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Lucasfilm Responds To Fans

Forums - Discs & Movies - Lucasfilm Responds To Fans 

24th May 2006 17:05  #1

Matt Contributor Join Date: October 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,113
Lucasfilm Responds To Fans
The Lucasfilm spin machine is in full effect over the latest Star Wars flap concerning the upcoming non-anamorphic release of the original trilogy in September.

Read this piece from Video Business to learn more.

Never thought I'd say this, but I'm starting to wish I was a Star Trek fan instead; Paramount may charge an arm and a leg for a lot of their Trek stuff, but at least they gives their fans what they want.

24th May 2006 18:48  #2

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
Lucas can't really be that stupid can he?  Saying that he doesn't need to clean up the original trilogy because it already has been as part of the SEs. Rolling Eyes

24th May 2006 19:24  #3

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Lucasfilm Responds To Fans
Matt wrote: may charge an arm and a leg for a lot of their Trek stuff, but at least they gives their fans what they want.

Not entirely Wink

As for Lucasfilm, they're basically saying - we heard you, now f**k off! How wonderful of them Tongue

24th May 2006 19:41  #4

Matt Contributor Join Date: October 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,113
After September won't just about everything Star Trek that has been committed to film be released? The only holdout I can think of is the non-director's cut version of the first film, but overall I would say Paramount has treated Trek fans well by releasing everything in a quality manner, even if the prices of some releases are a bit high.

24th May 2006 19:50  #5

Stephen Etherton Member Join Date: October 2003 Location: United States Posts: 706
LOL... The George gives, then the George takes away.  He once said the originals do not exist (which upsets the fans).  Under the desire to satisfy the fans (an pad his wallet) he finally decides to release the originals (which makes the fans happy), then it seems the only version out there is the old Laserdisk version (which upsets the fans).

Then compared to the New-Special-Edition version in the same DVD release, the old versions will not look good at all, and given a choice, most people will watch the better looking versions, and he will have his way, all the time saying he DID release the originals, giving the fans what they want.

So, he is not going to clean it up at all, make it THX certified, or anything???  Well, I am still holding out for Star Wars Holiday Special-Special Edition, although he once said it did not exist anymore... well... we'll see about that next time George needs some dough.

24th May 2006 23:53  #6

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Matt wrote: After September won't just about everything Star Trek that has been committed to film be released? The only holdout I can think of is the non-director's cut version of the first film, but overall I would say Paramount has treated Trek fans well by releasing everything in a quality manner, even if the prices of some releases are a bit high.

If you mean the actual movie and television show content then yes, they have been pretty good. Despite screwing up Star Trek VI twice, but that was at the request of Nicholas Meyer. Even the animated series is coming to DVD.

I said not entirely because it's the bonus features on everything that concerns me. They've been hardly stellar and for the most part the same old tired stories everyone knows. I want outtakes, blooper reels, audition footage, etc.. The real meat and potato's. In this regard even Lucas has been better at it.

25th May 2006 1:23  #7

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,115 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
Lucas is yet further proof of Sick Boy's unifying theory of life.

25th May 2006 14:35  #8

Matt Contributor Join Date: October 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,113
I got mine, but did you get your e-mail from Lucasfilm's PR department yet? You know, the form letter that they're sending to their fanbase? If you haven't yet here's what to expect:

*************************

I wanted you to know how much we appreciate the passion and enthusiasm you have for Star Wars, and thank you for sharing your concerns about our upcoming DVD release.

The DVDs being released in September will contain two versions of Star Wars: Episodes IV, V and VI – the Special Editions (which represent George’s vision of the movies) and the first versions, which will be included as bonus material. We hoped that releasing those “original” movies on a bonus disc would be a way to have some additional fun with the debut of the movies as individual DVDs. We certainly did not want it to become a source of concern or frustration for any of our fans.

As you may know, an enormous amount of effort was put into digitally restoring the negatives for the Special Editions. In one scene alone, nearly 1 million pieces of dirt had to be removed, and the Special Editions were created through a frame-by-frame digital restoration. The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition.

