Thursday, October 6, 2011

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) Blu-ray is Chock Full of Concept Art But Still Lacking

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - by Maurice Mitchell 0

Overall, if you don't have access to any other concept art books, this is a great resource. If you do have the books or have special edition DVDs I wouldn't get this set for the concept art.

Star Wars concept art is the gold standard of concept art. All the greatest concept illustrators worked on the Star Wars films starting with Ralph McQuarrie. I was especially eager to dig into it and see what was offered.

The Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray] set comes with nine disks. The six movie disks and three bonus disks. The first one has all the deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew.

This is the one I focused on. The interface is fascinating. Using beautifully animated key scenes from the movie you are taken into the world of each film. The disks then organize all the material by planet and each planet has a section for concept art. Its kind of confusing in a way. Suppose you want to see concept art from Coruscant? Is it under Episode I, II or III? It takes some getting used to.

Each planet has an average of ten pieces of concept art. So, if you do the math its over 90 images. Nice.

The images are amazing and really give insight into the creation of different characters and their history. Nice little touches are the mentions of concept art for the prequels that became part of Star Wars: Clone Wars and the fantastic savagery of the Wookie Kashyyyk warriors.

Like I said, Star Wars concept art is always amazing to look at. These disks are loaded with the best concept art from the films.

Here's the downside. One problem I have with almost all concept art in DVDs is you can't zoom in to get a better look. It has a single image formatted to take up the top and bottom of the screen and that's it. Some art is so rich in detail its frustrating not to be able to check it out.

On the plus side, they're not cropped or modified, so you get the full effect. There's a slide show feature which is nice for cruising through the images one at a time, but you can also jump to any of the images.

Another notable, but common omission, is the credits for the images. As per usual, the art is shown with no indication who drew them. Some of the paintings have signatures like Doug Chiang, but most are anonymous.
Considering how important artists are to visualizing the Star Wars films, I was surprised that there wasn't a single interview with any of the artists. Not even veteran artists like Ralph McQuarrie. That was disappointing. Especially since the other DVDs had full featurettes on the concept artists and it wouldn't have been hard to add them.

The Star Wars Blu-Ray set is a must have for lovers of the films, but disappointing to lovers of concept art.

What did you think of the disks? Would you buy or recommend them?

Below are links to the Blu-Ray disk and a selection of my favorite "Art of Star Wars" books.




About the Author

Maurice Mitchell
Lover of science fiction and art.

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