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Star Wars "Episode V" DVD (1980/2004)






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Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire strikes back

original title: Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire strikes back

Comparison:

  • Special Edition
  • DVD-Edition
Release: Feb 15, 2011 - Author: VideoRaider - Translator: Sakaro - external link: IMDB

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 and DVD-Edition. For the Comparison the German releases from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment were used.


Special Edition

running time: 122 minutes

DVD-Edition

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.
III. a) Differences in Picture-Editing


0:50:44
The conversation between Darth Vader and Imperator Palpatine has been changed and extended. Not only was the old imperator, who in the old version was a mix between an old woman and the eyes of a chimpanzee, replaced with Ian McDiarmid (Palptine in Episode I, II, III und VI), but their dialogue was altered and extended to match the other parts of the saga, especially the prequels.





Theatrical Version/Special Edition:
Imperator Palpatine: „There is a great disturbance in the Force.“
Darth Vader: „I have felt it.“
Imperator Palpatine: „We have a new enemy. Luke Skywalker.“
Darth Vader: „Yes, my master.“
Imperator Palpatine: „He could destroy us.“
Darth Vader: „He is just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.“
Imperator Palpatine: „The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.“
Darth Vader: „If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.“
Imperator Palpatine: „Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?“
Darth Vader: „He will join us or die, Master.“


DVD-Edition:
Imperator Palpatine: „There is a great disturbance in the Force.“
Darth Vader: „I have felt it.“
Imperator Palpatine: „We have a new enemy. The young rebel, who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt, this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.“
Darth Vader: „How is that possible?“
Imperator Palpatine: „Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.“
Darth Vader: „He is just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.“
Imperator Palpatine: „The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become ja Jedi.“
Darth Vader: „If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.“
Imperator Palpatine: „Yes. He would be a great asset. Can it be done?“
Darth Vader: „He will join us or die, Master.“


20 sec.

1:30:03
The pink tinge in the long shot of Bespin, (during Luke's arrival) has been color corrected, or rather completely removed. This was done separately and is not part of the general color correction.


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1:32:10
A continuity error was corrected here and Han's vest color corrected (and not retouched), so that it matches his shirt.


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1:52:23
Another continuity error. Due to the mirroring of the original shot the emblem on the uniform was also mirror-inverted in the old version. This has been corrected.


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1:57:33
For no apparent reason the DVD-edition omits the first credit to James Earl Jones, which had been inserted in the special edition.

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III. b) Differences in the Audio-Track


0:50:44
The conversation between Darth Vader and Imperator Palpatine has been changed and extended. (see: picture section)

(20 Sek.)

1:03:45
For reasons of continuity Boba Fett says something different about Temuera Morrison, since Boba Fett is only a clone of Jango Fett after all.

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1:12:49
The sound effect of Boba Fett's spaceship Slave I has been adjusted to match the ones from the prequels.

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1:47:41
When Luke jumps into the abyss a scream was added in the special edition. This scream was taken from an alternative take of the imperator in "Return of the Jedi" but again removed for the DVD-edition.
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