So many fans have requested the original movies, we wanted to find a way to bring them to you. But since these movies do not represent George's artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions. The 1993 Laserdisc masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD bonus material. Although these are non-anamorphic versions, they do preserve the original widescreen composition of the movies.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans – now or in the future – to restore the earlier versions.

We hope you will understand our decision and, again, want to let you know how much we appreciate your interest and enthusiasm.

Sincerely,
Lynne Hale
publicity@lucasfilm.com

*************************

25th May 2006 15:02  #9

Mal Webmaster Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,290
To me, that doesn't explain why they've not gone for anamorphic unless the discs are already made and are being duplicated.

25th May 2006 17:16  #10

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
The LaserDisc versions were not anamorphic which is why the upcoming DVD's won't be. There might be a way of squeezing the frame, in the digital domain, to get an anamorphic picture but you'd only be increasing the size of the scan lines and not improving the picture quality.

It's a pity Lucasfilm have chosen this route but I don't reckon it's going to matter in the long run. This has been an itch that has badly needed scratching for people who've wanted the original version on DVD. Once people have played them and seen them again, that itch will have gone away for the majority. These are people who probably still watch their old VHS tapes of the films and it will be yet another viewing of Star Wars to add to the list. It'll be good to have these on disc for comparison (as they always should have been) but I doubt they'll get watched much as (original or not) the quality of the prints (irrespective of the lack of anamorphic enhancement) will be seen as inferior. Un-called for changes or not, the Special Editions will be the versions that will get 'spun' the most. The changes to the Special Editions only add up to a very small percentage of the running times. It would be cutting the nose off to spite the face by putting up with the old versions just so you didn't have to watch Jabba the Hutt in Episode 4 or Jedi Rocks in Episode 6 no matter how much we hated these scenes. Although it's a shame all the original work put into the Death Star battle in 4 has been replaced, I don't think you can argue that it isn't an improvement. But for those who want to see the old work, now they can.

Don't forget, these new versions will still have around twice the resolution of the old VHS releases so they will be an improvement on what most people remember. There needs to be perspective applied to this. For years people have been watching their old, wearing out VHS's. In a few more years VHS decks will be breaking down and manufacturers will stop making them. Where will those VHS copies be then? This DVD release will see that the original trilogy will survive in peoples homes long after VHS is gone. Yes we may be losing a 100 or so lines of resolution but what does that matter in the overall scheme of things.

This release did not look like it was ever going to happen so I say it's time to enjoy this film again (for those that want to) before George Lucas changes his mind. Again.

25th May 2006 17:34  #11

Mal Webmaster Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,290
I understand about the resolution, but the other main reasons to have anamorphic is convenience and quality. If it isn't anamorphic then the viewer has to mess with the display options to switch to the correct zoom format and the picture quality then becomes dependant on how well the player's zoom feature is implemented.

That said, I'm not a Star Wars fan so doesn't affect me. Happy

25th May 2006 17:37  #12

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
Intergalactic Ponce wrote: This release did not look like it was ever going to happen so I say it's time to enjoy this film again (for those that want to) before George Lucas changes his mind. Again.

The problem, at least for me and I suspect some other people, is that I have the Definitive Edition on laser disc.  Why on earth would I pick up these dvds?  Especially when it forces you to re-buy the SEs that I also already own.

If this were anamorphic enhanced, there is no question that I would buy them.  It would offer a reason to upgrade.

25th May 2006 18:02  #13

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
Is having to press a few buttons really going to be such a pain to watch one 2 hour movie once in a blue moon? Is it really worth getting in a twist about in the overall scheme of things. The non-anamorphic DVD of The Abyss still holds up as a transfer as does Titanic. Obviously the new anamorphic Titanic was an improvement but the old one still looked really good despite its non-anamorphic (I'm so sick of typing non-anamorphic today) status. I'm certain that the problem most people will have with these new 'old' Star Wars DVD's will be dirt on the print and not the fact that they're missing a small proportion of available resolution.

I'm not a Lucas apologist on this subject but in a way I'm playing devils advocate as I haven't really seen much in the way of an alternate considered response to this debate yet. As I said, I do think it's a pity Lucasfilm are releasing these non anamorphically and I'm not suggesting that an anamorphic version wouldn't look better but unless Lucasfilm agree to farm the job out for someone to dig up and restore a quality 'show print' of some description, this is as good as we can expect from them.

