The Star Wars “despecialized” editions have been around for quite some years now and have been upgraded here or there with major or minor tweaks to make them even better. They are absolute labors of love and thousands of hours have so far been invested by knowledgable and technically able fans to “rewind” what George Lukas tinkered with and destroyed in the various releases of the first three Star Wars films when he proceeded to upgrade their look, inserted new and/or changed elements and tried to to bring the original trilogy into line with the vastly inferior prequels he later (unfortunately) added to the Star Wars saga.
Those people who know me also know that I absolutely despise this kind of meddling with historic art in any form. Yes, director’s and/or extended cuts of many Hollywood films are fine if the originals remain, and many of those I might even prefer to their original versions (“Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott immediately comes to mind), but George Lucas tried to eradicate the films that millions of viewers who knew the originals had come to love. He also made it virtually impossible to get hold of the original versions of these iconic films in any decent high-definition format.
Everyone who has a copy of these despecialized editions is usually also a Star Wars nut who probably has just about each and every other version that has ever been released by George Lucas and his partners in crime. Some even favor the changes Lucas integrated into the released and widely available later reissues, but many – like me – hate them with a passion.
Thanks to the many fine folks at originaltrilogy.com and, especially, “Harmy”, a fan who taught himself all the needed technology to recreate the original films, what I once saw at the movie theatre is (easily) available again today.
There are many reviews around the Internet that go into painstaking detail in regard to how, what was done when, down to the most minor tweaks and details, and I won’t go into those here. It is the result that counts and the versions of the three Star Wars films that I now finally hold in my hands (yes, I came late to the game), are simply wonderful to behold. They have that nostalgic tinge that got completely lost when George Lucas and his team tweaked the originals into submission, they recreate the orginals as faithfully as possible and, most of all, they give that stomach-tingling feeling back to those who saw these films when they were first released to the public. They weren’t perfect, but they were new, exciting and spectacular in every way, far removed from the CGI extravaganzas we have all gotten used to in the 21st century. I believe that these films are not only milestones in movie history, all three of them, but they were also a huge technological leap forward at the time. It is absolutely beyond me why George Lucas decided to try to “improve” on what he achieved. But, as my grandfather used to cynically utter at times, “In a democracy, anyone and everyone is allowed to be as stupid as he/she can be.”
If you were there when it happened, if you would like to see what millions first experienced when they saw the originals at the movie theatre of their choice (or the one that wasn’t booked out for weeks in advance), or if you are simply not aware of these editions, I implore you to jump up now, run to the nearest Internet “outlet” you can find and get hold of them.
They are really worth it and get the highest recommendation I can possibly think of.
Assorted Facts & Links: Star Wars – Despecialized Editions
- If you want to find out more about the absolutely insane work that was put into these three editions, check out “Harmy Despecialized‘s” YouTube video entitled “Introducing the Despecialized Edition and Its Sources.“
- Visit the lair, originaltrilogy.com, to see what it’s all about.
- “Harmy’s Despecialized Edition” even has its own Wikipedia (English) page, a Facebook one, “Harmy Despecialized” is on Twitter and there is a YouTube channel available as well.
- There is an official “Ultimate Introductory Guide to Harmy’s Star Wars Trilogy Despecialized Editions – How to Download, View, and Stay Informed” on google.docs. Check it out!
- Petr Harmy (Harmacek) is the leader of the pack.
- Note: Despecialized Editions MUST NEVER BE BOUGHT OR SOLD!!!