In the words of evil-kid Sid from Toy Story on discovering his giant firework has arrived: "it's here! It's finally here!", that was our reaction when we ripped the wrapping surrounding our Star Wars Blu-ray box set to shreds.
We are convinced that older movies make a bigger impact the first time you watch them on Blu-ray. Films like Blade Runner and Apocalypse Now look stunning compared to older DVD releases. Star Wars follows that trend in 1080p and, although we haven't had time to really put the entire set of discs, movies and bonus features through their paces to come up with a proper review, we have picked out a few moments we're really looking forward to. So, if you're looking for a reason to buy the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray box set, here's five that'll have your hair standing on end with that hi-definition goodness.
Phantom Menace: Pod Racing
Sure, the first of the new movies introduced us to the nightmare that was Jar Jar Binks and young Anakin's hammy acting left a fair bit to be desired, but, by Jove, did it look great for the time. We forget just how impressive the swamps of Naboo or those aerial shots of Theed looked in the cinema. There was, however, one standout sequence which virtually cemented there and then our ticket purchases to the next two films in the series - pod racing.
The sound alone is good enough, but the resolution on the shiny pods is what does it for us. You would expect the older CGI to falter under the guise of 1080p but for the most part it manages it. Things look slightly strange when the pods are moving particularly fast, but all in all it is a definite enjoyable viewing experience and a great way to justify to yourself just why you shelled out another £60 on the Star Wars saga.
Return of the Jedi: Final battle
We all love a good spaceship and Star Wars has got some beauties in that department. The series of films is littered with space-based highlights with the Millenium Falcon easily the most iconic of spaceships to ever exist, closely followed by the X-Wing and TIE-Fighter.
Every time we think of Star Wars our minds are cast back to the final moments of Return of the Jedi. It is as classic a Lucas moment as any, with the edge-of-seat Death Star alley speeding sequence a standout on the Blu-ray; partly because of the way colours are reproduced thanks to that extra bit of HD power.
It also looks and sounds totally insane on a massive screen with a decent home cinema setup. We will say, however, don't skip ahead just to test the Blu-ray out, watch the first three films in order and it will make this finale so much sweeter when you see it. Lando's scream of joy will be the same as yours.
Return of the Jedi: Endor speeder bikes
We know the whole Ewok thing wasn't exactly to everyone's taste but no one can argue with this pod racing precursor that takes place between Luke, Leia and some stormtrooper grunts on Endor, again, in Return of the Jedi. The Rebel Alliance forest camouflage also happens to be bang on trend right now.
This is Blu-ray, however, and we aren't interested in boring things like fancy clothes, we want big explosions and plenty going on, on screen; anything that pushes our home cinema systems to the limit. This is one sequence that delivers with both sights and sounds.
Sure the blue screen projections of some of the bikes look even more obvious in 1080p, but it is this kind of retro charm that makes the original trilogy just so awesome. We will also say that the weird Formula One car sounds the speeders make is worth cranking your volume up for. It outdoes even Transformers for awesome audio blastery.
Empire Strikes Back: Hoth battle
Surely you knew this one was coming? It is one of the all time great moments in cinema. The falling AT-AT still send shivers down our spines no matter what format we watch it in. Blu-ray, however, means that those shivers are extra, well,shivery.
We keep coming back to the audio and we know the purists will be looking for an original stereo mix with the older films, but the new Dolby setup is worth it. Hoth is explosion filled and the zooming airspeeders are just awesome for a decent surround set up. Movement and any blue/green screen shots suffer at the extra sharpness Blu-ray provides but it is negligible. This is one sequence we seriously suggest looking forward to as you watch through the original movies. And you thought the Tauntaun's guts smelled bad in standard definition.
A New Hope: Darth vs. Obi-Wan
It wouldn't be Star Wars without lightsabers and what better scene than the classic Darth Vs Obi-Wan which started it all? Surely the best dual in the whole sextology?
We promise this is the last mention of audio, but the swoosh and clash of Darth and Obi's lightsabers is just so bang on that we had to mention it. The extra bit of resolution also helps make Darth that bit more shiny, black and generally evil, adding to the gravity of that most grave of showdowns.
Obi Wan's quasi-seppuku manoeuvre at the end still causes us problems to this day, but then again he did promise (and deliver) on coming back more powerful than we could imagine. And with a funny blue halo too. The lightsabers have also had a bit of colour correction and punch added to them throughout the original movies, making them look better than ever.
Attack of the Clones: Jedis vs. Droids
We have managed to go quite a long way without once mentioning a droid which, given how crucial they are to the Star Wars Universe, we're quite proud of. We figured why not get all the droids out of the way in one go with the Jedi/Droid face-off in Attack of the Clones?
This battle contains more droids than 10 series' worth of Robot Wars and manages to get C-3PO and R2-D2 involved as well, of course. It also has Yoda come and throw down some moves which adds to the awesomeness. Good stuff in a Star Wars film which, while great, was one of the less exciting of the bunch.
All the on-screen blaster action is total mental overload at 1080p in this scene which we definitely like. Think of the part in the Matrix Revolutions where the machines finally arrive and there are so many bullets flying that you more or less just give in.
The CGI in this one is also a lot less dodgy than in some of the earlier Star Wars films and, as such, doesn't suffer quite so much under the HD treatment. All in all a definite way to show off the new Blu-ray on a tasty display and decent sound setup. Enjoy.
Think of any better scenes? Let us know!