20th Century Fox Home Entertainment| Certificate U | Price £23
Funny how quickly promises are forgotten
when there’s money to be made. Back in 2004, when the Special Editions of
Episodes IV, V and VI were released as a DVD box set, George Lucas assured us
that the unaltered versions would never be released again. Two years on, we
have these Limited Edition two-disc DVDs, which contain both ‘George’s vision’
and the original theatrical releases as a bonus. Now Star Wars fans will have
to buy them all again. Ker-ching!
The 2004 Special Editions have their pros
and cons. The most notorious – for some, downright criminal – change is in the
Cantina scene, altered so that instead of Han gunning down Jabba’s assassin in
cold blood, he is acting in self-defence. Now, Greedo shoots first. Intended to
make Han slightly cuddlier, it feels like a complete betrayal of his character.
On the plus side, there’s some unobtrusive
tidying up: the removal of ugly matte lines around old special effects, for
example. In The Empire Strikes Back, CloudCity’s interior is opened
up with the addition of some windows, with whizzy stuff going on outside. As
improvements go this is like Leonardo da Vinci deciding that what the Mona Lisa
really needs is trees in the background.
George should have resisted the urge to
cram in the kind of unnecessary CGI
candy that blighted the prequels and left well alone. Which means this reissue
of the original releases is, ultimately, very welcome – even though the old
films haven’t been digitally scrubbed up.