Friday, May 04, 2007

Star Wars - Remastered DVD's

I'd put off buying Star Wars on DVD when it first came out because it was the 1997 'Special Edition', the second time it was released it was a newer and so called improved 'Special Edition', making changes to sequences that were changed back in 1997, such as Jabba and the problem of did Greedo shoot first or at the same time as Han that the new version shows, or maybe it was a rogue Jawa who shot, I'm sure it used to be Han. Anyway the third time the DVD was released we were kindly given a bonus disc with a great extra, the original version of the films without all the digital tinkering, so I was not 100% happy with the way they'd released the classic versions but bought this version anyway.
I'd read on a few forums people complaining about the picture quality and other problems on the new 'Special Editions', anyway the other evening after reading another complaint online I decided to got through my set and check.

The first things I did notice were problems with the colours in some sequences the red on the Blockade Runner exterior is a lot brighter but this is one of the shots that doesn't go too overboard with colour, others do, the scene were the Imperial Stromtroopers blast open the door of the Rebel Blockade Runner before boarding shows just how bright the colours get in some scenes compared to the original print, see pics above. The other end of this is during the escape from the Death Star when one of the Tie Fighters explodes the colour is so washed out it's almost Black and White compared to the original version. One of the most puzzling shots is the hideous blue glow that now fringes the edge of the Death Star explosion, this wasn't in the original version, and from what I gather not on the DVD release of the 1997 'Special Edition', but has somehow appeared now ?! It looks pretty naff, so much for a remastered copy.

Other colour problems show up in the scene when Luke is training aboard the Millenium Falcon, the colour of the Lightsaber changes from Blue to Green between scenes, an obvious problem, how come this wasn't picked up on whilst the scene was being done, it's very obvious as these stills show.
Another overly bright shot colour wise is the Hologram of Leia that R2-D2 projects in Luke's Garage, it really is very garish compared to the original.

A problem that was meant to be fixed for the 1997 version was that of the visible cover mattes from the old optical compositing, well in quite a few scenes these are still just as visible as ever.
This is one of those problems that does differ between TV's and PC monitors though depending on how you have your brighness, some people say they can't see them, others say they can see the box surrounding the ship, which is known as the 'cover matte', but they are still there if you have your monitor on the correct settings so the technical bods say on the DVD forums, I can see them on my monitor and DVD.

The problem that shows up in the newly remastered version of both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is that of the lighsabers again, the white core surrounded by coloured glow has been replaced in many shots by a more coloured lightsaber which isn't as pleasing as the original effects shot, also that weird rotoscoped shadow to the side of the Emperors hood still appears in all version of the DVD.
It often makes me wonder just what sort of quality control George Lucas has over these DVD releases, and especially when the latest version has added errors that weren't there in the first place.
The Robert Wise supervised restoration of Star Trek: The Motion Picture proved that new stuff could be added, and that it could be blended into the film without sticking out like a sore thumb.It seems almost like Lucas hands these films over to ILM and the Restoration Team and lets them piss about merrily doing what they please no matter how ill fitting some of their work is.


allen said...

The lightsaber color just plane wrong!!! I agree with the Star Trek additions. They were seemless.

Moonwatcher said...

Not seen the newer version on DVD, but those lightsabers do look pretty lousy. I was sure that Fox would have announced a 3oth Anniversay DVD box set for this year but I've read nothing about one yet, have you ?

Steve said...

Totally agree. Georgie has no sense of quality control. I think I'd actually have less issues if George just went out and totally remade the original trilogy with new actors and left the original movie alone.

paulhd said...

Good Steve, hope George is reading.
My own theory (other than living in your fancy pants ranch surrounded by people calling you a genius is a touch detrimental to your judgement) is that Lucas hates the fans, all of them, and probably hates Star Wars too, I bet he rant's about how he wished he'd never done the stupid films. Nah, too far fetched, he'd be talking about doing small unusual films next.

kevin said...

30th anniversary release is coming. The official announcement should be happening at Celebration IV. Expect the original trilogy to be treated like the prequel trilogy, meaning a second disc for each with restored deleted scenes and making of specials. Should be a 12 disc box in time for the Christmas season.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

12 disc eh, how much money will that be I'm saving not having to buy them !!??

allen said...

Lucas has also announced that he intends to convert all 6 to 3D. sigh!

kevin said...

Don't know the price but the 12 disc Lord of the Rings cost me $60, the 14 disc Superman cost me $75, and the 21 disc Brady Bunch cost me $120.