A Peek at Star Wars Episode III—20th Century Fox
Lucasfilm and Fox Home Entertainment used the Force of star power to unveil the DVD of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to the media in October. Amid the rolling hills and grape fields of George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch—"the cradle of all things Star Wars," according to a PR pitch—producer Rick McCallum, Yoda-incarnate Frank Oz, as well as the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) and Lord Vader (Hayden Christensen) himself discussed the films, future Lucasfilm plans (can you say Star Wars 3-D?), and, of course, the particulars of the DVD.
Christensen said the feeling he experienced near the end of the film's shooting by finally taking Anakin to the dark side was "orgasmic. It was the end of a five-year journey." It was a privilege he had to lobby hard for, as conventional wisdom called for a larger, more athletic actor to wear the cape and helmet. He ultimately got his wish-with the help of some platform boots.
McCallum, meanwhile, owned up to plans in the works to digitize Yoda's appearances in Episode I, bringing the green guy's appearance into line with the last two movies. Fortunately, he added under intense questioning, Yoda will forever remain a puppet in the original trilogy. And that ultimate Star Wars DVD box? "What ultimate box?" came the flip response from Lucasfilm senior vice president Jim Ward.
As for Episode III, Ward gave a THX demo of the DVD, along with a look at the supplements. After playing around with an advance copy, I'll simply warn you: Get set for a great DVD experience, my young Padawan. The film presentation itself, created directly from the original digital source material, is stunning in its richness of colors and amazing details. Everything you saw theatrically, from helmet glare to the subtle reflection of animated characters, is present and visible on the home screen. There is simply no flaw in the 2.35:1 anamorphic picture, ranking this as one of the best DVD presentations you'll see. Predictably, the Dolby Digital EX soundtrack is also superb, highlighted by frequent hard-hitting bass punches. A commentary track cobbling together Lucas, McCallum, animation director Rob Coleman, and the visual-effects team rounds out disc one.
Disc two serves up an impressive array of extras. The centerpiece is "Within a Minute," which examines every department and function needed to create a 49-second sequence from the climactic lava-planet duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Nothing is left out, from previsualization, to costumes, to catering. It's an eye-opening program, and you'll come away with a greater appreciation for the art of modern-day filmmaking. From there, you'll find two shorter featurettes, a 15-part documentary created for www.starwars.com, poster art, a Star Wars: Battlefront 2 game demo (for Xbox), and six deleted scenes, including Yoda's touching arrival on Dagobah. The diminutive Jedi master also stars in a hilarious Easter egg, which shouldn't be hard to unearth for longtime treasure hunters.
This one to your collection add, you must.