Author Topic: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?  (Read 2626 times)

Offline JediMAC

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What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« on: January 30, 2003, 03:58 AM »
Back in 1997, George Lucas finally delved back into the Star Wars saga after a long lay off, by bringing to us the suped up versions of the Original Trilogy movies, otherwise known as the Special Editions.  So what did you think of these revised versions of our classic movies?  Love em'?  Hate em'?  For me, it's a fair amount of both...

A New Hope:
Pros:
  • The entrance to, and development of, Mos Eisley.
  • The Falcon's dramatic exit from Mos Eisley.
  • The re-inserted Biggs footage from the Rebel Hangar.  Really helps to develop Luke's friendship with him, and Luke's subsequent pain when Biggs gets nailed by Vader.
  • The final Death Star space battle.  These changes were just awesome!  It blew me away what some better camera angles and more manueverable flight paths could do to this footage, much of which was completely revised.  My absolute favorite Special Edition change(s).
Cons:
  • Greedo shoots first.  Ah, this is a killer (no pun intended).  Completely changed our outlook on Han, and therefore his character development.  Instead of being a ruthless, rogue smuggler who kills first and asks questions later, we now simply have a guy acting in self defense.  It really diminishes the overall change and turnaround that we witness and appreciate in Han's character throughout ANH, and the remainder of the Trilogy.  Instead of evolving from a really bad dude into pretty decent guy, Han just goes from OK to pretty decent.  Not to mention the fact that it's completely assinine to think that a top of the line bounty hunter can't even come close to shooting a guy sitting stationary two feet directly in front of him.  Even an Imperial Stormtrooper can shoot better than this.  Gives Bounty Hunters a bad name.  A terrible change by George.
  • The added Jabba footage.  I don't take issue too much with the scene itself, as it does enhance and explain the overall story line.  It's just that the new CG version of Jabba was/is absolutely TERRIBLE!  Furthermore, Han's stepping on Jabba's tail and getting away with it, just greatly lessens the overall evil and dangerous aura of Jabba.  It makes Jabba look like a pathetic sissy to let Han walk all over him without repercussion.  Still not quite sure what I think about Boba's new early cameo into the Saga...
The Empire Strikes Back:
Pros:
  • The extended Wampa scene.  Always fun to see more action with nasty creature involved.
  • The Falcon's extended arrival into Cloud City.
  • The much greater development and design of Cloud City, both inside and out.
Cons:
  • Removing Luke's line to R2 when he gets spit out by the Dagobah swamp creature - "You're lucky you don't taste very good".  What's wrong with that line?  I thought it was quite applicable, and tastefully comical coming from Luke.  Replaced with some boring, meaningless line.  Why?
  • Luke screaming like a little sissy-girl as he drops down the Bespin core/shaft.  Again (like Han), a HUGE change to the character development of one of the main players.  Instead of Luke letting go of the Bespin Gantry in the face of his nemisis, and peacefully and bravely giving himself to the Force, we now have Luke screaming like a frightened 6-year old girl all the way down the shaft, almost looking like he accidentally slipped off the Bespin Gantry.  Instead of a brave Jedi becoming one with the Force, we now just have a crying little punk who got his butt kicked by his Pops.  A very bad edit by George.

  • Vader's new voice.  Though I liked the new Imperial Shuttle scene added in, I can't tolerate another actor voicing any of Vader's lines except for James Earl Jones.  Having someone else speak just that one line, was painfully obvious and very unfortunate.
Return of the Jedi:
Pros:
  • The new ending Celebration scene.  I liked seeing all of the various SW cities/planets celebrating the defeat of the evil Empire.  Tied the galaxy and saga together quite nicely.  Also, though I enjoyed the previous Ewok Celebration song, I find John Williams revised end theme here to be much more elegant and suitable for the magnitude of what has just occurred and for the final notes of our beloved saga.
Cons:
  • The new musical number Jedi Rocks.  Ugh.  This unfortunate addition just doesn't have a place in the Star Wars world.  The previous Lapti Nek song was just right for Jabba's Palace - subtle and eery, but somewhat hip and cool at the same time.  This new song and dance routine just makes me want to yack.  Watching the microphone go clear down the throats of the lead singers is just not necessary either.  The entire number just cheapens the whole dangerous aura surrounding Jabba's Palace.  Save this crap for a Disney flick.

  • Flirting Fett.  I just don't care to see the most dangerous bounty hunter in the galaxy hitting on Jabba's freaky back-up singers.  Not necessary, and it lessens the mystique of an otherwise very cool character.
  • The Little Shop of Horrors Sarlaac Pit monster.  I don't mind seeing some tentacle looking things crawling up and out of the Sarlaac's mouth area (pit), but that whole crazy CG beak/mouth looking thing flailing about just makes me think of Rick Moranis talking to his humanistic plant in The Little Shop of Horrors.  Not necessary, and again, it lessens the mystique of an otherwise very cool and scary space creature.
And as a general point for all three movies, obviously the Special Editions brought about nice improvements in the overall picture and sound quality, through the rigorous restoring of the film print and soundtrack.  Also, the great majority of the smaller, more subtle details that were added in throughout the movies were nice improvements as well, even if they weren't as noticeable to the average viewer.

