A Review of the UK Release of
The first hint... of the dvd release was provided by the DVD review magazines lavishly praising the quality and content of the disk. Good covers enticed the purchaser to buy and read. Of them all, DVD Review issue 30 was the best. It had a superb portrait on the front, and in best Lucas tradition, there were two covers, one of Maul, one of Obi Wan. We bought the Maul cover!
The DVD itself was the very reasonable price (for the UK for a brand new release) of £18-99 in the high street. We bought at MVC in Leeds.
Inside the magazine - an excellent promotional picture, supplemented by large posters inside the store. (Are they giving them away when interest wanes...)
For a Lucas release though, rather low key, as advertising only started two or three days before the release date. (Not often we in Britain are head of the queue in the release date stakes!)
The review itself was four pages, supplemented by a sixteen page special about Lucas, Skywalker, and Star Wars.
Having watched the film several times (weekly at the local movie theatre for six months, the video whenever possible since!) we ploughed straight into looking for the Easter Eggs as suggested by TFN. DVD Angle has some hints as well. After ten minutes we gave up, either the player (a Pioneer 717) would not take it, or the disk, being Region 2, does not have the capability. We shall find out when the Region 1 disk arrives...
Deleted scenes - were interesting, but Lucas was right to delete many of them. They generally have a humerous slant that does not fit the mood of the film. Also, in the Waterfall Scene, the Gungan transport, the bongo, defies the laws of physics as it teeters over the edge, restrained only by a cable from Qui Gon's ascension gun. There was also a little moralising about fighting with Greedo which seemed a little over the top, even though it was the sort of thing you would say to an eight year old boy destined to be a Jedi, but neither Anakin nor Qui Gon suspected the seriousness of the situation at that point.
There is an audio commentary which can be played with the film. This is excellent, a fascinating insight into film making. The feature entitled, 'The Beginning, Making Episode 1', also falls into the 'Excellent' category.
And look at the Featurettes. Out of the selection of five on costume, fights, and so on, select 'Fights'. This offers some interesting footage with Ray Park, Ewan MacGregor, and Liam Neeson rehearsing the final duel. Ray also tells the audience why he does martial arts.
The quality of sound and vision is one of the best I have seen on DVD, and I am an avid fan of the medium. And while Lucas is adept at presenting the same material in many different formats and combinations, as he does here, the quality is superb. Use the print key to create a frame print on your disk drive, and many of your pictures will be pin sharp, all the better to grace your desktop or, heaven forbid, your web-site. So much better quality than the video.
Having tried it on the conventional DVD player, we tried it on the PC using Cyberlink Power DVD version 3 with the player configured to saving prints sequentially to the hard disk. On loading, the disk presented me with the option to install the player software, InterActual Player v 2. The software defaulted to my allowing the InterActual website to examine my disk drive for information whenever I accessed the site. I am not so sure about this! However, having installed it, the mouse would not co-operate. I will tackle this problem tomorrow!
However, you can access Coruscant, Tattoine, and Naboo by using the disk as a conventional CD with Explorer. Look in the folder settop and win, under common.
There is plenty on this DVD to satisfy everyone. There are new photos, a collection of posters, pictures of Ray Park and Maul that we have not seen before. not many, but there some nonetheless. Darth Screen Capture will have a field day, while us lesser mortals with lesser talents can hit that print button to our hearts content.
This review on The Force Net pretty well sums it up. If you haven't got a DVD player and you like Star Wars - get the DVD player, get the disk, and enjoy. The quality is superb! You can also use the DVD player for other stuff.
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