George Lucas Releases Blu Ray Versions

The long awaited, but perhaps ravaged revamps of the Star Wars saga hit Blu-Ray players last Friday as Lucas once again released the entire set with an even different version than any of the previous versions, which has what has angered many fans.

Let’s start with the positives and that is the upconvert to Blu-Ray. It was masterfully done, it really was, especially the original trilogy. It’s not easy to take a 30 year old piece of film with all of its 1970’s look and convert it into the crisp and vibrant imagery we see here. And the cool part about it was they were able to do so, while keeping the trilogy’s charm of being an older set of movies, which helps with the nostalgia of it all. And the new films, of course, which were filmed in HD to begin with, stand out with some tweaking of the CG to create about the best that these could look. It was obvious that those in charge of the project were adamant about getting these to feel amazing and not just a simple conversion and in my opinion, they did their job quite admirably.

Lucas is getting a lot of flack for the changes made, and some of them we agree are really bad, but a majority of them are designed to perhaps better pace the film or make the graphics stand out better when watching in HD or to correct continuity errors. I understand Lucas because I am an artist myself. Projects are like babies and you wish with every one that you could go back and just fix it a bit more, even if fixing it screws it up to the viewer. In a film, there are thousands of images that could be changed, enhanced, done away even, to make a better product. Lucas seems like a perfectionist that just can’t let it go. Artists see things differently than those that look at their work. Many times, if something isn’t there, the audience doesn’t even notice it’s missing, but the artist does because he knows it’s supposed to go there. One example of this was the addition of brighter lights when Han is released from the Carbonite or the moss that was not growing on the roof over Yoda when he was on Kashyyyk. We wouldn’t see these things as problems, but Lucas would because he has a specific idea of what they should look like.

True, changes that affect the story or the characters as we know them are not good. The whole Darth Vader “Noooo” thing was really out of place and I can see why people are complaining about that, and I have to admit, even I thought it was overboard. But I got to thinking about it. Do all these changes make the series more interesting because it’s new? I always have to wonder what the reaction would have been if he hadn’t made any tweaks and just kept putting out the same films over and over again as new media warranted. Would we have been happy? Or would we have been bored to tears? There is something to be said for mixing things up and as an artist, stirring up emotion is not only good art, but it’s also good marketing. People will buy these no matter what the changes were and the added hype let people know that they were coming that might not have been. And for some, the anticipation of seeing something new might even have made their decision more positive.

So I have mixed feelings on what got changed, but I am sure that these are the best quality visualizations that we’ve seen from the six films and that and the bonus features (which BTW, are only available for the most part on the complete saga set) are worth giving Lucas one more shot. You can buy the Blu-Ray sets now in the full set, the individual trilogies and the single films from retailers across the galaxy and in cyberspace.
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