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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Star Wars gets a re-re-release. Again.

First, they take the N-word out of Huck Finn. Now, this?
A New Set. George Lucas Strikes Back. The Return of the Trilogies.

Confirmed recently, George Lucas and the Star Wars team have announced that all six of the saga's entries will be re-released on Blu-Ray disc later this year. September, to be exact. As a film snob enthusiast, I must always say this - "watch the original. Cherish it. Be happy we have it." But, of course, we don't buy DVD's strictly for the films themselves. We buy them for the special features, yes?

Okay, maybe that's just me. But, still - the special features are what counts here. A supposedly startling and beautiful digital transfer, over 30 hours of bonuses spread over three discs, and of course all six Star Wars films make up this box set. Unfortunately, there are no plans to re-release these films on standard DVD, but it just seems indicative that the world is slowly becoming more digital. It's also indicative that I need a Blu-Ray player. But, that's a discussion for another birthday. Coincidentally, my birthday is in September. The stars have aligned.

As far as I can tell, the features seem just a little bit... standard. A peek into the Star Wars "vaults" and into previously archived footage, extensive featurettes, some deleted scenes (there's rumor of a Return of the Jedi moment, never before seen, where Luke tells Leia who they really are), et cetera. We'll probably see a digital transfer of that one documentary the History Channel shows all the time. Which is fine, but... please, George, give us something new.

I remember being fortunate enough to see the re-release of Star Wars in theaters when I was much younger. Already loving the film, and film in general, it meant so much to me to see Luke Skywalker run around the Death Star and shoot his lasers at Storm Troopers. I was in awe of Greedo not shooting first. I fell in love with the visuals. and Princess Leia. I was frightened of Darth Vader, and disturbed by all of the alien creatures. It was... akin to a religious experience for me. My cinematic world shook, never to reform the same foundation. An important moment in my life, much like the finale of Revenge of the Sith, where I sat in the theater and cried, simply because it was over. And it hurt.

And then, we got the special editions on DVD. You know the ones - where Hayden Christensen has his face on the old Anikan's body in the clouds, and where Greedo shot first. Pretty much where the term "cinemabomination" was coined. And then we got the "prequel trilogy", which gave us Keira Knightley and Jar Jar Binks. THEN, we get the original three in 3D soon, and now we're getting all of them on Blu-Ray disc. Not to mention of course the television shows, the books, the video games, the pajamas, the coffee mugs and lunch boxes, the Droid phones that look like R2D2, the Family Guy spoofs, and pretty much any other reincarnation you can think of. Next, they'll be remade, and then re-released fifty times in stunning 7D. On Blu-Ray, no less.

The most important thing to remember, though, is that while the prequel trilogy might have been a disappointment to most, it's still part of the Star Wars legacy. And make no mistake, it is a legacy. The highest grossing trilogy of its kind, and a series that initially revolutionized independent filmmaking, and then went on to revolutionize visual effects in the new millennium.

And while I may have a lot of issues with the constant money grubbing involved with the Star Wars releases, I remain an avid fan and plan on getting my copy. Maybe simply because the VHS special editions I've clung to over the years are getting old, but mostly because of the special features. I'm a sucker for those.

Three editions are available for pre-order on Amazon, and the prices are as follows -

The Complete Saga - $89.99
The Prequel Trilogy - $49.99
The Original Trilogy - $49.99

this, of course, as opposed to the shelf price of 140 for the sage, and 70 for the individual trilogies.

For the parents who plan on showing their children the films for the first time, I beg you. I beg you - please, show them in the order they were released. IV, V, VI, I, II, III. In that order, no other way. It's only fair. 

May the force be with us all. Leave a comment below and tell me what you most want out of this release!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, keep an eye out for individual reviews for the films, as the release date draws nearer.