It's really hard to say overall what I think of the changes made in the Special Editions, since I really loved some of them, and really hated others.  I guess it's a toss up.  But I'd fashion a guess that we may not even be seeing the Special Editions again in the future, even when the Original Trilogy finally hits DVD.  I'm willing to bet that George has even more changes in store, once he's done with Ep. 3 (as rumor has it), that will tie the whole saga together even more, in what will be labeled as the "Definitive Edition" movies (and possibly including another theatrical re-release).  And maybe, just maybe, if we're really lucky, ol' Uncle George will prove that he actually listens to his fans, and will magically make Greedo's blaster shot disappear...  But only time will tell...

So what did you all think of the Special Editions...???
« Last Edit: January 30, 2003, 04:02 AM by JediMAC »

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re:What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #1 on: February 2, 2003, 12:24 AM »
Great thread. I'll try not to repeat anything.

A New Hope:
Pros:
  • The best part was being able to see the movies in the theatres.
  • Restored, cleaned, and recolored(?) footage. It was a big change from seeing my gritty and ever-so-saturated VHS.
Cons:
  • Many parts of the movie, namely Jabba's scene, simply looked crappy. While it was cool to see a new scene with the real actors in there, the whole walking-over-Jabba's-tale thing was over-board and didn't make since. Would you walk over a Hutt's tale if you owed him money? I dunno.
  • There simply wasn't enough Space Battle... I was hoping for an extra 5-10 minutes of pure space combat...
I'll post for ESB and ROTJ later!

Offline JediMAC

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #2 on: February 3, 2003, 01:55 AM »
Nothing wrong with repeating anything Brad!  I fully expect EVERYONE to repeat some of my thoughts - like Greedo shooting first...  That's got to be on everybody's list if they've got half a brain.  :)

Repeat away if you like folks.  I didn't leave you guys much of a choice considering how crazy in-depth I went with my analysis there!

But Brad definitely picked up on one PRO that I certainly forgot - the chance to see the Original Trilogy back on the big screen.  Most definitely!  Silly me for forgetting that no-brainer...  That was the biggest PRO of all IMO!  :)

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re:What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #3 on: February 4, 2003, 05:06 PM »
Here I am again, with the promised sequel!

Empire Strikes Back:
Pros:
  • Above all, the see-through snowspeeders had bothered me for ages, so seeing them fixed was a big plus.
  • I have to repeat my esteemed colleague... SE Bespin rules! It looks 99% better in SE, as finally the place looks like a sky resort.
Cons:
  • The sissy scream... to have Luke scream in fear pretty much ruined the Original movie's underlying tone of Luke choosing death over the Dark Side. He went from brave and grown-up to... well... not.


ROTJ to follow right behind so I can pad my post count (seriously, the less stuff in this post window the better, my html gets sloppy).

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re:What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #4 on: February 4, 2003, 05:16 PM »
Quote
I dunno how I forgot to un-quote myself, but it looks neat anyway.

Return of the Jedi :
Pros:
  • Bantha herd scene. This scene really helped out the movie in my opinion... It just felt like Tatooine again.
  • Better space battle scenes, or at least I think the space battle scenes were cleaned up a little.
  • Ending shots... Well I was angry that the Ewoks got their song cut, but it does look better.
Cons:
  • The crappy band... Too much. I actually liked the old puppets, but of course I like 'The Labyrinth' too, so... :x
  • Sarlacc... I can't say I'm a big fan of the beak thing... at least it didn't look too bad.
  • Rancor wasn't fixed... the rancor still has those horrid black lines!
  • Emperor's neck slugs... Those black blurs around Palpatines face are extremelly distracting...
  • Space battle from Death Star... the battle is still just dots, I was hoping the throne-room view would at least have a few Star Destroyers visible.


Offline Reconsgt

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Re:What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2003, 03:30 PM »
I like the SE I could do with out Greedo shooting first but I like the idea of the bonus footage. There are such an abundance of sets that I think it is great that there is a choice and you can either take it or leave it.
I for one will take all I can get of extra footage as long as I can revert back to the original when I want to.
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Offline Guttersnipe

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Re:What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2003, 06:09 AM »
I liked them in the theatres when they came out but on reflection and many viewings later the cons become more and more apparent.
The thing that bothers me is GL said it was bringing the films "closer" to his vision but that is crap really.
If there were little "tweaks" rather than changing major actions of the characters i.e. Greedo shooting first, that is changing the whole scene rather than enhancing.
Why did he not do it in the first place?
I like the little things;
Banthas on Tatooine as Jabbas barge sails past,
More Stormies on the Death Star
Bespin windows etc.
NOT the major changes.
Lets face CGI just doesn't fit into the old films like new ones, it is not convincing.

