Help me find Best Quality Non-Special Edition Star Wars Release?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by George Burkhart, Oct 3, 2001.

  1. George Burkhart

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    Hello,
    Unfortunately, I am resigned to the fact that George Lucas will never release a DVD version of Star Wars IV (A New Hope) in a non special edition version. (Greedo shoots first? Why? Why? Tell me dammit Why??!). Anyway.. as much as I love the movie, IMHO the Special Edition has too little added that enhances the movie (awesome Death Star Battle footage), and too much added that detracts from it (Han stepping on Jabba, Greedo shooting first, cutesy Jawas falling from ride, etc.)
    Anyway, I prefer to watch movies on DVD and I have a few on VHS too that aren't on DVD yet. I have an old Laser that is collecting dust and not connected to my system. What is the best quality non special edition Star Wars (VHS or Laser) and how many different versions are there (in or out of print)? I have a special edition VHS set released in late summer of 97 and an original VHS Wide Screen Collector's Edition that I bought in 94 with a cool rectangular case with a hologram type sticker on the front.
    While Laser would seem to be better in quality, there's something to be said for just popping in a tape and not having to flip sides. I'm not sure...what do you all think? Thanks for your info, help, and suggestions.
     
  2. Matt Birchall

    Matt Birchall Supporting Actor

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    For the best non-Special Editions of the Trilogy, picture-wise, you're probably going to want to look for the 1995 THX remasters, which are available on both laserdisc and video cassette.
    I have no idea what the widescreen VHS set is going for these days. It comes in a nice, flat, rectangular mostly-black box with the shot of Vader's helmet on it.
    The individual lasers for each of the three movies could have been found for less than $10 each on various online laser stores a year ago. I picked up my set for less than $35 shipped last year, and I don't even have a laserdisc player yet! [​IMG] However, it looks like the supply has really dried up, as I haven't seen any for sale for that cheap in a while (of course, now that I've got mine, I really haven't been looking). They can probably be found on Ebay for fairly-decent prices.
    Extras-wise, I think the one that everyone really likes the best is the Definitive Collection laserdisc box set which was released in 1993 I believe. I'm pretty sure it's nine-discs total, and there are commentaries, trailers, and other goodies for each movie. Obviously, I don't have this set, so I might be wrong on some details. Have no idea what this set is going for right now--I want to say that I've heard they've sold on Ebay for as much as $250, and for as little as $100. I'm sure someone that's more familiar with the set can help out with it better than I can.
    Hope this helps!
    -mwb-
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    Obi-Wan (to Anakin):
    Why do I think you're going to be the death of me?
    Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
    May 22, 2002
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    If you just want to watch the movies get the THX Remasters on LD. Tapes don't have the lifespan of LDs. You could always put the THX remasters on VHS or S-VHS tape if you wanted? I wouldn't though. The Definative Collection is the only U.S. STAR WARS release I haven't seen or owned for that matter. It is a CAV set so there would be much side flipping. The THX Remasters are all CLV. Best wishes from Laserland!
    P.S.- bought the THX Remasters twice! Once when they came out. When the AC-3 Special Edition came out, I gave them to my nephews. I bought them again last year for $7.95 apiece....
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    Rachael, the big disc cat! "...Mandrake, have you ever seen a commie drink water..."
    AFI Film Challenge, hey I've only got 1 to go!
     
  4. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    If you want the best non-special editions in LD, the ones to consider are the THX available separately versions and the 9-disc Defintive Collection. Both use the same transfer and sound the same. Both are just short - not that short - in quality compared to the SE box set. The Defintive has some extras - they're not that wonderful - and a book, which I don't think much of since its focus is on Lucas and his film projects and not solely on The Star Wars Trilogy.
    The THX available separately trilogy run between $30-$60 on Ebay. No online retailer has all three and may not have even one any more. The Definitive Collection will set you back between $50-$100. It's a very heavy box so shipping will be pretty stiff - ask for Media Mail (formerly book rate), unless you're in a real hurry. If you go this route, be certain to ask about laser rot and the "rolling bar" problem (I own three copies of the Definitive Collection and have yet to see these bars - I think it's player dependent).
    I highly recommend LD over VHS. The only advantage VHS has is the elimination of disc flipping. Really, it's not that bad - go for the LD.
    ------------------
    They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
    They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!
    - Napoleon XIV
    [Edited last by alan halvorson on October 04, 2001 at 06:22 AM]
     
  5. George Burkhart

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    Thank you very much for all of the information. This is very helpful. I just realized that while I don't like the Star Wars Special Edition I don't think I mind Empire or Jedi that much. Anybody remember what all of the changes were? I think they enhanced the picture and sound and added the snow beast and other minor stuff for Empire. And for Jedi a new ending scene and musical number in Jabba's palance. Nothing on the scale of Greedo/Han showdown in Star Wars though. Maybe I'll consider buying just Star Wars. Thanks again for all of your help.
     
