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Review :Star Wars Ep 1

Old 04-04-00, 07:51 PM
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First let me say I now this is for the VHS.
I will tell everyone that I have a pretty good system to watch this video tape on,(all Denon and PSB speakers)So here go's.
The sound:
The sound(Pro-logic) is supriceinly very GOOD. In fact I would say this is the best sounding VHS Iv ever heard.It has very good bass output.Of course its NO 5.1 The front to back surround is soft in places but very good in others.The dialog as with the surround is soft but clear.Over all Id give the aduio is a solid B+.
The video:
The video is another story.I have a high end ProScan 36in tv and I thought that the colur was kinda dull.ANd you should could see the grain in the "bar" arrea's.
Video grade C+.
One thing I hafe to mintion,In the theator I thought i notice that at the end where everyone is standing on the steps Sam Jackson was not there( a look-a-like),well in the video it IS Sam! Uh,Maybe im wrong.
Anyway I LOVED TPM in the theator and I still loved it watching it at home in Pro-Logic.
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Old 04-05-00, 10:28 AM
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I'd run this post through Babel Fish, but their Gibberish-to-English converter is broken right now.

- David Stein
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Old 04-05-00, 10:58 AM
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Well, I watched the widescreen VHS last night, so I can provide a brief review as well...

THE VIDEO: Having seen this 5 times in the theater (including one of the digital projections in NJ), I can say that VHS does not do this film justice. The resolution is incredibly bad and is more noticeable on this film than any other movie I've seen, mostly because of the vast number of things that are crammed in every frame. The entire film has a "soft" look to it that does not accurately represent what was shown theatrically.

Colors are also muted and bleed more often than I'd care to mention. (The scene in the ship when they are looking for a planet to make repairs will make you cringe.)

I'm sure that THX did their best with this transfer, but there's only so much that you can squeeze out of the few lines of resolution they had to work with. I spent a lot of the 133-minute running time imagining what a widescreen-enhanced DVD of this movie would look like...

THE SOUND: Sound is very good for Dolby Pro-Logic VHS. It is very aggressive and has a wide front sound stage. The pod race especially sounds wonderful, as does the final battle sequences. Again, this is no 5.1 mix, but is still surprisingly good.

THE EXTRAS: The "documentary" (which is really only about 12-15 minutes long) is very entertaining. It concentrates mostly on the special effects and I learned a few things about the film. I only wish it were longer... Other than that, you get a film frame (big deal) and a 48-page excerpt from the ART OF EPISODE I book (which I already have).

FINAL THOUGHTS: The retail price for the widescreen set is too high for what you get. I am surprised that Lucas didn't release a cheaper, movie-only widescreen tape for more casual fans who happen to prefer widescreen presentations. Frankly, for all of his posturing about presenting his films in the best possible way, he really dropped the ball on this video by (1) not releasing a DVD and domestic laserdisc and (2) pricing the widescreen tape out of reach for the average consumer. I love the movie, but am definitely disappointed in the presentation. Hopefully, the Japanese laserdisc (which should arrive early next week) will correct some of the picture and sound deficiencies I've mentioned.
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Old 04-05-00, 11:25 AM
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It seems his widescreen versions on VHS have always been absurdly priced. Bottom line: "Are you FAN ENOUGH to pay $100 for THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION WIDESCREEN VERSION?!"

When we're talking about films which defined the term "cult following," Luca$ makes a killing each time he does this.

- David Stein
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Old 04-05-00, 02:32 PM
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I'd just like to add another vote that the video quality for the film is bad, even for widescreen VHS.
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Old 04-05-00, 03:00 PM
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i am just sad that some dvd enthusiasts would even buy the VHS. its not like the movie is so great that you cannot wait for it. especially after how Lucasfilm has acted toward dvd. if enough people buy the VHS, Lucas feels like there is no hurry for the DVD to ever come out. if the VHS has lackluster sales, one of the reasons that could be attributed, is that they did not put it out in the best medium possible. (2nd reason was maybe that the flick was not the greatest)
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Old 04-05-00, 03:24 PM
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Since I already own the Star Wars trilogy on VHS (a collector's edition). It makes sense for me to own the Phantom Menace on VHS as well. I'd prefer to have it on DVD, but then again I want to be able to watch the movie anyway. Lucas needs to bring the original trilogy on DVD also. Once the Playstation 2 is released, there will be at least 1 million more people who can watch DVDs on their TV. Maybe Lucas figures people who have dvd and vhs will buy the movie twice.

Anyway here's my DVD collection so far:

The Matrix
Saving Private Ryan
Terminator 2 Judgement Day
Austin Powers 2

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Old 04-05-00, 04:08 PM
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I like TPM a lot. To me it is just as good as the other movies. I bought the Pan/Scan tape for 14 bucks just to hold me over to the dvd. I hate VHS..it has been so long, I forgot how bad it looks. With digital tv, and dvd, tapes seem like dog crap. UGH..
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Old 04-05-00, 04:19 PM
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"i am just sad that some dvd enthusiasts would even buy the VHS. its not like the movie is so great that you cannot wait for it."

Well, that's your opinion. I happen to love the movie and I'm not planning on waiting 5 or 6 years to own it.
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Old 04-06-00, 02:11 AM
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Well, I had GC's, and I ordered the P&S AND "Widescreen Collectors Edition"...

My fellow posters are right on about quality.
Lucas says he wants the DVD to get the BEST treatment?
And, I was thinking...he films his movies with Digital Equiptment...uses CGI...shows the film at Digital Theatres, or whatever..yet says no digital DVD???

What REALLY has my goat steamed....If I would have shelled out 40 clams for the "Collector's Edition" ,I would take it back!

No difference in artwork to make it special...no hologram cover on the video...
I( was expecting something 'More'....
All I got was a cheezy 'pamphlet' of a book I already own..and a stupid film slide that my dog can eat for all I care!
That's it!
The box is weak...the 'Extras' are nill...
Not even a trailer...
What a joke.

But what REALLY digs is he is ALMOST pulling a Kubrick and punishing lovers of Widescreen...basically discouraging people from trying to see widescreen in one of the first real 'tempting' mopvies that could entice some black-bar haters..by pricing it as a joke!

The Pan and Scanners get $16.95 vids..we get $40....take it or leave it.

I think the whole WIDESCREEN community needs to get on his back..not just us DVD enthusiasts!

End of rant.
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Old 04-07-00, 03:00 PM
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My Japanese laserdisc arrived yesterday from www.laserexchange.com so I was able to watch the LD only a few days after the widescreen VHS to do a direct comparison (refer to my VHS review above). Here's the details on the LD:

THE VIDEO: Huge improvement over the VHS! The picture seemed a bit dark for my taste (not much, but a little). However, where the VHS seemed to have a soft, blurry picture the LD was sharp as a tack. Colors were strong and accurate. (The bleeding reds in the ship cockpit is still a problem, although much less so.) The end credits are actually readable (although still a little fuzzy) as opposed to the shapeless blobs of text that were on the widescreen tape.

This is the way I expected TPM to look at home.

The Japanese subtitles are located in the black letterbox band, below the image. (I mask these off with some black construction paper when viewing so they don't distract.) The few "Huttese" scenes with Jabba, Watto, Sebulba, etc. have no English subtitles, but I can live without this.

THE SOUND: WOW! I gave the sound on the VHS high marks, but I may have to take that back. This LD blows the VHS away. Even in Pro-Logic mode, this has much more separation and a wider soundstage. The lightsaber duel, which was decent on the VHS, completely envelops you on the LD. Frequency response is also greatly increased, with much MUCH deeper bass. This is without a doubt the best sounding LD I have ever owned.

SIDE BREAKS: The film is spread onto 3 CLV sides. Side 2 begins with the overhead shot of the pod race stadium and Side 3 begins with Jar Jar emerging from the swamp ("The city is deserted").

