• The Best on Blu-ray: Restoring the Star Wars Saga for the HD Generation

      Though the Star Wars movies were created for the big screen, George Lucas and his production team have made efforts to ensure they look and sound as good as possible for their home video releases. With the Saga's long-awaited release on high-definition Blu-ray disc this September, it will be arriving in the best looking and best sounding home video format ever, a release that required meticulous optimization of picture and sound.




      It's not without precedent. The 1993 Laserdisc set saw the inclusion of a new sound mix that took from the best of what had come before. The 1995 VHS release underwent the scrutiny of a then-new THX home video review process. The 2004 DVD launch of Episodes IV, V and VI saw a concerted restorative effort to bring the picture and sound up to the digital clarity that audiences now expect from Star Wars. The unprecedented quality of the Blu-ray experience required even more investment.


      After numerous tests and comparisons of different conversions of the filmed Star Wars movies, the restored high-definition masters were selected as a starting point for artistic preferences. But even with these carefully restored masters, there was still room for restoration to ensure the best quality Blu-ray presentation from these.

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      Comments 22 Comments
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        I'm ecstatic that Luke's saber is no longer green on the Falcon, and that the Emperor's slugs are finally gone. Yes!!! I had no idea about Fode and Beed's hand, or the TIE Fighter shot, but I'm really glad that they took so much care fixing these issues.
      1. 2-1B's Avatar
        2-1B -
        I hope they are fixing the flipped images (Obi-Wan's padawan braid, Jango's rangefinder, etc) because if they can bother with things like the Wampa's arm, they can fix these other things which are much more noticeable.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        I never noticed a problem with the Wampa's arm. Even in comparison shots, I stared for a minute until finally saying to myself, "Oh, that's not supposed to be a bloody stump."
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        Even if it was a bloody stump, that wouldn't have made any sense - the error appears in the first Hoth scene, right when the Wampa attacks Luke and the Tauntaun. In other words, it's long before he gets his arm cut off.
      1. 2-1B's Avatar
        2-1B -
        The Mace Windu stand-in is 100 times more noticeable than a Wampa arm pole...please tell me they are being thorough with these tweaks?
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
        Even if it was a bloody stump, that wouldn't have made any sense - the error appears in the first Hoth scene, right when the Wampa attacks Luke and the Tauntaun. In other words, it's long before he gets his arm cut off.
        Ah. Well, then, in comparing the before-and-after pics, I thought I was looking at a different scene altogether. That's how little I've noticed the pole.
      1. Maerj2000's Avatar
        Maerj2000 -
        I'm sure you guys have all heard about the new Vader 'No' in Jedi, the Ewok blinks and the new Kryat Dragon call.
        If not:

        http://io9.com/5835951/darth-vader-w...n-for-yourself


        At first I was like eh...but I don't think that they are bad additions. I like the Ewok blinks a lot and I hope they do them for some of the other aliens as well, like in the cantina. Wasn't sure about the Vader thing but after watching it a couple of times it does work. Not sure why they added all that noise in the Kryat dragon call, not something I would have worried about but I can live with it.
      1. Darth Metalmute's Avatar
        Darth Metalmute -
        The Vader thing was fine just the way it was. The fact that Lucas used the exact same "Nooo" from the end of ROTS when everyone and their mother makes funs of it proves Lucas doesn't have a clue anymore.

