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Despecialized or the Special Editions; Which do you prefer - and why?

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Now that we have the Despecialized and can watch the original unaltered trilogy, what are your thoughts on the special editions? Which do you prefer? This probably sounds like a stupid question but I’m really curious.

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I think almost everyone here prefers Despecialized. Even though some parts of the SE actually improved the movies, watching the original Star Wars trilogy without the terrible CGI creatures is amazing.

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I’m a historical purist. Give me all films (not just Star Wars) as they were seen by audiences in their original theatrical runs, warts and all. If there are multiple versions (like the 70mm vs 35mm ESB), include both so I watch each version. If there are later re-edited special editions or director’s cuts or whathaveyou, include those too. Film history is important and various iterations of a film should be properly preserved and made available to anyone who wishes to see them.

As for the original Star Wars Trilogy, I prefer the 4KXX versions both because they are the highest quality restorations (official or not) and, more importantly, they are the most “pure”. Meaning they are sourced as much as humanly possible from original, pre-special edition, film prints. They aren’t reconstructions that try to mimic the original (as amazing as Harmy’s work has been), they ARE the original. But, of course, 4K80 isn’t complete yet…

So yeah, I definitely prefer the original cuts to any version of the SE. But if I’m going to watch an SE, I don’t mind the ‘97 or the brand new ‘19 versions. The 2005 dvd and 2011(?) blu ray versions are pure and utter garbage that I’ll never watch.

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I know alternate versions are sometimes curiosities worth checking out from time to time – different Blade Runner cuts, extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings films, even Buckaroo Banzai with an alternate opening, and the alternate versions are even sometimes better than the theatrical versions.

But with Star Wars, there is nothing worth watching about the Special Editions, in any iteration. Their only saving grace is that they provided raw materials for Harmy’s reconstructions, allowing us to have an Original Trilogy preservation that’s very much like what a respectful Blu-ray release would have been. Harmy’s versions are still my favorite for this reason, although 4K83 1.6 really upped the color game and is now very nearly as good IMO.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Seeing the 4K upgrade by Lucasfilm (unlike 4K77) is interesting even though it is the special edition

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I grew up in the “Prequel Era”, however my best memories are watching original VHS copies of the films. The Despecialized Editions are by far the better cuts to me. Everything that makes Star Wars special is in those cuts. The only change I actually like, and it’s a minor one, is the celebration song on Endor. I absolutely love the version they inputted into the Special Editions. That said, it’s minor enough that the every Despecialized Edition, to me, is head and shoulders above the Special Edition edits.

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The unaltered cuts are more aesthetically consistent and flow better, and overall they hold up incredibly well without revisions.

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Considering the purpose of this site… I’m gonna go with the OOT.

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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Mokuhanga1 said:

The unaltered cuts are more aesthetically consistent and flow better, and overall they hold up incredibly well without revisions. Despecialized all the way.

I’m not going to let you get away with this.

image

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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Despecialized hands down. Every one of the SE (and especially the DVD/HD versions movies) has at least one change that ruins the movie for me.

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Definitely the Despecialized, I can watch the SE ESB but Greedo shooting first in ANH and do I even have to mention Jedi Rocks from ROTJ 😦

It’s A shame in a way that the SE’s are this bad and we are definitely lucky to have some of the most talented people here who are able to create such amazing FanEdits 😄

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I’m not a strict purist, so I don’t mind the idea of older films being tweaked or visually polished in small ways, but most of the SE changes are distracting and actively detrimental to the films, for no good reason. The added effects have aged poorly, for the most part, and are poorly integrated into the films. Not to mention, I resent the fact that they’ve been presented as the only, “true” versions of the films rather than just alternate variations.

I’m content with fan preservations from now on, for sure.

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I’m going to be the one guy who says the special editions, though my top preference is watching fan-edits because they usually give me the best of both worlds. I can have the best changes and remove the worst changes.

First of all, I’d want to retain all of the movie mistake fixes and visual effect improvements the SE made, like removing matte lines.

For ANH, I don’t like the Jabba scene or Greedo shooting first at all but none of the rest bother me so much. In fact I really like some of the additions. I like the expanded Mos Eisley, the original looks so dull. There’s only people and some droids. Yes the slapstick with the Jawa falling off the Ronto and the Ronto walking right in front of the camera was annoying and cringeworthy, but I liked the addition of the Ronto when it wasn’t in your face (having animals makes it look so much more interesting) and overall making the city look larger, more diverse and populated. I like the new CG Dewbacks, the old one wasn’t organic at all, it couldn’t move. Love the new Sandcrawler shot (rather then the dull looking wide) and Tatooine evening wide shot when R2 is wandering alone. I love how they added Biggs. And pretty much all of the new visual effects are a plus (the CG ships, new explosions, etc.). Actually seeing the X-Wings in the wide shot when they’re flying away from the base and towards the Death Star especially. Originally they just indicated them using their engine lights and it just looks weird. They overall definitely improved the Battle of Yavin.

