On March 21, Lucasfilm announced on The Star Wars Show and on starwars.com that newly remastered releases of the soundtracks from the first six STAR WARS saga films would be released on May 4 (see the announcement HERE). I was excited, so of course, I jumped right over to Amazon and pre-ordered them. Here are my thoughts…
I’ve waited for a nice, new, freshly remastered version of the Original Trilogy soundtracks for a long time (there are some audio issues in the 1997 remastered versions, and all subsequent releases up to this point seem to have used those same masters). Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll still be waiting. Here’s the problem:
THESE AREN’T COMPLETE SOUNDTRACKS!!!
Nope. These are remastered releases of the ORIGINAL soundtrack albums that were released at the time the films were released, and are incomplete. I haven’t received the disc for the original Star Wars yet (Amazon shipped it late), but the track listing that’s NOW showing on Amazon (it wasn’t there at pre-order time) shows it’s the same cuts/edits as the original, vinyl release from 1977/1978. I’ve received the discs for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and sure enough, it’s the same thing. Here’s the problem: The runtime for the Empire disc is about 1 hour, 13 minutes. The Special Edition version of the soundtrack (from 1997) clocks in at about 2 hours, 4 minutes. That’s about 51 minutes of music that is missing. In the case of Return of the Jedi, this disc clocks in at a completely underwhelming 45 minutes (I had this on a single cassette as a kid). The Special Edition version of the ROTJ soundtrack runs at about 2 hours, 28 minutes (there are a couple bonus tracks on it). There’s at least an hour’s worth of music missing from this disc as well, and probably closer to 90 minutes!
In addition, the new releases were touted as having an “exclusive mini-poster”. Yeah… The mini poster is the printed inside the jewel case insert. So, you either unfold the insert to have the mini poster with MAJOR fold lines in it (and thus no jewel case insert/cover), or you keep the insert and forget about the mini poster.
These are each a single disc, not a 2 disc release like they should be.
I don’t understand why Lucasfilm and Disney records would go through the work to digitally remaster this stuff, but NOT give us the opportunity to get new, clean, digitally remastered versions of the COMPLETE scores for each film.
If there’s a bright side to these releases, it’s this: The Return of the Jedi disc includes “Lapti Nek” and the original Ewok celebration “Yub Yub” song, both of which were deleted from the film in the 1997 Special Edition. So, if you’re looking for a nice, clean, remastered version of those, you’re in luck. (On a side note, does anyone find it odd that these two tracks were included since they’ve officially been removed from the films for 21 years? Could this be a hint that maybe a theatrical version of the films is coming? One can only hope.)
Did you pick these up? What are your thoughts?