A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...
ahem, Star Wars is one of my biggest passions, so the thought of seeing my childhood memories in HD was a little exciting! I bought the original boxset on blu, didn't bother with the full set, I'm not as keen on the prequels (owning them on DVD is enough!). That said, I did actually like 'Revenge of the Sith' quite a lot.
Anyway, with the original set you just get the films, a bit stingy really. I almost took it back to exchange for the full-set with the shoddy prequels, just for the bonus supplements and a nice box. But, I just couldn't really justify the price difference. A shame I traded in my DVD boxset (along with the bonus features! ARRGH!). Ah well, after a mammoth movie marathon, here are my thoughts...
Well, the picture quality almost made me cry (in a good way), it's amazing to see 'A New Hope' looking so crisp and shiny! Over the years the classic has started to look a tad stale, even with the remastered version. And the transfer doesn't lose any of the charm, it's still got the same tone as before, but now it's in HD! And the sound design! WOW! Some scenes do look better than others, the first film has some saturation issues in the desert scenes, but nothing major. In dark scenes the film excels, it looks very slick indeed. The sheen of the droids, the inky blacks, and all the tiny details on actors faces can be seen.
The added CG Jabba doesn't look as bad, don't get me wrong, you can't polish a turd and it's still ugly as hell! The film would be better without this scene and a lot of the other added stuff too! The minor CG guff didn't spoil my enjoyment and scene after scene wowed me. Nostalgia was in full throttle! I have to say some of the model work on the ships and the battle sequences look truly stunning seen for the first time in high-definition!
Empire Strikes Back
Empire is one of my all time favourite films, and is my fave in the series. Being a dark film it really benefits from the HD upgrade. Empire seems to be the least effected by tacky CG too. Which is a good!
Empire is consistent and looks great, as films go it's pretty much perfect!
Now for the one that people are talking about...
Return of the Jedi
There's a lot of online nerd rage going on about the added sound tweaks on this one. But, I will get back to that later. The thing that pisses me off the most about Jedi is that scene that was added on the DVD release near the start. You know the one! During the attempts at rescuing Han Solo from Jabba there is a scene in his lair with a really irritating singing CG alien. It's truly awful! The worst thing to happen to Star Wars, even worse than Jar Jar!
'Return of the Jedi' was fine before this monstrosity was added, and the original scene is way better! The musics better, the puppets are better than the crude CG, and it just doesn't go with the tone of the film at all! WHY? WHY LUCAS? WHY!! Except for THAT scene I really like Jedi, it's a good fun action flick, I even like the Ewoks! Getting back to the Bluray review, the forest scenes in particular look really nice!
The added sounds I talked about earlier didn't bother me that much to be honest, the purist in me wanted it to be exactly how it used to be though. Was it better when Darth stood silently watching the Emperor attack Luke, contemplating his actions? I don't think you need to watch each version and properly analyse them to work that one out, fuck yeah it was better before! It's way more chilling and atmospheric that way. But, the added sound isn't as bad as the 'NOOOOO!' at the end of 'Revenge of the Sith', like all the rage seems to suggest! So, swings and roundabouts.
I would say the bluray upgrade is definitely worth a purchase, the difference in picture quality is something to marvel at, and the sound is cinematic perfection!