Look, it's like this: I didn't even really want a DVD player.
But my sister had wanted one, and Mom was getting her a player for Christmas. Mom asked if I would like one too, 'cuz there wasn't too much I had mentioned as wanting anyway. Shoot, a couple of movies in VHS would have made me happy as a clam.
"Ummmm... sure, fine, yeah, whatever." I told her. But I told her I had some problems with DVD. For one thing, you can't record on the bloomin' things. I like to record stuff, for later viewing if I can't watch it then, or posterity, or whatever. Ladies (and some guys) can watch their soap operas later in the evening after returning from work. You can't record the NCAA basketball championship on DVD. Did you know that when "The Dukes Of Hazzard" first ran, thousands of high school football games were imperiled because the fans kept going home on Friday nights to watch Bo and Luke outwit Boss Hogg? It was only when VCRs came out that people could watch their football and Dukes. VCRs saved high school football in America. Be thankful.
And another thing: many people have already invested in movies on VHS. My collection isn't the most impressive, but I love it all the same. Did I really want to chuck them out in favor of the same titles on DVD?
I wasn't the biggest fan of DVD. Had never even used one before.
Christmas Eve night, I got a DVD player, and just out of curiosity hooked it up to my parents' tv. So am I a big fan of DVD now?
No. I am a huge fan!!
The first movie in the player was "The Matrix". I'd brought my widescreen VHS copy to watch while at home, so I got to compare the same picture on VHS versus on DVD. You know that menu screen on the DVD version? Mom had to pick my jaw off the floor, just the menu caused it to drop. The "extras", like the documentaries, the "White Rabbit" feature, at least two running commentaries... it was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
And scene for scene versus traditional VHS, it just looked better, and it's going to be awful hard to go back to VHS unless I absolutely have to. A few days later I popped in "Return Of The Jedi" and my DVD-adjusted eyes cringed at the image. It was like watching Luke and Vader slash it out through a wrought-iron metal grating, one that you didn't know was there before.
This is a real shame, that we can't enjoy the Star Wars movies at home with the perfect picture clarity (that will never degrade) of DVD. The Star Wars movies, of all things, weren't on DVD from the getgo. Why? That's been the theme of many e-mails and comments that we've received over the past year or so.
Count my vote for Star Wars on DVD. But not just yet.
Really. Yes, I want the Star Wars saga on DVD as much as anyone, but I want to see the story done right, and treated with the utmost respect, and making the full use of DVD's capabilities. And right now George Lucas and the Lucasfilm team haven't had the full measure of time to do that. They are working on it, but they're also occupied with Episode 2 production. If Lucas and his people are anything, it's that they are perfectionists: they don't compete with other companies, they compete with themselves to see that the best product they can make reaches the market. So it is with the DVDs. They could just release the movies now, with chapter selects and perhaps an interview or so, but would that be sufficient for Star Wars?
I don't think so. Instead, I like to believe that Mr. Lucas and company have a DVD in mind that will blow our socks off. Imagine inserting "A New Hope" and choosing the original theatrical release, the Special Edition, a long-rumored "master edition" with even more added effects and scenes (perhaps the initial scene with Luke and Biggs), and who knows what else? But that would just be the standard movie: imagine a DVD that's also an encyclopedia of EVERYTHING that appears in that movie. Don't know what species Greedo is? Go to the main menu and search him out. Or when Episode I appears on DVD, you can look up "Sith". Heh-heh-heh... with Lucas's definition of the Sith instead of someone else's, such a feature would finally establish a real canon for the story.
And there's more that could happen with a Star Wars DVD. How many movies really utilize the alternate camera angles? For a DVD edition, Lucas could choose to do just that. He's already demonstrated what's possible with digital media, and now's a chance to push the envelope further. What if you could watch the Battle of Yavin as originally produced, then watch it again from different positions, or even one position? Or watch the Battle of Hoth with an on-screen tactical map, showing the AT-ATs positions as they close in on Echo Base? The possibilities, dear fans, are virtually limitless!
So yeah, I do want the Star Wars DVDs. But I also want the fullest experience of Star Wars that Mr. Lucas can create. We've only delved a little bit into this incredible world he's created, and now he's got the tools to plunge us headlong. To Mr. Lucas: chalk this up as someone asking you to take your time in this. And to the fans: be patient, the DVDs are coming.
In the meantime, why not put "The Empire Strikes Back" (perfect for those cold winter days) in the VCR? And be thankful for that little machine. Remember: more than anything else, it helped keep Star Wars alive and well during the dark times. If it weren't for VCRs, would we have really been as stoked for the prequels as we are now? So pop in "Empire", get a good drink, curl up with your loved one, and smile at that faithful 20-year old gadget :-)
January 4th, 2001
04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions
12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"
12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - TheForce.net Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace
12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1
11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference
12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars