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Monday, 10 October 2011

OPINION: SAVING THE ORIGINAL, UNALTERED CLASSIC TRILOGY

Officially gone forever? The unaltered Classic Trilogy DVDs from 2006.

With the recent release of THE COMPLETE SAGA on Blu-ray, still in pole position (or very near that) within the Top Ten charts of the world consumer home entertainment market, it's time to reflect on the disappointing fact that, for the time being, the original theatrical versions of the Classic Trilogy- 1977, 1980 and 1983- have been officially discontinued on DVD from the major seller sites like AMAZON and PLAY.COM with the prior 2006 release (where each film, disappointingly released in a non-anamorphic format, and scanned from the 1995 laserdisc releases, would be presented on a separate bonus feature disc alongside the SPECIAL EDITION versions), and there are apparently no plans to release new copies. How long this current situation will last is unknown, but I'm assuming it will be for the lengthy peak sales duration that the Blu-rays will need to generate income for LUCASFILM and FOX.

Now, more than ever, and especially with the recent controversies regarding the further changes made to the SPECIAL EDITION films on the Blu-rays (some enhancements great, others (you know which ones they are!) not so great), I think it's time that LUCASFILM finally caved in (and there is absolutely no shame in doing this!) and answered the heartfelt requests/pleas from fans, young and old, around the world to finally release the original unaltered Classic Trilogy films on Blu-ray once and for all (the chance to win back much tarnished fan appreciation and media support, and greatly increased sales, following years of disappointment with what has been released on DVD, was sadly blown this year by their not doing this with the new COMPLETE SAGA release).

There is still time to put this sad Classic Trilogy oversight right, and have a separate release for the beloved three films on Blu-ray in a few years time, if LUCASFILM start acting now. The transfers don't have to be anything fancy-just nice clean TECHNICOLOR presentations of the movies as we love and remember them from their original screenings, and with the original superb sound mix restored to the way it was (it doesn't need any flashy mucking about with or be put in new DOLBY techniques). TECHNICOLOR copies of the original films do still exist. Producer Gary Kurtz has a copy of the 1977 STAR WARS-he told me this a few years back, and also revealed he lent it to LUCASFILM when they were doing their SPECIAL EDITIONS restoration work for release in 1997-scenes from his copy were duplicated and used to fill in gaps where the original masters had deteriorated from age. Copies of EMPIRE and JEDI also apparently exists in private hands and their owners would surely be more than happy to work with LUCASFILM so that the best available prints are made available for transfer of the highest definition possible. The potential profits from the new release far outweigh the potential behind the scenes costs and time that needs to be spent by Lucas's restoration team/s...

So please, George Lucas and LUCASFILM, you've given us a good starter with THE COMPLETE SAGA box set, now go the distance that little bit more and give the fans who have loyally bought all the box sets- in all types of format since the eighties- what they really want: the Original Versions of the Classic Trilogy on Blu-ray-the unaltered and still magical three films we fell in love with all those years ago worldwide: which started the phenomenon into what it has become today!

STAR WARS AFICIONADO fully supports the recently launched SAVING STAR WARS website (Save Star Wars) in all its endeavours and beliefs to make sure people worldwide keep the spirited flames of the original and best versions of the Classic Trilogy burning brightly, and that an eventual release of those three films is achieved.

There's also a petition at the ORIGINALTRILOGY.COM website where you can show your support: Petition for the Theatrical Cuts of the Original Star Wars Trilogy On Blu-ray. Please spare five minutes to add your name to the list-don't let these iconic and important films disappear from both time and the minds of the next generation/s of STAR WARS fans!

10 comments:

Jason Ward said...

Let it go. If we want it for nostalgia's sake, lets watch it on VHS or laserdisc. It is inferior and belongs on the format from its time.

aficionadofan said...

Hi Jason, thanks for the comment. However, the original films are in no way inferior IMO. The raw fantasy and emotional power of the original 1977 STAR WARS in particular, despite a few slow looking effects shots in the Death Star battle, remains undiminished, whilst the film's original sound mix has now been too mucked around with on DVD and Blu-ray: an example being the sound mixing of the TIE fighter battle against the Falcon, which no longer works anywhere near as well as it once did...one of the reasons why the film, and EMPIRE and JEDI's originals, must be preserved and released on Blu-ray for fans of all ages to properly enjoy!

meh said...

Jason, you are so incorrect on so many levels. The Original Trilogy must have it's due on Blu-ray. The original 1977, 1980, and 1983 versions. They are the ones that won the awards, and our hearts. NOT these new bastardized versions. Keep in mind also, for the sake of film history, Lucas is the only (insane) person that is not allowing fans and viewers to have a choice of what version to watch. Blu-ray offers that with seamless branching. We made Lucas a billionaire, and this is this thanks we get. I don't think so. I have not bought any Star Wars video release since 2006, and will not again until I get something that I actually want to buy.

kenkraly2004 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kenkraly2004 said...

I agree the original cuts of the 1st star wars trilogy from 1977 , 1980 and 1983 should be preserved. Hopefully someday they will be put out on blu-ray.

Sharp Sticks said...

Ridiculous. They are preserved, in your personal collections, across the internet and in the US Library of Congress. You can see Han shoot first in the time it takes your fingers to punch the words into a search engine.

You don't want 'history to be preserved', you want George Lucas to follow your orders. Let go.

aficionadofan said...

Sharp Sticks, the Original Trilogy must be preserved in the best quality possible for generations of fans to come and for film/historical preservation-the 2006 DVD releases, based on old laserdisc masters, just don't cut it for quality, and you know this-they weren't even anamorphic! These original films DESERVE better. It's nothing to do with giving Lucas orders-by all means he can continue releasing multiple versions of his popular SPECIAL EDITIONS as he sees fit- but millions of fans like myself love the original versions of the Classic Trilogy- people who saw them as they were in 1977, 1980 and 1983- and want to see them in a good presentation. I still can't believe that LUCASFILM doesn't want the extra cash in releasing them. Though a huge success, the Blu-ray sales would have been significantly higher if they had put them within the COMPLETE SAGA set.

Sharp Sticks said...

I disagree. Noble rhetoric like saving Star Wars and preserving the original films sounds nice on paper, but this battle isn't about that at all. It's about collective ownership and the masses getting to decide what 'real' Star Wars is. You want fans get final cut, not the artist.

If Lucas were to turn around and say he regrets making the changes and that the original films are the only versions to be released from now on, would any of you 'millions of fans' start calling for the preservation of the special editions? Would you be signing petitions so future generations could see Greedo shooting first in the highest possible quality? No, and there's proof.

This scenario is playing itself out with ET and Stephen Spielberg. The original version of the film will be released on Blu-ray, without the 2002 special edition, which is being officially swept under the carpet. And no one is pissing and moaning about how history is being left behind, because fans like the original cut.

This conflict is over artistic choice. Second-guess Uncle George all you like, but unlike his old pal Spielberg, Lucas got to where he is today by ignoring his critics. And that's one thing that's never going to change.

Otherwise, dig the blog.

aficionadofan said...

Thanks for your opinion Sharp Sticks, but we'll have to agree to disagree. As meh pointed out, it was the Original STAR WARS and its two sequels that were the beloved box-office champs, not the SPECIAL EDITIONS, seen and loved by the masses worldwide. They deserve to be seen properly.Yes, I may be dreaming and not a realist, and the younger generation of SW fans rule the roost as far as the future of LUCASFILM is concerned, but I would like Lucas to one day come to his senses-surely this will happen when his company really does need a further cash injection (like what happened with the 2006 releases, and a situation that I hope occurs again very soon!). if Ridley Scott can do it with BLADE RUNNER and ALIEN, and Spielberg can do it with branched versions of CE3K, Lucas could and should release all the versions of the SW films, including the different versions of the Prequels, too! He can continue with his artistic needs and license on the films for future releases, too. It wouldn't be any kind of defeat to release the Classic Trilogy-he apparently calls the films "works in progress", so why not let us see and enjoy every historical version of them!

Yes, STAR WARS was once considered a pointless endeavour in Hollywood and George Lucas persevered. STAR WARS AFICIONADO continues to honour Lucas in committing itself to a similar pointless endeavour in keeping the flame alive for those three unaltered classics which started it all-films that its creator is now ignoring and undeservedly letting fade away!

Anonymous said...

"A copyright is held in trust by its owner until it ultimately reverts to public domain. American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.

People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians."

/thread

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