  6. Mike Witt

    Mike Witt Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't forget the SE of Empire has the Luke girly man scream (see duel with Vader). That's usually the major complaint with the SE of Empire. And good luck finding a non SE widescreen VHS tape. You'd probably have to pay big to get them since they just aren't easy to find out there, AFAIK.
     
  7. George Burkhart

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    I've been able to find a Star Wars THX that was released in 1995 CLV. However, it is only Dolby Surround. The guy at the store said that he thinks there *is* a Dolby Digital Release of this as well but it comes as a set and is out of print. Can anybody confirm this? What non-Special Edition Star Wars Movies are Laser Disc Dolby Digital?
    [Edited last by George Burkhart on October 04, 2001 at 11:37 AM]
     
  8. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that the THX versions are the way to go. The LD versions of these are much cheaper than the Definitive Collection LDs. Like others have said, look on ebay, you shouldn't have to pay more than $15 each.
    You asked about changes in Empire and Jedi. Probably the one that Empire lovers have the biggest problem with is the change of Vader's "Bring my shuttle" line to "Alert my Star Destroyer to blah, blah, blah..."
    Jedi has the new song in Jabba's palace (which I think is terrible) and the new ending on the planets (which I really like).
    All three have different things going on in the background that are cool looking at times, but distracting at others. The CGI already looks dated to me in places, whereas I never had a problem with the effects looking dated in the original editions. Also, you may not know this, but they took out a few frames here and there where they actually show imperials getting hit by laser fire. I'm not sure if this was to keep the SE at a PG rating, or Lucas's ever increasing PC sensibilities. I don't think this affects my viewing enjoyment, but it is interesting to know.
     
  9. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    To my knowledge, there was no non-SE Dolby Digital release. (The SE LDs contain DD 5.1.) The Pro-Logic track on the "THX" reissues is quite nice, however.
    Ryan
     
  10. Matt DeVillier

    Matt DeVillier Supporting Actor

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    Only the SE lasers have the (IMO gimmicky) DD5.1 track. The Dolby Surround PCM track on the 1995 THX lasers is far better sounding (again IMO).
    ------------------
    My DVD collection
     
  11. George Burkhart

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    I'm sold. I'm buying the 1995 Laser THX Star Wars. You guys are the best. Thanks again for all of the help and information. Now, Han will *always* shoot first.
     
  12. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    I think the original letterboxed laserdiscs from Fox are the best way to experience the original trilogy. And I happen to have a set that I can sell you [​IMG]. Here's what the Star Wars disc looks like:
    [​IMG]
    But seriously, here's the laserdiscs you really want:
    [​IMG]
    Here's what the Definitive Collection Laserdisc box looks like:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Johnathan,
    If that top photo is current; might I suggest that you replace those elephant condoms [​IMG] with some proper, lined paper sleeves. They offer much better protection for your valuable discs.
    - Walter.
     
  14. Mike Witt

    Mike Witt Stunt Coordinator

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    Walter, where do you get the paper sleeves? I hate those "elephant condoms".
     
  15. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Mike,
    Big Emma's still sells paper sleeves.
    Two other places that might carry them are -
    Ken Cranes, now DVD Planet used to sell them, but I'm unsure if that is still the case.
    Bags Unlimited has a great selection of storage products for media, but I don't know if they sell paper sleeves for LD.
    - Walter.
     
  16. JasonH

    JasonH Extra

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    Isn't the original LD release of Empire missing a scene or something? I never owned it, and my memory is a little foggy, but I think it was missing when Han and Leia kissed or something.
    Jason
    ------------------
    My Equipment (Now with pics!)
    My DVDs
    My Laserdiscs
     
  17. George Burkhart

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    Hmm. This sounds familiar. Anybody have any references about this. There's bound to be something. I want to know what I could be missing if I bought it. Or maybe it refers to an earlier Laser? Thanks for your help.
    Oops. I just read the post below. Glad it doesn't apply to the THX versions
    [Edited last by George Burkhart on October 04, 2001 at 09:11 PM]
     
  18. JasonH

    JasonH Extra

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    I was talking about the original realease, not the later THX release. "The Empire Strikes Back" LD that looks like the "Star Wars" "Video Laserdisc" pictured above.
    Jason
    ------------------
    My Equipment (Now with pics!)
    My DVDs
    My Laserdiscs
     

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