The Home Theater Forum website has posted a lengthy report from a recent Blu-ray sneak peek event at Lucasfilm. Here are a few snippets from their story. Click through to read their full take on what they saw.
Special Features The special features on discs seven and eight were organized first by film and then location. [...] For example on disc eight, once you selected Episode V (Empire Strikes Back) the extras were organized by Hoth, Dagobah, etc. Once you picked a location you could navigate between the different types of features for that location. [...] Here also, the menus were great looking, easy to navigate and responsive.
Packaging [...] The nine disc complete saga comes in book form. Each thick cardboard page has art on it and a sleeve for a disc—essentially identical to the recent Alien Anthology release.
There was also a presentation from Kayleen Walters, Senior Director of Marketing at Lucasfilm, whose team worked on bringing Star Wars to Blu-ray. Below are a few quotes from her, but again, you'll want to hear more of what she had to say straight from the source.
"We also tried to address some of those nit-picky errors, like in Empire Strikes Back when Luke is attached by the Wampa, and you can see the edge of the frame and you can see that the Wampa arm is attached to a puppeteer’s pole. Well, we fixed that, so now it just looks like a Wampa arm altogether with no puppeteer pole."
"On the special features, we spent 3 years sifting and digging through 30 years of material that is in the vaults at the Ranch, it’s been quite an undertaking. We uncovered boxes that hadn’t been opened in over 20 years, it was a very dirty experience! We looked through work prints, we found dailies, we went through behind-the scenes videos, we really uncovered a slew of new gems that we’re really excited to share with the fans."
"We’ve also gone into the physical Lucasfilms archives that house all of our props and costumes. [...] We’ve got props there from the original movies [...] and we’ve gone in and preserved them by filming them in high-definition with really detailed 360 turnarounds of the props, the costumes and the vehicles. We’ve captured the matte paintings that were on the original shower doors so you really get a feel for what it’s like to go into the Lucasfilm archives."
UPDATE:TheDigitalBits.com was also on hand at Friday's press event and provides their own detailed write-up. Below is an excerpt displaying TGB editor Bill Hunt's overall closing thoughts but make sure to click here for the full report.
"I have to say, I'm very encouraged by what I've seen so far with regard to these Blu-rays, and by the answers I've gotten to the questions I've asked about them. Like many of you, the last few DVD releases of these films have always left me... wanting. It just always felt like they were rushed somehow, and that all too many little important quality details just were overlooked. But this Blu-ray set feels very different. Finally, it appears that these films may have gotten the attention they deserve on home video at long last - especially the Original Trilogy. In fact, I think this may be the first time since that 1994 Definitive Edition laserdisc box set that the films have been so carefully handled, and that so many of the fan irritant A/V problems have been properly addressed. So can I say that this Blu-ray box set represents the "ultimate" release of the films on disc, or that these films will look absolutely perfect? No. But I think it's now possible for me to believe that Lucasfilm may - just may - have finally done these films fairly proud on disc. We'll see."
Thanks to Kenny for the link!
UPDATE #2:HomeTheaterForum.com has posted part two of their Blu-ray preview event coverage post which includes clarifications from part 1 (yes, Yoda will be CGI in TPM), a nice sound design Q&A with Matthew Wood, and some closing thoughts. For a taste of what you can expect from part 2, here is a short excerpt from the Matthew Wood Q&A...
"Q: Was there anything else that you had to make up or add in? A: Occasionally in New Hope, there were things that could not be completely found, a few very subtle things like a footstep here and there or some background noise that we would just re-perform or get an approximate sound. And of course, every time we watched the movies, George would find something that he wanted to change, so there were changes to the films visually as well as audio-wise, so there are some changes in the Blu-ray version that you guys will find! It was funny, because we’d meticulously put it all together, “here’s what it was!” and then he’ll update it."
And how about those closing thoughts...
"Prior to seeing the discs and hearing more about the release last week, I was trepidatious about the final product and had the same concerns as many of you: Where they just recycling what we saw on the DVDs, what was the audio going to be like, was this a rush job without a lot put into it, were the deleted scenes just going to be a long montage clip like we saw at Comic-Con, who cares about prop 360 turnarounds, etc. But now it’s evident to me that a lot of time, effort, money and care went into this release. Is it a definitive release? Absolutely not, but I don’t think there ever really can be for a set of six films of this complexity that have spawned multiple spin-offs. I also honestly don’t think there will ever be a release that will please everyone. There are some people who will refuse to purchase it since the original theatrical cuts of the trilogy aren’t part of the set, or due to other changes. If that is you, feel free to vote with your wallet. Personally, I would have loved for them to have been included as well, but they weren’t. Here at HTF the bottom line of just about every review is this: At the end of the day, is it worth your hard-earned money? To answer that question I need to judge this release on what it is, not for what it isn’t. I was fortunate enough to see some of the final product, look at the special features and hear from the people who have spent the last three to four years making it what it is: A very solid release. Thanks for letting me share the experience with you --- based on what I have seen so far, I recommended adding it to your collection."
Keep an eye out for the third and final coverage post from HomeTheaterForum.com in the next week or so. We'll be sure to update when it goes online.