...this time around I will not stop until some of the shots I was unable to despecialize in v1.0 are despecialized. Like the Rancor compositing in ROTJ or the snow battle compositing in ESB.
I suppose I view things a little differently, philosophically, in terms of restoration. To me, the crime of the special editions wasn't cleaning up matte lines or technical gaffs or outright mistakes. To me the crime of the special editions was in outright changing elements or adding new scenes.
I consider the removal of the matte lines on the rancor a good thing. It makes that effect look as good as it possibly can, which to my mind should have been the goal of the special editions all along. Likewise, fixing the snow battle composting so that you can't see through the canopy struts, or see ships passing through walkers, is also a good thing.
I can understand and appreciate the view that all of those technical blemishes were a part of the original theatrical experience and should therefore be preserved. I don't share that view, but I get it. In a perfect world it would be nice to have both, a perfect time capsule of the original theatrical experience, and a perfect version of each film, where the picture fidelity and special effects have been restored and repaired to make them look as good as they possibly can. I might even watch that time capsule version out of historical interest, but my definitive version would be the restored and remastered version, the one that brings those effects as close to what they wanted them to be as possible.
It's an old dilemma. It's like the people who prefer LPs to CDs. For the LP lovers, the hisses, the scratches, the minor imperfections all add to the experience for them. While conversely, those things detract from the experience for the CD lovers.
I've loved Star Wars all my life, but I'll never forget the first time I noticed the matte lines in ESB. I was about 12 years old, it was the asteroid chase, my favourite sequence. And suddenly there they were. Matte lines constantly in motion around the tie fighters. Empire Strikes back, and the whole trilogy, lost some of its magic for me that day. That was the day when I got a glimpse behind the curtain from in front of the stage. I'm a huge behind the scenes buff. I love knowing how things are made, and how movie magic is done. However, when I'm watching the movie I don't want my attention to be drawn to it.
To go in and restore matte lines and the like seems less like despecializing to me, and more to be a theatrical restoration. To my mind, despecializing would be the removal of the additional special edition material that was added to the films: extra scenes, new special effects, new dialogue, etc. I guess it's an arbitrary line to draw as to what one considers a special edition addition, and what one considers to be remastering and restoration.
Regardless, the impressive amount of work and dedication Harmy has committed to the project is nothing short of awe inspiring. I may not be on the same page in terms of what I would see removed and what I would see restored, but I am none the less blown away by the results. It's great stuff and I can't wait for more.