Would people rather they were not being released now? Should we be happy watching our old VHS's burnt onto DVD? Fans have been happy watching around 120-150 scan lines (with the letterboxed Star Wars) for years without a peep. In fact when you think about it, fans were actively seeking out less resolution by buying the letterboxed versions. Come September, fans must surely be better off than they are right now.

25th May 2006 18:25  #14

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
The problem is that this is not 1999.  Both DVDs you talk about were made early in the lifecycle of DVDs back when a lot of DVD players didn't even support anamorphic widescreen.  This, however, is 2006 and Lucas continues to deny the existence of the original trilogy.  There are film elements out there if he would just take the time and look.  The LDs are not the best available source material.  That is just silly.

Why not just come out say we are going the lazy route to gouge fans of the original trilogy?

Or even worse, just offer a reissue of the VHS tapes and claim that is the best source material available.

It is just ridiculous that Lucas expects people to believe his BS.

25th May 2006 19:24  #15

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
I don't doubt there are prints out in the world that would be suitable for a restoration but looking for them costs money and money is something that Lucasfilm are not going to spend on this. They don't need to come out and say they're being lazy. It's obvious that they're taking the easiest and cheapest route.

Fans need to realise that Lucas doesn't think about these films the way that they do. I'm not saying he doesn't love them (they are his creations) but they are now and have been for years his means to finance other interests. Moving capture/exhibition technology forward and streamlining the production process etc. I'm sure that the goal back in 1975 was purely to make a good entertaining film but now, Lucas has other things to consider, like making the prequels. Yes he has money but he makes that money work for him. Part of that process is not wasting any by doing a pointless (in his eyes) restoration of a film he considers to be redundant. It annoys me sometimes when people paint a picture of him rolling around in money but he has a business to run and a payroll to finance. He's not Santy Claus who's only mission is to keep happy the children of the 70's (and I'm one of them).

If we know one thing about George Lucas is that, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away apart, he is always looking forward. He is an instigator for better or worse. That is what sets him apart from other film makers and as audience members we all benefit by him doing what he does in ways that we probably don't even realise and take for granted.

I say the entertainment world is better with him in it than not and that cutting the guy some slack should not be dependant on how rich he happens to be. The question isn't how many more flannel shirts he's going to buy with the money from this DVD release, it's what will he put that money into for the future.

Presumably some of it will go into a facility to properly store 35mm film stock. The fact that Lucasfilm can't lay there hands on an original neg or at least some sort of quality prints for the trilogy must be hugely embarrasing for them. It's hardly surprising though when you look back at the documentary footage of the era, the surroundings and people who were working on Star Wars back in '75-'76. Is a bunch of disgruntled hippies the best group of people to entrust your 'empire building' movie to? History, humidity and bad handling have apparently been brutal to this 30 year old film (in a way that films twice it's have managed to escape) and is why we're looking at a non-anamorphic release.

No wonder Lucas is pushing the digital revolution. Lets hope that his digital files and hard drives are safe over the next 30 years. I don't think the world wants to be reading in 2029...

'...unfortunately, due to a clerical error in 2007 when we had just finished the 3D mastering of all 6 films, an office junior accidentally deleted all files pertaining to The Phantom Menace'.

Mmm. I wonder.

25th May 2006 20:06  #16

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
One question.  How is Lucas going to explain when the original trilogy ends up on HD/Blu-ray?

The digital revolution could be a huge mistake for film.  Unless they start making remarkably better storage devices, the lifetime of some films could be very short!  Very Happy  (Seriously, I run RAID at home because I have had so many drives fail on me in a 2 year period.)

25th May 2006 21:30  #17

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
I believe Lucasfilm have one of those 3/4inch reel to reel tape jobs running 24/7 for all their really important archiving and storage run by a long hair called Dave.

25th May 2006 21:33  #18

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Quote: But since these movies do not represent George's artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions.

In other words, we're cheap b*****ds and we'd rather keep the billions you sent us, rather then spending a fraction of that to ensure our reputation of quality products is upheld and you come back to the trough.

Brilliant! - YOU IDIOTS!

