Writer Joal Ryan has a story [no longer available] about the upcoming September 12 release on DVD of the orignal STAR WARS trilogy – in their original theatrical cuts. Of course, STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI have been released on home video many, many times, but thus far only the Specail Edition versions (released in 1997) have been available on DVD. If you feel you reall must own the previous versions (before the digital upgrades and re-editing) on DVD, this is your chance, at long last.
The article goes on to quote a couple of loyal Lucasoids, who talk about how many different times they have purchased the same titles, which have been issues on VHS, Beta, and laserdisc, over and over again.
Software-internet developer Tony Gentile rightly wondres: “When are people going to wake up to the fact that they’ve got six copies of the same thing lying around?” According to the article, Gentile has proposed that viewers should be able to obtain a perpetual license to view a film “in any existing of future format with just one purchase.”
For myself, I couldn’t stand the 1997 re-do of STAR WARS, so the availability of the original 1977 version on DVD would be a boon for me – except that I already own a fine laserdisc copy of the film, in widescreen and stereo. Unless laser rot sets in, I’ll stick with that one for now.
And as Ryan’s article points out, in all liklihood there will be future re-releases of the title on video, most likely with additional bonus features, in order to get the fans to purchase the title yet again. Maybe such a deluxe ultimate collectors addition, loaded with extra goodies, might be enough to goad me into buying the film yet again, but I’ll have to wait and see…
By the way, in the interest of full disclosure (for whatever it’s worth in this case), I know Joal Ryan and her husband Steve Ryfle, who wrote the wonderful book Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. In fact, Ryan interviewed me for “What a Disaster: Genre Revival Bombs,” an article she wrote back in 1997 about the then-current disaster movie revival that was in the process of ending almost as soon as it began. My basic take on the phenomonon was that INDEPENDENCE DAY had used a disaster movie formula (i.e., multi-character viewpoint of a big event, with soap opera style melodrama in abundance), and Hollywood learned the wrong lesson, opting to make a ton of other disaster films, instead of realizing that it was the alien-invasion element that sold ID4 to audiences.