I wrote a few days ago of my victory over the Lucas Empire, bending the Bearded One to my will in re-releasing the original Star Wars Trilogy on DVD without the plot “enhancements”.
It seems that celebration may be premature. Quint of AICN delivers the bad news:
The releases are going to be the 1995 Laserdisc masters and The Digital Bits confirmed today that they won’t even be anamorphic widescreen transfers, just the letterboxed transfers, which would mean we’re not getting the full theatrical experience. For sound junkies there is no option to listen to a digitally remastered THX soundtrack. We’ll get the two-channel stereo.
all the original STAR WARS films were released as 70mm experiences during their releases, which would mean they did have a 6-channel audio mix originally, so the 2-channel stereo only option on the DVD just became officially ridiculous.
In other words, these DVDs will look and sound like crappy laserdisc versions, with sound akin to a pair of headphones. Not even minimal surround sound or digitally remastered film!
As if to add insult to injury, the DVD covers will also suck, using stupid photoshop-level montages rather than the original stylized artwork of the 1970s-era posters. Quint has scans, so go take a look.
It’s clear that these are “bastard” releases that are intended to scoop up extra change from the hardcore. As Quint notes, it’s a real dilemma for a true-blue fan. Will these sucky DVDs be the only way we can ever get the original Star Wars? (My letterbox VHS tapes aren’t going to last much longer). Or should we hold out for a future release with the real remastering and full six channel sound?
Since I am budgetarily constrained, my answer is easy – wait, for what I really want rather than this half-assed effort which is really a step backwards IMHO from the VHS tapes I already own. Still, it’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow, that the very DVDs I’ve clamored for years to see are now not worth purchasing. I hope that Lucas follows through and does release “real” versions in the years to come. I’ll pay a lot more for those should they become available…