The big day had come and I had finally got to the Skywalker Ranch. Getting through the main gate and the security checkpoint was a snap and I was off to the main house at the Ranch.
(My Press Name Tag For The Event)
I parked near the main house and was met at the front door to the main house by one of the most awesome publicity people. I went inside and everyone was standing around talking and such (all online media). Everyone was there including Bill Hunt from thedigitalbits.com, Peter Bracke from dvdfile.com, Dennis Burger from dvdangle.com, Guido Henkel from dvdreview.com, Geoffrey Kleinman from dvdtalk.com and many others. It was really nice to finally meet some of my colleagues.
Just so you know, no pictures of the Ranch could be posted on the web.
The main house is awesome... very Victorian. Lots of redwood... totally non-technical - or its all hidden very well. One word: awesome!
They divided us into two small groups at that point.
Our group was lead into a small room where THX had set up a small home theater (just like one in a house) and we checked out 2 scenes from the DVD - the pod race and the dual of the Jedi vs. Darth Maul. We watched and listened in true 5.1 EX. and let me tell you that "EX" ROCKED. It really did make a difference by filling in the gap behind you.
Our group then went outside and was shown a small tour of the main house and was pointed out things like Ewok Lake and a few of the other buildings in the distance.
Then we were led back into the main house to the basement level where a 33-person movie theater was!!!!!! Talk about awesome and comfortable!!!
We were then treated to an overview of both discs of the DVD that took several hours.
First off, the menus for both discs ROCK! The first disc has three random themes upon boot up. There are codes to let you select what theme you see (they wouldn't tell us what the codes were). One theme was the Naboo, one was Coruscant and Tatooine.
Side note: there are 50 chapter stops on disc 1 of the movie.
They would not tell us how many easter eggs were on either disc. All they would say is that there were some on there. They did let us watch one (again wouldn't tell us how to do it) where you get to see the DVD credits and some hilarious bloopers!
The second disc's theme is on the cargo bay of the Queen's ship.
There are seven deleted scenes that ILM finished and put on the disc (they were more like extended scenes). The BIG news.... the "courasaunt taxi sequence" you may have heard of was finished by ILM and not just included on the deleted scenes but was EDITED BACK INTO THE FILM on the 1st disc!!!
Not only that, but they said we should watch the movie closely and hinted that there are others edited back in...
Another side note: the deleted scenes are in 5.1 EX as well...
Both discs (including menus) minus the TV spots are widescreen and 16x9 enhanced.
We watched the hour-long documentary called "The Beginning" that was compiled from over 600 hours of footage... THIS WAS DAMN GOOD. This was a true highlight of the day. The documentary was funny to watch and a good insight of them making the film. I think everyone's jaws dropped to learn that George Lucas and his crew saw the "rough cut" of Episode 1 in that same room we were in (as shown in the documentary).
The 2nd disc includes trailer and TV spots (including the one love, one hope, etc ones; the deleted scenes page has a documentary (entertaining) with all 7 deleted scenes or you can choose to watch the scenes by themselves and "The Beginning" is on that page; it also has the 12 part web documentary on it and 5 short documentaries; an exclusive DVD-ROM link to a special DVD site on starwars.com (which we can't check out because it isn't live yet); still galleries of like 75 photos (picked from 100,000 pics); and storyboard comparisons (neat feature where you can see the storyboards and test samples and final footage all on the same screen or flip to each one via angles).
Our group then headed to the Skywalker Ranch General Store (basically a gift shop), bought some stuff and we all headed back to our cars. This ended day 1.
Big thanks go out to everyone involved and to Jim Ward (VP of Marketing) who was our main host for the day.
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