a disturbance in the Force

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…

A beautiful mind

Is Baltar hallucinating his vision of Six after his escape from Caprica, or is she real, somehow? Watching the season 2 finale and now catching up on the mini-series has given me insights that I don’t know I’d have had, had I seen it in broadcast order. I will, however, approach the issue from within the standard chronology.

Continue reading “A beautiful mind”

Han shot first

A long time ago, on a blog far away, I called for a boycott of Episode III.

And how the Empire trembled!

However, though convinced of the righteousness of my cause, my resolve began to waver.

Well, to make a long story short, I’m not Mahatma Gandhi, ok?

But it seems that the mere existence of my boycott threat – however short-lived – ultimately attained the desired goal. For behold, I claim total victory:

In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you’ll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.

This release will only be available for a limited time: from September 12th to December 31st. International release will follow on or about the same day. Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release.

All has occurred exactly as I have forseen.

Han shot first

Battlestar Galactica: The Mini Series

I grabbed a torrent of the series pilot and have finished about half. Even though some aspects of the plot are thoroughly spoiled for me, having been watching regularly since Pegasus in episode 2, it was gripping and fresh. I haven’t been this excited about television sci-fi since Deep Space Nine and Babylon-5 – and Galactica has already surpassed both.

The best thing about watching the pilot was how it underscored many of the relationships whose dynamics I’d inferred by the end of season 2. For example, father-son tension between Bill Adama and Lee Adama was always a subcurrent which I’d really only glimpsed – Bill mentions that trust was something of an “issue” between them in an offhand comment, or Apollo is genuinely gobsmacked at his promotion. You could read the love in Apollo’s eyes and hear the pride in Bill’s voice and you wonder, as I did coming in mid-season, what deep emotions are being tapped here? What events were they whose powerful closure I am witnessing here? It’s as if I stumbled onto something private and intimate, and regular viewers of the series were part of that intimacy.

Continue reading “Battlestar Galactica: The Mini Series”

Caprica

It seems that there will be a prequel TV series to Battlestar Galactica. From what I’ve read of the premise, it doesn’t exactly look that enticing, set entirely on the planet Caprica and following the creation of the Cylons. The emphasis on “corporate intrigue” and “sexual politics” makes it seem less science fiction and more sitcom/drama wanna-be.

Only 50 years prior? Doesn’t that seem like a rather abbreviated timeline? Given that the Colonial society was built upon the Cylon’s labor, and then fought a long and bloody war after the Cylons sought freedom from enslavement, you’d imagine the time frame to be more like 100-200 years.

It’s worth noting that the last two minutes of the season 2 finale are available online – along with a very brief teaser for season 3. In it, the voiceover reveals that the Cylons intend to control humanity for our own good – to show us the Truth. The slave becomes the master. Given how easily the military could have simply taken over in the election between Roslin and Baltar, and Adama’s dedication (scroll down to last Q&A) to democratic ideals, there is a very stark contrast being drawn in ideologies.

full text of the press release for “Caprica” follows: Continue reading “Caprica”

which sci-fi crew

Shamus already has dibs on Wash, so maybe I’d have to be the doctor brother guy:

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

I guess this is a hint that I really should watch the series.

Galactica

I see that my favorite television show, Battlestar Galactica, recently won a Peabody award, a first for the Sci-Fi channel. It’s good to see such a fantastic show with such exceptional writing, acting, and directing getting noticed. Is it too much to hope for an emmy? There are several on the show who I think would be worthy, but in particular James Callis (Dr. Baltar) should be singled out. He’s been so absolutely and utterly brilliant. I’m not sure anything quite like his performance has ever appeared on television.