25th May 2006 22:22  #19

rob murray Member Join Date: November 2004 Location: United States Posts: 477
hey wait, I'm p**sed and I didnt get a PR letter!!!! Now I'm even more p**sed!!!!


Seriously though, watch these end up being done around the time when people are moving on to HD and or Blu Ray formats

26th May 2006 10:20  #20

Jaybee79 Member Join Date: December 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 84
That's assuming HD-DVD and Blu Ray become popular enough for people to move onto Happy

26th May 2006 13:49  #21

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,115 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
I've never been 'happy' with VHS, so you can speak for yourself on that one. I already have anamorphic copies of the original trilogy on DVD. Admittedly the quality of the transfers isn't as good as it could be, but I've had them for years and I see no reason to pay for these DVDs (although I'll probably get them through the site for review purposes). However, at least the colour rendition, audio and, most importantly, the pacing of the films is intact. This is just a lazy arse release.

I'm still puzzled how anyone can call a non-anamorphic transfer 'good'. Perhaps if you're watching on a 4:3 TV screen, but on a widescreen display the amount of zooming you have to do compromises the quality. It would have been better if it had been done at the mastering stage, as I'm sure it will be when the fan community get their hands on these discs.

Oh and Matt, I had the same stock answer from Lucasfilm the other day.

26th May 2006 14:27  #22

Matt Contributor Join Date: October 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,113
Chris wrote: Oh and Matt, I had the same stock answer from Lucasfilm the other day.
Nice to know they care, isn't it?

Wink

27th May 2006 3:13  #23

Keith Member Join Date: June 2005 Location: United States Posts: 221
His fan base was built on the trilogy.  What the heck is wrong with Lucas.  His last two episodes even were bad.  I've really lost interest in his films and s.w.

27th May 2006 6:11  #24

Worst Nightmare Senior Member Join Date: July 2002 Location: Australia Posts: 6,706 Send a message via AIM to Worst Nightmare Send a message via ICQ to Worst Nightmare Send a message via MSN to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Yahoo to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Google to Worst Nightmare
Matt wrote: I got mine, but did you get your e-mail from Lucasfilm's PR department yet? You know, the form letter that they're sending to their fanbase? If you haven't yet here's what to expect:

*************************

As you may know, an enormous amount of effort was put into digitally restoring the negatives for the Special Editions. In one scene alone, nearly 1 million pieces of dirt had to be removed, and the Special Editions were created through a frame-by-frame digital restoration. The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition.
******
You would think that they would have stored them a bit better.....and how do you permanently alter an original negative of a developed film??? Soumds like tripe to me....

27th May 2006 6:36  #25

Jersey Jedi Member Join Date: August 2004 Location: United States Posts: 714
That letter they sent is a f**king JOKE! WOW.... I can't believe anyone could actually believe that something like THAT could do anything to rectify the situation. I had already planned on not buying it since it'll look like trach on my 16:9 TV, but this just makes me flat-out p**sed off about it. UNREAL...

28th May 2006 5:38  #26

David Blackwell Senior Member Join Date: February 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,621 Send a message via MSN to David Blackwell
Yes, I agree with everyone's disappointment in how Lucasfilm is doing this.  It's just plain sad.

29th May 2006 1:05  #27

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Viva Ridley Scott and his respect for his fans Very Happy

29th May 2006 4:10  #28

Matt Contributor Join Date: October 2004 Location: United States Posts: 2,113
Jonny "Me You" wrote: Viva Ridley Scott and his respect for his fans Very Happy
Yeah I thought about the recent Star Wars news when I read the Blade Runner piece in Variety a few days ago, thinking that in this regard Ridley Scott is the anti-Lucas.

29th May 2006 5:57  #29

Keith Member Join Date: June 2005 Location: United States Posts: 221
Lucas will turn to stone soon. He is becoming jaded.

29th May 2006 19:05  #30

Darren Russell Member Join Date: June 2004 Location: United States Posts: 208
well, it's more than likely that this will be all we get, so let's just take it for what it is...a kick in the face to the fans.  now all you have to do is either not buy the dvd release and/or boycott anything else he does.  we all know that won't be the case, though!  LOL
so isn't this a bit pointless?
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