid 1997 we were served up the Special Edition incarnations for what George Lucas originally tried to put to film and what a fuss it caused, splitting the fans into two camps, those who welcomed the freshening up and those who abhored it.

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Lucas directs

The problem here was that the tweaks were inconsistent with some changes adding and enhancing the movies whilst others took away from the core, such as Han no longer shooting first during his encounter with Greedo. This time around the changes a minor in scope yet major in impact. In Star Wars we have a better rendered speeder enter into Mos Eisley and a new model for Jabba the Hutt used in the restored scene with han now casting more obvious shadows onto the slug. Han and Greedo now shoot almost simultaneously with Han saying "Yes, I bet you have" as in the original. Leias gunshots are proper laser shots now and Obiwan and Vaders lightsabers have more color in them yet still suffer from strobing issues. Empire now has Ian McDiarmid playing the holographic Emperor and the voice of Boba Fett is now that of Temuera Morrisson, Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. Jedi rounds off the changes with a shot of Naboo in the final celebrations as well as Hayden Christensens head replacing that of Sebastian Shaw in the final group shot of the departed Jedi. Decide amongst yourselves the merits of these changes.

As for this DVD boxset release itself, the long wait has certainly been worth it and the jewel in the crown of what DVD was originally intended for has finally arrived. Enclosed in this beautifully crafted box are the three original movies in their Special Edition formats with yet further special(er) edition tweaks.

Individual titles reviews
REVIEW: Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope
"There are not enough superlatives that can be used to describe the experience of owning arguably the most entertaining movie of all time on the best possible format."
- Steve Koukoulas

REVIEW: Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
"This is easily the best way to enjoy the Empire Strikes Back in your own home."
- Steve Koukoulas

REVIEW: Star Wars - Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
"Jedi looks fantastic on DVD"
- Steve Koukoulas

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
  Overall
Contract

This fourth disc dedicated to special features is what every Star Wars fan has been hoping for so we'll get straight into it beginning with the three 15 minute featurettes.

The Characters of Star Wars looks at all the main characters within the trilogy, what they originally began as in their concepts, how they evolved and how the actors brought them to life on the big screen. The Birth of the Lightsaber takes a look at the evolving technology used to create the lightsaber effects across the three movies from using a stick with reflective screen material in Star Wars, to sticks in Empire to just a handle in Jedi when the rotoscoping techniques had matured immensely. No, there is no detail of how the actual visual effect was achieved which would have been interesting seeing as any man and his photoshop can do it within a few moments. The Force is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars brings in a lot of big name movie directors discussing how Star Wars singled handedly changed their way of making movies in the space of a couple of hours. The likes of James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Ridley Scott, Spike Jonez and others really owe their careers to what Lucasfilm was able to produce.

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A shot of the featurette screen

The biggest extra on this disc though is a two and a half hour documentary titled Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, henceforth referred to as EOD. EOD begins by summing up what the original Star Wars movie did for the culture of America and the world at the time and how movies forever changed with this low budget idea from an independent director. But what was seen on screen did not reflect all that had gone on beforehand to get to that point.

It took Lucas over two years to get the film ready for release, beginning with the process of finding a distributor who was willing to support this absurd idea of a movie then the search for actors to play the parts, start up an off-shoot company to develop the out-of-this-world special effects and finally produce a soundtrack to polish off the first episode.

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Ford ponders his career.

With all the pressure that was ever present throughout the ordeal, the day of the release was one that many cast and crew dreaded but Star Wars opened up on 37 screens around the country. Yes 37. But the audiences loved it and the rest was history. EOD continues on documenting the trials and tribulations of the next two movies where two new directors were brought in to lighten the load on Lucas himself. The budgets increased, production values improved, effects got bigger and better and the phenomenon just grew and grew.

Included within this documentary are the original test screenings for the three main characters which have been sought after by fans and are now finally available here. There is heaps of originally shot footage with original audio spoken by the actors who were later dubbed out of the movie. It's all there for you to see and enjoy. It is also comforting to see actors such as Harrison Ford acknowledge that Star Wars made their careers. This is one exceptional documentary and compliments the trilogy perfectly.

Ever noticed that Irvin Kershner sounds like Ray Romano?

Following on from the documentaries are the still photo sections. The collection of Exclusive Production Photos comprises an innumerable amount of photos from the Lucasfilm archives. Included are shots of the Biggs Darklighter scene cut from the movie where Luke is actually in Tosche Station, probably picking up those damn power convertors. Each photo is accompanied with a footnote about the shot, often humerous in the context of the scene. The veritable array of One-Sheet Posters from around the world for those of you willing to sit through them all are here too.

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James Cameron the truck driver come director.

Ofcourse with any big Star Wars universe there's always a game that relates to a particular facet. Here we have a featurette focusing on The Duel in Episode III and the Episode III game. The programmers of the game take us through six minutes of dealing with stunt co-ordinator Nick Gillard. Included is also a game trailer for Star Wars Battlefront as well as an XBox Game Demo for said game. Simply place the DVD into your XBox and away you go.

As with any good DVD release, there always has to be a trailer or a teaser for the movie. On this release we have Teasers, Trailers and Re-Release trailers for each of the three movies as well as the 1997 Special Edition Trailer. To add to all this, 12 TV Spots are included, yes four 30 second TV spots per episode. This is truly an ultimate collection of extras here folks.

Finally, there is a special Episode III Preview: The Return Of Darth Vader. This nine minute long precursor to what we can expect in Episode focuses on the return of Darth Vader to the big screen. The focus is on the mask here and we see a new, more symmetrical version being made here as the original one wasn't. No, it's not a new design, just a polished product and when Hayden puts on the mask in the behind the scenes footage, the expectation we've all had to see this moment on the big screen just builds and builds. There's no Episode III footage here, just snippets of what is already available online through the official website. The anticipation is building.

Rounding out the features is the DVD-ROM content that links your PC to a special access area of starwars.com. At this point there's nothing much there worth mentioning but will most likely chock up around the release of the DVDs.

One worthy mention is the animated menus across all four DVDs. The creators of the DVDs have taken snippets from the movies themselves and given them a three-dimensional skinning to them adding that extra oomph as you navigate through the screens.

There is not much that a true fan of the Star Wars trilogy can fault with this collection and therefore receives Gold status. This is truly a must-have DVD for every good DVD collection.

BUY ONLINE FROM EZYDVD


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  •  DVD NET Gold Review List 
      And I quote...
    "The long wait has certainly been worth it and the jewel in the crown of what DVD was originally intended for has finally arrived."
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS730P
    • Projector:
          Sony VPL-HS20
    • Screen:
          Stewart Greyhawk 110" fixed
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS777 THX Select
    • Speakers:
          VAF Signature I-91
    • Centre Speaker:
          VAF Signature I-91
    • Surrounds:
          VAF Signature I-91
    • Subwoofer:
          VAF LFE-07
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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