Star Wars: The Complete Saga

George Lucas had a dream of becoming a professional race car driver, but thankfully for the millions of Star Wars fans, he didn't perish in a horrific car accident after his high school graduation. Looking for a new passion, Lucas attended the film school at USC, won a scholarship to observe the making Francis Ford Coppola's Finian's Rainbow, and the pair eventually formed their own studio, American Zoetrope. Their first film was a feature-length version of Lucas's student film THX 1138, but Lucas eventually formed his own studio, Lucasfilm Ltd., and made American Graffiti, which went on to win one Golden Globe and garner five Oscar nominations.

Shortly thereafter, he began working on his next project that turned the small independent filmmaker from Northern California into a Hollywood legend. By luck (or fate) Lucas traded his guaranteed director's salary for a 40% share of the box office and all the merchandising rights (t-shirts, toys, etc.) in order to get Star Wars produced. The rest, as they say, is history.

Star Wars redefined the term "blockbuster" and spawned five sequels, holiday specials, a hit TV show on Cartoon Network, and hundreds of books, and it made Lucas a billionaire. The original films were considered the Holy Grail of DVD releases earlier this century, and when it was announced that all six films would be coming to Blu-ray, home theater enthusiasts were chomping at the bit to get them in their hands. Sure, these aren't the same films we saw in the theater since Lucas has continually tinkered with them over the years, but I don't particularly care. Star Wars was my favorite film as a kid, and my fondness hasn't waned as an adult like so many other films I enjoyed when I was younger.

All six of the films are loaded with demo-worthy scenes, and I've picked out my favorite from each film. In some cases it was a difficult choice, and I'd love to have feedback on your favorite scenes too, so don't be shy and let me know your thoughts.

Star Wars Episode I—The Phantom Menace

Podrace

  • Chapter 20, 0:58:30 through Chapter 22, 1:09:30
  • Dynamics, frequency response, surround envelopment, imaging
  • Eleven minutes of pure audio bliss. Lucas extended this scene since its theatrical run and created one of the best demo sequences in the history of home video. Each podracer has its own distinct sonic characteristic and you can feel each of them roar to life and race through the room.

Star Wars Episode II—Attack of the Clones

Yoda versus Dooku

  • Chapter 46, 2:07:40
  • Dynamics, imaging, surround envelopment
  • I had the hardest time picking out my favorite demo scene from this movie, but I settled on this one for one reason—we finally get to see why Yoda is the Jedi Master. As he walks into the cave, listen to the echo of his walking stick and his labored breathing bouncing off the walls. Once Dooku and our little green friend get their force pleasantries out of the way, it's time for the lightsabers to start flying!

Star Wars Episode III—Revenge of the Sith

Battle over Coruscant

  • Chapter 3, 0:01:58
  • Detail, frequency response, dynamics, surround envelopment, imaging
  • As the camera pans down to Coruscant, our two Jedi heroes fly into the fray. Relish the detail in all of the ships as the pair weaves their way through the massive capital ships and into the battle. When they finally engage the enemy, strap yourself in and enjoy the reference-quality audio and video.

Star Wars Episode IV—A New Hope

Imperial pursuit

  • Chapter 3, 0:01:56
  • Detail, surround envelopment
  • This may be the greatest opening shot in movie history that made millions of kids fall in love with Star Wars. As the camera pans down to Tatooine, Princess Leia's ship tries to outrun the Imperial Star Destroyer. Check out the vivid detail in the big ship and notice how the soundfield descends from above as it flies over the camera.

Star Wars Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back

Battle in the snow

  • Chapter 14, 0:26:01
  • Frequency response, dynamic range, imaging
  • I'll never forget the wow factor the first time I saw an Imperial walker (At-At). As the monstrosities approach the hidden rebel base, feel the impact of every step and listen to the roar of the snow speeders as they race to confront the threat.

Star Wars Episode VI—Return of the Jedi

Death Star destroyed

  • Chapter 47, 02:01:58
  • Frequency response, surround envelopment
  • As Wedge and Lando speped into the core of the Death Star, you can hear the ships fly from speaker to speaker. When they finally reach their target, be prepared for the massive explosion that delivers the finishing blow to the Empire.

Release Date: September 16, 2011
Studio: Lucasfilm/Fox

Star Wars Episode I—The Phantom Menace
Movie: 6/10
Picture: 7/10
Sound: 10/10

Star Wars Episode II—Attack of the Clones
Movie: 7/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 10/10

Star Wars Episode III—Revenge of the Sith
Movie: 8/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 10/10

Star Wars Episode IV—A New Hope
Movie: 10/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Star Wars Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back
Movie: 10/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Star Wars Episode VI—Return of the Jedi
Movie: 8/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

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COMMENTS
aleksandr's picture

ok review ... Good demo picks ....

Scott Wilkinson's picture
The original title of this post was obviously a typo, which has now been corrected.
David Vaughn's picture
Sorry for the typo in the original review. I was rushing to post this today and was running out the door to go to my son's baseball game.
curtiswhite's picture

sorry to be off topic ..After reading reviews. From other sites. And looking at the scores on here. I am surprised that the picture quality exp on the prequels are not reference materiel. So could these movies look any better ? Or is this it as far is pq for now.
I have the original trilogy on laser disc " definitive collection " And then the dvd release for the prequels. So the next version i really want to be the definitive version.

