You, like your VCR tapes before you, are now... MINE
I have come out from under the blanket of my overworked, underpaid self to broadcast some shocking news: yes, I did purchase the Star Wars DVD trilogy. I have only watched two extra features so far (and none of the films yet): the feature-length documentary and the Episode III preview (naturally).
If the digitally enhanced films live up to the documentary, this is going to be one great box set. There were all kinds of tidbits and insights in the making of the film, and every living castmember spoke about their roles and the experience. There are too many details to recount, so I'll just name a few that struck me as exceptional. I knew that Star Wars was made on a tight budget, and all the technology had to be invented for the film, but I never realized just how close the film came no not being completed. Lucas took over so much of the filmmaking process himself that he suffered from hypertension and stress, and was warned that he would have a heart attack if he continued apace. The man, through sheer force of will and genius, made this film happen.
The other was the story of the directoral choice for Return. At the time of A New Hope's release, the showing of credits at the end of the film was unheard of, and finable by various film industry unions. For that movie, they let it go just that once. However, as you know, Empire followed in the same mold, which set off a firestorm of pedantic complaining by the unions. They (the Directors Guild, Screenwriters Guild, etc.) to start fining Lucas and Kershner (the director, also a former professor under which Lucas studied) for the egregious transgression. Lucas felt he was being persecuted (can anyone blame him?) and quit him membership in the above two clubs. Unfortunately, this decision made it impossible for him to get his first choice for director of Return, his pal, Steven Spielberg. Had it not been for industry nitpickery, who knows what kind of movie Return would have been. Instead, Lucas chose Marquand to direct, whose inexperience with special effects shooting led Lucas to come down and supervise every single shot for half the film. We'll never know, but in my humble opinion (certain to be countered by Jaquandor), a great opportunity was missed to make this film better.
Lastly, I should note that it is good to have friends who run theaters. One such person has been showing late night (i.e., 10:30pm) presentations of old films in the Old Town theater. About four weeks ago, this person came up to me and asked what I think would draw a crowd to see at one of these late night showings. I nearly spit out my drink. So, at my suggestion, this Thursday they are going to show Empire, fresh off the DVD and in dolby digital on the big screen. Can you say titillated?