        I'm still holding hope that it is fake because Obi Wans new call is terrible.
      1. jedibear's Avatar
        jedibear -
        Now that I've read about or seen screen shots and clips of a lot of these various additions, I'm left shaking my head. Why? Because these changes seem so arbitrary...not based on improving the story or some tech aspects. The Vader "Nooooo" is especially unfortunate...what was once one of the truly fine "cinema" moments of the movie has been made almost laughable by a pointless bad sound dub of needless dialogue. The drama and the mystery of the moment are gone....it reminds me of when the SE of ESB came out and there was that ridiculous added "girly" scream from Luke as he took the fall off the gantry...instantly the scene was changed from Luke quietly and calmly making a choice to fall to "oops, I slipped" or something....thankfully the scream was removed from later releases. Let's hope the same thing happens with this Vader utterance too... As for the rest of the "changes" (blinking ewoks, over-glowed decarbonization, a dug in Jabba's palace, a really big palace door, a big dumb rock out of nowhere in front of R2, a needless new sound for Kenobi's call and many more to be sure), I'll wait until I can sit down and see them in context before forming a final opinion. But my first inclination towards them is... "NNNNoooooooooooooooo!!!!!"
      1. Maerj2000's Avatar
        Maerj2000 -
        Quote Originally Posted by jedibear View Post
        Now that I've read about or seen screen shots and clips of a lot of these various additions, I'm left shaking my head. Why? Because these changes seem so arbitrary...not based on improving the story or some tech aspects. The Vader "Nooooo" is especially unfortunate...what was once one of the truly fine "cinema" moments of the movie has been made almost laughable by a pointless bad sound dub of needless dialogue. The drama and the mystery of the moment are gone....it reminds me of when the SE of ESB came out and there was that ridiculous added "girly" scream from Luke as he took the fall off the gantry...instantly the scene was changed from Luke quietly and calmly making a choice to fall to "oops, I slipped" or something....thankfully the scream was removed from later releases. Let's hope the same thing happens with this Vader utterance too... As for the rest of the "changes" (blinking ewoks, over-glowed decarbonization, a dug in Jabba's palace, a really big palace door, a big dumb rock out of nowhere in front of R2, a needless new sound for Kenobi's call and many more to be sure), I'll wait until I can sit down and see them in context before forming a final opinion. But my first inclination towards them is... "NNNNoooooooooooooooo!!!!!"
        I totally agree with you that these are very arbitrary changes. Most fans don't mind little special effects changes, Indiana Jones box set for example. But these are kinda silly.

        For me, I would have done the Ewok blinks, plus any other alien mask character blinks. I would fix the cutaway shot for Pondo Baba's cut off arm. Get rid of matte lines, Emperor's slugs, little things like that. I was even okay with the new Emperor hologram in ESB.

        I think we all wanted the ultimate Star Wars experience with this set and a lot of people are going to be miffed by these changes. It wouldn't sting so bad if we would get the original version as well. Plus, Lucasfilm is lying about those versions not existing anymore and we all know it. I recall someone at the digitalbits.com saying that they had an original film print of the SW movies. If they kept all the deleted scenes all these years and they are good enough to put in this set, the original versions have to be somewhere, or at least they can be re-created from existing elements.

        Maybe there will be a future OT box set that contains the original versions of the films with a 'VirtualSpecial Edition' along with them. By that, I mean the original versions with the matte lines removed and all the little fixes here and there with none of the changes. No Jabba scene in ANH, no Greedo shooting first, no CG vistas. Just the films they way they were with things removed or fixed that needed, like the blob under Luke's Landspeeder.

        Perhaps we can start a petition?
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Thing is, unless Jimmy Smitts is in ANH, I don't think these are the final planned versions of the movies. Didn't he say he filmed a scene with Ian McDiarmid to appear in ANH?
      1. jedibear's Avatar
        jedibear -
        Oh, I think you're right about that....these are definitely not the last versions...there will always be more tweaks and changes.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        I never heard anything about Jimmy Smits actually filming anything for ANH, or even for TPM (there's apparently a Bail Organa deleted scene on the Blu-ray, but I bet it's the Adrian Dunbar scene before they changed him to Bail Antilles and deleted him). The ANH thing was only ever on fans' wishlists. I guess the most disappointing thing about this is, though, that these aren't the final versions. They had a long time to clean up effects shots - and while it sounds like they did do a bunch, they didn't do everything. The universal panning of the "No! NOOOOO!!!!" needs to be recognized and removed. Maybe in context it fits better, but it doesn't really need to be there at all.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Smitts was never cast for TPM, so the scene would have to Dunbar. I could swear Smitts mentioned filming a scene for ANH simultaneously with AOTC several years ago during an interview. I do know John Williams has confirmed re-scoring ANH a couple of times and specifically mentioned incorporating "The Imperial March" into it, and I've heard no mentions of the movie having any new music.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        These are things that have been discussed a number of times over the years on fan sites, but I don't remember ever getting any confirmation on any of it. I only ever remember John Williams saying he'd like to do it, not that he actually ever had. Do you have any links you could share with the rest of the class?
      1. Maerj2000's Avatar
        Maerj2000 -
        I always thought that the ROTS Vader "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" would have worked better if, during the Nooooooooooooo!, they would cut to Anakin inside, struggling to scream the Noooooooooo! as well. Mixing the two would let you in on his agony more and would make the Vader no sound less cheesy.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
        Do you have any links you could share with the rest of the class?
        If I remembered where I read them and could track down the article, I wouldn't have made what I know is an out-there sounding statement without backing it up to begin with. I know a few articles were on theforce.net, but their archive is a mess and I don't want to wade through it.

        And, yes, I recognize I may be recalling the wording that was used slightly incorrectly.
      1. Beast's Avatar
        Beast -
        I never really thought the "Noooooooo!" was all that cheesy. Even if it did get a lot of crap.

        It was like the last dying breath of Anakin's Humanity. Which is why I kinda like the change to RotJ.

        Plus now we have an exaggerated "Noooooooooo!" in each of the films. So it fits even better.

        Episode 1 - Obi-Wan's "Noooooooooo!" when Qui-Gon gets killed by Darth Maul
        Episode 2 - Jedi Spirit Qui-Gon's "Noooooooo!" when Anakin's slaughtering the Tuskens.
        Episode 3 - Anakin's cry of "Nooooooooo!" as his Humanity truly dies to Darth Vader.
        Episode 4 - Luke Skywalker's cry of "Nooooooooo!" when Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed by Vader.
        Episode 5 - Luke Skywalker's cry of "Nooooooooo!" when he discovers Vader is his Daddy.
        Episode 6 - Vader's cry of "Nooooooooo!" as his humanity resurfaces and he saves his Son.
      1. jedibear's Avatar
        jedibear -
        yeah, when you line them all up like that, it puts it right up there with "I have a bad feeling about this" as the most overused line in the saga.... I don't think that's necessarily a good thing...


        ....and I wonder if George remembers saying this back in 1988

        "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society." GL 1988

        Obviously his thoughts on the matter have changed
      1. Darth Metalmute's Avatar
        Darth Metalmute -
        Quote Originally Posted by Beast View Post
        I never really thought the "Noooooooo!" was all that cheesy. Even if it did get a lot of crap.

        It was like the last dying breath of Anakin's Humanity. Which is why I kinda like the change to RotJ.

        Plus now we have an exaggerated "Noooooooooo!" in each of the films. So it fits even better.

        Episode 1 - Obi-Wan's "Noooooooooo!" when Qui-Gon gets killed by Darth Maul
        Episode 2 - Jedi Spirit Qui-Gon's "Noooooooo!" when Anakin's slaughtering the Tuskens.
        Episode 3 - Anakin's cry of "Nooooooooo!" as his Humanity truly dies to Darth Vader.
        Episode 4 - Luke Skywalker's cry of "Nooooooooo!" when Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed by Vader.
        Episode 5 - Luke Skywalker's cry of "Nooooooooo!" when he discovers Vader is his Daddy.
        Episode 6 - Vader's cry of "Nooooooooo!" as his humanity resurfaces and he saves his Son.
        I don't remember the one in ESB, at least as a exaggerated, prolonged "No."

        The problem I think exists with the No is the fact that Vader screaming it doesn't sound right. It sounds too "voiced-over."
        It also hurts for ROTJ because everyone knows it is the same "Nooo" from ROTS. Maybe it would sound better if Lucas would have had James Earl Jones do another "Nooo" for the throne room scene instead of doing a "copy-paste."

        Out of those 6 "Nooo"s you list, the ones that sound bad, are the ones that are not done by the actors in the scene.

        Out of curiousity, what is the correct number of "o"s need to follow the N?
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