David Vaughn's picture
The video transfers used for this release are older 2K masters from about 7 or 8 years ago and technology has made a vast leap forward since then. What I would love to see Lucas do is strike new 4K masters for Episodes I, IV, V, and VI, since they were all shot on 35mm film in order to improve them even more. Sadly, Episodes II and III were shot on 2K cameras and they'll never look much better than they do right now. Episode I is by far the worst of all of them and has never looked very good (even in the theater), in my opinion. All of the other transfers are acceptable given the conditions and the original trilogy has never looked or sounded better.
Jarod's picture

It had to be hard picking these demo scenes amongst all the epicness. So many to choose from! Great job! Your right about Episode 4's opening shot being one of the greatest ever. It gives me chills everytime and brings me back to being a kid. A good scene in Episode 2 is toward the beginning when Obi-Wan is hanging from the fleeing craft of Sam Wessel the changeling. The buildings have incredible depth and detail along with the many crafts flying around. Great scene. Anyways I have always thought that Episode 1 looked soft at times and grainy but on Bluray it really sharpened up to my eyes. I feel it looks much better. The podracer scene looks incredible on my Pioneer Kuro plasma and as you said also sounds incredible on my 5.1 surround. I bought the entire Saga on BD and all in all I am very impressed and thrilled with the pic quality and sound! Thanks again Mr. Lucas.

abentrod's picture

While new 4k masters of Episode 4-6 would be nice they carry a great deal of expense to do. Those films as they are "now" with the new dissolves,wipes and digital compositing plus new visual effects where all done at 2K for the 1997 special edition and would all have to be redone from scratch. In 1997 Fox paid the bill for the work, doubtful anyone would pay to do it all over. so 4-6 look as good as possible using the older 2K masters. Episode 1 has been filtered using digital noise reduction to give it a digital look similar to episode 2 and 3
losing much of the fine detail of the original film. Nothing in modern cinema can match the opening battle in episode 4 I watched it on a 84" screen and 6.1 surround and I was 17 all over again! I hope next year the Opening scene in Raiders of The Lost Ark will surpass this experience.

joes theater's picture

you gotta be kidding !
lucas has made enough money off this franchise to afford 4k remasters of the series many times over.
the picture quality of this box is all over the place with only episode 3 being of true reference quality.

Bulldogge's picture

It really can't be understanted how bad Episode 1 really is. The image in this movie is just plain horrible. After purchasing the set and sitting down to begin watching in order, I was not happy with what I was seeing. That said the disappointment ends there, by the time you get to Episode 3 they got their game back in top order and throw some great visuals at you. You would not expect much from Epi 4-6, well you would be wrong. I was really amazed to see what they were able to get out of those three movies visually. Considering the era they were filmed.

curtiswhite's picture

I just can help to think that in a year these films will be released another time in new 4k scans etc etc. I'm sure they look better then the laser disc release though .

mike1's picture

i been waiting for this happen.i love the first 3 of films of star wars.i can not wait get my hands on the first 3 films.

Kenny Kraly Jr.'s picture

Great review David on the star wars saga blu-rays. I love the star wars saga on blu-ray I like the whole box set picture , sound , extras , deleted scenes , everything. I just like it that we have all 6 films on a format that we can all enjoy.

David Vaughn's picture
Kenny, I agree 100%! I've been looking forward to this set for quite a long time. Next month we get "Jurassic Park," and next year we should have the "Indiana Jones" trilogy (the 4th film is already on Blu-ray).
Kenny Kraly Jr.'s picture

Agreed David , This year we get Jurassic Park , Star Wars : The Clone Wars Season 3 on blu-ray and next year we should have fingers crossed The 1st 3 Indiana Jones films , Titanic , and E.T. on blu-ray.

notabadname's picture

I bet they get reworked again for the 3D treatment that Lucas said will happen. If you want to do an IMAX 3D option, I would think you want them remastered at 4K. They will def get a 3D box set on blu-ray. It may be another 5 years, but it will happen after the theatrical release. Lucas never misses a chance to milk this franchise. (a franchise I have always loved, for the record)

Ralph C. Potts's picture

Nice job old buddy. Obviously we are in agreement.. :-)

Kris Deering's picture
I don't understand the comment about the films not benefitting from a 4K or higher remaster. There are plenty of films that have received 4K remasters that didn't need to have their effects re-rendered. For Episodes IV-VI they would simply scan whatever print they were working from. The only way they wouldn't benefit from a new scan would be if they were working directly from digital files (which may be the case with Episodes II and III, but even that isn't for certain). Sure some of the special effects wouldn't hold up as well with a new scan compared to how the film footage would, but how many older films with effects do? Special effects will rarely age nicely, you're always going to be limited by the capabilities of the time and your budget.
geoperkins's picture

The labeling on the boxed set indicates 6.1 channel DTS HD Master Audio. Can anyone verify that in fact this is the (number of channels) sound format? Thank you.

David Vaughn's picture
The labeling is correct: 6.1 DTS-HD MA.
thx2468's picture

Like the DVD Dolby Digital EX version but even better! I can hear the 6th channel on my 6.1 set up

mike1's picture

i have my first 3 on order and i can not wait get them soon.when i first seen all 3 i became a big fan of star wars right away,i buy them on vhs,dvd and now on blu ray.this is wonderful.

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