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May 31, 2005 - Image 39

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-31

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s The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2005 - 27

M "Hayden Christensen to play me!? What's the matter with you people?"
'Wars' trilogy finally
arrives on DVD set

UM students:

By Adam Rottenberg
October 1, 2004
After years of eager anticipa-
tion, the "Star Wars Trilogy" has
finally arrived on DVD. While the
devout "Star
Wars" purists
will surely Star Wars
deride George Trilogy
Lucas for his 20th Century Fox
further tin-
kering of the
films, at leastthese landmark films
are finally on the market - and
that's all that really matters.
The trilogy began quite auspi-
ciously in 1977's "Episode IV: A
New Hope." The film is the saga
of Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamill)
and follows his quest to become a
Jedi knight, lead the rebel alliance
and save the galaxy from the hands
of the evil Empire. For newcom-
ers, the special effects will seem
ramped up beyond what was pos-
sible in '77, which is because they
were - twice, in fact. "Episode
IV" features few major alterations
from the 1997 re-release, though
the loathed scene featuring Han
Solo (Harrison Ford) getting shot
at first by Greedo still remains.
"The Empire Strikes Back"
is the pinnacle of Lucas's cin-
ematic efforts, bringing a darker
edge to the series. The largest
change between the new edition of
"Empire" and its previous releas-
es is a reworking of the scene in
which Vader communicates with
the Emperor. Instead of having an
awkward-looking hologram and
filler dialogue, Vader speaks with
an improved visage of Emperor
Palpatine and discovers his link
with Luke prematurely. While this
change eliminates most of the ten-
sion from one of the most fervently

revered moments in film history,
it makes sense with Lucas's new
vision. He desires to weave the
original trilogy with episodes I
through III, making the big rev-
elation in "Empire" obsolete and
well-documented to the viewer.
Whereas "Episodes IV and "V"
were virtually flawless, "Return
of the Jedi" proved to be a satisfy-
ing, if underwhelming conclusion.
The first act, as Luke and friends
lead an assault on Jabba the Hutt's

offer anecdotes about filmmaking
and insights into Lucas's tweaks.
The real gem among the
extras is the two-and-a-half-hour
documentary entitled "Empire of
Dreams." The piece reunites all
the principals fromthe films, who
reflect on not only the actual pro-
duction but also Lucas's career
leading up to his creation of the
"Star Wars" universe. "Dreams"
enables viewers to see pre-pro-
duction sketches, screen tests for
actors and some deleted footage.
Lucas explains his visions for
what "Star Wars" should be and
continues to justify the modifica-
tions to the trilogy - which he
says are the final cuts.
Theadditionalfeaturettesfocus
on lightsabers, Lucas's influence
on major directors and a sneak
peak at Darth Vader's return in
the upcoming "Revenge of the
Sith" prequel. While interesting,
these featurettes don't offer much
to anyone but the most ardent of
fans. All of the original and re-
release trailers are also present
on the bonus disc.
As expected, the set's picture
quality is stunning. Lucas's touch-
ups enhance the already beautiful
films. The sound nearly captures
the theatrical experience, comple-
mented by John Williams's score.
That "Star Wars" is finally
on DVD is enough to warrant
a purchase alone, but the set
adequately supplements the
landmark series. Purists may
still be screaming for George
Lucas's head and a copy of
the original cuts of the films,
but everyone else will be more
than satisfied.
Films: *****
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ****

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palace in an attempt to free Han
Solo, propels audiences back
into the world of "Star Wars." It
is the middle part of the film that
exposes the greatest weakness of
its creator - George Lucas's love
of obnoxious puppets. The Ewoks
single-handedly dash the film's
hopes for greatness. The added
celebration scenes in the finale
and Hayden Christensen playing
Anakin Skywalker add cohe-
sion with the prequels and don't
detract from the original inten-
tions of the film.
The set's features give fans a
glimpse into why these changes
were made. All three movies have
feature-length commentaries with
Lucas and the effects artists, and
though they often veer too much
into the technical jargon, they also

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