Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Blu-ray Files #011

Welcome to another special edition of The Blu-ray Files where I ill be discussing the long-awaited Star Wars saga blu-ray set.  I will be doing this in two parts, discussing the prequel trilogy movies today and the original trilogy in the next segment.  These will likely be longer than the usual Blu-ray Files posts since I have more to say.

First I would like to discuss the packaging, which I both like and dislike.  Why do I dislike it?  For a simple reason; the individual movies themselves do not have their own individual cases.  This bothers me.  I don’t like when movies simply have separate sleeves for the discs.  I like what Lord of the Rings did in their big set this year where each  movie was self contained.

That pet peeve aside, I have to admit that the packaging is really good.  The slip cover case is high quality and really nifty, and the oil paintings inside and out are really well done.  If it wasn’t for that hang-up I have, I would have to give the packaging top marks.

Now on to the movies.

The Phantom Menace – This is probably the least impressive of the films as far as visual quality goes (well, and the movies in general for that matter).  Overall, the high definition looks good, but it seems to be lacking quite a lot of detail, especially on the set pieces and machines.  The colour palate however is magnificent, especially in Naboo with its lush greens and marble cities.  These rich colours really pop nicely; check out the scene where the bongo sub pops out of the water in the lake to see what I mean.

The one major change here is the choice to digitize Yoda instead of leaving him as that awfully constructed puppet (I’m talking about the Episode 1 puppet, not the excellent puppetry of Empire and Jedi).  Now, I’m against making changes to the movie in general, something I’ll be talking about in the next post in more detail, but I have to admit that the digital Yoda is a vast improvement and blends in really well.

Attack of the Clones – Attack of the Clones is a vast improvement in video quality over Phantom Menace.  yet to be honest, there’s not much to say about it.  Its pretty great, but nothing exceptional as far as blu-ray enhancement goes.  Maybe because this movie was one of the first made with digital film, so the tech simply wasn’t there to make this transfer outstanding.  However, on the audio front, the loss-less audio in  asteroid chase scene is phenomenal.  There’s also a neat deleted scene which talks a little more about the history of Count Dooku.

Revenge of the Sith -Now we’re talking.  Episode 3 is by far the best of the prequel trilogy, and the same goes for the blu-ray presentations of the films.  Revenge of the Sith is simply stunning on blu-ray.  You can tell that from the opening moments of the Coruscant space battle all the say to that pristine, shiny image of Darth Vader’s first breath.  It all looks amazing.  The colours are great too: bright when they should be bright and dark when they should be dark.  One of the best films I’ve seen on the blu-ray format thus far.  Most of the deleted scenes are rather disappointing, mostly animatics of the big action sequences, and I wished that they also gave us the great deleted scenes included on the DVD, like Yoda landing in Dagobah.  Oh well.

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned for the next post in which I will be discussing the original three films, which of course are the real reason to buy this set.

5 Responses to “The Blu-ray Files #011”

  1. I’ve been waiting for this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the original trilogy. Surprised to hear the CGI Yoda looks good, because it looked awkward in the clip I saw.

    And yeah, the puppet from Phantom was horrible.

  2. I still found the CGI in Ep1 to be too distracting. with JarJar and several other scenes, I found it to be rather annoying. It gets cleaned up by the time you reach Ep3…and, you’re right, it’s the best of the 3.

    and don’t worry, I’m in line with you when it comes to your pet peeve of the movie sleeves!

    • Well at least I’m not alone with the sleeves!
      I didn’t really find the CGI distracting to be honest, but I think there was a little too much DNR (digital noise reduction) applied and so it lost some detail in the images.

  3. Hi there, i just wanted to drop you a line to say that i thoroughly enjoyed this particular post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the admiration Take care and keep blogging.

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