It was announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that both the original Star Wars trilogy, and the three prequels were to be released on Blu-Ray for the first time in September. You can buy both trilogies in separate box sets, or all six in one. There are hours of extra footage, and it is available to pre-order now. The news has been received with great excitement. Within literally hours of the announcement, the sets had reached the top of amazon.co.uk’s DVD chart. Are we really STILL this excited about Star Wars, even with George Lucas’ constant tinkering, and the disappointment of the prequel movies? I’ve been as big a fan as anyone of the original movies, but i find myself asking myself, do i really want to invest in them on a new format one more time?
The first question is, would i buy just the original trilogy set, or would i get the prequels as well? It has not yet been confirmed whether the editions of the original trilogy on offer will be the first versions, or the special editions, or if they will contain even more ‘extra goodies’. Like most, i was not a fan of the changes made by Lucas, and would much rather have the original cinematic versions. If it IS the special editions that are on offer, will i still buy them? I can live with nonsense if i know for a fact that the original versions will not materialise on Blu-Ray at a later date. I refuse to pay twice for Blu-Rays of the same movies, but i doubt we’ll get any such assurances either way. Lucas knows how to make a living, and most people own several different versions of each film over various formats. I would not be at all surprised if a plan is afoot to release some sort of ultimate edition at a later date.
I also have to question whether i really want to watch the films again. The special editions didn’t completely finish off my Star wars interest. i paid to see them, and accepted that they were the result of a director going back to a treasured work and ironing out some things he was not happy with on their original releases. If it was only the special editions that had jaded me, i probably would still have desire to watch those beloved films again. No, what really ended it for me, much like so many other people, was the let down of the prequels.
There was huge excitement for The Phantom Menace. I watched the trailer dozens of times when it was released. the movie itself was watchable, but disappointing. still, there were two more films to go, and massive room for improvement. For many, Attack of the Clones was an improvement. In retrospect, i think it was ultimately worse. Phantom Menace knew what it was, whilst Attack of the Clones tried to be too many things. It was a compromise between the childish appeal of the first film, and an attempt at adding in darker elements to appeal to older fans disappointed with the first film. Revenge of the Sith was the best of the three, and did have some fleetingly great moments. Unfortunately, the damage had been done with the preceding two films, and their was too much weakness in the set up for a truly satisfying third film.
The whole experience put me off of the whole Star Wars series. that was it, i was done. i have not rewatched the prequels, or the originals since the release of Revenge of the Sith. I now have to ask myself if it has put me off the original series permanently. If not, i then have to decide if i can stomach the prequels again, to embrace them as part of the over arching storyline that is George Lucas’ Star Wars opera. If i am going to invest my hard-earned money, it seems almost churlish to ignore the weaker three movies. If i am going to give Star Wars one more chance, then i will have to go the whole way and buy all six movies, and commit to watching them in the order that Lucas intends them. This may well be the deal breaker.
I don’t want to let the prequels back in to my life. They have never been welcome. I will not however allow myself to deny their existence and just cling on desperately to a half-finished series of movies. This is my dilemma, all or nothing. I have a full eight months to make my mind up, not to mention save up the £70 that will be required to purchase the fourth or fifth versions of the same movies that i already own. I’m sure i will change my mind several times over the coming months. I also fear that as the trailers start to hit our screens, and that 20th Century Fox fanfare plays, i will find myself paralysed, helpless to resist. I have the frightening feeling that i will find myself drawn to the well, just one more time. That is, until the digital copies find their way onto my iTunes library…
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/baz_mann