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'97 vs. '04 (and '11) - Your preference?

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It would be fruitless for me to go on about out the OOT is superior in every way. However, many of us (myself included), grew up on the '97 SE cuts of the trilogy. Then, once the official DVDs came out, the world was plagued with the '04 SE. One could argue that the '11 SE deserves a mention, but it’s almost identical…?

Although there isn’t a tremendous difference between the '97 and '04 cuts of the OT, which one do you have more positive feelings towards? Either way, the OT is changed – one edition is meant for upgrading the effects, while one edition is meant to tie the entire saga together.

For myself, I actually enjoy the '97 SE. You still get the original Anakin force-ghost, original Emperor, and the colour timing isn’t as terrible as the '04 masters. I like the idea of the '04 SE, but it was executed poorly and is disrespectful of the works of Sebastian Shaw and Jason Wingreen.

Your preference?

This post has been edited.

“That said, there is nothing wrong with mocking prequel lovers and belittling their bad taste.” - Alderaan, 2017

MGGA (Make GOUT Great Again):
http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Return-of-the-GOUT-Preservation-and-Restoration

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Apart from Luke screeming in Empire, no change was reverted for the '04 SE, it only got worse with each iteration, so I’d definitely prefer the '97 SE over the DVD or Bluray versions.

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I like Jabba in 97 Episode IV. Such terrible CG it makes me wanna watch it more.

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Frank your Majesty said:

Apart from Luke screeming in Empire, no change was reverted for the '04 SE, it only got worse with each iteration, so I’d definitely prefer the '97 SE over the DVD or Bluray versions.

The Greedo shot was partially reverted, in a way, as they deleted a bunch of the extra frames that they added. Tried to make it slightly less ridiculous.

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Yeah, they dimished the effect, but they didn’t undo it, so it doesn’t really count, at least in my book.

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The 97 versions will always have a special place in my heart, because they were the first versions I have seen “on the big screen”. 2004 version is horrible and actually unwatchable for me thanks to the horrible colours. 2011 versions - I have seen them once and not plan to watch them again.

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To answer the original question, the 2004 versions are worse overall than the 1997 ones. If for no other reason than the fact that they completely botched the look of the lightsabers. It’s too iconic of a thing to screw up that badly. They were producing the PT films at the time, and rendering pretty great looking lightsabers for those. If they were going to redo the OT sabers concurrently, why make them look like garbage? I think this has recently become among my least favorite changes, up there with Hayden and Jedi Rocks. It’s nice that they fixed about 80% of the saber shots in 2011 despite screwing other things up.

Jedi gets substantially, aggressively worse with each revision. The 97SE would be the least terrible by far, if it were available in decent quality. It’s fairly smooth sailing after the song and dance number (which is the worst part of the trilogy), and the Sarlacc beak.

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I think the lightsabers looked awful in the 2004 versions because of the changes in contrast and color timing; the picture was darkened overall. This had the unfortunate side effect of darkening the white cores of the sabers. The color timing screw-up was also responsible for making Luke’s lightsaber look green on the Falcon.

They only redid some of the lightsabers in the 2004 OT, including much of the Ben/Vader duel. But after people complained enough, they finally went and fixed some of the 2004 problems for the 2011 release. Although, even then, they didn’t fix everything, as evident by the faded saber cores in the Bespin duel.

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Yeah, a couple shots in Jedi are still screwy as well. And the colors in the ANH duel are really inconsistent still.

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towne32 said:

Yeah, a couple shots in Jedi are still screwy as well. And the colors in the ANH duel are really inconsistent still.

That duel is at least watchable in the 2011 version.

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While the OUT will always be the SW I know and love, Id pick '97 SE out of the updated versions. Vaders ‘Nooo’ is still missing, Sebastian Shaw’s ghost is intact, Vader’s saber in Empire is still red, CGI Jabba is horrible regardless of which version I watch, and when compared to the '04 and '11 versions, the coloring of the '97 SE is closer to the originals. Although I was as I am now more accustomed to the OUT growing up, the SE’s were still part of my childhood. I was only like 4 when they came out and I did eventually have my dad get me the SE’s on VHS. So in a way I have a special place for those cuts as well so yes in answer to the topic '97 SE all the way!

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I think I lucked out and didn’t see the SEs until 2004. We had the Faces tapes and stuck with those as long as we could.

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About the CG Jabba, I’ll say this: the 2004/2011 model looks better but I like the 1997 version more simply because of how Han & Jabba are actually looking at each other instead of past each other.

1997 version:
1997 Jabba

2004 version:
2004 Jabba

Additionally, the 2004 model looks too dark. I’m not sure if this is ILM’s fault or Lowry’s fault for screwing up the color grading.

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The new 2004 Jabba was whipped cream on a pile of shit.

Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here; this is the war room!

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I’ll dissent somewhat and say that if I had to choose, I would go with the 2004/2011 versions (for all except Jedi). Why?

  • Han and Greedo shoot at pretty much the same time, blink and you’ll miss Greedo shooting at all and you no longer have to see that TERRIBLE head dodge effect.
  • CG Jabba was terrible in 97.
  • New Emperor is an improvement.
  • Luke scream was present in 97.

Jedi though I’d have to take 97 because the most noticeable changes–Hayden ghost and Vader NOOOO–are so terrible. Oh and Jar Jar in the victory celebration sequence. But then, Jedi is the most ruined one in any of them because of “Jedi Rocks” alone anyway. And I don’t care for the new ending/song either, with or without Jar Jar.

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I’ll take the one without the prequelizations.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

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Coruscant was in the 1997 ending of ROTJ. Not a huge deal, IMO. But there it is.

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Coruscant is not a prequelism since the planet pre-dates the PT by several years.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

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Well if you’re only looking at the movies, then Coruscant is is a prequelism. It was inserted into ROTJ by Lucas during the production of TPM, just as the Hayden ghost was inserted into ROTJ in 2004 during the production of ROTS. In both instances, the change was made in order the make the OT more “consistent” with the prequels.

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Fair enough, you’re technically correct, by definition. I still consider it a change made in order to better tie it in with the prequels. Although, it’s not a big deal, not nearly as bad as some other changes.

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I don’t get this talk about “prequelization.” The entire point of the SE was George attempting to “update” the originals to better tie into the imminent prequel trilogy in terms of visual effects, story, overall tone. There would have probably not been any SEs if there were no prequels, as he only made them to fit with his constantly changing “vision.” In 97, the prequel trilogy was not only planned, it was already in production. The fact that it wasn’t released yet is completely irrelevant. The SEs have been inseparably tied to the prequels from the very beginning. Someone already mentioned the ghost Anakin, that and the Emperor hologram for the 2004 DVDs were both done during the actual production of ROTS. The fact that ROTS was not released yet has zero relevance to the fact that George was clearly thinking ahead to after it would be released and was thus tying it into the rest of the trilogy.

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