When George Lucas made the original Star Wars, Epidsode IV-A New Hope, he could not begin to imagine the impact that his film would have. Six Star Wars films and almost thirty years later, the original film has been named the best movie of all time by British film fans. (The entire list of rankings can be seen on the BBC's website.) Star Wars received more than a third of all of the votes in a survey conducted by the British Sky Premiere Channel, landing it in the number one spot.
This poll was taken just prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the second Star Wars movie. Participants in the survey had the release of the next Star Wars adventure on the top of their minds (as it was released shortly after this poll was taken). Undoubdetly, this had some influence on the survey's results. While no one can detract from the astounding creativity that produced the film's empire, there is also no doubt that this list is missing several influential and key filmmakers. One of the commentators in the article expressed his surprise at some of the titles which appear on the list. This top 100 is uniquely different from many other film polls. Nonetheless, it is a definite representation of those films deemed significant by current film devotees. Star Wars has been viewed and enjoyed by an astounding number of people across generation lines. This fact helped to land it in the number one spot. Furthermore, Star Wars is known for having some of the most devoted and fanatical fans of any film. Therefore, it is no surprise that is would appear in the number one spot of a survey.
We certainly do not need a survey to prove the popularity and influence that George Lucas has had on both the film industry and his fans. However, the article and the "Best Film" designation verify the fact that there are millions of people all over the world who have seen Star Wars and feel that it is a most significant film.
There is a feeling in the industry that the technology of the future is 3-D cinema. George Lucas, head of Lucas Film and one of the most successful and revolutionary filmmakers of all time, seems a bit more hesitant. At a time when theater attendance is slipping, three dimensional projection could be a creative new way to attract an audience, particularly a youthful one. 3-D films were very popular for a short time in the 1950s. However, since then there has not been any significant attempt at rejuvenating the technology. Only recently has there been talk of a future for three dimensional cinema.
On April 3, 2005, Variety reported that George Lucas had revealed at ShoWest that he was "eager to release all six films in the ‘Star Wars' saga in digital 3-D. His plan would be to release one film a year starting in 2007." But "Trekkies" are going to have to wait a little while before they can see their movies in a third dimension. Rick McCallum, producer of Star Wars (special edition), said that the films will not be converted to 3-D until the industry "gets its act together." However, The CEO of In-Three Inc. stated that it would probably be a short time before all films can be and will be converted to 3-D. In the future, In-Three Inc. will be able to provide the technology to convert films produced in status quo format to 3-D for five million dollars.
At the time the Variety article was published in April, 2005, there were no definite plans to release any of the Star Wars films in 3-D. However, there is a distinct possibility that this may change in the very near future. Star Wars is one of the most successful, highest grossing film franchises of all time. As one of the industry's most savvy, technologically advanced filmmakers it would seem reasonable to believe that George Lucas could very well be one of the first to take advantage of the newest technology. If Lucas does make the move towards 3-D, he might be the innovator who influences other producers to do the same. The Variety article provides new information on a topic relevant to the direction in which the future film industry is moving.
The first installment of the six part Star Wars film series was released in 1977. Twenty five years later, in September 2004, the DVD's of the first trilogy ( Episode IV: A New Hope, EpisodeV, The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI, and Return of the Jedi) were released. These DVD's were not comprised of the "classic" film trilogy, but rather the "Special Edition" versions that Fox, Lucas Film and George Lucas released in 1997 (which were originally available only on VHS). Fortunately for fans who can never get enough of everything and anything Star Wars related, the DVD set is loaded with extra features. The four disc set includes a bonus disc highlighting an extraordinary documentary and never before seen footage from the making of the films. Each of the films included in the set has been digitally restored and remastered by THX. In addition to significantly enhanced picture quality, the three films are mastered in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 EX, yielding amazing sound quality. The Star Wars trilogy can also be viewed by the deaf and non-English speaking as it is subtitled in English, French, and Spanish. All of these additions to the original films not only make the DVD's a worthwhile purchase for viewing enjoyment, but also an important addition to any serious film buff's collection.
The DVD release of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) represents a significant marker in the Star Wars franchise. The groundbreaking films have become an industry unto themselves and the DVD's are one more outlet through which to generate more profit. DVD's are the future of all film. The fact that one of the biggest money-making movies of all time is now distributed on DVD, with added special features, validates the importance of the DVD release. The release of films in DVD format allows the audience to watch movies multiple times. The format also introduces an entirely new audience to a film that may have been produced at a much earlier time. The possibilities for film enhancement, viewing pleasure, and portability all contribute to the significance of the DVD as it relate to the Star Wars franchise.