As September 16, 2011 approaches I am still undecided on whether or not I will be purchasing the Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray. This isn't going to be another rant on George Lucas changing the movies, but rather a different view of the release of the saga on Blu-ray.
I just finished listening to the JoBlo Podcast, and I really enjoyed the interview with the director of The People vs. George Lucas, Alexandre Philippe. During the interview he makes a great point about the release of the movies to Blu-ray and its a point that I've constantly made every time Lucas decides to "improve" the Star Wars movies. Philippe stated that Blade Runner has five versions of the movie and they are all conveniently available for fans on Blu-ray. Hell, they're even available in one set (and its one of my favorite Blu-ray sets). Just the other day I was talking to my cousin and I made mention that on the T2 Skynet Edition Blu-ray there are three versions of Terminator 2 on one Blu-ray disc. And all three versions have great video and sound transfers. Terminator 2 was the first DVD I bought with my first DVD player back in 2000. Even at that time, it still came with three versions of the movie. The technology is there to give people multiple versions of a film. I'm not simply talking about the dime a dozen "Unrated" comedies that are released every week. I'm talking about directors that give the audience a choice to see a slightly different version of their films. One that has scenes that were cut due to run-time constraints, alternate takes, etc. Alien and Aliens (Ridley Scott and James Cameron again... seeing a trend here???) are two other great films that have alternate versions available.
Going back to T2 (my favorite movie of all time), I remember there was a point in time when I really preferred the Special Edition of the film. But as time has passed, I have gone back and stated that the theatrical version is my preferred take on the film. But the point is that I have a choice in which one I want to watch. Some directors recognize that the audience originally fell in love with the original movies but they also want to give you a chance to see something different about it too. Blu-ray gives you the opportunity to do this... hell, DVD had the technology as well.
I don't prefer the continuing tinkering that Lucas does with the Star Wars movies. Sometimes I even think it can be ok whether its erasing the puppeteer's arm sticking out of a Wampa's ass, or adding a few extra Tie Fighters to a space battle. But if he insists on doing them I just wish he gave us a choice as to which version we wish to see. I guess some filmmakers listen and others don't.
I loved DVD and I love Blu-ray, and I really like it when the format is used to its potential. Alien Anthology (even with 2 lackluster sequels) is the textbook of how a saga should be released on Blu-ray. Just wanted to throw a different take on the Blu-ray release. Still don't know if I'm going to pick this up on Friday. Thanks for reading!
Side note: I was a senior in high school in 1999 when Episode I came out, and now that Lucas is already altering that film makes me feel really fucking old.