Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Well there are a few smaller problems here and there, that one can argue about:
The DVD Editions: the lightsaber effects are inconsistent. Sabers change color seemingly at random, look solid in some shots, more transparent in others. Some shots are obviously too bright (garbage matte boxes around TIEs in ANH space battles, others too dark (saber clash in ROTJ). Bad color timing/balancing (Leia's caked on makeup, blue shirted Rebel troopers, wrong saber colors, "white" death star 1 explosion with blue artifacting, orange skinned characters on Tatooine, "too blue" R2 in ANH, "too green" Yoda, etc.)
Pasting Anakin's head over Shaw in ROTJ just seems like a blatant attempt to force us to think of the Prequels, rather than show us Anakin's redemption. Lucas' explanation of a person looking how they did before they "turned to the Darkside for the last time" just seems goofy and forced (no pun intended). Erasing his eyebrows seems similarly pointless (okay so they burned off, but not the rest of his face?), makes the bald cap more prominent (destroying some of the realism of the makeup) and takes away some of the actor's expressiveness (the eyebrows do a lot in that scene).
Poorly delivered lines by Ian McDiarmond as Palpy in ESB, and needlessly modified dialouge. Original scene was far more effective.
Needless overdubbing of Boba Fett's lines. Now he just sounds like some guy you'd have a BBQ with and some seafood, not a scarred and nasty Bounty Hunter. The character was so shallow, at least giving him a gravely voice made him seem a bit tough.
Bad sound problems on the English/Spanish track for ANH (awesome music drowned out by engines during the Death Star Trench run, Tarkin/Leia's lines not equalized leaving "tape hiss" especially for Leia, channels swapped for no reason).
Now the SE's:
Greedo shooting first, or shooting at the same time, etc. Pointless and stupid. I don't care about the whole "character arc" or "roguish nature" arguments. Anybody would have been justified plugging Greedo under the table after he clearly threatened Han's life AND had a gun pointed at him. In a court of law he'd have gotten off with "self defense." No need to let Greedo, a supposed bounty hunter, take the first shot and MISS from such a stupidly close angle (what, was Lucas trying to make us think of 'Pulp Fiction' here?), and then have the blaster bolt do no damage (it BOUNCED OFF THE WALL, where did it go? In the next version you'll hear and "eiiii!" off an unseen bar patron who got hit by the bullet and died.. comedy!). I guess the "sizzling flesh" sound effect added was kinda neat, but the whole change to the scene was unnecessary. Nobody would fault Han (rogue or not) for shooting first when his life was in danger. And it just makes Greedo look like even more of an idiot. The turning of any credible threat to the Heroes into comical bumbling objects of slapstick comedy just serves to destroy any drama or suspense... reminds me of the prequels and their "battle droids."
[Everybody whines about that scene, but those are the real legit reasons to have a problem with the change, not some nebulous "it detracts from Han's roguish nature" argument. Watch it you just have to stop for a second and go "What the heck just happened?"]
Needless insertion of Fett flirting with new dancing girls. Silly.
Overly cartoony "backup artists and that singing Yazum" added to the Rebo band sequence. Yes the Yazum was a character created just for ROTJ back in '83, but still, it was good they left it out, since it looked more at home on some Ewok show for kids. Jabba's palace has enough slapstick already without characters like these.
Jabba scene: poorly done, repeats almost verbatim of Greedo scene. More slapstick... don't stomp on the crime lord's tale! Jabba is just too nice, and Boba Fett mugs for the fanboys in the audience (ugh). DVD edition improved graphics, but Jabba still looks different than ROTJ and too lovable.
The SE & DVD editions (like the THX enhanced set) use the alternate (not as good) sound takes on two lines (ESB: "You were lucky to get out of there." instead of "You're lucky you don't taste very good!" / ROTJ: "Don't worry I can see a lot better" instead of "Don't worry, trust me." - Some people didn't like the "Close the Blast Doors!" because it made the Stormtroopers seem even more inept, sort of like the added head bonk sound effect in the DVD, though the new footage of the room full of troopers at the end of the hall makes the original scene seem less comically inept with regards to the troopers).
The "comic slapstick" moments added to Mos Eisley in ANH are annoying and silly (plus look very out of place in spots), with the Ronto's tossing Jawas and the worker droid punching an annoying beeping camera droid. The "serious and forboding" scene is turned into yet another joke for the kids.
Changing Lapti Nek to "Jedi Rocks." LN was cheesy, but Jedi Rocks is even worse, and the title sucks!
Changing the Ewok song at the end of ROTJ makes a more fitting end to the saga, but sort of ruins the mood a bit for the Ewok victory (dancing and helmet xylophone timing is thrown off), which I guess is fine by some people. Brief shots added to the scene give us more Ewoks, oh well I guess. It was kind of a silly scene to begin with, now it becomes more somber and serious. But previously it was meant to be a contrast between Luke's sadness over Vader and everybody else partying down because they're alive and the Empire is decapitated.
Shots of the planets being liberated are kinda okay, they look a little too modern and pasted in, though if you've just seen the prequels they fit better. "Wesa Free!!!!" arggh, I didn't need to hear that. Feels like Lucas just wanted to rub the Gungans in our faces one last time..
Needless "censoring" of blaster shots exploding on the chests of Imperial Officers on the Death Star. This is still a PG rated film, George, give us a break! And besides, you missed one...
"Bring my shuttle" (pissed off Vader) vs. "Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival" (business as usual). I prefer the old line. The recycled shot of Vader arriving on the DEATH STAR 2 (not the Executor) just feels lazy. The "added suspense" is a slight improvement, but many felt it unnecessary. Either way we knew Vader was coming and it was a race to save Luke.
Some things in the SE's were improvements, IMHO. The DVD Rancor scene is vastly superior, as is the new DS1 space battle (in the 1997 version, the DVD edition ruins the sound). I have no argument with the cleaned up video (though leaving in SOME film grain in the DVD's wouldn't have been wrong, but I guess Lucas wanted to match the "digital video look" of Episodes II and III, and if he ever cleans up TPM he'll probably do the same to it).
New echo effects in the Death Star "tarzan scene" are an improvement. Dianoga eye blink is fine. Bantha herd, who cares.
Oola's final scream scene I guess is kinda good, but unnecessary (either way, we don't see the Rancor yet).
The new Wampa scenes are arguable. The creature looks slightly different in the new scenes than the existing footage of the old Wampa, and the sounds are added onto the old sounds (are there two Wampas in the cave then?). Previous monster was more of an "unseen threat" in the cave, but the disarmed Wampa seems angry and dangerous so perhaps a little scarier (helping explain Luke's panic). So it's a toss up.