Star Wars digital release: was it worth £60? – Telegraph.co.uk

Han doesn’t shoot first: Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope

While it was never very likely that Disney would be releasing the elusive originals, a number of online commenters were nonetheless quick to voice the opinion that, if they were going to be shelling out for digital versions of the films, they would only do so if they could have the copies they really want to see.

• Why people are so angry about digital Star Wars

The extras aren’t exactly mind-blowing

First things first: we’ve had a look at the new material, and can confirm that, for hardcore fans, there’s definitely quite a bit to enjoy.

Want to geek-out over the design of the every first lightsaber, or learn more about how Han Solo’s pistol was inspired by the Wild West? Attached to A New Hope is Discoveries From Inside: Weapons & The First Lightsaber, a mini documentary about the film’s weapons, featuring an interview with Roger Christiansen, who acted as set decorator on the film, and helped design many of the weapons in question.

True, there’s precious little new information here – most fans already know, for example, that original lightsabers weren’t a custom-designed prop, but were constructed from Graflex camera flash handles (designed to hold the flashbulbs for a particular type of camera), which simply happened to be on set. But it’s still quite sweet to watch Christiansen reminisce about his Graflex “Eureka!” moment.

“I knew, reading the script, that this lightsaber was Excalibur. I knew it had to be special, and I couldn’t find anything,” Christiansen says. “And then one day I found this box, pulled open the top. There were about seven or eight Graflex handles, and I saw this and just went ‘Oh My God’. I called George [Lucas], and that was it.”

In theory, the most interesting extras of all should be the Lost Interviews (attached to The Empire Strikes Back), which consist of a number of never-before-heard cast interviews from the Seventies including Carrie Fisher (who can be heard in the preview clip below), Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels (who plays C3PO) and composer John Williams.

There are some nice soundbites here: it’s fun, for example, to hear how Daniels initially disliked the idea of playing a robot, considering himself too much of a “serious” actor, or about how he ended up tripping over due to his ungaily, virtually impossible-to-walk-in costume.

It’s also interesting to hear John Williams explain why the Cantina jazz in A New Hope was deliberately played a little off-tune:

“[George Lucas’s] idea, what he said to me was, ‘Can you imagine these creatures in some future century having found in a time capsule or under a rock some place an old 1930s Benny Goodman swing band record? And can you imagine what their distorted idea of how to play it would be?’ So that’s more or less what I tried to do. And I think it looks pretty cute with the monsters, you know, doing their little Benny Goodman licks.”

On the whole, however, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking within these interviews themselves: no big revelations, and no astounding new facts. The same applies to the rest of the extra features.Ultimately, while the “nine hours of bonus content” is being touted as one of the big selling points of the release, you’d have to be a pretty dedicated fan to pay £13 simply for the nostalgia-kick of the documentaries alone.

The quality is no match for Blu-Ray

While the picture quality on the digital films is definitely very good, the website Pocket Lint has pointed out, correctly, that it simply can’t match the crispness of Blu-Ray – and all six films were released on Blu-Ray in 2011. Having a digital version of Star Wars is ideal if you’re planning to watch the films on the go (and what better way to alleviate a long train journey than watching The Empire Strikes Back?). But, if you’re planning on watching the films, on a bigger screen, you’re probably better off sticking with your Blu-Rays.