Star Wars Omnibus (1995) Review
Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back. Return of The Jedi. For anyone who grew up in the late '70s and early '80s these films will always be in your top ten of all time, but it is also worth looking at the books, as they add more depth to the original story lines and characters.
OK, we all know that the new films (Phantom Menace, etc.) are no where near as good as the originals. We know that George Lucas did the right thing when handing over the directorial chair to others for Empire and Jedi, so why didn't he do it for the prequels? Buts lets forget the new films for a moment and returned to the magic that made us Star Wars fans for life, and see what the books have to offer.
The omnibus offers all 3 original films in text format, the first written by Lucas himself, Empire by Donald F. Glut, and Jedi by James Kahn. They are all well written and are an excellent companion to the films, adding small extra dimensions to the characters and plots.
In Star Wars, we are treated to the extra scenes where Luke, on Tatooine, chats with Biggs about joining the academy, and the conversations Han Solo has with Jabba before he blasts off with Obi Wan and Luke. The book really captures the spirit of the film, with the final Death Star Battle enjoying some extra thrilling moments. If, like me, you found all the extra CGI of the new releases unpalatable, you will really enjoy the pureness of this version of Star Wars.
Empire Strikes Back, my favorite Star Wars film, delves deeper into the relationship between Lea and Han, and Luke's struggle with Yoda during his training on Dagobah. The book was definitely written before the final cut of the film came out, because some of the dialogue is different (and longer), and you can see where they improved the film by sharpening up and focusing what the characters are saying. Most famously for me is the scene when Han is about to be frozen in carbonite. In the book Lea and Han proclaim their love for you, whereas in the film we have the much more effective exchange, where Lea says "I Love you" and Han simply replies "I know." Magical, and much more like Han Solos character.
Return of the Jedi is most faithful to the film. We have an extra scene where Luke returns to Tatooine and Obi-Wans old cave to make a light-sabre after losing his fathers in his battle with Vader, and we have more of the inner thoughts of the characters as they are battling the Empire. Interestingly Kahn takes us inside Vader's thoughts, showing us how he was all along planning to defeat the Emperor and have Luke with him by his side as Dark rulers of the Galaxy.
My summary? Well, when reading and enjoying this omnibus you really get the feeling that Lucas didn't have the whole Star Wars story worked out in detail before he made IV, V and VI, there are significant holes in the narrative. I prefer to try and forget the newest movies and concentrate on enjoying the stories of the originals, and I would heartily recommend this book to any true Star Wars fan.
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