Basically, everything in this video I consider good changes (the subtle censorship I don’t really care about, the fact that others were left in makes me think it wasn’t censorship but rather Lucas thinking they reacted to late or that it looked fake rather then him thinking seeing people get shot is bad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvbrVFP_f0w

For Empire Strikes Back it’s the special edition, no contest. The only thing that even bothers me there is the extended Vader arriving on the Star Destroyer that messes with the pacing and “You were lucky to get out of there”, but these are minor. I much prefer seeing the Wampa rather then teasing it (we already saw the headshot of it earlier anyway, teasing it isn’t even being mysterious or hiding its appearance; plus it’s still suspenseful seeing the Wampa feed on the carcass; in fact I’d say it’s way more scary seeing the Wampa turn his attention to Luke then seeing nothing). I much prefer Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor then the abomination from the original. The music transitions were better. Cloud City was improved in every way. The new CG outside shots were a plus and actually having windows and seeing outside rather then it feeling subterranean and claustrophobic was fantastic. And I’d rather watch a version where the Imperial badges are in their correct position during that one scene near the end.

In Return of the Jedi, I prefer the planetary celebrations (the new music is so much better) and Hayden as Anakin (sacrilegious I know). I prefer the more alive Sarlacc with actual tentacles instead of tiny stubs (I feel like the part where it grabs Lando works better and is more tense with it looking more alive). I like the added Bantha shot in the desert. I hate Jedi Rocks but I like Oola falling into the pit and Boba being a flirt. I like removing Anakin’s eyebrows. I despise Vader saying “NOOOOOOO” though. But still overall I prefer the special edition.

Link to thread for my Star Wars fan-edits: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/My-Star-Wars-Saga-Edits-episodes-1-6/id/76327
Other fan-edits include “This is Tokyo” (combination of original 1954 Gojira and the 1956 Americanization) and Heisei Godzilla Series Remaster.

And finally, proud creator of Dinosauria: Ascension, Domination, Downfall. https://dinosauriadocu.wixsite.com/dinosauriadocu

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Handman said:

I’m not going to let you get away with this.

I’m laughing!

G&G-Fan said:

The subtle censorship I don’t really care about, the fact that others were left in makes me think it wasn’t censorship but rather Lucas thinking they reacted to late or that it looked fake rather then him thinking seeing people get shot is bad

No, it’s censorship. The edits are the only times we see unmasked humans being shot by our heroes & reacting in pain & “violent” death. The rest of the time it’s not in close-up, or it’s troops in masks.

As for the thread topic, I’m with Despecialized. A restored OT is the mission statement of this site & why I originally arrived a decade ago. I want the film as it was. A beautiful time capsule of state-of-the-art film making in 1977.
When I want an SE, I’ve got Revisited.
Official SW product has been outclassed by the fans in every way.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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I really appreciate Harmy and the rest of the gang for all of their work on Despecialized. It’s nice to have another option for watching the Star Wars Trilogy.

That being said, the Despecialized versions are a strange beast in that they are an “undo” of a “redo” as opposed to just going back to the original. I realize 4K77/4K83 were made available after Despecialized, but I much prefer those versions as they are closer to the original, unaltered movies.

I enjoy the Special Editions and the original versions as well. Now that I have 4K77, Despecialized, etc, the Special Editions aren’t a version of the film holding the original version back (yes, I am still clamoring for an official release of the original, unaltered trilogy).

I watched A New Hope on 4K Blu-ray recently and enjoyed it immensely. It was great to have a clean-up version of the film.

I also watched 4K77 recently and it was great to see the film in it’s original form. I loved the grain from the 35mm print.

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ray_afraid said:
No, it’s censorship. The edits are the only times we see unmasked humans being shot by our heroes & reacting in pain & “violent” death. The rest of the time it’s not in close-up, or it’s troops in masks.

Ah, I see. Well I guess that’s like half a point off for the special edition; it’s a little childish and stupid of a change but unless someone is actually really paying attention it’s not something that really harms much. Definitely not anywhere near as bad as Greedo shooting, which just ruins character and looks awful.

Link to thread for my Star Wars fan-edits: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/My-Star-Wars-Saga-Edits-episodes-1-6/id/76327
Other fan-edits include “This is Tokyo” (combination of original 1954 Gojira and the 1956 Americanization) and Heisei Godzilla Series Remaster.

And finally, proud creator of Dinosauria: Ascension, Domination, Downfall. https://dinosauriadocu.wixsite.com/dinosauriadocu