Star Wars: Butchered Editions

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by ColtMrFire, Sep 8, 2023.

  1. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    It’s always bugged me how one of the most important and influential scores of all time has been treated like garbage. The 1993 CD box set was one of the first movie soundtracks I ever bought and I loved it, missing cues and all. The 1997 editions were a bit better mastered but still disappointing but at least they had a lot more cues. And then Disney just decided to give us straight up less music by going back to the original releases and their bizarre truncated arrangements.

    I despise Reddit but I have to give props to this user who did an amazing job of breaking down just how badly these soundtracks have been treated. It’s shocking really.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWars/c...tar_wars_music_is_not_commercially_available/
     
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  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Disney consistently disappoints with their past catalogue. You probably already know this but they really botched the Blu-rays of their older movies

    IMG_5740.jpeg

    Instead of doing an HD transfer of original sources and cleaning it up a bit they used a digital rotoscope technique to redraw all the panels. First it erases the original hand drawn art but it also misses tons of details that were originally present.

    I don’t know why there is no HD release of the original Star Wars trilogy and with Disney it doesn’t look likely to happen. I recently downloaded the Harmy Despecialized edition so I could see what the original cinematic experience was like. I hope there’s a similar project with the soundtrack
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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  4. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Jesus Christ, I had no idea they butchered some of the older animated stuff.

    Yes, unfortunately if one wants the untouched original films in HD/4K they have to revert to Harmy and other editions, which do an excellent job where Disney failed.

    It really started with Lucas and his stubborn refusal to offer anything but garbage low rez laserdisc masters of the original unaltered movies (non anamorphic DVDs). I'm all for artistic freedom, but I'm also pro choice, and giving consumers the ability to choose which version to enjoy in the best quality available only makes good business sense... bizarre since Lucas considers himself a businessman.

    I have the 4K Blurays of the OT and the mastering is awful... excessive noise reduction and edge enhancement are all over those films. A New Hope is the least butchered, Empire is a mixed bag, but mostly terrible and Jedi is mostly terrible. You have obscure cult films that get better treatment than this. Shameful.
     
  5. AlPastor

    AlPastor Facebook Friend

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  6. TazerMonkey

    TazerMonkey Acquaintance

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    The 1993 Anthology boxset is still probably the best official release of the soundtracks. Bought a copy back when I first started getting into headphones and realized how muffled ass the ROTJ SE soundtrack sounded.

    I bought the Drop Audio-Technica turntable (following tips via @purr1n's thread, like the ML stylus upgrade) partly as an excuse to get the original vinyl presentations of SW and TESB, which to my ears sound noticeably better than the hi-res Sony transfers from 2015; maybe the RIAA curve? I feel like the cultural importance of the scores, particularly in those original incarnations, are worth keeping around for posterity's sake. Also, vinyl is just cooler than digital.

    The best sound (and performances) of the original three scores are, IMO, the symphonic suites conducted by Charles Gerhardt with the National Philharmonic Orchestra (a London session orchestra); Star Wars (w/ Close Encounters!) and ROTJ on RCA, TESB was a digital recording on a different label. The RCA albums were released as part of Gerhardt's "Classic Film Scores" series but are long OOP and have been left out from recent Sony reissues of the series. The only CDs available in the US were early-1990s Dolby Surround editions that muddied up the sound; RCA Red Seal CDs were released in Europe in the mid-to-late 1980s without Dolby but are somewhat hard to find. TESB was released on CD by Varese Sarabande and, as early digital, it can be a little on the thin-and-bright side but still sounds great on a good system and is probably my personal favorite of the three.

    Fortunately, Dutton/Vocalion recently remastered the SW/Close Encounters album and released it on SACD with both stereo and a new quadraphonic mix and it sounds great! Hopefully they will also release ROTJ (and maybe TESB as well?)
     
  7. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Yeah I still like the 1993 anthology. I still remember seeing it at a comic book store in Orlando FL in 95 or 96 as a teenager and snagging it. I had a basic walkman CD player, so couldn't make heads of tails of "sound quality", but I just liked hearing the scores as I hadn't previously owned any of them.

    I think ANH fares best with the 97 remasters, has the most air, energy, clarity. Empire sounds a bit worse, but alot better than Jedi, which on a certain cue sound like someone threw a blanket over the mics, and in general just sounds dark and muddy. But I appreciated how much more of the score was finally available.

    The prequel scores I never cared all that much about. They are good, but Williams has done better work on other movies. Phantom Menace sounds alot better on the 2 CD expanded edition. Attack of the Clones has always sounded disappointing... just kind of muted overall. Revenge of the Sith is mostly fine, but still does not have the energy of ANH, none of them do. I'm talking purely mastering.
     
  8. TazerMonkey

    TazerMonkey Acquaintance

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    I agree that ANH is the best sounding of the SE sets. I think I read on some forum a while back that the original plan was to release only ANH for the 20th anniversary and it was only at the last minute(?!) that it was decided to release the latter two as well and so the production of those albums was severely rushed; believable with the myriad issues with the latter scores, but it seems inconceivable that Lucasfilm wouldn't plan to release all three... but then again, Lucasfilm has made a lot of "inconceivable" decisions over the years/decades...
     
  9. rfernand

    rfernand Almost "Made"

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    Ah! Found it: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/star-wars-a-new-hope-4k-restoration-gareth-edwards/?amp

    I was about to say long ago I heard that Lucasfilm does have a restored version of the original. The blocker for releasing the originals* seems to be Lucas himself, Kennedy has said as much elsewhere.

    The library of Congress has a 2k version of the original, as per https://boards.theforce.net/threads/original-1977-star-wars-at-library-of-congress.50036059/

    *originals - hard to say which one. The first 1977 theatrical, without “A New Hope”, and the original sound mix? Or the 1980 one that says “A New Hope” and has tweaks to the mix? Or…
     
  10. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Lucas has claimed the unaltered original negative doesn't exist anymore, it was changed when he did the special editions back in the 90s, so there would be nothing to restore. He could be lying, but Lucas strikes me as someone who'd do something that insane and unethical.

    The restoration Evans saw was probably what Disney likely used for the 4K UHD Bluray special editions.
     
  11. rfernand

    rfernand Almost "Made"

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    The claim that the original sources have been destroyed has been challenged many times - it’s never been clear if he was talking about the negatives for the first print or what. Also, the reconstruction was done digitally after scanning elements anyway.
     
  12. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Not destroyed but altered to conform to the special edition edits (so claimed by not just Lucas but others involved or familiar with the process). I supposed you could still scan everything into 4K even the pieces that were removed (and possibly/probably put in storage), but Disney would have to be willing to do that... if they even can. It wouldn't surprise me if Lucas put some kind of stipulation in the contract when he sold to Disney that they can't release the unaltered movies while he's still alive, or maybe ever. On the flip side, Disney owns Star Wars so I don't see how they couldn't do what they wanted with it... lots of money to be made down the line in a NEVER BEFORE SEEN UNALTERED 4K BLURAY SET.
     

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