Offline Zuckuss44

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2003, 06:01 PM »
On what Guttersnipe saying that the CGI doesn't fit with the OT, but does with the prequels, I'd like to add that though the OT was of course, originally without very much CGI(besides the diagram of the second Death Star in ROTJ), it would have to be now. With the massive clonetroopers and battle droids, people would have to wonder why there aren't many oddly shaped droids or giant cities. Therefore at least the city shots of Mos Eisley, Coruscant, and Cloud City are good. Now with the Greedo shooting first and the Jabba scene, maybe not so good. The new dancers were good in ROTJ, but I didn't like the fuzzy singer. I liked the added details, like Guttersnipe pointed out, and I hate Luke's girlie-man scream like everyone else.

Overall, they were good. However, I think it was a wrong decision not to release the original versions ever again. I only have the SE versions, not the originals. I'll have to bootleg one for $100 in ten years if I ever want them. I know I could try and look somewhere, but I'd rather just buy them at retail price along with the DVD versions.

Offline MisterPL

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #8 on: May 2, 2003, 04:39 PM »
My favorite part of the Special Edition release was not only the opportunity to see Star Wars on the big screen again, but to share that experience with my son. He'd seen the trilogy on home video, but this made an impression.

I think the single biggest draw to the next generation was the opportunity to see NEW Star Wars material. Whether you liked the new Ewok suite or not, everybody was in awe of the sweeping vistas of Tatooine, Cloud City, and - for the first time - Coruscant during the celebration. Whether the changes were good or bad, the chance to see something new - or at least different - in Star Wars made a lot of us feel like kids again.

I support film restoration, and the original Star Wars trilogy was in dire need of that. But my inner fanboy wishes that Lucas had concentrated more on cleaning up what was already there (Rancor scene still looks terrible) rather than playing around with a generation's favorite movie. I understand that there was a free research & development opportunity Lucas wanted to take advantage of in preparation for the prequels, but in hindsight, I'd rather have a pristine copy of the Original Trilogy AS I REMEMBER IT than a science experiment tantamount to bastardization.

I want MY Star Wars, damn it.
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Offline JediMAC

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #9 on: May 6, 2003, 05:36 PM »
By the way, I assume you've all seen this site before...  If not, head on over and add your name to the petition of almost 30,000 signatures of those who want to see the ORIGINAL versions of the Original Trilogy reach the DVD format...  The webmaster there is doing a top-notch job of keeping the petition absolutely legitimate.  This WILL get seen by Lucas, I'm sure.  So go support this most worthy cause!  Here ya' go:

Original Trilogy on DVDs

Offline Snively Bandar

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2003, 07:07 PM »
I just enjoyed seeing these movies on the big screen again mostly.  As for the Special Edition changes themselves, I didn't care for most of them, aside from the great revamped Death Star space battle in ANH.  Other than that and a couple other minor changes and fixes, George should've just left well enough alone.  To go and seriously alter the character development of the two biggest male heroes in the trilogy was just an outright atrocity.  Han shooting first, and Luke screaming like a baby were very, very poor editing changes.  VERY POOR.   >:(

Offline Sith Lord Cosmo

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #11 on: June 2, 2003, 10:25 PM »
Good thread.  Overall I liked the SE's.  There were obivously things I didn't like such as Greedo shooting first, Luke screaming, and no Yub Yub song.  

However...I was too young to see the OT when it came out.  I was about 2 months old when ESB came out and 3 years old when ROTJ came out.  When the SE's came out, I finally got to see Star Wars on the big screen.  For me, that outweighs any of the bad things
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Offline dustrho

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #12 on: June 2, 2003, 11:32 PM »
How did I possibly miss this thread of your's Matt?  You have made some AWESOME points there.  The absolute worst thing has to be Greedo shooting first.  I choked on food when I saw that for the very first time with friends.  We re-wound that tape about three times just to make sure we weren't messed in the head.
dustrho

Offline Morgbug

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #13 on: June 2, 2003, 11:54 PM »
DVD burner this fall.  Two versions of the OT, some editing software, mix good with bad, voila, my own SE ;)
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Offline dustrho

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Re: What did you think of the "Special Edition" movies?
« Reply #14 on: June 3, 2003, 12:16 AM »
DVD burner this fall.  Two versions of the OT, some editing software, mix good with bad, voila, my own SE ;)

Care to hook up a fellow JD member???    8)
dustrho