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Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 10:00 pm

Just like every other "Star Wars" geek, I was stoked when George Lucas recently announced that the original trilogy was being released on DVD in its unaltered form on September 12. And, just like every other DVD aficionado, that initial elation was deflated by feelings of disappointment and disgust when I learned that the original versions will not be made available in anamorphic (that is, HDTV-friendly) widescreen transfers - meaning the films that revolutionized the world of visual effects will not be seen with the same crystal clarity most DVDs offer.

If there were still any doubts, this latest stunt proves that Lucas simply wishes to hoard his billions and manipulate his cash-cow franchise with absolutely no regard for the opinions - or pocketbooks - of his most dedicated fans. Despite claims that an anamorphic transfer simply isn't possible (which sounds suspiciously similar to the filmmaker's previous - and now disproved - claim that prints of the original versions no longer exist), it's my guess that Lucas will recant his decision several years down the line and approve yet another re-release of these films, this time with anamorphic enhancement. And then again a few years after that, this time offering them with some kind of 3-D enhancement. Then again later on as part of a huge 24-disc mega-pack with the "ultimate" editions of all six "Star Wars" movies.

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