For the first DVD release of the „Star Wars“-Saga, Lucasfilm did neither spare costs nor efforts to bring the best possible release to the fans. The original film material, which had already been remastered for the THX release in 1995 and the Special Edition in 1997, was again color-corrected. This wasnt done by LucasFilms but by Lowry Digital
, an American-based company specialized in digital film restorations. Lowry Digital
also restored the legendary moon landing footage from the „Apollo 11“-mission
Despite immense efforts to present the old saga in the best way possible, not all fans were happy with the DVD release. The DVD edition is based on the special edition, which was released in theaters and on video in 1997 and has been the cause of much debate among fans ever since. Only after massive protests by die-hard Star Wars fans and two years after the first remastered trilogy did Lucas Film decide to also release the original trilogy (the movies without digital effects). However, besides smaller changes, the second release is not anamorph but presented in 4:3, including the obligatory black bars. In order to use the full frame of a 16:9 TV-set, the picture thus has to be zoomed in, which lowers the image quality significantly.
However, putting all the blame on Lucas Film would not be justified: The old film footage, the original celluloid copies, simply don't exist anymore. As early as 1991 it was discovered that the complete material was in an extremely bad condition. Due to a flawed production, each film reel only had a life-span of approximately 6 years. Then they started to disintegrate. The material that was left was meticulously restored and thus, the THX-versions from 1995 are the only remaining original versions. On those, the Special Edition, which was again thoroughly remastered by Lowry Digital
, is based.
For the DVD release, the old footage (based on the already remastered THX and Special-Edition material) was not only thoroughly restored but also color corrected. This means that a lot of old effects appear in a totally new light. The difference in picture quality is considerable, but since it does not result in running-time differences or changes in the story, it is not mentioned in this censorship-report.
II. a) Image-Matching: Special Edition (1997) - DVD-Edition (2004)
Some distinctive examples of the color-correction (left side: Special Edition, right side: DVD-Edition).
II. b) Image-Matching: DVD-Limited-Edition (2006) - DVD-Edition (2004)
Since the Special Edition was only
released on VHS and LaserDisc, one could assume that the overall image quality is lower. Therefore, for the sake of completeness, again a brief image matching between the DVD-Limited-Edition from 2006, the theatrical version and the DVD-Edition from 2004. (left side: DVD-Limited-Edition 2006, right side: DVD-Edition 2004).
II. c) Picture Size
It is striking that at several points in the movie the picture of the DVD is wider than the one of the special edition. Here, the picture of the special edition has been embedded into the actual picture of the DVD. The picture of the special edition is compressed Thus, to keep the original image quality, only the right and the left side of the pictures are of interest.
Comparison between the Special Edition
. For the Comparison the German releases from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment were used.
running time: 122 minutes
running time: 122 minutes
Since the two version are cut identically (with the exception of the extended scene), only differences in picture-editing and the audio-track are listed.
III. a) Differences in Picture-Editing
All visual changes compared to the special edition.
III. b) Differences in the Audio-Track
Differences in the Audio-Track of the English
language version of the movie.