Have these three movies been disgraced and defiled over the past 10 years? Absolutely. Unforgiveably. But today is reason enough to celebrate, because this is the best presentation of the OOT I've ever seen.
I watched Star Wars earlier today and just finished with Empire. And got completely lost in the story, just as I used to. It isn't perfect. At times it is downright awful. Check out Luke's X-Wing as it descends into Bespin. It looks like an old VHS tape. But for the most part, this transfer is completely passable. Very rarely was I distracted by the picture quality. But most importantly, I was never distracted by God-awful S.E. scenes and effects.
I've had so much animosity towards Lucas and the Star Wars franchise since the late 90s. It had really gotten to the point where Star Wars wasn't enjoyable any more. This changes that. I sat down and watched my two favorite movies of all time, and before long it was 1996 again, and the Special Edition/prequel/2004 DVD debacles were pushed out of my mind. The Star Wars galaxy was once again fascinating, enchanting, and mysterious, just as it used to be. Yeah, it's a modest format, considering the industry standard and the fact that these movies should be given the ultimate treatment. Still, for me, this is a great thing.
One thing that crossed my mind as I was in Best Buy today picking out the tin set. There was a definite buzz around the movie display with people who had been waiting for this release. And this is in freaking Flint, Michigan in the middle of the work day. So I got to thinking; now that Lucas has released these as a litmus test for interest in the OT, is this going to blow up in his face? There seems to be a legitimate hunger for these things, and when word gets out that the transfer isn't completely horrible, that's only going to grow. So what's Lucas going to do? Ignore it? Shrug his shoulders and cash in with a full restoration? Be humiliated by the fact that people actually do prefer the original films to his mutants? Or will he come out and say "boy, people sure embraced the individual release of these movies." Should be interesting.