The 'Star Wars' Trilogy on Laser

In wide-screen with peerless picture and sound, the epics are just as we remember them

star wars lazer lightsaber luke skywalker darth vader
20th Century Fox Licensing/Merchandising/Everett Collection
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and David Prowse as Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.'
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What weighs 13 pounds, costs $250 and ranks as the best toy a laser freak could ever have? It's The Star Wars Trilogy: The Definitive Edition (Fox). Here at last, in wide-screen with peerless picture and sound, are Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) as we remember those epics before previous videos and discs reduced them to visual and sonic rubble.

Put on the first of the 18 sides and then just try not to get sucked into George Lucas' saga of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), set in "a galaxy far, far away." How innocent that first film looks now in its breathless, just-for-the-fun-of-it simplicity. The effects got bigger in the second and third movies, and the relationship between Luke and the masked Darth Vader (dark father) grew deeper and more twisted. But it's the way the trilogy captures the kick of a rainy-day adventure at the movies that makes it indispensable.

Faults? You bet. Turning over nine CAV discs means a lot of getting up and down; several of the side-breaks are jarring; the audio commentary is sparse and, when Lucas speaks, disappointingly vague. But nobody skimped on the movies themselves. The Force was with them.

This story is from the November 11th, 1993 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 669: November 11, 1993