So we've all had a chance to view the set for a few days now and what can I say? It's what you expect and a little more. As an added bonus, Lucas gave you whiners something you've wanted for a long time: An official release of the Boba Fett cartoon from the Christmas special! Yes it's on here folks. Just go to 2nd Special Features disc: Chapter V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Imperial Chase - Boba Fett Costume: it's there.
So there you go, whiners! Lucas gave you something you've been whining about for years.
As for the movies:
The picture: Looks great. No complaints.
The sound: Very happy. It was great to hear these old sound effects in high-def. I felt like I was hearing stuff that wasn't there before. Which, may have been the actual case.
The changes: Meh. Some are OK. Some are not OK. I have I think 4 versions of the Original Trilogy so far:
1. The 1997 original theatrical Special Editions, with an old primitive CG Jabba. These are the ones you saw in the theater in 1997 and later on VHS, but never on DVD. I do have these on a nice bootleg DVD.
2. The 2004 DVD special editions. Had some cleanups, such as a new CG Jabba, and Hayden replacing Sebastian Shaw as ghost-Anakin.
3. This new 2011 blu-ray edition.
4. The original, original Trilogy.
All I am missing was the (1995?) THX remasters, which was issued on VHS only in the early 90's. If you bought Star Wars on VHS any time between (let's say) 1994 and 1997, then you you owned the THX remasters. These had their own changes, most notably, some modified sound effects. Betcha didn't know that you owned an altered version of Star Wars eh?
So with all these editions already out there and relatively easy to get, additional changes are no big deal. Seriously, what did you expect? I liked the new Episode I Yoda just fine, I think he looks better than the Episode I puppet Yoda. I liked the blinking Nemoidians and Ewoks. Don't like the "Noo..." I don't know anybody who does like it. But it's a few seconds of film in an otherwise pretty good looking and sounding disc. One thing about the blinking, at first it's distracting. Then you realize it's not distracting because it looks bad, it's distracting because you've never seen it before.
But my point is this: I have the original editions on DVD. So do you, presumably. If you don't buy them. They are easy to find. Then, you can stop your whining. Who cares? They're out there. If you don't want the special editions (either THX, theatrical, original DVD, or these) then don't buy. You got what you want, stick to them, and enjoy!
The special features...OH MAN. I have read about some of these deleted scenes for decades. Decades! I remember listening to the Star Wars radio drama back in the 70's and listening to that scene of Luke watching the space battle from Tattooine. I am so happy to have them. The featurettes and docs...holy cow when am I going to have time to watch all this stuff? They really gave you bang for your buck this time! The value for the money is insane. You simply cannot go wrong if you are a Star Wars addict. They are nerd-tastic. I am so happy with this aspect of the set. Only the Alien box set has special features to match this (the packaging is identical to the Alien box set as well).
One more bonus: Got the 1983 Creatures feature with Billy Dee Williams on this set! Had this on VHS back in the day!
I have thought long and hard about how to rate this set, and my conclusion is that it is worth four stars for the following reasons:
1. Most of these movies are great. I would say 4 out of 6 of them are simply great films, meaning 4 stars or more.
2. The transfer is what I expected and hoped for.
3. I don't care about special editions anymore. To me, it's actually a bonus. Like when they remixed the old Who albums. I have the originals, so does everybody, so who cares?
4. The bonus features more than make up for the lack of the original versions that I already own elsewhere.
5. The pricing is more than fair.
I am going to do a mega Star Wars weekend and absorb as much as I can. Enjoy. This set is well worth it. And in case you don't have the original versions, stop whining. Buy these:Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition)Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition)Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition)
If you're a diehard Lucas h8r, then you need to buy this!The People Vs. George Lucas DVD
But let's face it, George's grip on the real world is loose at best. Why would you expect an old man to change? Maybe your grip is as loose as his?
May the Force be with you! (Sorry could not resist that)