Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Come On, George - Episode II: Apathy of the Clowns

Well, Lucasfilm was listening, alright. Unfortunately, they could give two craps. The following is the form response many people have been getting after contacting the company and expressing their displeasure with the forthcoming DVDs:

I wanted you to know how much we appreciate the passion and enthusiasm you have for Star Wars, and thank you for sharing your concerns about our upcoming DVD release.

The DVDs being released in September will contain two versions of Star Wars: Episodes IV, V and VI – the Special Editions (which represent George’s vision of the movies) and the first versions, which will be included as bonus material. We hoped that releasing those “original” movies on a bonus disc would be a way to have some additional fun with the debut of the movies as individual DVDs. We certainly did not want it to become a source of concern or frustration for any of our fans.

As you may know, an enormous amount of effort was put into digitally restoring the negatives for the Special Editions. In one scene alone, nearly 1 million pieces of dirt had to be removed, and the Special Editions were created through a frame-by-frame digital restoration. The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition.

So many fans have requested the original movies, we wanted to find a way to bring them to you. But since these movies do not represent George's artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions. The 1993 Laserdisc masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD bonus material. Although these are non-anamorphic versions, they do preserve the original widescreen composition of the movies.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans – now or in the future – to restore the earlier versions.

We hope you will understand our decision and, again, want to let you know how much we appreciate your interest and enthusiasm.

Lynne Hale

Translation: go f yourselves.

Robert Harris sent this back to them, which sums up how I feel minus the intensity and rough language:

Dear Lynne,

I've read the statement which has been released under your name.

I wanted to make very certain that you totally understand what both Star Wars fans and Home Theater aficionados have been trying to say. Occasionally the message may have become muddled from passion.

Everyone respectfully understands that Mr. Lucas prefers his updated versions of the films.

There is no argument.

Everyone understands that a proper of restoration of the films could be both expensive and time-consuming.

There is no argument.

Allow me to explain that this has nothing to do with "prints." It doesn't matter if prints are faded, scratched, or even missing every scene in which a favored character appears.

Prints are disposable.

That said, we must believe that acceptable Pre-print elements survive in the form of interpositives, dupe negatives and / or separation masters. If this is the case, then Fox would be totally capable of creating a new anamorphic video master. This is what their archival staff does on a daily basis, and they do it exceedingly well.

Assuming that these elements exist, then no one is suggesting the reconstruction of elements or a restoration that isn't necessary.

The single point that has so many people dissatisfied is that the original films are not being placed into home video distribution in WIDE SCREEN ANAMORPHIC format.

No one is requesting that the films be digitally cleaned and re-mastered to perfection, although many feel that they may be deserving of such treatment.

A bit of dirt; an occasional scratch; an errant mark here or there is not what this discussion has been about.

While the use of your 1993 masters, which were the highest quality of their era, would have been fine almost a decade ago, they are no longer of a quality requisite to be screened with black on all four sides on wide screen monitors, no less an modern projection devices.

Now that we all seem to have better communication, can we please re-consider a simple re-transfer in anamorphic widescreen as opposed to using archaic video masters.

This isn't what LucasFilm, which has always led in both quality as well technology, has ever been about.

Without any high cost, without any restoration, and yet allowing Star Wars fans to properly screen on modern devices what to many is a veritable holy grail...

This should be a simple, painless and viable answer.

With best regards,


Later on, Harris posted this in the Star Wars thread at

What is being requested of them is nothing extraordinary. We're merely asking the leader in quality cinema technology to, in this one instance, simply be as good as those with less capabilities and funding.

To quote a Charles Bronson impersonator, this ain't over.


Post a Comment

<< Home