THE EXTRAS: There are no extras on the LD.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a wonderful release. The only negatives are (1) the price, (2) the subtitles, and (3) the lack of the VHS documentary footage. It is really a shame that Lucas/Fox didn't allow Image Entertainment to release a domestic LD (aside from the obvious lack of a DVD release). It would be nice if they had done even a single US pressing at $40-50 rather than having to import the title for $100+. Anyway, complaints about formats and economics aside, this is a great presentation of the movie. Highly recommended.

[This message has been edited by bboisvert (edited April 07, 2000).]
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Old 04-07-00, 04:59 PM
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the video store in town has 96 copies available. they don't rent dvd. i rent dvd. i don't have any episode one dvds in stock......is it bite me wednesday yet?
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Old 04-08-00, 01:40 AM
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Based on the good reviews that the TPM LD has been receiving lately, I gave into the dark side and ordered a copy of the TPM LD, hopefully, I'll be getting one in a week or so.

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Old 04-08-00, 07:54 AM
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Well, its not THAT bad people. Yes its no DVD, or even LD, but its ok for VHS, on a 32" JVC :-) And the sound is decent if not great for VHS, best sound I've heard from a VHS tape in a long time.

As for price, man some people are getting scammed. I've seen TPM as low as 12.50$ for P/S version, and 28$ for W/S Collectors edition (which I have had a chance to view as a family member bought it.) And that's CDN dollars, so thats roughly $9 USD, and $21 USD respectively .... not all that outrageous for the nice packaging and booklet. When the DVD comes out, I shudder to think what Lucas will charge even for a mass-produced "Collectors Edition." Lets hope its no more then 30$ or so.
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Old 04-09-00, 05:09 PM
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i got the cheaper pan/scan version and i am happy with it...of course i would rather have a dvd but you have make do with what you have. Anyway, i am a fan of the movie, i thought it was very good for a vhs...the video wasn't too good but the sound surprised me( the pod race is awesome, it gives me chills to think of what a 5.1 or DTS dvd would sound like). The only gripe I have about the Phantom Menace is that i would have loved to have seen Darth Maul alot more...he kicks @SS. Well thanks for listening.

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Old 04-09-00, 08:46 PM
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Watched Star Wars TPM on pan/scan vhs last night...
First the video quality is awful. I have been spoiled by dvd. This ranks as one of the worst vhs tapes I have ever seen. THX quality?

Second the sound... not bad in Pro-Logic. The pod race scene had nice base and gave one the illusion that you were in that race.

The picture quality picks up once the tape reaches the pod race section.

Overall this is definite proof the dvd rules and that Lucas is an idiot to put this digital film out in an analog format. What a greedy bum!
This film still lacks any heart and the kid actor sucks compared to the Sixth Sense's Haley Osment.
It basically a three scene movie and I would buy the dvd for those three scenes.
They of course are The Underwater City, The Pod Race and the end battle with Darth Maul.

Maybe someday we will see Star Wars the way it is meant to be seen.

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Old 04-10-00, 01:17 PM
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Lucas could have at least ported the Laserdisc version of TPM onto DVD. I don't particularly care about interviews with the director or behind the scenes. What I do want is digital video and decent Dolby Digital 5.1

I concur the VHS video is pretty bad, especially after I've been spoiled with DVD.
The sound is surprisingly good, especially the pod race.
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Old 04-10-00, 09:12 PM
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I just wish there was some way I could rent the LBX VHS. I gave in this weekend and rented the P&S VHS, and that was a mistake.

There were so many things cut from the sides that it really ruined the presentation:

When QG first thrusts his lightsaber into the door, you barely see it go in. OB1 kicks invisible droids. When he twirls his saber in a circle, all you see is his face. QG's hands are invisible when he does the force-push against droids. His battle with Darth Maul on Tatooine is claustrophobic, at times you can only see a black robe moving about. During the final battle, DM's dual light saber sometimes gets cut off , sometimes it looks like he's performing a kata, with neither Jedi in view. And of course, numerous saber strikes and kicks occur just offscreen in all the battles.

But that's P&S for ya. Another vote for the awesome sound, though. I've never heard a better VHS.
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