For people of a certain age (and their children and their grandchildren) the original Star Wars trilogy is sacred. The constant "enhancement" that George Lucas has inflicted on them has been torturous, and the prequels did nothing other than destroy the integrity of a beloved movie franchise.
This is well travelled territory.
Star Wars fans have been begging for a bluray release of the original versions of episodes 4,5 and 6 for decades, only to hear that they don't exist anymore, or that it would be too costly to restore them. Sometimes, though, it takes a fan to give the people what they want. A person that goes by the name of Harmy has mounted a massive project of restoring A New Hope to its original glorious form, and all the reviews of it have been ecstatic.
What's the big deal? Here's a breakdown of what you get with the "Despecialized Edition", courtesy of originaltrilogy.com:
This is a reconstruction of the 1977 theatrical version of STAR WARS. The original shots were painstakingly restored using various sources (listed below) and the film received an extensive shot by shot colour correction based on a fade free 1977 I.B. Technicolor Print.
Version v2.5 offers few more little tweaks to the picture and contains an unprecedented number of audio options, including lossless DTS-HD tracks for the original mixes, an isolated score, four different commentary tracks and dubbing tracks in ten different languages and dialects.
1) STAR WARS Episode IV A New Hope Official Blu-Ray 2011 (Preliminary colour correction by You_Too)
2) STAR WARS 2006 Bonus DVD (sourced from the 1993 Definitive Edition Laser Disc Master - upscales by Dark Jedi, You_Too and Harmy)
3) Star.Wars.Episode.IV.A.New.Hope.1977.720p.HDTV.x264-DON (2004 DVD Version)
4) STAR WARS 1997 Special Edition (Reivax DTV capture)
5) Custom mattes, 35mm and 70mm film cell scans etc.
6) Team Negative1 35mm LPP print scan of the Mos Eisley sequence
7) Puggo Grande (1977 16mm print transfer)
VIDEO: 1280x720p H264 23.976 fps
AUDIO: (Special thanks to hairy_hen and Belbucus)
TRACK 1) 5.1 DTS-HD-MA [English] (1977 70mm six track mix)
TRACK 2) 2.0 DTS-HD-MA [English] (1977 35mm stereo mix)
TRACK 3) 1.0 DTS-HD-MA [English] (1977 35mm mono mix)
TRACK 4) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (1985 Laserdisc mix)
TRACK 5) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (1993 Laserdisc mix)
TRACK 6) 2.0 Dolby Digital [German] (1978 dub reconstruction)
TRACK 7) 2.0 Dolby Digital [French] (1977 dub)
TRACK 8) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Spanish] (1977 Castilian dub)
TRACK 9) 1.0 Dolby Digital [Spanish] (1980 Latino dub)
TRACK 10) 1.0 Dolby Digital [Portuguese] (1980s Brazilian dub)
TRACK 11) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Japanese] (1978 Dub)
TRACK 12) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Italian] (1977 dub)
TRACK 13) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Polish] (1995 Voiceover)
TRACK 14) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Czech] (1992 dub)
TRACK 15) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Hungarian] (1984 dub)
TRACK 16) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (1993 LD Audio Commentary - silence filled with 1993 LD 2.0)
TRACK 17) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (2004 DVD Audio Commentary - recut to fit this release)
TRACK 18) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (2004 starwars.com Audio Commentary - recut to fit this release)
TRACK 19) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (2011 BD Archival Interviews Audio Commentary - recut to fit this release)
TRACK 20) 2.0 Dolby Digital [Isolated Score] (Compiled by hairy_hen)
TRACK 21) 2.0 Dolby Digital [English] (Commentary For Visually Impaired)
SUBTITLES: (Special thanks to CatBus)
English SDH (en-sdh)
Mandarin, Simplified (zh-cn)
Mandarin, Traditional (zh-tw)
American Spanish (es-419)
American Spanish Forced (es-419-forced; only with dub)
Castilian Spanish (es-es)
Castilian Spanish Forced (es-es-forced; only with dub)
Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br)
Japanese Forced (ja-forced; only with dub)
French Forced (fr-forced; only with dub)
German Forced (de-forced; only with dub)
Italian Forced (it-forced; only with dub)
Unverified subtitles (may need significant improvements):
Mandarin (Simplified), American Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Turkish, Romanian, Croatian, Greek, and Bulgarian.
So what's the problem? It's not an official release. It exists only in the murky world of torrents and bootleg video. Its availability lies entirely on how you feel about such things. All I know is that I really want to see this thing. I really really really want to see this thing.
Here's the trailer for the latest version of the "Despecialized Edition".
Pair the "Despecialized Edition" with Star Wars Filmumentary that came out a few years ago and you've got yourself one one hell of a geeky deluxe edition of Episode IV.
@jamieSWB - Star Wars Begins - The Complete Filmumentary from Filmumentaries - Jamie Benning on Vimeo.
What a great way to celebrate Nerd/Geek Pride Day, which we'll be celebrating on Tuesday, May 25th right here on the show! Tune in as Gretchen, our Program Director for the Day, encourages us all to make our inner geek our outer geek! It'll be fun, you guys.