Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Blu-Ray) - 5 out of 5
Aside from the disclaimer I place at the top of my reviews in an effort to promote open, honest and respectful discussion of films that I am reviewing and to thwart the mindless and humorless zombies that plague message boards and comment sections of YouTube, I feel I need to add another one and admit, with full disclosure, that this review will be incredibly bias. In all reality, all reviews are bias--I would never write a bad review of a movie I enjoyed or vice versa but truth be told, I am a huge, HUGE Star Wars fan.
I was nothing more than a growing embryo when my mother saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theater and when I was released unto the world, my parents sat me down to watch the adventures of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and Princess Leia in a galaxy far, far away. The first movie I ever saw was A New Hope and the first one I got to experience in a theater was Return of the Jedi. I've read and own ever Star Wars novel, comic book and graphic novel (there's over 200). I've played every video game--good and bad and there's been a lot of bad ones. I own Star Wars bobble heads, I have a small weapons cache of lightsabers and blasters. Star Wars Potato Heads rest upon a shelf made only for them and toys from Burger King and McDonalds adore my walls. Framed posters are plastered all around me and a small army of action figures dot the entire place. Statues of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi during their epic battle on the volcanic planet of Mustafar are the centerpiece of my dining room table. Helmets of Boba Fett and Darth Vader can be found lying on the floor and a huge Lego Star Destroyer can be seen perched on top of my T.V. An entire flotilla of ships including an X-wing, the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, and Cad Bane's Xandu Blood are flying high, suspending from the ceiling. I wear Star Wars T-shirts and my body contains 6 tattoos, all of them symbols of such organizations as the Mandalorians to the Jedi and Sith. So much am I in love with Star Wars, I even write my own fan fiction that depicts myself in the universe I've wanted to exist in since I was but a youngling. And, despite all of this, I have actually known the touch of a woman. Shocking, eh?
So, needless to say that because of my obsession, every time Star Wars is unleashed in a new format, it's a guarantee that I will be purchasing it. I own it on VHS (both theatrical version and the special edition), I own every variation it came out as on DVD and now Lucas decided to grace us with a High Definition version on Blu-Ray and, here's my bias, it is un-kriffing-believable. (Editor's note: the word "kriffing" is a swear word in the Star Wars universe. That's right, I'm so obsessed that I actually use swear words from it.)
I took an apprentice once in hopes we would battle on a volcanic planet. Sadly, it never happened. Instead we fought on an ice planet. It's not the same.
Getting to see the stories that I am capable of reciting verbatim (and once again, I reinforce that I am not a virgin) in glorious High Definition quality and sound that will nearly make an sound geek cream in their shorts, is almost the equivalent of seeing the films for the first time again. With this beautiful picture and sound, I found myself getting goosebumps all over again when I heard Vader utter those immortal words revealing that he was, indeed, Luke Skywalker's father or Han Solo replying to Leia that she loves him with "I know" or hearing the heartbreak in Obi-Wan's voice over Anakin's failure in turning away from the dark side. While I was never in danger of growing tired of Star Wars, this Blu-Ray collection has added further cement to a very strong concrete foundation of love I have with the works. At this point, George Lucas can rob me at gunpoint, take my wallet and pistol whip me within an inch of my life and my love of Star Wars will not die.
The collection also offers up great special features that more than provide their money's worth. In depth making of features, a documentary on the costume/charity club of the 501st (who has since been canonized and placed within Episode III), detail viewings of concept art and models, and finally, the thrill of it all, deleted scenes from not only the prequels but from the original trilogy itself. Even in the solitude of my living room, I couldn't control myself and let out a scream of excitement to see this one...
Nine discs in total, the collection is more than enough for a Star Wars geek to lose themselves and forgot little things like eating, sleeping and the fact that I have a girlfriend and I haven't heard from her since I bought this set. If there is one thing that can be wrong with this collection is the fact that George Lucas, the man who is never EVER satisfied with his films, has once again made some alterations to the movies. However, I personally don't find this that bad.
George Lucas has come under fire repeatedly for adding and changing the films since they were first released in theaters (remember, the title A New Hope was added before The Empire Strikes Back came out) and the loudest voices out there (a.k.a people like YouTube commenters) have called for the man's head for altering such things as eliminating Han shooting first. Unlike these people, I have defended Lucas and his impossible quest for perfection in the films. Anyone who's ever created something--anything--knows that you are never truly satisfied with the end product and nagging doubt and "what-if's" spike in the back of your head. Lucas, unlike many others out there, just has the money, and his product has the demand, that he actually has the ability to go back, make alterations and then re-release it onto a hungry public (people like me) who will buy it up again. The saddest thing I've found about this whole ordeal is the fact that the people who bitch and complain about the new blinking Ewoks or the CGI Jabba the Hutt put into A New Hope is that even with all the hot air they are spewing about how they hate Lucas, they are the same guys I line up with at midnight to buy the latest edition.
In the Special Features, Hayden Christensen talks about his acting classes. You should probably return the money you paid for those classes.
The reality is I will always defend George Lucas. For one, I respect the guy because he made a movie that not only became a world-wide icon, it was done so without the faith of the production and distribution companies. Lucas is also the man who has, over and over again, been at the forefront of movie making. Lucas was the first to film an entire movie digitally. He was the first to create many of the special effects that have become common place and, if it wasn't for Lucas and his inspiration on the world of movies, we wouldn't have guys like Peter Jackson making The Lord of the Rings. Hell, Lucas is the man who started Pixar and if it wasn't for that, we wouldn't have Toy Story or Wall-E...and he did all this on his own, financing his own way. The man created an empire out of...well, a Galactic Empire and has continued to feed it back to us with advancement in filmmaking and entertainment. So, George, I say change the movies if you want because you made the movies for you and your family--you've admitted that--so, don't listen to some angry nerd who wets himself because you were unhappy with the look of Luke's speeder as it shot into Mos Eisley because at the end of the day, that guy--urine soaked pants and all--will still waddle his way into Wal-mart to buy your latest release of your greatest creation.
If I was forced to come up with a single complaint that bothered me about this collection that I can only describe as an "orgasm in Blu-Ray form" is the fact we didn't get an apology from Lucas for creating Jar Jar Binks. Of course, I'm joking because Lucas more than made up for the creation of that buffoon by actually giving us Star Wars fans license to hate him as he made the Gungan instrumental in allowing Chancellor Palpatine to get the power he needed to take over the galaxy.
At the end of it all, seeing Star Wars in crisp and very clean High Definition is something of beauty. Even in this new format and after 30 plus years, it proves that the story is timeless and a transition to Blu-Ray is needed to continue showing this series to the generations to come. The only reason I want to have kids is so I can name them Luke and Leia and share my love of Star Wars with them.