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Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition)

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Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


  • Special Edition
  • DVD-Edition
Release: Mar 01, 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)

Here, some distinctive examples of the color-correction (left side: Special Edition, right side: DVD-Edition). Furthermore, it is striking that at several points in the movie the picture of the DVD is wider than the one of the special edition.

Overall, the color correction is flawless, with the exception of the color of the lightsabers. Especially the one of Darth Vader, which original was red, is now glowing pink. Obviously, this was not intended and simply is an error in the color correction.

Although the DVD-Edition of "Return of the Jedi" has the fewest digital changes, the most blatant errors were overlooked, among them the human eyes of the ewoks or Darth Vader's bent forearm (after his had has been cut of at the wrist).

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).

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


running time: 122 minutes

Since the two version are cut identically (with the exception of one extended scene), only differences in picture-editing and the audio-track are listed.
When Jabba the Hutt negotiates the price of Chewbacca's bounty, the English subtitles were missing, since C-3PO translates Jabba's offer anyway.

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All Rancor-scenes have been overhauled. (The copy frame are now removed, the texture of the Rancor looks better and the stop motion effect have been smoothed digitally.)This was done separately and is not part of the general color correction.

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The face of the actor playing Vader, Sebastian Shaw, has been changed digitally. The eyebrows are retouched and the eye color is different (to match Hayden Christensen's (Anakin Skywalker in Episode II - III).

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Naboo has been added to the celebrations, incl. „Wessa Free!“ chants by the Gungans.

6 sec.

The galactic senat has been added to the background of the celebrations on Coruscant.

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The Jedi temple has been added to the background, as well. It was apparently not destroyed after the purge.

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Sebastian Shaw has been replaced with Hayden Christensen.

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