Star Wars on Blu-ray: how many times do I have to buy the same movie?

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 6 September 2011.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, this month has been a long time coming. Wednesday 14 September will see both the original and prequel trilogies released on blu-ray. Finally we’ll be able to see that extra tall (or clumsy) Stormtrooper bang his head on the rising door in A New Hope in stunning high definition.

For around $120, you’ll get nine discs and over thirty hours of bonus features. Thirty hours! That is a lot of commitment, even for a Jedi. Don’t expect to see any nerds around town until the Saturday after its release at the earliest.

I’ve been doing my sums to work out how much money I have spent on purchasing and repurchasing Star Wars movies in my lifetime so far. There was the original VHS copy that I bought way back when owning a VHS (or Beta) player was a luxury and you needed to insert the tapes in the top. Renting a video then set you back $10 a shot, so buying Episode IV outright was easily $100.

Then there was the original trilogy that I purchased with my saved up pocket money from the now defunct HMV store in Parramatta Mall in the late eighties. Box sets didn’t exist then so that’s three movies at $30 each.

In the early nineties, I was working for my local Video Ezy store when Lucasfilm announced that they would be releasing the original films for the very last time so I purchased them again on VHS, this time in widescreen. Of course, television screens were still square shaped then so I got to watch my favourite movies in a small rectangle with dirty black bars above and below. That’s another three movies at $30 each.

What the clever folks at Lucasfilm didn’t mention during that promotion was the reason the original films were available for the “last time” was due to the imminent release of the Special Edition which included revised special effects and a little too much tampering on George Lucas’ behalf, such as changing the cantina scene to have Greedo shoot first in order to make Han Solo seem less ruthless. After duly seeing them on the big screen in 1997, I also bought the Special Edition VHS box set at say, $100. Are you noticing a pattern here?

In 2004, Star Wars Episodes IV – VI finally came out on DVD, this time in a box set complete with an awesome feature length documentary. The Force was strong in that one so I bought it too. Add another $100 at least to the tab.

The original, unaltered films were released again, this time on DVD, in 2006. I felt a little sore about this. Didn’t Lucasfilm say that the original trilogy would no longer be available? I guess they meant no longer available on video. Not a bad Jedi mind trick, but no bingo.

The prequel movies were released on the big screen from 1999 – 2005 and subsequently made their way to DVD. I only bought Episode III, largely due to the fact that the first two are mind numbingly awful. One DVD, $30 spent, fast forward through the Jar Jar scene.

Let’s face it. History shows that I’m going to buy the new Star Wars blu-ray box set. I love high definition films. Blu-ray movies look sharper and clearer to me than looking out the window. How is that possible?

So later this month, my total Star Wars expenditure will be $630. That’s not including buying cinema tickets, action figures, video games, books, magazines, the Princess Leia shampoo that you need to take her head off to get the shampoo out or tickets to see Carrie Fisher live. That’s $630 buying the same product over and over again. Despite his inability to direct actors or write decent dialogue, George Lucas is a marketing genius. Make that a ridiculously rich billionaire marketing genius.

I suppose I can’t complain. Star Wars has been an important part of my life in the past, and if I try to watch all of the new extra features it will probably be my actual life for a couple of days in the near future.

So thank you George Lucas. I hope you remember that 17% of one of the bricks in your solid gold mansion was paid for by me. But remember, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice twice plus one, this better be the last time. And I don’t mean a John Farnham “The Last Time” last time.

May the force be with you and your wallet.

Advertisements
Published in: on September 9, 2011 at 08:30  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://peterayoung.com/2011/09/09/star-wars-on-blu-ray-how-many-times-do-i-have-to-buy-the-same-movie/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: